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Everything posted by Avila

  1. Where did the energy come from? Did it cause itself to come into existence? In which case, is energy volitional?
  2. Yes, Greebo did. Back on page four, I believe. The quote I have above from him -- "I am, indeed" -- was in answer to my asking if he was saying that existence was an entity.
  3. I think part of the problem here is that Rand attached different meanings to philosophical terms. Are you using "existence" as it is commonly understood, or in the more specialized philosophical understanding of the term (the actuality of an essence)? You say that "existence" is an entity -- does it have volition? I'm glad that you DON'T think that "reality" and "the material universe" are synonomous.
  4. Yes, as do other philosophies, though with differing epistemologies and thus differing conclusions. Again, hardly a unique feature of Objectivism. In the case of Aquinas' five ways (which are really essentially one way -- the "cosmological argument"), the observed facts are causality, design, etc. His is an a posteriori demonstration. Obviously you disagree with his conclusions, but it is a rational process.
  5. If the belief in God or gods is as arbitrary as you suggest, then I would expect atheism to be the default position. In a way, you're simply repeating my point: people and cultures have consistently believed in God or gods. That is compelling -- at least to me -- as it suggests an innate desire (at least unconsciously) to believe in a transcendant being. Yes, the belief in God and some sort of heaven seems to be an innate desire. Innate desires correspond to real objects -- this was C.S. Lewis's assertion (an ex-atheist). This would also explain why advances in science do not necessar
  6. Very true. I accept that. I think it is relevant, at least to some degree: if the assertion of a God was, as suggested, just as arbitrary as a pizza-loving pink unicorn, I would expect that atheism would be sort of the default position for most individuals and most cultures throughout human history, but that's clearly not the case. I thought it was valid at the time, so no, I wasn't being intellectually dishonest. I simply hadn't questioned my atheism to any real degree. Hey, I was young and stupid.... Thanks, I'll take a look. But back to the original thread
  7. Ummmm...what? Does this have anything at all to do with my comments on this thread?
  8. Wow -- I guess this subject is a sore spot with some Objectivists, so that a reasonable discussion without sneers is apparently impossible. "Reap what you sow"?? I have already said that I'm not here to convince anyone. I found this thread interesting, and made some comments, but I didn't expect to find such vitriol. For people who claim that the subject is as irrelevant as pizza-loving pink uinicorns, your passion seems.....odd.
  9. Nothing new....the idea that the existence of God is an unnecessary hypothesis has been around for centuries. You haven't stumbled onto some new, conclusive proof. Nor does it prove that God does not exist, though you seem to think it does. No one invests invisible, pizza-loving unicorns with the attributes of the Judeo-Christian God. I've never found that particular argument very forceful, though certainly I spouted it often enough when I was an atheist. Aquinas's five ways begin with sense data and conclude that the entity known as "God" is a rational explanation of the data -- it's a ration
  10. Thank you, Rational Biker. I agree with you that the term "Christians" is a very loose label. I'm not here to persuade Objectivists/atheists that their position is wrong. Beyond that being a violation of forum rules, I like Objectivism for many reasons (not the least because that I think Ayn Rand understood the visual arts, at least to some degree), and in my youth I considered myself an Objectivist. I'm not here to slam Objectivism. I like thoughtful discussions of metaphysics, epistemology, aesthestics, ethics.....and in many cases, Catholicism and Objectivism share particular attrib
  11. "Worship"?? What you tell me by this inflammatory use of the term is that no rational discussion with you is possible. Good day, sir.
  12. That's reasonable. Some Christians do, but not all. I'm an ex-atheist, now Catholic, and Catholics don't take the Bible as the sole source of "evidence". Aquinas' "proofs", for example, do not rely upon the Bible (though he does quote from it). Because I don't think that's quite the word I'm looking for. For many people, the word "proof" means something seen or measured, but what Aquinas is arriving at his conclusions by use of reason. More like identifying gravity because of its effects, as opposed to literally seeing gravity.
  13. I'm no philosopher (I'm an artist), but it seems to me that you are using the term "existence" in a way that makes it a thing, an entity. As I asked in an earlier post here, is it reasonable to say that "reality" and "the material universe" are somewhat synonomous? If so, then the material universe has not always existed, and therefore is contingent.
