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  1. Past hour
  2. I need to find this interview again. We had been watching numerous ones and I thought it had occurred in one with Mike Wallace, but it must have been Donahue. I thought I heard her say, "My body dies, I do not die." I was so surprised because I had heard she was an atheist. That is not true to what they believe. I was seeped in Christianity for 40 years, and it took quite a bit of studying before I came out of it. I still believe in God, just not manmade dogma. To me, we all create and it starts in our mind. You do not have to be what one normally considers an artist, everything we do is with creative thoughts. So, how does one who "creates" NOT believe in a Creator? It seems like an oxymoron to me. No one has all the answers. Science has NOT discovered everything yet, and have had to retract some of their statements. There is too much unknown. The best way is to say "perhaps" to one another and let each take their own path so long as it does not bring harm to another. Interesting how "Ayn" is from the Hebrew Alef Bet.
  3. Today
  4. The Objectivist view is that sex is an expression of your self-esteem, not a means to gain self-esteem. It also holds that truly worthwile sexual experiences are based on genuine admiration for your partner's basic values, the same values that you hold. With that in mind, the best strategy is to find a long-term source of romantic and sexual fulfillment. Figure out what you want in a woman, then actively look for candidates that embody those values. Preferably outside of situations where you have to play dominance games with five other guys. Well, would Howard Roark be interested in one-upping Peter Keating?
  5. Yesterday
  6. Putting aside the debate over mind and concsiousness etc. I believe that a claim to the existence of any X where X has no causal interactions no causal consequences in reality is literally unknowable, because it cannot be detected or perceived even indirectly. For that something to cause the kinds of changes on the brain/mind which constitutes memory of it or thinking of it or anything in consequence of it, it first must be causal. Otherwise it would not have any impact on the identity of the mind and one would never know of it. As such, the claim is an arbitrary assertion. Only mystic revelation would explain how one could allegedly gain knowledge of an acausal existent.
  7. Can a button be added to the top banner like it used to be? https://tlk.io/objectivismonlinechat
  8. I think the lesson of this thread, which has been exhibited in the forum's reaction to more than one participant, is that if you confront a bunch of people who hold an ideology with a vague or non-specific objection to that ideology, the resulting discussion will generate more heat than light.
  9. Kaladin I think we have similar views although I might describe it a little differently. I would characterize the errors of epiphenomenalism as one of two errors incorporating a third: 1. claiming an attribute of consciousness, i.e. the attribute "what it is like to be an entity which is conscious", i.e. from a first person view etc. is itself what consciousness is, when in fact consciousness is an aspect of the causal and natural (physical, chemical, biological, etc.) functioning of the brain. The conclusion they make is that "what it is like to be something" can never be a cause and hence, consciousness itself is impotent. OR 2. Claiming that "what it is like to be an entity which is conscious" should in and of itself, and independent of the natural identity (physical, chemical, biological, etc.) of the conscious entity, be an independent causal agent... i.e. that an attribute of a thing should be causally independent of the identity of the thing, when in fact the attribute of the thing is not separable from the thing, things ARE their attributes. Both of these errors smuggles in the third error: the conflation of "what it is like to be X" (for any existent, a thermostat, a worm, a bat, a chimpanzee, a human) with a consciousness feeling/experiencing/thinking etc. which are examples of functioning of consciousness, not the mere "what it is like to be" feeling, experiencing and thinking. Surely the act of consciousness, feeling, thinking, experiencing, are causal, they are functioning of the natural mind. The "what it is like to be X" where X is anything, at all... that is equivalent to what it is to be X i.e. it simply is "to exist as X". There is no need for any extra layer of causation or layer of identity, it is almost a trivial redundancy. Everything is in a state of being what it is like to be what it is.
  10. Today
  11. So I've noticed that Objectivism has changed my life for the better during the few months since when I got into it. Always pursuing my rational self-interest has been very beneficial for me from many points of view. Socially speaking, I've made a lot more friends and became more confident. There's one aspect I can't seem to be able to get around though. How do I act in a subtly competitive social scenario? For example, when you're with your buddies and some hot girls are around and all of you wanna be that manly dominant guy who bosses the others around. Or generally speaking when you compete with others in a subtle way for being the most alpha person in that situation. I say 'subtle' because you're not really in a position of adversity towards the other people so you can't start a fight, you just gotta know what attitude to have and kinda talk your way to the top. I already appear to be an outgoing person, but I want to be the 'leader', as cheesy as that may sound. So what's the way to do that and what would Objectivism have to say about the mental state you should adopt in these situations?
