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Everything posted by skap35

  1. There is an article here that discusses the similarities between Object Oriented Programming and Objectivist Epistemology. According to the article, Objectivist Epistemology corresponds almost exactly to the concepts of OOP. You might find this to be an interesting answer to your question.
  2. Having been brought up Catholic, I was given the following to excuses for the existence of evil: 1. Your life on Earth is a test. If you pass the test of being a good person (i.e. not being evil to others) then you get into heaven. 2. (The standard way of dodging this question): the lord works in mysterious ways. 3. Who are we to question his divine plan? The last two always made me laugh because they are clearly dodging the question completely.
  3. There is a story up on Slashdot that was posted today. SCO hired a consultant a few years back to search for the offending code in the Linux kernel. He failed to find anything at all, yet they continued with the lawsuit. As far as the future of Linux being uncertain, I don't think so. If there actually are copyright violations in the kernel, they could always be removed. I doubt that SCO or any other company could kill Linux like that. Another alternative though is BSD. I don't know if you've heard of it before but BSD is another UNIX variant and I don't believe the SCO lawsuit applies to it. So if the future of Linux does become unstable because of this type of lawsuit, you could always switch to BSD.
  4. The vast majority of people I've dealt with all have some huge misconception about Objectivism. For example, about a month ago my friend was looking through my bookshelf. He then said "eww you have a lot of Ayn Rand...I hate her." I then asked him what books he read of hers and why he hates Objectivism. His reply was that he read The Fountainhead and he hates Objectivism because it justifies hurting other people to get what you want. He then went on to say, as an example, that if we were competing businessmen, Objectivism justifies his killing me to eliminate the competition. Needless to say I was horrified. We then had a talk and I corrected his misconceptions and explained what I could about Objectivism. At the end of our conversation he told me that I had some good points and it made perfect sense. I don't think he was just humouring me, but I also doubt that I inspired him to read more about Objectivism. I have encountered quite a few people with similar errors who read The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged. I myself had quite a few questions after reading The Fountainhead. But the difference is that I actually tried to find answers to my questions rather than accept what I thought the symbolism of a novel was referring to. The people who are still unconvinced were reading these books purely for entertainment value. Not to understand Objectivism.
  5. In a sense there is a subconscious choice. When you were a little kid, you experienced something that told you jumping out of the window is a bad idea. Either you tried it and learned that you get hurt by doing it, or you saw someone fall out of a window, or maybe your mom explained the consequences to you. What I'm trying to say is that at some point in your life the choice was presented to you. At that time you decided that jumping out of the window was a bad idea. From then on, that choice was programmed into your brain. As you go through any given day, there are thousands of possible choices you can make. Clearly your brain would be overwhelmed if you had to consciously consider every possible choice throughout the day. So the way your brain handles that is that it doesn't burden your conscious mind with the more "common sense" or unimportant choices. The decision you made as a kid about not jumping out the window was programmed into your brain years ago. So your brain will just draw on this choice automatically. Of course, you could easily override this process by just consciously thinking about it. Here is a similar example, but I think it is a better illustration of my point: You walk from your bedroom to your kitchen to get a glass of water. There is a door separating the two rooms, so you must open it. How often do you consciously think about opening the door. Most of the time you will just reach up and turn the nob without thinking about it. At that moment your mind is on a higher level goal: getting a glass of water. Most of the lower level goals are handled without wasting the time of your brain. These goals are: standing up, planning a path from the bedroom to the kitchen, taking one step, then another, opening the door, etc. You rarely think about these tasks, but they are still happening. Your brain made the choice to do them. Your conscious mind made a high-level choice: get a glass of water. Your subconscious mind then made all the common, unimportant choices that results in a glass of water in your hand. These choices were all made automatically.
