TIA: The Good Old Dark Ages

Still in Chapter 2 of Vox Day’s The Irrational Atheist, we come now to his section on the history of religion and science, in which Vox tries to debunk the idea that reason and religion have ever experienced any significant conflict. He begins by setting up a straw man.

As Dawkins himself admits, the overwhelming majority of scientists throughout centuries in which the scientific process was developed were religious, or at least claimed to be:

Newton did indeed claim to be religious. So did almost everybody until—significantly I think—the nineteenth century, when there was less social and judicial pressure than in earlier centuries to profess religion, and more scientific support for abandoning it.

What’s significant about this statement is the way it contradicts the notion that the Catholic Church had been dogmatically opposing Science, as evidenced by its notorious trial of Galileo Galilee, all throughout the Dark Ages and the Renaissance and well into the eighteenth century.

Notice, the contrary position is set up as being the view that the Church was opposing science, and not just trying to assert ultimate authority over science (including veto power over any conclusions deemed heretical). The conflict between religion and reason has always been over the issue of authority, and has not been (until recently) an attempt by religion to openly oppose scientific facts. Even in the Dark Ages, they weren’t that dumb.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading...
Posted in Current Events, Science, Society, TIA, Unapologetics. 4 Comments »

TIA: Argumentum FUD hominem

After trying to raise doubts and mistrust against the vital scientific principle of falsifiability, Vox Day’s book The Irrational Atheist moves on to the definition of science. It’s a pretty good definition, taken from PZ Myers, and Vox promises to use it. Before he shows us how he intends to use it, however, he takes a few moments to insinuate that scientists are opposed to pseudoscience out of mere greed, selfishness, and lust for power.

But before proceeding, it is intriguing to at least consider the possibility that it is not the threat to science as process that so offends scientists, but rather the potential threat to science as profession that has whipped some scientists into an angry lather.

After all, scientists understand better than most how their bread gets buttered, and no one, not even the most dedicated idealist, is ever pleased with the possibility of the butter being taken away.

Naturally, this is a completely spurious ad hominem, as is shown by the fact that the efforts of the pseudoscientists are not threatening the jobs of anyone. Science teachers would still teach science even if the creationists got their way—it’s just that the science would be watered down with superstitions and supernatural “explanations.” Researchers would still be able to do research, they just wouldn’t be allowed to get government funding for projects that might explain how life arose from non-life, and would have to focus their efforts elsewhere. So the “butter” wouldn’t really get taken away, only the quality of science would be compromised. And even Vox admits that this is so.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading...
Posted in Science, TIA. 3 Comments »

TIA on falsifiability

I’m up to chapter two in Vox Day’s e-book, The Irrational Atheist. This chapter deals with defining science, how to distinguish science from non-science, and the relationship between science and religion. After some introductory material, we find this little gem:

The need to separate real science from non-science can also be seen in the way that the phrase “studies show” has become a secular form of making a vow, a useful means of reassuring the skeptical listener that the speaker is swearing to the truth of his words despite any doubts that the listener might harbor.

Rather ironic, considering that Vox just got done claiming that “Low Church Atheists” are worse off than believers because “[s]tudies have shown that those without religion have life expectancies seven years shorter than the average churchgoer, are more likely to smoke, abuse alcohol,” etc., etc. But where he really gets himself into trouble is when he tries to tackle the notion of what falsifiability is, and what it means for science.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading...
Posted in Science, TIA, Unapologetics. Comments Off on TIA on falsifiability

Lies, Damned Lies, and Vox Day’s Statistics

Before we move on to chapter two of TIA, I want to go back and spend a little more time on the issue of what statistics tell us about the relative morality of atheists versus theists. In a footnote, Vox writes:

There are some silly bits of information floating around the Internet claiming to prove that Christians are fifty times more likely to go to prison than atheists. Of course, by cherry-picking this data, one could claim that English and Welsh Christians are 315 times more likely to go to prison than atheists and be superficially correct. One would have to be an intellectually dishonest ass to do so, though.

In the section on the “Low Church Atheist,” however, Vox spends a considerable amount of time discussing this same British study, and concludes that

when one compares the 31.6 percent of imprisoned no-religionists to the 15.1 percent of Britons who checked “none” or wrote in Jedi Knight, agnostic, atheist, or heathen in the 2001 national survey, it becomes clear that their Low Church counterparts are nearly four times more likely to be convicted and jailed for committing a crime than a Christian.

So even though you “would have to be an intellectually dishonest ass” to use these statistics to draw conclusions about the relative morality of theists vs. atheists (if you’re concluding that theists are less moral), it “becomes clear” that these same statistics allow us to draw conclusions about the relative morality of theists vs. atheists (if you’re concluding that atheists are less moral). Sweet, eh? He’s using these carefully chosen statistics to conclude that “Low Church Atheists” have “criminal proclivities” that “strongly suggest that they are less intelligent on average than theists and High Church atheists alike,” but if anyone calls him on it, he can claim that he already said such conclusions were intellectually dishonest, and you must just be misreading him. But let’s look at those statistics a little more closely.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading...
Posted in TIA, Unapologetics. 5 Comments »

TIA: Lowering the Bar

[Update: Vox has posted this on the TIA discussion forum, in its entirety, so I’d like to welcome any new readers who happen to wander over this way, and to invite them to browse through my other posts on Vox’s book.]

It is refreshing, in a way, how openly and sincerely Vox Day’s book The Irrational Atheist pursues a frankly ad hominem strategy in dealing with the writings of Dawkins and company. He cannot refute atheism itself, since that would require a God Who actually shows up and interacts with the real world in objectively verifiable ways. So he does the next best thing and attacks the atheists instead. He states this plainly in Chapter 1, “A Pride of Athiests [sic].”

Read the rest of this entry »

 
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading...
Posted in TIA, Unapologetics. 1 Comment »

Day v. Dawkins, et al

Via Brent Rasmussen comes word of a new e-book written by WND’s very own Vox Day. Rasmussen was impressed.

I strongly encourage Dr. Dawkins, Dr. Dennett, Hitch, Harris, and M’sieur Onfray to respond to TIA. It is not your run-of-the-mill “flea” book looking to make a quick buck riding on the coattails of The Amber Heard Fan Club*. It’s the real deal, it’s substantive, meticulously researched, it brings up real problems, and it addresses these problems without falling into the trap that other fleas have fallen into in the past. That is to say, relying on theology or the Bible to make their counter-arguments.

Obviously, I am not one of the above authors, but with an intro like that, it’s hard to pass up the opportunity to give the book a look-see, especially since you can get a copy via free download. So let’s have a look, shall we?

Read the rest of this entry »

 
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading...
Posted in Society, TIA, Unapologetics. 1 Comment »