  12. Yesterday
  13. What did you find wrong with Harriman's above quote?
  14. That's great, and I enjoy that attitude. My main point was that it's important to get an argument right. Also it is far from unique for Objectivists to get an opposing side's argument wrong. I think you exhibit this too, that you studied a lot so you think that you got the argument right. I don't doubt you understand a lot, but you seem to miss the main arguments about the basis to ethics, by using distinctions that aren't present. If you think survival and happiness are not unified, therefore Rand's ethics are untenable - that's a plausible argument. But it's wrong to say that Rand sees one as a means to the other, or that they are distinct phenomena. A common error is to dismiss all of an argument because you see the conclusion is false. People have trouble with counter-factuals. Even Objectivists. It takes practice.
  15. But they are dependent. Those "contradictory elements" Rand speaks to are necessarily held conceptually. Just as concepts are a form of awareness of existence, so contradiction is a form of awareness of consciousness, and the attempted union of concept and contradiction - an anti-concept - is an obstacle to awareness of existence (existence has no contradictions). For the attribution of acausality (the thesis I'm lambasting), the "disparate, incongruous, contradictory element" is the deployment of identity in opposition to causality. A concept which tries to integrate this impermissible, metaphysical divisibility can and should be designated an anti-concept. This is specifically why I included the phrase "[t]he adjectival form of "epiphenomenon", i.e., "the attribution of acausality", not a name. This is restating where I said, "the attribution of acausality contradicts the requirements of knowing an existent to attribute". The point was that knowledge-acquisition is a causal process, and an existent incapable of participating this process is an existent incapable of being knowingly attributed anything at all. I meant to say first*-person ontology. The fact that we both are and participate the systems which facilitate the capacity of self-awareness, that our knowing subject can at once be also object. Sorry for any confusion.
  16. That's Richard Lindzen, a man who is fighting the good fight. Here is a link on Lubos' blog about a talk Lindzen gave in Prague which Klaus also attended. Richard Lindzen's talk in Prague I am still a bit overloaded (also because the new phone I bought yesterday had a defective charging/battery and speaker so I returned it). So let me post some material that deviates from the most typical genre. John Archer wanted some report about Lindzen's talk in Prague. Here you have a fast translation of an initial draft of a report in Czech that I have to write. Here's a link to some ARI's contributions to the issue.
  17. The best video I've ever seen against climate change is this: I highly recommend watching it.
  18. Maybe you could also explain, as I am confused on this topic, what led to Peikoff's break off with Harriman. I mean, Harriman is with TAS now. Did Peikoff finally realize that Harriman was off on the topics of the book? Or was it something different? I downloaded Rovelli's article, but I am not sure I'd be interested in reading science any time soon. I am all about philosophy right now, and I can tell you right front: I do not respect Rovelli's philosophy. It's not an attack. It's a matter of fact.
  19. I think a typical Objectivist probably does not have a deep understanding of Kant or Hume. However, I think a typical Objectivist will have a better understanding of Kant and Hume than the general population, and that someone who is an Objectivist is much more likely than the general population to have seriously studied those authors.
  20. Smolin didn't approve of Harriman's book - I doubt he's even read it. As I understand the history of how The Logical Leap came to be, Peikoff hired (or ARI did) Harriman to co-author a book on induction in science -- but the project ended up becoming Harriman's in its entirety, with Peikoff's endorsement. Peikoff was instrumental in its development, but probably because of the complex, technical nature of the subject matter, Peikoff realized that it would be disingenuous for him to claim to be a co-author of such a book. (Someone please feel free to correct me if my take on the history of the book is wrong.) I have lots of problems with the book, but it's still worth reading. Wrt to String Theory, I knew who Smolin was many years before TLL was even written. And I was aware of the "String Wars" in science that Smolin's book The Trouble with Physics initiated. I've also followed the blog of a prominent string theorist for about 8 years too - Czech Physicist Lubos Motl, The Reference Frame - whom I have a great deal of respect for in part because of his opposition to Global Warming and his support of Vaclav Klaus and Free Market Economics. He has many articles critiquing both Smolin and Rovelli - in great technical detail - that you might be interested in. You had never even heard of Rovelli before I mentioned him, and I know that you haven't had time to review anything that he's published since yesterday - so it's wrong to claim that you don't "respect" him until you understand him. This is just the type of "attack" against people that I see as unproductive in this discussion. Rovelli's Relational Quantum Mechanics is technical, but it can be followed if you have some understanding of the topic. Here is a link to his 2008 paper that I suggest you read if you want to learn more. RQM .