  14. I think we agree that Objectivism is not equipped towards answering the whys and hows of the creation of the universe. That's not a criticism of Objectivism, merely an observation. But I disagree that "No evidence has been presented that a god or gods exist" -- I find Aquinas's "proofs" to be quite rational. A person might not agree with his conclusions, but they're hardly arbitrary.
  15. This has been an interesting thread to read. It's made me think a great deal about assumptions I have made over the years. In reading Jacob's posts on this thread, I think that you're missing something here: yes, reality is not subject to human consciousness, but since human consciousness is all that Objectivism allows, it does not -- cannot -- address the fundamental creation of reality. Reality in and of itself - A is A - is addressed by Objectivism, but it does not address its ultimate creation. I just don't think Objectivism has the answer here. As a philosophy, it simply can't, as it has
  16. Richard Lack, who founded Atelier Lack in Minneapolis, was an exceptional teacher and artist. He brought the atelier system to the Midwest, and trained a number of painters, some of whom went on to found ateliers of their own. You can read more about Richard Lack here: http://www.classicalrealism.com/art/Masters/Richard_Lack/index.htm
  17. It does derail the thread, but I'll answer anyway: drawings that are simply idle doodlings, representing nothing in particular (except in the so-called "artist's" mind) may be fine therapy or some such thing, but is otherwise worthless crap. If anything, it's anti-art. That's true. Many artists employ color conventions, and so do not need as much of a high degree of color sensitivity as others. And, of course, there's black-and-white and monochrome. The ability to create the illusion of depth employs quite a number of artistic skills. If someone tries to achieve depth but is un
  18. "The Practice and Science of Drawing" by Harold Speed is very good. This is a book I assign my students. "Artistic Anatomy" by Dr. Paul Richer is an essential book to have if you are working with the human form. To understand what has happened to the visual arts, "The Twilight of Painting" by R. H. Ives Gammell is a must. I assign chapters from this book as well to my students. If I had to choose one, and only one, book for both artists and non-artists to read, this would be it. "Realism in Revolution", edited by Richard Lack, has practical information (though it's not a how-to) as well
  19. That's an entirely modern position. Prior to the late 1800s, the ability to render objects accurately was a sine qua non of anyone seriosly attempting to be an artist. Did this mean that there weren't artists who painted scenes from their imagination? Of course not -- Michelangelo, Bougereau, on and on -- they all painted scenes from their imagination, but they could first render objects accurately. It is an area that can be developed: one can develop one's ability to render objects correctly, which is why, traditionally, so much attention was spent on it. One cannot effectively render a scene
  20. You contradict yourself here, as first you say that you don't see any reason for me to suggest that artistic talent is something one is born with, and then you go on to state that some people are born with a greater sensitivity to color (which is one area of overall artistic talent). The ability to accurately render the objects seen by the eye (drawing ability), compositional sense, and ability to convey emotional impressions -- these are, along with color sensitivity, aspects of artistic talent that one is born with -- or not. Of course these need development, otherwise the person will never
  21. I am not dismissing the role of artistic training -- far from it. One of the reasons the visual arts are in the sorry state they are in is the the dismantling of the teaching system and philosophies in the late 1800s. My point is that artistic talent is something one has to be born with, in order to have something to be developed.The idea that "everyone's an artist" and that people only need some instruction gauarantees mediocrity.
  22. I don't think cartoons qualify as "fine art". They are illustrations, that is to say, they illustrate a concept (political, humorous, etc.)This is not to say that some don't exhibit great expressiveness and/or technical skill(Hal Foster of "Prince Valiant" comes to mind), but they operate on a different, lower level than do the great artists of the past.
  23. I have to disagree with your assertion here. The great artists of the past, artists whom I admire, believed that their talent was a unique one that they were born with -- I can supply you with quotes if you would like. It is rational to consider seriously the opinion of those who excelled in their field. My own observation confirms their view. It is true that anyone can improve their artistic ability, but if they lack the inborn talent, they can only go so far.
  24. I'm with 2046: move on. If you really don't want to do that, then you need to agree on some basic definitions: define exactly, for example, what is meant by "brainwashing" and "cult". Then ask for concrete, specific examples, not just assertions and generalizations.
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