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What happen with Mr. Branden and Objectivism?

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oldsalt: i understand that you most likely didnt mean to be insulting. Just it often comes off as if it were insulting. It is very difficult for those on the internet to know what is and is not a lecture or an insult or anything because type lacks tone of voice. I just want him to know that he shouldnt make generalization or unasserted claims. And we should merely point that out and ask that he learn a little more through questions and not attacks. We want to encourage others to learn as it is beneficial to all to have rational people to deal with in society. I just want him to know that he should change his tone, and we should be more forgiving of those who dont know everything about Objectivism yet. because i think that everyone (or most at least) can still learn from each other and our surroundings.

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nimble: I appreciate your good intentions. I do not think my tone was disrespectful, but just the opposite. I respected him enough to attempt to engage him in a discussion by asking him to define his terms. I showed him this respect, despite the attack on all Objectivists as dogmatists. I did this, ignoring the insult, because he is young and I give more of the benefit of the doubt to someone who is young.

It's a moot point, however, as Hannibal hasn't seen fit to answer my questions.

I appreciate your motivations, nimble, but this is a discussion forum. We debate ideas. There was neither an overt insult, nor an implied insult in my post, but simply the laying out of questions and an indication of my own thinking. During a discussion, I don't waffle about, trying to make sure that I don't hurt someone's feelings, but I do so by granting the person I'm engaging the respect I demand for myself as a thinking human being, by treating that person as an adult able to differentiate between rational debate and a schoolyard exchange of insults. Believe me, had I wanted to rake Hannibal over the coals, I'm perfectly able to do so in no uncertain terms, without leaving any doubt about my intensions.

As to my "tone." People have been writing for millenia without any trouble expressing their ideas. Communicating on the internet is no different than any other written medium. If there is a misunderstanding, I'm happy to reword what I've said in order to clear up the misunderstanding and get my point across. What I won't do is tippy-toe around my words trying to make sure I cause absolutely no offense. I'm not responsible for the psychology of another.

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I haven't seen fit to answer your questions because I haven't been here. Jesus, you people are getting awfully uptight about this. I'll answer your questions when I have time to compose a thought-out response. I have a genetics test tomorrow and an English paper to start writing, but I'll get to it sometime within the next week.

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Sorry for the double post, and for the fact that I didn't catch it in time to delete it.

Hannibal: I'm not at all uptight. I look forward to your post.

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The slew of hostile posts that have been directed at me are enough to make me want to leave this board. I hope this isn't how you treat all people who disagree with you, because I notice that you're doing the same thing to Bondolon. You want to know why I say that most Objectivists are dogmatic? That's a pretty good example right there. As I said before, I agree with many of the principles of Objectivism but I cannot accept it in full because of its arrogant stance on epistomology.

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From m-w.com

Dogmatism: positiveness in assertion of opinion especially when unwarranted or arrogant

2 : a viewpoint or system of ideas based on insufficiently examined premises

Now who here is making unwarranted assertions?

Objectivism has objectivity and reason as its fundamental aspects, if THIS is dogmatic, what then is NOT dogmatic?

I see there has been plenty of time for Hannibal to make claims that Objectivism is dogmatic and that he has time to claim that the responses to his posts represent proof of Objectivism's dogmatic nature, but apparently he has no time to provide evidence for the former and further validate the latter.

So far it is Hannibal that is making unwarranted assertions and a lack of time changes nothing. Hopefully in due time there can there clear answer as to what exactly is he arguing as well, is Objectivism itself dogmatic or is it just many self-proclaimed objectivists. I have noticed him arguing both ways. As it stands now he has left things quite ambiguous.(does this ambiguity constitute "One element of dogmatism" as well?)

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Hopefully in due time there can there clear answer as to what exactly is he arguing as well, is Objectivism itself dogmatic or is it just many self-proclaimed objectivists.

I already said that I phrased it poorly. Yes, I think that most Objectivists are dogmatic and I think that Objectivism encourages dogmatism, through the stance that it cannot possibly be wrong. I realize that it's supposed to be proved logically, but I have yet to see it done. Certain assumptions have to be made in order to prove it.

