Personally handicapped in Debate

Richard Dawkins has demonstrated why evolutionary biologists should stick to biology. Now a soon-to-be physics PhD demonstrates why physics majors should stick to physics in his cursory attempt to review a single chapter of TIA:

1. Entirely, well, idiotic argument that religion has not produced means to destroy the world while science has. Of course religion has not produced a means to feed people, while food has, which means religion is useless. Wow… bad start, Voxy.

Uselessness has nothing to do with it. Imminent danger to the human race is the subject at hand, due to Sam Harris’s assertion that Science + Faith = Human Extinction. Since it has been proven that the danger cannot derive from Faith, even eliminating Faith from the equation means that the threat to humanity will still remain so long as Science exists. Logic therefore dictates that either Harris is incorrect – in which case he has no argument against Faith – or he should be advocating the End of Science. Bad logic, Andy. I note that claiming that food has produced a means to feed people is a tautology… stick to the math, college boy, it’s clear that both logic and analogy are beyond you.

2. More arguments that knowledge is evil. Yawwwwn…

Is he stating a belief that absolutely no knowledge is evil? Or even dangerous? Because I certainly don’t argue that knowledge is inherently evil, (although I think I could make a fairly convincing case for the knowledge of the taste of a virgin’s still-beating heart), I do argue that some knowledge can be dangerous. I find it hard to believe that he seriously disagree with this, I suspect he’s merely intellectually careless.

3. More refutations of Harris’ argument that religion can cause evil. Argument entirely identical that it’s not the man who commits murder who’s at fault, it’s the knife, whose existence is responsible. So far so bad…

Again, Andy can’t do analogy correctly. His man-knife example rests on the fact that “man” is a sentient object and can be responsible for murder, but “knife” is not and therefore cannot be. However, both “Religion” and “Science” are equally abstract concepts and equally capable of being held responsible (or if you prefer, not responsible) for endangering humanity. If one must bring murder into it, both Motive and Means are considered relevant factors in proving a crime, in fact, Means is the more significant factor. So far, still got nothing, Andy.

4. A sort of an argument that not all current science is “good” science, as if that means something, or as if he’s discovering something no one knew.

It certainly does mean something. It means either “bad science” should be held against science, or “bad religion” should not be held against religion. Pick one, I don’t care. And, of course, it also eviscerates the romantic idea that mutable science can be the basis of an objective and rational moral standard.

5. Argument that there are some things we’re better off never knowing. Ridiculous for a variety of reasons, ranging from the fact that there will never be agreement as to who gets to decide which knowledge must never be pursued, to the fact that making a subject taboo is possibly the best way to ensure someone explores it.

Yes, this is why scientists publish information on making nuclear weapons and biological agents in public journals available for free download on the Internet. I submit that the idea that humanity is better off knowing every possible piece of information is not only stupidly short-sighted, it’s downright insane.

6. Oh lordy… “for the first two-thirds of the scientific era, life expectancy was comparable to that of ancient Rome.” I think he thinks this is somehow meaningful, because apparently if the progress of medicine, as measured directly by life expectancy, does not exactly match progress in every other discipline of science, this invalidates all of science.

Andy apparently scored rather better on his Math than his Reading Comprehension. The fact that science has not altered human life expectancy anywhere nearly as much as is commonly assumed doesn’t invalidate anything about science, it invalidates a claim to a specific benefit of science made by many science fetishists.

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why you should never be impressed by the mere possession of an expensive piece of paper sold to an individual by a paper-selling institution, or expect those possessing such pieces of paper to be capable of even the most rudimentary reading comprehension or logical analysis.

Mailvox: speaking of handicapped

We have a Broncos fan in our midst…. No, I only jest in order to show that if I’m so ruthlessly insensitive that I will publicly poke fun at a guy condemned to life in a wheelchair or a poor little crippled boy* for the sake of my own amusement, just imagine what I’m willing to do to you.

Now, wheelchairs. One of the regulars has a request:

I’m disabled and, now that I’m finishing up school, am looking into buy a wheelchair-accessible van to use for employment. It’s proving to be more costly than I first anticipated, so I’m investigating places that might be able to help me out a bit. I’m searching out local charities and agencies, but would like to spread the net as widely as possible, so thought that you (among others) might be worth asking for leads. Can you suggest any philanthropic groups in the US who might be appropriate?

This is a subject of which I remain thankfully ignorant, but I imagine some of the more charitable and/or less fortunate in our midst might know something about it. If you’ve got any thoughts on the matter, post them here please.

* Won a much-treasured Bane award for that, actually. I like to consider myself an award-winning cruelty artist.

The ultimate Fighting Withdrawal

In which we are reliably informed that the New Atheism is dead:

So basically Vox “Turbo Porsche” Day is confining his attention to the three least credible atheists in the entire movement — all of whom are already being disavowed and renounced by significant numbers of atheists, who are waking up to the fact that those three have contributed little or nothing to the most important battles of their day. Wake me up when Day and WorldNutDaily are ready to take on a less easy (and more relevent) target.

If any atheists would like to point me towards any more difficult and more relevant targets, I’d be happy to consider their arguments as well. But it seems I have done such a number on Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens that they are now described – by atheists – as being “the three least credible atheists in the entire movement”. Now, I’m openly contemptuous of all three men and find them to be worthy of very little credibility, let alone respect, but even I wouldn’t go quite that far.

By the way, it’s not “Turbo Porsche” these days, it’s “Lamborghini Libertarian”. Do try to keep up.

Intellectual death showers

I’ve argued that what now passes for “school” is nothing more than a statist propaganda factory meant to intellectually cripple children for a long time, but now a California appeals court has confirmed this to be the case:

A California court has ruled that several children in one homeschool family must be enrolled in a public school or “legally qualified” private school, and must attend, sending ripples of shock into the nation’s homeschooling advocates as the family reviews its options for appeal…. Specifically, the appeals court said, the trial court had found that “keeping the children at home deprived them of situations where (1) they could interact with people outside the family, (2) there are people who could provide help if something is amiss in the children’s lives, and (3) they could develop emotionally in a broader world than the parents’ ‘cloistered’ setting.”

There are few things more mindlessly cruel than sentencing a child to public school. The school Nazis know their factories are under threat, which is why they are ratcheting up the pressure on families who don’t obediently send their children to the intellectual death showers.