Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum
Brandon

Galt's Gulch and the Producer Revolution

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

I must say that the guy with the Narnian lion avatar (something of a moderator?) appears to be quite a worthy opponent. .... The argument is all about Epistemology....

He is pretty tuff, but when I have proved a point, such as the arbitrary is neither true nor false, he totally evades and goes into long, flowing "defintions" of personnal interpretations of definitions :) .

But he's committed. It doesn't bother him that he apperently doesn't understand 90% of what I say (or he would agree, right?) because he keeps on going. And going.....

I'm n ot sure I want to move there after all :devil: . But I'm sure I can find a dozen rational parents in a city of nearly 100,000. Mormons or not...

Brandon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Is there a reason you identified that place for a school?

I was born and raised in Utah, not that that is a relevant concern, but my whole family minus one brother (two brothers, two sisters, mom, dad, 12 nieces and nephews, and I don't know how many cousins, aunts and uncles. Not that that is material either).

Here is what IS relevant: I've lived in Connecticut for the last 5 years. I HATE the liberal-leftist-communist atmosphere here (the argument is isn't "should we socialize medicine?", the argument is "when should we do it and according to who's plan?").

I hate the extremely racist blacks and (most of the) Puerto-Ricans (every good black I've met has moved to CT from somehwere in the south like Georgia or whatever - almost all the ones born here have no work ethic and hate white people on principle). So Connecticut is NOT a place to stay.

Also, I hate cold weather. St George, Utah, the city I plan to move to, is in the far South-West corner of the state. It is known as Utah's "Dixie" because its so warm and sunny year-round.

And lastly, most relevant, if you've ever been to Utah you know how polite, well-mannered, hard-working, and well-educated the Mormons are. Also, VERY LOW CRIME, high employment rate, growing economy, lots of opportunities for investment in real-estate if you're willing to stick it out long-term (10 or 15 years), and...

The citizens of mountain-western states are extremely suspicious of big government, federal spending or growth of government power. Home-schooling is fairly popular in Utah, and my early customers will possibly be home-schoolers who bring their kids for a couple hours a day to learn the specifics the parents aren't so knowledgable in.

And if my academy is successful, its just a hop-skip-jump to Irvine, where I would love to help Lisa VanDamme expand and grow her academy once I have some credentials.

And did I mention I hate the East Coast?

Brandon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
These guys are just making stuff up, and ARI ought to say something about their use of "Galt's Gulch" as a name.

If you want to notify someone, it would make more sense to notify the Estate of Ayn Rand (i.e., Dr. Peikoff) than ARI, since he has the copyrights.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Notified.

EDIT: The email address on his website isn't working, or at least isn't working right now. Guess I'll have to try something else.

Edited by Nate

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I just went there to read some of the stuff. I must say that the guy with the Narnian lion avatar (something of a moderator?) appears to be quite a worthy opponent. It is tough arguing against deists because they appear to agree with everything one says, save one. The argument is all about Epistemology. (Unlike regular theists who want to trot out scripture for little stuff.)

Thank you.

I appreciate the compliment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, let me introduce myself. I am largely responsible for the forum you are refering to in this thread. We call the community Galt's Gulch Online for many reasons. I'll deal with ARI - respectfully and responsibly in the copyright conversation - doesn't seem to fruitful to do here. But, for the sake of the substantive conversation here about our forum and Objectivism, Ayn Rand, and Christian Objectivists - so called... I thought I'd chime in.

Let's set the record straight. I started the forum, I advocate our message on the radio every day, I lecture regularly for the Producer Revolution and I have indeed read and studied Ayn Rand and consider her ideass to be among the most valuable I've been exposed to in all my reading. I do not claim to be an expert, only one who has been taught much by an amazingly rational, capable capitalist.

I would, in a conversation with Ayn Rand freely identify myself as an objectivist. I prefer instead (absent that context) to use the term Free Capitalist because I choose not to identify with the quasi-intellectual movment of the same name that has no authority for determining orthodoxy. Obviously the ultimate authority is the standard of reason iteself, but in any social organization the activities of the group can become tyrannically divorced from the rational world and destructive of the individual absent some physical standard of orthodoxy. The consequence of even the most basic association is at the very least endless distraction by those who also consider themselves Objectivists but who's views with which I differ.

