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Vox Day is one sick puppy

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.

Comments

  1. steve oberski says

    “Mother Teresa was not a friend of the poor. She was a friend of poverty. She said that suffering was a gift from God. She spent her life opposing the only known cure for poverty, which is the empowerment of women and the emancipation of them from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction.”

    ― Christopher Hitchens

  2. mythbri says

    Unfortunately, it’s not the first time that I’ve heard the argument that equates fetuses with women, or vice versa. Recently I’ve seen a few anti-choicers ask “Oh yeah? If abortion is about the bodily autonomy of women, then how is it okay to abort female fetuses? And then they sit there smugly as if they’ve just just some amazing revelatory point.

  3. John Morales says

    Yah, I saw that one, PZ.

    (He’ll claim your derision is but impotent raging, I predict)

  4. mythbri says

    Ugh, the typos – they are killing me. :P Let me try again:

    Unfortunately, it’s not the first time that I’ve heard the argument that equates fetuses with women, or vice versa. Recently I’ve seen a few anti-choicers ask “Oh yeah? If abortion is about the bodily autonomy of women, then how is it okay to abort female fetuses?” And then they sit there smugly as if they’ve just made some amazing revelatory point.

  5. Sastra says

    I’ve only read what’s been quoted here on this post, but from what I can tell Vox Day is using the time honored tactic of “I know you are but what am I.” In other words, he’s not giving his own view — he’s telling you what an atheist would say if an atheist followed his own philosophy consistently.

    Since you don’t and can’t, he thinks this means he wins.

    The argument of course is that there is nothing in secular ethics that demands that someone formulate, endorse, or accept this weird version of heartless utilitarianism, where people are evaluated as if they were so many blocks of wood composing a common good, the rights and goals of the individual mean nothing, and no value is higher than survival.

    If anything, it’s theism which treats human beings as counters in a game where they have no worth in themselves, but where value lies only in how much they obey, model after, or please the Only Source of Meaning.

    When he hits himself, he’s pretending that this is what you’re doing — hitting yourself.

  6. 'Tis Himself says

    A couple of years ago, in an SB blog thread, two or three of Vox Dei’s fanbois kept asking why PZ wouldn’t debate VD. They never could come up with an answer to the question: “Why should PZ debate VD?”

  7. says

    This just gave me a great idea for a PSA. Picture this:

    (Still image of Beale)

    VOICEOVER:

    This is your brain on religion.

    (Pause for effect)

    Any questions?

  8. madbull says

    PZ “y u hate me soo much ?? ” Just listening to the name Vox Day makes my BP rise to unhealthy levels.

  9. Rey Fox says

    for lasting marriages, stable families, legitimate children, low levels of debt, strong currencies, affordable housing, homogenous populations, low levels of crime, and demographic stability.

    Now I’m confused. I thought all those conditions were hallmarks of societies that have a higher respect for women.

    Well, most of them. I’m not sure what “homogenous populations” and “demographic stability” are, and I’m not sure I want to.

  10. John Morales says

    Sastra,

    I’ve only read what’s been quoted here on this post

    Allow me to mortify you with an extract:
    1. Because educating women is strongly correlated with reducing their disposition and ability to reproduce themselves. Educating them tends to make them evolutionary dead ends.
    2. Because raising girls with the expectation that their purpose in life is to bear children allows them to pursue marriage at the age of their peak fertility, increase the wage rates of their prospective marital partners, and live in stable, low-crime, homogenous societies that are not demographically dying. It also grants them privileged status [blah]
    3. Because female independence is strongly correlated with a whole host of social ills.

  11. frankniddy says

    Rey Fox,
    It means VD is a racist shitheel who hates black people and wants what George Wallace wanted before the latter came to his senses.

  12. madbull says

    I don’t know why people think being an evolutionary winner is always desirable. Its desirable for the gene not necessarily for the organism as such. think part of understanding natural selection is to realize how we as a society can move beyond it.

  13. says

    I can’t stand that stupid argument that evolution should always favor more rapid reproduction. It’s naive and wrong; if it were true, we would never have evolved beyond single cells.

  14. says

    Do these people even consider how what they argue sounds? Like William Lane Craig arguing that it’s a good thing that infants get slaughtered! It’s so pathetically awful that it’s hard to imagine that these people can even have the capacity to put pen to paper to write such absurdities. It would be laughably pathetic if not for the fact that we have a society that glorifies such nonsense thinking!

  15. says

    Madbull, the people who are fixated on being “evolutionary winners” typically do not have much going for them in the personality department and thus need some sort of external measure of how “well” their life is going. There is a similarity to people who are into “white pride.” And sometimes they’re the one and the same, given the obsession with outbreeding all them skeery brown peepl.

  16. says

    I have to say that if I knew nothing about Teddy other than the words “18-button mouse”, I’d be forced to think the guy’s ego was pressing uncomfortably on the inside of his skull. (Hint: if you need 18 buttons on an input device, you might want to consider a somewhat larger and more sedentary formfactor than a mouse.)

