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  1. 5 points
    DavidOdden

    Race Realism

    As you think about this topic, I suggest that you keep in mind the possibility that “race” is simply a mistaken concept, a mis-identification. It’s not like “gremlin”, “unicorn” of “free lunch”, being purely fictitious, but is is sufficiently detached from reality that it needs to be consigned to the intellectual trash heap that also contains phlogiston and epicycles. In its place would be some concept pertaining to human evolution and genetics. The genetic concept of “haplogroup” is based in objectively measurable fact, and the study of Y-DNA and mtDNA haplogroups has produced some interesting results pertaining to population genetics. (The reason for these 2 groups is that they do not recombine, so Y-DNA gives you good information about the patrilineal line and mtDNA is about the maternal line). In tracing shared mutations, you can come up with something resembling a “family tree” of humans. There are geographical correlates of haplogroups, where for example haplogroup A appears in parts of Africa especially among the San, who have probably been hanging on in the same spot for tens of thousands of years. Haplogroup A represents the “original situation”, lacking any of the subsequent Y-DNA mutations. And then you start adding mutations, and you check the geographical distribution of that mutation. (Geographical distributions have to be controlled by knowledge of history, for example the Siddi in India were transported from East Africa about 1500 years ago; obviously, Europeans only appeared in the New World a few hundred years ago). There are some surprises there, for example haplogroup B is high frequency in Africa, but also among the Hazaras of Afghanistan, which is surprising since usual racial classifications would have them be Mongoloid. Eventually you will get to haplogroup L-M20 which has high frequency among Tamils and I assume Malayali. It is also frequent (though not as frequent) among Pashtuns. Again, Dravidians can be racially classified in lots of ways, depending on what morphological features you’re attending to; Pashtuns are pretty much standardly classified as Caucasian. So the problem is that there is a physical reality (a genetic fact, which refers to your ancestry) which however doesn’t match well with any extant theory of “race”. The reason is, simply, that the theory of “race” is based on a false premise of absolute and instantaneous separation of humans – as though God split the human race into 6? groups and instantly transported them to their ancestoral homelands. Instead of race, we have a better concept of haplogroup, which is actually related to genetics. There are very many haplogrops: it is a hierarchical concept.
  2. 2 points
    Hello In parts of the world still today, homosexuals are literally thrown off of roofs to their deaths. Though the US has come leaps and bounds in just a couple of short decades, many homosexual youths still grow up terrified that their social circle will discover their true sexual desires. Personally, the first half of my teen years were spent desperately trying to will myself to be attracted to females, trying to pray the gay away, and finally accepting my inner fate while still deciding I would just have to marry a woman anyway. Though not explained scientifically, there are enough individuals with stories like this to give reason to believe it is not possible to change one's sexual orientation, at least not with today's understanding of the human mind/body. Why would so many people choose a way of life that guarantees that they will be ostracized, or even murdered?
  3. 2 points
    Most people do or believe something that I wish they wouldn’t do or believe, and this includes being irrational even when it doesn’t directly affect me (e.g. people who just can’t stand the color yellow). I would like to live in a world where everybody is as rational as I am. Most of the time, however, it would be irrational for me to rant about other people’s irrationality, primarily because most people don’t actually have the rational response “Oh my God, was I really that irrational!? I’ve gotta change my ways”, when confronted with their irrationality. In other words, getting up in people’s face about their irrationality as a way of encouraging rationality is itself irrational. I am not suggesting that irrationality should be tolerated, instead, particular instances of irrationality have to be judged on their demerits, so you have to decide whether it’s worth getting a divorce because your spouse doesn’t like your favorite musician. “Tolerance” implies a complete lack of judgment, whereas “temperance” means that you have judged and decided that the costs outweigh the benefit (“breaking point” likewise implies a judgment, and in this case the benefit outweighs the cost). Let’s take a clearer case, such as a person publically advocating a racist and statist Nazi agenda: it would be well worth countering this person. How can you counter them? Shooting them, for one: but that’s clearly irrational; so is throwing rotten tomatoes, or threatening their life. So is trying to shout them down. In fact, prancing around with counter-protest signs saying “Say No To Nazis!” is at best a minimally rational response. The rational response is to argue against them, perhaps in the hopes of changing their mind (as though they had somehow been misled by some factual error), or more likely, to persuade someone in the audience who is undecided. Throwing tomatoes might “persuade” a member of the audience, and you don’t want to appeal to such irrrational low-lives, so always take the high road. Strolling in public in the nude, in the hope of offending some person, is not a rational response. It does not appeal to reason, it appeals to emotion, and what you will most likely do is simply anger the anti-nudity person, and possibly embarrass others who might be more or less on your side. It is actually perfectly reasonable to have an ideology about nudity where it is a highly personal and intimate thing, as sex is. If your goal is to educate society, use your mind, and not your naked butt. There is zero debate among Objectivists over whether it is okay to be naked at home (it is), or to be naked at someone else’s home (it is not unless you have permission). The only discussion is over the problematic notion of public nudity, that is, projecting your nakedity at others, against their will, when (a) you’re on a dispassionate third party’s property – a business – and that property owner sets the rules; or (b) when you’re on government property, e.g. a government park. But as you know, the government shouldn’t be running a park service. There is one final problem area, namely the case where A and B have adjacent lots, and A like to prance nude on his property, where B can see him from his porch while enjoying the sunset. If B is offended at seeing A, does B’s interest (in not seeing A nude) create a duty for A to erect a screen? Or should B erect a screen on his property, to shield himself from seeing A. Indeed, what if A is offended at B seeing him? Does A’s offendedness impose a duty on B? Let he who is offended build the screen on his property, in conformity with his values.
  4. 2 points
    dream_weaver

    Why follow reason?

