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Everything posted by brandonk2009

  1. Sexual attraction, yes. Sexual orientation, no. I've made this distinction earlier in this thread. Sexual orientation denotes the sexual preference for the same gender, another gender, either gender, or neither gender. Sexual attraction denotes preferences in physical (as in appearance) and/or personality characteristics, or other qualities of a person. Physiological and biological evidence suggests that sexual orientation is a naturally developing phenomena. Sexual attraction, however, has been shown to be heavily influenced by environment or culture... ultimately psychology. Incest is a rather recent, startling (for me) phenomena in the gay porn industry, particularly between identical twins (lesbian twins have been popular for centuries). I don't think that their homosexuality was conditioned, I think that perhaps their desire for each other was. Incest is psychologically repulsive to most siblings, yet a few siblings with different psychological mindsets find such a relationship perfectly ok. In response to whYNOT, I'm making the argument that sexual orientation does develop outside of man's volition. However, I'm open to the argument that culture and home environment have a lot to do with how the sexual orientation plays out later in life. For example, a man who may be bisexual, but represses his homosexuality for psychological reasons. Or the homosexual who marries a woman and recants later... etc. Either way, the existence of homosexuality or bisexuality should not be a moral issue.
  2. Again, I'm going to emphasize that I reject any argument suggesting that homosexuality is caused purely due to environment—that includes any sort of psychological viewpoint stemming from cultural perspectives. The pure psychological view ignores all the physiological factors and components to human sexuality. I would agree that Pashtun misogyny is a result of the culture, but I do not think that Pashtun homosexuality or any homosexuality is caused by culture. The problem with assigning a causal factor between misogyny and homosexuality is multidimensional: 1) that factor is restricted to Pashtun (and perhaps other Arabic) culture, 2) misogyny exists among heterosexual men who show no desire for gay sexual behavior, and 3) physiological and genetic evidence suggests that bisexuality/homosexuality is already a natural tendency prior to the development of any psychological perspective. You ask, "If all humans are so biologically similar, why doesn't that lead to concluding that differences between cultures are due to, duh, fundamentally different aspects of the cultures?" I must ask, What's your point? What do you want me to say? Yes, differences between cultures are due to differences between cultures. That's not much of a point and as you said, "duh". Here's my point: The existence of bisexuality and homosexuality does not differ between cultures. Every culture in the world has exhibited an abundance of homosexual or bisexual behavior. How then do you account for such a widespread phenomena? In order to explain it, you can't begin to look at the differences between every culture—you have to look at what is the same. The one thing that every culture in the world shares is: humanity—we all share the same fundamental physiological/genetic structure (fundamental in the sense, that without having the same physiological/genetic structure you couldn't define a species). I've said everything I can on the relationship between culture and homosexuality. I don't think anymore is necessary nor do I really want to debate it anymore (it bores me). I'm finished with that debate. But this isn't to say that I think human sexuality is strictly governed by one's genes—sexual preferences are governed by a combination of factors. It's my view that the predominant factor is physiology and genetics, and that humans are naturally inclined towards bisexuality. If you want to debate the science and evidence for that, I'm open to it.
