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Everything posted by NewYorkRoark

  1. I am asking that question. And also: is it as immoral? or more? or less? or are there different levels of moral corruption in Objectivism or is it either absolutely morrally corrupt or absolutely morally pure? As I am asking the question of Objectivists, I would prefer an answer first to my question, consider the response and then answer the question myself (if you wish - but I am not inclined to answer if I'm satisfied with the Objectivist response).
  2. For the sake of clarity (see the fairly significant change to 2.): 1. An individual taking a bribe (We'll call this individual #1). 2. A friend steps in and somehow prevents #1 from taking the bribe (We'll call this individual #2). Isn't it the individual right of #1 to do as he/she pleases? If the bribe doesn't affect #2, why should he/she become involved in the affairs of #1? #1 hasn't initiated force against #2 and isn't #2 initiating force against #1? The question, then, is physically initiating force against #1 (even if it's in the best interest of #1 - let's say that #2 knew he/she would be caught if #1 took the bribe) as (or more) morally corrupt as the actual act of taking the bribe?
  3. Assuming that right and wrong exist... Which individual is most morally corrupt: (For the sake of argument, we will say that taking a bribe is an immoral act - which I believe it is) 1. An individual taking a bribe. 2. An individual telling another individual that it's not alright to take a bribe (so to prevent it from occuring).
  4. That was a throw away comment (my comment). But, just as the prime mover would be "God" and mathematical laws it's creation, what I was trying to say was that perhaps even the infinite movement could be called "God" and the science would still be it's "Religion." The only change would be that, instead of worshiping a prime mover, one would worship an infinite concept. But I'd really prefer to focus on the prime mover. I do think it carries some weight regarding the nature of the universe and the possible existence of a non-traditional "God."
  5. I agree that and I blame myself for not being clear. What I should be saying, which I believe I stated initially and then became less and less explicit, is that, as the laws of the United States are the creation of men, the [scientific] laws of the Universe are [possibly] the creation of a prime mover. The laws themselves aren't "God." But the prime mover is (might be).
  6. I would say that I've seen what may be the product of a prime mover just as much as you claim to have seen what may be the product of volition. But this, again, is a separate discussion. I would also claim that you're definition of "God" is far too strict. One definition of God may be, "any supernatural being worshipped as controlling some part of the world or some aspect of life or who is the personification of a force." I would contend that my "God" has - to an extent - a lingering effect on my life. For instance, if there existed no such thing as gravity... which a prime mover would be given credit for. A question about volition: if it is self-evident, why do we have it? If you believe in evolution, how did we get it? Did it evolve with us? When did it happen? Which came first, volition or reason? Etc. If anyone wants answer this might we start a new topic or continue in the one already established. "The Nature of Volition."
  7. 1) As an Objectivist, you would most likely assert that volition is self-evident. I am not confident enough in it's self-evidence to make that assertion, but I also cannot confidentally assert any alternative view. I think most psychologists would say that volition is a logical consequent of physical events in the brain, which are logical consequents of physical events outside the brain (but this is a different topic, let's not go on in this direction). That being said, just as you most likely claim that volition is self-evident, I would hypothesize that a prime mover is self-evident. I am not familiar with Dr. Peikoff's writings, but allow me to emphasize that I never made any assertions. 2) I implicitly proposed an alternative definition of "God," that being: mathematics (which, since mathematics seems to be the foundation for all science, I guess I also assumed an alternative definition for "Religion," that being: science). You define "God" as an all-powerful, ever-present, all-knowing entity. I did not define it as such. The point was raised: "Why does it matter?" I would say that it matters to the extent that it might be true - that it might be a possible characteristic of the birth of the Universe. It's not "God" in the traditional sense. It is a knowable "God." It is a "God" that can be discovered through reason. Science would be the corresponding Religion, ever-changing in light of recent discoveries and advancements. And Faith would be faith in space and time, mathematics, and all "self-evident" concepts.
