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ann r kay

Interesting Observation Regarding Member's Ages

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... given the simplicity of the poll question, which requested no further information or explanation and considering that no statement of the question's purpose was made -- I knew no valid conclusions could be drawn.

Hi Marc,

I started that poll, so let me address the points you make:

1) "No statement of purpose": I said I was curious. Are you just saying that curiosity is not a sufficient purpose; that I should have had a larger purpose? If so, you're right, my curiosity was a means to an end. I'll explain after I address the specific issues you raised.

2) "Simplicity of the question": I wanted to get an idea of the ages of the people on this forum. I could not think of any more complicated way to find out.

3) "Requested no further information": All I wanted to ask for is age. But, I did allow for comment. When I created the poll, I wondered if I should make it a "Poll Only". Then, I thought to myself: "Marc might come along <_< and want to add a comment, saying why he is not voting." So, I created it to allow for comments.

I'm actually amazed that nobody objected or questioned it before now.

Surely the time it takes cannot be your primary objection. As Tom said, it hardly takes any time to vote.

I expected that someone would come along and object not because of the time, but because he saw it as a disvalue. Someone who would object to the purpose of the poll, because they understood that curiosity is not primary and that there must be an underlying purpose. Someone who did not give me the benefit of doubt, or who figured that even if the author did not misinterpret the poll, someone else would.

4) "No valid conclusions could be drawn": Even if we assume that age is negatively correlated with probability of seeing the poll, answering and answering correctly, we can draw some conclusions about the likely age from the results as they stand today. Perhaps you object to the premise of assuming such a correlation and think there is no evidence to suggest it, or indeed that there is evidence to suggest that age is positively correlated to the likelihood of a "good" reply. If so, why would you say that? Or, you could object by saying that either premise on correlation is arbitrary. Is that your stand?

Or, are you saying that while the poll may reveal a rough idea (with a degree of error, as mentioned in many posts), no further valid conclusions could be drawn from that fact? if that's what you're implying, you'd be correct in assuming that no conclusions can be drawn from the fact of age alone.

My purpose: When one is communicating with another person, one needs to understand the context they have. When I am explaining why I like some software-development practice, I cannot address a young programmer straight out of college in the same way that I can address a seasoned software-architect who has seen so many systems. With the latter, I can draw analogies to various things that I know he will have probably experienced; I can bank on a certain set of knowledge.

Of course, some young programmers may be brighter than some old geezers. I might even be able to explain certain things more easily to some of the college kids because I am talking about newer technology that they are familiar with and which the old geezer has not bothered to learn.

So, obviously, age is not the only factor or even the top most factor I would use. If I were speaking to a single individual, the more understanding I had of that individual, the less would I need to consider age. However, if I were walking into a classroom full of people (or a forum) I'd like to get some idea of their background.

Could I have made some other poll? Sure, and maybe I will. I did think of creating a poll like "How many Ayn Rand books have you read?", with options like "Most of the fiction", "Most of the non-fiction", "Just 2 or 3 books"...and so on. I could not decide on the categories, so I stuck with something simple for now.

I also considered asking "How long since you have been a student of Objectivism?", but didn't want to re-open the debate on "Objectivist" vs. "Student of Objectivism".

I knew this was not my last poll ever, so I decided to start with something simple, at the risk that it was far less indicative of context.

It would be interesting to take this discussion into a thread on the epistemology of the field of probability theory, to discuss what von Mises (Ref. Human Action) refers to as "case probability vs. class probability", or even to discuss whether prejudice is primarily an epistemological issue or an ethical issue. I daresay many opportunities present themselves.

For now, all I ask is: please answer my poll on age. (I'm hoping persistence pays. :huh: )

Edited by softwareNerd

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If I jumped to conclusions, I apoligize Pony Girl. I made an error in judgement. I just am very wary to quick and hasty generalizations, which is what I may have fallen into.