    But Vox Day is, like, the avatar of horrible, the Alex Jones of hate. (Or maybe Alex Jones is the Vox Day of crazy.) There is not a thought in that man’s head that makes a damn bit of sense, and the vast bulk of the ones that aren’t completely incoherent are ragingly hateful and willfully ignorant. He is seriously every shitty thing that pops up on Manboobz combined with at least half of FSTDT rolled into one tiny ball of raging hate, stuffed into the body of a vaguely normal human being with half the genes of a known conman, in lieu of a brain. In fact, he’s such a stereotypical misogynist libertarian geek that I’ve been known to forget he’s crazy-religious as well.

  17. says

    Saw this at manboobz and was hoping you’d respond exactly as you did. Beale doesn’t warrant a debate, just a (rhetorical) middle finger.

  18. says

    Sadly, the idea that atheists should be complying with his own fucked up, amoral idea of atheist morality is all too predictable even among relatively sane wingnuts (is there such a thing?).

  19. interrobang says

    Right, and Idiotface never heard of women dying in childbirth, or the fact that back when women did routinely have eleven or twelve kids over a lifetime, most of them died before they had a chance to have kids of their own, there used to be a saying about “a tooth for every baby” about how childbearing wore women out young, and how you can go into any museum on the planet and see exactly how childbearing did in our female ancestors.

    Shit, my great-grandfather was one of twenty-two children, I think four of whom survived to adulthood. He grew up in dire poverty, made it into the lower working class and sired five living children. My grandfather had three children, and made it into the blue collar lower middle class. My father has two children and is an upper-middle-class professional. I think those facts are related, somehow, in that kids are damned expensive, and if you have fewer of them and (can) invest more resources in them, they tend to do better later in life.

    Of course, it’s not like Vox Day gives a crap about whether women die in childbirth or not; he’s much like Martin Luther that way.

  20. says

    Richard:

    He’s a hatemonger and a fascist with a lot of the rest of them, but I’m not 100% sure “Nazi” applies per se. Not that I would be surprised if he was; just sayin.

  21. Agent Silversmith, Feathered Patella Association says

    If you are what you eat, then Vox Day is the egesta of a paraquat & ethyl mercaptan diet, seasoned liberally with anthrax and botulinum toxin. He’s so fixated on his draconian religious edicts being the only way to achieve social stability that he neglects to consider that people being happy gets you a heck of a lot closer. Then again, the thought of women being happier must give Vox the delirium tremens all on its own.

  22. capnxtreme says

    Words can’t describe how out of touch this person is with real life. I visibly recoiled in disgust as I read his bullshit yammerings. Haven’t done that in a while, I thought I was fairly well desensitized to it all.

    I’m sure this gets said a lot, but you think you’ve witnessed humanity reach an all-time low, then somebody goes and digs a little deeper. Every time. There goes a bit more of my faith in humanity. *sigh*

  23. Sastra says

    Well, I’m afraid I just read the thread at Vox Populi. And the comments. Oh, my. Well.

    My guess at #7 seems to be partly right, and partly wrong. Vox wasn’t specifically giving his own views: he was trying to demonstrate what a ‘scientific’ argument using only secular ethics would look like, to counter PZ’s rhetorical questions and defend Wilson’s point on the evolutionary value of religion. But … turns out they kinda do seem to be his own views, after all.

    I must say, the place didn’t seem very friendly to feminism.

  24. Brownian says

    Imagine this metaphorical situation: you’re at a debate,

    Right, with Vox Day.

    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.

    I like it so far.

    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.

    Aghast? It’s Vox Day. Hell, I’d start reading the ingredients off of Twinkie packages if I thought he might disembowel himself in rebuttal.

    You just want to stop the whole debacle, call an ambulance, and have the poor warped goon hauled away.

    I think this is why you’re not a fan of debate. You haven’t the stomach for it.

    But then afterwards, he crows victory.

    Aw, see? Unless he’s crowing victory via some sort of recorded last will and testimony, you threw in the towel too early.

  25. Brownian says

    My guess at #7 seems to be partly right, and partly wrong.

    Accommodationist.

  26. jaybee says

    I watched a couple of Vox Day youtube shorts a few years back when he was mentioned here before. My impression was that Vox Day was quite in love with himself. It would be little surprise to learn that he furiously masturbates every night looking at pictures of himself.

  27. Esteleth, Raging Dyke of Fuck Mountain says

    He also trots out an argument in favor of FGM in this same post.

    UGH.

  28. says

    VD is not only a racist, misogynist, creationist right wing bible beater, he’s also antivax.

    Seriously, If Vox Day did not exist, it would be necessary (for someone who sufficiently despises religion) to invent him.

    … come to think of it, is there actually an ontological argument for the existence of Vox Day?

    Bear with me here. If we accept (1) that the category of being ‘most appalling and at once risibly incoherent sleaze’ is, in fact, fundamental, (2) Vox must exist in order that said category be filled.

    (/Much as McGriddles have to exist, to fill the category ‘Most Disgusting Fast Food Item Concept’.).

  29. Aquaria says

    VD is not only a racist, misogynist, creationist right wing bible beater

    So…

    Fascist piece of shit scumbag.

    That just about covers it.

    This vermin has been vomiting up his hateful stupid for at least a decade now, and begging for attention from liberal male bloggers to justify his worthless existence.