    From Hellenistic History and Culture: The reapers in Idyll 10 are a gruff, perhaps elderly workman called Milon, given to coarse rustic proverbs, and a lovestruck young man, Boukaïos, whose name suggests a cowman and his song: in the Iliad Hector uses it as an insult to Ajax, as Antinoös does to Iros in the Odyssey. Homer says βουγάïος, not βουκάïος, and the two citations confirm one another, but the difference of spelling is nothing. It is typical of the freakish pedantry of the Alexandrians to use a Homeric word in a corrected form. Bougaïos or Boukaïos has fallen for the girl from Hippokion's farm, the daughter of Polybotas, who must be a farm slave if not a wage laborer. She plays the flute for the reapers, and Milon's advice about her is “Take what you want and pay for it.” Boukaïos sings a song about love: If the translation of Milon's advice is accurate, it provides a source of the citation of greater antiquity than the 1920's. To know how or why, or even if, this is true, is hardly axiomatic. As was pointed out in Introduction To Objectivist Epistemology "reason" is "a complex, derivative concept." This translation of the Tenth Idyll of The Idylls of Theokritus provides Milon as having said: "God finds out the guilty. You've been asking for it."
  5. 2 points
    There's a bunch of odd similarities between them, for one they were both in open relationships, the both wrote novels to convey philosophy, they both used amphetamines, were heavy smokers and died of lung disease. According to Nathaniel Branden, early in her career (perhaps owing to her earlier Nietzchean influences) she one considered naming her philosophy existentialism, but decided against it. They both have a very minimalist ontology, limited to a few broad descriptive categories. They both uphold the primacy of existence and a kind of conscious intentionality, that is, that consciousness is awareness of objects, and not simply awareness of itself, and both reject the prior certainty of consciousness and the cogito. Sartre, however, is a phenomenalist in the tradition of Hegel and Heusserl and so upholds a kind of Kantian thing vs thing in itself distinction, though he does believe in the validity of sense perception, although sorta kinda, because the fact that sense perception is limited and fallible counts against them for him and not for Rand. Plus Sartre days a bunch of incomprehensible gibberish like, "consciousness is nothingness," which Rand denies the possibility of. Apart from that they both stridently believe in free will, but Sartre's is a kind of indeterminist and acausal agency that overrides and literally cancels out the causal reality that underlies it("nihilation".) Rand's is compatible with the law of causality and is a naturalistic faculty at one with biological identity. They both also draw different conclusions, for Rand volition is the startig point of human value achievement, and so undergirds her heroic and optimistic ethical egoism, whereas Sartre pessimistically laments free will, which "condemns" us to make choices and face suffering and failure and navigate a nauseous array of subjective values. Sartre, in general agrees that reason and science are valid and efficacious, but are cold impersonal, only giving us formal knowledge, but not meaning and purpose in life. But they're both atheists and are searching for meaning and purpose and want to substitute a kind of secular humanism in the place of religion. Sartre has a lot (more) to say about psychology as well, but I'll cut it short there.
  6. 2 points
    The key lesson Objectivism gives me is that I should prioritize creating a better life for myself much higher than creating a better world. And, creating a better world is a priority only to the extent that it creates a better life for myself. The "mystics and collectivists" create the laws and culture. So, of course it has an impact on us. Nevertheless, certain aspects impact certain people. A law denying a person access to try a new drug (the topic of the OP) impacts that person, but does not impact many others in the same, direct way. I should be concerned too, because I could need some such medicine tomorrow; but, I cannot be concerned in the same way as someone who is actually suffering from some illness. The impact on their life is way more than it is on mine. One needs a hierarchy of concerns. Of all the bad cultural and legal things in our world, some are more direct concerns while others are more remote. Of the direct ones, some may be annoyances, while others may be major. Some may cost you a bit of extra time and money, others may cost you a lot. How do you live in a irrational world? You start by understanding that hierarchy of concerns and figuring out what's really important to you. Then, you come up with plans to manage around the high impact ones. Sometimes, that's not possible. For example, if you're thrown in jail under some bad law, you may not have any good solution. Or if, like the OP, you are denied an important treatment, you may have to spend a lot of time and money flying abroad to get it. So, yes: sometimes the bad culture or laws will be a huge barrier. There are so many girls in Saudi Arabia who would love to be free to get out of the situation they find themselves in: about to be married to a cousin who is a strict Muslim, while they themselves are not; to someone who will not allow them to work or drive -- and the law won't give them recourse. Where they will be stopped at the airport if they try to leave and other countries won;t accept them if they manage to get out anyway. A whole lot of people, all over the world, face huge constraints on their freedom of action. Still, if one lives in any of the relatively modern countries in Europe or Asia, one has a lot of freedom of action, unless one hits a specific situation like the OP did.
  7. 2 points
    DavidOdden

