Mailvox: critics sans criticism

PS doesn’t seem to grasp the concept of how one goes about making a case against someone:

Are you embarassed at all that you write this article on ‘clowns of reason’ on a goofy far-right site that’s founder believes Dinosaurs were Dragons and lived with humans and there are hundreds of articles and columns praising creationism? (“Scientist Confirms: Noah’s Ark Real!”, “Did Creation Happen on October 20th, 6004 BC?”, “‘Gays’ hastening the upcoming Rapture?” etc.).

No, not particularly. I’m only responsible for my own work. Personally, I find the pro-Republican “This is the Most Important Election Ever” columns that run every two years like clockwork to be more embarrassing.

It seems to me that you hope to be a delightfully contrarian intellectual (“I joke that women shouldn’t vote! Aren’t I a stinker?”, “I’m a Christian Libertarian-Can you believe it!?”, “I’m an evangelical-but I”m in Mensa! Bet ya didn’t see that comin’!” “I love shitty post-modern literature like Umberto Eco but I really love the Bible most of all!”, “I hate Michael Moore-but I have a semi-Mohawk etc.) but are stuck at a hilariously wingnut website that is only visited by liberals who want to laugh and strange smelly men who hold their shotguns in one hand and their bible in another.

I am not joking about women’s suffrage, of course. But how dare PS suggest that the great dottore writes post-modern literature? That’s far and away the most offensive thing in his email! PS fails to realize that although his intellectual heroes are frauds, it doesn’t mean that everyone is.

I know it probably hurts that only a few people read you, but don’t take it out on brilliant scientists and intellectuals who think more in one day than you do in a year. Drown your sorrow in Joy Division, Ayn Rand and William Dembski and call us when you start to think logically.

Actually, I’ve sold a bt more than half as many books as Sam Harris and my WND
readership is much larger than his blog. For whatever that’s worth, anyhow; while one always hopes for an audience, it isn’t the main reason one writes. Furthermore, I note that like WT, PS doesn’t even attempt to defend Harris’ factual and logical errors elucidated in today’s column, most likely because it can’t be done. As is so often the case with this sort of critic, he doesn’t actually say anything, he’s merely crying like a child upset about his little friend getting spanked in front of him. It is sad that I can tear apart in fifteen minutes what takes those clowns months and months to painstakingly assemble, but then, the chances are that I’m rather more intelligent than they are.

Thought knows no labor theory of value, its defining factor is quality, not quantity. One hopes that PS will consider bringing an actual argument next time.

Mailvox: a college query

AM4 is considering his options:

Reading your columns and blogs as a high school student has definitely opened up my eyes to thinking and true reason, and not the atheistic and immoral “thinking” that everyone else around me uses. So, I find myself, a senior and wondering, what would you recommend that a student should look for in a college? I’m a Christian and I’m interested in history or economics, since both fields appeal to me. I just want to go to college and learn and be educated and rise above the muck that seems to be post-Vietnam Western Society.

AM4 must first understand that one does not go to college to learn or be educated, much less rise above the post-modern muck. Indeed, it is where one goes to immerse oneself in it. The modern university provides three things:

1. A four-year immersion in left-wing, secularist propaganda.
2. Preparation for the post-graduate studies of professional technocrats. (optional)
3. The Ticket.

The Ticket is one’s pass into the white collar salaried ranks. The value of one’s ticket depends upon the brand name, of course, but that’s all it provides. In fact, the average non-technocratic graduate of Harvard is probably less well-educated than the average home-schooled junior from a traditional liberal arts perspective.

The Ticket aside, experience and connections trump degrees. So, I recommend arranging for the acquisition of a discount brand-name ticket – something like the Harvard extensions or some other big name equivalent – combined with pursuing internships in the field of your interest. Economics or history, one can study on one’s own to greater effect than gets at university… yesterday I picked up a forty-page paper entitled “Condottieri and City-State” that I wrote my senior year in college and was embarrassed by its callowness. Having a friend hold you accountable to finishing your readings in Gibbon or Mises or Schumpeter will substitute for a professor very nicely indeed and it will cost substantially less.

