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Why is O'ism against environmentalism?

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Let us take the example of the choice of life. Can you say that animals can choose between life and death?

They cannot because they are programmed by nature to do all that is necessary for their survival.

As for the first part of your question, I cannot think of an example of animals committing suicide, but I would venture to say that before humans had formed society, and before humans started putting together tools, we operated under the same conditions as other animals.

I believe that African Grey parrots have been known to commit suicide when left in a cage alone without companionship for too long.

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Hence the reason I am here, asking questions, and arguing them.

Taking these words at face value (I may be misinterpreting them), I would say your methodology is faulty. When I am ignorant of a new field -- as you obviously are of Ayn Rand's philosophy, Objectivism -- I try to concentrate on just asking questions (of all kinds). The second stage, over a period of days, weeks, or months, is to "chew" on the answers, testing them and coming up with more questions.

I hope I do not try to argue about things of which I am ignorant.

Another thing I try to do is find a good resource for learning at least the basics of the subject. You either don't have such a resource or you aren't using it, for your study of Objectivism.

The one I recommend is The Ayn Rand Lexicon. Do you have it? Did you look up "Environmentalism"? "Reason"? "Volition"?

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Please prove to me that animals have no ability to reason

I just want to point out that this is a demand for proof of a negative. To learn more about this fallacy, see "The Arbitrary as Neither True Nor False" in OPAR, Chapter 5.

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I think that Objectivists get a bad rap as being unequivocal defenders of all business., like we are some strange offshoot of neo-conservatism. Ayn Rand clearly pointed out that there are corrupt evil businessmen in this world, and she made the example with James Taggart. the problem is that because we spend so much of our time defending the producers of the world (like Microsoft and Walmart) that people try to use the bad examples of businessmen to disprove them, misleading Objectivists into having to defend trash like, say, Donald Trump, or Halliburton. Do try to remember that we Objectivists treat Businessmen objectively, meaning we acknowledge the good and the bad.

onto your next question concerning eating animals. Eating animals is moral, because animals are not volitional beings, and therefor do not possess rights. You can't violate a a tree's right to life, because a tree lacks a volitional rational mind. In the same way, you can't violate an animal's rights. Animals unfortunately are cuter than trees, so people tend to anthropomorphize them. That's why cute but ecologically irrelevent creatures like pandas get saved, they are cute. Meanwhile Lobsters look like science fiction monsters, so it's ok to boil them alive. Try boiling a cute puppy alive, and see how people react. the Altruists try to base rights on some archaic hierarchy of anthropormophization, thats why it's ok to pull all the legs and wings off of a fly, but illegal to shave your dog (even though flies are far more important ecologically than dogs)

if you are having problems with vegen-nazis, I have found an easy to beat them at their own arguement. if they say eating meat is immoral, ask them then, would it be better then, if I only ate meat once a year? presumably, they'd say it would be better if you didn't eat meat at all. Your next question is then, if they grow and eat their own food. assuming you live in the civilized world, the answer will be no. This is where you draw their flawed premise into the light. Ask them this; if it is immoral to kill an animals for the sake of sustinence, then why is it ok for them to buy food from an industry that kills millions of animals every year? Every time grains and such are harvested, millions of field mice, rabbits, and other such animals are killed. This is particularly notorious in the soy industry. If all animals have rights, as they say, then why does a cow have more rights than a field mouse? or an insect for that matter? (since pesticides kill insects by the billions.) If we were to confront them on their own utilitarian belief that the least amount of suffering must occur, then ask them what is more humane; killing and eating a single cow by punching a spike through their skull, which occurs without an ounce of pain towards the cow, or grinding and mangling mice and rabbits to death in a combine? This is the contradiction that is presented even among their own philosophy. Here is a source for this knowledge: http://www.wildlifedamagecontrol.com/anima...s/leastharm.htm

if you want a reference, here are some essays from the ARI : http://www.aynrand.org/site/News2?keywords...=true&scope=all

