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Posts posted by Thesweetscience

  1. Redfarmer, thank you very much. These links should keep Bobby (Thesweetscience) busy for a long time. After he has read through them perhaps he might try participating in one of them, on particular points of philosophy.

    For my benefit (my search skills are poor) and for the benefit of other new members of OO besides Bobby, how did you go about your search? For example, what search terms did you use?

    I just scrolled down into the various topics. It did not occur to me to do a "search" I was unfamiliar with that feature. I will be using it often from now on.

    Thanks again


  2. sweet science, I am seeing alot of questions that paralleled the ones that I had when I was still in a transitionary period from Christian mysticism to Objectivist rationalism. [...]

    That was without a doubt the most educational thing I have read so far in this forum. I thank you very much for taking the time to write it. I can definately see your points and I agree with you. Let me just clarify that I do not currently believe in god. But, I had said that I reserve the right to believe in the possibility of his existence if the data changes. Your analogy about the elephants completely explained to me the problem with that line of thinking.

    Thanks again!


  3. You charged earlier that the Bush administration was dishonest -- and you defined that as lying, basically. What evidence have you provided that all the individuals in the administration knowingly told falsehoods, and were not merely mistaken in their assessment of the scattered "intelligence" information they had received over the years?

    The issue here is method, congruent with the purpose of this thread. What method would you use to decide whether or not a whole organization was lying -- rather than stumbling and bumbling its way pragmatically from one situation to another, guided by wishful thinking (which is what dishonesty means in Objectivism)?

    In reading Peikoff I came across a passage that I think it appropriate. This is not verbatim but. "Something is either true, arbitrary or it is false". I believe that I accused the Bush administration of "misleading" or being "dishonest".

    If they made a claim and that claim turned out to be false, was that not misleading? Was it not dishonest?


  4. Bobby,

    I and others in this thread have rightly advised you to read the other threads on the topics of the War on Terrorism, including the battles in Iraq, before making arguments for or against the War, such as it is. Remember, the purpose of this thread is to discuss how to use an example, from current events, to learn more about the philosophy.

    1. Which other threads on the war have you studied so far?

    2. What questions do you have about how to approach such a problem? In other words, what questions do you have about methods you might use?

    I have not reviewed any posts other than those dealing with election 2004. Could you please provide me with some links that I can study?


  5. To call a President, especially in a time of war, a liar--you must present real evidence. You have so far presented no evidence, but only the usual leftist assumptions (yawn!). If you have, in fact, no evidence for such serious claims- you  are acting dishonorably. In general liberalism (watered down socialism) and Objectivism are anti-thetical. Indeed, it may be your own premises that are "subjective"  free floating and otherwise cut off from reality.

    I believe that the specific examples I gave are "real evidence".

    "These al Qaeda affiliates, based in Baghdad, now coordinate the movement of people, money and supplies into and throughout Iraq for his network, and they've been operating freely in the capital for more than eight months," said U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell in his presentation to the U.N. Security Council.

    George Tenet said, "Iraq has, in the past, provided training in document forgery and bomb-making to al Qaeda. It has also provided training in poisons and gases to two al Qaeda associates"

    According to the 9/11 report there was no "collaborative relationship" between Iraq and al Qaeda.

    According to a Harris poll in late April, a plurality of Americans, 49 percent to 36 percent, believe "clear evidence that Iraq was supporting al Qaeda has been found."

    Why do Americans believe it? I think the answer is in the way in which this war was "sold".

    These aren't leftist assumptions. This is objective reality.


  6. In my interpretation of your argument, item 1 above implies that the current War on Terrorism is an initiation of force. Is my interpretation correct?

    If so, how do you think the principle of not initiating force applies to the War on states that sponsor terrorism? This would be an example of deduction, applying a general statement to a narrower circumstance.

    The term "War on Terrorism" is problematic for me in this arguement. It didn't really apply to Iraq until we attacked it.

    The terrorists have made Iraq a front for the war, but it wasn't that way prior to the day we invaded.

