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Everything posted by realityChemist

  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
  15. Well, I've made a few posts already, but I thought I should probably introduce myself, in case anyone becomes curious. I am seventeen years old as of the time of this posting and currently a Junior in high school. I live in Maine, and I love the cold weather (hot weather bothers me). I'm interested in studying chemical engineering in college, although I'll probably go for an MBA as well. I have a slight tendency to put off things that other people consider important (such as homework) to read about philosophy or new developments in the physical sciences online (I like to spend time here, o
  16. I really have better things to be doing right now (homework, anyone?), but since I've already spent two hours reading this I may as well reply: I have to say, I'm sort of on the fence about this one. Or, rather, I'm on one side of the fence for one argument, and the other side for another. First of all, I think that Peikoff did likely make this comment off-the-cuff, and he shouldn't be personally attacked for it (unless and until such time as he chooses to clarify himself with a more carefully worded remark, at which point we should judge him one way or another, as he would be making expl
  17. Here, I think I've worked out the kinks in the speech. I changed the quote too: Any final opinions? The induction is tomorrow, so there's not much time left for making changes.
  18. I like that. I'm probably going to move the wording around a bit, but that not only fits nicely but has a similar feeling to it as the original sentence seems to intend (although clearly did not mean). Thank you for the assistance.
  19. Let me start off by saying that I'm relatively new to these forums, and I don't know if this is the right forum to post this in. Please feel free to move it if there is a better place for it to be. I am a member of my school's local chapter of the National Honor Society, and we have an induction for new members coming up in a few days. It's the 50th anniversary of the chapter too, so many local alumni will be there. I am supposed to deliver the part of the speech about leadership, but I find some of the content to be highly objectionable. I have asked the head of the chapter, and she sa
  20. So, nobody has posted on this for three years, but I just have to say that I agree. Short Skirt/Long Jacket has always struck me as a very Objectivist song, and it's one of my favorites. Also, it is the theme song for the TV show Chuck, about a computer geek turned international super spy.
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