  8. To me, it seems more reasonable (knowing how things work in the world - scientifically) to imagine a first mover than infinite movement. The idea of the prime mover is that it is an end in itself. The prime movement would be the prime cause. It's entirely debatable, but at this point, I lean towards a prime mover. And even if there was infinite movement, you could still think of mathematical laws as "God."
  9. It is some fundamental force, perhaps THE fundamental force. But I would not venture to say that it is the cause of everything. Instead, I would say that it is the ultimate cause of everything. In other words, it doesn't cause a ball to fall from the roof of a house, but it is the force that allowed that event (the interaction between mass and gravity) to occur. I apologize because it is somewhat hard to articulate. If you're put in prison because you steal from a store, you wouldn't say that the cause of your prison stay was the fact that there was a law against stealing - I don't think. You'd say that the law against stealing allowed such an event to occur. I disagree... It seems to me that a scientific exploration is ultimately equivalent to a teleological exploration.
  10. Not exactly. I'm saying that we can not know, at this point, whether there was a first mover or whether movement has always existed. However, according to what seems to be the scientific norm in our universe, it seems that something needs to exert energy upon something else in order to move it. So I AM saying that most likely, there was a first mover ("God") rather than infinite movement. I am also saying that, if this is the case, the first mover established certain [mathematical] laws that define the nature of the Universe. For instance, we are not able to destroy gravity. We can, however, know enough about other laws so that we're able to combat gravity - but it will always be in action - as far as we know. I would go further and say that we are still rather limited in our scope of knowledge. For instance, black holes and quantum mechanics may revolutionize how we think of space and time. It's important to note that I do NOT believe, or rather, I am not confident in making the assertion that everything is caused. At this point, I am not convinced that volition is self-evident, nor am I convinced of an alternative. So, to explicitly answer your question, your summary was not exact because I never claimed that anything must be the case, nor did I claim that everything was caused. I did claim, however, that it seems more likely that there was a first mover and also, that, although not everything is caused (as far as we know), everything is governed by the laws that define the Universe.
  11. This is my rational definition of God and it's connection with science... I figured it would be critiqued without my asking. I would have prefered to concentrate on "God" as it is related to science. It's certainly related to the other topic, but I felt that a more focused discussion might be in order? If you object, I will post elsewhere.
  12. I recommended a band to a friend of mine who has, in my opinion, relatively no philosophy. He responded by saying, "I like it." I then asked him "Why?" He had no explanation, just that he "liked it" and that it reminded him of another song. Below is my response: "There's a reason for everything. If there isn't a reason for something - there's a reason for that." I would say that you like how it sounds BECAUSE of a deeper reason. All you need to do is ask why: - I like how it sounds. - Why? - Because the melody is enjoyable. - Why? - Because it's in the major scale and the tonal relationships in the major scale are enjoyable. - Why? - Tonal relationships are relationships between different auditory frequencies. For instance, in the visible light spectrum, certain frequencies (colors) have certain mathematical relationships with other frequencies (colors). Complementary colors for instance: Blue and yellow, magenta and green ( http://www.webwhirlers.com/colors/combining.asp ), etc. It's the same way with auditory frequencies. It all comes down to mathematical relationships ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pitch_(music) ) - Why? - Well, sound is the compression and decompression of air molecules. An auditory frequency occurs when an object pushes air back and forward at a certain rate. That is the frequency (like when you hit one end of a stretched slinky and it sends a wave to the other end (speakers work like this)) and at that point, that's all that it is (not even SOUND yet): compressions moving through the air. The compressions travel through the air and into our ears, vibrating bones in our ears which, in turn, tap against our ear drums. This is where those compressions are perceived by the brain and become SOUND. The frequency of the drumming changes according to the rate that the air is compressed and decompressed by the object making the sound. Frequencies that have mathematical relationships are perceived by our brain as more enjoyable. For instance, the musical note "A" (which orchestras tune to before they perform) has a frequency of 440 Hz (meaning 440 compressions (in the air) per second). The octave of "A" (the next highest "A" on the scale (or 12 piano keys away)) has a frequency of 880hz (880 compressions (in the air) per second). Here are all the other notes that fall between the A and A octave: http://ptolemy.eecs.berkeley.edu/eecs20/week8/scale.html . And everyone has they're own variations regarding their brain's perception