    Saddam Hussein although a despot, had a secular government. Bin Laden himself criticized him on many occassion. The only thing in common between Bin Laden and Hussein was a mutual hatred of the United States.

    I wholeheartedly believe that taking action against Afghanistan was justified. And I believe we must protect ourselves against terrorists. But, I do not believe those arguements apply to Iraq, unless you wish to accept the premise that Iraq was involved in 9/11 and was an imminent threat to the US.


  7. 3. My first question for you is: Why did you pick this topic? Is it the most important unresolved issue in your life? If not by that criterion, then by what criterion? A major part of Objectivism is that it is a hierarchical philosophy. Some issues are more fundamental than others. Fundamental issues explain derivative issues. Therefore, knowing the fundamentals will be very helpful. True -- and perhaps this is what you are doing here -- one way to test one's knowledge of the fundamentals is to try to apply them to particular situations.

    I chose this topic because from what I "knew" about Objectivism it seemed that the war was wrong. After reading a few posts here I noticed that many here favored the war. I want to know where my breakdown in thinking is.

    a. What do I mean by dishonest? (You can start by examining "Honesty" in The Ayn Rand Lexicon.)

    b. What evidence do I have that the Bush administration was dishonest? Is the evidence conclusive or only suggestive?

    c. If the Bush administration was dishonest -- wholly or in part -- would that itself undermine the whole War on Terrorism or the battles in Iraq?

    I mean dishonesty in its most common sense. I think they(the Bush administration) knew that Iraq wasn't involved in 9/11. Yet they used subjectivism and implied that they were. As for WMDs, that is more debatable, did they know or didn't they? But, in this case there were inspectors on the ground in Iraq so it seems that the initiation of force was unwarranted.

  8. [MODERATOR'S NOTE: Thesweetscience is very new to Objectivism. I have placed this thread in the Basic Questions section as a reminder to viewers that his questions should be approached accordingly. The main issue here is how to solve philosophical problems. The main issue here is not to rehash pro's and con's of the war in Iraq, a subject treated voluminously in other threads. I will drop posts that do not address the central issue here: How a person new to Objectivism should go about applying the little he knows to particular problems.]

    I am a student of Objectivism so forgive me for not knowing the answers to these questions. But, from what I have read about Objectivism the war seems to contradict Ayn Rand's principles for the following reasons.

    1. Ayn Rand was against the initiation of the use of force.

    2. The war is altruistic, we are sacrificing ourselved for the sake of others who do not share our values or our principles. An Islamic government is sure to be installed.

    3. The dishonesty used by our leaders to sell the war to us. Primarily I am referring to the way it was implied that somehow Iraq was involved in 9/11. But, this could also be expanded to the WMD myth.

    Please point out the flaws in my reasoning.


  9. Really? Then who wrote this:

    "You don't want to make someone stop hearing what you are saying before you even get started. Maybe that is salesmanship. But, there isnt anything wrong with it if it helps people to see and understand Objectivism. I think the religion aspect of Objectivism is a journey that a person who converts ..."

    Do you read what you write?

    Are you really a physics professor? Because your reading comprehension seems to be lacking. There is no contradiction between those two statements.

    I really have no desire to have any type of discussion or dialogue with you. Why can't you stop worrying so much about me and what I think? I have been directed by others here to the source of the information I need and do appreciate it. You have implied that I am "an enemy of Objectivism". I may be an enemy of Speicher but not Objectivism. Few things are more dear to me than Ayn Rand. But I do have lots of reading to do to catch up.


  10. The opportunity to "investigate" this, or in other words for him to explain what he meant came after Stephen's first challenge.  Instead, TSS choose to rationalize his methodology rather than acknowledge that a deceptive methodology is wrong.  I will expand on this later as I have limited time right now.

    However, I did read it carefully, and even in correct english, it changes nothing I pointed out.  Are you now resorting to straw man?

