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  1. The interviewer in the preceding is Eiuol.
    2 points
  2. I would suggest that instead of a brief, concentrated rite of passage, we need an ongoing process of pointing children in the right direction by precept and example. Bad ideas do a lot to hold people back from the conceptual level. As better ideas spread, we will get better results. To the extent that we also write and talk, we will help the process along.
    2 points
  3. As if saying it enough times will make it so, Dennis Prager has written yet another column asserting that a secular society is -- somehow -- also therefore a less free one. Somehow? you might ask. Well, you tell me:Image by Alex Shu, via Unsplash, license.Here is something any honest person must acknowledge: As America has become more secular, it has become less free. Individuals can differ as to whether these two facts are correlated, but no honest person can deny they are facts. It seems to me indisputable that they are correlated. To deny this, one would have to argue that it is merely coincidental that free speech, the greatest of all freedoms, is more seriously threatened than at any time in American history while a smaller-than-ever percentage of Americans believe in [God] or regularly attend church. [bold added]Does this not seem like an odd way to open an argument about secularity ... Gosh! what is that word? -- necessitating? ... the decline of freedom in our great republic? In case your'e having a hard time putting a finger on why it does, let's consider an uncontroversial phrase that I would have thought was also familiar to almost any educated adult and certainly should be to any intellectual:Correlation does not imply causation.Prager frequently equates the left with what he calls "secularism." I personally think the left looks more and more religious by the day, and "nature" is a strong candidate for one of its gods. Be that as it may, let's run with Prager's assumption for a moment that religion necessarily implies belief in a god of the Judaeo-Christian sort. If so, then I completely agree with him on both counts: America is both less religious (in that sense) and less free, and those facts about our culture are likely correlated. But so, too are US spending on science, space, and technology -- and US suicides by hanging, strangulation and suffocation, from 1999 to 2009 -- according to the web site, Spurious Correlations. Those numbers are facts and so is the correlation. But I don't think even Dennis Prager would seriously argue that one of these causes the other. Prager's article says not a peep about causation, but that's something we really ought to consider. America has become less free and less observant of traditional Western religions over the past century. Anyone who values freedom would do well to ask that question. Prager, oddly, just assumes -- or seems to want the reader to assume -- that less religion somehow causes less freedom. At least one thinker I am pretty sure Prager has heard of, Ayn Rand, would beg to differ, as her greatest student, Leonard Peikoff, once outlined in some detail in his essay, "Religion vs. America." Within, Peikoff argues in part:Point for point, the Founding Fathers' argument for liberty was the exact counterpart of the Puritans' argument for dictatorship -- but in reverse, moving from the opposite starting point to the opposite conclusion. Man, the Founding Fathers said in essence (with a large assist from Locke and others), is the rational being; no authority, human or otherwise, can demand blind obedience from such a being -- not in the realm of thought or, therefore, in the realm of action, either. By his very nature, they said, man must be left free to exercise his reason and then to act accordingly, i.e., by the guidance of his best rational judgment. Because this world is of vital importance, they added, the motive of man's action should be the pursuit of happiness. Because the individual, not a supernatural power, is the creator of wealth, a man should have the right to private property, the right to keep and use or trade his own product. And because man is basically good, they held, there is no need to leash him; there is nothing to fear in setting free a rational animal. [bold added]If the case for liberty is actually secular, then something other than an some woozily-implied causation of less freedom by an absence of Christianity might be causing the two cultural trends Prager brings up, but doesn't seem very serious about understanding. To wit: His "opposition to slavery was based entirely on the Bible," even if true, does not imply that without religion, we would all advocate slavery. As witness the oath of Ayn Rand's most famous character, "I swear by my life ... and my love of it ... that I will never live for the sake of another man ... nor ask another man ... to live ... for mine." As for what might be causing the two trends, my note about the left becoming more quasi-religious should offer a clue, but a more full explanation would come from Rand's and Peikoff's extensive analyses of the baleful influence of Immanual Kant -- whose mission was to save Christian altruism from the Enlightenment -- on our culture over time. In short, our society continued moving away from Christianity, but also, thanks to Kant, began moving towards a duty-based ethos and its anti-freedom political correlate of statism. -- CAVLink to Original
    2 points
  4. To confuse risk of physical force with initiation of physical force is to confuse a potential with an actual. The whole mandatory vaccination position depends on a Parmenidean worldview in which all that exists is fully actual, combined with disregarding the need to obtain sufficient information to blame any one person for anything. It is the same fallacy employed by advocates of anti-immigration, gun control, and environmentalism. Thank you for helping to make that connection.
