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Everything posted by Avila

  1. "Hardly anybody cares what Kant thought about aesthetics, yet people who have never heard of him follow his lead by denying that objectivity is possible in any field whatever, including art." I think you're giving far too much credit to Kant. The impulses driving the visual arts at the time had far more to do with the political/cultural context of the times. Skill was out, "feeling" was in. This was a very handy and acceptable criterion, as it meant, for the first time, that skill mattered little. In fact, any evidence of skill was denounced as counter-whatever the new standard-bearers decl
  2. "The logical political system compatible with a God created universe who hands down commandments is a religious totalitarianistic theocracy -- it was true for Christianity during the Dark Ages, and it is true for Islam, insofar as Mohammed was the true spokesperson for Allah, and his edicts must be followed to the letter." But this statement simply ignores historical facts. For starters, the Dark Ages (the period following the collapse of the Roman Empire) was not, in fact, a period of theocracy -- rather, it was a period of chaos of political governance characterized by smaller, tribalisti
  3. Avila


    "Only a physically independent, socially interacting, rational animal has rights. The fetus lacks at least two and maybe three of those attributes." So does a mentally retarded person, or someone in a coma. So they don't have any rights, by your definition. So it's OK to kill them? At least the fetus, if left alone, will develop the attributes you mention. Not so the mentally retarded, and it's not certain for the person in a coma (some people have come out of them after years).
  4. " Please tell me if I am wrong (not, that I would care) but isn't objectivism about beeing and end withing itself? So thinking and living independent." As Bluecherry said above, "Independence is not a matter of being detached and impervious to the rest of the world." Ayn Rand's success, after all, depended upon people buying and reading her books. I wouldn't go so far as to say that "no man is an island", because this country does, in fact, have a colorful history that includes a few truly independent characters (mountain men, gold prospectors, etc.). But, for the most part, this "idependen
  5. "Keep explaining myself to them, to insane detail, and with the sole purpose of saving face." This is unclear -- just what are you explaining about yourself? Or rather, what about you needs explaining? This seems like an odd situation. As several here have already mentioned, it is the quality of the work you do that is primary. If that work requires a pleasant, easy-going manner with co-workers and/or customers, then those qualities are naturally going to be examined as well. Just out of high school (ages ago....) I took a job that required some basic graphic arts skills. My skill
  6. "If I take this literally would one be able to say that the bible promotes communism?" No. Religious communities, especially those who take a vow of poverty (Franciscans, for example) live a communist-style structure, but it is not meant to extend to those outside the community. "I went to a Catholic High School (not by choice, I assure you) run by the Marist brothers, and in social studies classes they taught that communism is the moral ideal, and as proof they would say just look at us, your teachers." What idiots. And they certainly weren't following Church teaching -- the Vatican
  7. "It's only a word, but always important is its definition, and I can't see how 'martyr' can mean anything but being the victim of sacrifice(by force), or of self-sacrifice (voluntarily). Sacrifice is the act of surrendering a higher value, to a lesser(or nil) value." Whynot is correct here -- "martyr" is a person who is killed because they refuse to give up their principles. There are those who voluntarily sacrifice themselves in various ways and let that be known to everyone around them, but those people -- I think we all know one or two in our families -- are merely annoying, and t
  8. "It is a commonly held notion within the philosophical context of our age that an intensely moral person is, in essence, a martyr. The prevailing image of an impeccably moral individual is one of suffering, i.e., a religious man living in self-imposed isolation whipping himself for merely thinking about an immoral act. This is a false image and a highly destructive cliché that is accepted by the majority." Although I like the rest of your post and agree with it (rational selfishness), I don't think that you are at all correct in the statement above. I see very little evidence that the "mart
  9. "At the most fundamental level, life has only one purpose: to survive. All absolutes within the universe are arranged to offer life that opportunity." Actually, observation shows that reproduction appears to be the purpose of life: survival is important insofar as it furthers that purpose. There are some examples (spiders, mantises, etc.) of life forms losing their lives for the purpose of reproduction, and, more generally, survival is compromised by reproduction for most if not all life forms (animals risking their own lives to defend their young, the considerable "cost" of raising offspri
  10. "I'm curious, though, how the Catholics on the forum reconcile the fact that nearly all the rites and traditions of the Catholic faith trace back to the Roman pagan religion, and that the hierarchical Catholic church bears very little resemblance to the individualist concept of religion developed by Jesus Christ, who rejected organized religion, in favor of a personal, private interaction between a man and his "Father."" To answer the first part of your question: the rituals are Jewish in origin. As fot the second part of the question: it's not relevant to the topic at hand. You can send me
  11. "This is the issue I'm having: I'm not so clear that it's not true. It may not be necessarily a bad thing that a kid is told to wash dishes, but the issue I'm having trouble with is the idea that child labor is not slavery. Would I have to argue that, by definition, a kid is a slave until he is an adult capable of making his own choices?" Slavery entails the usurpation of one's rights to one's proper wages and to one's ability to determine one's own choices. It makes a man a commodity, little more than a useful machine that can be bought or sold. It is a degradation of man. Expecting a youn
