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Bob_Mac

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  1. An observation... I find, so far at least, that Objectivism seems to be a backwards construction from a political philosophy. The tenets of the politics are what seems to have driven the rest of the construction right down to the basic foundations which are unacceptable logically and in the face of current evidence, yet are necessary to defend the political position. It is a vain and arrogant position to espouse that one's politics are the one, true way because of what we as humans are and therefore all other positions are necessarily irrational. This is consistent with how criticism has been handled here so far. I suspect you'll ban me for this observation, but I encourage you not to if you have a shred of intellectual integrity. Bob
  2. Such an argument is fallacious, because it relies upon its own proposition (in this case, "knowledge is external") in order to support its central premise ("the beginning mind has no external knowledge"). Although my original thought on this was not quite right. I said definition of "knowledge" is circular when I meant "tabula rasa" is fallacious because of the "knowledge" problem. Bob
  3. I wrote this: "What I am saying in this point is that man is driven partially and quite significantly by genetics/reproduction." You responded : "And what I'm saying is that this is false. If you have some proof that man has uncontrollable reproductive instincts, you can present it." First of all, how did "quite significantly" become "uncontrollable"? I discuss not about the lack of free will, but about the duality of free will and innate qualities at constant interplay and sometimes demonstrably at odds with each other, as well as the strangely fluid definition of tabula rasa now. I admit the discussion has gone in different directions, and I do not pretend to know how it impacts on Objectivism, only the arguments in question. However, I won't stand for the emotional, insulting, and juvenile tactic of using my ignorance of Objectivism as a proxy for my logic. My logic is not flawed. Obviously I admittedly know very little as of yet about the Objectivist literature. But you're having trouble following a basic discussion and many of your statements are blindly dogmatic. For example: You said: "There are no relevant medical facts: it is all about the mind. " This is false, mind and biology are not separate in the eyes of current science. But hernan again put this quite eloquently when he wrote : "I am constantly struck with the impression that Objectivism is locked in a time warp; there seems to be this urge to debate philosophy in terms of the science that was available to Rand when she was forming her ideas. Maybe you should ask yourself: how would Rand respond to recent scientific discoveries if she were here today? Would she insist on a debate about "instincts"? Or would she read up on the latest models of human bahavior and adapt her philosophy to them?" You should reflect on this. This was very insightful. You blather on to insult me with "and I am quite disappointed at how unwilling you have been to look at the (lack of) logic of and evidence for your argument." When in fact this is exactly what you are doing. Unwillingness to accept evidence doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Bob
  4. Regarding tabula rasa: I read hernan's posts back in May and he put it quite well regarding tabula rasa "So then this is merely a circular argument or definition. Tabula rasa includes only the conceptual knowledge. Anything which is not conceptual knowledge is not part of what Objectivists include in their tabula rasa mechanism. There might be any amount of innate knowledge, any amount of human preprogramming, any amount of instinctive tendencies but these are deemed external to the Objectivist self. Needless to say, this definition will not map well to the activity in the brain. This makes about as much sense as claiming that "you" are the right hemisphere of your brain. That the left hemisphere is just some organ like the stomach. " It is a fallacious argument to say that knowledge is something gleaned from the outside world and only in this way can it be knowledge. Since birth is our first encounter with the outside world, tabula rasa is only true by definition and can never be questioned. It is circular and meaningless. What about knowing how to learn? This is innate, clearly. Our brains are wired to make us act a certain way in many instances. Now it is not that simple, because we have cognitive controls and abilities that give rise to the notion of "free will". However, it is equally wrong to assert that free will is clearly dominant (at least this is worth discussing) or that instinct/genetic programming is absent in humans. The latter assertion is ridiculous, but I don't remember if this was explictly mentioned. "Bob, it is the position of Objectivism that man has free will and that his genetics do NOT determine the choices he makes." Ok, I can accept this. However, the truth is closer to a constant interplay of both genetics/instinct AND free will that both influence choices in constantly varying degrees. Do you assert that genetics plays no role in decisions or choices? Bob I agree with you within the confines of your analogy - really I do. I have read though that other Objectivists disagree though and extend it to "cognitive mechanism" and disagree on what Rand meant by that. Your argument is based on a definition of knowledge though that is conveniently circular and cannot be questioned. Bob