    Race Realism

    I think you’re missing the point, in speaking of “self-evident racial differences”. The only self-evident differences are, in fact, skin color and a few similar morphological differences. IMO the number one scientific problem with the concept is that there are no objective criteria for racial classification. That is, there are neither necessary nor sufficient criteria for being classified as “white” versus something else. We do not know how many “races” there are. Being “black” is epiphenomenal, and it has independently arisen in Africa, Greater Australia, and Southern India. An analogous question would be, how many breeds of dog are there? What breed is the offspring of a German Shephard and a Collie? In order to have a rational discussion of race, you have to be able to say what you are talking about in objective terms. This is why broad racial concepts have given way to somewhat better historico-geographic concepts that have some real connection to genetics: the ancestors of African-Americans historically came from Africa (this is still very course granularity, but it’s an improvement). Reasonable research is being done on the geographical distribution of various alleles, and this can be used in various ways to generate a probability of a certain ancestory (the Duffy Null allele occurs about 100% of the time in sub-Saharan Africans and infrequently elsewhere, likewise the earwax-type gene correlates with ancestoral geography, dry earwax having developed in North and East Asia). In other words, race isn’t even a scientifically useful concept: we have better concepts based in genetics and history. The main problem with attempts to impute a correlation between behavior and race is the failure to control variables, which is a fatal flaw in scientific research.
  8. 1 point
    Not quite. I don't have a reference, but what various Objectivists have said is that you should do your own philosophical thinking (as you should do all thinking) and live by whatever you conclude. You should do this even if the result of your thinking is not Objectivism. If you err, the fact that you erred while reasoning leaves open the possibility of discovering your mistake. If you didn't reason, you have no way to know whether or how your philosophy is wrong.
  9. 1 point
    Eiuol

    Depression

    A good psychologist wouldn't take on the role of some spiritual advisor. Meditation is very important to do for dealing with depression symptoms, but some people then take that step to do a full dive into Buddhism and discover egoless-ness. A good psychologist will give you strategies on how to deal with emotions. It's like hiring a personal trainer for working out. Sometimes you'll get good advice, but other times you might not learn anything new.
  10. 1 point
    The Virtue of Selfishness is a 173 page book. According to me... It means self esteem, self respect, trusting myself, introspection, keeping my own counsel, doing the best I can, calling myself out on my own BS, learning. I don't always know if I made an irrational decision, when I notice or when someone I respect points it out, and I agree, then I correct it. Your self is your body/consciousness/memories, a sum total of everything you are and have been. I believe I am a Self first, the -ish follows. If I want to value rational values it is my self that chooses, and I gain confidence on that path. I don't agree with mullahs. Every woman I know has had their body trespassed upon by a man at some point. Having been inappropriately touched by strange men several times in my life brings painful clarity. In theory it is true that it is the man who needs to correct his behavior, not the woman who needs to cover up. But I won't risk my body to prove that point. I choose the level of protection I need for a given situation. Sometimes a bikini, sometimes layers and a weapon. A woman wearing a Burqa believes it is a symbol of honor, it ought to be her own choice, I wouldn't force her to wear it, nor tear it off of her. I believe in this world, as an objective reality, an orange is an orange and not my imagination. This reality contains irrational people and mystics who believe in other worlds. An Objectivist forces no one, but if forced, will respond with force. http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/selfishness.html
  11. 1 point
    Given the principle that force may not be initiated to override the choices of another, even when those choices are irrational, then there is clearly no room to use force to prevent suicide, eating lamb or cow, being naked, or jumping off a cliff. There is room in an emergency to use force to defend yourself against the initiation of force, and there is room to seek protection via government force of your rights under the law, which includes your property right to control your property. Your right to be irrational is precisely and narrowly circumscribed: you may be irrational up to the point of violating my rights. I understand the problem that “I don’t like X” easily turns into a law “You may not X”. Within the past 50 years, the concept of individual rights and limited government have substantially eroded in the US. The solution to this problem is not to prohibit persuasion, it is to try to restore the concepts of limited government and individual rights. So if a half a million people want to forego the joy of a good lamb kebab, that is their right. It is likewise my right to try to persuade them to lighten up. Or, to put the matter the other way, it is also the right of the vegan down the road to try to persuade me that animals have the same rights as humans and we should only interact with them if they give informed consent. Even though ethical veganism (or vegetarianism) is irrational, that irrationality is their right. So let me recapitulate: Objectivism does not support using force to prevent irrational behavior.
  12. 1 point
    This is terrible news. Ted was one of the best people to interact with in Rand-land. Always so stimulating. He stopped posting years ago, and has been much missed. I'll let the folks at OL know.
  13. 1 point
    Finding someone I can love is hard for me too, and I'm straight. And sure, I concede it might be even harder for you...but it's still not as hard (and treacherous) a path as some untested, unscientific scheme you might find, that claims to be designed to change your sexual orientation. So, hard as it is, my advice is to keep looking. If you can't find anyone where you live, look elsewhere. Moving is also easier than what you're suggesting. In western Europe (UK, Netherlands, Germany, the Nordic states), for instance, in my experience at least, there are plenty of gay people who couldn't care less about politics...and if you have a degree and work experience, jobs are easy to find. P.S. There's also Asia. I've never met a Japanese person for instance (gay or straight), who had an issue with my political beliefs.
  14. 1 point
    You phrase your question generally. The answer might vary with the individual, especially if there are variations in the reasons why people are homosexual. An Objectivist psychiatrist I saw long ago told me about introspecting, looking inside yourself, to see what's going on and why. If you want to make changes, you have to get all the way down to the mental processes that led to the subconscious (automatized) premises that are governing your emotions. (A logical error? An overgeneralization?) He also said that attempting to reason out what's going on is incompatible with introspecting, so one must avoid the former to succeed at the latter. I eventually came up with my own example, which I did not share with him, that may help clarify this. Suppose you are seated at a table with a place mat in front of you, and the question comes up whether there is something under the place mat, and if so, what. You can try to reason it out, or you can lift up the place mat and look. The latter will work better. Sometimes introspecting can be a lot harder than lifting up a place mat, especially if there are defense mechanisms in the way. He compared it to trying to remember something, which is sometimes hard. It might come to you at a time when you aren't consciously trying. One thing you would need to get at in your introspecting is whether it is partially or wholly, and if the former, what else there is. I wish you well.
  15. 1 point
    Flat no. No author of 'Objectivist literature' would see the need, it is literally a blind spot. By 'the need' I mean a purely pedagogical need to address those who first come to understand math and physics and only later Objectivism or philosophy in general, and so fall into a common and near unavoidable trap in their thinking. For example here is Peikoff in OPAR This is a rationalist argumentation style, it does not address the premises that lead one to believe that the determinism of nature directly and naively applies to man. That volition is axiomatic, that axioms cannot be coherently contradicted is all well and good as a shortcut for those of us who have cleared the hurdle of understanding and accepting what Rand considered axiomatic but most people that are determinists have not cleared that hurdle and so any version of that shortcut is incomprehensible or deeply unsatisfying.
  16. 1 point
    Tenderlysharp