  21. From a recent reading of Marshall Rosenberg's Nonviolent Communication comes the following amusing lesson about using positive language to make requests (be they of others or oneself). The author, disappointed in himself for failing to use his own communication techniques during a televised debate, had vowed never to repeat his mistakes again: A chance to redeem myself came the very next week when I was invited to continue the debate on the same program. All the way to the studio, I repeated to myself all the things I didn't want to do. As soon as the program started, the man launched off in exactly the same way he had a week earlier. For about ten seconds after he'd finished talking, I managed not to communicate in the ways I had been reminding myself. In fact, I said nothing. I just sat there. As soon as I opened my mouth, however, I found words tumbling out in all the ways I had been so determined to avoid! It was a painful lesson about what can happen when I only identify what I don't want to do, without clarifying what I do want to do. (loc. 1468)This reminded me of advice I received early in my stint in the Navy: When filling out your preferences for Permanent Change of Station Orders, only list where you'd prefer to go. Why? Because if you said where you didn't want to go, whatever that place was, is what would be in the mind of whoever later processed the form. Rosenberg's anecdote, amusing and instructive on its own merits, is so in another way, but unintentionally: The author clearly failed to follow his own advice when naming his book. I blame his altruistic moral philosophy for that oversight, along with many other shortcomings of his nevertheless valuable book. The influence of altruism on Rosenberg's thinking was so pervasive that at every level, it was often necessary to think carefully about what made a given point good or bad. This is on top of the fact that the author never defines what he regards as "violent": The closest he ever got was, towards the end of the book, was when he referred to the way most people communicate as, "life-alienating communication" (loc. 3646). So communication is supposed to further "life", but since Rosenberg is an altruist, he skirts around lots of points that would really hit home if expressed in egoistic terms. (Instead, he either misses or evades lots of connections that someone familiar with Ayn Rand's ideas will often make without much effort.) It is somewhat fitting, then, that the author also misses out on a positive title, which might have been something like, Mutually Beneficial Communication. -- CAV P.S. For anyone familiar with Nonviolent Communication or interested in Marshall Rosenberg's work, I am passing along, with permission, the following announcement from the Thinking Directions Weekly newsletter: II. Free Webinar Rationally Connected Conversations Sunday, July 23, 2017 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. Eastern (12 noon PT, 1:00 p.m. MT, 2:00 p.m. CT) Defensiveness on either side of a conversation kills the connection and dooms communication. In this talk, Jean Moroney will introduce a method for unilaterally eliminating defensiveness from both sides of a conversation. The method is egoistic interpretation of the work of Marshall Rosenberg. When one person uses it, it brings out the rational best in both people. Register here: https://www.mcssl.com/WebForms/WebForm.aspx?wid=0293f3c6-88ad-4cb9-9b8b-796fe2c04bf7 Do note the even more egoistic title than I came up with in the post above. I first heard about Nonviolent Communication from someone who had learned about it from the Thinking Directions site. After benefiting from other books I'd heard about there, I knew it would be worthwhile and am glad to have read it. This should be an interesting and valuable webinar.Link to Original
  22. This is excellent news. It shows evidence of a segment of the connection between quantum and cosmic levels (here on earth). Two things I want to elaborate on for you specifically, EC, as you are new to this discussion: I argued against the Loop quantum gravity, a theory that competes with string theory but bases itself also on quantum gravity (but philosophically vastly different). Also, when I mentioned that gravity for strings is an a posteriori fact (and even than a fact of mathematics, not an empirical fact), I want to stress that a posteriori doesn't exclude necessary conclusions, as Saul Kripke wonderfully argued, contrary to what all Kantians believe.
