John Scalzi is a….

is a -what- people?  So far we’ve had idiot, moron, despicable prescriptivist and i’m sure there are plenty more.

What am I talking about?  This: http://scalzi.com/whatever/?p=603

For anyone who doesn’t already know, Scalzi posts a section on his blog called “The Big Idea”, where he has invited authors to speak about the ideas they explore in their novels.  It’s a fun series of posts that I quite enjoy whenever one pops up.

Then he did the unthinkable!  Scalzi, respected science fiction author and prolific blogger, posted a big idea that was sent to him by “Vox Day” about his book “The Irrational Atheist”.  How could he!  How dare he! How could our idol sully his name by giving a platform to crud of this calibre?

Grow up people.

If, like me, you’d never heard of Vox Day before, here’s what i’ve been able to figure out from the hyperbole.  Vox is an author (it’s a pseudonym I imagine but thats neither here nor there) who has taken it upon himself write oppositional books to the current flood of pro-atheism texts that are being published nowadays.  His idea is reasonably simple, use science to discredit atheism the same way that Dawkins uses science to discredit religion.

Sounds like a great idea to me.  Highly entertaining, I actually bookmarked the post so that I could pick up a copy of the book and give it a look.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect to get a great deal out of it.  I would read it for the same reason i’d read a Dawkins book (which I havn’t yet, I might add.) – Just to see what they think.  Understanding what other people think is a great way to examing exactly what it is you think.  Provided of course you do actually think, rather than just mimic.

I don’t expect to agree with him, but i’d find it passing interesting to hear what he has to say.  Eventually i’ll managed to work up the stomach to read a Dawkins book too – I’ve been interested in his work for some time, but the smugness that surrounds his followers like a putrid miasma has been too much for me to stomach, so i’ve yet to pick one up.

People all around the place right now are decrying Scalzi’s decision to give Vox Day a place to speak.  Posts are fast, furious and above all venomous. 

Personally, I applaud it.

There is no merit in a belief that is so weak it cannot stand for opposition.  There is no freedom in an opinion that represses those who do not hold to it.

These principles apply as much to those who would deny Vox a chance to talk about his book as they do to the creationists who try to ban the teaching of evolution.  There is a difference in scale, but at heart the issue is the same. True knowledge only comes from a free exchange of ideas, even those you might consider stupid.  Many truths were once considered stupid and many stupid ideas were discarded only after passing through many hands.

There is a classification for people who react the way so many of these atheists have to Scalzi’s post.  They’re called “Religious Fanatics”.

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