    You have my sympathies, PZ. This guy gets his self-loathing mancrushes going and doesn’t let go of them for a long–long–time. I’d bet money he still begs Markos Moulitsas (Daily Kos) and Duncan Black (Atrios) to pay attention to him and show how special he is to them–er, to debate him, all these years later. I seem to recall him doing that at least 8-10 years ago.

  30. says

    I feel like I should be comforted that Vox Day is a benchmark for the absolute worst that humanity has to offer (barring the opportunity to kill). But that would remind me that people as bad as him exist.

  31. says

    AJ Milne:

    The concept of a breakfast sandwich made using pancake buns isn’t that horrible in a world where the KFC Double Down is a thing that otherwise sane people actually like.

  32. Snoof says

    It just dawned on me as I was wading in his cesspool: Vox Day is a Nazi.

    Fascist, maybe. RWA, certainly. I dunno about Nazi.

  33. Aquaria says

    The concept of a breakfast sandwich made using pancake buns isn’t that horrible in a world where the KFC Double Down is a thing that otherwise sane people actually like.

    McDonald’s has had the McGriddle for quite a while now, and it’s regular breakfast food stuffed between pancake buns with some kind of syrup flavor baked into them.

    Every time I see it on one of those annoying video marquees when I have to drive by McDonald’s, I gag.

  34. biologyismygod says

    Purported social advantages of the oppression of women: “…low levels of debt, strong currencies, affordable housing, homogenous populations…”

    Wait, what? Homogenous populations? Isn’t inbreeding usually considered a BAD thing? What’s the reasoning here; if women have more freedom, they might (gasp!) choose to procreate with someone of a different race? Teh horror! Is that really what he’s saying, or am I missing something?

    Regarding “low levels of debt” and “strong currencies”, I have to admit I’m completely baffled as to how he arrives at this point.

  35. John Morales says

    Snoof, you think he doesn’t envy Hitler?

    (He probably knows where Hitler went wrong, he’s that frighteningly smart and you know it because he tells you whilst brandishing a card)

  36. Aquaria says

    I feel like I should be comforted that Vox Day is a benchmark for the absolute worst that humanity has to offer (barring the opportunity to kill). But that would remind me that people as bad as him exist.

    Worst? I think that’s debatable.

    Have you been to Texas lately? I know for a fact that worse exists here. Hell, I’m related to some of them, much as I wish I weren’t.

  37. Aquaria says

    In other words, he’s not giving his own view — he’s telling you what an atheist would say if an atheist followed his own philosophy consistently.

    This guy has made an entire career tilting at strawmen of his own moronic imagination.

    He’s a veritable Don Quixote of fascism.

  38. says

    Aquaria:

    Indeed. I always wonder how they get their logic — where the hell did he get that idea about trading off dead back-alley abortion victims for live female fetuses, and ytf does he think that would make any logical sense to us?

  39. says

    Or, phrased a bit more coherently: why would anyone in their right mind think human females are fungible? Granted, VD evidently does… does this come under “it’s always projection”?

  40. Janine: History’s Greatest Monster says

    Heh. I am flashing back to the days when the fuckasaurus was around and made his arguments that women should submit for the sake of a stable society. Funny how that stable society benefited a white straight man like the fuckasaurus.

  41. spamamander, hellmart survivor says

    What is this I don’t even.

    I don’t dare read this festering pile of hyena excrement without the patented Pharyngula Philter.

    I just know I need another (several) hefeweizens after reading this. And a shower.

  42. alkaloid says

    @frankniddy, #13

    It means VD is a racist shitheel who hates black people and wants what George Wallace wanted before the latter came to his senses.

    Bill Bennett made a similar argument about black people and abortions as this poisonous toad.

    The toad probably has more redeeming features.

  43. theophontes (坏蛋) says

  44. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    Fixed:

    @ Ms Daisy Cutter

    And sometimes they’re the one and the same, given the obsession with outbreeding all them skeery brown peepl.

    There is some good news on the horizon: That is changed.

    @ Brian X

    hatemonger and a fascist

    Falangist ?

    Überfascists driving an virulently anti-women, pro-jebus agenda. (though not particularly racist … perhaps VD is trying to take it down to the next despicable level,)

    @ Snoof

    I dunno about Nazi.

    The nazi’s where renowned for their racism. Perhaps his mind is the unfortunate love-child of the falangist and nazi sensibilities. (There is not a single hate-driven ideology, that I can recall, that drives quite so many invidious attitudes as VD – all at the same time.)

  45. sadunlap says

    @11 Rey Fox

    Well, most of them. I’m not sure what “homogenous populations” and “demographic stability” are, and I’m not sure I want to.

    and 46 biologyismygod

    What’s the reasoning here; if women have more freedom, they might (gasp!) choose to procreate with someone of a different race? Teh horror! Is that really what he’s saying, or am I missing something?

    Sorry, but you’re not missing something. Racists have tried to couch their racism in “science” since forever. Social Darwinism mangled and misinterpreted the theory of Natural Selection pretty badly in aid of justifying the over-priviledged their circumstances. Then there was the infamous “research” about 100 years ago to determine, with wood chips(?!), that black people’s craniums had less capacity than white ones (the inverse is actually true if you use something like metal pellets that don’t compress instead of wood chips). In the U.K. skin-heads have started to call themselves “racialists” instead of “racists.” Gee, what a difference an extra syllable makes (what, do they want? A prize for being able to say a 3-syllable word?). Scientific sounding wording appeals to the people who think that it’s not racism if what they believe is true. Ask any Ron Paul supporter.