Now, for anyone interested in more than name calling I very seriously offer the following:

1. Any dogma, including the oft articulated rhetoric on this forum, is no substitute for reason - no matter how emotively compelling. Calling others names, as has been the case in this so far shallow beginning of a conversation, using faint reference to some type of intellectual standard without naming it is much more of a betryal of being a rational human being than that which you are attacking.

2. I am a Mormon - which means to most that I am also therefore a Christian. I find no fundamental contradiction with Objectivism or Ayn Rand's philosophy in my own worldview. I find incedential contradictions (or what seemt to be such) in my own research which simply represent a challenge to me to reconcile my ideas in accordance with the truth. I learn much by addressing these apparant differences. It is my actual position that Rand's philosophy is fundamental in agreement with Mormon doctrine. Here critique of religion and mysticism is still among the most valuable and articulate - she picks up where Jefferson and Franklin left off. She extolled the virtues of the Founders publically and many writting with her and publishing with her were non-mystic, rational believers in God. The athiesm element of Rand's critique has become dogma for modern day so-called disciples in my opinion. Finally, I believe using her own arguments, principles, and statements most would be suprised to see Rand's obvious conclusions about God. I'm working on an essay on the topic. Funny side note, the so-called Christian community constantly attacks the forum for using the works of an "athiest" and the so-called "Rand" community attacks us for using her ideas while claiming a belief in God. Interesting.... there are no contradictions - how is it that both are on the same side of the criticism?

3. Lastly, what about our ideas? Besides attacking our labels or the labels you've given us, what about our ideas is so threatening?

Interested in a real convsation. With much respect and admiration for Rand and her associates.

FreeCapitalist

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I am a Mormon - which means to most that I am also therefore a Christian. I find no fundamental contradiction with Objectivism or Ayn Rand's philosophy in my own worldview.

Being Mormon means to most that you're a Christian? Do you consider yourself a Christian? If so, how can you not find a fundamental contradition between Objectivism and Christianity? Or is your view of Christianity much different from the norm....in which case, you should completely separate from that faith because you are being improperly labeled.

There are many contradictions between the two philosophies. The fundamental one is the moral premise from which everything else stems: faith or reason.

If you think that reason is superior to all else, then you are not a true Christian.

If you think faith is superior to all else, then you are not an Objectivist, which you "freely identify" yourself as. You cannot "choose" the meaning of Objectivism to fit your own purpose. "Objectivism" was coined by Ayn Rand to represent her beliefs. If you disagree with her main argument, then you cannot identifiy yourself with true Objectivists.

Also, you cannot hold faith and reason at the same level of importance because they contradict each other.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Being Mormon means to most that you're a Christian? Do you consider yourself a Christian? If so, how can you not find a fundamental contradition between Objectivism and Christianity? Or is your view of Christianity much different from the norm....in which case, you should completely separate from that faith because you are being improperly labeled.

There are many contradictions between the two philosophies. The fundamental one is the moral premise from which everything else stems: faith or reason.

If you think that reason is superior to all else, then you are not a true Christian.

If you think faith is superior to all else, then you are not an Objectivist, which you "freely identify" yourself as. You cannot "choose" the meaning of Objectivism to fit your own purpose. "Objectivism" was coined by Ayn Rand to represent her beliefs. If you disagree with her main argument, then you cannot identifiy yourself with true Objectivists.

Also, you cannot hold faith and reason at the same level of importance because they contradict each other.

Your questions and comments in order:

1. Yes, I consider myself a Christian. To me the word means simply a follower of Christ and his doctrine, like you describe Objectivist essentially to mean a follower of Ayn Rand and her teachings. I do not claim that such a label "makes me" anything or excuses my behavior. It instead simply references an idea to which I strive. I however have some serious disagreements with moder concepts of what it means therefore to be a Christian. I believe most modern Christians and Chritian critics are mystics who do not study nor try to understand the teachings of Jesus but instead choose camps that follow different sects with varying opinions (usually not even that - just dogmas) about the substance of his actual teachings.

2. I find no contradiction in following truth and believe all truth is consistent with itself. This is the fundamental standard of reason as advocated by Rand and it is the fundamental standard advocated by Jesus. Additionally it is the fundamental standard advocated by Joseph Smith.

3. My beliefs are substantially different from the "norm" but your suggestion that I therefore abandon "that faith" because I am being improperly labeled is irrational. A man is free to label me as he chooses. I am under no obligation to change my own view of myself because of another man's judgement.