    2 points
  5. To save mass, instead of cladding the entire ship with the idea humans should be able to run around essentially naked everywhere inside... designate only a small percentage of ship for "relaxation" areas (where people can wear jammies and slippers) and the rest of the ship requires full protection of specially designed radiation (but not pressurized) suits. Of course sensitive electrical and other equipment will need proper shielding... and the greenhouse/chicken coup as well.
    1 point
  6. I wonder if given the parameters of solar activity and its interplay with galactic radiation and the varying benefits of differences of thickness of the theoretic cladding , if there won’t be engineering in mind of interchangeable ‘cladding’ systems. ’Tow’ some extra cladding and apply when needed and then shed when it is more beneficial for thinner cladding. As obviously necessary as radiation protection is needed, isn’t still the largest hurdle to over come a means of food production or hauling capacity ? I think I’ve seen mentioned that radiation protection will be presumably ‘figured out and engineered’ well before the food issue.
    1 point
  7. Boydstun

    Age of Electricity

    Philosophy, Engineering - a life, a mind Interview of me:
    1 point
  8. Dealing with radiation: Optimal Radiation Shielding of Astronauts on a Mission to Mars
    1 point
  9. Eiuol

    Physics

    Physics translated by Joe Sachs 1 - Aristotle distinguishes what is clear by nature versus clear to us. Clear to us is what is clear in terms of how we come to understand the world, in the way that dog is known before animal, which is also messy and filled with many possible conceptual distinctions. What is clear by nature is what is clear in terms of logical structure, that is, in the way that after making distinctions, nature becomes more understandable. 2 - There can be one and many at the same time in terms of potential and actual. 3 - If being is caused by something, then the cause could not have been, because there was no something that was being. That is, in my wording, being would be caused ex nihilo. What is not is not something in particular. 4 - To know something composite is to know how many things it is made of and what they are. If no animal is infinite, then its parts are always finite. My understanding is that being can't be infinite because if all substances are finite, then any parts will be finite as well. 5 - Opposites come into being from each other. A house doesn’t come into being absolutely from nothing whatever but from parts and materials. 6 - Since two independent things can’t be derived from one another, there would need to be an underlying third thing. 7 - A statue comes from bronze, not that bronze becomes a statue, because it comes from something that persists. Education comes from uneducation no longer persisting. 8 - Dogs come from dogs yet we don’t say that dogs come from animals, since animal persisted all along. The dog is animal incidentally, because animal is not a substance but a predicate in this case, which means apparently that the dog comes into being by the nature of the other dog. Animal is not a being itself, so it is not animal literally speaking that makes the dog come into being. It's no wonder then that Aristotle does not use simply a handful of animals to investigate how animals generate other animals. It is specific animals that bring about their offspring, not some broad form from beyond that literally brings the new dog into being.
    1 point
  10. Vasks, Peteris:The Fruit of Silence Astor Piazzolla - Buenos Aires Hora Cero
    1 point
  11. Boydstun

    Federal Budget

    Appropriations - FY 2022 FY = Oct. 1 through Sept. 30 Budgets and Projections Thanks to Merlin Jetton for recent remarks and for notice of the site COMMITTEE FOR A RESPONSIBLE FEDERAL BUDGET.