    Regarding “low levels of debt” and “strong currencies”, I have to admit I’m completely baffled as to how he arrives at this point.

    Oh, it’s because independent women are the cause of all the world’s economic problems. All that uncontrolled shopping causes economic instability (too much debt – those women don’t know how to handle money sensibly). Or maybe it’s stealing jobs for the more deserving straight white males. Or women holding elected office. Or all three! [/sarcasm]

  46. rayndeonx says

    To be somewhat fair, I don’t think Vox Day believes any of these views (although I wouldn’t be surprised if he does believe some of them). I think the point of his post was in the form of an enthymeme. He seemed to be arguing that, per science, lack of female education/right to life/right to self-determination, etc, etc is connected with x and y harms on various arbitrary moral ladders i.e. evolution or whatever bullshit Day invokes.

    This is basically Vox Day’s attempt to argue that science cannot ground morality or something or another. Leaving the legitimacy and soundness of each of his points aside (which can be answered as being profoundly bullshit), this is something of a trivial point. Yes, science cannot directly ground morality. The answer is, “So what?”

    I don’t think PZ or most naturalists really argue that science = morality. To be sure, science and knowledge in general informs morality, but it is the same as morality, full stop. This would be going from an “is” to an “ought”, as Hume would say.

    The problem isn’t science, the problem is Vox Day.

  47. rayndeonx says

    Argh, I meant to say that “it is NOT the same as morality, full stop.” Basically, Day’s post is a satire of his strawman of various theories of morality espoused by PZ or other naturalists.

  48. robro says

    Female independence is strongly correlated with a whole host of social ills.

    Really!? I wonder where he thinks he got that factoid from. Even if there was any shred of evidence of such a correlation, which I strongly doubt, I’m sure he doesn’t realize the limits of correlation.

    In any case, this is pretty much the same argument used against Black enfranchisement in the 50s and 60s, particularly in the South: Keep those uppity Black people in their place or Western Civilization will collapse. Oh my!

    I’m also suspicious of this “social stability” business. Sounds like buzz word bingo bullshit to me. Depending on what he means by it, I’m not sure it’s anything I want. Some instability is a necessary ingredient to survival and adaptation. We wouldn’t have American society as we know it if there hadn’t been considerable social instability 240 years ago or so. In fact, his argument could have been used, and may well have been used against the American colonists: Keep those uppity colonists in their place or Western Civilization…well, the British Empire…will collapse. Oh my!

  49. says

    rayndeonx:

    Calling it a “satire” is a bit redundant. It seems to be what Teddy actually thinks atheists should believe. I’m not sure he’s capable of understanding a morality that isn’t imposed from above. Come to think of it, I’m not sure he’s capable of understanding morality.

  50. Louis says

    I try. I really do try to be a pacifist in thought and deed. Not an abject doormat but a mostly exhaustive pacifist who hopes that reasonable folks can try every other option available before violence.

    Theodore Beale makes me regret that choice and that stance.

    I’m very capable of violence. Decades of various violent sports and a Y chromosome will do that to a fellow, but I’d really rather not exercise that capacity ever.

    Theodore Beale makes me wish to reconsider that exercise of self restraint.

    A lot. With bells on.

    I am trying very hard not to type hyperbolic violent rhetoric, I’m trying not to because it’s beneath me. Oh jokes are one thing, but I cannot joke about this person right now. I’m going away to do something a bit more edifying for a while and hope the red mist disperses.

    Louis

  51. Louis says

    Robro, #64,

    Keep those uppity colonists in their place or Western Civilization…well, the British Empire…will collapse. Oh my!

    And it did! ZOMG TEH EVIDENZ!!!!!!!!!!

    I’m just off to oppress a woman and beat a black person. Excuse me whilst I go on a murderous rampage, change my name to Keepdarkiedown, and generally rape and pillage my way across the landscape. Hey, it not rape if it’s a reproduction strategy amirite Teddy? Huh huh?

    [/Beale directed sarcasm]

    GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

    Okay, rage is now at toxic levels. I need coffee and a chemistry journal. STAT!

    Louis

  52. says

    Hm… Falangist is not a bad call, terminologically speaking, except for the racism bit. I guess from where I sit, to be a Nazi you have to be outright exterminationist as well as fascist, and the religion part is kind of squishy (look how many Nazi occultists there were). Falangist would definitely be closer — fascist and religiously fanatic.

  53. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ Brian X

    The problem with trying to apply terms such as nazi/fascist/falangist to the likes of VD is that he is hitting more of the misanthropic buttons than those others’ ideologies ever could manage. VD is more like an experiment off “The Island of Doctor Moreau”, where someone evil managed to stitch together all the worst aspects of humanity.

    (I suspect there is a limit to the iniquity that can be expressed in an ideology, in that it becomes unwieldy and loses focus if too much is hated all at once. This is less true of individuals like VD.)

  54. amblebury says

    Someone pointed me in the direction of Day’s blog today. I honestly thought it was a very elaborate, and very poor, joke.