    Elon Musk

    I don't quite understand a world where an objectivist would defend a mystic junk food Buffett, and devalue an engineer who works tirelessly toward technological innovation. If that future Capitalist economy were real I think Musk would adjust his business plan and be very successful in that world. Unfortunately I wonder if there are Objective Capitalists who put themselves in a position to value or make profound investments in technological advancement.
  17. 1 point
    Wow that is really weird, as I've just started a class on Thomas Reid and the Scottish common sense school today. It's quite true that Reid and his followers have some very proto Randian ideas. First, it is important to understand Reid was a contemporary of David Hume and his writings were basically a response to Hume's skepticism. Reid basically says if this is where your philosophy ends up, then that's a prima facie reason for your philosophy being wrong. When we reach a conclusion that was inferred from premises, if the conclusion is plainly false, such as we can't know anything or reality isn't real, etc., then we must reject the entire line of reasoning as absurd and start over. Reid reinstated foundationalism, that is, there must be noninferential justification. This is quite similar to Rand's conception of "verification," which is a wider genus to which "proof" belongs. The epistemologist doesn't start out by saying "prove existence and logic and consciousness, etc.," as in Descartes, rather the epistemologist starts out "we have knowledge, we know existence exists, we need to find the proper method." He also argues against representationalism in Locke, and although he doesn't have a theory of perception of his own, he takes for granted the validity of the senses. Perception is not of ideas, but direct perception of objects. I don't need a "proof" for why my hand is in front of my face currently, I just point to it. There is no propositional justification necessary. He would've likely foubd much to enjoy of Kelley's Evidence of the Senses. Once we perceive objects, we can abstract our ideas from their similarities and differences, building more complex ideas upon less complex ones. A remarkably proto Randian view, although he holds to some older distinctions like primary vs secondary qualities that Rand rejects. Although he holds to a mind-body dichotomy, he does not draw inferences from it. There are minds and consciousness, we study the former with natural science and the latter with psychology, they are whatever they are. I don't know about his ethics yet, be he was a religious man, and seems he was an ethical intuitionist applying his common sense view to morality. And therein lies probably Rand's major difference, that sometimes Reid seems to be saying there are innate beliefs about the foundations of reason. Although he does say that "morality can be demonstrated as of mathematics." He also believes free will is among his self evident principles. All in all, his major influence seems to be saying most of modern philosophy is absurd and abstruse gibberish. There is a certain framework that must be within which an investigation can take place. Reality is real, existence exists, there are objects we are directly aware of, the senses are valid, reason is valid, yes believe your hand in front of your face, and if you doubt any of these things then throw your philosophy away or check your premises. http://www.earlymoderntexts.com/authors/reid "For, before men can reason together, they must agree in first principles; and it is impossible to reason with a man who has no principles in common with you." One of the first principles he goes on to list is that "qualities must necessarily be in something that is figured, coloured, hard or soft, that moves or resists. It is not to these qualities, but to that which is the subject of them, that we give the name body. If any man should think fit to deny that these things are qualities, or that they require any subject, I leave him to enjoy his opinion as a man who denies first principles, and is not fit to be reasoned with." (Cf. Wikipedia) "It is useless to reason with someone who denies the first principles on which the reasoning is based. Thus it would be useless to try to prove a proposition in Euclid to someone who denies Euclid’s axioms. Indeed we ought never to reason with men who deny first principles because they are obstinate and unwilling to yield to reason." (Essay on the Intellectual Powers of Man)
  18. 1 point
    Tenderlysharp

