It’s a freedom thang

You wouldn’t understand…. This is absolutely hilarious, coming as it does courtesy of a gentleman hailing from the past and future Reich:

This morning, I stumbled upon a very popular blog (judging by the number of comments per post) titled Vox Popoli. The author, who calls himself Vox Day (bonus points for the pseudonym), refers to himself as “Christian Libertarian”.

I lol’d.

How can you be a Christian apologetic and a libertarian? Libertarianism is all about the non-aggression principle. Live and let live. Christianity, on the other hand, is all about telling people what to do and what not to do.

Where to start? First, libertarianism incorporates a non-aggression principle, but it is by no means all about non-aggression. In fact, it may actually require aggression because what it is actually all about is limiting government power to the bare minimum required by a society. Hence the focus on LIBERTY. Liberty, (let me explain to those unfamiliar with the concept), is when the government has neither the right nor the ability to kill large quantities of its resident religious minorities or seize children and take them away from their parents because it disapproves of their failure to be sufficiently brainwashed by the government’s propaganda factories.

Second, I’m not a Christian apologist, as almost every single book review of TIA that has appeared so far makes clear. I am a destroyer of disbelief,* as the “Atheism Delenda Est” on the back cover should make clear? Why would a libertarian want to destroy atheism? Probably because of the demonstrable historical link between atheism and the libertarian antithesis, totalitarianism. And yes, that link is documented in detail and its raison d’etre is explored in the book. Third, Christianity most definitely is NOT about telling people what to do or not do, quite the opposite, in fact. There is a certain parable about a log and and an eye that the adept Bible scholar may, perhaps, recall. Now, I admit that German Christianity may very well be all about telling people what to do, but I expect that has rather more to do with the German and rather less to do with the Christianity.

Reading an atheist German opine on Christian libertarianism is rather like watching a penguin attempt to explain the migratory patterns of the Lesser Cuckoo.

* by “disbelief” I mean the assertion of active belief in a negative inherent in atheism as opposed to the “how the Hell should I know” lack of belief better described as agnosticism.

Never enough geek

“What, you were worried there wasn’t enough geek?” asked an incredulous Spacebunny upon hearing about the latest addition to the blog.

Hey, I have 6k PvP kills, more than 100 outside the battlegrounds, so let’s just say I’m not exactly worried about my screen cred. (You should have seen Spacebunny’s face when I told her my guild was planning to get together for an RL weekend, for a split-second, there was a look of wild panic in those storm-blue eyes. Apparently we WON’T be attending….) Anyhow, I have a new rule in life. If there’s a widget that lets you read Dilbert every day without even having to leave the blog, then you install the freaking widget.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I promised one of my envious dwarf friends that I’d show him my newly enchanted Ornate Greaves of Power with the 6-percent speed bonus…. you know, it’s probably going to kill Richard Dawkins to learn that he didn’t get his head handed to him by a respected public intellectual or a world-famous scientist, but a hardcore gamer who typed in the text in between poring over DVOA and killing Hordies in Alterac.

The Irrational Atheist reviews

These are selected quotations from various reviews of The Irrational Atheist. To read a review in its entirety, please click on the link provided at the top of each quoted section.

– REVIEWS BY ATHEISTS –

The Irrational Human” by Brent Rasmussen of Unscrewing the Inscrutable:

It was actually painful for me to read. This is due to the fact that that I really do respect Richard Dawkins and his scientific accomplishments, as well as Daniel Dennett’s heady forays into philosophical thought. I also absolutely love listening to Christopher Hitchens speak and debate. As for Michel Onfray and Sam Harris? Eh, not so much, but I do appreciate their ability to raise awareness and articulate some of the same things that I have thought about myself over the years and to put them into commercially successful books.

I am not going to go into a point by point review of the various arguments that Day addressed in TIA. Suffice it to say that by the end of the chapters dealing with the individual authors, I was happy that it was over. It was a thorough, detailed, dispassionate (with a little snarky levity thrown into the footnotes for flavor), and completely disheartening take-down of some of the best arguments that the godless have put into print – on their own terms, without using the Bible (in the first part of the book, that is), or any other sacred text to do it with. Amazing. And depressing. It is not my place to defend their books. I truly hope that they do find time to defend and clarify their books, specifically to the counter-arguments and claims made by Vox day in TIA, though, because they really need to. Trust me, it wasn’t pretty….