EDIT: your next question is our reasoning as to why animals do not have rights. Observe that animals operate on instinct, like a computer programmed to play a song on repeat over and over again. a Blue Jay bird builds it's nest in the exact same manner as the Blue Jay that lived in 5000 BC. Ant colonies are identical to each other in terms of general construction. They are completely dependent in their ability to physically repeat these standards of livings in any homeostasis. When change occurs, these animals die off, or evolve into different creatures. Humans are not like that. Humans are the only animals that have demonstrated a capacity for reason, an ability to exist outside their own homeostasis. That's why humans are capable of living in anything from Siberia to the Sahara desert. Humans possess very few instincts, breathing and sucking IIRC are the only ones we have. If we were to ever try to rely on our instincts, we would die. It is only the application of our reason that we are able to survive. Animals on the other hand, do not possess reason, because they rely on instincts to survive.

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I think that Objectivists get a bad rap as being unequivocal defenders of all business., like we are some strange offshoot of neo-conservatism. Ayn Rand clearly pointed out that there are corrupt evil businessmen in this world, and she made the example with James Taggart. the problem is that because we spend so much of our time defending the producers of the world (like Microsoft and Walmart) that people try to use the bad examples of businessmen to disprove them, misleading Objectivists into having to defend trash like, say, Donald Trump, or Halliburton.

Why do you say Donald Trump is trash?

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because he is a hack that uses eminent domain to cheat people out of their property. The Vera Coking incident is one such incident where Donald Trump wanted to build a parking garage on her property, but she wouldn't give it up, not for a million dollars. He went to the government to try and have her property seized for the greater good of the city, saying that the streets would be less crowded. Luckily for her, the case got alot of attention which painted Trump as the bully he really is, so he backed down. When John Stossel confronted him about it, he got huffy and stormed out of the building. So not only is he a crook, but he denies the reality that he is in fact one.

Richard Branson is my kind of hero though. Come on, what DOESN'T Virgin Inc. do? They're getting into the space tourism business for pete's sake! and to think he started out Virgin Inc as a small mail order record business.

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because he is a hack that uses eminent domain to cheat people out of their property. The Vera Coking incident is one such incident where Donald Trump wanted to build a parking garage on her property, but she wouldn't give it up, not for a million dollars. He went to the government to try and have her property seized for the greater good of the city, saying that the streets would be less crowded. Luckily for her, the case got alot of attention which painted Trump as the bully he really is, so he backed down. When John Stossel confronted him about it, he got huffy and stormed out of the building. So not only is he a crook, but he denies the reality that he is in fact one.

Richard Branson is my kind of hero though. Come on, what DOESN'T Virgin Inc. do? They're getting into the space tourism business for pete's sake! and to think he started out Virgin Inc as a small mail order record business.

I hadn't heard of that, Thanks, I'm reading up on it now. Then I'm going to check out Mr Branson

(No wonder my old boss-who reveres Donald Trump as a personal hero-also has been quoted saying that Business is all about f*cking people)

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My opinion of Trump is that he's one helluva lucky man. That he plays God of the world of business on that "Apprentice" show cracks me up.

Compare him to people like Richard Branson and Steve Jobs...Trump doesn't look quite so impressive.

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I have not insulted anyone, and I apologize if you take those words as insults.

"don't let your halo choke you" is a figure of speech, I generally use with Christians, but does apply to anyone who thinks their beliefs are so righteous that anytime they encounter contradictory evidence they polarize their beliefs, instead of accepting new information.

I still stand by my own conclusion for why animals reason in a different context than humans. The whole point of my argument was to find out why Objectivism claims it is okay to treat animals in any manner. We learn the same, and I have yet to see a certain connection scientifically that shows we are born with a specific biological condition that seperates us from animals and allows us to reason differently. We can, however, express ourselves much better and can perform tasks I don't feel like being reduntant, so reread my other posts.

Stacking several objects together, or creating sequences of sign language, or performing simple addition/subtraction tasks all fit the definations I have found of reason. These are all faculties of reason.