4. You make an intersting statement that is inaccurate. You state:

The fundamental one is the moral premise from which everything else stems: faith or reason. If you think that reason is superior to all else, then you are not a true Christian. If you think faith is superior to all else, then you are not an Objectivist, which you "freely identify" yourself as.

Your dichotomy of faith and reason does not necessarily leads to the conclusions you advocate. For example, I do hold that reason is superior to any other standard of thought - which brings me into what you call the objectivist camp. However, to quote Luther - "Faith is not what some people think it is." Faith is assurance (which only true assurance begins with reason - an irrational person has no faith) and is the principle of action in all intelligent beings. An irrational faith is to hold a contradiction - which is no faith at all. Faith is not a standard, reason is the standard. Faith is the result. You had faith for example that is was worth replying to my message to reach some end you desired, but you didn't know for sure that I would respond. Your faith was rational in that there was a reasonable basis for your feeling of assurance, nevertheless, your dichotomy is here exposed as not necessarily exclusive. Men sometimes use the term faith to refer to the irrational, but this is a poor excuse for thinking, is substantially tyranical and is the result of mysticism or mystical thinking at best. Your statement that holding reason as superier disqualifies me from being a true Christian shows the false tautology you advocate. In other words, you define faith as irrational. You define a Christian as someone having faith. You therefore conclude that a Christian can not be an objectivist who holds reason as the absolute standard. I would argue that a tautology and/or a definitionally true statement like this is no argument or position of the mind, but is simply a disagreement on the definition of terms ultimately. I believe defining terms as you have is not only shallow, but no consistent with what most in history have used those terms to mean. So, you are making an argument that while it may be true for one holding your definitions is not communicating any fundamental disagreement with the position of a rational Christian. I would argue for example that a Christian (a follower of Jesus) is bound by his teachings to follow reason as the absolute standard of thought.

5. I do not try to "choose" the meaning of objectivism in this context, I simply defer to Rand's definition as you suggest.

6. I do not disagree with her main arguemtn, I advocate it.

7. Finally, I have easily demonstrated how it is very rational to hold to reason and faith at the same time becaues they do not necessarily contradict each other. Reason is a standard and reasoning is its process. Being reasonable is the result. Faith is assurance and principle of action. All assurance must be self-evidently rational (or it is not indeed assurance) and therefore the process of faith is gaining more knowledge. Searching after truth is reasonable, and acting upon it is the condition of being faithful.

I've tried to be brief but also share insight. Thanks for the beginning of a serious conversation.

TFC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
An irrational faith is to hold a contradiction - which is no faith at all. Faith is not a standard, reason is the standard. Faith is the result. You had faith for example that is was worth replying to my message to reach some end you desired, but you didn't know for sure that I would respond. Your faith was rational in that there was a reasonable basis for your feeling of assurance, nevertheless, your dichotomy is here exposed as not necessarily exclusive.

Mimpy asked just the right question. In your terms. What is the "reasonable basis for your feeling assured" that God exists?

Your statement that holding reason as superier disqualifies me from being a true Christian shows the false tautology you advocate. In other words, you define faith as irrational. You define a Christian as someone having faith. You therefore conclude that a Christian can not be an objectivist who holds reason as the absolute standard. I would argue that a tautology and/or a definitionally true statement like this is no argument or position of the mind, but is simply a disagreement on the definition of terms ultimately. I believe defining terms as you have is not only shallow, but no consistent with what most in history have used those terms to mean. So, you are making an argument that while it may be true for one holding your definitions is not communicating any fundamental disagreement with the position of a rational Christian. I would argue for example that a Christian (a follower of Jesus) is bound by his teachings to follow reason as the absolute standard of thought.

7. Finally, I have easily demonstrated how it is very rational to hold to reason and faith at the same time becaues they do not necessarily contradict each other. Reason is a standard and reasoning is its process. Being reasonable is the result. Faith is assurance and principle of action. All assurance must be self-evidently rational (or it is not indeed assurance) and therefore the process of faith is gaining more knowledge. Searching after truth is reasonable, and acting upon it is the condition of being faithful.

Isn't your interesting defition of faith just your supposed tautology in reverse? Faith can be rational -> True "Rational"-ists have faith -> Objectivists are irrational.