    1 point
  12. I've seen this a lot. Someone experiences an "existential meltdown" / a nervous or mental breakdown and they are suddenly deep into (usually mystical) philosophy. Behind the scenes is an intense focus on death, which the Russel Brand quote captures well. Apart from comedians, it happens to successful businessmen, athletes, friends, anyone. Why is it usually mystical philosophy that is pursued? Because God is Dead: God is dead. And philosophies that are mystical offer comfort, if you can buy into their premises. A more naturalistic, this-worldly-only philosophy like Objectivism is rare, but it would also be a much more potentially bitter pill to swallow at first—because what if it's too late? what if you can't make meaning? Of course everyone's answer to this experience varies, but the experience usually prefigures significant psychological change. What is going on here in philosophic terms? The best understanding I could make of it is that there is (forced) complete re-evaluation of values, of one's life, and that the judgement is negative. If one has lived by (and is embodying) what one now judges as wrong values, has one ever really lived or only meaninglessly existed? will one still have a chance to experience living? There is some complication here because, as far as I can tell, it's not only a complete re-evaluation of values that leads one to this state: Unless by this he means that the situation forcefully leads to the re-evaluation of all values. What are the two most basic motivations man can have? a love of life, of (his) values or fear of death, fear of dis-value. If one is stripped of values then all that remains is to stare into the abyss? But saying this feels like a mathematically deductive reductio ad absurdum not appropriate to this enquiry. Why the intense focus on death that many experience in the wake of an "existential meltdown?"
    1 point
  13. I only have passing knowledge of these people. But as far as tracing influences with philosophy, Spinoza seems to be a turning point of some kind. On the other hand, it might be more about romanticism starting with Goethe, and the fact that he thought of science as something different than physicists of the time, focusing on biology. It's a sign of treating living things as something great with many values and characteristics and emotions and causes. Physicists like Galileo or Newton were plenty happy with being reductionists about reality, reducing causality to primarily things bouncing around, and treating abstractions in a platonic or Christian way. When life is thought of as a complete totality, it becomes easier to worry about what would happen when that process ends. If life is an incidental feature of the soul, and when the body dies, the soul does not, then the end of life doesn't really matter much in one's existence.
    1 point
  14. As for the origin of all these things, within philosophy anyway, I wonder if a lot of it stems from Spinoza. He seemed to make it possible for philosophers to break from Christianity in a meaningful way, artists as well, without complete abandonment for some vague divinity for those who couldn't let go. But because Spinoza thought that God ultimately didn't and couldn't care about you one way or another, that leaves you wide open to the question: "if God doesn't care about me, now what?"
    1 point
  15. I had said: "But as ever, one can become fully aware not only of one’s coming nonexistence, but to its place in life." I had meant it is good to become fully aware of one's coming nonexistence square on, with no ifs, buts, or maybes, no fogginess and no denials. And its place in life is only terminal point of life. Conducting one's life never shunting awareness of the coming end is a rationality in life (and tuning one's priorities in projects and relationships with one's present expectation of the termination time of one's life---some decades from now versus two months from now---is part of that rationality). Have you by chance read the book The Denial of Death by Ernest Becker? It's been a while since I read that, but as I recall, it's quite good.
    1 point
  16. “Thou hast become dark and cannot hear me. When I die shall I not be like Enkidu? Sorrow enters my heart. I am afraid of death.”—The Babylonian epic of Gilgamesh. This awareness seems to affect people differently at different points in their life: "For some of us the fear of death manifests only indirectly, either as generalized unrest or masqueraded as another psychological symptom; other individuals experience an explicit and conscious stream of anxiety about death; and for some of us the fear of death erupts into terror that negates all happiness and fulfillment." - Staring at the Sun, Yaalom. Yaalom thinks that we find ways to 'repress' this fear, although I would distinguish between dealing with this fear by finding rational meaning that makes life worthwhile on its own and irrational attempts at finding meaning through what he calls 'immortality projects' like having children or seeking to create another kind of legacy (specifically when motivated by this fear, rather than some other reason). I quote this before, but it's relevant again: See Also 'Death of Ivan Illych': So rational values pursued, internalized and embodied lead one not to even raise these kinds of questions is my take-away. One can setup irrational 'defense mechanisms', i.e., unreal explanations and life projects engaged in out of fear of this death rather than love of life, which reality constantly presents counter evidence for, and which eventually will result in an 'existential meltdown' (Like a Jim Taggart moment). In what sense did you mean one becomes aware of the place of one's own eventual non-existence in one's life? That would be a case for what Yaalom is claiming when he says that it's important to "derepress" this fear if it has been smothered with irrational coping mechanisms.
