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Everything posted by MisterSwig

  1. We talked with Jason Hill about his battles with cancel culture over his views on Israel and "trans" issues. I asked him about his new book which deals with the history of slavery and calls for reparations. And we talk a bit about his views on the Democrats vs Republicans today. Check it out!
  2. In this discussion we argue against vaccine mandates and examine the idea that unvaccinated people are "unfit for society." Check it out!
  3. Phil Magness is the AIER economic historian who received the Collins-Fauci emails through a FOIA request and then published them. He also exposed factual errors with the 1619 Project and wrote a book critiquing it. We interviewed him about these subjects and others on our latest podcast. Enjoy!
  4. In most cases you can perceive enough of the whole to identify parts of it, since parts are integrated into the whole. Let's say I'm looking into the window of a house, and I can only see a torso with arms and a head. These must be parts of the same whole because they are one thing distinguishable from the space and other things around them.
  5. Aren't you imposing the process of abstraction on the entity itself? These characteristics don't exist as separate entities. The so-called "higher characteristics" are still characteristics of the one, original entity, since an entity is all of its parts or attributes. The infinite regress is merely an abstraction in your mind. As for the problem you present, it's true that, in any particular moment, we generally perceive only part (or some) of an entity. However, perception is a process over a period of time, and with some investigation we might perceive enough of the parts to conceive the whole. Notice that we do not arrive at the law of identity through perception alone. Man also relies on his faculty of conception for that level of knowledge.
  6. Scott and I respond to Yaron Brook's negative view of "It's a Wonderful Life." We argue that he's wrong. It's not about altruism. It's about a conflicted man who is basically a good person and comes to realize the importance of his individual life. Check it out!
  7. We just interviewed the artist Michael Newberry. We talk about his paintings (and show a few of them), as well as his philosophical ideas on aesthetics and postmodernism. This was a special treat for me, as I really enjoy his paintings, my favorite being "Winter." Check out the episode!
  8. Andrew Bernstein and Dave Goodman joined us for this episode on Kyle Rittenhouse and the left's attacks on private property and self-defense rights. Check it out!
  9. In this episode Scott interviews me. It was recorded last year, before we started doing the podcast together. We talk about my background coming out of a Protestant worldview and becoming an atheist and Objectivist. Scott also asks me about his favorite subject, life extension.
  10. But we do see atoms, and the atoms are composed of electrons that are exterior to the nucleus, so that when we look at an atom, we are seeing the electrons in the form that we can see them. Correct? For example, here is Nadlinger's picture of an illuminated strontium atom. And below is a video of gold atoms being bombarded with an electron beam.
  11. I don't know what Rand got wrong about Aristotle. To him "form" wasn't the description of a thing's essence, it was the thing's actual essence. He considered a thing to be a composition of its form and its matter. Matter was potential, but form was actual. His whole system resulted in the belief that there was a pure form which was the Prime Mover.
  12. That's not my understanding. Aristotle makes a distinction between two boundaries: form and place. Form is the boundary of a thing. Place is the motionless boundary of the body which contains that thing. Place is neither the form nor the matter of the movable thing it contains, because the contained thing can separate from the containing place. While Aristotle observed that place is not the thing which is in place, he unfortunately conceived of place as a container, or a form-like boundary. Seemingly a vestige of Plato's influence, Aristotle upheld a form-matter dichotomy. But instead of relegating forms to another world, he attempted to place them in this one. Aristotle asks great questions, such as what it means for one thing to be "in" another thing, but he did not have Rand whispering in his ear, "Check your premise!"
  13. Welcome! How's life in New Zealand? And what got you interested in Rand?
  14. Thank you, Stephen. That clears up a confusion I had. I need to study and think about this more before responding. I make a distinction now between space and location. So the space itself wouldn't be a characteristic of a particle, as the particle is always traveling through different space, never remaining in the same space. But the particle's location is relative to other objects and thus can remain a constant characteristic qua relationship to these objects by which location is measured. My picture of the atom is of a nucleus carrying most of the mass, and electrons rapidly zipping around the nucleus. So most of the empty space is between the nucleus and the orbits of the electrons. I've read that the electrons form a "cloud" around the nucleus, thus the space isn't mostly empty. But if this idea is based on observation, couldn't it be an optical illusion? Consider how rapidly spinning propellers on a plane appear as blurs, when in reality the propellers are not blurs. The electrons could be moving around so quickly that they merely appear as a cloud that fills the space.
  15. Two waves might encounter each other, but the material comprising the waves (the electrons) could still collide, thus disturbing the integrity of the wave. This is why radio stations broadcast at different frequencies, to avoid interference between the electromagnetic waves. So I don't think waves can literally occupy the same space. When they try to do this, they cause collisions, like two ocean waves crashing into each other.
  16. I don't know why different quantum states would allow for this. Besides, aren't you talking about theoretical probabilities? It's not like a physicist has observed two particles occupying the same point, is it? If so, I'd very much like to read that paper.
  17. What do you mean? I'm referring to this in the first part: It seems like he's saying that place influences the motions of fire and earth. Wasn't this a typical Greek view, that things moved toward their natural places? It's been awhile since I read this stuff in college.
