Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Shocking News! Vox Day is an Amoral Jerk!

Brent Rasmussen goes over it in detail. PZ told me about it.

Snippet from Brent's page:

It's obviously a thought-experiment, written in response to one of his readers' (a person who uses the handle "Jefferson") emails:

If your god revealed to you in a set of flawless communications you could not dispute that you should kill every child you see under the age of 2, would you?

Day's response is at the very least truthful.

[Vox Day] I don't see what the problem is, or why people were avoiding this last night. I mean, of course it's supposed to be a trap but it's a toothless one of no concern to any sufficiently intelligent individual. The answer is yes, and how would you possibly take issue with that position regardless of whether you believe in my god or don't believe in any god?

---

Of course, I think we can say without hesitation or equivocation that killing all the under-2-year-olds is wrong. Whether or not you created them is irrelevant to the issue. Contrary to what the biblical literalists would say, I doubt there are any realistic scenarios where it'd be okay to stone your children to death.

Vox says:
If I am correct that my God is the Creator God, that we are all his creations, then killing every child under two on the planet is no more inherently significant than a programmer unilaterally wiping out his AI-bots in a game universe. He alone has the right to define right and wrong, and as the Biblical example of King Saul and the Amalekites demonstrates, He has occasionally deemed it a moral duty to wipe out a people.
Must be convenient to define right and wrong according to random whims. No responsibility. Of course, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have moral qualms about deleting Jackal from my PS2 memory card, but about the only thing it knows about is how to dodge and fire dual rifles. If it started showing signs of self-awareness, then I'd have moral qualms for reasons that should be obvious to anyone except Divine Command Theorists.

29 comments:

Spirula said...

And hence, the ultimate moral vaccuum that comes with the absolutist's "morality only comes from gawd". I read Dawkins' book and found I have been saying something similar to him (but not as eloquent) concerning the question of morality.

If you need gawd (fear of or reward from) to keep you moral, it is nothing to be bragging about. Ultimately, your morality is completely self-centered and (at least in argument) not based on compassion, sympathy or empathy.

It is a shallow, pathetic morality. So it no surprise to see how quickly those who believe it can be manipulated to do something cruel, vicious, and evil.

Kinda reminds me of someone who spews on your threads. Oh, what's his name? I know it is some kinda treat but...just can't remember.

xiangtao said...

I just bought The God Delusion today. I plan on starting on it as soon as I get home. Is it as good as I've been hoping?

Izzy said...

Calling Vox Day an Amoral Jerk is a bit generous, I'd say. He's consistently espoused immoral positions, as one would expect from a warped fundie nutbag.

At my place, I go into a bit of detail about why moderate religious folk, along with us nonbelievers, should be terrified of his argument, but my basic point is that his argument is essentially the same as that of, say, a suicide bomber.

Spirula said...

xiangtao

It is excellent. I read it in one weekend even while fitting the NCAA basketball games.

Akusai said...

My roommate just bought The God Delusion and I stole it from him and read the first two chapters. Fantastic. Can't wait till he finishes it and I can steal it and read the rest.

Speedwell said...

If I was Vix Day's child I'd be terrified of him right now... strike that... terrified of him permanently.

Randy Kirk said...

If you were absolutely certain that by sacrificing your 2 year-olds life that 10 other two years old who would otherwise die would live, would you do it? 100? 1000? 1,000,000.

What if the sacrifice of your child would only free 100 people from slavery? 1,000,000?

What if your child was 18?

If you'd be interested in a site where the debate is balanced between believers and those who don't believe, come visit at http://godvsnogod.blogspot.com

I will add your site as a link. After you visit, you might like to do the same.

Bronze Dog said...

Ah, the old tricky math-intensive dilemmas. Can get rather nasty if you aren't careful about the nuances you go by.

I'll pass, but anyone else go ahead.

Randy Kirk said...

So, since no one wants to play, does that mean that Vox Day needs an apology, especially for the tone of the headline?

Tom Foss said...

Keep prodding. Parakeet is owed no apology, and I couldn't take your site seriously as a "balanced debate" once I saw that you seriously asked the question "Is skepticism good science." I'll clue you in: science requires skepticism.

Bronze Dog said...

I didn't feel like playing, since your introductory question didn't seem to have anything to do with Vox's answer.

Besides, an argument from silence doesn't prove anything.

Tom Foss said...

Yeah, the questions of "do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few" and "is the sin of omission as bad as the sin of commission" are a little different from Parakeet's Euthyphro dilemma.

Randy Kirk said...

Dodge

Bronze Dog said...

Please elaborate.

Tom Foss said...

Non sequitur, baiting, poor understanding of science...

It works both ways. What does your question have to do with Parakeet Day?

Tom Foss said...

Alrighty, I tackled the question over at my blog.

Randy Kirk said...

All the dodging reminds me of a debate I was doing over at nogodblog. I merely asked what the tipping point would be for the atheists and agnostics who were involved. The tipping point in question? To faith in God. But I wasn't the one to bring it up, since I wasn't there or here for converts. An atheist brought it up. What would be my tipping point. Since I tipped out of church to skepicism for 20 years or so, and then back to faith, I could give an answer. So far, no serious answer at that place. No serious answer to this question here. However, to his credit, Tom Foss gives a great (short book) on the subject at his blog.

Bronze Dog said...

All the dodging reminds me of a debate I was doing over at nogodblog.

Please describe the dodging. From my point of view, bringing up the numbers debate was evasive, since I couldn't see what it had to do with Vox Day.

