You might be interested to know how Peikoff changed a particular paragraph on the standard of value between his 1976 lecture "The Philosophy of Objectivism" and his book OPAR, published in 1991. After arguing, in '76, that lower organisms act automatically and that "implicitly life is the standard of value guiding their actions," he continues:
Fifteen years later, in OPAR, he says that for plants and animals, "implicitly, life is their inbuilt standard of value, which determines all their goals and actions." He added "inbuilt," and changed "guiding their actions" to "determines all their goals and actions." Then the following paragraph looks like this:
Note that he added the phrase "leaving aside his internal bodily processes," which did not appear in his 1976 lecture. I find this to be a strange revision. Let's imagine that we keep man's internal bodily processes with the rest of him, would he now have an inbuilt standard of value, like the lower animals? Why must we disregard such a large part of him? It seems to me that my internal bodily processes make up the bulk of my existence. What would I be without them: a disembodied mind? Is it just my mind that lacks an inbuilt standard of value? Or am I allowed to retain my external bodily processes? Though I'm not sure what that would mean, since even hair growth involves internal processes below the surface of the skin.
I might consider the rest of those quotes later, but right now I'll turn to the question of whether Peikoff has accurately represented Rand's philosophy. Because she approved of and attended his '76 course, it can easily be argued that she agreed that "man has no built-in, pre-programmed standard of value." However, those are still Peikoff's words, despite Rand's endorsement. So let's also consider what she, herself, wrote in The Objectivist Ethics (1961):
Here she makes no initial division between the lower species and man, and she doesn't use words like "implicit" and "inbuilt." She talks generally about an organism, from an amoeba to a man. And she argues for its life being its standard of value. She must mean "standard of value" in the widest, biological sense of the concept. For it isn't until later in the essay that she narrowly identifies "the standard of value of the Objectivist ethics," which, of course, is "man's life." (p. 25)
It seems to me that Peikoff conflated the biological standard of value (an organism's life) with the Objectivist standard of value (man's life), in his attempt to reformulate Rand's philosophy. And since Rand apparently approved of his '76 formulation, Objectivists will likely debate this issue until the end of time.