2015/01/27

Magnificent Bastard

YouTube user Insensitive Bastard has prepared a short video relating the struggle fought by GamerGate to the plight of SFF authors who put story before message. (Be advised: Insensitive Bastard isn't just a name. Expect some rather earthy language speaking truth to power.)


2015/01/24

Larry Correia on Geek Gab


Quick but major update: multiple best selling author Larry Correia will be joining us on Geek Gab tomorrow night at 7PM Eastern.

Log in to YouTube for the live chat that will accompany the podcast.

2015/01/19

Second Geek Gab Appearance


I joined Daddy Warpig and Dorrinal for another episode of Geek Gab last night. Myriad pop culture topics were discussed, including Academy Award contender American Sniperfifteen reasons why the 70s was the best decade for horror films ever, and addictive indie genre mashup game Crypt of the Necrodancer.

The last time they had me on Geek Gab I had a total blast, and based on my co-hosts' reactions, lightning seems to have struck twice. In fact, I'm overjoyed to announce that I've accepted Daddy Warpig and Dorrinal's invitation to co-host the show on a regular basis.

I hope to hear from you folks every Sunday at 7PM Eastern.

End transmission.

2015/01/12

Empress Theology and Queen Philosophy

The commendable Tom Simon writes about the contempt which late Moderns have been conditioned to hold for theology and philosophy:
Only the philosophers and theologians, nowadays, try to concern themselves with the entirety of any question, from first principles down to final answers. And we have taught the humans to regard both philosophy and theology as useless and even stupid pursuits, and thereby cut them off from any possibility of meaningful knowledge.
Mr. Simon has his finger firmly planted on the most colossal intellectual deception of our age. Passing over mangled quotes about a lie's believability being proportional to its bigness, the propaganda campaign against speculative reason has had very real and detrimental effects on Western civilization.

The reason is simple. If you limit your thinking to matters of immediate utility, you remain ignorant of the reasoning behind your actions and the ultimate ends you're laboring toward. Things still get done under such a scheme, but we're increasingly prone to forget that the why of something is as important as--if not more important than--the how.

Professor Stephen Hawking's famous report of philosophy's demise shows how even the most brilliant among us are so pre-rationally biased against speculative reason that they unironically make philosophical statements declaring philosophy dead.

For anyone who's sympathetic to late Modern pragmatic utilitarianism, I've got bad news. Philosophy and her big sister theology are both quite alive--and even worse, from your viewpoint, relevant.

Philosophy sets forth the criteria whereby we can know whether or not our ideas conform to reality. All other disciplines depend on this sole prerogative of the Queen of Sciences. Contort your thinking all you like, her writ is inescapable short of forsaking rational thought altogether.

You can rightly object that, by philosophy's own rules, reliance on reason can't justify itself by itself. What cause, then, have the West's philosophers to trust human reason?

The first principles of logical thought rest on axioms--propositions that can't be proven logically, but which have the character of universal laws that must be true for rational thought to take place. A further objection arises: why not deny the axioms? Why put faith in rational thought?

This is the point where Queen Philosophy must yield precedence to her fellow and elder sovereign Empress Theology, who answers that faith is precisely how we know that the conclusions of human reason are trustworthy.

We do well here to consider that, besides love, few words have been as mangled at the hands of modernity as faith. The old saw that faith is persistent belief in the face of contrary evidence is as insipid as it is misleading. Faith isn't cockeyed optimism. It's not wishful thinking, and it's not self-deception. It is a transcendently gifted way of knowing with certainty. Ultimately, faith is what allows us to examine evidence and accept conclusions drawn from it.

For those of utilitarian bent, it's difficult to name anything more useful to the development of Western civilization than faith. It was faith in divinely imaged human reason that gave rise to the great universities. It's no accident that initially more advanced cultures, steeped in voluntarism and occasionalism, stagnated intellectually while the foundations of the scientific revolution were being laid in the West.

Why the relentless assault on speculative reason? Listing the specific historical-intellectual developments would fill volumes. I suspect that the ultimate motive for denigrating the sovereign sciences is simple human selfishness. The true object of philosophy is the Good Life, which is attained through practice of virtues that draw us out of ourselves and orient our thoughts and acts toward others. Philosophy is the love of wisdom, and love is always selfless.

The same goes double for theology, whose Subject (for a person can never be an object) is none less than love Himself. And this love is divine Wisdom. No rivalry exists between the royal sisters. The decrees of the elder confirm and uphold the younger's judgments.

I advise rebels against these great monarchs to recant their treason and seek the wisdom--offered freely at the city gate--that promises freedom from your errors. Theology and philosophy reign whether you acknowledge their authority or not. By casting aspersions on them, you only demean yourself.

2015/01/05

We Don't Have Enough Road

My informal study of book covers has prompted a question: is there some rule of graphic design that claims a causal relationship between sales and images of roads stretching from the foreground to a vanishing point in the background?





OK. This one's pretty much obligatory.


But this just seems like double-dipping.



The artist behind author Black Crouch's books especially favors the road motif.





Except sometimes it's a boat's wake.



To take a wild shot at it, the rationale behind cover designs like those above looks like an attempt to visually draw the reader into the book. An open road leading into the unknown is also a powerful symbol of storytelling itself.

Off-topic: Nyphron Rising by Michael J. Sullivan doesn't have a road on the cover.


But I love it anyway because it's a perfect synthesis of The Unforgettable Fire




And The Joshua Tree.