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Hannibal, you've just accused "objectivists" once again of dogmatism, and you've added arrogance to the insult. Then you expect people to engage you in a discussion on the merits of Objectivist epistemology and are miffed that no one is taking your assertions seriously.

This is a board for adult discussion of the Objectivist position on issues and ideas which underlie the entire range of human life. One does not begin such a discussion by insulting the people he wants to engage. It is your attitude and the fact that you are making blanket statements with nothing to back them up that is causing the backlash against you. You are stating an opinion based on nothing more than your feelings. Objectivists have feelings, and they even display them here. But, they do not use their feelings as a basis for rational discussion.

Regardless of your insults, you have been treated with enough respect that your points have been addressed (when one could be found), you have been asked for clarification (which you have not seen fit to provide), and you have been given every opportunity to reply with respect for your fellow board members (which you have not done).

You need to learn better debating skills. Perhaps a better epistemology would be beneficial in this respect.

Now, back to the discussion:

You say that Objectivism encourages dogmatism (which I am assuming that you are defining as unshakable belief in an idea without cause) because of its "stance" that Objectivism cannot be wrong. You point especially to Objectivist epistemology, which you assert is wrong. What part of the epistemology do you consider flawed in its reasoning? Is it just a part, or do you have a problem with the whole thing? Please state your reasons why you disagree.

I'd also like to know where on earth you got the idea that Objectivists think that they are infallible? I know of no Objectivist literature that makes such an obviously stupid statement, nor do I know any Objectivist that considers himself incapable of error. Again, I think that you have a problem with the concept of certainty. Do you think that certainty is possible in human knowledge? (That's certainty, not infallibility. There's a difference.)

If you cannot offer more than mere assertions and (faulty) generalizations, please don't bother to respond. I won't attempt to engage you further if all I'm offered are more insults to my intellectual integrity.

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...Yes, I think that most Objectivists are dogmatic and I think that Objectivism encourages dogmatism, through the stance that it cannot possibly be wrong.  I realize that it's supposed to be proved logically, but I have yet to see it done.  Certain assumptions have to be made in order to prove it.

Apparently you don't realize what an emotionalist and unsubstantiated claim this is. And then you wonder why the people on this board, whom you are insulting, are "up in arms" about you - which you then have the audacity to claim is further evidence of their dogmatism! What did you expect, "Gee, thanks Hannibal, for pointing out what unthinking drones we are who think our convictions are based on solid reasoning, but which in fact they are not <which incidentally you haven't supported in any way by indicating any flaws in the reasoning> and, you add, it is based on "certain (invalid?)assumptions" <which assumptions you don't specify and indicate why they are mistaken>?"

So, may I suggest a different, more fruitful stance. How about: "Here is a belief of Objectivism which you morons think 'cannot possibly be wrong' but it clearly is for the following reason. And since you persist in believing it, despite it being obviously wrong, that proves that you are dogmatists. "

Just a suggestion.

Fred Weiss

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Also, never bring the dictionary into a philosophical discussion.
I was trying to get some sense into your usage of the word, perhaps you can let us in on your definition of dogmatism.(the same goes with 'arrogance' as well)

...I think that Objectivism encourages dogmatism, through the stance that it cannot possibly be wrong.

Do you think that you might possibly be wrong that Objectivism is dogmatic?

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I already admitted that that was a poor choice of words. Do I think I could be wrong that most Objectivists (the ones I know) are dogmatic? No, because I don't believe that definitions can be violated. Most of the ones I have met are the epitome of the definition of "dogmatism." I know you're gonna say that all of the Objectivists beliefs are provable through definitions. To which I reply, "bullshit." If they were provable through definitions, everyone with any form of rationality would accept them, the same way that any rational person accepts that 1+1=2. Let me say again, that I firmly believe in the concepts of individualism and Capitalism. I feel the need to put that disclaimer in all my posts so that no one thinks I'm a hippie or something. I'll say again that pretty much the only reason I do not accept Objectivism, in full, is because of its epistemology. A perfect example is its stance on God. It says that we can know for certain that there is no God. Now, any reasonable person admits that it's impossible to prove a negative unless it is done by logic. Okay, that's fine. The argument that God cannot exist is that God, by definition, must exist outside of reality and anything that exists outside of reality cannot exist. I don't know what brainiac came up with the idea that "existing outside of reality" is part of the definition of God, but I cannot think of a single religion who uses that as a part of its definition of God. Supernatural does not mean "outside of reality;" it typically means "beyond our understanding of nature." Most people would agree that ghosts represent the supernatural. Watch the movie Poltergeist and then tell me that the ghosts in that movie are supposed to exist outside of reality. I don't believe in ghosts or God, but it's ridiculous to claim that the supernatural must exist outside of reality.

