The Keynesians are wrong again

The chancellor admits his error and pushes the date of anticipated economic recovery further into the future:

THE chancellor, Alistair Darling, has admitted that he and his Treasury officials got it wrong over the length and severity of the recession and that he will be forced to tear up his economic predictions…. “I thought we would see growth in the second part of the year,” he said. However, the chancellor now thinks any recovery will come later: “I think it will be the back end, turn of the year time, before we start seeing growth here.”

I anticipated this, as you may recall, last October: “Increasing government spending to escape a recession? Now, there’s a new concept! Considering that Darling’s brilliant plan has literally been textbook macroeconomics for the past five decades, what are the chances that this is somehow going to fail? Infinity to one against or Infinity squared to one?

As an encore, I’m going to go out on a massive limb and predict that Jim Cramer is completely incorrect in declaring, on April 2, 2009, that the depression is over and a new bull run is commencing:

Throughout that day, the “Mad Money” host told viewers of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” CNBC’s “Street Signs” and finally on his own program that the Depression was over and that we were on the verge of a bull run for the financial markets. “We have reached the land of a thousand bull dances – phoney maroney, why? Because the market swallowed its Prozac,” Cramer said on CNBC’s “Mad Money” April 2. “And right now, right here on this show – I am announcing the Depression over!”

There will probably be a nice bear market rally. I correctly anticipated the first leg of it a few weeks ago when I told the shorts to get out. But, sometime during 2010, Cramer is going to be eating mega-crow about this absurd announcement.

Hitchens gets his ass kicked again

Fortunately for Hitchens, if not his credibility, it’s only metaphorical this time:

The debate went exactly as I expected. Craig was flawless and unstoppable. Hitchens was rambling and incoherent, with the occasional rhetorical jab. Frankly, Craig spanked Hitchens like a foolish child. Perhaps Hitchens realized how bad things were for him after Craig’s opening speech, as even Hitchens’ rhetorical flourishes were not as confident as usual. Hitchens wasted his cross-examination time with questions like, “If a baby was born in Palestine, would you rather it be a Muslim baby or an atheist baby?” He did not even bother to give his concluding remarks, ceding the time instead to Q&A.

That summary, by the way, was not provided by an evangelical Christian, but an atheist blogger known as Common Sense Atheism. He wasn’t the only one, as John Loftus of Debunking Christianity even predicted that Hitchens would get his head handed to him. A similar summary of the debate by a Christian in the audience can be found here. As is so often the case when the theist knows how to take the offensive, the atheist barely even attempts to defend himself against straightforward attacks on his arguments, but instead attempts to evade them because he simply doesn’t have any defense to offer.

Doug Geivett’s concise summary of Hitchens’s performance should suffice to finish him as a serious disputant on the subject: “While Hitchens did make arguments, they were largely unfocused, sometimes disconnected, and often irrelevant.” The honest observer of any creed, or lack of creed, will note that this could serve equally well as a description of the man’s book on the subject.

Addressing a run-of-the-mill atheist

Skepdude apparently lacks a dictionary:

First, I would like to see what evidence he is referring to when he says that “all of the available evidence demonstrates rather conclusively that the objects of their ridicule are, as a point of fact, rather more intelligent”, because I suspect he’s using a very unorthodox definition of evidence here.

Logical and empirical evidence. Or, to be more specific, logical, documentary and statistical evidence. Let us consider the most readily available example: Since I am known to possess, at a bare minimum, a Mensa-required +2SD IQ, it is obvious that most of my atheist critics are statistically bound to fall well short of that not-terribly-impressive level. In further support of this observation, I have seen many run-of-the-mill atheists, the vast majority of whom use logic and grammar in such a manner as to indicate a moderate-to-average level of intelligence, describing individuals such as Alister McGrath, Dinesh D’Souza, and me as if we are uniformly possessed of a sub-standard level of intelligence. (It is, of course, amusing to see an atheist suggest that I might elect to make use of an unorthodox definition of evidence, when almost every single atheist claim that “there is no evidence for God’s existence” requires ignoring the standard definitions of evidence provided by every English language dictionary from American Standard to Webster as well as the definitions used in the American legal system.) I could point to dozens of these spurious accusations of stupidity on Scienceblogs alone, but it is perhaps more usefully ironic to note that a prime example of what I am describing can be found right there in the first comment on Skepdude’s post.

Amusing, but inconsequential. Skepdude’s much more serious error follows, however, when he writes:

Bit hypocritital no? First he says that our primary form of “debate” is calling people stupid, which of course must be wrong, then he turns around and presents his argument/debate which basically amounts to nothing more than calling us fools. Now, I’m nothing but a mere run of the mill internet atheist, who is mentally inferior as demonstrated by all the available evidence, but this sort of reasoning sounds a little….well…..stupidfoolish to me!

This is precisely the same sort of thing we have seen so often before. Call it the First Law Fandango. Because Skepdude possesses an above-average intelligence, he assumes that because he does not understand what an individual of superior intelligence has written, that individual and/or his reasoning must be stupid, foolish, hypocritical, etc. But there is a basic logical flaw in his errant attempt to find hypocrisy here, because it is eminently obvious – based on the readily available documentary evidence – that a single reference to a well-known Bible verse is neither a) an argument, nor b) my primary form of debate. So, no, not in the least bit hypocritical.

Shall we pull out the telestrator? Very well. Even if I had been making an argument there in the second of those two sentences – which I was not, I was merely offering scriptural support for my assertion that atheism has been around for a very long time and will probably always exist so long as there is conceptual space for it – a single argument does not dictate any specific form of debate, much less define my primary form of debate. In fact, a keen observer might even be able to detect that my primary form of debate is to read the other side’s material, point out the verifiable errors that were made in that material, and then show how those errors render the other side’s conclusions unviable. Then, use the demonstrable fact of those errors and that unviability to justify all sorts of terrible intellectual abuse. The main variant, of course, is to begin with the abuse, then demonstrate why the abuse is fully justified.

There is rather a great deal of evidence showing this to be my primary form of debate; there is at least a book full of it. However, we know that most atheists reject both documentary and testimonial evidence out of hand, which leads one to wonder what sort of scientific evidence could be sufficient to prove my hypocrisy or lack of it to Skepdude… and upon what he could possibly attempt to base an actual argument in support of his implication. At times, I seriously begin to wonder if the most useful definition of atheism is “epistemological incoherence”.