Vox Day’s favorite theistic argument

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.

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Posted in Science, TIA, Unapologetics. 2 Comments »

2 Responses to “Vox Day’s favorite theistic argument”

  1. jorgaba Says:

    You know, for someone who goes on and on about how much better logician he is than scientists, atheists, and everyone else, these lapses are truly stupefying and laughable.

    Strip away the witty creativity, the clever sarcasm and the well-turned phrases, and Vox really isn’t very good at logical argument, is he. He knows the language, but doesn’t seem to understand how to apply logical principles to arguments in any coherent way. Simple things like defining terms and justifying premises totally escape him. He commits two or three logical fallacies every time he tries to expose one in other people’s writings.

    We often grant that Vox is intelligent. He is a member of mensa. He’s certainly articulate and witty. He’s well-read. He is creatively skilled. But I’m not so sure that, despite all this, he isn’t also just kind of stupid.

  2. jim Says:

    Thanks for that, jorgaba. At the risk of piling on for the fun of it (not my intent), I have to say that my estimation of his vaunted intellectual prowess continues to wane, the more I learn what the guy’s all about. He REALLY has problems with detailed argumentation, usually settling for a frivolous, shoot-from-the-hip approach (a recent blog piece rationalizing God’s supposed moral ‘difficulties’ with gaming theory had me shaking my head in astonishment); he tends to reason from conclusions, skipping over the logical steps that don’t work for him. And to tell you the truth, I don’t think he has more than a foggy notion of what orthodox Christianity is all about. His theology is all over the place, and seems fashioned more as a vehicle for his fringe political opinions and adolescent fantasy/sci-fi wet dreams, than for any systematic exposition of a reasonable faith statement. Not to mention that he explicitly abandons the veracity of reason itself…but, only when it suits him.

    I’m not sure if his inate intelligence is the problem, however. He’s starting from a premise which is highly emotionally charged, and that contains an existential threat of the highest order, i.e. hell, which sort of precludes a thoroughly honest reassessment, if you know what I mean. Of course, the logic of the premise itself is exceedingly dubious, to say the least. From the outside, it seems like an obviously crumbling edifice, ripe for the falling. But, it’s his baby, isn’t it?

    Also, Vox seems a bit of a megalomaniacal, semi-sociopathological douche, with a big enough entourage of hero worshipping enablers (god bless the internet!) manning the bellows at his ‘out’ chute that, frankly, it’s doubful he’ll ever muster up enough incentive to push that intellectual potential up into the light. To use a gamers’ metaphor, he’s a little heavy on the donkey side of the joystick, and a bit light on the Kong. Of course, God DID make an ass talk once…hey! Sheds some new light on his nom de plume…yes? No? Maybe?