We're not interested much in sematic games. You may call anything you like semantics or tautological; however, for us reality decides which is actually the truth, and which is not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, let me introduce myself. I am largely responsible for the forum you are refering to in this thread. We call the community Galt's Gulch Online for many reasons. I'll deal with ARI - respectfully and responsibly in the copyright conversation - doesn't seem to fruitful to do here. But, for the sake of the substantive conversation here about our forum and Objectivism, Ayn Rand, and Christian Objectivists - so called... I thought I'd chime in.

Let's set the record straight. I started the forum, I advocate our message on the radio every day, I lecture regularly for the Producer Revolution and I have indeed read and studied Ayn Rand and consider her ideass to be among the most valuable I've been exposed to in all my reading. I do not claim to be an expert, only one who has been taught much by an amazingly rational, capable capitalist.

I would, in a conversation with Ayn Rand freely identify myself as an objectivist. I prefer instead (absent that context) to use the term Free Capitalist because I choose not to identify with the quasi-intellectual movment of the same name that has no authority for determining orthodoxy. Obviously the ultimate authority is the standard of reason iteself, but in any social organization the activities of the group can become tyrannically divorced from the rational world and destructive of the individual absent some physical standard of orthodoxy. The consequence of even the most basic association is at the very least endless distraction by those who also consider themselves Objectivists but who's views with which I differ.

Now, for anyone interested in more than name calling I very seriously offer the following:

1. Any dogma, including the oft articulated rhetoric on this forum, is no substitute for reason - no matter how emotively compelling. Calling others names, as has been the case in this so far shallow beginning of a conversation, using faint reference to some type of intellectual standard without naming it is much more of a betryal of being a rational human being than that which you are attacking.

2. I am a Mormon - which means to most that I am also therefore a Christian. I find no fundamental contradiction with Objectivism or Ayn Rand's philosophy in my own worldview. I find incedential contradictions (or what seemt to be such) in my own research which simply represent a challenge to me to reconcile my ideas in accordance with the truth. I learn much by addressing these apparant differences. It is my actual position that Rand's philosophy is fundamental in agreement with Mormon doctrine. Here critique of religion and mysticism is still among the most valuable and articulate - she picks up where Jefferson and Franklin left off. She extolled the virtues of the Founders publically and many writting with her and publishing with her were non-mystic, rational believers in God. The athiesm element of Rand's critique has become dogma for modern day so-called disciples in my opinion. Finally, I believe using her own arguments, principles, and statements most would be suprised to see Rand's obvious conclusions about God. I'm working on an essay on the topic. Funny side note, the so-called Christian community constantly attacks the forum for using the works of an "athiest" and the so-called "Rand" community attacks us for using her ideas while claiming a belief in God. Interesting.... there are no contradictions - how is it that both are on the same side of the criticism?

3. Lastly, what about our ideas? Besides attacking our labels or the labels you've given us, what about our ideas is so threatening?

Interested in a real convsation. With much respect and admiration for Rand and her associates.

FreeCapitalist

Hi Free Capitalist,

You explain above that you have read and studied Rand's writings, but do not consider yourself an expert (I wouldn't consider myself an expert either). So I'll assume from this that while you may not know the ins-and-outs of objectivism you are at least aware of the objectivist axioms and understand why we are justified in starting from these axioms.

The topic of metaphysical primacy is in essence a look at the relationship between these axioms (a "chicken or the egg" type of problem). Objectivism accepts the primacy of existence as the correct relationship between the axioms. God belief, any God belief at all, accepts the primacy of conciousness. Anton thorn is an objectivist who has a website with multiple articles explaining this issue very specifically, you can read them here.

This is why Ayn Rand was an atheist, and this is why objectivists disagree with you and your forum's take on objectivism. The Christian doctrines clash with objectivism in many other areas of philosophy, but the first and most fundamental clash occurs right from the offset- the moment we recognise the objectivist axioms we are forced to recognise the relationship between these axioms, and at that moment we find that Christianity (or any other theism) is not true.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...what about our ideas is so threatening?
I'll try answering this one, because I find faith to be seriously threatening. Philosophically, it is perhaps the most threatening idea of all. In essence, it's easy to explain. Anyone who appeals to faith appeals to something that is pre-reason or beyond reason or some such. Now, to consider what this means from my perspective, you need to understand where I am coming from. I know that nothing exists but reality. I know that observation and reason are the only ways to know that reality. Observation and reason are the sole means of knowledge. There is nothing else. Therefore, when someone appeals to faith, that means they appeal to a means of knowledge which is non-reality based and non-observation based and non-reason based. Since there can be no such, I understand that they can hold any arbitrary proposition as being true, based on faith. I translate this to: they can hold any arbitrary proposition as true, based on their feelings or whims.