    I was right!

  55. says

    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.

    [F]emale independence is strongly correlated with a whole host of social ills. I’d like to see the calculation that Vox Day made to come to these conclusions. Heck, I’d settle for which utilitarian theory he’s applying. Because I’m not seeing any of the critics of religion argue this, indeed the arguments by atheists like Dawkins and Myers are the opposite of this – that the individual harm overrides any argument to “good” society. Whose utilitarian calculation is it? It doesn’t even sound utilitarian to me as utilitarian calculations are meant to be about minimising harm – for the ideals of a cohesive society above and beyond the welfare of the individual (unless acid in the face is a reality of the best of all possible societies) would itself be an absurdity.

    Are the atheists really shying away from utilitarianism (I am, but that’s a separate issue)? Perhaps. But more likely, what Vox Day is saying is the utilitarian ideal doesn’t reflect anything like any proponent of utilitarianism has to say. Indeed, Peter Singer on utilitarian grounds argues that the empowerment of women through education is an important factor in having a stable society. The societies with the highest reported happiness are, unsurprisingly, the societies with the best outcomes for women: the Scandinavian liberal democracies. At best, Vox Day’s argument stands that atheists ought to carry on the religious traditions of controlling women because that is what really makes the best society in terms of the outcomes he is advocating. But if that is the case, then Vox’s argument is that no atheist thinker is thinking like an atheist – which is to say they ought to be thinking like religious nutters like him, because that’s the real way of having a good society.

  56. chrislawson says

    The idea that masses of children = evolutionary success is stupid beyond belief, especially for a species that has an incredibly long time to sexual maturation, long gestations, gives birth to (usually) single newborns that are (always) incapable of independent survival for years, and rewards care from extended families and communities. If VD wants to champion high-reproductive rates as the best strategy, then he is favouring the dandelion, not human reproduction.

  57. Lars says

    With an ominous headache
    I reluctantly started the day
    It didn’t get any better
    from reading the vomit
    of so-called Vox Day.
    Oh vey.
    Why did it have to be this way?

    /Vogon poetry

  58. says

    At best, Vox Day’s argument stands that atheists ought to carry on the religious traditions of controlling women because that is what really makes the best society in terms of the outcomes he is advocating. But if that is the case, then Vox’s argument is that no atheist thinker is thinking like an atheist – which is to say they ought to be thinking like religious nutters like him, because that’s the real way of having a good society.

    I think what’s kinda funny is, as (as noted here and there in this thread) the reality is there’s a whole host of correlations to social indicators which say, generally, the happiest, most prosperous, most stable societies are the ones in which women are educated, emancipated, and equal. Indeed, you’ll find any number of development agencies who see educating women as central to their approach and research that backs up the sense of this (Just Google ‘educating women’, if you doubt me). The notion is: make sure she gets her schooling, and she’ll have a smaller, healthier family, who will be better provided for, better taken care of. Quality of life in general will rise.

    … but Clueless here discards all that in favour of claiming the converse. (Or sort of. You’ll note, oddly, that several of his claimed ‘benefits’ are rather beside the point. ‘Homogenous populations’? ‘Demographic stability’? Do we be doing the dog whistle dance, here, Bealey boy, for ‘I just hate immigration, too’, perchance? What a crazy coincidence, as this, too, is of a piece with the whole rotten charade his pathetic lot are so fond of, really.)

    Anyway, moving back to the point: the truth I think this reveals is: his argument isn’t ‘utilitarian’ at all. Indeed, it’s quite the opposite.

    The truth is, like any number of tiny-minded, cowardly little authoritarian fools, Beale is actually perfectly fucking happy to turn the entire world into a third world hellhole if it’s one in which he’s got someone he can lord it over. ‘Utilitarian’ doesn’t enter into it, except that it has utility to Beale–in the sense that if we play it his way, he gets to boss women around, get his pathetically unambitious kicks thereby.

    And, after all, that’s all he really wants. It’s not the means to the end; it is the end. And like a billion sniveling losers like him the world over, he’ll take a tiny, stagnant little pond if you tell him he’s got someone he can push around therein.

  59. Moggie says

    robro:

    Female independence is strongly correlated with a whole host of social ills.

    Really!? I wonder where he thinks he got that factoid from. Even if there was any shred of evidence of such a correlation, which I strongly doubt, I’m sure he doesn’t realize the limits of correlation.

    If you and Beale were each to draw up lists of things you consider to be social ills, do you think they would be identical?

  60. coryat says

    Vox Day once wrote a piece about deporting Mexicans by invoking the example of the treatment of the Jews by the Nazis. Vox Day is anti-vaccine. Vox Day writes a blog about being a pick-up-artist. Vox Day doesn’t think women should be able to vote. Vox Day believes that he knows more about biology than PZ Myers and more about cosmology than Phil Plait.

    Would you like to hear a joke? Theodore Beale’s entire life, up to and including this very moment.

  61. says

    Anyway, moving back to the point: the truth I think this reveals is: his argument isn’t ‘utilitarian’ at all. Indeed, it’s quite the opposite.