  6. I strongly disagree with this. Depending on which drug and how much you take, drugs will physically disable different parts of the brain. This does not mean that any specific area is entirely shut down, but it is so saturated with a given chemical that it can no longer function. The best example of this is alcohol. When you drink too much the room starts spinning and you stumble around. The physical reason for this is that alcohol has effectively shut down your cerebellum (which is responsible for maintaining your orientation and balance). This same thing occurs with different drugs and different parts of the brain. A given drug can severely impair the functioning of the frontal lobe, which means that you are no longer capable of rational thought. And that means that you are no longer capable of making choices on your own. The chemical has effectively taken over that part of your brain. Think about how this applies to your example of jumping out the window. As AisA pointed out, the choice to jump out the window is there whether or not you are sober. The reason it seems more appealing when you are on LSD is that your rational thought process is no longer functioning. A rational person would never jump out of the window. Being in full possession of your cognitive process, it wouldn't make any sense. But since your brain is saturated with LSD to the point that it can no longer function normally, your neurological ability to think is no longer there. The end result is that the thought "should I jump out the window"?, which couldn't get processed because LSD molecules got in the way, results in jumping out the window.
  7. I don't think mind-altering chemicals apply here. When you choose to drink Red Bull or take cocaine, your mind is under the control of that substance while it is in your body. When you are not under the control of any substance, you are the one making your decisions, not chemicals and not genetics.
  8. When I was in high school I was in a similar situation. The grocery store I worked for required all employees to join the UFCW. Back then, I was just a kid and just reluctantly accepted it. But if I could go back I would have never given money to that pack of thieves. Like all union members, I had to pay dues. But since I was a minor, I was not entitled to any union benefits. Why pay dues if there are no benefits? For no better reason than the fact that the union worked out a deal to force all employees to do so. And since most of the employees of that store were high school students, the union was not obligated to represent them in any way, but still happily collected their dues. Furthermore, unions like the UFCW use their revenue to support socialist and other left-wing laws. These are the reasons why I will never contribute to such organizations. I don't want my money supporting political ideas that I do not agree with.
  9. Your commie friend is clearly ignorant of the basics of neurology that have been accepted as fact for years. All you need to do is throw a Neurology-101 book at him and his argument falls apart. Or you can give him a copy of "Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology," which says basically the same thing.
  10. Am I missing something??? This thread mentions the Libertarian belief in the "non-aggression principle," but doesn't the Nazi, and NAMBLA philosophy clearly violate this principle? My guess is that you are dealing with some perverted form of Libertarianism because both of those organizations obviously violate the rights of other individuals on every front. I've always considered myself a Libertarian so their official support of such organizations comes as a shock to me. Can someone explain this to me...I've been through the Libertarian website and other Libertarian literature and I've never heard any sanction to violate the rights of others in the way Nazis and NAMBLA members do.
  11. Which is superior (or morally correct): a government that hauls you off to jail to be tortured because you don't believe in Islam or a government that allows you to worship as you see fit? The reason the West is superior to other cultures is because most Western nations have freed themselves from mysticism. Of course, the West was no better than, say the Middle East in this sense at one point. As was already mentioned, that was called the dark ages and people were brutally oppressed and scientific and cultural progress were virtually stagnant. The difference is that the West was able to advance beyond that while the Middle East has not. Can you think of any scientific contributions made by the Middle East in the last four hundred years? How many Middle Eastern countries allow their citizens to have as much liberty as the average Western country? A great book that covers precisely this topic is How the West Grew Rich by Nathan Rosenberg. It basically discusses how the concept of Capitalism evolved and why things like mysticism (specifically Christianity) were holding back economic and scientific progress.
  12. This is probably a bit off topic from what was originally asked, but one of the problems I've run into when defending Rand and Objectivism is the charge that most of the ideas of Objectivism were not originally Rand's. Typically, I'll get into a debate with some left-wing student on campus, or in a left-wing forum and they claim that Nietzsche or some other random philosopher came up with all the Objectivist ideas before Rand did. I'm not familiar with most of the philosophers that these people cite, so I've never been able to successfully debate this point. So are these people correct? Did Rand just take pre-existing ideas and package them into Objectivism? If not, then which aspects of Objectivism specifically originated from Rand?