    Based on that statement, grammatically corrected or as is, he knows religion is not compatible with Objectivism and he deceptively avoids that when trying to convert people.  I am now suspecting that you are choosing to evade the logical interpretation of his words.

    I disagree with that characterization of what I said. What I have said and keep saying is that I don't believe that certain people will listen to the concept of Objectivism if you tell them they can't believe in God. Therefore it should be in Chapter 3 instead of Chapter 1 for CERTAIN PEOPLE.

    Since I don't going around trying to "convert" anyone. The only practical experience I have is watching the growth of my wife who would have never read Atlas Shrugged had she known the author was an atheist. And today she wants to learn as much as she can about Rand and Objectivism. I know I am right about this in certain situations.

    I do acknowledge being wrong about an Objectivists potential to believe in God. I was given wrong information by someone who should have known better. But, I am still not to the point where I understand why.


  11. That is the crux of the matter, and my suggestion is that if you are seriously interested in Objectivism, you should start by understanding epistemology. Do you understand the relevance of the arbitrary in Objectivist epistemology? If so, you need to move on to a higher-level discussion of "possible". Once you have a proper understanding of the possible and the arbitrary, I think you will see why such a belief is totally incompatible with Objectivism. To make this concrete, do you understand ITOE and OPAR ch. 5?

    That I need to do. I will do that as soon as possible. I want to understand. I hope it makes sense to me.


  12. I am trying really hard to leave this board. But, I keep feeling the need to type when I should just walk away. My knowledge of Objectivism was formed by the books The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. I have also seen the "Sense of life" Doumentary.

    Everything else is from another member of this forum who I have known for the past 12 years. It is he that told me that belief in god was acceptable in Objectivism if based on reason. If he wants to make himself known then that is his decision.

    I can understand why religion is unacceptable in Objectivism. But, I am still having a hard time understanding why belief in the possibility of God isn't.

    I do not mind being called wrong, I do mind being attacked. Speicher strikes me as the angry sort of narrow minded person who I have been dealing with in society all of my life.

    Nothing about him makes me feel he is enlightened or any different than mystics or collectivists that attack anyone who doesnt think the same way they do.

    I am sure he knows every word of what Ayn Rand has written and his knowledge of physics would make Einstein proud. But, if that is the model human being, then that is not who I want to be.

    I reserve the right to believe in god (although I don't now), because I don't believe in "guessing". The true origin of this universe is not known to me or anyone else. If there is ever proof there was a creator then I will listen. Otherwise I will base my belief on all available data. Isn't that what Objectivism is? We are not talking about Judeo-Christian mythology here.

    I am more than willing to listen to anyone elses opinon and if they can show me where I am wrong... I love to learn, especially about Objectivism.

    I live in Oklahoma, the middle of the "bible belt". I know the culture of the people around me and the way I myself was raised. If a person tells you to reject religion they are instant enemies. I don't believe in HIDING Rand's opinion of Religion. I just think it should not be the first part of Objectivism that is explained. Hence my explanation of "finessing". If that is wrong I don't see why. Just setting someone on the path to understanding these concepts for themself instead of telling them the hardest parts for them to accept upfront is not really dishonest.

    I hope I am making sense and do not get accused of something else now.


  13. I came to this forum because someone attacked Ayn Rand in another message board. Because I have tremendous respect for her and her works, but not enough "technical knowledge" to argue the points properly I solicited help from the members here.

    The early responses were that I should ignore them and that there was nothing worthy of responding to.

    I didnt accept that and began to try and defend her and Objectivism to the best of my ability. For that I was roundly criticized and accused of "proselytizing".

    I became interested in Objectivism because of it's free thinking and logical reasoning way. It seemed beautiful to me and The Fountainhead moved me like no other book has.

    I must admit before a few days ago I have never had a single negative thought about Objectivism. But, there are people here who I do not wish to be anything like.

    In closing, I want to thank the few here who understood where I was coming from and thanks to Inspector for standing up to the idiot who started all of this.

    I won't bother you guys anymore.