  3. However, behavior that is commonly associated with homosexuals is not an inherent result of homosexuality. A guy who plays football is a football player, but the fact that one football player drinks beer frequently does not apply to all football players. For example, in America, the stereotype is that homosexual men are effeminate. Anyone who believes that should take a trip to San Francisco during Folsom (gay leather fetish celebration, personally, I'm not into it). The non-sexual behavior is separate from the sexual orientation. In the same vein, I would argue that the Pashtun hatred towards women is separate from their sexual orientation. This would jive with the fact that in America, many homosexuals gravitate towards women-friendship. All humans are born ambisexual (suited to either sex). Is it unreasonable to suggest that this biological ambisexuality affects sexual orientation later in life? Every culture—the Pashtuns (and other middle Asian cultures), Ancient Greeks and Romans, the Japanese, the American Indians, African cultures—have all, at some point in time, shown homosexual behavior. With that fact in mind, I would argue that most cultures in fact repress natural bisexual behavior rather than condition bisexual or homosexual behavior. My assumption, which you are free to attack, is that humans are biologically inclined to be bisexual. The "human's can only reproduce heterosexually" does not really apply here... sex for humans, and for other animals (the example I have in mind is the bonobo ape), is beyond just reproduction. The physiology of the Pashtun men, though they may have dark skin, dark hair, and an abundance of body hair is not all that different from men of other races: All men have sensitive prostates, all men have a bundle of sensitive nerves around the anus—it doesn't take much creativity to see what I'm suggesting. In short, all men have the physical potential to engage and enjoy (immensely) homosexual sex. Other research has shown differences in brain structures (structures that develop prenatally) and hormonal differences between homosexual and heterosexual men (though I don't know the exact details of the study, there may be differences that are accounted by race). There is even a bit of research in genetics, which suggests that perhaps there are genes which are transferred only through the maternal lineages, that contribute to homosexuality. This latter fits with my own family, I had a gay Uncle on my mother's side. But I would never suggest that this research, which is at a stage of infancy, is conclusive and proves everything.
  4. Meaning, I don't believe that one can purely blame the culture for the sexual orientation known as homosexuality. When I used "as such" I meant, homosexuality as sexual orientation, not homosexuality as the characteristic behavior of a group of homosexuals. I would agree that a culture has an effect on the behavior of not just homosexuals, but every member of the culture. For example, no homosexual is born with limp wrists and lisps. That is something that is controlled by environment. However, I don't think you can make the case that sexual orientation is conditioned or a pure result of environment. There is too much physiological evidence to suggest otherwise. I want to emphasize "pure"—I am open to the possibility that environment (which affects psychological development) affects sexual preferences. However, too many people package sexual orientation with sexual attraction. I've talked about this distinction in earlier posts. I think that environment has a lot to do with one's sexual attraction (for example, I like these qualities in men: strength, intelligence, assertiveness), however sexual orientation seems to be more connected to physiology (such as the research done in the brains of homosexuals vs. heterosexuals) than with mere environment.
  5. I would vehemently disagree that culture causes the phenomena of homosexuality as such. I would agree that culture could perhaps increase the perceived prevalence. Physiological evidence shows that both men and women could potentially enjoy homosexual sex. Is it a far stretch then, to assume that perhaps humans are biologically ambisexual? I think any argument that strictly restricts homosexuality to a purely environmental or otherwise conditioned cause is inherently flawed. It just doesn't jive with the physiology of the human body. And as far as the Maldives, with guys holding hands, sometimes the boundaries of acceptable nonsexual male intimacy are more permissive in other cultures than America. I've heard that heterosexual Russian men hold hands in some parts of the country...
  6. What you should have immediately emphasized to A is A is that you are using "subjective" in the context Austrian economics utilizes. A is A is definitely using "subjective" in the context Ayn Rand utilizes. The fact that neither one of you are willing to recognize and be flexible with those contexts shows that you are either both obtuse, or perhaps just stubborn. With that said, it should be noted Grames, that most people involved with the philosophical (rather than the economic) theory of value, use "agent-relative" to describe the position that all values require a valuer. They do not classify that position as "subjective". Just for practical purposes, which of the following are potentially less confusing: All values are agent-relative. A value can be subjective. A value can be objective. or All values are subjective. A value can be subjective. A value can be objective. It's my opinion that the former is a bit more clear than the latter...
  7. Many people on this thread have labeled electronic music as "complex", yet they don't substantiate that claim in any way. All I read is that the music is "genius", it is "complex" yet I can't think of any particular reason why. The essence of this music, it seems to me, is repetition. Rhythms, melodies (if you can call them that), harmonies, and musical structures are repeated over and over and over again. Perhaps there is layering involved of one repetitive structure over another, yet that doesn't seem to be a formula for complexity. In short, what I see in electronic music is monotony and predictability. I listen to about two minutes of a song and I am bored. Can anyone give me a reason why this music is so great that involves some sort of analysis of their musical elements and structure rather than a single adjective?