I merely asked what the tipping point would be for the atheists and agnostics who were involved. The tipping point in question? To faith in God. But I wasn't the one to bring it up, since I wasn't there or here for converts. An atheist brought it up. What would be my tipping point. Since I tipped out of church to skepicism for 20 years or so, and then back to faith, I could give an answer. So far, no serious answer at that place. No serious answer to this question here. However, to his credit, Tom Foss gives a great (short book) on the subject at his blog.

1. I don't do faith beyond the absolute basics to get me beyond solipsism.

2. Define "God": I'm incapable of believing in something you advocate before you define it.

3. Whatever your definition, it'll probably involve the JREF Paranormal Challenge. Might want to start on your application before April 1st.

4. What convinced you?

Randy Kirk said...

The numbers bit had everything to do with Vox Day. You proposed that he was amoral because of his answer to a moral quandry. I merely changed the rules a bit to put his answer into possible contexts.

As I said about the tipping point, I was the one responding to a question of what it would take me to become agnostic. I gave a very detailed answer.

Your response to me just continues to say: "I can't do it." CS Lewis had his tipping point. Maybe he couldn't have imagined it either prior to the day it happened.

Tom Foss said...

No, the point of the Vox Day thing is that he claims his moral system comes from God, and therefore whatever is commanded by God must be right. Our criticism of Vox is that his moral code is, by definition, entirely arbitrary.

Your question is one of the lesser of two evils, and of the needs of the many vs. the needs of the few. It's not about the source of morals, or arbitrarily defined morality. The most it has in common with the Vox Day situation is the matter of killing small children.

Bronze Dog said...

Randy,

1. We're not taking your highly transparent subject change. Deal with it. If you want to call us evasive for staying on topic, go ahead.

2. How can I define a tipping point for believing in a concept you refuse to define? How'd you like it if I called you closed-minded for not defining a tipping point for believing in "Flarschnikit." Until you define "God," the question is inherently meaningless.

3. I already pointed out one objective test you could perform, largely regardless of which of the millions of definitions you use: The JREF Paranormal Challenge. Pass that, and you'll have my undivided attention. Until then, you're just blustering.

Randy Kirk said...

Bronze,

1. Wasn't intended as subject change, but if that's how you took it, my bad.

2. Funny, I've been debating about the existance of God with 100's of folks for over 20 years, and not one said I needed to define God. That's why I suggest its a dodge.

3. Proving God under Randy's terms is not the only way. And, unfortunately, most folks I've debated say that even if someone one the bet, they wouldn't believe. They would still be looking for the trick.

Tom Foss said...

2. Funny, I've been debating about the existance of God with 100's of folks for over 20 years, and not one said I needed to define God. That's why I suggest its a dodge.

No, I have to agree with Bronze Dog. You have to define something before we can argue whether or not it exists. I imagine, as is common, that when you argue about God with people, you have a definition in mind, and they have a definition in mind, but they may not overlap.

Bronze Dog said...

I've been arguing with religious people since before I was an atheist, and in many cases, the definition of "god" seems to change between sentences with some people.

I know there are lots of skeptical challenges out there. Randi's is just the best known. I don't think passing the challenge would be the tipping point, but it'd at least convince me that there's something actually worth serious consideration. Pass 2 or 3 more after they've had some time to contemplate possible holes, and yeah, I'd think there's something there. Unfortunately, no one ever seems interested in starting. They're typically more interested in trying word games, redefinitions, and so forth to ever bother actually making testable predictions and *gasp* testing them.

Jake said...

There is no point in any conversation where people aren't willing to define their terms. Of course you need to define 'God' before we discuss it. I would go so far as to say that we need to define 'exist' as well before we can discuss whether God exists. IME, philosophy debates almost always boil down to people talking past each other because they refuse to define their terms. An exercise in futility if you ask me.

Randy Kirk said...

OK. I'll give you the point. God is the creator and sustainer of everything. He is eternal, omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. He is active in His creation.

That would not be a complete definition. I think I dodged the request, because a complete definition would require years of study, books of info, and still never be complete. Or ... He isn't God.

Bronze Dog said...

Would he be willing to affect the rolls of some dice to prove his existence to me?

I've got a lot of dice right here, and I'll believe in his existence if they all come up at their maximum values.

Thursday said...

Randy -

A proposition: A beautiful, shining being appears to you suddenly, and tells you without words but with immediate understanding that you are now dead. You had a heart attack, but God removed the painful memory of it.

This being explains it is God, and tells you that your time is not finished on Earth, that you must "prepare the way" for His return by selling all your posessions and preaching on street corners.

When you wake up, you are in a hospital recieving medical care.

Now what do you do?


As for Vox Day's idiocy, I just watched a clip of a nutbag destroying police cars because "God told me to come down here and get busy". Now, can you imagine if God told him to go to a maternity ward and do the same?

Jake said...

Randy, your example is entirely irrelevant because it is an example of the question, does the good of the many outweight to good of the few? It is a question that can be, and has been, asked with no reference at all to any supernatural being.

The question asked of Vox Day (a self-important name if I've ever seen one) was, if your God asked you to harm others (in this case killing small children, but the details are unimportant) not for the good of the many, but just because it asked, would you. He said yes. That's just fucked.

FWIW, even granting for the sake of argument that there is a creator deity as conceived by Voice Die et al., the claim that he would have the right to destroy his creation simply because he created it is false.