  23. New Buddha, I sincerely apologize concerning ad hominem attacks. I try to delete them when I proofread my comments, but some do get through, based on emotions I feel at the moment. Notice also, although that doesn't excuse me one bit, that they are indirect attacks. I would never directly attack anyone on this forum! Yes, there is also a contradiction on my part (based also on emotions, rather than proper reasoning). When you brought up LQG I was a bit surprised because I've never heard about it before, and since I disagreed with the Atomic article I decided to attack the theory too, not realizing that my disagreement was with its philosophy, not science, of this particular writer. (It's funny, though, that he also confuses philosophy with science, as in his book on Anaximander.) In any case, we should stick to philosophy here, as I am not a professional scientist, just an amateur like Peikoff is. The 'deception' part is a rhetorical tactic I've used too often, so I will try to hold off on that. I respect Peikoff greatly (much more so than Rovelli), and when the contradiction was obvious I hated attacking him. I am also surprised that Lee Smolin "approved" of Harriman's book (that's indeed quite a shift in the scientific community if that is indeed so!), as I didn't grasp that from your previous comment. Could you reference exactly the "approval"? Only a posteriori as an explanation, yes, as happens in M-theory (necessitating the presence of gravity by the structure of strings). In any case, as I quoted from Wikipedia, gravity is added after quantum evidence was coded into strings. Yes, and here I once again refer to string theory. Notice that Einstein's and Hawking's original explanations (equations, descriptions) had nothing to do with actual quanta. The idea that information is not lost in black holes and that holographic principle is fruitful in understanding them comes from Leonard Susskind, one of co-founders of string theory (and the principle exponent, I would say). In the Diagram I've added him as an integrator of a completely new kind, undiscovered yet by Peikoff or any of Objectivists. But seeing that someone on this forum is actually approving of him is another great surprise (of today)!
  24. How fitting it was that Liberty Enlightening the World should have been commissioned to Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, resident of La Ville-Lumière. The subtle depths of Rand's use of light is likewise portrayed in Atlas Shrugged via: "If I had staged it intentionally, I would have beaten the record of the Emperor Nero" — the classic example of vicious irresponsibility via his fiddling, or singing of poetry, whilst Rome burned.


  25. Last week
  26. Actual usage of quantum gravity from literally today. https://www.ibm.com/blogs/research/2017/07/scientists-observe-gravitational-anomaly-on-earth/
  27. No a theory of quantum gravity must exist. Explaining the physics of black holes would be impossible without it. Way too many explanations pop out of the equations, things like the holographic principle or bouncing branes causing the phase transition that we today see as "The Big Bang", etc., that it is virtually certain that we on the right track with M- theory. I'm an Objectivist and also certain that the various Objectivist intellectuals who attempt to shoot down string theory are always attacking a straw man that they simply don't understand while taking an extremely rationalist view point regarding physics that doesn't jive with reality at high energies.
  28. I do agree with this. It caught my eye too the first time I read it and, in marginal notes, I underlined it and wrote, "disagree". I have many disagreements with H.'s book, but I did read the entire thing and do agree with his take on ST.
  29. I'm getting tired of this type of ad hominem attack either directed at me or anyone you disagree with. In the previous post you questioned if I'm an Objectivist because I'm being "deceived" by Rovelli, and state that is something that Peikoff would never happen to him. When I show evidence to the contrary - since he approved Harriman's book - you then say that Peikoff and Harriman aren't qualified to understand current work in QM. You can't have it both ways.