    1 point
  17. Harry Binswanger has already made an airtight case against the FDA; go to him if you need one. Both links are damning, but don't completely overlap. Having said that, a quick visit to In the Pipeline this morning has provided two additional strikes against government control of medicine (and drugs in particular), although its author -- like most people today might -- merely hopes for reform of that unreformable, illegitimate agency. Having already expressed outrage that the agency's questionable approval of adcuanumab, a very expensive Alzheimer's drug, Derek Lowe notes some interesting fallout. I think it is more interesting than he does, especially the following:Image by Myriam Zilles, via Unsplash, license.Out in the health-insurance world, which is where any such drug launch is really going to play out, many large insurance companies are holding back on approval for payment or have said outright that they will not cover the drug. They are understandably concerned about the possibility of paying for a treatment in a huge population with a $56,000/patient/year price tag that will leave its recipients exactly as sick as they were before (if not somewhat more injured, frankly)... [bold added]Private industry to the rescue! you might hopefully add, as I did. Indeed, insurance companies might well perform safety and efficacy testing if there weren't an FDA -- and you can already see here that the profit motive would stop an ineffective drug from getting the de facto seal-of-approval of being deemed worthy of insurance coverage. Strike One was the garbage drug approval. Yes. The FDA shouldn't even be at bat: People should be free to take snake oil if they want, just as insurance companies should be free not to cover it. But it's there. Here's the next pitch, and it comes in the next few sentences of that same paragraph:... The Veteran's Health Administration is doing the same, saying that there's not enough evidence of benefit. Many of these organizations say that they're waiting on a decision from Medicare, but that's a confusing situation, too. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has recently advised state that their Medicaid programs must include it as a covered outpatient drug. It's the national Medicare determination that everyone's really waiting on, though. [bold added]So a questionable approval of a dubious drug by the FDA might -- despite free-market elements of our economy acting as a partial backstop -- still put everyone on the hook to pay for it. Strike Two. Aducanumab should be a last-ditch drug (or high-end snake oil) for the wealthy, but it might about to be normalized at everybody's expense, instead. And here's Strike Three:[O]n the regulatory side, this decision has been a mud bomb: rare-disease companies are wondering why they're being asked for more data when Biogen wasn't, and other companies with vague, not-really-statistically-significant Alzheimer's data are lining up to get their approvals on this basis as well. This is not a precedent the agency should have set.So much for the whole damned idea that the free market needs government to set safety standards and prevent fraud. Abolish the FDA. -- CAVLink to Original
    1 point
  18. Self-replicating with an evolutionary hint! Self-replicating protocells created in lab may be life's "missing link" “By constructing peptide droplets that proliferate with feeding on novel amino acid derivatives, we have experimentally elucidated the long-standing mystery of how prebiotic ancestors were able to proliferate and survive by selectively concentrating prebiotic chemicals,” says Matsuo. “Our results suggest that droplets became evolvable molecular aggregates – one of which became our common ancestor.”
    1 point
  19. Some ambiguity, a disparity between what I mean by "public v. private health". The public sphere IS the gvt. and gvt. regulations imposed on the society of individuals, in the definition I know. Let me reword that then: As to his stance on what the government ought have done, the context is to leave public individual's health to the public individual and go about upholding the conditions necessary for folk to act freely. This does not substantially alter in my mind what I said with the exception of the technicality of terminology. Who knows, it may even spill over into my useage more casually having given that bit of additional thought.
    1 point
  20. Yes and no. Even with an afterlife, life could still be considered meaningless.
    1 point
  21. dream_weaver

    "Rite of Passage"

    @Sebastien, your addressing this post brings to light the omission of what is a "Rite of Passage". In many cultures, this is a ceremony marking a passage from boyhood to manhood, or a transition from a girl to a woman. As conceptual beings, Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology refers to various approaches young minds take when acquiring new concepts. She outlines several approaches. Perhaps what I'm asking potentially amounts to wishful thinking. Still the fact such approaches can be articulated implies a superior approach can be desired and sought after.