  12. "I was talking about Objectivism rather than self-labeled Objectivists. I consider "Objectivism" the philosophy that Ayn Rand explained and claims to have discovered in her books (along with her co-authors). To me, that philosophy seems optimistic because it asserts that individuals have massive power to alter their well-being for the better and happiness is attainable (to those who understand Objectivism, adopts its values, and behave accordingly). Whether or not it is true, I think that specific part of the philosophy has a very hopeful ring to it." I agree with you completely here, and h
  13. I agree with Capitalist Fred. I'd also point out that in some professions, such as farming, much of the learning is done by working as soon as possible (I grew up driving tractors and helping with livestock long before I was of legal age to drive a car). I have friends in the restaurant business who grew up working -- and learning -- in the family restaurant when still quite young. Some professions such as competitive athletics requires huge investments of time when still very young -- if "work" is regarded as slavery, then "practice" might be included under that umbrella. A distinction
  14. "Avila, I have to defend Objectivism on this one. I am not an Objectivist but I can tell you as a naturalist that it is the most optimistic (naturalist) philosophy I know of." I wonder, then, if the differences between your observations and mine could be attributed to age. By far, most of the self-identified Objectivists I have known personally (and it seems to be the case here on this forum) are young, often in high school or in college. Ordinary adolescent angst might be a factor, as well as the fact that most of them are not providing for themselves and have accomplished very little. Thi
  15. "Also, It's important to distinguish atheists (you could say normal atheists) from Objectivists. (normal) Atheists tend to be humanists or naturalistic pantheists or materialists. Objectivists are in a different category values-wise. And because of their strictly realistic viewpoint on life, are probably more likely to be depressed." That is in keeping with my own observations. Many of my acquaintances are atheists or agnostics (because I was an atheist for decades), and most of them would fall into what you call the "normal" atheist category. They honestly don't seem to live according to t
  16. "So you are advocating that man should only live long enough to reproduce, and then lose their lives, or just having difficulty trying to identify what is fundamental to survival for man?" I didn't advocate for anything. I was pointing out that reproduction, and not simply survival, appears to direct non-human life. Survival is a means to that end. Nor was I "trying to identify what is fundamental to survival for man." Try again. I like and agree with many aspects of Objectivism -- I'm simply not convinced, as an earlier poster claimed, that it has never been proven wrong. I think the
  17. "So, religion, which by definition is not "reality-based," No, that would be your assessement, not a definition. "....is more reality-based than actual reality? No. That is a poor interpretation of what I said.
  18. "Other times, I have to suppress a lot of stress when someone starts talking to me about Jesus, prayer, and how much the Bible makes sense. If I do not change to subject or leave, I know it is just a matter of time before I think to myself, "Are you THAT f***ing stupid???"" Much depends upon the level of Christian you are talking to. In general, I have found that Evangelicals and Pentecostals are almost impossible to talk to, as they argue in circles. Most Catholics I run across are so poorly catechized that they can't explain even basic tenets of their faith to themselves or others. Howeve
  19. "3. I think the main reason Objectivists refer to the books is because they think it is only fair that if you really care about the position you are trying to argue against, then you should at least make some effort to understand the position you are arguing against. The simplest and fairest way to gain that understanding is to read the relevant literature. It just implies that you are not very interested, if you are not willing to make that effort. So why should one care to engage you?" I understood the OP to be making a somewhat different point. Of course, one should be familiar with the
  20. "A dispute is not a proof." True enough. But I'll be specific -- I mentioned I had difficulties, shall we say, with some of Rand's basic assumptions. Let me take one: she states (through Galt) that living things (outside of humans, that is) cannot act for their own destruction. The assumption she is making, then, is that survival -- biological survival -- is the pattern or blueprint (sorry, neither word is quite right) that animals and plants follow. But that's simply not the case -- the natural world seems to be geared towards reproduction, with survival simply a means to that end. Plants
  21. Jaskn, Given the quality of your comments here and elsewhere, I've concluded that you're not worth responding to. So you're just wasting your time.
  22. "I'll add that if I ever went onto a Christian site (for some reason) I'd show a lot less contempt for other people's convictions than you show here for atheists and O'ists.)" I was an atheist for almost 30 years. I don't have any inherent contempt for them.
  23. "It would be more precise of me to say that if a person will be beneficial to your life as a whole, it will have some impact upon your career. I was trying to convey an incidental benefit to career, even if perhaps the main value of that relationship is regarding some kind of emotional support. Given that I do say career is an extremely fundamental aspect of leading a good life, any value would properly be improving or helping along the pursuit of that fundamental value. Relationships should primarily benefit yourself, your life. If you hold a value in that way, you can't help but have it impa
  24. "There are even threads on OO.net which dispute aspects of her philosophy. A dispute is not a proof." Actually, I'm not sure "proof" is even the right term to use when assessing philosophies. One can't "prove" that a particular philosophy is true, in the sense that one tests a scientific hypothesis through experimentation.
  25. "Actually, the moral principles are determined without regard to what one feels since just wanting or not wanting something to be a certain way does not make it so." We agree. "As for saying this is just her opinion, this is not a subject where it is open to opinion anymore than how many apples there are left if one starts with four and then eats one. Ethics certainly has room for various ways it plays out differently for different people, but because there are certain things about human nature that apply to all people, some things will be morally off limits for everybody still." And
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