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Im always surprised how many people not only violate the laws of logic, but actually know very few of the logical fallacies (if any at all). It seems many simply have not had even a formal introduction to logic.

This got me to wondering what the appropriate age would be to introduce individuals to these laws - and how to go about it. I remembered the old Schoolhouse Rock shorts they had on Saturday mornings. But I thought it would be amusing to approach it from a superhero point of view. And thus the idea of 'Rational Man' was born.

Rational Man - Champion of Truth in AisA City. :D

Thinking about it off the cuff, it was fun to start coming up with villians. For instance, the arch villan would be "Straw Man", an enemy who seems able to multiply without end. When you destroy one incarnation, more rise up in its place.

Then there is "The Authority" - a villan who assumes the role of civic leaders, scientists and other respected members of the community.

Of course there is "The Contradiction Gang" - a motely, roving band of misfits who end up fighting themselves more than anyone else, but who leave much destruction in their wake.

"The Floating Abstraction" - a former magician turned notorious con artist who tries to make the unreal seem real in order to achieve his dastardly ends.

"Post Hoc" - a once famous greek scientist who sought to create a time machine. Unfortunately, one of his experiments went horribly wrong and rendered him completely mad.  Ever since, he he has sought to drive the rest of humanity just as insane by trying to reverse cause and effect.

"Question Begger" - from the slums of calcutta, QB rises to power on the bootstraps of his long lost brother "The Ridler". Just like his brother, he employs riddles to confuse his opponents. The only difference is that his riddles are always self-referential.

"Mob Man" (aka "Consensus Boy") - a desparate villian who ends up leading a new gang in every issue.  He derives his power from the muscles of those who follow him.

"The Equivocator" - a shapeshifter who can assume the form of anyone - but is revealed when his behavior does not match those he impersonates.

Red Herring - she is a shadowy figure who uses elaborate misdirection to achieve her evil plans.  

"Mudslinger" - A slimy creature from the swwampy depths. He is more an annoyance than an actual villian.  As such, he is usually a sidekick, and can be found in the company of any of the other villains.


As I thought it through, it occured to me this could indeed be made into little vignettes - no more than 5-10 min long (max) - and could be animated flash movies easily distributed over the web to anyone - including elementary school kids.

So what do you all think? Mild-mannered Philosophy teacher who's true identity is "Rational Man" done in a style reminicent of the classic superman comics.



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Not to steal your thunder, RadCap, but....

Here are some more supervillains:

Bifurcation Boy: a strange creature who only seems able to see left and right, but never straight ahead or any other angle in between. When he's not in disguise, he's aka Mr. False Dichotomy, a smooth government official who's either Democrat or Republican on every issue.

The Antecedent Denier, and his sidekick, The Consequent Affirmer: more dyslexic than villainous, they have considerable trouble with statements of the "if ... then ..." form.

The Vicious Circularizer: his favorite weapons are those annoying schoolbus songs that go on and on repeating themselves over and over again for forever and a day while not actually saying anything.

The True Scotsman: aka Angus, he puts sugar on his porridge.

The Presupposer: sidekick to The Question Begger, his only known words are, "Have you stopped beating your wife?" Particularly powerful like his mentor, he has the unique ability to install unearned guilt in the hearts of his most fearless opponents.

Some other superheroes are:

The Architect: (you know).

The Trainmistress: (guess).

The Principled Pirate: (nobody's gonna tell you).

Captain Copper: (figure it out).

Fifthconcertoman: (no hints).

"Who Am I": (come on).

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So what do you all think?  Mild-mannered Philosophy teacher who's true identity is "Rational Man" done in a style reminicent of the classic superman comics.

I think you have the seeds for a really good children's book. Most of your characters cleverly depict the fallacies and lend themselves well for good illustration. Flesh out the characters in writing, get a good artist for the drawings, find a good publisher, and you just might have a best seller.

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"Mob Man" (aka "Consensus Boy") - a desparate villian who ends up leading a new gang in every issue.  He derives his power from the muscles of those who follow him.

Consensus Boy ought to be Mob Man's sidekick rather than his alias.

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I second Erandror's Cox and Forkum suggestion, Ash's promise to purchase, and Charles T's request for a referral to a good formal logic introduction.

I am particularly tickled by "AisA City" and Rational Man's alter-ego as the mild-mannered philosophy teacher.

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Wow, I didn't know there would be such enthusiasm for the idea. You all are quite encouraging, especially considering this is something I originally only gave about 15 min thought.

In that 15 min, I did consider Captian Logic as well as Rational Man for the hero. However, I prefer Rational Man for a couple reasons. For one, any human being can be a rational man. <_< Also, reason includes more than just logic. So if this were to become a 'best seller', Rational Man can defend AisA City from more than just the enemies of logic. (This is one of the reasons I thought it might be fun to include "Logic Boy" sometimes, because - among other things - he can serve as an example of how logic, divorced from reality, is irrational. Or who knows, maybe he can be a competing super hero. A good guy doing wrong because his logic is sometimes divorced from reality.)

The idea of collaborating with Cox and Forkum is definitely an interesting avenue to pursue. I really like their artistic style and their talent to suscinctly concretize abstract ideas. So I'll definitely have to consider that.

