Vox Day’s favorite theistic argumentJune 29, 2008 — Deacon Duncan
Somebody offered Vox Day a chance to respond to a blog meme originally intended for atheists, and he decided to have some fun with it. I think his answer to question 7 is particularly revealing.
Q7. What’s your favourite theistic argument, and how do you usually refute it?
The evidence argument. It’s proven to be rather difficult to refute since the vast majority of atheists have a very poor understanding of what evidence is – their tendency towards science fetishism often causes them to believe only scientific evidence is evidence – and quickly find themselves in the uncomfortable position of having to deny the existence of things they quite clearly believe.
Notice what he’s doing here: he’s claiming to have evidence (“difficult to refute” evidence, no less), without ever offering any actual examples. I can well believe that this sort of empty boast is Vox’s favorite argument, as we’ve seen him use it before.
The nice thing about not revealing your evidence is that keeping your evidence secret also keeps it safe. As Vox himself has stated (by projection onto PZ Myers), empty boasting is a successful strategy precisely when “attempting more would banish the illusion of his intellectual expertise and reveal the paucity of both his knowledge and his intelligence.”
Vox is even kind enough to admit, indirectly, that his boast is indeed empty. When he says “their tendency towards science fetishism often causes them to believe only scientific evidence is evidence,” what he’s saying is that his own evidence is not scientific, otherwise atheists’ dedication to scientific evidence would not be an impediment. All that is required for evidence to be scientific, however, is that it be independently verifiable as true. So Vox, in his own mind, is “triumphing” over those poor saps who base their conclusions on evidence that is verifiably true, whereas his evidence has been liberated from that troublesome requirement.
The only downside to having secret, unscientific evidence is that when somebody like PZ declines to waste his time on you, you can’t honestly claim that he ran away from your evidence, since you never produced any for him to run away from. I might go out of my way to avoid walking through a pile of dog doo, but the pile isn’t any less crap because I “ran away” from it. Let’s see if Vox’s evidence is really as great as he claims. Let’s see if even he thinks it worthwhile to mention in public. Then we’ll see who runs away.
I only mention this because Vox is not the only believer whose favorite argument for theism is to make empty boasts about some secret superior knowledge that allegedly proves them right. A lot of people make that argument, especially since Dawkins, Dennett and the rest have been out-selling their detractors. More and more, people are seeing the inconsistency and irrelevancy of traditional Christian arguments for God, and since the defenders of the faith really have nothing more than hearsay, superstition and gullibility to build on, more empty boasting is the best they’ve got to offer.