  30. I stopped reading Harriman after two of his passages. The first one is his inaccurate attribution of rationalism and 'secularism' to Aristotle: That's deception concerning knowing who Aristotle really was (if you were ever serious about studying him). The second passage showed the complete failure of Harriman's entire project of The Logical Leap (edited by Peikoff): This is an overgeneralization that is flawed at the root. First of all, there is no way of knowing everything that's going on, as integrations are complex and multi-leveled. Secondly, only someone who is looking top-down (from an authoritative position) could even attempt to judge such absolute knowledge possible to acquire in this lifetime. And thirdly, Harriman contradicts himself when he starts to enumerate various points and aspects of integration, even though in this quote he evidently says it is not necessary to do so, when you are dealing with a (nebulous) "total." Frankly, and additionally, neither Harriman (M.S.) nor Peikoff (PhD in philosophy) grasp the current work in quantum mechanics and the interpretations of this theory, which are not all fantasies, contrary to what these men would like us to believe. One obvious flaw of The DIM is its consistency in getting all the advanced physical facts wrong. (Ask any professional physicist and they will laugh Peikoff's Ch. 6 out of discussion.) Now, as for the quoted attacks on string theory: About each point: 1) That is called the false vacua of the multiverse, a complexity of a much greater scale than we before could even imagine about our reality (and some unfortunately still can't, even after given rigorous formalizations). 2) I've already said in the previous comment that observation of a multiverse is not impossible a priori; the theory is very new and so ahead of its time that experimental science of a greater scale still needs to catch up to it. Perhaps starting to develop one's imagination won't hurt before we tackle the advanced problems of physics with this theory. 3a) Even though its far-reaching conclusions have yet to be proven, string theory (in toto) depends only on observable evidence already gathered thanks to quantum and relativity theories. In contrast to what some may believe, string theory doesn't postulate any new and undiscovered forces (such as gravitons) or fields (such as inflatons). Instead, it only describes all the currently known evidence and data about both the quantum and the cosmic scales (distinguishing the two). Without yet being able to observe the internal structure of particles, string theory postulates particles as strings, that is, strings being particles themselves, particle motion and quantum numbers attributed to how strings behave. Each unique string structure corresponds to factual data of individual particles (electrons, quarks, etc.). Hence, each particle from The Standard Model is visualized as a string. This visualization is crucial, both mathematically and intuitively, to be able to grasp problems of the universe that we would otherwise fail to even approach. 3b) I am not sure if you realize that Einstein's 'spooky action at a distance' came out to be true and is a fact today known as quantum entanglement. Without the string theory's explanation of particle motions in multiple dimensions, there is no intuitive way of explaining quantum entanglement. Hence, it is the strength of the string theory in taking account of actual, otherwise unexplainable phenomena on not only quantum level but also on the cosmic level (such as black holes). Concerning advanced physics that you seem to favor without actually understanding what it entails, here is something: The inductive approach shared by integrators is to go ground up. In this case, ground-up, and not top-down, is the view of string theory. LQG, in its very description, contradicts integration. On the other hand, let me be more sympathetic. There is a new, more or less promising theory that combines spacetime quantization and multiple dimensions. Roberts seems to integratively grasp how spacetime can be properly quantized without atomistic reduction of LQG, and he also simplifies (or dumbs down) the 11 dimensions from the M-theory extension of string theory. Now, his view is interesting and may provide new ideas and perspectives on old problems, but I doubt it could count for more, as it is still very limiting, compared to competing theories. In any case, I will leave you with your own thoughts.
  31. From David Harriman's The Logical Leap, P. 254. Regarding String Theory: If you think this theory [String Theory] sounds too good to be true, you are right. String theory is a magic trick. It does not make problems actually disappear; it merely hides them in a different place. It is a hiding place where very few people would look: the geometry of eleven-dimensional spacetime. According to string theorists, the complexity of the world does not arise from the nature of matter, but from the complexity of space considered as a thing in itself. The three-dimensional world we perceive is supplemented by seven additional spatial dimensions that are curled up into structures too small to perceive. Thus the unification supposedly achieved by the theory is an illusion. One physicist, Lee Smolin, puts the point this way: "The constants that denote the masses of the particles and the strengths of the forces are being traded for constants that denote the geometry of the extra six [now seven] dimensions..... Nothing was constrained or reduced. And because there were a huge number of choices for the geometry of the extra dimension, the number of free constants went up, not down." - end quote String theorists are lost in the world of geometrical ideas that they have invented, and they cannot find their way back to the real world. The arbitrary nature of their creation has led to the problem of "nonuniqueness": There is not one string theory, but a countless number, with no way to choose among them. None of these theories makes any predictions that have been confirmed by observation. And despite the extraordinary freedom with which these theories are created, they all contradict the observation data; for example, they predict nonexistent pairs of particles with equal mass and nonexistent long-range forces. As a result, string theory evokes a mixed reaction--one does not know whether to laugh at the absurdity or cry at the tragedy of it. I highlighted the name, Lee Smolin, because it just so happens that Rovelli and Smolin have worked closely together on Relational Quantum Mechanics and Loop Quantum Gravity. They are working within the constraints of observations already made in both QM and Relativity. They are not inventing hypothesis out of thin air. They understand the difference between mathematics and mechanics, unlike String theorists. While I don't want my quote from Harriman to be seen as a proof via an Argument from Authority, it's a non-sequitur that you would question my being and "Objectivists" because I happen to think that Rovelli and Smolin are on the right track and you don't.
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