    1 point
  22. I’m interested in learning how Objectivists approach the topic of heuristics, since it is used by critics of reason to downplay or invalidate reason.
    1 point
  23. I would question the quality of the Objectivist content in contrast to what the talk-show host uses in bringing in and holding new listeners. The Mark Scott Show was what introduced me to Ayn Rand's materials, and I had listened to it for a long time before I made the connection. Why? Because what the guy said made sense. He talked about current issues and connected them to the relevant principles, and only then might he point out the origin of the principle under examination. In exchange he made his listeners stronger thinkers by challenging their premises and encouraging them to question their convictions in an inviting rather than threatening way.
    1 point
  24. dream_weaver If your line of argument is sound, which I think it is, instead of measuring the amount of material when deeming Objectivist content as dear or less dear, measure the number of Objectivists. If there are fewer Objectivists than conservatives, it is not because Objectivism is becoming less dear, it is because choosing Objectivism requires more courage than choosing conservativism. Therefore, those who remain strictly Objectivist will be stronger thinkers who did not fall off the map when it came time to vote either for Republican or Democrat. This is good for us. We are America's Persecuted Minority.
    1 point
  25. As far as tyranny is concerned, I personally wish for the United States to never be tyrannical. This is primarily because I myself do not want to be a victim of tyranny. But I also value the freedom of others, not because I am an altruist, but because I think it is right and just for others to be happy and free. Why would we Objectivists want capitalism if it wasn't capitalism for everybody? Our interest in a free society comes from our adherence to the truth and beauty of the idea, not because we value other people's freedom more than our own.
    1 point
  26. The Laws of Biology, Ayn Rand made a small fortune writing on her philosophy of Objectivism and integrating its principles and values in her fiction works. She personally had a lot to gain from speaking truth that she held dear. We Objectivists are not being altruists by wanting to promote her ideas. It is in our own interests for others to be happy and lead good lives. We take a sense of pride from promoting principles we deem to be sound. The fact that these principles are helpful to others does not constitute altruism. Ayn Rand always said it is not wrong to help people, as long as you know that you are not morally obligated to and that helping others is not the primary purpose of your existence. Most people on this forum and in the institutions promoting Objectivism work for a living, or if they are young, plan on working for a living. Sharing Objectivism with others is something that interests us on the side. It is in our interest. Each of us has a selfish interest in helping others learn. Otherwise, it would be impossible for an Objectivist to become a teacher. As soon as you choose helping others as a value, it is in your interest to help others. But that comes after your decision to live primarily for yourself.
    1 point
  27. Regarding an older podcast on Valliant I found the text of his criticism https://www.scribd.com/document/9421651/The-Passion-of-James-Valliant-s-Criticism Meanwhile a detailed criticism of his criticism https://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/topic/6280-the-passion-of-james-valliants-criticism-part-v/?tab=comments#comment-59958
    1 point
  28. Yamasee War The tribes joined together to fight a common oppressor. To suggest that 10,000 years created a dominant trait of indomitable volition brings to mind an inverse of the use of breeding to domesticate livestock. European tribalism and north American tribalism developed different moralities, stemming from different driving mythologies, or "primitive philosophies". The Yamasee War is not something I recall from school. It popped up in a search for slave trade, native american, to flesh out a better understanding of your propositions.
    1 point
  29. Next, in a totalitarian state, spreading ideas will be actionable. (Oh, wait ...) Is there a face mask to protect against a thought pandemic? The irrational is the insane or the impossible, I believe Rand said, Michael. Try to prove in court that it was my germs you caught off a door handle. Then, that it was my negligence or malice at fault. If anyone wants, who and what stops them from going round masked their whole day and every day of their lives? Just leave me out.
    1 point
  30. I wish this were hyperbole, but ev'ry word is most assured. The drooling beast has been released. It circles 'round our hallowed ground, awaiting weak and fearful fools. They bleat and squeal before they kneel, before the beast begins to feast.
    1 point
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