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Everything posted by Capleton

  1. An African could be an atheist but he still mantains that he is a Dogon, why? For the Jews and the Dogons their religion is their culture, the two can hardly be seperated except in the case of individual deviations.
  2. I must say that Ayn Rand strikes as being one of the most consistent and articulate philosphers I have ever read. I do not believe that her views were all original; what I do know is that her integration of various views was a great achievement. To prove that Ayn Rand wasn't the first to articulate many of the positions you listed I would need to do some researching so as to give references and what not (for the sake of persuasion). By the way, are you saying that no one before ever articulated a particular position you listed or are you saying that they never did it as explicitly as Rand did?
  3. How does Peikoff's thesis in the Ominous Parallels fit with what he is saying today? To me his arguments are a significant departure from what he argued in the aformentioned book. To say that those without a clear ideology are not as much a threat as those who seemingly have one is dubious. In fact, Peikoff claimed that Nazi Germany was fiercely anti-ideological and look what happened.
  4. Peikoff seems to contradict his thesis in "The Ominous Parallels". In that book he claimed that although Nazi philosophy was anti-ideolgical the havoc that their views caused was great. He went on to say that this same trend in America could possibly lead to the same kind of thing happening in America. So how comes anti-ideology persons such as Kerry are no longer a mojor threat? How is Bush going to trick America when his motives are so clear as opposed to those of Kerry? Come on now. Peikoff is not convincing.
  5. Betsy: You are exaggerating at this time. Are all of you saying that Objectivism is an esoteric philosophy that one must take 4 or 6 years to master under the instruction of special tutors? Is it so difficult for someone to become an Objectivist philosopher or intellectual on their own research? If reality is knowable through reason then one does not need tutors to color things. Is this the Shaolin temple where monks study Shaolin Kung Fu techniques (forgive me)? The ARI should only broadcast Ayn Rand's views and publish books that espouse her philosophy by Objectivists philosophers. The classes in question are not becoming of the philosophy. I am not against college clubs or MeetUps though (organized by individuals not an ARI styled organization).
  6. Betsy, I am sure you might be exasperated so I will leave you with a quote by Rand: I hope I did not take these words out of context. Refusing to vote while attempting to change the philosophy of those living in your country. I would like to think that Objectivists have a principled approach toward the assessments of facts. In that regard, two Objectivists cannot look at the same aspect of reality and then come to a different conclusion or perceive different facts(if their method is principled). Objectivists cannot base their principles on the facts of reality if the "facts are not all known and [their is] insufficient evidence." The facts in this matter at hand are that both choices are evil. Any speculation about what will happen after November is far from fact. Peikoff claims are far from fact. So whence cometh the decision?
  7. Yes! Call a person who by definition is a mystic-a "mysti"c and they tend to get upset. One usually gets the same reaction from dogmatists (when are called for what they are). To answer both you and Andrew I would say that I would not insult your intellects by saying you believe in the arbitrary. I used the word dogma to mean a philosophy that is believed to be true and a "formally stated and authoritatively settled doctrine; a definite, established, and authoritative tenet." If you take offense by me saying this then so let it be. Are we to believe that only self-proclaimed Objectivist can discuss Objectivism? If this is indeed the case I would be happy to leave the forums. By your reasoning anyone who is not an Objectivist is a troll. Is this objectivity! Andrew: I do not believe that my charges are unjustified. The thing is that ARI is a sacred cow on these forums and I have been warned not to molest the cow. The purpose of OAC is to mold Objectivist intellectuals so that they may spread Objectivist dogma near and far. All other considerations are secondary. I gather this by the acceptance criteria and the course requirements . I do not need to sit in one of those classes to know the modus operandi.
  8. This is like asking me to vote for Socialism or the Mixed Economy by saying the Mixed Economy is the "lesser" evil. I support none of those systems at all; I am a capitalist (this is consistent with Objectivist ethics). How much different is theocracy from socialism/statism anyway? You as an Objectivist would still suffer. Oh yeah, Peikoff claims that the Dems don't have a clear cut ideology (hyperbole 101) but I say they do have a history of getting their socialistic agendas enacted. Consider that both the Democrats and the Republicans support essentially the same socialist policies: social security, more financing for public schooling, free health care and the like. This suggest that congress is likely to let socialistic legislation through before those than challenge the 1st ammendment. The constitution has more loop holes for socialistic ideas than it does for theocratic ones. Someone mentioned the FCC and its activities implying that the Bush administration was behind the suppression of free speech. What that person evades is the fact that the FCC was created to regulate speech when speech is supposed to be unregulated. Of course, an individual can sue someone who libels them but censorship only occurs when the government restricts speech not average citizens. It does not matter what party is in power the FCC will do its job of restricting free speech. Peikoff's speech is more a case against government than a particular party. So much for the power of the constitution to limit the power of government. I am not voting, period. It is wrong to say that the party that wins is the one I supported inadvertently. Besides, my vote would not change the outcome of the election. I suspect that you are using "know" to mean certain. If that is the case then I am not certain who will turn out to be the worst. I do however know now that both are evil. I also have a idea that socialism is a threat from both parties while theocracy is a non-issue. My non-vote does not contribute anything. Only those that voted for the so-called greater evil contributed to it.