of tonal relationships. Some individuals prefer other scales besides the major scale (Dorian, Myxolidian, Minor, etc). But most people enjoy the major scale over the others. It's less mathematically dissonant. And my brain seems to enjoy the frequencies of the major scale. - Why? - Well that's as far as we know, really. There's a bit more but it gets a little confusing, and ultimately you'd ask why again and again, and I'd say, "Because those are the mathematical laws that define the Universe - like gravity." And you would keep asking why, and I would say, "That IS as DEEP as we can confidently go with science - at least as of right now. The only two alternatives that I can think of is that the universe is constant and you have to accept that mathematical laws exist, or, conversely, that the universe is not constant and such laws were created by some kind of intelligent design, which most people call "God" - but then ruin it by claiming that "God" is an ever-present force instead of simply the name we call the thing that first put all laws in motion. To me, reason (based on the way things seem to work in the Universe) indicates that the latter is true. St. Thomas Aquinas said it best: "Therefore, whatever is in motion must be put in motion by another. If that by which it is put in motion be itself put in motion, then this also must needs be put in motion by another, and that by another again. But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover, and, consequently, no other mover; seeing that subsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are put in motion by the first mover; as the staff moves only because it is put in motion by the hand. Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God." I would also contend that, if this is the case, the only way that we can be closer to "knowing" "God" is through the scientific exploration of the Universe, thereby discovering the only truly "divine" laws. And you might say, "Why do you care? " And I would say, "Read this: http://gos.sbc.edu/r/rand.html . In order to decide what I should do (ethics), I need to know 1. the nature of the world I live in (metaphysics), and 2. how I know the nature of the world I live in (epistemology) (to JUSTIFY that I do know the nature of the world I live in). Only then, can I decide what I should do, or (in other words) what decisions would be right or wrong for me to make.
  13. I don't exactly understand what you mean by "outside the province of Objectivism as a Philosophy." If it's not in the realm of Objectivism as a Philosophy, what realm is it? Are you saying that the question doesn't carry any kind of philosophical relevance?
  14. Are they appointed or elected? If they're appointed, who appoints them and who gives the appointer authority to appoint them? If they're elected, how do they market themselves?
  15. In an Objectivist society, who will act as a judge to settle disputes and who will give this individual authority? (Mod's note: Capitalized "Objectivist")
  16. I still would like to know who is going to judge who is responsible for what (a judge?), what the remedy is for offenses (a payment?), who gives that individual [judge] authority (?), and how that authority remains pure and uncorrupted(?)?
  17. I agree. I thought about unskinned's example last night (regarding pollution caused by transportation and the government's hand in that pollution) and I must agree with that argument. But in my defense to Inspector, I do believe that my problem here was largely because I was far too broad, which you mentioned. I would be able to better explain myself, had I stayed on specific topics. So let me ask three question's, because I still am unclear on certain topics (obviously). 1. A lot of you have mentioned that you'd seek a payment from anyone who pollutes the land that you own, if that pollution is harmful. If the polluter says, "you're land is polluted," or "it wasn't me" do you go to a judge? Who decides whether you're right or not? And how does this judge come to be? Is he elected? Is it his business? And if it's his business, or if he's elected, who gives him his authority? Seperately, how do you stop financial corruption in a capitalist society? For instance, what if that polluter makes a large profit and he gives the judge a ton of money to rule in his favor. Who do you go to if you find out? Do you go to another judge that can be paid off? Nobody is physically initiating force against you. 2. Everyone seems to tout individual rights, and I think that's fine, but it seems that what isn't getting as much attention is individual responsibility NOT to interfere with another individuals rights, which I think is just as important. And who's to judge whether something will or does or will not or does not interfere with another's individual rights. My pollution might affect a chromosome and cause genetic damage 2, 3 generations down the road. What if nobody figures it out until it's too late and the damage has already been done? Isn't better safe than sorry (in other words, to punish the potentially innocent for the crimes they might commit, until it's certain that those crimes won't be commited). 3. How does a capitalist society curb overpopulation? This is contingent upon overpopulation being a problem. Of course, it seems obvious. We largely live in a world with fixed amounts of resources (minus hydropower, solar power, etc.). So if there's too many people and not enough resources, who's to tell someone not to have more children? Why do they stop on their own?