    Elon Musk

    I saw an interview where Musk is talking about this. They try to discourage him, saying we have enough problems here on earth. He mentioned some ancient wonders that we forgot how to build. The way space travel has been gaining inertia since the 60's. Knowledge and progress are not automatic. It takes a lot of work by a lot of people to get us to another planet. I sometimes wonder if Objectivism has the vital vigor it had when Ayn Rand was alive? I like that his companies have a "No Assholes Policy".
  19. 1 point
    You are simply incorrect here. The definitions of determinism and compatibilism are nowhere near as controversial as you suggest. I have given authoritative definitions for these terms previously. Nobody, or almost nobody, takes determinism or compatibilism to include agent causality. A philosopher might distinguish between different types of determinism, but if so he would use appropriate labels, like "logical determinism" or "physical determinism." Determinism simpliciter is not used in a whole bunch of mutually exclusive ways like you're claiming. First of all, Rand was very clear about the fact that she was redefining those terms. From what I've seen, you are content to describe the Objectivist position as "determinist" and "compatibilist" with no further explanation, which is not an objective way of communicating. Someone who reads your posts will come away with the wrong idea about what Objectivism says about free will - that's not really debatable. Second, Rand's goal in redefining those concepts was to clarify their meanings and separate out the respective package deals that they were involved in. The concept of determinism is clear, and there is no package deal involved. I cannot see that your redefinition clarifies Rand's position on free will - as StrictlyLogical points out, I still don't know what your position on free will is, really.
  20. 1 point
    If you're not extremely adept at seeing this kind of thing through from start to aftermath, run, do not engage! There's nothing tricker from a management perspective than a romance gone bad, and you're going to get the brunt of any negativity (even if only perceived), not the company if they can help it.
  21. 1 point
    The problem is that the terms you and 2046 are using - primarily "determinism" and "compatibilism" - already have perfectly clear meanings in academic philosophy (and even in the Objectivist literature, which to my knowledge always uses them the same way academics do). As they are traditionally defined, neither of those terms are consistent with Objectivism. If you continue to describe Objectivism as a deterministic / compatibilist philosophy, you will mislead and confuse people about what Objectivism says. You claim that there isn't anything else to say and that Objectivism is neither determinist nor non-determinist, but this is simply incorrect. There is something more to say - that Objectivism accepts agent causal free will - and Objectivism is a non-determinist philosophy. If you deny this, I refer you to my previous posts in this thread. "Weak determinism" isn't a term that is used in academia or in the Objectivist literature, to my knowledge.
  22. 1 point
    2046

    Race Realism

    NY times had a surprisingly good op-ed by Harvard geneticist David Reich, researcher on "ancient DNA" wherein he makes several points that sound downright Rand-tastic. Some snippets: institutional discrimination also has a negative impact on I.Q. of populations, which when those factors are controlled (education, economic upbringing, even being adopted and raised by parents who are of a different race), leads to even less substantial difference in even the average I.Q. of populations. Differences in individuals vary far more widely than populations. Especially with intelligence. The key point is that whatever science finds should not affect the way we behave toward one another. Whatever small average differences across groups might exist (and genetic studies have already made it clear that average differences across populations are much less than those between individuals), we are members of a single species, all of whom must be given every opportunity to flourish in every realm. “Race” is fundamentally a social category — not a biological one — as anthropologists have shown. As a society, we are already committed to giving everyone a full opportunity for self-realization — regardless of the particular hand each person is dealt from the deck of life. https://nyti.ms/2GmRY2n Of course the mainstream right and left want to "provide opportunity" by coercive legislation, and the postmodern leftists want to provide it by tearing everything down, but ah, we can't have everything can we.
  23. 1 point
    If memory serves me correctly, one of the tie-ins he made was to consciousness in general, and another to the terms of order/disorder as being epistemological.
  24. 1 point
    Initially, I was not going to respond. This is beside the point and sidesteps an honest inquiry. The way the world is poses no barrier to rationally conceiving of how the world should be. Anyone who has read all of Ayn Rand's books should know that, she is the perfect exemplar of just such an exercise. The very act of perceiving society as deficient, that there is a possible better society, presupposes a concept of society as it should be, and an identification that the reality of society does not match. Not knowing how to get to society as it should be is certainly a difficulty all Objectivists recognize, but to accept for a moment that we do not or cannot know what that society can be and ought to be would be disastrous. No steps whatever, however small, could be taken to change the current situation, without the knowledge of which direction to go, and you cant know which direction to go if you don't know where you are going. In fact, you cannot rationally know that society is wrong without the certainty of knowing what would constitute a society which was proper. it is not that one then is confused about which direction to step in, one is confused about whether one should bother to any take step at all and why. Rand's entire philosophy is about that proper, just, rational, and moral desirable destination, and this is what motivates and grounds (in reason) every criticism she has ever levied against the immoral philosophies, religions, and societies of the world. Every time she said something is wrong, it was not with a shrug of ignorance of why it is wrong or confusion about what would be right, it was done in clear sight of it. I realize we here are all fallible and our ideas and musings quite simply do not compare to the titanic importance of Rand's genius, but many here are motivated to make clear in our minds the correct conclusions regarding metaphysics, ethics, and politics. What is morality, what is the proper society, politics, governmental system etc. If we have no idea what our ideal is we are truly lost.
  25. 1 point
    The failings of THIS very real society happening now. As much as I want to believe in the rightness of a proper free Objective society, how can it be achieved when the money and power are being stacked in favor of mystics and collectivists? I have read all of Ayn Rand's books. I feel pride in my capacity to understand Objective Epistemology, and many abstractions in Ayn Rand's work affect me deeply. Yet , I still don't know the best concrete systematic steps I can take to create a better world. I have read, and sometimes re-read every response in this topic, and value the time and attention that each person invests into ideas that they care about. I often feel too emotional, and a lack of efficacy.
  26. 1 point
    My statement that a patient does not and cannot know what they have agreed to is not a statement of absolute principle about contracts, it is an assessment of general current medical practice, YMMV. I agree that it is possible to craft a limit on liability, but the thing that you e-sign is not negotiated. Part of the problem is that most people don’t know about the chargemaster (I myself didn't know that there was such a thing until a couple of months ago), and I’m not even sure that the thing that you theoretically agreed to has framed the question of liability in terms of that document (e.g. “the charges you will be billed for come from the chargemaster, attached”). The other part is that, setting aside to-the-penny omniscience, you can’t necessarily get a binding reasonable estimate. These ostensive agreements don’t say much about what you’re getting. This problem is most acute in emergency surgery situations, where the answer almost certainly will be “it costs what it costs”, and it should be the least serious in routine office visits. If you can directly deal with a private physician, you are essentially dealing with a classical craftsman contract, where you can ask for an estimate which then implies some limit on your liability (at least a ballpark). But in a typical large medical facility arrangement, classical concepts of “agreement” as underlie contract law are stretched to their limit. This lack of actual agreement and meeting of the minds is really what (properly) underlies the concept of unconsionability. Some practices may be misleading, for example if the mean cost of a procedure is $X but the standard deviation on this is really high and the actual range encompasses 1000 times that, then an honest answer about the cost would be either "I have no idea", or "The average is $1,000 but it can go as high as a million". Suggesting "I would think about $1,000" is misleading. As far as I know, there is no independent profession of “patient financial advocate”, which is basically a contract-law trained professional who negotiates on behalf of a more specific commitment from the care-provider. This is of little use in the emergency surgery context, but would be very useful for expensive, important, but non-emergency treatments. Were I uninsured and needed a heart-lung transplant, I would seek the services of such a professional, because I bet I would not be spiritually or technically able to negotiate, or even inquire competently. There does seem to be such a profession, but they appear to be presently limited to post-hoc remedies, and are not focused providing a patient with better up-front information so that they can decide whether to go elsewhere or forego a procedure.
  27. 1 point
    I don’t think “pay or die” is a realistic summary of the medical profession’s actions: rather, it is “don’t worry about the details, we will take care of you”. That is, they offer something, but you have to agree to it. If you don’t agree to it, you may die (this much is the informed consent part). You know that agreeing to what they offer means that someone will pay. The real-world issue, IMO, is that a patient does not and cannot know what they have agreed to. There is a real question as to whether patients actually have a properly-formed contract with a hospital, in the typical case. Their theory is that if you pick up a electro-pen and sign on a box when told to, this signifies agreement to something (they may print a copy if you request it). Classically, in contract law, a person signs the actual piece of paper where it is clear what the terms are that they have agreed to. The agreement is more than just some list of statements on a server somewhere, it also includes representations by agents. If an agent says “your insurance covers this”, that is a representation that you can rely on. A fundamental doctrine of contract law is that the terms of the contract have to be reasonable, in the sense that a reasonable person, made aware of the terms, would agree to those terms. Open-ended liability is not a reasonable contract term, meaning that your liability to pay may be mitigated by an objective estimation of whether or not you would have agreed if you had known the actual cost of the product. Put simply, your intuition “I would have never agreed to that hangnail treatment if I had known you were going to charge me $100,000” is correct, and a contract with such a consequence would not be enforceable. I don't know about cancer treatment, I'm just identifying a general principle. The full set of contract terms are usually vague and/or ambiguous: as a principle of law, these communicative defects are construed against the maker of the contract in contracts of adhesion ("pay or die", non-negotiable agreements). There are relevant legal provisions regarding auto repairs in most states, and while they often involve improper intrusions of government into business, they also do also encode proper concepts regarding the concept of “agreement”, effectively saying that while you don’t have to give a precise commitment as to the cost of a repair, you have to be within a certain range and receive further consent if you go over that range (the shop cannot recover beyond a certain degree of overage). Again, the question is: is it reasonable to think that a person would agree to this, if they understood the facts? This same concept is applicable, in principle, to all agreements: it recognizes that agreeing to one implied price does not entail agreeing to any price. In a market-based health system, limits on customer liability would be quite prominent. in these agreements.
  28. 1 point
    human_murda