  9. Betsy: Objectivism does not give guidance as how to choose between two evils. It gives guidance as how to choose between evil and good. All an Objectivist can do is estimate which candidate would be more effective in actualizing his evil ideas. The decision to support Bush or Kerry is not a principled one but a pragmatic one (more concerned with practical results than with theories and principles). Not voting would be a principled act. If both sides were using Objectivist principles they would have reached some agreement. Since they have not then their decisions are not principled. I know the difference between personal disagreements and philosophical disagreements mind you (hence, the comment you alluded to).
  10. It is more like a false dichotomy: either you vote for X or Y or be immoral. One would be justified to say that I am an agnostic whereas the candidates are concerned if I claimed that I could not say if anything of them were good or bad. But in fact, I am saying that both of them represent evil ideas that would not see America improve. Peikoff uses the word "apocalyptic" in terms of Bush's motives but I disagree for the following reasons (and those stated before). If Bush wins this election all he has again is four years to rule. Cheney is not a fundie at all. Of course, the chances are that he might change Cheney (as VP) before the 2008 elections. By that time any evil that he and his fundie crew wanted to foist on Americans would have been detected (he does not have clear way because of congress, the Constitution and fellow Republicans). I would venture to say that Democrats would take election '08 if Bush behaves "badly" in his next term (if there is one). All Peikoff has shown is that Bush's fundie base is highly energized. The fact remains that most Americans are not fundies and even if someone takes the bible literally that does not automatically mean that they (consciously) want theocracy (somehow a theocratic America does not jive with the book of Revelations). The sought after votes in this election are the "undecided" and the "swing" votes. The candidates have already tickled their respective bases. Confronted with the two evils, I would refuse to vote while still exposing the evil of both parties.
  11. Here you seem to support my hypothesis well. Still a strong supporter! Suppose you stop walking on rocks barefeet but instead wear some ultra comfy shoes from that time on; the fact remains that the sole of your feet would regain its softness. I imagine that your spouse could even make you chuckle by tickling it at that stage. Please note that I never said that the abuse would inflict permanent damage. So I must say your objections are off mark. Oh, do come on! So starving your child for a month is not abuse? The act of starving a child has the sme effect on the stomach as diligent fasting. This may be true in individual cases and it depends on the length and type of the fast. Both fasting and poor eating habits may be deemed abuse. . Perhaps!
  12. I am quite certain that John Kerry and his lawyer friend are not what America needs right now. The thing that concerns me is that Peikoff is supposedly using Objectivist principles to come to the conclusion that Bush is the worst choice of them all. Am I wrong? I also think this is why Argive made the following statement: The fact remains that we are to choose between two evils. The only certainty possible is that America is going to be worst off either way. All the while Peikoff is telling us that we have no other rational choice but to vote. Ayn Rand said that to speak of evil while implying one's neutrality is wrong. If I don't want to vote but loudly proclaim that I have no reason to vote given the evil that is before me what is wrong with that?
  13. Daniel: I understand most of what you say. But one factor that must be taken into account is the fact that ARI screens its students rather well. I would like to think that it is for this very reason that such problems may not arise. DPW: Your statements seem to assume that Objevtivism and objectivity go hand in hand by default. Objectivity is what Objectivists proport to be using but many fail in that regard. Why the need to create a straw man here? Attending the classes does not make on mindless so much as it would make one single-minded. By single-minded I do not mean principled but dogmatic. I will take not of you concerns though. Andrew: Dogma: a belief or set of beliefs that a political, philosophical, or moral group holds to be true. Given the definition above I am perfectly justifed in saying that ARI wants to spread dogma. I never said anything about religiousity mind you. The purpose of turning out intellectuals is to spread the dogma. The truth of Objectivism is most often taken as a given. The purpose of ARI is not question Objectivism but to spread it. One wonders whether Rand herself would want such an organization in existence after the (cultic) problems that arose with the Nathaniel B. Institute. Note: I have never said Objectivism is a cult but the fact remains that some people develop a cultic following nonetheless. Oldsalt: I am not a troll FYI! I would like to think that you are the troll for posting an insult without much elaboration. Clearly you want to stir up my emotions while not offering anything of substance (isn' that the definition of a troll?).