Edited by softwareNerd

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Strangely, my father, while not a True Objectivist (though, much of his thinking is in line with it), is the one who got me into the idea of it. He gave me "Anthem" around 8 years ago, and it quickly became one of, if not, my favorite books. I later read "Atlas Shrugged" (which took me MUCH longer), and had found that a lot of my already established thinking, was in line with much of it. Actually, it's pretty nice, because if I want to talk about stuff I've been thinking about, he's always a good choice for me. I've always wondered whether the difference in age is one of the things that helps me be closer to ideals with my parents (i.e. I'm in my early-mid twenties and my parents are in their early-mid forties.) It would be quite interesting to see the background of that sort of thing. Plus; age with culture/state/country.

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Pony Girl, What are the types of topics that would interest 30-something or older women (who are also not just starting out in Objectivism) to visit this site? If you had to brainstorm in the form of "I wish this site had ..." what would that be? The owner, GreedyCapitalist, has some other threads asking for suggestions, so any ideas you have would surely be welcome.

In general, I like to study epistemology and aesthetics. Based on what I've seen, it seems most other people find metaphysics and politics more interesting.

Why am I diferrent? I think because I understand metaphysics and politics to the extent that I feel I need to understand them in order to live my daily life. Understand that I'm not a philosopher by trade - I'm a computer security analyst. I study philosophy in order to improve my life.

I think that epistemology is something you can study for a lifetime and continuously improve your ability to think and analyze. Even non-philosophers can benefit tremendously from regularly reading and re-reading epistemology, then introspecting and applying what we've learned to real life.

I like aesthetics (clothing, interior design and landscaping) for several reasons, including the facts that I'm creative and that I'm a girl. I will clarify up front that I don't just like to "decorate" and put frilly bows on stuff or collect nicnacs. When I say I study interior design, I mean I study classic modern architecture and furnishings and analyze why I like or don't like what I see. I read about how to use color and placement of furnishings within a room, etc.

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Pony Girl,

I wanted to reply to you specifically, because I am a woman in my 30s as well, although only just learning about Objectivism.

Perhaps that is why I am different. In my late teens and early 20s, I had no interest in discovering who I was or what I valued. My only interest was in fitting in. That wasn't what I said about myself, but it was quite apparent in my actions.

I have never been very comfortable around others. It takes me awhile to trust people. I used to think of it as a hindrance to my life, now I consider everything I am an asset in what I want out of my life.

Welcome to the forum, Ann R Kay. I'm glad you've learned that trust must be earned. :)

I don't know what you've read by Rand yet (I think you said in another thread that you hadn't read her work yet), but I'd suggest starting with the Virtue of Selfishness. I think you'll find it very rewarding.

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After voting in the poll on the ages of the posters here, I noticed that almost half are under the age of 25. So it made me wonder, is Objectivism a phase that many young people grow out of, and if so, why does the process of aging cause people to be less rational?

For the record, I seem to be doing quite the opposite, becoming more and more rational the older I get.  :)

Edited for my error.

Actually, more than half are under the age of 25.

The young are generally HIGHLY irrational, in my opinion. Much more so than the

old.

The old are irrational about fewer things, but are more "practiced" in

their "chosen" irrationalities, so they appear, to the young, as more irrational

because they're better at their "specialties" than the young are. The young HATE

effective "inferiors" to themselves.

From what I've observed, "objectivism" is not a "phase", as it's to obscure to be

widely "used" as a phase (unlike stupid haircuts, bizarre clothing or creating new

topological features in one's flesh to loop ornaments through).

NOTHNG in any culture actively promotes objectivism, because it's the essence of

being effectively human, and as such is a closely guarded secret of those who

know that having a real objectivist society would look "too weird" to "the masses"

and would cause no end of trouble to the "secret keepers".

So,.. at this point in societal evolution, it's better to be effective, and run things in

an orderly manner, than to be overly generous with our "pearls" and make trouble

for ourselves by casting them before the "swine".

:thumbsup:

Was that too cynical,.. or just realistic? I'll report,.. you decide..

-Iakeo

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After voting in the poll on the ages of the posters here, I noticed that almost half are under the age of 25. So it made me wonder, is Objectivism a phase that many young people grow out of, and if so, why does the process of aging cause people to be less rational?