Okay, you wanted your example and now you have it. Flame away.

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It's ok to circle the wagons in defense of Ayn Rand. Her garganuous accomplishments merit that. But it is a bit disingenuous to dismiss Brandon out of hand. AT the very least, he was used as a sex object. Despite his often reprehensible behavior, he makes a good point, echoed in the work of David Kelly, in that there is no redemption or rehabilitation in the way Rand's work is interpreted by Peikoff. According to Peikoff all error is evil and can not ever be forgiven.

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I know you're gonna say that all of the Objectivists beliefs are provable through definitions.
Anyone that would say this would be terribly mistaken. The only sense in which anything is provable is through its relation or its non-relation to reality. It's no small wonder why you would equate Objectivists with dogmatists if this were your understanding. Sure, plenty of people do this in their attempt to polemicize their philosophy (it's not just a problem in Objectivism) but most of them are making an honest but misguided attempt to make their views clear to you.

The only advice one can give is to go to the source. Read Ayn Rand and consider her ideas as best you can. Trying to learn a philosophy strictly through secondary sources like this is a bad idea.

Supernatural does not mean "outside of reality;" it typically means "beyond our understanding of nature."
"Supernatural" is defined as:

1. Of or relating to existence outside the natural world.

2. Attributed to a power that seems to violate or go beyond natural forces.

3. Of or relating to a deity.

Typically people use the word "metaphysical" to denote things "beyond our understanding of nature" but this is a total corruption of the term. Some religions do indeed hold that god is beyond our understanding but for Western religions God is supernatural as in definition 2. and 3. above (i.e., omnipotent and omniscient).

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According to Peikoff all error is evil and can not ever be forgiven.

Do you have any idea what you're talking about?

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According to Peikoff all error is evil and can not ever be forgiven.

For your reading pleasure, here is a brief quote from Peikoff's "Fact and Value"

Now we must note that falsehood does not necessarily imply vice; honest errors of knowledge are possible.

If you're interested is the rest of what Peikoff actually said, look here:

Peikoff's Fact & Value

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The only advice one can give is to go to the source. Read Ayn Rand and consider her ideas as best you can.

I have.

"Supernatural" is defined as:

1. Of or relating to existence outside the natural world.

2. Attributed to a power that seems to violate or go beyond natural forces.

3. Of or relating to a deity.

Typically people use the word "metaphysical" to denote things "beyond our understanding of nature" but this is a total corruption of the term. Some religions do indeed hold that god is beyond our understanding but for Western religions God is supernatural as in definition 2. and 3. above (i.e., omnipotent and omniscient).

So...a being that has power to go beyond nature. Okay. Where does the "must be outside of reality" fit in.

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So...a being that has power to go beyond nature.  Okay.  Where does the "must be outside of reality" fit in.

i find this to be a better definition, although the others are correct. This is just more precise: " not existing in nature or subject to explanation according to natural laws; not physical or material" The natural realm is reality. And everything in reality is subject to explanation to natural laws. Every being is defined by physical and material characteristics. Thats where the supernatural is found outside of reality. Because it lacks identity and definition. All that which is inside of reality is bound by the law of identity, and can therefore be defined.

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Where I think you differ from Theists is that you claim something must be outside of reality to control nature. Look at it from the point of view of a cartoonist. A cartoonist can control everything, including physical laws, in his cartoon. He exists outside of the cartoon but he still exists. This is the way Theists look at God. He exists outside what we know of reality but not outside of reality as a whole. My stance on God is simply that I haven't been given a reason to believe in him, so I renounced my faith. But I will never say that I am "certain" that there is no God.