  14. A class on Aristotle is usually an unbiased look at what he believed and why. the professor may or may not be an Aristotelian philosopher. I never said you can't take a class on Plato. A class usually doesn't last four years you know. Likening geometry to Objectivism is a risky deed. One cannot just read about a branch of mathematics; mathematics requires a lot of practice. Why don't you just buy a book on geometry and practice at home? Of course, you may think that you are not disciplined enough to practice dilligently and sometimes the text book's explanation may not be sufficient. That's why you would want a tutor. You can learn as much about Plato and Geometry from your own efforts. Until grading time comes around, right? I am sure that at the Karl Marx institute anyone who shows symptoms of rabid laissez faire capitalism will be thrown out too. After all, the official dogma cannot be challenged. It doesn't matter that you had to read all the works of Karl Marx before being admitted to the classes. It does not matter that you passed the entry exam showing you have a good grasp of what Karl Marx believed. The purpose of the classes is to turn out Marxist intellectuals (in the case of ARI Objectivist intellectuals) who would then seek to spread the official dogma. The idea is not to produce indepedent minds at all. My point exactly. They are not looking for peoplewho take objectivity serious they are looking for people who subscribe to Ayn Rand's ideas. The classes are to make them more articulate in espousing those ideas not to question those ideas rigorously. Consider a seminary is dedicated to producing good Christian theologians who embrace the official dogma. Can anyone graduate from OAC who thinks that alturism is moral? By the way, thanks for the shameless insults you hurled at me.
  15. What evidence would convince you? If god says that man is not an end in himself but a servant to him; what will you say? If god said that reason is not man's only path to knowledge but divine revelation and intuition what will you say? If god said that man's moral purpose is to make his neighbor happy; what will you say? If he said that he created the universe ex nihilo; what would you say? Would there still be Objectvist if a personal god existed?
  16. Bowzer: I made the comment about Mr. Smith to show that it is because he was a former Objectivist why his views on certain matters seem so fimiliar. I do not appreciate the straw man you have proposed. I never said that "one can pick and choose whatever parts of Objectivism one wishes to suit one's purposes of the moment". I did not say that he used Objectivism, per se, rather I would like to think that he used objectivism. Besides, Rand said that one can pick and choose parts of her philosophy that one agrees with but one cannot then refer to oneself as an Objectivist. Smith does not say he is an Objectivist. Oh yeah? Above you are broadening the scope of our present discussion. We are using the word arbitrary in the scope theistic claims. Such claims concern things "spiritual" generating and maintaining things that are natural. It is through science and naturalistic modes of explanation (reason) that we gain knowledge. Anyone attempting to use a different method is proposing the arbitrary within this context. Are you implying that somebody claiming to be reincarnated is not an arbitrary claim? Objectivism subsumes atheism, it an atheistic philosophy. Ayn Rand not using the word atheism countless times does not negate my claim. Predicated on: If an idea or argument is predicated on something, it depends on the existence or truth of that thing. Core: of central or fundamental importance. If there is a god then Objectivism is false. I am here refering the concepts of god the are prevalent in the West. Am I wrong? Fred: Atheism is the only reasonable view whereas the existence of god is concerned. " I am an intransigent atheist, but not a militant one. This means that I am an uncompromising advocate of reason and that I am fighting for reason, not against religion." --Ayn Rand
  17. Bowzer: This is incorrect. The fact remains that he was an Obvjectivist but he has since left the philosophy. Of course, anyone who has read his articles and books knows that he is known to defend Ayn Rand but nonetheless he finds her view of the role of government (along with others) to be lacking. I would say that he did not write a book on Objectivism but atheism using many elements of Objectivist epistemology. From what I know he understands Rand very well. Of course, he deals with the arbitrary since he targeted the idea of faith. Here he says: "The argument from design is ultimately an appeal to miraculous causes, i.e., causes that do not, and cannot, occur in the natural course of events. This is why an "explanation" via design is not a legitimate alternative to scientific and other naturalistic modes of explanation. To refer to a miraculous "cause" is to refer to something that is inherently unknowable, and this "sanctuary of ignorance" explains nothing at all. However much it may soothe the imagination of the ignorant, it does nothing to satisfy the understanding of a rational person[from Why Atheism]." How else did he counter (in his book) the so-called "first cause" argument but by mentioning the idea that the universe (or rather existence) always was. That is, if every thing must have a cause then god cannot be exempt from this rule. If he could be exempt from this rule then why can't the universe also be exempt from this rule. I take issue with your claims that atheism is "only tangentially and as an outcome of positive aspects of the philosophy." Atheism is at the very core of Objectivism. All the principles of Objectivist are supposed to be based on reason and are predicated on the view that there is no god. Objectivism says that existence cannot have a cause, reason not faith is man's only way to gain knowledge of existence, every man is an end in himself and not the servant of others (e.g., men, gods). It is true that atheism is not a philosophy and therefore cannot by itself be a guide to life. But the fact remains that even if atheism is only a negetative view whereas the existence of a god is concerned; that an atheist may endeavor to debunk that claims of those who say god's existence is demonstrable without the use of faith. Since atheism is not a philosophy and man needs principles to live a rational life some have embraced Objectivism. Objectivism presupposes atheism and all it principles are godless. Again, atheism is at the very core of Objectivism and one does not go on a tangent when it is discussed.