I believe many have implied here that when we dicuss certain subjects in light of Objectivism, that we discuss them according to their Objectivist defintion, which is often far more accurate and sometimes contradictory to the conventional definition.

Your use of "reason", "volition" and "environmentalism" is leading to fruitless arguments among us. Let's first settle on a clear definition of the three terms before we discuss Environmentalism any further.

And, as I have infered from one of your previous posts before, I stated you knew very little of Objectivism. Your statement that "Objectivism claims it is okay to treat animals in any manner" is another indication of such ignorance. Objectivism makes no such claim.

I will suggest one last time: read the core Objectivist corpus before going into detailed discussion and argumentation on fudmental concepts of Objectivism such as reason and volition and on the political view of Objectivism with respect to such ideologies as "environmentalism". Specifically, I would suggest that you read the entry on the terms "volition", "reason" and "environmentalism" in The Ayn Rand Lexicon.

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If a chimp is placed in a room with numerous objects scattered throughout the room, and food hanging from the ceiling, which is out of his reach, how will he get the food? He will have to select items to stack, and build a structure to reach the food. How many combination could potentially arise for reaching the food if there are 4 boxes, 2 barrells, 2 sticks, and a trampoline? Are you going to tell me, and yourself, that the animal only has one choice of action that they may select? Please read Kohler's studies on this before you get back to me.

I asked you can the animals and birds choose to live or die? Because if they can't, the law of non-contradiction demands that we abandon the claim that they have volition. And I have never seen or read about an animal commiting suicide.

Animals are programmed by nature, and their environment to do what is needed for survival. Does a dog naturally know not to shit on the carpet, or are they conditioned through some form of reinforcement not to do so? Is it necessary for the survival of a cat to be trained to relieve themselves in the toilet?

In that context yes. Let's take the dog's example.

How do we train it not to shit on the carpet?

By making the dog feel that not shitting on the carpets will promote his life by for example giving them food if they do what we want them to do, etc.

I believe that African Grey parrots have been known to commit suicide when left in a cage alone without companionship for too long.

Tried a google search. It yielded nothing.

Anyway in a cage a parrot wouldn't have any means of commiting suicide.

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Iron Works, BurgessLau is correct in informing you that you need to understand more about concept forming. A good resource for this is "Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology."

It also gives a few good examples and proof as to why animals are not volitional beings. As for animals being volitional entities in a different context- that just doesn't make any sense. Volition is volition. Either you have the freedom to choose, or you don't. Alternate contexts on the subject don't seem to fit.

The thought of a dog going on a hunger strike because it's owner won't feed it Kibbles N' Bits instead of Alpo's puppy chow does seem hilarious, though.

Edited for Spelling and slight paragraph restructuring.

Edited by LucentBrave

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I asked you can the animals and birds choose to live or die? Because if they can't, the law of non-contradiction demands that we abandon the claim that they have volition. And I have never seen or read about an animal commiting suicide.

In that context yes. Let's take the dog's example.

How do we train it not to shit on the carpet?

By making the dog feel that not shitting on the carpets will promote his life by for example giving them food if they do what we want them to do, etc.

Tried a google search. It yielded nothing.

Anyway in a cage a parrot wouldn't have any means of commiting suicide.

Suicide per se, no. They will stop eating and pick their feathers out making them able to easily contract illness. Also, rabbits that have been pair bonded can also quit eating when their pair bond dies. They can do into GI stasis and they die pretty soon thereafter. It has something to do with the hardwiring of different breeds inside the species. I've personally seen it happen as I raise and foster rabbits.

Is it a volitional act of suicide, no. I will disagree with the idea that it is volitional but I would have to describe it as a "neurotic" act that causes death for lack of a better way to describe it. I think it's a case of some animals can handle change better than others and what we percieve as neurosis is actually the way the animal responds to the stimuli or lack thereof.

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Okay, I'll admit I'm wrong for now, as I am looking at this argument from a whole other viewpoint than everyone here is. Two questions though...