  14. Ahh, so I wasn't going blind either: you edited your post and then chose to accuse me of  "reading posts by someone else or living in another universe". That's rather tasteless, and deceptive to boot.

    The only think I edited was the word "god" which I UNcapitalized. It is not semantics, you misread what I wrote. I never said or meant that one can be an atheist and believe that there is a creator. Didn't say it and I don't believe it.

    You can attack anything that I say that is wrong, just not things I didn't say. Especially when I agree completely that it would be untrue to say "A person can be an atheist and still believe in a creator" I find that to be as idiotic as you do.

  15. Thesweetscience,

    You've got to be kidding. To pretend that to be an atheist, one cannot believe in God but still can believe in a "creator" is simply ludicrous. You are indulging in semantics, and not very effective semantics at that. No, a person most emphatically can NOT believe in a "creator" and still be an Objectivist (which, by the way, you have been asked to capitalize before---please do so). I don't think you understand Objectivism at all if you think this.

    By the way, I just went there and found that there have been quite a few more posts. I haven't read them yet, but I hope you will be more careful in what you say before responding.

    I have re-read my last post and unless I am going blind I did capitalize correctly.

    And I did NOT say that a person can be an atheist and still believe in a creator either.

    So maybe you are reading posts by someone else or living in another universe because I didnt say or do either of the two things you just accused me of.

  16. Thesweetscience,

    You wrote: But, to try and create more Objectivists is a worthy goal."

    Objectivism can stand on its own. To conceal the fact that Objectivism rejects religious faith to "lure 'em in" is distasteful and also ultimately disrespectful of those you are trying to "convert".

    Mr. Speicher is simply not doing what you wish to do to others: candy-coat truth. I guess it does seem fitting that those who advocate hiding the blunt truth are themselves unable to accept truth unless it is cloaked with nice words.

    Sherlock, remember the context of the question that was asked of me. "Does one have to be an atheist to be an Objectivist"

    I take the term atheist to be a person who does not believe in "god". I think a person CAN believe in a creator and still be an Objectivist.

    If the question had been can a person have "religious faith" and still be an Objectivist? I would have definately answered no.

    I still believe in the strictest sense my answer to him is correct. It may be a technicality, but it is still correct.

  17. If you are speaking to a rational person, how can you make him stop hearing what you are saying even before you start? It doesn't make sense.

    No rational person would stop hearing (listening) simply because someone else, acting in a rational, respectful manner, says something. Only an irrational person would deactivate his mind in such a situation.

    A rational person, with no prior context established, would at least ask a question to verify what he thought he heard -- a brief question, such as: "What do you mean?" or "Why do you say that?"

    I certainly agree that mystics are irrational. But, not everyone who is irrational is incurably irrational. They have been programmed from an early age to believe certain things and to fear anyone who dares question their belief in god. I think that by trying to teach the principles of thinking for yourself and not being led by the collective first, you don't scare them away and you at least move them to the point where they can understand why mysticism is irrational and wrong.

    Maybe I am wrong. But, I have certainly seen this manifest itself in my wife. It is easy to say that I shouldn’t care about what others think. And I really don't.

    But, to try and create more Objectivists is a worthy goal. Because, ultimately it makes the world a better place for me to live in.

    Side note: I am not going to respond to Speichers posts. His 'holier than thou' attitude and insulting way of discussing this are not something that I choose to participate in.

  18. You want to finess mystics towards Objectivism by concealing that the philosophy rejects faith and religion?  Sounds more like a sales technique used by a devious salesman promoting a bad product. By contrast Objectivists proudly proclaim the principles of the philosophy, and rarely seek out mystics to convert, by finessing or otherwise.

    And, if you are at all familiar with Objectivism how can you claim that religion is "not unacceptable to an [O]bjectivist?" Have you actually read Ayn Rand?

    I do not understand your point. What do you mean that God "must be solved with logic and reason?" If a notion is arbitrary it is not amenable to logic or reason.

    Catchy phrase, but true thinking requires adherence to logic and the facts or reality, not finesse.