    Race Realism

    @Sameak I'm from South India. What do you think my race is? What race are Dravidians/Malayalis? I'm curious to know.
  29. 1 point
    Repairman

    Elon Musk

    It is because of individuals, such as Elon Musk, that I remain an optimist, albeit a cautious optimist. The innovations of today are the conventional and common-place of tomorrow. Modern marvels, such as the 3D printer and genomic mapping, might be enough to persuade any skeptic as to the possibilities of a world such as envisioned in The Jetsons and Star Trek. The fantastic doesn't seem so much like fantasy anymore. Nonetheless, it would only take a misguided movement, or even one psychotic individual to take humanity in the wrong philosophical/ideological direction, and into reverse rather than real progress. One day, there may be more humans living in outer-Terrestrial habitats than on Earth, or the human race could revert to a new dark age, and once again on the verge of extinction. "If men grasp the source of their destruction-if they dedicate themselves to the greatest of all crusades: a crusade for the absolutism of reason-the twenty-first century will have a chance once more."--Ayn Rand from Philosophy: Who Needs It. (p. 111).
  30. 1 point
    2046

    Race Realism

    But what's the point of your argument? Let's put aside the data, because none of us are going to agree with the validity of it, there has been enough scholarly criticisms of your viewpoint no one is going to agree with whatever links you're posting. Suppose there are two people, A and B. A tests a IQ of 120, B tests an IQ of 119. Ergo what? What inferences, in terms of political philosophy, follow from this?
  31. 1 point
    StrictlyLogical

