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Showing content with the highest reputation on 01/08/14 in all areas

  1. 1 point
    http://www.tradingfloor.com/posts/full-blown-capitalism-shrugged-socialist-hybrids-1687446122 http://www.tradingfloor.com/posts/seven-pillars-saxo-banks-strength-714136861 http://www.tradingfloor.com/posts/broader-relevance-ayn-rand-society-710110757
  2. 1 point

    GOPers: Let go of Rand?

    Crow, I disagree with your assertion to simply support "an issue." Often that issue is the property, not solely own, but nonetheless the property of the Republican or Democratic Parties. If I recognized only, for example, federal spending as the issue, I would be committed to support the Republican candidate; if abortion was the only issue, the Democrats would be my choice. One is bound to support either the candidate that wants the Bible taught in public schools, or the party of government overreach. I think I understand your intent, that is, to support your favorite issue in conversation, or to develop a strong argument in the event you are required to make that argument. This has been my habit for a long time. But if the policy-maker that supports that issue is an irrational hack, demigod, basically blathering for big bucks, one either votes for him/her, or you allow his/her equally corrupt opponent to receive that vote. I do approve of your suggestion that the amplification of a key issue could make a difference, but only if there were some way to associate that issue with a specific candidate or party; the approach you described in the preceding post is that of the Canadian, Paul McKeever. In general, most people vote against the candidate they most disapprove of, rather than cast a vote in favor. Most of us here agree that Democrats and Republicans, regardless of their original intentions, are corrupted at some point as they advance up the hierarchy of positions. Yet, most of us want to participate in the electoral system. And we don't want "throw away our vote," on a third-party candidate. I, for one, have no problem voting for the third-party. It establishes the fact that people are coming to the polls, but the candidates of the mainstream are not worthy. Could the one issue most needed be ballot reform, an initiative to advance more political diversity. To clarify, what I'm suggesting is a way to introduce new and diverse parties that adopt a specific issue on national, state, local election ballots?
  3. 1 point
    Now this is a challenge I can sink my teeth into. Thanks Repairman for the succinct question. I wish my answer could be as succinct. Reality is real. Existence exists. A is A. The identity property reigns supreme. I admit to agreeing with Ms. Rand's epistemology and philosophy more than any other I have come across. But I am also a self described "theist". I am therefore one of your targets for this query. Begin at the bottom. De Carte, "Cognito Ergo Sum". Think therefore AM. Not as is oft translated (not wholly incorrectly, context may imply the speaker) "I think therefore I am", more as, One who thinks, must from only that evidence Exist. DeCarte, as do many others, thought that irreducible. Other threads on this forum have tamped that turf hard enough to leave it at that. I think. I perceive. I use mathematics to describe what I perceive. I stand on the shoulders of hundreds of years of Giants who have done the same. The scientific method is one of my most useful tools. I find however, that as useful as it may be, it always falls short. Mathematics has extended the range of our perceptions to the point we suspect the volume of our reality is expanding far faster than our species ability to explain. I/we turned to math to chart what to do, to define a system within reality which would be both consistent and complete. For two hundred years we worked on the problem. Then in the first quarter of the twentieth century, a young upstart in an elite German school, proved it could not be done. No finite system, can be both consistent and complete. In order to prove a system consistent one must prove it incomplete. In order to prove it complete, one must prove it inconsistent. It is no accident quantum theory also sprang from this era. I have great confidence Reality (note the use of caps) was exposed in Gödel's completeness theorem. It took a while to absorb Kurt's work but when the implications became clear, thirty plus years of Agnosticism/Atheism melted away. Like many Rand fans I find it easier to deal only with what I know, and that certainly is useful, but there always comes a time when one has to deal with the unknown and the uncertain. I'd long believed man "invented" gods to explain the unknown. So here at last I had a concept worthy of the name. So my god became God, defined as, That System which is Infinite, Complete, Consistent, and Unary (The first two properties require subsuming all others). So with this epiphany I went back to