  18. I think it's due to density. Liquids and solids are much denser than gases, so the spaces between the atoms and molecules are smaller, and thus more light gets reflected. Unless the gas is super thick, it doesn't reflect much light. Glass is interesting and proves that molecular structure is also important to reflection and the transparency of objects. That's not what I was taught. Electrons aren't the only particles in an atom, so they couldn't literally fill the atom. You have protons and neutrons as well. And there must be spaces between these particles within the atom.
  19. Regarding Parts 1 and 2, a few points. Aristotle is presenting the problem of "place," which he appears to be using as a synonym for space. It's amazing how much he figured out with so little science available, yet he was impeded by a pre-Galilean notion of the universe. Indeed, the first known heliocentric theory (by Aristarchus) wasn't presented until decades after his death, so Aristotle didn't even have that work to consider. I don't think the problem of place (or space) can be adequately solved until you at least accept that the earth revolves around the sun. You might even need to hold the belief that all material bodies in the universe, including the sun and all the other stars, are moving constantly. Aristotle also lacked a sufficient understanding of gravity. Not having Newton's work, he was baffled by certain motions, such as fire going up while weighty objects went down. This caused him to believe that "place" influenced such motions. He had the concept of "regions of space," but it was very basic, limited to a geocentric view of directions. Still he grasped that "place is something distinct from bodies, and that every sensible body is in place." That's really the observable starting point, I think. Then it's a matter of figuring out why they are distinct.
  20. Again, there must be empty space, otherwise nothing could move. I accept the science that shows atoms to be 99.9% empty space, which helps explain why air is invisible. That's not what I said. If only space existed then there would be unoccupied space. An entity is primary in relation to its own parts and actions, not necessarily to a different existent.
  21. Space exists, and absolute nothingness doesn't exist. As long as there is still space remaining, then it's not nonexistence. I don't think it's possible to remove space. Space must be immaterial precisely because if you could remove it, then you'd be left with the contradiction of the existence of nonexistence, and that defies logic.
  22. Our new episode is about space tourism, and the three companies that have sent private citizens into space, SpaceX, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic. We discuss what they're doing now and planning for the future. Check it out!
  23. Offline you asked about dimensions. I'm not sure if space should be considered a dimension. Currently I don't conceive of it as one. In my view space itself cannot be measured because it has no physical limits or boundaries. Isn't a "dimension" supposed to be measurable? A region or section of space can be measured in the standard dimensions, but if you try to measure "all" of space as a "whole," I don't know what that would mean. Since, logically, there can be no "outside" of space, it thus cannot have a physical limit or fixed volume. Space doesn't have a container. It's not a "whole," as we think of material wholes. This raises the issue of metaphysical infinity. Rand addressed the notion in the ITOE workshops on page 148: "'Infinity' in the metaphysical sense [as opposed to the mathematical sense], as something existing in reality, is another invalid concept. The concept 'infinity,' in that sense, means something without identity, something not limited by anything, not definable." I'm not a believer in metaphysical infinity, and I don't think it applies to my concept of space. I'm trying to define space as an immaterial existent that functions as a medium for all matter. It does not have physical identity or limits, because it's not material in nature. But it does have spatial identity and limits. It cannot be literal nonexistence and it cannot be material. I have rejected the classical "plenum" idea because, logically, I don't see how space could be entirely filled with matter and still allow for movement, as discussed earlier in the thread. If you're suggesting an immaterial "plenum" only sparsely populated with material things, that's closer to what I mean. Though we'd have to analyze your phrase "the entirety of the universe," as it might imply that the plenum is a kind of "whole" or "object." (Sometimes, in moments of weakness, I refer to space as a "thing," but I do so only in the most unspecific sort of way, not intending to imply a whole or an object, but merely an existent.) As far as object and space "covering the same location," that's close to what I mean, except that space doesn't literally cover a location; it's what's necessary for a location to exist, as locations are relative to material things which require space to move around and create distance between each other. I don't believe I said that in the way you mean, since a void would refer to the amount of things in space, not the amount of things composing it. For example, we can say that the vacuum of outer space is not a literal void because it still contains some particles. But those particles are not what constitutes space. Thanks. I'll read it and report back.
  24. That depends on what you mean by "entity," a word which very much connotes a material thing. But I'm arguing that space is immaterial. It's not a physical entity. Also, note that in the ITOE workshops Rand pointed out that "an entity is its attributes." (p. 266) If existence is the only characteristic of space, then that's what space is, because space is its attribute, and its attribute is space. Now, I think space has at least one other characteristic: being a medium. So it's not merely existence. I was trying to emphasize its immateriality by saying "there is nothing to space except its existence." My understanding is that gravitational fields move with the body that they surround. They exist in a region of space that is relative to a body traveling through space. Thus, this would raise the question: if gravitational fields are the medium in which everything moves, in what are they themselves moving as they travel with their associated bodies? As for dark matter, I don't know enough to have a strong opinion on that. My understanding is that it's still a very speculative idea. If it's actually nonluminous particles, then I'd still want to know what is the space between these dark matter particles. Does dark matter move, and if so, in what is it moving?
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