  18. Why does one even need to take classes from the so-called Ayn Rand Institute anyway? None of the instructors can speak for Ayn Rand. I see the whole exercise as silly. I read the works of Ayn Rand and other philosophers. It is a pretence to say that Ayn Rand's philosophy as she articulated it is comprehensive. So I see the classes from ARI and TOC as nothing more than the peddling of dogmatism (yes, I said dogmatism). I mean even a bible school teacher may not tolerate parroting (SO WHAT?). Look at it this way: the instructor does not like parroting he simply wants you to come to a particular conclusion while incorporationg Objectivist principles. Come to a different conclusion than Ayn Rand and tell me what happens.
  19. What might a rational morality be? Religion is not predicated on reason and as such it cannot be affected by it. Where ever we find humans who think that emotions are most or all that matters then religion is here to stay. I would venture to say that that is the disposition of most human beings.
  20. So we have to choose between the "mystics of spirit” (Republicans) and “mystics of muscle.” (Democrats) My view is that under the leadership of John Kerry there might not be an America that will survive to ever become a theocratic state. Further, it is very difficult to make America into a theocratic state because: 1) The constitution does not allow for it. 2) Not all Republicans would go for it. 3) Just the fighting over which brand of Christianity to be officially or implicitly endorsed would delay or prevent any such actualization. 4) America is more likely to become a socialistic state before a theocratic one. The journey has already begun: social security, (proposed) national health care, the FCC and other institutions and laws are paving the way for it. 5) The white majority will be (if everything goes as foreseen) a minority in some years to come. This means that the Democratic Party would have more supporters. 6) Many immigrants from Mexico and other parts of world are more inclined to favor socialistic state before a theocratic one. This is because with the changing demographics of the American society we will see more religious diversity and as such much sensitivity about protecting rights to freedom of religion. Although I am not an American, if I had the chance I would vote for Bush.
  21. After-all the abuse the body essentially gives up on trying to convince you to make some macaroni and cheese. If you walk on rocks bare feet every day for a month the pain that you felt one the first day would not be present when the month expires. Of course, this is because of thickening of the skin in the affected areas of the body. The stomach acts differently after being deprive of food for extending periods of time.
  22. Have you read Thomas Szasz? http://www.szasz.com/index.html I personally do not give credence to anyone seriously (i.e., not metaphorically) claiming to be mentally ill. Dr. Hurd isn't buying the crap either.
  23. "Force and mind are opposites; morality ends where a gun begins." --Ayn Rand I would say that I have a right to dispose of my whole income as I see fit. This would mean that if I did not want the government to receive any of my earnings then it is might right to withhold the money (I am resisting the initiation of force). But then again it would be unwise to do so if one wants to live outside the prison cell. Whereas one stealing a government car is concerned it would not be morally right to do so (although one pays taxes). This is because one cannot objectively prove that one's expropriated money was used to buy the car in question (one could argue that this is a case of resisting the initiation of force but yet fail because of the subjective nature of the claim). Again, Objectivism does not endorse the subjectivism of taking the law into one's hands like that. It would be wrong for any human being to take the actions you alluded to.
  24. "teal it back?" I was under the impression that the car belonged to you and as such stealing it back would impossible. One cannot steal one's own property. Of course, you could be trespassing if you walked unto someone's property without their consent to recover your car. Another thing is that Objectivism does not advocate one taking the laws into one's own hand (except in cases of present and clear danger) so the act of you repossessing the car without the help of law enforcement officers would be unwise. For instance, you would get no sympathy if you were shot while trying to recover your car. After all, you could have called the police and given them the address and other relevant information instead of assuming the hero role.
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