    Sex and Trade

    A man who values himself, includes in what it means to have sex, his partner's desire for him. A man with self-esteem selfishly wants, as a value to himself, as reward and pride and affirmation, the desire of a woman. Such a man would no more want to have sex with a wife who is not "in the mood", than a truly proud man would hire an actor to utter false flatteries at him... Only a man severely lacking in self esteem would hire such an actor, or believe that sex with anyone (even his wife) who is "not into it" would be of any value whatever to him. To answer the question about what is "wrong", your scenario depicts a man of low self-esteem, and is pitifully low on what he should want for himself in his relationship with his wife and what he should want in having sex with her. The undeveloped man is "wrong", in himself, and his low expectations.
  32. 1 point
    softwareNerd

    Sex and Trade

    As a general rule, sex has a psychological component, not just a physical one. For instance, while having sex, one's partner may be saying something, or moaning, or showing a certain enthusiasm in their eyes ... various things that do not directly physically impact the other person's body. And, this changes the pleasure of sex. This explains why prostitutes have a thing called "the girlfriend experience", with a premium price-tag. Consider also various sexual acts that are considered kinky, conventionally. It could be role-playing, or more. These have little to do with the physical aspects of how the two (or more) human bodies interact. It is more about the fantasy that is made a little more concrete by acting it out. And it does not have to be loving; violent sex has the same quality of enacting some theme. So, that's just a general fact about sex... without considering specific contexts. That's why, when a partner is performing sex not because he/she wants to, but rather as a purely physical act, it is more like being masturbated by someone else. It's qualitatively different. That's why having sex for a reason other than wanting to have sex changes the nature of the act. Human beings evaluate things within broader contexts than the one act itself., weighing long-term versus short term consequences. If sex between two partners is routinely reduced to something less than even a paid-for "girlfriend experience", there's a good chance that it will qualitatively effect the sex between the couple more widely. With all that said... there may be nothing wrong with the conversation you you describe... if one adds certain specific context and tweak the language to be less clinical and more loving.
  33. 1 point
    Nicky

    Sex and Trade

    Sex is a trade, but the price is steeper than a trip to the store. You're trading in virtues of the highest order, not in small favors. Your virtues make people love and desire you. If you don't have them, you will only be able to buy sex from people who lack them too.
  34. 1 point
    Maybe this country still has a sliver of decency, but the people who oppose this don’t. The HillHouse passes 'right to try' drug billBY RACHEL ROUBEIN - 03/21/18 The House passed “right to try” legislation on experimental drugs largely along party lines Wednesday, sending a bill backed by President Trump to the Senate.Last week, House Republican leaders put the bill on the floor under suspension of the rules. Democrats objected, expressing safety concerns over how the measure would bypass the Food and Drug Administration, and it fell short of the necessary two-thirds support it needed.But leaders made clear the House would take up the bill again. On the second try, the House only needed a simple majority to pass the bill, and easily did so in the 267 to 149 vote.Thirty-five Democrats voted for the bill, and two Republicans opposed it. Now, the measure goes to the Senate, where a version of the bill passed in August by unanimous consent.Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who has championed the bill in the Senate, urged his chamber to quickly pass the measure. “Right to try needs to become the law of the land. It passed the Senate unanimously last summer, and I’m disappointed the House didn’t pass that bill and send it to the president for his signature," Johnson said in a statement."Nonetheless, I plan to ask my colleagues to pass right to try again immediately. Terminally ill patients and their families have waited long enough.”House Republicans revised the bill amid objections from some supporters who had hoped the Senate version would pass, wanting to prevent the measure from ping-ponging between the two chambers. They worried that could make it harder to get the bill to Trump’s desk.The bill lets terminally ill patients request access to drugs the FDA hasn’t yet approved without going through the agency. Patients can request the drugs from manufacturers if the medicine has gone through a small-scale clinical trial and is still under FDA consideration.Though no senators objected to the bill, the legislation — which had been revised — proved controversial in the House.Democrats there, as well as more than 75 patient advocacy groups, have voiced several different concerns, and patient safety was chief among them.“By allowing patients access to investigational treatments that have only completed a phase 1 clinical trial, patients will be exposed to treatments with no or relatively little data that they are actually effective,” the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (N.J.), said during the debate on the House floor Wednesday.“These extremely small trials only examine the safety and toxicity of a drug and do not determine the effectiveness or potential side effects.”Opponents of the bill also point to the FDA’s compassionate use program, saying the agency approves 99 percent of requests to let a patient use an experimental drug. They argue the legislation provides “false hope,” as drug manufacturers aren’t required to provide the drug to patients who ask.But House Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and health subcommittee chairman Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) maintained that their version of the bill struck “the right balance for patients and their safety.”Supporters of the measure have argued that people with a terminal illness should have every tool at their disposal to try a drug that could possibly help them.Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) said that if faced with a terminal illness, he’d “take any risk, including injecting monkey urine if that meant I could spend a few more days, months or years with my children.”Proponents of the legislation have also argued that the drug approval process takes too long, and that the bill isn't unsafe, as medicines must have passed a phase 1 clinical trial and still be in FDA’s pipeline.The legislation has powerful backers.President Trump has urged Congress to pass the bill, notably in his State of the Union address in late January. Vice President Pence is a staunch supporter of right to try, signing the bill into law when he was governor of Indiana. And groups backed by conservative mega-donors Charles and David Koch have also been pushing for its passage.
  35. 1 point
    Having a good attention span is critical, if you have a short attention span then you will never fini
  36. 1 point
    Mindborg