    Yeah, it was a shocking misuse of the concept. At that point, why even bother? It’s bad enough that he’s making up an argument that no atheist is advocating (not even Sam Harris at his most absurd is that absurd), but to distort the meaning of a word in order to do so? That’s really pathetic!

  62. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Vox is also trying to argue that vaccines kill babies, using spectacularly stupid and scientifically invalid arguments:

    Well we are talking about Vox Day here.

  63. llyris says

    This sick hater obviously doesn’t see crimes against women as crimes. Honour killings, mutilations, and other violent crimes against women apparently result in “low levels of crime”, “lasting marriages” and “stable families”. So killing your wife makes your marriage last longer?

  64. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Vox Day writes a blog about being a pick-up-artist.

    LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

    *deep inhale*

    LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

    Color me completely unsurprised. That explains his derranged hatred for women. I wonder where the derrange racism comes from.

  65. thisisaturingtest says

    Have you ever had to crawl under a house, or a trailer, or something, and put your hand into something…dead, decomposed, wormy; and cried out in disgust, “ohhh, shiiit!” That was my reaction to this scumsucker’s “logic.” And that’s just from PZ’s little extracts- I’ll be damned if I’m gonna go to his hateful website, and wade through gore. Boy’s been reading too much The Color Of Crime. (Google it. Twisted statistical methodology to justify hate)

  66. thisisaturingtest says

    Illuminata @#85:

    I wonder where the derrange racism comes from.

    You and I posted at about the same time. See my #86- I don’t know where the racism itself came from, but I suspect I know where he gets his support for it.

  67. truthspeaker says

    [F]emale independence is strongly correlated with a whole host of social ills.

    Vox Day would fit in real well in Saudi Arabia.

  68. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Orac’s breakdown of Vox on Vaccines is quite good (as usual), worth the read.

  69. raven says

    wikipedia father of Vox Day.

    Robert Beale is a Minnesota entrepreneur, founder and former CEO of Comtrol,[1] fugitive,[2] tax protestor and convicted felon who was sentenced to 11 years in federal prison for tax evasion.[3][4][5]

    Beale was also later charged with threatening the life of the federal judge who prosecuted him and was given 11 additional months of prison time.[8][9]

    I’m really surprised that Vox Day isn’t in prison yet.

    His father is doing 11 years for a variety of crimes, notably threatening to kill the judge who prosecuted him.

    These are all crimes of someone who has little control over their behavior.

    Tax problems are usually solved by civil cases. The IRS wants the money, they do not want to pay to keep you in jail for years.

    Threatening to kill the judge was just cosmically dumb. If you do kill the judge, you aren’t ever getting out of prison assuming you don’t shoot it out with the cops too and die on the spot. And if you don’t kill the judge, well, death threats are felonies and you get to do time in prison anyway.

  70. Ogvorbis says

    So killing your wife makes your marriage last longer?

    Of course. Once your second wife finds out what happened to your first wife, she will be very well behaved.

    [F]emale independence is strongly correlated with a whole host of social ills.

    Vox Day would fit in real well in Saudi Arabia.

    There are large numbers of Christians, Catholic and Protestant, who would view a United States run like a Christian Iran as an ideal.

  71. raven says

    We knew Vox Day was a sick puppy long ago.

    The best I can say is that the police, courts, prosecutors, prisons, and US armed forces are on our side.

    They exist to protect normal citizens from monsters like Vox Day.

    One sees this a lot. Fundie xianity not only produces a lot of sociopaths and monsters, they frequently end up as leaders, the vaguely humanoid toad ones.

  72. raven says

    Female independence is strongly correlated with a whole host of social ills.

    Really!? I wonder where he thinks he got that factoid from.

    Same place VD gets all his facts from. He just makes them up, lies.

  73. sc_ba280d16d1cc8a259712c28cf0bfae9d says

    I started reading a book once, called “Hope of the Wicked”. The author stated in one sentence about 3/4 the way through that the ills of society are directly blamed on equal opportunity policies, affirmative action and women’s lib/feminists. I immediately closed the book and put it back on my shelf. I had gotten it because I knew it was something different from what I think, I wanted to see another side. I knew the author was a nut based on the amazon.com reviews but that one sentence just stopped me in my tracks.
    So I actually went and reviewed this book, mentioning the above sentence and was immediately skewered by the patriarchal idiots buying into this crap. This Vox guy isn’t alone, there’s a whole movement out there spewing this crap.

  74. Ogvorbis says

    Same place VD gets all his facts from. He just makes them up, lies.

    Nonononono! Gods is speaking to him. Through a hair dryer. Set to stun. This is inspired by gods. Really.

  75. raven says

    Nonononono! Gods is speaking to him. Through a hair dryer. Set to stun. This is inspired by gods. Really.

    That might be truer than you think. Robert Beale claimed that god wanted him to kill the judge. One wonders in that case, why god, the all powerful being and known genocidal maniac, didn’t just kill the judge himself.

    wikipedia:

    ^ By JON TEVLIN, Star Tribune (2008-07-16).

    “Robert Beale: ‘God wants me to destroy the judge'”. StarTribune.com. h ttp://www.startribune.com/local/25539759.html?location_refer=Homepage:latestNews:4. Retrieved 2010-12-05.