1. What is going on when a chimp is using sign langauge to communicate? One chimp has been documented being able to use over 150 signs to communicate effectively. http://www.as.ua.edu/ant/bindon/ant270/sit...with_chimps.htm

2. What kind of proof would be needed to show that some animals are volitional? If this was proven, what would happen to the Objectivist philosophy? Would anyone here actually accept that some animals were volitional if one could prove it?

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A chimp being able to utilize sign language does not make it volitional. It is a learned habbit. Animals can think and form extremely simple concepts. They do not have a choice in this matter. You are confusing the concept of volition with the concept of learning a skill.

Animals can learn and be trained and conditioned to do many things.

You ask what is going on when a chimp is communicating in sign language?

How does a fully trained dog respond to it's owner when the owner tells is to "sit?"

It sits, because it was taught to do so. A chimp will respond with an appropriate sign because it was taught that way. What would happen if a chimp was offered a new sign to learn? One that it has never seen before? I can look at some signs and pretty much figure out what they are just by to motion of the sign. I can also pretty much be told what the sign means once, and remember what it means for a long time. Do you think a chimp can? No, you have to repeat the meaning of the sign over and over until it is learned.

If you could somehow prove that primitive animals have the faculty of volition, then I suppose Objectivism would have to validate the proof to see if it holds water. And if it does, I suppose it would have to embrace it as a valid concept.

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Tried a google search. It yielded nothing.

Anyway in a cage a parrot wouldn't have any means of commiting suicide.

Suicide per se, no. They will stop eating and pick their feathers out making them able to easily contract illness. Also, rabbits that have been pair bonded can also quit eating when their pair bond dies. They can do into GI stasis and they die pretty soon thereafter. It has something to do with the hardwiring of different breeds inside the species. I've personally seen it happen as I raise and foster rabbits.

Is it a volitional act of suicide, no. I will disagree with the idea that it is volitional but I would have to describe it as a "neurotic" act that causes death for lack of a better way to describe it. I think it's a case of some animals can handle change better than others and what we percieve as neurosis is actually the way the animal responds to the stimuli or lack thereof.

Yes, I tried to find a source myself, and couldn't then I remembered that it was as you say-the starving and plucking, African Grey's are known for weird behavior, but you're right, this doesn't neccessarily make a case for volition. They just get sick. Interesting though.

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If you could somehow prove that primitive animals have the faculty of volition, then I suppose Objectivism would have to validate the proof to see if it holds water.  And if it does, I suppose it would have to embrace it as a valid concept.

To be accurate, philosophy is concerned only with man and his relation to the world. A discovery such as this would have no impact on philosophy whatsoever.

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Yes, I tried to find a source myself, and couldn't then I remembered that it was as you say-the starving and plucking, African Grey's are known for weird behavior, but you're right, this doesn't neccessarily make a case for volition. They just get sick. Interesting though.

I don't know why it's entitled African Grey Myths since the article goes onto detailing the endless reasons why they pluck feathers. To quote:

Plucking seems to occur more often in Greys because they must be managed more carefully than other species. Internal conflicts involving environment, cage, diet, activities, bathing, discipline, training, amusement produce internal disharmony and anxiety. The companion Grey may internalize these events and be unable to resolve them in a non-destructive manner. When something is amiss, they may express their discomfort or anxiety by feather plucking.
So really it's just a bad "coping" mechanism that Greys have that cuase their death eventually. Kind of like fainting goats who respond to stess by fainting and playing dead. Which of course leads them to be eaten with relative ease by predators.

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My rough, tentative, and shortest definition of environmentalism would be this: A religion of the worship of nature. A somewhat expanded, but still essentialized definition would be: A religion whose ontology is a polytheistic one-world (with Gaia, the Earth Goddess, as the supreme deity); whose epistemology is intrinsicist; whose ethics is setting nature as the highest value; and whose politics is using aggression to subordinate peaceful and honest human activities to nature (Gaia).

You seem to use the term "environmentalism" as a name for rational land management by its owners. That would be a neologism.

The issue of when/how to form a concept is an interesting issue. I agree with the essentials of your definition, but I want to flesh out some of the issues pertaining to definition per se.