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Where I think you differ from Theists is that you claim something must be outside of reality to control nature.  Look at it from the point of view of a cartoonist.  A cartoonist can control everything, including physical laws, in his cartoon.  He exists outside of the cartoon but he still exists.  This is the way Theists look at God.  He exists outside what we know of reality but not outside of reality as a whole.  My stance on God is simply that I haven't been given a reason to believe in him, so I renounced my faith.  But I will never say that I am "certain" that there is no God.

No, he cannot reamain inside of reality and control all of it. So, you argue omnipotence is possible in reality? how? Someone told me this argument and I find it very helpful. If god has no limit to his power...can god have the power to limit his power? If he does...is he still omnipotent?

You are arguing a moot point. If god is not defined and with evidence to support its existence, then there is no reason to even consider the possibility of a god. Can you define god? If not then there is no reason to even argue your point. Until evidence is provided it is merely the creation of one's imagination. It is the equivalent of me saying: "jakjdo iajfi mkczjpoiz jk exists." If i dont define it and i dont provide evidence, how the He11 do you even know what I saying exists? Can you refute that it exists? Probably not, because i havent specifically said what it is that I am talking about. So, without defintion there can be no argument for exists, and when there is no argument for its existence, then there is no NEED to argue against its existence. There is point and should be dismissed without any further discussion. Yet these type of debates happen all of the time. Kinda weird eh?

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But I will never say that I am "certain" that there is no God.

Of course, because you are a dogmatic skeptic. I bet I could name any imaginary being, and you would not, with certainty, deny its existence. Let's try!

Do you deny the existence of:

1. Zeus

2. Virgin Mary

3. Ghosts

4. Zombies

5. Santa Claus

6. Easter Bunny

7. Harry Potter

Well? Do they exist or not? If you say 'no', then I'm going to say: "Well, you see, there is this 'super-reality' where they actually do exist. Prove I'm wrong!"

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Can you define god? If not then there is no reason to even argue your point ...

Nimble:

Don't you see that this person is not interested in defining God? It is essential to his argument for skepticism that he not define God too precisely. If he were to do so, then that would clearly invalidate his crusade against certainty.

This guy sounds exactly like a couple others on different threads. It is getting annoying, because they obviously have no respect for logic.

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A fact doesn't need to be disproven if it is not supported by reality. If it is arbitrary, it can be rejected on that basis. Edison didn't just going around arbitrarilly stating "electric-light could be possible - prove that it isn't". He went and substantiated his theory, by discovering the electric-light bulb. You need to do the same for any hypothesis of your own before you go throwing it around.

There is only a certain amount of things in the universe - reality has limits. By contrast, as a potential, the things that one could arbitrarilly come up with that are not real, are infinite. Therefore, the chance of a completely arbitrary concept being true are less likely than being untrue.

This is important to note, because you can keep coming up with concepts forever that have nothing to do with reality, and say "well, you can't be certain it isn't true". This is not a proper standard for certainty. Certainty is when you can be sure that something is true based on the facts you are conscious of. This is also true of the reverse - when there is an absolute lack of facts that pertain to an idea, it is valid to be absolutely certain of its untruth. This does not mean that we cannot be wrong.

One can be certain that God exists, or that pigs can fly, with absolutely no evidence. That doesn't mean they are right, but it proves that one can be absolutely certain. Certainty is a state of mind, and can exist regardless of facts. The kind of certainty that is not supported by facts should be refered to as faith. Faith requires a suspension of consciousness, whereas real certainty does not. It is the responsibility of a rational mind to ensure that it only arrives at certainty when it is proper to do so - when the facts consistently point to the truth of something - or consistently fail to.

Where I think you differ from Theists is that you claim something must be outside of reality to control nature.
I don't see anyone claiming this. 'Outside of reality' is a contradiction. Reality is the sum of everything. Nothing is outside of reality. To say that something exists outside of reality, is conducive to saying that existence is non-existence. Reality = non-reality. A = non-A. That is a violation of the law of identity.

Look at it from the point of view of a cartoonist. A cartoonist can control everything, including physical laws, in his cartoon. He exists outside of the cartoon but he still exists.

The 'inside' of the cartoon manifests as images and sounds in your mind, but it is produced by your mind. We know that the cartoon is ink on paper, and our thoughts derived from it are seperate. This analogy implies that there is a seperation somewhere in reality, between our known world and a manipulator. This is an arbitrary idea and is not valid.

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