  76. hypatiasdaughter says

    Flip VD’s hypothesis. How stable and healthy would a society be if it was run as a fascist dictatorship (like Saudi Arabia) – but with women being in charge (like the men are now); and men totally subservient to their wants and needs?
    Think about that for a bit. I think it would be a pretty good place for women and children. And men would get all the benefits of a stable, low crime, family oriented society.
    But it would be a hellish place for individuals. It would require brutal suppression of anyone who didn’t toe the party line.
    It’s not that having men in charge or male needs the primary concern that makes the society stable (one could do the same by reversing the power structure of the sexes). Each sex has both complementary and conflicting individual needs that society must both suppress and accommodate and that’s a messy process which causes social problems.
    VD doesn’t want to accommodate anyone else’s wants or needs but his own. This requires the brutal suppression of the individual wants or needs of anyone, male or female, that doesn’t buy into his whole theological package of “men on top”.
    Rape, honor killing, acid in the face are just all part of the necessary tools that make the package work.

  77. abb3w says

    I’d elaborate on PZ’s counter-response on the acid, that most atheists are not only utilitarian consequentialists, but empiricists. Some of Beale’s claims have no apparent empirical relation (low levels of debt, strong currencies, affordable housing). Others may only involve measurement effects — if assaults against women are no longer counted as “really” crimes, lower levels of crime will be measured, but only have different utility effects in so far as one is shifting to a different utility metric space.

    There’s also the question of what degree of utility is associated with the results. What utility is associated to “legitimate children” and “demographic stability”? The referent of “homogenous populations” isn’t clear (given his racist bogosity later, is he trying to dog-whistle concerns over miscegenation???), nor clear how it would result. However, this seems the best of the lot; there empirically may be some advantages from cultural homogeneity to inter-societal trust. Contrariwise, ecology empirically validated genetic hazards to monocultures when dynamic environments are encountered, which presumably also apply to memetic analogs. It’s not clear where the optimum lies between absolute homogeneity and absolute heterogeneity.

    Finally, some others may not be ceteris paribus comparisons. Yes, ceteris paribus lasting marriages and stable families have higher utility, but not if the marriage and family are fundamentally less happy ones. A violently oppressive police state may be more stable than a democracy, but most Americans wouldn’t consider that “better”.

  78. Esteleth, Raging Dyke of Fuck Mountain says

    Oggie:

    So killing your wife makes your marriage last longer?

    Of course. Once your second wife finds out what happened to your first wife, she will be very well behaved.

    Because my brain is misbehaving today, I am reminded of when I was researching Henry VIII of England. Seems that at some point, he got angry at his third wife (who was, apparently, talking back to him) and pointedly referred to “the late queen.”

    Which could be a reference to either his first wife, who he stripped of everything, browbeat, and sent away to die, or his second wife, who he had killed on trumped-up charges.

    The historian commented that the third wife was very meek and quiet after this exchange.

    But Henry was a totes nice guy! Who just wanted a kid! And he loved his third wife!

  79. dianne says

    8,012 people died at the hands of black murderers in 2010.

    I wonder where he got this number. The FBI gives 5770 murders committed by blacks in 2010. Notably, it also states that 9972 murderers were men. So it’s men that are dangerous, not people of a specific race. By VD’s logic (using the word extremely loosely), we should abort all male fetuses.

  80. NuMad says

    Oh yes, it’s totally a satire of what PZ says, only the premises are demonstrably straight from nowhere but the rotting mind of Vox Day, and the conclusions are like an extension of Vox Day’s usual fare.

    Modest Proposal!!

  81. Ichthyic says

    Oh yes, it’s totally a satire of what PZ says, only the premises are demonstrably straight from nowhere but the rotting mind of Vox Day, and the conclusions are like an extension of Vox Day’s usual fare.

    shorter:

    Vox projects.

    what else is new?

  82. Ichthyic says

    This Vox guy isn’t alone, there’s a whole movement out there spewing this crap.

    yes, we know.

    but the only way to tear down such a movement, is to tear down the people that movement looks to as trusted authorities.

    that Beal even IS a trusted authority, on anything, is worth attacking in and of itself.

  83. scifi says

    I’d like to ask Beale how he justifies putting a woman in jail for sex before marriage when the sex was forced on her by a rapist and why the rapist isn’t punished and that the woman can only get out of jail if she agrees to marry the rapist. Or why it is OK to rape a women, who are celebrating something and a men are present, and then murder them as some stupid ‘honor killing’. Also, if the Muslim way is so good at providing stability if the different sects believe the only way is to kill members of an apposing sect with suicide bombers and car bombs, etc. It seems the only way to stop this is for a ‘strong man’ dictator to rule with an iron fist. Beale, there is no easy way of putting it, your brain is fucked up from years of brain washing. Your comment, that throwing acids in the face of woman is justified for bringing stability, even beats out Santorum’s comment, that a woman shouldn’t abort a fetus from a rapist, but should consider it a gift from God, for stupidity.

  84. Louis says

    I hopped back in to read updated comments, accidentally stepped in some Vox Day in the OP and now am a seething torrent of rage again.

    What is it about that guy that makes me homicidal I wonder?*

    Louis

    * Hyperbole for the sake of comedy. Chill, people!

  85. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    The killing should be done only by a white dude with a flaming sword.

    BAhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhahaha

    totally forgot about that photo

    what a giant fucking tool

  86. Louis says

    Rev BDC,

    Yup, that photo is…

    …I have no words.

    Anyone who unironically made that photo should be released from their torment. It’s too cruel to keep them alive.

    Louis

    P.S. FUCK IT!!!!! PACIFISM FAIL AGAIN. I’m not doing this very well. I’m off to get remedial tantra and double Peace.

  87. keenacat says

    Sweet jeebus. If the Vox Day photo could replace my impending dreams about ZOMG lonely!!, that would be awesome. He’d be useful for once.

  88. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    Wait, so that Vox Day with a flaming sword was something he made, unironically, about himself?

    Because I thought it was a clever photoshop meant to mock him, I really did.

  89. Thomathy, Holy Trinity of Conflation: Atheist-Secularist-Darwinist says

    What a disgusting person. I know Man Boobs has made mention of him before, and it’s usually bad, but this was …whoa.

    I think if I had the heart to play, he would get me a full card BINGO in Cupcake Bingo: Misogyny Edition.

    I’m left wondering, though, and I know I really shouldn’t be wondering anything at all about Theodore Beale (Vox Day), is he also a raging homophobe?

    I suspect he is. It would go right in hand with the misogyny; I can’t imagine he likes lesbians, even for deluded masturbatory fantasies.

    Ugh …and now I’ve grossed myself out.

  90. kayden says

    So according to VOX DAY, only Blacks are murderers. Wouldn’t you save more White lives by aborting White babies since the majority of murdered Whites are killed by Whites?

    Misogynist racist.

  91. petzl20 says

    BEALE: One thing that struck my mind [...] was a study on Thucydides[....] It occurred to me that since the USA jails so many people with skills that other countries would find useful, bringing back some sort of exile might make sense. Some third world countries might like to have the services of the guy who was running Enron at their disposal and be willing to pay for it. You could kill two birds with one stone that way.

    DAVID FRUM: I’ll tell you, I had never thought about that. It’s an interesting thought. Let me brood about that.

    http://voxday.blogspot.com/2008/06/interview-with-david-frum_02.html

    He casually refers to “exporting” prison inmates (where are those sacred Constitutional rights now?) Then, he thinks some other country would allow _our_ prisoners to be at large in their country? (I guess because even a U.S. prisoner is of more value than a Gabonese citizen?) Then, it appears, he’s only musing over white-collar prisoners (who are, by the way, in country club prisons to begin with.) So our embezzler and tax evader convicts will employ their “useful skills” abroad? It makes about as much sense as making meat pies out of “surplus” Irish children.

    * HOW does Frum not run out of the room when he gets thrown a question like this?
    * HOW does Beale even get interviews with people as notable as Frum et al when he holds the wingnut opinions he has?

    Was looking at the father Beale. What a piece of work. I think his father put his sociopathy into practice, while the son exercises his in theory only, as far as we know.

  92. says

    Some would call it ironic, PZ. You claim that, even if it had done no other harm (which you think it has), Christianity has terribly hurt women. You are then challenged to debate the subject by two people: (1) The author of one of the first rebuttals of the New Atheism, a student of world religions whose books have been “thumbs upped” by some of the top scholars in relevant fields in the world, and usually keeps the sarcasm within reasonable check, and (2) a computer programmer, who has no qualifications on the subject whatsoever.

    So whom do you respond to? Whose nasty satire do you misread as serious, enabling you to slander Christians in general in the usual manner of your trade, take refuge under your rock, and beg off public and adult discussion of your claims?

    Need we even ask?

  93. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    and beg off public and adult discussion of your claims?

    What makes you think your post was adult? Can’t get much more spoiled and childish than your words which remind me of childish taunting. Debates solve nothing. Show us the evidence. OOPS. you have none…

  94. offc says

    Pretty useless article. Vox may be a misguided bigot, but he’s put together a seemingly coherent and well reasoned case.
    How do people respond? By telling us how “vile”, “sick” and “repulsive” he is.

    Why go ad hom? Give us the data, the facts to prove why he is wrong. Don’t rely on pre-existing morality to fill people with disgust at his comments, you should be reinforcing why sexism and racism are wrong from a logical perspective.

    By using social dogma against superficially logical rhetoric you look like the metaphorical preacher arguing with a scholar.

  95. John Morales says

    offc:

    [1] Pretty useless article. [2] Vox may be a misguided bigot, but he’s put together a seemingly coherent and well reasoned case.
    [3] How do people respond? By telling us how “vile”, “sick” and “repulsive” he is.

    1. To fanbois, sure.

    2. To fanbois, sure.

    3. People should lie, instead?

    [1] Why go ad hom? Give us the data, the facts to prove why he is wrong. [2] Don’t rely on pre-existing morality to fill people with disgust at his comments, you should be reinforcing why sexism and racism are wrong from a logical perspective.

    1. He makes claims ad culo about what scientists supposedly would imagine are scientific claims; he’s not even wrong.

    2. A logical perspective, eh?

    By using social dogma against superficially logical rhetoric you look like the metaphorical preacher arguing with a scholar.

    <snicker>

    (You make such puppy eyes at the Beale fellow… it’s cute)