revisit all the "god literature" with my newfound conviction. Then I found Rand (again). (This next sentence is a long one, so wherever I say 'translation' think 'English translation') After visiting three translations of the protestant Bible, the approved translation of the Catholic Bible, the only translation of the Greek Orthodox Bible I could find, the Jefferson Bible, two translations of the Quran, two translations of the Torah, Three translations of the Bagivad Gita, twenty six translations of the Tao (it is short), eight English volumes purporting to be the teaching of Buddha, seven volumes focused on the teachings of Confucius, and three translations of The Five Rings, after all that, it was Rand who integrated it for me. "There are no contradictions. If you think you've found one, you have found either a faulty premise or a logical error.", Ayn Rand. When I simply took these works as a whole, and threw out all the contradictions (there are fewer than you might think), the remainder is a gold mine of pithy wisdom for living. Actually read the Jefferson Bible sometime, it is a national treasure. These works all said the same things, over and over. It had long been my belief that all the earths mythology originated from the same urge, to explain the unknown in such a way as to promote behavior consistent with man's nature and promoting the welfare of the largest groups the authors of these myths could hope to convence. During this exercise I found nothing to dissuade that point of view, they all use the same concepts, and in many cases the same situations and constructs to reveal their truth. The difference with Rand was she just saw the results of the industrial 'revolution' before she set out to write, ( IMO more clearly than most.) and unlike the others she consciously avoided any argument except the logical one. But in every case, there are followers who morph and corrupt the teaching until much of it's Truth is obscured. So it shall be with Rand, given time it is inevitable. The laws of physics however are not going away, Reality is Real, Existence Exists, and A is A. One hundred eighty six thousand miles per second is God's law. Thou shalt not steal is a natural consequence. It is hard for some folks to understand the difference. So let them bind what morality they can find, in terms they are comfortable with. To me God is Real, because the cosmos is unfolding as it should, not the other way around. Now as I struggle to grasp Grigori Perleman's work, I dream of building meaningful maps of the cosmos with it, so we can travel farther and learn even more, in order to survive both as individuals and as a species. We still struggle with the unknown because what you don't know, eventually, will kill you, you are finite. Reality is not. I stand before you, a theist objectivist. I have 'faith' in thousands of things I personally cannot prove, I stand on the shoulders of giants. I 'pray' because I find there are creative capabilities at my disposal triggered by visioning 'the world as it should be' under under an infinite sky. My God is an infinite N-dimensional manifold of three core properties that are weakly reflected in the three core equation sets defining the basic forces of the standard model, Strong Molecular, Weak Molecular, and Gravity. That is all I have to say about that, I am too stupid to go on.
  4. 1 point
    A long time back, I encountered a thread on a discussion board I occasionally browse. The original post asked why there weren't any higher-profile participants in the discussion. Although the discussion board in question isn't about software, a post about the same phenomenon occurring on software discussion boards shed some light on why there might be a dearth of expert opinion in many online discussions. The post also raises some issues regarding what might be missing from such discussions: That we're unable to learn from the silent majority of experts casts an unusual light upon online discussions. Just because looking down your nose at C++ or Perl is the popular opinion doesn't mean that those languages aren't being used by very smart folks to build amazing, finely crafted software. An appealing theory that gets frantically upvoted may have well-understood but non-obvious drawbacks. All we're seeing is an intersection of the people working on interesting things and who like to write about it--and that's not the whole story. And this is for a topic about which it can be relatively easy to lay out one's reasoning. On more complex topics, it can take even more time to address a question, meaning there is much more territory for a potential author to cover: More time and less enjoyment, at least for those who aren't interested in rehashing basics. Needless to say, rudeness or trolling, or even the impression that, say, most of the participants in a discussion are non-objective, will often further discourage expert participation. -- CAV Link to Original
  5. 1 point