  5. Got a problem with reading comprehension? It was pointed out as "Okay" and then clarified. If you think it's wrong then add to the discussion with clarification and keep your emotional response to yourself. It adds nothing. "Furthermore, the Objectivist ethics doesn't take this to be a primitive absolute. An action is moral if it furthers your life, assuming that living is your goal." I don't pretend to know diddly squat about Objectivism, but I will learn. This in no way precludes me from a discussion of basic assumptions. However, you'll see, if you look at the thread again, that the discussion became more about the basic nature of man rather than the downline implications to ethics. I will read more info, but if there's a fundamental error in the very root of Rand's arguments then is there a rational reason to read further? But I will anyway. There I go again, being immoral.... Bob
  6. Fair enough, I'll tone it down. You've got a lot of mixed up points in there, let me parse this a bit... Man has free will, I agree. Man is different in many important ways than animals, I agree. Man is an animal though and also shares many important attributes with animals. If you disagree, you're wrong; not necessarily irrational, but wrong nonetheless. "They might want to have sex with them, but it is fully their choice if they want to do so or not, whether or not they wish to obey that urge or not." True. But you admitted the "urge". Where does that come from? God? I'll tell you, and it's the truth whether you wish to believe it or not. The urges are built in, hard-wired. So are other things in the mind, lots of other things. Even on the grand scale of Intelligence itself (regardless of how it's measured BTW) has been shown to be genetically derived. There is overwhelming evidence for this. Very well executed studies of genetically identical people show that genetics is a huge factor (not entirely of course) but THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT factor determining intelligence and various other personality traits. This alone refutes the ridiculous notion that man is born with a blank slate mind, among other things. This is simply false in the face of evidence. "Genetics do not decide what choices man makes, his mind does that, his free will." False. There is more wrong with this sentence than you could probably grasp, otherwise you couldn't have written it. If you assert this, you must provide evidence. I do not assert the opposite though, but this statement is clearly false. I do not say that man is not capable of overcoming genetic urges, at least sometimes. But even the mind itself is mostly genetically derived. The two simply cannot be separated. "Where is this evidence then? Where is the evidence that supports the beleif you seem to have that we are subject to so much of what animals are? We will not beleive your claim without evidence, that would be irratonal, not that you can provide us this evidence. It is not what we wish that we found the fact that man is above animals upon, but the evidence we have that supports it. " The burden of proof/evidence is on me, I admit, since I have asserted that it is true that man is very much of animal nature and genetics is a very important factor in human nature and by extension, behaviour. Let's just say the following fields of science (some of which I have a great deal of knowledge, others little) are chock full of evidence you seek. Genetics Biology Evolutionary Biology Evolutionary Psychology Medicine to name a few. To actually spell out the minutae of the evidence is would fill volumes. With the current evidence available, my assertion is supported beyond any reasonable doubt at this time. Unless you have a problem with these sciences? Bob One more thing... "I know people whom have tempted to have sex with certain people" "This is untrue. Man does not have these instin cts of which you seem to be refering." Hmmm....Just a little inconsistent dontcha think?? Bob
  7. Just to Odden's last point... I never said man is a herd animal and acts purely by instinct. This is wrong and I never said this. We do have free will I agree. What I am saying in this point is that man is driven partially and quite significantly by genetics/reproduction. We are not a herd animal, nor are we completely separate from animals. To deny this in the face of so much evidence is... well you get the idea, it's wrong. If you cannot accept this, there's no point in discussion, your position is irrational. Just because you want man to be completely above animals doesn't make it so. Bob
  8. Another thought... It could be argued that having children is very much a form of self-sacrifice. In a very real sense you serve you children and put their needs first - at least when they're helpless. Eventually this changes and the sacrifice diminishes. According to Rand though, this should be immoral no? Also, I will certainly read more of Rand's writings. However, I don't know that it's strictly necessary when I have a problem with a fundamental position of the individual. But I will do this. "Are you saying that man was put on Earth by god for the purpose of making babies? If not, where does this species-wide purpose come from?" To address this: No. Man exists on earth as a direct result of making babies. This is true, or evolutionary biology is all wrong. Tons of evidence for this - an entire branch of science. Reproduction => genetic variation => adaptation and natural selection => new and better individuals. Man is nothing without reproduction. You might believe that man is born a blank slate. THis is demonstrably false. Reproduction is an inherent need and is built into us genetically. We are hard-wired to reproduce. You could argue this, but you'd be dead wrong. Bob
  9. Clearly not. Actions that further your own survival may or may not be in the interest of the the human race's survival. Choosing not to have children is an obvious example. This may or may not be in the race's interest. Can't have it both ways. The individual death of a competent man is as meaningless or meaningful to society as the choice of one woman not to have children depending on the circumstances. Extend them both to the general sense and the human race crumbles - Agreed. However, It cannot be sometimes OK (rational/moral) not to have children and always bad (immoral) to self-sacrifice in some way. Just logically can't be.