My advice is to read this book – and then do your damnedest to find something in it that you can argue against. Something beyond “that’s stupid!” – which is what always seems to be the first-blush response from an atheist to a theist. (Fucking hell I’m tired of that shit.) I couldn’t do it. Maybe you’ll have better luck than I did. I hope you do.

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.

– REVIEWS BY CHRISTIANS –

Thoughts and Ideas is moved to pity the fallen.

A common mistake in this debate–or indeed any debate–is to argue exclusively from one’s own perspective. Quoting verses from the Bible is ultimately ineffective to someone who views it with the same amount of respective as one would regard the Weekly World News…. Vox steers clear of this trap and meets the atheist charges head on. The results are glorious to behold, though a tremor of pity may escape the human breast if one glances at the slain trinity. It’s not just that Vox is intellectually honest whereas Harris, Dawkins and Hitchens are not. Vox has clearly read books relating to the subject matter–his knowledge of history is especially keen–whereas it appears that his opponents have assembled books after a series of college bull sessions and limited research, probably involving Wikipedia.

Ian McCleod of the Clan McLeod declares a winner:

Vox Day’s new book raises the bar in the debate between Theists and Atheists. Rather than resort to traditional modes of debate favored by Christians, Vox Day plays by the rules of the opposition, and wins.

Vox’s arguments are exquisitely documented and impressively reasoned. His annihilation of the “Religion Causes War” myth ought to ruin any anti-religionist’s day (I find it the most convincing and potentially useful argument in the book, though your mileage may vary.) The Irrational Atheist attacks the three pillars of New Atheism, not by proving that there is a god, but by proving that their arguments are not the paragon of rationality they bill them to be.

Pretty Lady gives out a “Literary Award“:

Pretty Lady is shocked. She did not, truly, believe it to be possible.

But she must give credit where credit is due. Ladies and gentlemen, she gives you Vox Day, who in his recently released little tome, The Irrational Atheist, has proven himself a greater Master of the Footnote than David Foster Wallace himself!!!

Indeed. Vox plays his footnotes like a veritable fugue, striking an insouciant balance between formidable scholarship and a fey, swashbuckling sarcasm that never overbalances into the sort of ramble that makes a person seriously wonder if Mr. Wallace forgot to take his ADD meds today…. Incidentally, Vox has also left a smoking hole in the turf where Sammy Harris used to stand, whining, and for this, Pretty Lady is profoundly grateful.

Blonde Moment is down with living and letting live:

Day provides a valuable service to Christians, particularly those who are not capable of pulling apart arguments against God. I strongly recommend the book.

Bane paints “A Portrait of the Author as a Serial Killer:

And what a work of art it is…. It grabs you by the nose with velvet gloved fingers, pulls you around where it wants you to go…I am reminded of the Francis Dollarhyde character in Manhunter, when he is giving the slide show to the creep reporter Freddy Lounds, saying “Do you see?” as he takes Freddy from one scene of horror to the next.

The Responsible Puppet isn’t so keen on the attitude, but finds the book to be effective anyhow:

I must say I’m a bit torn on this one. But the tear doesn’t go down the middle of the page; the Good piece is bigger than the Bad…. It is my prayer, hope and expectation that this book will serve to make atheism less tenable in many minds.

Single Mind writes an extensive four-part review. 1. Why Vox? 2.What is an atheist? 3. Atheism and Science 4. Vox Day and the Game Designer Model: My $0.02:

No Christian apologist or theologian could have done what Vox Day has done to [High Church Atheists] in The Irrational Atheist. Whereas an apologist, philosopher, or theologian could easily dismantle HCAs–as HCAs have nothing new under the sun to offer–only a Vox Day could properly hoist them on their own petard.

Christian philosophers, theologians, and apologists are trained to think and reason within the sphere of theology, philosophy, and apologetics. They are trained to apply the exegesis of Scripture–using sound hermeneutics–to principles involving theology and philosophy to (a) make a case for the Christian faith, (b) demonstrate why certain ideas or frameworks are or are not compatible with Christianity, and (c) to logically challenge the veracity or efficacy of worldviews….