For the record, I seem to be doing quite the opposite, becoming more and more rational the older I get.  :thumbsup:

Edited for my error.

Actually, more than half are under the age of 25.

I think that older Objectivists have less questions that need answering on the topic. I am 14 (by the way, is there any age minimum on this forum that I'm violating??) and post here only because I want aid in answering nagging questions. I am sure you are right in one respect though. For many Objectivists, Objectivism is treated only as a phase, and is tossed off carelessly as soon as it is "grown out of." These are the kind who never understood Objectivism in the first place, who twist the philosophy around in order to form a new excuse for hating all of man kind. Using themselves as examples, they feel all Objectivists are like they are. The worst kind of Ad Hominem argument is using ones own dark past as an example of the "ill effects" of a system of thought.

The young are generally HIGHLY irrational, in my opinion. Much more so than the

old.

The old are irrational about fewer things, but are more "practiced" in

their "chosen" irrationalities, so they appear, to the young, as more irrational

because they're better at their "specialties" than the young are. The young HATE

effective "inferiors" to themselves.

Even though you are right that most young people are highly irrational, you seem to treat the issue (though I might merely be misinterpreting your tone) in overgeneral terms. A rational young person is a rational young person, no matter how many irrational youths exist, and an irrational adult is an irrational adult no matter how many adults are perfectly rational. I reply to your saying "The young HATE effective 'inferiors' to themselves" with, "Well, shouldn't they? Or is there mistake in labeling people 'inferior' without thinking things over thoroughly?" Even though I'm a teen, there are some adults who are inferior to me--and I hate them, because they should be taking better care of their minds. I think the mistake that so many angst-riddled teenagers make is in presuming themselves to be better than they really are. Presumptuousness, not pride, is their error. (And there are many more exceptions than you might think.)

Becaue I am merely a teenager, I am likely much more fallible and much more impressionable than most adults are. An older friend told me, "You are a powerful intellect, to be sure, but foremost a fourteen year old boy." This is true. But is it right for you to default on my intelligence, claiming that every judgment I make is tainted by my "lack of experience?"

Edited by ingok

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I am 14 and post here only because I want aid in answering nagging questions. I am sure you are right in one respect though.

You're 14? I would have guessed older because you appear to possess some rudimentary grasp of grammar, sentence structure, and clarity. Of course MY observations on this front may be skewed because many who post here do not speak English as their first language.

Of course, some that do are simply incredibly sloppy. My general experience is that these are males (you know who you are :thumbsup: )generally between the ages of 20 and 25, don't ask me why.

Any theories on this peculiarity? Perhaps the very young posters tend to be the quiet, intelligent, bookish sort, and the 20-25 male group includes young bucks with more balls than brains, who are prolific but not necessarily sensible. Maybe it's just because apparently 85% of the population here consists of males between 20 and 25, so if an even distribution occurs, that group will necessarily contain most of the posters of EVERY description.

*cough* From my lofty position as a single female, I might add that "prolific but not necessarily sensible" pretty well describes all men between the ages of 20 and 25. :huh:

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I am 20 and a college student. My fiance and I are both Objectivists. Right now, I discuss philosophy a lot, and I spend a lot of time on the internet. In a few years, my career and my family will take up a lot of my time, and I will be less likely to discuss philosophy online. I will not grow out of my values, Objectivism is here to stay.

It always amuses me when someone says that Objectivism is a philosophy that young people have and they will grow out of it. I know so many teenagers and young adults that seem to be throwing their lives away. They act like the world owes them a living. I would be thrilled if more young people held Objectivist views. I haven't met one person, other than online, that holds the same values as I do. I see more self-destructive behavior among teenagers. I would be happy to see more young rational individuals.

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I also have not meet in person, anyone that to my knowledge has Objectivst beleifs. I agree that more youth need to encounter Objectivism and become familiar with it at the least to prevent them damaging their future or destroying their potential.

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*cough* From my lofty position as a single female, I might add that "prolific but not necessarily sensible" pretty well describes all men between the ages of 20 and 25.  :D

Hey now, watch it. 25 wasn't that long ago for me. I might have to offer a few observations about young women in retaliation. :)

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Bah. Young women are the epitomy of grace, good sense, and good judgement. And if you believe that I have some farmland down in Florida I can sell you . . .