At the moment I am in the middle of fighting a bit of a medical related legal battle (while battling the medical condition itself), so I don't have a ton of time to spend on this in the immediate future. However, in my spare time since posting this, I have been gathering ideas on what "Rational Man" should look like. Im thinking something along the lines of a very stylized greek wrap (which acts as a cape, but which he wraps over his shoulder when standing), but am also considering some sort of integration of stylized greek armor as well.

I have been surprises at the lack of pictures available which depict authentic greek clothing on the internet.


As to a good introduction to logic, it has been so long since I took a class in college I really dont remember what textbook was used. However, I do have Dr. Peikoff's audio series, coincidentally entitled "Introduction to Logic". :angry: It is a very good course. (And if I recall correctly, he does recommend a textbook or two on the subject, though again I do not specifically recall their titles). The audio series is available at: www.aynrandbookstore.com Besides the series, I believe they have a few books on logic as well. I am sure any of them would be a very good as introductions to logic.

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As to a good introduction to logic, it has been so long since I took a class in college I really dont remember what textbook was used.

Did someone ask for a recommendation on a logic text? I must have missed that.

It is difficult to find a decent logic text -- logic in the traditional sense of the word -- written after mid-twentieth-century. An older text, but an excellent one, is H.W.B. Joseph, An Introduction to Logic, Oxford at the Clarendon Press, 1906--.

Mine is a rather old well-worn copy, but the Objectivist publisher who I mentioned previously, Fred Weiss, has reprinted Joseph's book, and it is available from him at http://papertig.com/Logic.htm

I also notice that he has Lionel Ruby's logic text, which has been recommended by Harry Binswanger and also mentioned by Peikoff.

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Glad to see Stephen could fill in my memory blanks. <_<


Thinking more about "Rational Man", if the idea ever did really take off and eventually branched out to more than just logical fallacies, etc - it could turn out that some of these villians are part of an even bigger organized 'crime' gang in AisA City, ruled with an iron fist (perhaps literally? heh) by the "Mystical Mage" - who could end up being Rational Man's arch enemy.



Oh - and I forgot to address the comments about the creator of Spiderman. I believe you are referring to Steve Ditko, who is considered a co-creator of Spiderman, along with Stan Lee. I do not know enough about the man (save I recall he created a character called "Mr. A" who had a black and white calling card), so I am not certain whether Steve is an objectivist or a libertarian. Perhaps others know more and would be willing to inform us better.

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For more see




He returned to Charlton where he produced such titles as Captain Atom, Blue Beetle, and The Question. In the pages of The Question Ditko began infusing his own philosophy which stemmed from Ayn Rand's objectivism.

By 1968, Ditko was producing work for DC Comics where he created characters such as The Creeper and The Hawk and the Dove. Ditko used these tales, ostensibly in the superhero genre, to espouse and explore various ethical issues. Either because many readers found the preachiness in some of these stories unpalatable, or perhaps due to disagreement with the artist's philosophy, Ditko's work was not as popularly received as previously. Ditko's more personal projects, such as Mr. A and Avenging World, display his political sentiments vividly, and have demonstrated little commercial appeal.

Ditko currently resides in New York City. Though a prolific and hard-working artist he is also an intensely private man. Preferring to let his work speak for itself, he has refused interviews, profiles and public appearances.

Some of the aspiring comic-writers here may care to look him up. :)


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Cool - the pics are interesting. :)


Oh - had a complimentary idea to go along with the kids book. Trading cards for each of the characters - On the front is a picture of the character. On the back is their history, which integrates their particular fallacy and explains how to defeat them. :)

I remember as a kid I used to love trading cards. And from what some have told me, they are even more diverse and more popular now.

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Well - I had some time to kill today, so I played around a bit again with the Rational Man concept and came up with this:


You will have to forgive its crudeness. I made this more as a testbed for color schemes and clothing design than as a finished comic character representation. (That and Im not very proficient when it comes to drawing with a laptop touchpad. My skills are much better suited to pen and paper. So REALLY ignore things like the hair etc - heh).

Anyway, I thought about the character and made some decisions. First, he has no super powers - because the ability to reason IS his power. Thus he uses technology - the product of reason - to gain advantage over his enemies (when reason alone is insufficient).

The red, leather-like clothing he wears is projectile-proof (ie much more than just bullet-proof). The armbands, besides protecting his arms from the blows of heavy items, also contain touchscreens with communication and computer access. His cape serves a very functional purpose (amongst others) - it is resistant to most energy weapons (which explains the reason he wraps it around himself). And the gold head band provides him enhanced audio and visual abilities (changing its shape when required).

I haven't decided if he will carry obvious weapons (like a hand pistol under the cloaked shoulder, or straped to his legs) or if there will be some attached to his back armor)

Not bad for a philosophy teacher, eh?

Ive also given AisA City some consideration as well. I've decided the series will take place in the near future, and will have a very futuristic, very clean look to it. Something like a futuristic version of Hong Kong crossed with Chicago. And who knows, some of the companies there may seem somewhat familiar. ;)

Anyway - what do you think? On the right track?

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