  10. I wasn't clear enough. I do not think it's immoral not to reproduce. I think that the moral foundation of individual emphasis is incomplete. I think it can shown that there is a balance or competition or tradeoff - not sure how to word this - between individual, collective, and reproductive value and that the individual life is not necessarily supreme in every case. Actions can further your life, your progeny's life, your species life, your "X" group's life - or not. Species propogation and societal value are too fundamental to be ignored, dismissed or discounted. You can continue to exist even if you do not create more people. However, the reason any of us exist at all is because the reproductive tenacity of countless previous generations. Reproduction is at least as important as individual survival, it is inherently and self-evidently a human quality. It sounds like to me that the Objectivist ethics are derived from a certain political viewpoint and not the other way round. I'm not trying to be difficult or offensive at all, this is an honest assessment so far of my limited exposure. I will keep an open mind. Bob (Edit: Removed quote of entire preceding post. sNerd)
  11. Disagree. There are a number of physiological and practical reasons why a vigorous exercise program is not where to start for Megan. Just grab 135 pounds and walk around for a while and you'll understand one big reason. What she needs now (if weigh loss is the goal) is calorie restriction and not much more. Walking a little extra maybe, but even that's optional. Exercise = GOOD, Calorie Restriction = NECESSARY. Eating less takes LESS time and costs LESS. You are either the master of your habits or the victim of your habits. Is it rational to be a victim? I don't think so. Bob
  12. First of all, I'm new to the forum and relatively new to studying objectivism so please forgive me if the topic has been answered elsewhere. I find all of this most interesting, but am also a long way (so far) from accepting many of the positions, but some certainly do make sense to me. One problem I have is this position... "The principles of Objectivist Ethics are based on the furtherance of your (the individual's) life" (while also respecting others right to the same) Nothing in the ethics realm can supercede this. Correct so far I hope?? So, this is the basic premise that ethics are founded upon if I understand correctly. So, man's morality is ultimately seen or examined as it relates to this premise. I happen to think that as it stands, this premise is not only questionable, I think it's wrong in the face of evidence (and therefore objectivism seems to self-refute here). The individual survives (or even exists) now, ONLY because his ancestors survived AND reproduced. This is a self-evident fact. Therefore, I believe that this foundation could more accurately be described as a more complex interaction of an individual's life and reproduction which are NOT necessarily the same thing, but can certainly be at odds with each other. Reproduction is inextricably linked with collective (and by extension individual) survival. Here's a very simple example: Young males (human males and most animal males) take risks (even risk of death) to reproduce. This makes no sense in terms of individual survival being paramount. It easily makes sense if A: This is an ethical error/evil or B: Species survival is part of the ethic foundation. B stands out as the obvious choice here. It seems to be too widespread/inherent in all human and animal behaviour not to be B. Ethics, to me seem to be a struggle with/between individual and collective benefits (values) that can often be at odds. I really do want to keep an open mind here, so comments are most welcome. Bob
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