Note that I said they were not necessarily sensible; many specimens with good sense and good judgement do exist. However, I have always admired the amazing single-minded drive young men seem to possess in abundance. Now if only we could get you to use your powers for good :D

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Bah.  Young women are the epitomy of grace, good sense, and good judgement.  And if you believe that I have some farmland down in Florida I can sell you . . .

Sure. I'll trade you the Brooklyn Bridge for it. B)

Though to be fair you don't come across badly from what I've seen of your posts, and a quick glance at your profile confirms that you are indeed a young woman. Hmm... it also shows some interests similar to mine, such as computers. What kinds of computer games and RPGs are you into?

Note that I said they were not necessarily sensible; many specimens with good sense and good judgement do exist.  However, I have always admired the amazing single-minded drive young men seem to possess in abundance.  Now if only we could get you to use your powers for good :D

Sorry, I've taken an oath to use my powers only for neutrality. I'm passionately indifferent, you see. :)

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And of course deliberately giving up on such values once you are in a position to know what they are and to know the consequences of giving them up has to rank right up ther amongst the most evil actions possible (on an individual scale) .

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And of course deliberately giving up on such values once you are in a position to know what they are and to know the consequences of giving them up has to rank right up ther amongst the most evil actions possible (on an individual scale) .

I'll second Felipe on wanting to know what you're talking about. Was this in response to what I said? Claiming to be neutral and "passionately indifferent" was only a joke, in response to JMS's crack about using my powers for good.

Whether she was joking is another matter, but hey... :confused:

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I think your joke was mistaken for a serious comment. (In the context of the exchange, your intent seemed pretty clear to me personally. I can see though that someone else might have missed it!)

Hmm... I figured that if a blatant self-contradiction like "passionately indifferent" didn't give it away, the smiley would.

On the other hand, if JMS took it seriously it would explain why she didn't respond. So maybe you're right. <shrug> Oh well. Making friends was never my strong point.

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I can see though that someone else might have taken the "passionate neutrality" to spell "identity crisis"

Actually, the nick is just a joke. Back when I tried to sign up on my first ISP I couldn't proceed because all the nicks I kept trying were already taken. I got agitated because all I wanted to do was check out the internet and I was being held up over what should have been a trivial issue, so I typed in "IdentityCrises" (refering to my inability to even pick a name for myself) as a frustrated joke. The misspelling (plural form instead of singular) was unintentional, but it's probably why it didn't get rejected.

Though I can see why such a nick would be a bad thing on this forum. I really should pick a new one.

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After voting in the poll on the ages of the posters here, I noticed that almost half are under the age of 25. So it made me wonder, is Objectivism a phase that many young people grow out of, and if so, why does the process of aging cause people to be less rational?

Actually, more than half are under the age of 25.

Well, when you're younger it's easier to ignore what other people say and believe. But after a while it probably starts to wear on people-- it is difficult these days actually having convictions and principals (people tend to call you "close-minded"). If a half hearted Objectivist finds that s/he can't stay in a relationship or get a promotion or get academic respect, they may begin to turn on Objectivism in favour of being accepted.

Personally I cannot understand this switch. I don't get how one (of one) can understand the world and how it works--basically given the cliff's notes on how to live your life, and then just turn your back close your eyes. I don't get it.

Personally I'd say I was a very rational kid up until middle school when I got screwed up, then in college became rational again--with the help of Objectivism for which I am very grateful.

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I think it could be the combination of three things:

1. Many of them didn't understand the philosophy like what Pony Girl said

2. Around your 20's people usually get busier with jobs, kids and such. So they probably FIGURE they don't have time to talk to people.

3. Absorbed what they wanted to learn about objectivism and then moved on

The third one is a lot like me. I usually research a subject for a while, then I want to learn about something else. I retain information and lessons very well. So it could be that younger people are researching philosophy around this time then go off on another subject. Just a thought :lol:

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