You ask what is threatening about the idea of faith? Ask it this way: what is threatening about the idea that a proposition can be held to be true even though we do not arrive at it by observation and reason? Phrased this way, you can see that this idea undercuts any and all ideas. This single idea can be used arbitrarily in any situation. It undercuts all observation and rationality, and allows them only to the extent of the whims of the person holding the contrary idea.

Of course, in practical terms there are many people who accept the idea of God and faith, but keep that idea in a fairly water-tight compartment and live rather rational, happy and productive lives. They somehow holding on to this flawed epistemological principle, yet not letting it out of a little lock-box, and not letting it affect much of their real lives. A lot of people fall into this category: many who are religious just because they were taught to go to church and never thought it was important to question it nor to live up to it. So, in practical terms people of faith may not be a threat, as long as they don't take faith too seriously. However, if someone takes faith seriously, then all bets are off, because one can expect them to do any arbitrary thing that they feel their faith reveals to them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
However, if someone takes faith seriously, then all bets are off, because one can expect them to do any arbitrary thing that they feel their faith reveals to them.

Like the Islamic fundamentalists who say that the Koran permits the killing of innocent people and that Allah wants his followers to fight for Islam through any means necessary

Edited by Mimpy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I would, in a conversation with Ayn Rand freely identify myself as an objectivist.
I don't think that the issue (nor is it the correct criterion) -- you should instead ask whether you should do so. I'm a complete and absolute atheist: would it be proper, then, for me to ever freely identify myself as a Mormon? To anyone? I don't think so. The term "Objectivist" has an objective meaning, just as "Mormon" or "woman" do, and if the shoe doesn't fit, you shouldn't try to force it. Since you can't have a conversation with Rand, and I assume that you have never had a conversation with Rand where you called yourself an Objectivist (especially while also openly identifying yourself as a Mormon), then it seems totally inappropriate to even talk of a context where you could rightly label yourself as an Objectivist.
because I choose not to identify with the quasi-intellectual movment of the same name that has no authority for determining orthodoxy.
Well, that's perfectly fine: there really isn't any issue orthodoxy anyway, rather there is a simple issue of fact. Given that Objectivism refers to Ayn Rand's philosophy, the only question should be "is this part of Ran's philosophy, or is it not". Similar isn't close enough. But since you only consider yourself to be a capitalist, there's certainly nothing in the nature of capitalism that requires anything at all in the epistemological realm, for instance.
1. Any dogma, including the oft articulated rhetoric on this forum, is no substitute for reason - no matter how emotively compelling.
It's equally true that if a person dislikes the application of reason to a particular set of facts, they can call it dogma and thus escape the consequences of reason and reality. So calling people names by calling them dogmatic is a typical anti-reason response that opponents of Objectivism love to wield like a berserker wielding an axe. Of course if there is some actual reason that follows, we would be more interested in that reasoning, but not as interested as wold be the case if a person had only used reason (and wasn't flinging irrational insults like the dogma insult). So I guess we need to wait for the fact-based arguments to reach a final conclusion.
2. I am a Mormon - which means to most that I am also therefore a Christian. I find no fundamental contradiction with Objectivism or Ayn Rand's philosophy in my own worldview.
Since there's no difference between Objectivism and Any Rand's philosophy, some of that was redundant. But I'm puzzled: are you saying that you are not aware of how being Mormon contradicts Objectivism (i.e. nobody has pointed out the contradiction), or are you saying that you don't consider the contradiction to be important ("not fundamental"). It seems to me the core issue is how much knowledge of Objectivism you claim to have. You say:
I find incedential contradictions (or what seemt to be such) in my own research which simply represent a challenge to me to reconcile my ideas in accordance with the truth. I learn much by addressing these apparant differences.
without actually identifying those differences which you dismissed (and why you dismissed them).

Here's a standard set of test questions. First, the basic identification question. Is god omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and does he exist in reality? If you say "no", then I'll just have to conclude that you are the most non-standard Mormon that I've ever encountered. If you say "yes", I assume you know the set of ensuing paradoxes: how do you tolerate the contradictions in your philosophy?