  8. I wouldn't call it a theory-practice dichotomy, though perhaps it's related. I would say that a more precise classification of his argument would be to call it a nominalist approach to concepts and definitions. See: Wikipedia Article on Nominalism Nominalism entry from the Ayn Rand Lexicon
  9. The section talking about book censorship reminded me of a Ray Bradbury quote: You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them. Which brings up another thing I thought about. Though Huxley and Orwell have both accurately predicted the way our world has evolved, Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 has been the most accurate representation of the way pop culture and visual media have evolved.
  10. It's true that the pilot had a lot stuffed into it. What series pilot doesn't? In order to attract an audience, the pilot has to present the most provoking aspects of the series. This not only encourages networks to air the series, but it sets up what audiences can expect and what may interest them. I thought the pilot for V did this exceptionally well. I left the television series wanting to know what is going to happen and what new twists were going to pop up. I never saw the original V series... I wasn't born yet. But it seems to me that it's irrelevant how closely this series copies the original. This is an entirely new generation, an entirely new audience. Unless millions of Americans are series television buffs, I doubt they are even aware that this is a remake series and it won't affect potential enjoyment.
  11. That was only an example. I wasn't trying to imply that all boys had, or should have had, a hero who was an athlete. (I wouldn't say that I hate sports, but they are certainly not something I enjoy watching or participate in.) What I was trying to explain was my thought that children tend to emulate their heroes or those who they look up to in general, and that those heroes often form the basis of a person's views on what constitutes masculinity and femininity. Masculinity and Femininity are important concepts only when you are discussing the nature of humans and how that determines what they should or should not do. I brought up the discussion of masculinity and femininity, only because some Objectivists seem to view homosexuality as an unnatural confusion between masculinity and femininity - and I just don't think that's the case.
  12. I don't think gender is an anti-concept. It's very absurd to think so. Gender refers to distinct physiological differences. However, you may be able to apply that to the concepts of masculinity and femininity. In "About a Woman President" (it can be found in The Voice of Reason) Rand wrote: The important part here is that Rand thinks that the concepts of masculinity and femininity are metaphysical concepts. This simply means that the essence of these concepts refer to the identities of men and women in existence, they are not cultural constructs. I think that this is correct, and a very important distinction needs to be made. Many traits we attribute to either masculine or feminine are cultural, and they can vary between cultures. Rand asserts that there is a metaphysical fact at the core of masculinity and at the core of femininity, and this cuts away much of the irrelevant traits imposed by society. (It's also important to note that Rand never specified in her published work, as far as I know, what the essential trait of masculinity is.) Note that the essential trait of femininity in Rand's view is psychological. This makes a lot of sense and investigations into the psychological differences between genders proves it. However, if a girl grows up on a dessert island surrounded by only women, would she still have that psychological trait? I don't think so. Rand assumes that masculinity and femininity can only be actualized in contrast to each other. Yet I think that femininity can be actualized in relation to femininity only, and vice versa. My masculinity can be actualized in relation to other men. My example is going to be a young boy who has an intense hero worship for an athlete. It seems like to me that young girls don't share the same fervor of hero worship as boys do. I think the image of ideal masculinity is what constitutes a boy's psychological view of what masculinity entails. And I think that this happens at an age when sexuality isn't necessarily a factor (for example, hero worship in 6 year old boys). Simply put, I'm thinking that masculinity can be expressed in relation to other men. It does not require contrasting femininity to be expressed. A hypothetical example could be an entirely female culture. Despite the obvious viability problems involved, I think there would still be an essential metaphysical component to each woman that constitutes their femininity - without any sort of relation to a masculine figure. And the same would be true in a fully male culture.