    If you will read what I said, it makes sense. You don't want to make someone stop hearing what you are saying before you even get started. Maybe that is salesmanship. But, there isnt anything wrong with it if it helps people to see and understand Objectivism. I think the religion aspect of Objectivism is a journey that a person who converts will eventually understand on their own. I have seen that first hand with my wife.

    What if a person believes in god based on logical reasons of the complexities of the universe and the odds of it happening at random? Or perhaps because of certain amazing coincidences (miracles) that they have seen in their lives.

    These reasons are not based on faith but by reason. And since I cannot disprove God any more than they can prove God, then it seems a bit unreasonable to unilaterally claim that there is no creator and leave no room for acceptance of facts and reason to change my mind if those fact become available.


  19. Bobby, you have been doing a great job in defending Objectivism and for the right reason.  You will not be able to convert this person, but most of the others who are reading the post will only have had his ignorant view of Ayn Rand if you had said nothing.  I have used the same strategy in many of my college classes in defending Objectivist values and concepts dealing with capitalism, government, individuality and human sacrifice for the same reason.  I disagree with those who said that dan should have been ignored.  When we do not refute ignorance and lies when the opportunity arises the only knowledge many will have of Objectivism will be ignorant and inaccurate. 

    You requested help so here is a little advice.

    One area where you might want to reiterate is dan’s inaccurate view of the proper role of government. 

    “I also object to the idea that we owe nothing (meaning no taxes) to the society we live in-becausue we all benefit directly and sometimes indirectly from r the combined resources of society-and hence could do so much less without others and their mutual contributions. There would be no commerce, trade, or any other government. we would all have to grow our own food, generate our own electricity, purify our own water, and make our own clothes, pave our own private roads, make and test our own medicines for safety, when we are sick to make sure they are safe...the list goes on.”

    Only the part about “no taxes” should be addressed because the rest are irrational whims without any backing or proof (which you could give as a reason for not responding).  If anything it is the “combined resources of society” in the form of irrational regulations that cause the high prices for the services and good that he claims we would have to make ourselves without a government that would take care of our every desire.  Mrs. Rand (not Ms. as dan kept writing) never said we should not pay taxes.  She said that a government’s only proper role is in protecting its citizens from theft, violence, fraud and other forms of coercion.  The proper role of a government is not to take money and property from citizens that are viewed as being unworthy of having the money and property that they had earned from their work and given to others that the government considers more worthy based solely on the whims of the powers that be. It is proper for taxes to be used to provide military and police protection, but it is improper to take half the money I make only because I make it and give it to my neighbor who does not work solely because he does not work (or anyone else for any other reason).

    Also, you may wish to read Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand to brush up on Rand’s explanation of the existence of god.  You missed the mark a little bit.

    Thanks for the kind words and the clarifications

    I am agnostic at best and my motives for saying that religion is not unacceptable to an objectivist lie in the fact that if someone tells a mystic that belief in god is bad, they will automatically think that everything you are saying is rooted in evil and stop listening. I think they need to be finessed into grasping the basic principles of objectivism first before they can accept the harder parts.

    By me saying God is arbitrary and can't be proven or disproven, but must be solved with logic and reason, is saying by osmosis that there is no god.

    But I think they need to reach that conclusion on their own.

    Isn't the only thing an objectivist must think is that they must THINK?


  20. There, let's see what he says about that.


    Please explain to me what you meant when you posted:

    "does one have to be an atheist to be a pure "objectivist""


    Because my understanding is that if a person can come to the conclusion of a deity based on reason instead of faith in the unknown, then it (belief in a deity) is compatitble with an objectivist philosophy.



  21. There are no proper arguments there to refute, it's just some unpleasant personal attacks. I would just try to ignore it.



    What about his characterization of the book??? Also there are a lot of people in that room hearing the name Ayn Rand for the first time. I would like some true intellectuals to step in and help explain what I really am not able to do properly. I cannot give her the justice she deserves. But people here can. I hope someone will take a few minutes and post something.


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