There are other questions, such as the "evidence for god" and the "reason vs. faith" question, but these can be suspended until the contradiction question has been dealt with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Like the Islamic fundamentalists who say that the Koran permits the killing of innocent people and that Allah wants his followers to fight for Islam through any means necessary
Yes, that's one example and those guys are nasty today, because they're into killing. The US evangelicals have their own pet whims too: like forcing people who want to die to continue to suffer for the last few weeks of their lives, like forcing women to have kids they don't want, not letting people see what they want on TV, and so on. Compared to killing people, these are wimpy whims. However, these whims have no real philosophical limits (in the sense that once one accepts the principle of acting on whim, anything goes). In practice, the US evangelicals, living in a rather rational culture, absorb much of the rationality. The rational culture ensures that their whims and feelings are closer to being right than wrong in many spheres of life. So, they aren't anywhere as dangerous as the Islamists: not unless one lets them have their way over a few more generations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We're not interested much in sematic games. You may call anything you like semantics or tautological; however, for us reality decides which is actually the truth, and which is not.

Reality may decide what is the actual truth, however if you cannot agree upon the definitions of the words you are using, ( semantics ) how can you describe it?

Before we could come to an agreement upon faith being rational or irrational we first would need to come to an agreement upon what faith is.

The definition of Faith I have seen so far from those claiming the title of Objectivist have been both reductionist and overly simplistic.

You are no longer discussing Faith with a straw-man. Don't be surprised when the arguments that work against the straw-man are not compelling to the real thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Reality may decide what is the actual truth, however if you cannot agree upon the definitions of the words you are using, ( semantics ) how can you describe it?

Before we could come to an agreement upon faith being rational or irrational we first would need to come to an agreement upon what faith is.

I'm assuming the speaker is TFC. Well I certainly agree that in order to discuss we must agree on terms or at least understand how others are using them, but how is entering the conversation, calling another's term a tautology, and then throwing something as cryptic as "Faith is assurance (which only true assurance begins with reason - an irrational person has no faith) and is the principle of action in all intelligent beings." in anyway helping to come to agreement? Strikes me as more potshot taking and obfuscation than entering a discussion in good faith (no pun intended). If you think Objectivism is misusing the term, great. Please spend some time defining it. Also, the follow up questions that everyone gave you were specficially meant to help us understand what the hell you are talking about.

The definition of Faith I have seen so far from those claiming the title of Objectivist have been both reductionist and overly simplistic.

You are no longer discussing Faith with a straw-man. Don't be surprised when the arguments that work against the straw-man are not compelling to the real thing.

Here is someone who claims the title of Objectivist - rightly so, speaking on the topic of faith,

-- that and error made on your own is safer than ten truths accepted on faith.
The alleged short-cut to knowledge, which is faith, is only a short-circuit destroying the mind.

Faith in the supernatural begins as faith in the superiority of others.
Faith and force... are corollaries: every period of history dominated by mysticism, was a period of statism, of dictatorship, of tyranny.

Every argument for God and every attribute ascribed to him rests on a false metaphysical premis. None can survive for a moment on a correct metaphysics...Objectivism advocates reason as man's sole means of knowledge, and therefore for the reasons I have already given, it is atheist. It denies any supernatural dimension presented as a contradiction of nature, of existence.

all attributable to Rand...

So far everyone who has raised a question to you, is arguing from these premises so if you want to disagree that is fine, just please don't patronize me or any others as "claiming the title of Objectivists" or of creating "straw men". If you have a different definition of faith, fine present it and lets get on with it. Rand was very clear about what she meant so if you think that your view is compatible with hers, then please reference directly what she thought to make that claim.

So we've asked. We want to see your reason in action. Reason us a God will you. Show us concretely how faith and reason peacefully coexist in answering that question. If you're a Mormon as you say, this will be interesting. If you have some oddball way of looking at faith, fine, out with it, and let's go.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The definition of Faith I have seen so far from those claiming the title of Objectivist have been both reductionist and overly simplistic.

You are no longer discussing Faith with a straw-man. Don't be surprised when the arguments that work against the straw-man are not compelling to the real thing.

Actually, the meaning of faith is hardly controversial. Most people understand the same thing when they speak of faith. For instance, I think my concept of faith, and the way the pope uses the concept, and the way Bin Laden uses the concept, and the way my religious granny did, are pretty much identical. We all mean the same thing; we merely have different evaluations as to it's efficacy. The concept itself is usually not much debated.