  13. Don't worry about stirring anything up with me, when it comes to my own sexuality I'm quite comfortable and unscathed by the views and judgments of others. You're absolutely right when you say that man's body "speaks dominance". That is exactly what I'm attracted to. Can I not express my own dominant personality when I have sex with another dominant man? It's true that in one sense, one is going to be more dominant than the other. But in the act of sex dominance is not set in stone, even in heterosexual sex I would surmise that at times a woman may take the reigns. Dominance can flow easily between two people and they can share that role. I think an example of this in Rand's own fiction is in Atlas Shrugged. During the first scene of Part I Chapter IX: The Sacred and the Profane, Dagny and Rearden wake up after having sex for the first time. Rearden is disgusted with himself and with Dagny, and he tells her. She laughs in his face and tells him that she is proud of what they did. "When he threw her down on the bed, their bodies met like the two sounds that broke against each other in the air of the room: the sound of his tortured moan and of her laughter." (hardcover ed. pg. 256) In this particular instance, Rearden rubs off as weaker than Dagny (not necessarily physically, but emotionally). However, that is not the exact sense I was referring to when I said that I'm attracted to dominant men. Sexual dominance is just one aspect of what I was talking about, and it's minor compared to the other aspects involved. A dominant man is one who is assertive, powerful, and not easily conquered, not just in bed but in everyday life. I like a man, who like myself, prefers not to take orders but to give them. I suppose put another way, I like masculinity and I see no reason why I can't express my own masculinity in the arms of another man. I'd be interested to hear what your thoughts are on masculinity and femininity in relation to sexuality. In Rand's published writing she really didn't elaborate a whole lot on what her views were in regards to this, but from what she did write I somewhat disagree.
  14. Of course not. I was only noting that both sexes have the physical capacity to enjoy sex with either gender. Is it unreasonable to assume that this capacity blends with the development of sexual orientation? Also, I am quite skeptical of the very generic term "sexuality". Sexual orientation "is not determined by what a person finds physically pleasurable, but rather which sex they are attracted to..."
  15. I don't think that saying that there is a genetic factor to homosexuality is determinism. A lot of choice is still involved. An important distinction to make is between sexual attraction and sexual orientation. Sexual attraction refers to what a person finds desirable in another human. This is closely connected to one's sense of life and their values. Sexual orientation on the other hand refers to a pattern of sexual attraction to either a man, a woman, both genders, neither genders, or another gender. Research has shown that the development of sexual orientation is essentially biological (a combination of physiological and genetic evidence support that claim). Unlike many homosexuals, I am not promiscuous. That's a choice. Sex is a very important aspect to one's life, and I recognize that. It's the ultimate physical manifestation of my values and my sense of life - something that should not be treated lightly. That's a choice. What kind of man I find attractive is based on a combination of what I find to be valuable in a man: intelligence, strength (emotional and physical), and dominance to name a few. That criteria is something I have full control over. What I choose to value is an ethical choice, governed by ethical principles. Simply put, sexual orientation is rooted in genetics and biology, but that doesn't determine one's values, thus man must still lead his life in an ethical fashion. The fact that homosexuality is something that develops outside of man's control does not imply that man's life is predetermined and that his choices do not matter. As an aside, I'd posit that every human is somewhat bisexual. When I was very young (9 and 10) I was sexually attracted to one girl. However, my homosexuality became much more prominent as I became older and I have never felt a strong sexual attraction to another female since. I know many people who have had similar experiences, only reversed (i.e. a boy finds himself sexual attracted to another boy that may eventually disappear as the boy gets older). I think the cause is rather simple: physiologically, our bodies are capable of experiencing pleasure with either sex (man's prostate, nerve endings around the anus). To put another way, physiologically we are bisexual. Would it be wrong to assume that this physiological fluidity manifests itself in sexual orientation?