What did Vox do that an apologist or theologian would not have done? He applied the scientific method–using historical data–to test the assertions of the HCAs. The result is a smackdown of Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens–and to a lesser extent, Dennett–that borders on cruel and unusual punishment.

Killing Snakes with a Shovel” by Farmeruminator:

I’ve heard Christian friends and leaders say that it’s not possible to use reason, logic and facts to show the existence of God. While this may be true, Vox does an absolute masterful job of using those three things to eviscerate the arguments of D[awkins], H[arris] and H[itchens]….

A few disclaimers. Vox writes with a slash and burn style. A take no prisoners, blow them up and leave a smoking hole mentality. Some in the Christian community are going to be offended by this approach. I would remind them that our Lord said some rather harsh things to say to some of His critics. You don’t call someone a “generation of vipers”, “whited sepulchres”, and “fools” without having your targets tend to react unfavorably to these terms. Vox does not treat D[awkins], H[arris] and H[itchens] with kid gloves. It’s an in your face, put up or shut up, throw down.

– REVIEWS BY JEWS, AGNOSTICS AND VARIOUS OTHERS –

Dr. Helen Smith finds it to be a worthwhile way to spend an afternoon:

You might know Vox Day from his blog and interesting take on feminist issues–he always has something provocative to add to that particular conversation and his book proves to be just as stimulating in regards to religion and faith…. The book is definitely thought provoking and worth a read if you are interested in the topic!

If you have written a review of the book, please let me know and I’ll be happy to post a link to it here.

Nazi Germany is back

You know it’s getting bad when families are fleeing to IRAN in order to preserve their freedom of education:

A homeschooling father and mother from Germany have fled to Iran for the educational freedom found there, and now apparently are being sought by authorities for the offense of child kidnapping for taking their son with them, according to WND sources. And a new campaign has been launched by lawmakers to approve a provision in Germany that would allow authorities to simply take legal custody of children whose parents are trying to avoid the problems associated with the public school system there….

Numerous homeschooling families in Germany have run afoul of that nation’s Nazi-era law banning homeschooling, and being fined or otherwise penalized. In recent days, however, the threats against homeschooling parents frequently have included loss of custody of their children, and several families already have fled.

As Howard Stern says, the rest of the world should probably invade Germany and kick German ass every twenty years on principle. For as Winston Churchill correctly concluded, the Hun is either at your feet or at your throat. Remember, the last major round of problems in Germany were easily foreseen by the Austrian economists, who began leaving Germany and areas of probable German influence prior to 1933. It’s already clear to any serious student of history that the latest European flirtation with German fascism, the EU, is quite likely to end in a similarly ugly manner if it does not collapse under the weight of its own bureaucracy first.

Sold out

I know it’s a cliche, but you guys rock. Seriously. I just got an email from the publisher informing me that the initial printing is sold out and that back orders are already in four digits.

Principles of illogic

I know most college graduates are very poorly educated. But one would think that even a maleducated individual might be able to discern the difference between an actual principle of logic and a well-known quote from a pop scientist:

I can now move on to logical principles that are easy to grasp that, since their discovery, have proven to be valuable tools in advancing the human condition just as assuredly as the wheel and fire have. One of these principles states that, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” Any claim that contravenes the natural order is extraordinary.

First, our intrepid college atheist clearly isn’t aware that this “time-tested” principle of logic is merely a popular Carl Sagan quote. Ironically, one can just as conclusively “prove” the existence of God with another time-tested principle of logic from the same source: “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”

However, this “time-tested principle” actually appears to date all the way back to 1987 and a professor of sociology named Marcello Truzzi who founded the Skeptical Inquirer. Not only has it been markedly less useful to humanity than the wheel and fire, it’s entirely useless since it doesn’t define “extraordinary” with any useful metric. It is the intellectual offspring of David Hume’s oxymoronic statement that only a miracle can prove a miracle. So, even if David Hume had witnessed such a conclusive miracle-proving miracle, his only means of proving it to others would be to provide testimonial eyewitness evidence of the very sort that he previously claimed insufficient to prove what he now knows to be true.

However one may reaonably describe the “extraordinary claims” principle, “logical” and “time-tested” are not among the options. Nor has it proven to be useful to anyone other than atheists attempting to snow the insufficiently educated.