No need to cherry pick

Like one of his religious opposites who’d never read them, J.J. Ramsey finds it difficult to believe that I didn’t cherry pick the easiest New Atheist arguments:

I took a read of Vox Day’s book, and some of it I skimmed or skipped. I’d say that his book is a good example of what happens when advocates for atheism get lazy. I’m not impressed by Day, and I am especially suspicious that he has cherry-picked or otherwise played with data when comparing crime rates of red (Republican) counties to blue (Democratic) counties. However, he legitimately jumped on dodgy arguments from atheists, such as the questionable connection between religion and war, and Dawkins’ shaky Ultimate 747 argument. In general, I’d say that the strength of his book is inversely related to the strength of his opposition.

Apparently, JJR finds it hard to believe Sam Harris, and by extension, Richard Dawkins, could have gotten it so wrong with the ridiculous Red State argument about the immorality of the religious faithful. But all the relevant data is right there on the CNN and FBI websites, there’s no need to trust me on any of it. JJR’s general conclusion is correct, he just clearly doesn’t understand the extent to which it is true.

It’s partly amusing and partly frustrating that on the one hand, you’ve got a lot of atheists bleating that there’s no way TIA could possibly refute the bestest minds of the brights so it must be nothing but strawman construction, while on the other, a minority of atheists who have actually read the book are saying that while I did successfully refute the arguments I attacked in the book, I must have avoided the really strong ones. But I attacked every major argument made in those books, as well as a dozens of minor ones, so I have no idea where these brilliant arguments that Dawkins, Harris and company have made are supposed to be found, because they certainly aren’t found anywhere in their books.

On a tangential note, don’t get too impressed by the Professor, Brent. I’ll show you how his points are spurious, to the extent they’re even relevant at all, once he finishes. In fact, he’ll discover himself how most of his points are incorrect once he reads a little farther. As to the slavery question, the fact that thousands of women are being trafficked to and from the civilized world is conclusive proof that the moral question has not been settled. I have no problem with constructing a moral argument for sex slavery on the basis of Sam Harris’s own happiness/suffering metric, needless to say, others have found their own moral justifications. The anonymous questioner is, like Harris himself, confusing legality with morality. The two are not unrelated, but they are by no means identical.