    The value of apologizing

    What you say is accurate, but I think the benefits of saying sorry are much bigger than what's being mentioned here. I find that when I say sorry on a frequent basis (and I make mistakes every single day), it inspires courage. I'm not afraid of being wrong, because I can trust myself to correct my mistakes. Because I know I'll make mistakes and can correct them, I can steam ahead and crash into walls and have the resiliency to get up very fast. I'm also not very worried about hurting people, because many times after I've hurt them and say sorry, the relationship to that person is actually improved. In other words, it's better to hurt them, acknowledge the mistake and fix it, then not taking any action at all. Saying sorry has so many benefits. Another is that the internal fear of being "discovered" goes away. "What if someone finds out" becomes a though of the past, and instead there comes the pride of "yes, I did this, and I stand by it, because I've corrected my mistake". So I'd say; make heaps of mistakes, learn from it, apologize, and go full throttle. Life is short, make the most of it. You cannot drive a formula 1 car with a lot of weights hanging behind it. Fix errors and move on.
  37. 1 point
    Eiuol

    Depression

    The thing with depression is that physiological causes are rarely ever the whole story. There is also some amount of one's position in the social world, or some deeper things besides strictly how your brain is working. It's difficult at times to keep up a motivated outlook. Sometimes, physiology makes it more difficult than for other people. Personally for me, there is a mix of all this that leads me to show symptoms of depression. Objectivism has had an important role for me so that while at times depression is there, it helps me to prevent things like self-hate, or beating myself up as a bad person. I don't feel that, and I attribute it to a few principles of Objectivism. Some Nietzsche, too, but my opinion on him is complex. 1) Benevolent Universe Premise No, this doesn't mean the universe "wants" you to be happy. Rather, it's a belief that evil doesn't win out over the good, that is, if one acts justly and acts virtuously, evil cannot last. This isn't to say tragedies don't happen - after all, Rand wrote "We The Living", which is really good at making the point that on a wider scale, the triumph of good is affected by things like respect for individual rights. http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/benevolent_universe_premise.html 2) Art fuels one's passions Rand wrote this, I recommend reading all of The Romantic Manifesto: "Since a rational man’s ambition is unlimited, since his pursuit and achievement of values is a lifelong process—and the higher the values, the harder the struggle—he needs a moment, an hour or some period of time in which he can experience the sense of his completed task, the sense of living in a universe where his values have been successfully achieved. It is like a moment of rest, a moment to gain fuel to move farther. Art gives him that fuel; the pleasure of contemplating the objectified reality of one’s own sense of life is the pleasure of feeling what it would be like to live in one’s ideal world." http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/art.html 3) Celebrate the good Perhaps this is obvious, but it is important to see the good in the world and celebrate it. Some people are truly jealous of success, seeing happiness as zero-sum, and think a successful billionaire is inherently bad. This is what Rand pointed to as hating the good for its good qualities. At times, a depressed person may want to wallow and blame others. If you go out of your way to admire the good, you'll have an easier time recognizing that it is possible to achieve your goals by your own efforts. It's a sense of self-responsibility.
  38. 1 point
    kowalskil

    From a book I am reading

    Adolf Eichmann, one of the major organizers of the Holocaust, who was hiding in Argentina, was captured by the Mossad in 1960. How did this happen? This question is answered by Deborah Lipstadt, in her 2011 book "The Eichmann's Trial." The decisive information, she writes, came from three people: Lothar Hermann, a German half-Jew, who fled to Argentina in 1939, his young daughter Sylvia, who did not know about her Jewish origin, and a German Jewish lawyer, Fritz Bauer, who escaped to Sweden, in the 1930's. After the war Bauer returned to Germany and became an attorney general in Frankfurt. One day Sylvia introduced her new boyfriend, Klaus Eichmann, to her family. Her father suspected he was a son of the famous Nazi criminal. But he decided to keep it to himself, in order to conceal his own Jewish origin. The suspicion was confirmed when he learned that Klaus refused give Sylvia his address, forcing her to correspond with him through a mutual friend. That prompted Hermann to inform the authorities. But Instead of approaching the German embassy in Argentina, where many Nazi sympathizers worked, he wrote to the Frankfurt prosecutor’s office. That how Bauer became involved. He felt that further investigation was warranted. But he was also afraid of Nazi sympathizers in the Adenauer's government. Supported by the minister-president of Hesse, Bauer decided to inform the Israeli government. Preoccupied with other priorities, Israel's head of security services waited nearly a year before starting the investigation. An agent who was sent to Argentina was asked to visit Hermann. He was surprised to discover that the man was blind. He was inclined to dismiss the entire matter until he spoke with Sylvia. ... The investigation would probably have been abandoned without the active involvement of Bauer, who approach the Israeli Attorney General, Haim Cohen, in 1959. Then things started moving quickly. ... A team of agents was sent to Argentina and they had no difficulties capturing the criminal. But they were not aware that the Argentinean secret police was also keeping close tabs on Eichmann, at that time. "On the night of the kidnapping, an undercover agent was tailing him. He saw three men grab, subdue and bundle Eichmann into a car. The agents followed the car to the save house where he was held. The secret police was also aware that, a few days before the kidnapping, a contingent of Israelis had arrived in the country and were engaged in some sort of surreptitious activity. Apparently, this much-touted secret action was anything but secret."
  39. 1 point
    The "race realists" should grow a set, and call themselves what they are: white supremacists. And, as a side-kick, they should pick people who agree with them, like the Nazi Party, not Objectivism.
  40. 1 point
    Actually, it is about a group of anti-establishment dreamers who form a commune of their own, and start to write their own constitution: it is the end predicted by John Steinbeck in "Grapes of Wrath", where the good people rise up and rebel against evil big businessmen, symbolized by Orren Boyle.
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