  13. A similar issue, which is fairly common is noise. If I start blasting heavy metal music at 4am, as long as it's on my property, should I be allowed to do it? As my neighbor, do you have a right to peace and quiet on your property? Legally, as far as I understand it, the noise issue is handled as follows: If I've owned my property for 20 years and someone decides to build a bar next door, I would likely win the court case because I purchased that land, expecting there to not be any sources of loud noise. However, if I buy a house right next to a bar, then try to have it shut down for noise, I have no case. When I purchased the house, I saw the bar, I knew bars were loud, so I consented to the noise by making that purchase. The same goes for pollution: If I buy a house next door to an oil refinery, or if I move to a big city, I've accepted the condition that the property was in when I bought it. However, if I live up in the mountains and some company decides to build an oil refinery right next to me, then I have a case against them.
  14. Because you have given implied concent to pollute the air you breath. There is a demand for things like cars, electricity, and oil. All these things cause pollution when they are produced. So as long as there is a demand for these things, then there will be smog producing factories. The fact that you purchase these items implies that you accept the cost to manufacture them. This not only includes the monetary cost of production but the hidden costs like the pollution that went into the air when your car was rolling through the factory. If you believe that these factories don't have a right to pollute the air you breathe, I suggest you boycott all pollution-producing industries at once. If you simply think that industries need stiffer anti-pollution measures, then you must be willing to pay the higher costs for your goods. And I can safely say that most people are not willing to pay the extra cost. The point of my argument is that you pay a certain price for living in society. By living in society you have agreed to give up certain freedoms. In my opinion, one of the freedoms you give up by living in society is perfectly clean air. Because by living in society, you depend on things that inevitably cause pollution.
  15. This topic reminds me of the part in Atlas Shrugged when Dagny rescues Galt from the torture facility. Dagny shoots the guard because he was participating in the violation of Galt's basic rights. For this reason, according to Rand, Dagny was justified in killing the guard. So the question you have to ask yourself is this: if you are sent to enforce an unjust law, and the "criminal" shoots you, is he morally justified in doing so? This idea has already been brought up in this thread, but I thought I would point out the similar situation in Atlas Shrugged. For this reason, I have to disagree with Groovenstein's previous post. The prosecutor, while he does have the option of going easy on the accused, is still participating in the violation of another man's rights. The only exception I see to this is if the prosecutor decides to drop the charges for all cases he believes are unjustified. But if he does that he would certainly lose his job. P.S. It's been a while since reading Atlas Shrugged, so I'm sorry if I got any of that wrong...
  16. If that were my fate then I would hope someone would help me. But I would have no right to force others to help me. Most rational people are compassionate enough to help others when they can...without being forced to do so through welfare programs. I would be perfectly willing to *voluntarily* help such a person but if I choose not to give up some of my personal property (money, food, etc...) to help the person then that is nobody's business but my own.
  17. I've read The Virtue of Selfishness and Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. I plan to read some of her other non-fiction works but my reading list has been too full of other things lately. Thank you for the kind words about my grandfather.
  18. I am a recent graduate of Wright State University, in Dayton, Ohio with a degree in Computer Science. I am 23 years old and my interests include computer programming, philosophy, and tennis. I am currently employed as a Program Analyst for a Dayton area company. You might say that I had a unique introduction to Objectivism. My grandfather, Mark Scott hosted a talk radio show for many years in the Detroit area. He was a strong believer in Objectivism and taught me much about politics and philosophy. As a result of his influence, I was a firm believer in Objectivism from a very early age. However, I didn't actually read any of Rand's works until I began my college career. After about two years of college, I felt isolated by the political atmosphere of Wright State. It was at this point that I decided to learn more about the ideas my grandfather taught me. First I read The Fountainhead and absolutely loved it...a few days after finishing it, I started to read Atlas Shrugged. The amazing thing was that, when reading about the character John Galt, I felt like I was reading about myself. I am not trying to say that I match the intelligence of Galt in the book, but the ideas expressed by him, and every one of his interests reflected my own ideas and interests. Prior to reading this book I knew that I was "for the most part" an Objectivist, but I assumed that I would not agree with *all* of Miss Rand's ideas. Once I read it, I was amazed to discover that the ideas discussed in Atlas Shrugged perfectly reflected my own beliefs. Sorry for the long introduction...I'm very happy that I finally found some other Objectivists to talk to.
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