  18. First, to address Nate T's point (which I think was dead on and very problematic to my arguments) (and to an extent this covers Inspector objections), I agree. This is where my argument parts ways with objectivism (to rejoin later). It's almost Marxism in reverse. I know most of you will despise that. But I believe that there is right in the world and I believe that there is wrong. And I believe we're been so separated from nature (or the environment, although that seems to be an unwelcome word here), that we've lost a sense of what is truly valuable. And I think it's an enormous problem and that there may not exactly be 1 solution. I guess, before I propose my answer and get tackled, I'd like to know 1.) whether you think there is right and wrong, 2.) do you do nothing when someone is wrong? As for unskinned, here would be a part of my response: You said earlier that "an Objectivist government would literally spackle the country with nuclear power plants, which have no effect on the environment as long as there is a capitalist around to watch over the spent rods. OK, fine. But who's going to pay the capitalist to watch over the spent rods and why? The owner of the plants. What if he doesn't think spent rods are harmful? Then what do you do? This, I believe is the problem. First you need right and wrong to develop principles. Then you need near universal acceptance of those principles. Then you need action upon those principles. Then you can say that the owner will pay for to trash the spent rod's. As for my distrust of emotion, perhaps I should use a better word, or define what I mean by emotion. When I think of emotion, I think of fleeting happiness. I think of terribly naive adolescent feelings. Feelings might be a better way to describe what I'm objecting to. Not all emotions come from reason. For instance, a man who kills his wife after she cheats on him and he finds out. Unreasonable and emotional, for a variety of reasons. She doesn't want to be with you? Move on. She cheats? She has poor values. I'm not referring to the kind of emotion expressed by Henry Cameron before he died - "that it was all worth it." However, I also object (or caution) against using the kind of emotion I believe you are referring to. It's OK to have it. But to debate, I think it's important to set it aside. Otherwise, you can become so locked into your beliefs that - if another possible alternative to those beliefs arises - you're too narrow-minded to see it it as possible. For instance, I find that racial issues are often products of over-emotional over-identified individuals ( http://www.reasonvsracism.com is a terrific site I think ). "Passion has helped us; but can do so no more. It will in future be our enemy. Reason, cold, calculating, unimpassioned reason, must furnish all the materials for our future support and defense." Lincoln I'm not sure how to explain it. If you are loyal to someone, than you are, in a sense, they're slave. Of course, this depends on how you define loyalty. For instance, if a member of Bush's cabinet knew that Bush had done something terribly wrong (I'm not asserting that he did, just proposing it for the sake of argument), he probably would not reveal it if he was loyal to Bush. Loyalty, to me, is when you put another in front of yourself.
  19. I don't understand. Than what is the point of capitalism? To fulfill it's own definition? What progress is being made if there is no progress (except that the rules of capitalism are being followed)? Or is progress being made only when capitalism is being followed? Is the product of capitalism, following capitalism? In your definition, everybody in the world could be doing absolutely nothing purposeful except not initiating force, and that would make them purposeful?
