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realityChemist last won the day on February 27 2012

realityChemist had the most liked content!

About realityChemist

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  • Birthday 10/13/1994

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    United States
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    I'm always interested in meeting other rational people.
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  • Real Name
    Chas Evans
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  • Biography/Intro
    I first discovered Objectivism late in my Freshman year of high school, when I stumbled onto Atlas Shrugged by accident. I made (and still make) a habit of listening to audio books while I work around the house, mostly while mowing the lawn, and had made of a list of books to listen to. AS was on it. And as chance would have it, all of the books that I had planned to listen to before AS were unavailable on the audio book site I use. After listening almost nonstop to the whole book, I decided to learn more about Rand's philosophy. I'm very glad I did. I filled my library with books about Objectivism, and soon I had adopted the philosophy as a whole. I am still learning about the applications of Objectivism, as everyone is. That's why I'm here. Mostly I read, but I will comment if I have something useful to contribute or a question to ask.
  • Experience with Objectivism
    Atlas Shrugged
    Ayn Rand Answers: The Best of Her Q&A
    Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal
    For the New Intellectual
    The Fountainhead
    Philosophy: Who Needs It
    The Virtue of Selfishness: A New Concept of Egoism
  • School or University
    Currently a high school student taking honors / college level courses.
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    I'm looking into a ChemE master's and a MBA degree. With those I hope to eventually work in an operations management position.

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    Maine, US
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    Web comics
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    Digital artwork
  1. (This part of the post is mostly anecdotal, so feel free to pass it up if you're not interested.) This is actually very relevant to my life right now. As part of a psychology 101 course I'm taking right now, I'm required to perform 10 hours of "volunteer" work (obviously it's not voluntary if it's being required of me). While I'm strongly against the entire premise, the paper that is to be based off of this work is very important to my grade in the class. So, I have taken advantage of what freedom they have given me with this project: the choice of where to put my time. I'm going to be
  2. Thank you very much. I assumed it was something like that, but I wasn't sure, and that cleared things up tremendously.
  3. Can someone please define "knowledge problem?" It is used here in the context of a term everyone should be familiar with, but I am not. Enlighten me, if you will.
  4. Freud was lead to his conclusions about the way the mind works because his only subjects for study were sexually repressed, hysterical (literally), Victorian-era Austrian women. Given only that subset of the population to work with, most people would likely come to similar conclusions. Not to defend his theory (or psychoanalysis in general) in any way; it takes no account whatsoever for other motivating factors and values in human life, and vastly oversimplifies many things. Besides, that wasn't really the subject under discussion in this thread.
  5. I know I probably shouldn't have used the Genie example (it was like the metaphysical equivalent of a lifeboat question in ethics), but I thought it illustrated well the fact that there are circumstances beyond your control that can severely impair a person's ability. One thing I didn't mention, though, was that Genie did eventually learn the rudimentary use of language; she overcame her handicap to quite an amazing degree, considering how severe a handicap it was. I definitely wasn't using it as an argument against the O'ist point, just as an illustration of what I meant (as I said moments
  6. Ayn Rand actually wrote an essay that dealt with this subject. I believe it is published in For the New Intellectual, but I could be wrong about that. She put forward the idea of federally insured and enforced contracts. Basically, the Fed would only treat contracts as valid and enforceable if the signatories had paid a sum to the Fed in advance. Otherwise, any contract signed would be little more than an agreement (ie. it would still be unethical to violate it, but not actionable by law). This could certainly generate a steady stream of revenue, especially in a thriving capitalist econom
  7. Thank you all very much. Your answers have been extremely helpful. I think the note that genes and upbringing can limit the choices available to you (brought up by aequalsa) is a very important one to make, and, when it's considered on a more complex level than what beverage to drink, fits nicely right in as influencing your choices. Also, Return of the Primitive is one of the few non-fiction books by Rand that I have yet to read. That article probably would have illuminated things for me. I plan to read it over the summer (along with finally reading OPAR, because it is referenced so ofte
  8. I was reading through the Objectivism Essentials page on the ARI website (found here), because I wanted to link it to a friend. However, I came across this sentence, under the Human Nature section (emphasis added): I'm curious about this. Specifically the bolded part. I understand the cases against God, fate, et cetera, but I want to know if Objectivism has a case against upbringing and genetics, or if this is merely an assertion made by the ARI without reference to reality. I'm taking a college level Intro to Psychology course right now, and modern psychology seems to contradict t
  9. Indeed it is available to be discovered. There is no disputing that point (we're all here, after all). And I think the point of his speech was not to advocate any morality in particular. He was focusing in on atheism, which is neither a philosophical system nor a primary concern of those who already have a sound philosophical system to follow. It is secondary, and I think that is where a lot of people fall down. They replace belief in a deity with non-belief, and leave it at that. Most of them never follow up and really answer the question, "If it's not divinely inspired, where does mo
  10. I think we're getting a bit away from the original thrust of the TED talk, but that's okay. The discussion continues regardless. However, if we want to address the idea of "Atheism 2.0" I think we need to take a step back for a second and reexamine some things. First of all, the speaker at the conference is not an Objectivist, so some of his ideas don't mesh with Objectivism. For example, he advocated didactic learning (or learning by rote; memorization out of context), which is clearly at odds with the O'ist position that one must understand why a thing is true -- why reason is the best
  11. The community is out there, if you know where to look. http://www.reasonrally.org/ I really wish I could go, but I don't have a car of my own at this point (and even if I did, gas to DC would be atrocious) and I will never convince my family to go (spiritualists, some more than others). That Fellowship of Reason looks promising, but I'm pretty far from Georgia. Perhaps if I ever move there... Unfortunately, these kinds of church-like communities (other than actual churches) don't exist in my area (Maine...), so I will have to wait until I live in a more populated part of the country to
  12. I found an interesting video on TED.com today, in which speaker Alain de Botton says that, while we need not agree with religions, we (meaning atheists in general, not specifically objectivists) may want to look into adopting some of their methods. I don't agree with everything that he says, but he made some interesting points. I especially liked what he had to say about art (his view seems rather O'ist). Below I've provided a link to the video (19:21 long), which includes a complete transcript on the webpage. http://www.ted.com/t...theism_2_0.html
  13. Well, by my understanding, they don't have volume in the traditional sense. Photons only have volume in the sense that, given certain parameters, their exact position can be calculated. However I don't claim to be an expert in quantum physics, and this whole thing is really an aside to the main discussion (and, ultimately, a point we agree upon). I'll concede this point. We don't have any evidence either way on this, really, and because we only have the one data point (us) either claim can be seen as equally true (although, in reality, only one is true, as per the laws of noncontradic
  14. I haven't finished reading your comment (let alone this thread) yet, but I feel the need to point out this error. A photon is an elementary force carrying particle with exactly zero mass. On the other hand, any type of atom has measurable mass, making even a humble hydrogen ion (effectively a proton) literally, not figuratively, infinitely more massive than a photon. So, although your statement was incorrect, the assertion that intelligent life could exist with a body the size of a photon is still utterly ridiculous (unless you want to assert a fundamental mind-body dichotomy, which may be
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