His posterior still clearly giving him an amount of pain, R. Scott Bakker keeps desperately trying to come up with a means of attacking me while avoiding the direct engagement that will expose him as the intellectual fraud he so clearly is:
Vox, it appears, has decided to wage a war of attrition, to keep throwing his cherries until people turn their bowls upside down. I’ve decided to oblige him. But since it stings my vanity knowing the self-aggrandizing way he’ll inevitably spin this, I figured I had better lay out some reasons, as well as discharge an old promise I made regarding the uses of abuses of arguing ad hominem.
Vox literally believes, if you recall, that he really is the winner of the Magical Belief Lottery. You might be inclined, on a occasion, to think that he is simply having one on, but I assure you, when he says things like, “Of course, I am a superintelligence, so the fact that [delevagus] been studying it for years whereas I read Sextus once on an airplane meant that it really wasn’t a fair contest,” he genuinely means it.
At this point, I’m inclined to simply take him as ‘Exhibit A’ of human irrationality. Some, in the jungle that has overrun the comment thread on the previous post, have suggested that I’m ‘running scared’ and the fact is, I am. But from what he represents, not what he ‘argues.’ Vox is what you might call an ‘epistemic bombast’–self-described. He literally believes he has the most powerful three pound brain in the universe. That, in my books, counts as delusional.
One thing I was always big on in my teaching days was what I called the ‘minimum condition of rationality.’ Once you realize that reason is primarily argumentative, as opposed to epistemic, you realize that reason is just as liable to deceive as to reveal. So the question you always need to ask yourself in any debate is whether you are the victim of your own ingenuity. You are more apt to use you intelligence to justify your stupidity post hoc—to rationalize—than otherwise. And that’s a fact Jack.
Thus the crucial importance of epistemic humility. Rational debate is impossible with epistemic bombasts simply because, as more and more research shows, reason is primarily a public relations device, a way to snag other three pound brains, and only secondarily epistemic, a way to snag the world. It is quite literally impossible to convince an epistemic bombast of anything on theoretical subject matters lacking any clear, consensually defined truth conditions.
This is why some cognitive psychologists are now arguing that rationality is quite independent of intelligence.
So what then is the measure of epistemic humility? How can you tell whether you should trust yourself, let alone your interlocutor?
Well some interlocutors, like Vox, make things easy for you. Vox is a self-declared epistemic bombast. As such, given that you accept that science is the best tool we have ever devised for sorting—even if only contingently—fact from fiction, you can write him off as a serious interlocutor.
In other words, you can safely dismiss him on ad hominem grounds.
He’s certainly desperate to do so. This is little more than another attempt to justify his own cowardice in failing to either answer my questions or accept my invitation to a written debate concerning his claims regarding the importance of Uncertainty and the intrinsic dangers of Certainty. His argument that he can safely dismiss me on ad hominem grounds, much less do so convincingly, doesn’t hold up, however, not only because it is a logical fallacy, but also because it is based on a complete falsehood. Wängsty is such a shameless liar, can anyone wonder why I repeatedly call him out for being such an intellectually dishonest charlatan? I don’t believe, literally or otherwise, that I possess “the most powerful three pound brain in the universe”. I’ve never claimed anything like that. I’m not the smartest one in my extended family and I wasn’t even the second-smartest in a house I shared with three other guys after college; both Horn and Big Chilly test out higher than I do. But I am a superintelligence nevertheless, and I do believe, with considerable evidence to justify that belief, that I’m observably more intelligent than Wängsty and his fellow wannabe PhD, Delavagus. This quite clearly, bothers them, as it appears to offend their sense of multiversal order that someone who does not share either their left-liberal ideological orientation or academic credentials could actually be more intelligent than they are.
Of course I genuinely believe it wasn’t a fair contest between Delavagus and me. Is there anyone who read the Dissecting the Skeptics series who did not? If so, do speak up and share your reasoning with us.
It is amusing, to be sure, that Scott asserts I am delusional while being simultaneously dumb enough to lie about things that anyone can easily check and confirm to be false. And it is even more amusing that he insists on a “minimum condition of rationality” while apparently failing to be aware that in the aforementioned unfair contest, Delavagus’s argument attacked human reason and asserted its self-refuting nature.
Scott is running scared and inclined to simply take me “as ‘Exhibit A’ of human irrationality” because I have consistently exposed his cowardice, his dishonesty, and his inability to argue his way out of a paper bag. He’s desperate to avoid direct engagement because he knows that what I will do to his arguments will make what I did to those presented by Delavagus look merciful in comparison. People have been telling Wängsty nearly from the start, eight months ago, that he had gotten me all wrong, but he keeps doubling down again and again on his original position… because you are a complete fraud when it comes to your Uncertainty Doctrine.
But as all the long-time readers here know, I won’t hesitate to continue beating the dead horse that is The Prince of Wängst until there is no longer so much as a maggot wriggling in the corpse. By the time the white flag flies, absolutely no one will take any of his claims seriously, mostly because he’ll have stripped every last vestige of intellectual integrity from himself.