  20. I don't have much time, but I'd like to address this quickly. As the title of this post would indicate, I do not think that the environmentalist stand should dismantle Objectivism. For instance: "I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine." I take this to be the moral foundation of Objectivism. Therefore, as an individual, I would never pollute and I would never abuse a resource so that another individual would be disadvantaged by my abuse. I would attempt to hold resources constant, by not wasting what I use, using what can be used again, and recycling what cannot be used anymore. I would maximize efficiency. The problem with capitalism right now, is that this moral situation is not the norm. We spend rediculous amounts of money on products that serve nearly no purpose. Think about fashion and think about movies. Our consumer choices represent our values, and our values are rotten. We live in a society where people are so socially aware, that they'll starve themselves to death (Terry Schaivo)! Is that not rediculous? Capitalism will work, but only when are values aren't corrupted. The major point is capitalism will work, but our consumer choices and business will represent our values, and only when are values are righted will unrestricted capitalism be successful. I don't hate many things, because hate implies passion, which implies emotion, which tends to lack reason. But I hate fashion. People spend tons of money so that other people will think they look good, and what looks good is what everyone else agrees on. People who are socially aware, people who care what everyone else thinks, people who are dependent on others. It's a waste and it's pathetic. I do think beauty serves a function, but only on a functional level and I believe that there is a science to beauty. Geometry, frequency relationships on the visual spectrum, frequency relationships in music, etc. However, the amount we value beauty in our society is inflated and rediculous. I apologize, that was a rant with no real place in this post, but I get very frustrated when I walk down the streets of New York City.
  21. The pollution of U.S. rivers and streams during the industrial boom of the 19th and 20th centuries. It's still unhealthy to eat the fish in many places (southern Androscoggin River, Maine, for example). How about the environmental disaster that is (was) New Orleans. Scientists (not environmental scientists, but scientists) had been predicting that for years. Overpopulation. You may not think of it as pollution, but I believe it is. I would make a bet that in a hundred years, quality of life will plummet world-wide, due to the abuse of resources, overcrowding, superviruses, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, etc. I simply disagree with you (Rational Cop) regarding how tough humans are. Maybe compared to other animals. But can't you imagine a supervirus, like a bird-flu or ebola? Isn't it better safe than sorry anyways? I would rather not be that confident in our ability to survive, and be pleasantly surprised, than be overconfident and be destroyed. For clarification, I'm not exactly an objectivist. I am, in an ideal world, but I think we've been going down the wrong path for far too long. And I don't think an immediate switch to objectivism/capitalism would work. We live in a society that's far too morally corrupt for objectivism to succeed. Capitalism won't be able to solve problems when there's individuals who are abusing moral principles to take advantage of others for money. And there are far too many in our world. Just the other day I walked into a bar and two kids in suits slapped each other high five and said "I made so much money off of people today." Reasonable moral principles (live for no other man, ask no man to live for you) are the backbone to the success of capitalism. Ultimately, I'd like to think we can live in a world where principles are primary and there is no need for government, but I think we're a long way off.
  22. Objectivism philosophy was defined by Ayn Rand. She may not be your oracle or your prophet, but unless you've altered her definition of objectivism, what she defined it as, is relevant. I really don't mean offense, but you will probably take it as that, but (and because) I think you are emotionally bound to your arguments. If you reread what I said, you'll see that I said - in different words - exactly what you just said. In fact, I never mentioned the word "environment." I said, "She uses this to argue for objective reality (that facts are facts and that empirical knowledge is the only knowledge we have of the world - that scientific facts are facts and science is the only knowledge we have of the world)." That includes everything you claimed I omited, unless you think that humans, plants and chemicals are not part of the world. I know that it was a Francis Bacon quote, but it's her own integration of that quote into Objectivisim that I was refering to. If you are talking about Objectivism, you should be refering to how the one who defined it interpreted as. If we were talking about Francis Bacon, we'd be talking about the scientific revolution. As for unskinner's response, I think most of it was pretty accurate, but I still think it's naive to think that we have had no negative impact on the earth (or in the future). I proposed that if we are harming it (in any way, or in the future) and the effect was delayed, that capitalism would have a hard time solving a problem that had already been created. Overall, I think it was well thought out. But I would like to point out one very problematic misinterpretation of my motive (and another problematic assertion within that passage). My motive is not to protect the Earth. I think the Earth is extremely tough. My motive is to protect humans! To protect our progress! To protect everything we've acheived. Have you ever seen a dead person? Isn't it surprising how fragile we are physically? THAT is why we need to protect the earth - to protect ourselves and to preserve the balance (and it's ONLY because of a variety of balancing acts that we are able to prosper). The other point that I would make is this: "SOCIALISTS HAVE NOT A LEG TO STAND ON. The socialist is the most ignorant and ill-informed species of pond scum on our planet. From now on question everything he says." I would avoid using those kinds of statements to stay out of the lob-and-volley style of debate you find on terrible programs on major news programs. Trying to be offensive is no better than being offended. It's imperative to emotionally detach yourself from your philosophy.
