Straw Men to Absurdity

Posted by Dan Billings on December 11, 2012 under Wading into the Potomac | 2 Comments to Read

When asked why Justice Scalia relates homosexuality with bestiality, he points to an argumentative style: reduction to absurdity, which demonstrates that a statement is true by showing that a false result follows from its denial or that a statement is false by showing that a false result follows from its acceptance. In other words, if we accept that homosexuality is okay, then bestiality or incest is okay. But bestiality and incest are not okay, therefore homosexuality is not okay.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin ScaliaFor a legal scholar, this is faulty logic, to say the least. This is a combination of a straw man and fear mongering. An absurdity can be drawn from any argument. To make a valid argument, the assertions must actually exist in the argument. In mathematics, this is a proof by contradiction. For example, when proving that the square root of two is irrational, the approach is a proof by contradiction.

Assume that the square root of 2 is rational.  Thus is can be expressed as a fraction of a/b, where a and b are integers, where at least one is odd because the fraction is expressed in lowest terms. If a/b is equal to the square root of 2, then a^2 = 2b^2. Thus a is even. Thus b must be odd. If a is even, then a^2 is a multiple of 4, so 2b^2 is a multiple of 4 and thus, b^2 would be even and so would b. So b is odd and even – which is a contradiction because b cannot be both odd and even. This is an assertion. Therefore, the initial assumption that the square root of two is rational must be false.

Irrational!

For Justice Scalia’s argument to be true, there must exist some assert in the argument between bestiality or incest and homosexuality. I wish someone would push him on this point.

His second point seems to be completely different:  “If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against other things?”

And I say, yes. You can have moral feelings against homosexuality, murder, or anything. You can have moral feelings for homosexuality, murder, or anything. But we live in a society where mores are discussed by cultures. If a culture decides that murder is immoral and then illegal, then if there are three people in that culture who disagree, it is up to those people if they want to shift their beliefs, leave the culture, or just accept that they are different.

I believe it is morally reprehensible that capital punishment is legal in this country. I believe our use of torture and the current use of drones are morally wrong. I can have these beliefs, just like Justice Scalia can have his beliefs. But at the end of the day, capital punishment is legal because more people believe in it than disagree with it. I live in a state with a capital punishment moratorium. I voted for a President who uses drones all the time. I made these decisions as a member of my society.

Justice Scalia is more than able to believe that homosexuality is wrong. But he is on the losing side of history. More and more people don’t agree with that morality. Morality changes – I just saw the movie Lincoln and will be writing about that soon. To think that people at the end of the civil war were still debating if slavery is a moral right or that universal suffrage was against all moral fiber does not make sense today.

All New X-Men 1-3

Posted by Dan Billings on December 7, 2012 under Off the New Comic Rack | Be the First to Comment

Some joke about Kansas…

Previously…Cyclops, possessed by the Phoenix, killed Professor Xavier. Wolverine runs a school. People are afraid of mutants again and there are more and more appearing after a few “years” of No More Mutants.

All New X-Men starts on a strange note. Like the last book called New X-Men, something is happening to Beast. But Stuart Immonen draws an awesome Beast. He is the focus of this first story arc, even though he falls ill. But you can tell exactly what is going on with him through his pain, his sorrow, and his decision to go back and grab the original X-Men at their most innocent.

Immonen does emotion well. In the third issue, where the story seems to pause for an issue, all of the problems with Magneto’s and Cyclops’s powers are apparent in their body language no the interesting use of cartoonish power failures.

The ink lines are consistent with recent Immonen pencils. It is a thick style that allows the characters to pop off the page. X-Men is at its best when it is a pop comic (as Grant Morrison noted when he took over the book). Though this isn’t the same pop he was referring to, it works. In the image below, the line work surrounding the returning X-Men but the background structures do not have the same dark lines. And for whatever reason, when I took this picture, Angel consumed the flash. Read what you will into that.

As for the story, we have three new mutants who I am sure will be Chandler-style guns: a girl who can stop time and space, a boy who can bring the injured back from the dead, and someone who can mimic the look of another person. So, obviously, we have a double agent, someone will be revived, and time and space will continue to be manipulated. As Cyclops builds his team, they will probably be there.

But why? Cyclops is supposedly trying to rehabilitate himself but he killed or injured a whole set of cops who had Emma in custody. Magneto is right – this isn’t a redemption story. Cyclops knew what he was doing and he will have to accept who he is now and how he came this far. I hope Bendis goes with this storyline as it could be really interesting. After finishing his Avengers run, there were so many possibilities that didn’t go anywhere. Let’s hope X-Men stays on track. And that Scott doesn’t do the X-arm sign like his just scored a touchdown again.

X-Men Forever!

Yes, my hands are backwards, but you get the point

The story is about the steps we take to get where we think we need to get. Beast warped time. Cyclops started a revolution. The other characters are there-but I will assume they will have more to do soon. And I hate Illyana. Why do so many Marvel writers like her? I don’t get the character at all. She seems horrible.

I enjoyed the dialogue. The story has a lot of potential. The art is amazing. It is definitely the cleanest artwork that I have seen thus far in Marvel Now. I’m in. If you’re interested, I have a digital code in the books, so the first person to leave a comment can get my digital codes for the three issues.