Double whoosh

Apparently Evil Bender not only missed the point of Monday’s column, he missed the entire omniderigence and free will discussion as well:

Like most wingnuts, Vox Day is afraid of knowledge…. For now, let me say that Vox’s argument, if valid, directly impeaches his God for worse things than science could ever be blamed for….

But if Vox wishes to blame the evils of the world on science, I’ll make two corollaries:

1) The evils of this world are the fault of God, who–in Vox’s theology–created the Universe, and so bears more responsibility for sin and death than science bears for the Bomb.

It’s amazing how atheists always gravitate to the kiddy theology and the baseless assertion. “But… but the song says ‘He’s got the whole world in His hands!'” As sin is the departure from God’s Will, He can only bear responsibility for His refusal to make us robots without free will. Now, we certainly could say that God’s creation of life therefore makes him responsible for the deaths which could not otherwise occur, but in that case, it’s a wash, it’s not a net positive or negative. Since the Bomb only ended lives, it is a net negative, given the obvious implication here that death = negative.

What, I wonder, does Vox think “take responsibility” mean? He seems to think that science is to blame because some of the billions who have benefited from medical science die–generally through the mistakes of individuals, and not through any problem with science itself. By Vox’s logic, scientists need to own up to being responsible for those who have an allergic reaction to a drug, no matter how many that drug might save.

Vox thinks “take responsibility” means to acknowledge that X is a direct cause of Y. If scientists are responsible for the lives saved by medical science, they are also responsible for the lives ended by medical science. If this is justifiable from a utilitarian perspective, that’s fine, but then make that utilitarian case. It is both dishonest and irrational to claim credit for the lives saved on the one hand but then refuse blame for the lives lost on the other.

But if, hypothetically, God exists and is kept from destroying evil due to His desire to respect the autonomy of His creatures (if he eliminated evil, he would effectively be eliminating free will), then it stands to reason that it’s up to humans to utilize the power that comes with knowledge responsibly. Thus far, humanity has a pretty awful track record in this regard.

There’s something to that argument, for those who buy the premise. But it isn’t the argument Vox is making.

Vox has repeatedly made that argument, as the commenter Poppies either knows or strongly suspects. Evil Bender is correct in saying that I didn’t make that tangential argument in that one particular 750-word column, but I have certainly made it on many occasions.