  23. RE: First Response Forgive me, but I think the error in your response lies in the fact that you're thinking within the context of a generational response - that our effect on the environment occurs within a lifetime, and that capitalism will be able to account for tgat effect. I would argue that we effect the environment in the short term, but also, and more importantly, in the long term and that pure capitalism will do a poor job accounting for those long term effects. For instance, if it turns out that our chemical emmisions are weakening the ozone (imagine that they are, i'm not asserting that they are - just that it's a possibility), what happens then? What if the effects are delayed? Then two generations from now will be doomed by radiation. But your argument will be that capitalism will account for that. How? So some kind of skin-protection industry will boom. When? Two generations from now? But you're assuming that we'll be able to fix the problem then. Might it be that nobody has a solution for THAT much radiation? Then what? WE're screwed. I think you're taking this out of context from what Ayn Rand intended it to be. She uses this to argue for objective reality (that facts are facts and that empirical knowledge is the only knowledge we have of the world - that scientific facts are facts and science is the only knowledge we have of the world). That's very interesting. I had not heard of that explanation, but it sounds very plausible. But that was just an example. I'm sure you could find an example of human progress producing harmful biproducts.
  24. To begin, let's keep in mind that any kind of loyalty is a virtue of the enslaved (loyalty to your parents, loyalty to your favorite author, loyalty to Ayn Rand, loyalty to your philosophy yesterday). That being said, there have been enormous sceintific progress in recent years - providing information that perhaps Ayn Rand might never have anticipated. Because global climate change is such a debatable issue (but I think it's impossible to assert that humans have had absolutely zero effect on the climate), how about we concentrate on acid rain in the Adirondacks. Here are the facts: 1. Adirondack water has become highly acidic in the last century, killing fish and wiping out local ecosystems. 2. The acidity results from two things: a. granitic bedrock inhibiting the natural filtering process and b. acid rain. Without the acid rain, the environments remain healthy. I'm sure the opposite is true for the bedrock (although obviously, that's impossible to test). 3. The acid rain is directly related to the production of chemical pollutants in midwest plants (Chicago, Detroit, etc.) I think that objectivism works only when the world is held constant (when resources are equally available). For instance, every peice of rock that Howard Roark takes out of the ground and uses to build is a peice of rock that I won't be able to use . With that in mind, Overpopulation will drastically reduce the quality of life in the next century. Should we have the right to overpopulate? Should we have the right to waste? And if we can't help it in our present society, when the ability to waste is as almost as accessible as the ability to breathe, might it be the governments responsibility to represent the capitalist interests of those that cannot represent themselves (the environment, for example). In this way, might it be the responsibility of the government to manage the pollutants of midwest plants (surely, we cannot expect that their individualistic principles to solve the problem)? Might it not also be the responsibility of the government to clean up the problem that resulted from the abuse of environmental power? Two relative Ayn Rand quotes: "I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine." (The individualistic principles that are absent in our culture) "Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed." (The lesson we should be taking more notice of)
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