Archive | February 12, 2009

With Such A Lustre He That Runs May Read


Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.Spider-man may be gushing over Obama, but Nick Fury sure isn’t. In last week’s Secret Warriors #1, Fury finds out that S.H.I.E.L.D., the anti-terrorist organisation he’s worked for since Strange Tales #135 in 1965, has all along been a front for the terrorist group HYDRA. So he breaks into the White House to confront Obama; and although he decides the President’s not a HYDRA agent, the meeting is not exactly a warm one:

Obama: You know, most people have the humility to respect the office – if not the man – when they enter this room … Have you forgotten that, Colonel Fury?

Fury: I’ve been in this room with Eisenhower, Truman, Kennedy, Reagan, Johnson … Nixon … you know the list. That shit’s lost its luster.

Beauty in Alabama

APC 09Next month (March 7-9) the Auburn University Philosophy Department is hosting its first annual philosophy conference – the Auburn Philosophy Conference, or APC for short.

It’ll have a different topic each year; this year’s topic is Beauty.

This first time around we have only invited speakers (hence no call for papers); this approach may or may not continue in the future.

Check out the website.

Check out the poster.

Be there or be rhomboid!

Darwin 200

In honour of Charles Darwin’s bicentenary, an observation:

How are statists and creationists alike?

Charles DarwinFor one thing, as I’ve observed before, both “distrust invisible-hand processes and cannot conceive of order emerging except through some sort of centralised top-down control.”

For another, both raise the same hackneyed objections to spontaneous order again and again, as if these objections had not been answered in detail over and over. (For a good collection of links on evolution, see the TalkOrigins FAQ.)

For yet another, each loves to characterise its opponents as being religiously rather than scientifically motivated; statists accuse libertarians of having a “religious faith in the free market,” while creationists complain about the “Darwinist religion.” (Note: it is dialectically out of order to accuse one’s opponents’ conclusions of being faith-based until one has addressed and refuted – or at least shown some sign of understanding – their arguments.)

That’s why the spectacle of pro-market creationists and anti-market evolutionists would be amusing if it weren’t so depressing; each employs the same sloppy thinking and yahoo tactics on one issue that it rightly deplores on the other issue.

In fairness, it must be conceded that the opponents of statism and creationism share some vices as well. Many evolutionists write as though the truth of evolution established all sorts of metaphysical theses it does not remotely support (such as reductive materialism and sociobiology); likewise one all too often sees proponents of libertarian economic reasoning attempting to use it to undergird various dubious psychological, ethical, and sociological theses (such as psychological egoism, ethical subjectivism, or some variety of right-libertarianism).

Oh well. Anyway, happy birthday Charles Darwin!


CoralineI saw the movie (3D version, which is definitely the way to see it) of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline the other night; it was beautifully done (and all physically real stop-motion – no CGI) and I highly recommend it.

Admittedly, I have some gripes about the story changes (this review by Gary Westfahl captures many of my grumbles – read it!), and I also prefer the visual look of P. Craig Russell’s wonderful adaptation. But if you let ill-advised infidelity to source material ruin movies for you, you’re going to be unhappy way too often.

In related news, check out this hilarious/creepy clip of Gaiman himself advertising some movieBenjamin Button, I’m guessing?

In slightly less related news (and justifying the IP and LL tags), Gaiman takes a less annoying position than his agent on IP issues.

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