    Life itself

    Homo liber nulla de re minus quam de morte cogitat; et ejus sapientia non mortis sed vitae meditatio est. SPINOZA'S Ethics, Pt IV, Prop. 67 (There is nothing over which a free man ponders less than death; his wisdom is, to meditate not on death but on life.) Reductionism and its corollary, Determinism are deeply enrooted in the fabric of the modern mainstream philosophy. There are leftovers of the Cartesian mind-body dichotomy. Instead to reject this notion altogether Reductionists simply choose the other, bodily side of this loaded coin. Now they reached a blind alley in their attempts to explain life in terms of lifelessness. As Hans Jonas observed: “Vitalistic monism is replaced by mechanistic monism, in whose rules of evidence the standard of life is exchanged for that of death.” (The Phenomenon of Life, pg 11). Since Mind and Free Will are biological phenomena which cannot be explained in terms of non-life, Reductionists are necessary Determinists. Hard Determinists reject the notion of Free Will (and therefore Mind) completely; soft Determinists and Compatibalists are still trying to find explanation of Free Will in the indeterminate realm of Quantum mechanics, in stochastic rules of Chaos theory or in the mystical realm of Tao. I maintain that Free Will is a manifestation on the conceptual level of the very essential property of life itself which is biological self causation. “Freedom must denote an objectively discernible mode of being, i.e., a manner of executing existence, distinctive of the organic per se” (Ibid pg 3). Law of Causality is law of Identity applied to action (Ayn Rand). Since biological action is self-generated goal orientated action (SIGA) , such an action cannot be predetermined by any antecedent cause. On the contrary, any antecedent or proximate action could be only detrimental to the healthy living process. As Rosen put it: “it is perfectly respectable to talk about a category of final causation and to a component as the effect of its final cause…In this sense, then, a component is entailed by its function… a material system is an organism if and only if , it is closed to efficient causation.” (Life Itself, pg 135). In other words the process of biological causation is a process in which a final cause (a goal), becomes its efficient cause. Traditionally, the notion of the final cause associated with Aristotle’s primary mover, some divine, supernatural source. However, this is not a case of mysticism, far from it. Life emerged as result of self-organization of abiotic elements. Camazine et al. (2001: 8) define self-organization: ‘‘as a process in which pattern at the global level of a system emerges solely from numerous interactions among the lower level components of the system. The system has properties that are emergent, if they are not intrinsically found within any of the parts, and exist only at a higher level of description....’’ From this definition follows that 1. A process of self-organization doesn't have an antecedent cause. 2. Emergent properties of such a system are different from the properties of its components and therefore cannot be explained by means of reductionism. In other words properties of such a system are not defined by antecedent cause. Life is self-organizing, self-regulated material structure which is able to produce self-generated goal orientated action when the goal is preservation and betterment of itself. This new emergent identity which applied to biotic action defines new type of causation-self causation. Harry Binswanger observed “All levels of living action, from a cell’s protein-synthesis to a scientist’s investigations, are goal-directed. In vegetative action, past instances of the “final cause” act as “efficient cause.”(1992). This is the mechanism of self-causation. Now is clear why any action imposed on the organism and driven by antecedent cause could be only detrimental-it inevitable would interfere with self-generated action of the organism. Each and every organism is its own primary mover. In the low organisms the degree of freedom of action is limited by their genetic set up. However even low organisms like fungi for example able to overcome this genetic determinism. “During a critical period, variability is generated by the fact that, a system becomes conditioned by all the factors influencing the spontaneous emergence of symmetry-breaking event. In such a context variability does not reflect an environmental perturbation in expression of a pre-existing (genetic) program of development…It is expression of a process of individuation.” (Trewavas, 1999) SIGA is limited by organism’s perceptual ability and capacity to process the sensory input. The process of evolution is a process of development of these qualities, since organism’s survival depends on them. More freedom of action means better chances of survival. The end product of such a process is Free Will and self-awareness, that is-human mind. Free Will therefore is an expression of self-causation on the level of self-awareness The human abilities to choose goals consciously and to act rationally in order to achieve them turn biology to ethics .But the origin of these abilities lie in the very fundamental property of any living being. This property is self-generated goal orientated action driven by self causation. Any attempt to reduce this property to the set of biochemical reactions or to undetermined behavior of subatomic particles is doomed to fail. Ayn Rand profoundly summarized the meaning of life in “We, The Living”. “I know what I want, and to know HOW TO WANT-isn’t it life itself?”
  6. 1 point

    Altruism Revisited

    If it's useful, is it altruistic?