There are a number of possible definitions, and I am thinking of 2 in particular: 1) we could consider "environmentalists" to be the group of all people who want to preserve nature and animal species, and lump together those who pursue this by immoral means with those who do not, or 2) we could define it as the group of people who pursue the goal via immoral means.

What are the various reasons for doing both?

As you do, I believe #2 is the rational choice, because it's important to clearly distinguish between those who are dangerous to a free society - and reason - and those who are not. One motive behind such a choice is a moral/philosophical one - we more or less want to clearly define who our enemies are. To not do so would allow them to ride on the coattails of morally acceptable people in order to pursue their destructive ends. It could also be that this simply describes the majority of such people, and captures their essence.

On the other hand, I would like to have some label for those people (i.e. me) who simply want to preserve nature for the purpose of enjoyment and want to do it by moral means. For example by buying such property, as the Nature Conservancy does. Defining the term as in #2 leaves me a referential "orphan", i.e. without a label (this would not keep me up a night, but...). Am I simply a "nature lover"?

What are your thoughts on the process of defining in this case?

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The issue of when/how to form a concept is an interesting issue. I agree with the essentials of your definition, but I want to flesh out some of the issues pertaining to definition per se.

There are a number of possible definitions, and I am thinking of 2 in particular: 1) we could consider "environmentalists" to be the group of all people who want to preserve nature and animal species, and lump together those who pursue this by immoral means with those who do not, or 2) we could define it as the group of people who pursue the goal via immoral means.

What are the various reasons for doing both? [...]

Gadfly, you have done an excellent job of identifying, characterizing, and concretizing a problem I have wrestled with for a long time. I can briefly tell you my answer, which I consider probable but not certain.

The guiding rule is cognitive necessity. This is an idea, a criterion, that I learned from Ayn Rand -- In Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, but I can't find the exact page (probably in the discussion of concept formation).

At first, I kept looking for what I now realize was a Platonic criterion "out there." There isn't any such criterion. The issue is just this: What do I need to do -- for example, in choosing a term, in deciding whether to form a new concept, or in resorting to a descriptive phrase -- in order to deal with the world objectively, that is, based on facts and drawing my ideas logically from those facts.

If there were only one or two environmentalists in the world -- instead of an extremely popular, enormously destructive, mass movement -- there would be no cognitive necessity for a special term and a new concept with referents defined as you and I have done. We need to identify this movement, and we need to identify its fundamental characteristics, the ones that make it so destructive.

Likewise, at this point in our society's evolution, most of us don't need to set up a new concept for "nonaggressive nature lovers." They aren't a threat, number one, and number two, the idea is already implicit in other concepts (used in certain contexts), such as: birdwatchers, hikers, and hunters. So, a descriptive phrase -- adpated to the context -- should be enough.

That is as much as I have been able to come up with so far. It works, and I have confidence in it -- but I also have an inkling that something is missing or partly wrong.

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It's a frustrating problem: convincing people that the environmental movement as a whole is anti-man.

It's as if there was one large "child appreciation" organization that included both teachers and pedophiles... which was controlled by the pedophiles but largely popularly known for the teachers.

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I can't see how one could say animals cannot reason at all.

You will find an excellent analysis of claims for animal cognition in this lecture by Dr. Edwin A. Locke here.

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The guiding rule is cognitive necessity. This is an idea, a criterion, that I learned from Ayn Rand -- In Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, but I can't find the exact page (probably in the discussion of concept formation).

I do remember that discussion by her. When you posted your definition, I knew there was something she wrote about it, but could not remember what, or if I had, how to apply it to this situation.

I was interested in your particular reasons as well, and that's pretty much what I thought was behind your definition.

As to what might be missing, I would like to hear more specifics on this topic, since I don't remember there being much more than what you described. I think this topic would make an interesting subject for a longer essay. Objectivism has redefined many popular terms, and this issue is bound to come up again in the future the more widely the philosophy becomes discussed.

Thanks.

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