I don’t do debates anymore. One reason is that they give the other side far too much credibility; another is that the format rewards rhetoric, not honesty. But the other big reason is sheer disgust at the spectacle these loons can put on.
Imagine this metaphorical situation: you’re at a debate, and your opponent stands up and in the first round, starts punching himself in the face. Punching hard, until the blood spurts in great red rivers out of his nose. You’re aghast, but when your turn comes up, you try to make your points; in rebuttal, he pulls out a knife and starts gouging out one of his eyeballs. You just want to stop the whole debacle, call an ambulance, and have the poor warped goon hauled away. But then afterwards, he crows victory.
That’s a bit of hyperbole, but not by much. Theodore Beale, aka Vox Day, has leapt upon my post in which I used the status of women as evidence that religion does harm to humanity, and eagerly tries to rebut me in a spectacular act of self-mutilation. I won’t link directly to poor sick Theodore Beale — he needs psychiatric help — but fortunately Dave Futrelle quotes him extensively, so you can get the gist without feeding Beale’s pathology directly.
But there’s enough bile to make you wonder. I was arguing that many features of religion clearly don’t benefit women, so I asked:
How does throwing acid in their faces when they demand independence from men benefit women?
So Teddy rebuts that in the most appalling way.
[F]emale independence is strongly correlated with a whole host of social ills. Using the utilitarian metric favored by most atheists, a few acid-burned faces is a small price to pay for lasting marriages, stable families, legitimate children, low levels of debt, strong currencies, affordable housing, homogenous populations, low levels of crime, and demographic stability. If PZ has turned against utilitarianism or the concept of the collective welfare trumping the interests of the individual, I should be fascinated to hear it.
Say what? So his answer to how this benefits women is to say it’s bad for society for women to be independent, and that honor killings, stonings, and mutilation of women is a small price?
I think he just made my case for me.
But how about this: Beale has not made the case that destroying women’s lives is a necessary price to pay for social stability. I reject his bargain; I say we can have a more stable, healthier, stronger society if human beings live in mutually loving and respectful relationships. I do not have to hover over my wife with a threatening jar of acid in order for both of us to live together happily; in fact, a life where I had to compel a partnership with terror would be a horror and a nightmare.
One more. I also asked this:
How does letting women die rather than giving them an abortion benefit women?
Here’s his answer.
Because far more women are aborted than die as a result of their pregnancies going awry. The very idea that letting a few women die is worse than killing literally millions of unborn women shows that PZ not only isn’t thinking like a scientist, he’s quite clearly not thinking rationally at all. If PZ is going to be intellectually consistent here, then he should be quite willing to support the abortion of all black fetuses, since blacks disproportionately commit murder and 17x more people could be saved by aborting black fetuses than permitting the use of abortion to save the life of a mother. 466 American women die in pregnancy every year whereas 8,012 people died at the hands of black murderers in 2010.
A fetus is not a woman. I’m used to hearing those wacky anti-choicers call the fetus a “baby”, with all those emotional connotations, but this is the first time I’ve heard them called “women”.
The racist tirade is just sickening. So now Beale wants us to lump all black people together as “murderers” to justify forced sterilization, as a logical consequence of my values? I’ve heard of that tactic somewhere else before.
Again with the logical fallacies. Here’s a hint: the death of women in back-alley abortions can be directly addressed by legalizing abortion and providing responsible medical treatment; the socioeconomic conditions that create an environment of crime are not addressed by racially-defined forced abortion. If we want to end murders by any population (yes, please), the answer is not the extermination of that population, but the correction of social and economic inequity and providing opportunity for advancement.
And with that, I’m sufficiently repulsed not to want to continue. Beale/Day has apparently been whiningly demanding to debate me for the last few years; now you know why I won’t even consider it. Getting his words as second-hand text is nauseating enough, I’d rather not have to deal with the poisonous little scumbag directly.