  16. I am starting an Objectivist club at the University of Utah. So far we are few in number, for those Salt Lake City locals or students of the U check out the club's website at: http://utahobjectivists.wordpress.com. Also you can join the GoogleGroup at http://groups.google.com/group/university-...ah-objectivists
  17. I wish you roses in the spring Fledglings on the wing Fireflies that sing your name I wish you sunlight on the grass I wish you memories that last Shelter from the passing rain I wish you Joy I wish you Joy I wish you Joy I hope the wind is at your back And it's keeping you on track That you never lack for love I hope you walk beside your heart Even in the dark Guided by the stars above I wish you love I wish you love I wish you love And so wherever you may roam Out there on your own Home is just a heart away I wish you joy I wish you joy I wish you joy
  18. The description posted above was the 4th Concerto. The description of the 5th Concerto occurs twice in the novel: First when Dagny is introduced to the reader in Chapter 1, and once in the final scene of the last chapter. In my mind, I thought that the 4th was Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 in Bb Minor. As for the 5th, I had Stravinsky's finale of the Firebird Suite in my mind.
  19. Ellison, I encourage you to read parts of this page (the table of contents will lead you to where you would like to go): Wikipedia - About Your criticism of course is valid. But perhaps you don't know that there is an article assessment system in place. A few articles on Wikipedia achieve "Featured Article" status, or "Good Article" status. In order to achieve that assessment there needs to be certain criteria including references to sources, citations, neutral point of view, and most importantly stability. An article that is not stable shows that editors are not satisfied with the facts presented or in the manner in which they are presented. Stability shows that there is less content that is questionable and it can be assumed more content that is accurate. ___________________ A note on where the discussion on the reliability of PARC as a source on wikipedia: Currently there is a search for third-party books, works, journals, etc. that cite PARC as a source. If anyone knows of those works send me an email and I can get those to where they need to be. What is also desperately required are published reviews of the book. Reviews posted in blogs, I'm sorry, do not count. These are the primary reasons why the book is not allowed to be used as a source.
  20. Perhaps it's relevant to note, that there is already a Wiki about Objectivism in existence that can be 100% free of all criticism and anti-Objectivist propaganda. The best part about this Wiki? It's right here on ObjectivismOnline. Perhaps if this Wiki was cleaned up, referenced, and polished it could be used as an example of what the Wikipedia articles should aspire too. But in order for that to happen, we need people dedicated to writing and perfecting it. The best thing about this Wiki would that it would potentially be free of all hampering from those who despise Ayn Rand and Objectivism. I'd be willing to work on this project, but I need assurance that others will as well.
  21. One thing you have to keep in mind however, is that articles on Wikipedia need to keep a neutral point of view. What this means is that Objectivists cannot create a page, on let's say Ayn Rand, and avoid any criticism of her or her philosophy. There needs to some sort of mention of what her critics say. The key is to not present the criticism as fact, but as a (neutral) presentation of the critics positions. The quote used above is a highly contentious part of the Ayn Rand article. Many editors, including myself, would like to see a much more neutral tone throughout that article. However, there are a few editors who brainlessly worship Rand, a few editors who respect her genius and her ideas but who acknowledge (but not agree with) her critics, and there are a few editors who brainlessly dismiss her and deride her with disgust. The best thing that can happen is that we reach some sort of consensus in the Talk pages on how to best present neutral information. It's best to keep in mind that it is a continuous process, striving towards high quality work. Right now, the Objectivist articles are in shabby condition. The "best" articles in the Objectivist Project at the moment are these: Ayn Rand, Objectivist Movement, and Objectivism. As anyone can see, these are horrible. It's true that we need more Objectivist editors. At the moment, we only have maybe three or four who consistently work on the articles. Yet these are undermined by the Objectivist dogmatists and the Objectivist villifiers. We need more editors who are level-headed, and who fall in neither category.