You are free to use your own concept of faith, but you are not allowed to frame something that appears to be a concept but is not. So, for instance, if you were to say that Concept X means "something that is all black and all white at the same time in the same sense", then that is not valid because there are no referents. Similarly, if one were to say that faith is something that allows for reason upon the same subject at the same time, then one is talking science fiction, not reality.

If you have some unique concept of faith that refers to something in reality, go ahead and describe it. Don't bother with definitions, they're usually not worth much at this point. Rather, explain your meaning by some concrete examples: situation Y...blah blah...and then we do blah blah...and think blah...and do not use XYZ... and that is what I call faith. That kind of thing would make it clear. If faith is a meaningful concept, that should be very easy to do; much easier than coming up with a tight and useful definition.

Edited by softwareNerd

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Some of them have read it (not many of them, it seems) but what's crazier is they seem to have ALL read the Book of Mormon. :P

And they were HIGHLY offended by my posts about atheism. I ignited a full-scale war. The forum saw more activity in the last week than in the previous several months combined. All to attack a little ol' Objectivist atheism... :P

I have a friend who was a Mormon for a number of years. He claims that in a 1920s edition of The Book of Mormon, a chapter in it is a word-for-word copy of Shakespear's "To Be or Not to Be". That chapter has since been expunged from the Book, or so he claims. Just a curious tidbit I heard.

Those folks over there in that forum referenced in this post speak in terms remeniscent of a primative people, like tribal cultures in the past. It's really odd to hear this kind of language being spoken in modern times.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Here's a definition for you.

Faith is the absence of reason.

What are your thoughts on that?

My thought is that it's close, but close doesn't count. Faith is the method of getting from premises to a conclusion, where the premises do not warrant the conclusion, but the emotional desirability (for the person) of the conclusion allows suspension of logic. In other words, it's a particular kind of absence of reason, one driven by the wish to sustain a particular conclusion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

David, that doesn't cover acceptance of the arbitrary. I think a more essential definition of Faith would be: the acceptance of ideas or beliefs without evidence or despite evidence to the contrary.

Faith can sometimes be logical, that is, can follow logically from arbitrary premises, such as the existence of an all powerful god leading to the acceptance of his will as absolute. The faith in the latter follows from the logical conclusions of the former, which is arbitrary.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
David, that doesn't cover acceptance of the arbitrary. I think a more essential definition of Faith would be: the acceptance of ideas or beliefs without evidence or despite evidence to the contrary.

Faith can sometimes be logical, that is, can follow logically from arbitrary premises, such as the existence of an all powerful god leading to the acceptance of his will as absolute. The faith in the latter follows from the logical conclusions of the former, which is arbitrary.

I think my characterization does include acceptance of the arbitrary. Accepting a conclusion that lacks evidence is a case of getting to a conclusion which is not warranted logically. Of course, knowledge has to be integrated, so a scenario which hands you an invalid premise, and then applies modus ponens to derive another conclusion might seem to be "logical", but it isn't -- it's pseudo-logical, in a context-dropping way. Logic isn't just non-contradictory identification of selected premises, it is non-contradictory identification. (period).

As a tool in the faith-based arsenal, the arbitrary, unvalidated assumption is a "useful" tool. But I don't think that arbitrary premises just pop in to the heads of True Believers at random: rather, these premises are what is required to quiet the cognitive dissonance that results if you try to apply logic to that which you know, plus that which you wish to be true.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

TFC said

Faith is assurance (which only true assurance begins with reason - an irrational person has no faith) and is the principle of action in all intelligent beings.

This is a direct quote from Joseph Smith in his book, "Lectures on Faith". If you wish to read the chapter associated with this quote for the purpose of putting TFC's statement in context, here is a link:

http://www.centerplace.org/hs/dc/lec-001.htm

Look about 3/4 down the page at [Lec 1:9]

From what I understand, the definition of faith as put forth by TFC and Joseph Smith has expanded to include the traditional meaning of faith, as Rand saw it, and the cause of anything we do in life. In other words, Rearden had faith that he would be able to create Rearden Metal. Because he did create it, he must have acted on faith because the metal didn't exist before he created it. So it's all encompassing. Again, this is my impression and I don't claim to speak for TFC.

So, if all action is based on faith, then they might as well use the word reason. It would fit just as well. The definition he's proposing does not match the usage in practice or theory. I hope I am wrong, but it appears as if TFC is simply expanding the definition so it fits into his theology.

I can't wait to hear what he has to say.

Alger

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...