The reality is that once you get that first job, no one will ever ask where you went to school again, and unless you happen to be one of those insufferable losers whose life will be forever defined by acceptance to a school with a reputation, you won’t think twice about it either. In the real world, success is defined by either results or political machinations, not expensive pieces of paper.

Of Clausewitz and the clowns

Fred is not religious, but he conspicuously fails to get the New Atheists’ collective back nevertheless in Peeing on Hydrants:

The aggressiveness of males has wreaked unremitting havoc throughout history in the form of war. Women don’t do war, don’t like war, don’t fantasize about war. They put up with it. Lysistrata, though written by a man, captures the distaff mind well.

These days every war is said to have some justification of the most solemn import, but it’s just Crips and Bloods. Among primitive peoples a young man becomes a warrior through some curious rite, and then goes on raids to steal horses and women. With us it’s boot camp, jump wings, Ranger patch, and raids to impose democracy. The essential difference is as follows:

What we call statesmanship is, emotionally and morally, indistinguishable from gang war in South Chicago. The scale is more imposing and, under some administrations, the grammar better. Aggressive males rise to power in heavily armed countries of many millions. Then they push and shove, bark and bow-wow at others like themselves in other countries. The tribal trappings remain, particularly among the warriors: Baubles and medals and patches and different hats, talk of honor and duty and valor. Nah. Males dogs in an alley.

Of course, if we can only manage to eradicate religious faith, that will eliminate male aggression, right? Seriously, how does anyone who has either a) read any military history, or, b) celebrated more than ten birthdays manage to read Harris or Dawkins with a straight face?

It doesn’t matter which military philosopher one selects. In every instance, the New Atheist creed is punctured and deflated. If war is the continuation of politics by other means, then religion can only be a bit player at best. And if war is the only right and proper object of a prince’s meditation, that leaves little room for religious contemplation or even motivation. One will likewise peruse the works of Vegetius and Sun Tzu in vain to discover any means of making use of religion in pursuit of the general’s art.

If religion was so useful for making war, one would expect at least one of the authors of the classic military texts to have noticed at some point in time. The truth is that religious fanaticism is not a particularly useful aspect of war on either a tactical or strategic basis.

The leading New Atheists aren’t merely intellectual buffoons, they are poorly-educated, ignorant, intellectual buffoons, Dawkins’ genuine achievements in other fields notwithstanding. They are a public testimony to the failure of Oxford and Stanford as educational institutions.

Mailvox: convinced by clowns

WT is most impressed by the New Atheist luminaries:

You cringe at Harris’s opening in The End of Faith where he says, “one can easily guess the young man’s religion.” I began your article interested in any commentary you might have on the role religion has played and does play in the world. When you began defiling perhaps three of today’s most insightful intellectuals, it was “painfully easy” to guess that you were another mind grabbed too young to see the trap. What a waste. I live in Egypt and the society is absolutely intellectually stifled by Islam just as you have been stifled by your irrational beliefs. Somehow, it looks as if you’ve managed to sidetrack all the contradictions and manage to (with a straight face) challenge a trio of men that are pointing you do your escape route. Just as Letter to a Christian Nation will not make many converts, so do I doubt that you will find your way out. I wish you luck.

One can’t defile that which is already foul. I didn’t make Harris’ factual and logical errors, I merely pointed them out. One can almost see the alarm on WT’s face as he realizes that I’m not content to play defense and attempt to defend something that does not need my help to defend itself, but rather taking the weapon that “today’s most insightful intellectuals” wrongly claim as their own and turning it upon them and their incompetent arguments for atheism.

The vast majority of atheists come to their lack of belief by emotion, not reason. One can see this in the passion, sometimes anguished, that lurks behind their angriest questions. While this does not mean that many don’t have genuine and rational reason for doubt, it means that their lack of faith is usually built on a shaky foundation which is prone to undermining by applying reason to their own emotional assumptions.

Attacking error-prone critics such as the trinity of clowns does not defend God or Christianity, of course, except in the inoculation it offers to their specious attacks that the insufficiently contemplative find convincing. You’ll note that WT does not even attempt to defend Harris or question any of my points but instead contents himself with irrelevant and baseless statements; no wonder he is impressed by Harris and his method of argument.

Discuss amongst yourselves