  22. Speaking as a Wikipedia editor that is currently involved with this issue, I will say that Peikoff is pretty much making an issue out of a non-issue. Throughout the Objectivism articles, Valliant's work is only referenced maybe a handful of times. And out of those few times the facts are pretty trivial (in fact, for sake of article brevity most of that content has been removed). A few notes on Peikoff's letter: The decision to remove Valliant's work from our list of reputable sources (I was with the minority of editors who voted against this measure), was a decision made by the editors within the Objectivist WikiProject. It is not a formal Wikipedia policy and can be changed at any minute. It would be improper if the founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, were to interfere with this decision since Wikipedia is user edited and user created. If the moderators and administrators were to start imposing their personal preferences and prerogatives upon the editors, Wikipedia would lose the very essence of why it was started. I do not believe Barbara Branden was, in any way, involved with the decision to remove Valliant's work as a reputable source. As for one's Wiki content being "obliterated", I suppose with something as general as 'Atheism' there is more potential for you work to be changed and altered. However, as I have found working on Objectivist-related articles, most editors are clear-headed and rational when it comes to changes. I have yet to reach the same level of disgust.
  23. I only meant that morality pertains to everything that is within man's capacity to choose (and how/why he makes a particular choice). This includes everything within the sphere of our thought and our actions. I'm not sure what rests outside of that sphere. Do you have an example in mind?
  24. Interesting Donovan... You say that you agree with Kelley's theory of moral judgment, meaning that you accept the nonsense that actions are measured according to the standard of life and ideas are measured according to the standard of rationality. "In judging an action, therefore, we are concerned not only with its consequences, measured by the standard of life, but also with its source in the person’s motives, as measured by the standard of rationality." (Kelley, Truth and Toleration). Yet here in this post that I quoted, you say that rationality is the standard of our actions. So do you actually agree with Kelley? Further, I strongly disagree that morality is primarily focused on actions. Morality is primarily focused on man's choices, which absolutely contains a man's conscious ideas and actions.
  25. You write that, "Kelly applies toleration mainly to the realm of ideas and benevolence mainly to actions." This only emphasizes the mind-body dichotomy implicit in his moral theory. It is this mind-body dichotomy which constitutes the root of his divergence with core Objectivist principles. Objectivism embraces a total integration of mind and body—you understand why. When it comes to ethics, the integration of mind and body is even more important. By rejecting the mind-body dichotomy, Objectivism avoids the traditional philosophical problem of "motives vs. consequences". Yet Kelley asserts otherwise. First, he accepts the mind-body dichotomy implicit in the "motives vs. consequences" debate, and then writes in Truth and Toleration "In judging an action, therefore, we are concerned not only with its consequences, measured by the standard of life, but also with its source in the person’s motives, as measured by the standard of rationality. The question is how to integrate these two factors into a single judgment. Philosophers have long wrestled with this question; they have proposed various theories about the proper weight to assign to consequences on the one hand and motives on the other. The Objectivist ethics, unfortunately, has yet to address this question in any depth." (T&T pg 22). Objectivism rejects the notion that the debate is even valid, so why address something that is already false to begin with?. He ignores this. He fully embraces the motives vs. consequences debate throughout his entire discussion of moral judgment. He assigns the standard of rationality to motives and the standard of life to consequences. And then asks how one assigns the proper weight to each when moral judgment is necessary. Much later the dichotomy becomes only more obvious when he assigns evil as pertaining primarily to actions and only derivatively to ideas. (T&T pg 39). Here I would like to insert a relevant quote of Ayn Rand's: Notice what she does not do. She does not separate motive from consequence, mind from body. She focuses instead, on the moral judgment of everything that is within man's power of volitional choice: ideas and actions. I will finally address your discussion on the degree of evasion, of evil, of irrationality: To what degree someone evades reality, or is evil, or displays irrationality is irrelevant. Reread "How Does One Lead a Rational Life in an Irrational Society" and "The Cult of Moral Grayness", two very important essays in The Virtue of Selfishness. I place much emphasis on the latter. I will not address you again until you take the initiative to read, understand, and reflect on these two essays. Perhaps after, our discussions can continue.
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