Saturday, December 31, 2005

Der Kurier: Sponsorship lie about porn posters

The Austrian opposition parties seem agreed that the ÖVP must give an accounting of its support for the "25 Peaces" poster campaign that included the posters referred to in my previous post. Here is my translation of one of the articles ["'Sponsorship lie' about the porno posters"] I listed in that post:

The FPÖ and SPÖ [the two main opposition parties] are united in their criticism of Federal Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel [of the ruling ÖVP] in the discussion concerning the EU poster campaign "25 Peaces".

FPÖ leader Heinz-Christian Strache accused the head of the government of hypocrisy. "Schüssel is trying in a hypocritical way to [die Kurve zu kratzen], because the values-conservative Austrians are resisting these stupid provocations," opined Strache. In fact it was the case that the payment of half a million Euros for the whole campaign was in the area of responsibility of the chancellor. Schüssel knew precisely "what bizarre subjects" were to be foisted upon the people. The FPÖ chairman was concerned that Austria had made a fool of itself internationally "to its very marrow". A detailed investigation of all events was now called for, especially of the support of art with tax monies.

Lie about sponsorship

After the numerous falsehoods in which Wolfgang Schüssel and the Chancellor's office have entangled themselves in recent days, the latest trick with which Schüssel wishes to deceive Austrians is flopping as well: the lie about the sponsorship", said SPÖ chairman Josef Cap. It is in fact the case that the government resorted to using a dividend of the state holding company ÖIAG--"and thereby public funds", in order to subsidize the "EU porn posters", rather than (as the Chancellor's office had claimed) that the support relied on an external sponsorship by the ÖIAG. Finance minister Karl-Heinz Grasser must also explain himself, according to Cap.


The federal spokesperson for the Greens, Madeleine Petrovic, regarded the poster campaing as a good idea in principle. However: "It has clearly gone completely awry." Some consideration should have been given to the timing before the presentation was made. Furthermore, policy could have been prepared for the debate that followed. To drop the controversial subject-matter "like a hot potato" demonstrates lack of spine--especially on the part of Chancellor Schüssel and Secretary for Art Morak, who was apparently "taken completely by surprise" by the content of the works. Petrovic regards it as inappropriate to simply say now "My name is Bunny, I know nothing" [idiomatic expression with rough semantic equivalence to Sgt. Schulz's "I know nothink!"]. She demands a "complete accounting" for the financing of the campaign.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Austrian Billboards depict Elizabeth II, Chirac, Bush Having Sex

(Scroll down for updates)

I haven't checked the Swedish papers lately, but when I toodled over to Svenska Dagbladet to find info on Cheap Monday jeans, I came across this interesting and "revealing" story: "Sexskyltarna togs ner i natt" ("Sex billboards taken down over night"). Here is my translation of the article:

The controversial billboards that showed Queen Elizabeth and European heads of state having sex together were taken down in the night.


Early this morning the billboards with Queen Elizabeth, President Jacque Chirac, and President Bush were taken down from streets in Vienna. Also a placard portraying a woman in only panties with an EU symbol was removed.

The signs threatened to become a painful matter for Austria, which now assumes the chairmanship of the EU. The chancellor of the Union Wolfgang Schuessel had appealed to the artists behind the works to have them taken down. The signs had received much criticism in the press and on television. They were regarded as sexist and pornographic and an embarrassment for Austria's chairmanship, which was inaugurated on Sunday.

The Spanish artist Carlos Aires, who is behind the work with Bush and Chirac, says that he received the vision of the three heads of state having sex with one another while everything around them collapses. Tanja Ostojic, who created the panty billboard, complained about what she called "the censorship of the general public".

But both went along with the idea that the works of art had to be taken down so that they didn't overshadow the 23 other works of art which were included in the same project.

Now I'll have to run over to Die Presse, Der Kurier, and maybe even Die Neue Kronenzeitung to get more info. Assuming the Kronen Zeitung hasn't changed since the late 1970's, it will probably have hi-res pictures of the billboards.

UPDATE: Die Presse has the panty poster here. You can see a reasonably good image of the Bush/Chirac/Elizabath sign here.

Die Presse and Der Kurier have slide-show like webapps that lets you browse the posters.

Der Kurier has the following headlines (my translations):

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Intelligent Design and the PA Ruling at ChicagoBoyz

James Rummel at ChicagoBoyz has a post about the Pennsylvania ruling on intelligent design titled "Science in the Classroom". He begins by describing his efforts at breeding golden retrievers, which leads him to the success of selective breeding in producing the many dog breeds we see today. He continues:

That is pretty much at the heart of evolution. Some sort of environmental cause either reduces the chance for organisms with a certain inherited trait from breeding, or it increases the chances for individuals from the same species with a different trait. Undesired traits are bred out of the species while those that increase the chance of hooking up become commonplace. This is, in fact, the basis for just about all of our modern biological science.

The key phrase here is "some sort of environmental cause". While human-directed animal husbandry in all its useful forms makes a dandy illustration of the power of genetics and heredity, it represent precisely the opposite sort of environmental cause to what naturalistic evolution calls for. Naturalistic evolution (as opposed to something like theistic evolution) is predicated upon the notion that the all the environmental causes that bear upon the origin of the species and their traits are strictly ateleological, that is, without any goal, purpose, or intention whatsoever. Yet the actions of dog breeders like James are nothing if not goal-directed and purposeful--that is to say, teleological to their very core. Human-directed animal husbandry is the opposite of Dawkin's blind watchmaker (unless perhaps you are an eliminative materialist), and therefore it provides no confirmation at all for natural selection taken as a strictly ateleological process.

In this post James also says:

If the judge had ruled the other way, then graduates from PA universities would have had a real problem finding positions in the medical and biological fields. It¿s true that higher education has little to do with what is taught in public grade school, but they probably would have been tarred by the same brush.

If James is correct about this, then it speaks quite poorly for the medical and biological fields. Are the practitioners of those fields really so blinded by prejudice that they think that anyone who has been exposed to ID is necessarily an intellectual reprobate? Is the situation of such high school graduates so hopeless that one needn't bother to evaluate their actual merits? Surely scientists would demand actual empirical evidence of taint before consigning whole groups of people to the trash heap--at least one well-designed study demonstrating a statistically significant correlation between exposure to ID in high school and the inability to do good science or medicine later.

I also entered the fray in the comments: one, two, and three.