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Everything posted by Bowzer

  1. Looks like the link got shortened. You can click here to view the essay.
  2. You're both going to get carpal tunnel syndrome! Just kiddin', great job both of you!
  3. Another thing I very much appreciate is that quoted text appears full size now. Even though I have fine vision, it's hard to read the smaller text when you run 1600 resolution like I do.
  4. The one that I will like the most is the snapback that gets inserted when you quote now. Click on the little arrow in the bottom right of the above quote and you will be redirected to the original post. I also like the fact that quote headers are included in the quote body. O, and the nice graphic quotation marks in the quote header makes quotes easier to spot.
  5. Thanks for the update! I'm really enjoying the enhancements. I am, however, noticing lots of missing images. Some buttons are unskinned, avatar photos are missing (this may be something on their end), and emoticons come up missing. If you need more information, let me know. I have a background in software testing.
  6. You didn't grasp what I said. I'm not saying, "there's probably no god," I'm saying that it's up to the assertor to give the evidence supporting his assertion. I (the atheist) am not making any assertion. Thus, you are mistaken in thinking that there is some sort of debate occurring here that leads to a "final answer." Let me get this straight...are you saying that you know that there are some things that we do not know about at this time? What is your evidence for these things that we do not yet know about and how did you come to know about them?
  7. That's a misunderstanding of what Objectivism holds. In the section of OPAR that I recommended you read, Nate, Dr. Peikoff discusses a very important rule of logic: All an atheist is saying is, "You (the theist) are the one making the claim. It's, thus, your job to show me the reasons why I should believe in God." When no reasons are given, the atheist properly acts as if nothing was said at all, i.e., that their claim is arbitrary. Do you see how this is different from saying without a doubt that "God does not exist?" An agnostic, on the other hand, sees the theist's faith-based claim (meaning no evidence at all has been given) as a bona fide claim. Agnostics violate the rule of logic that "one must not attempt to prove a negative." I still recommend that you read that section of OPAR but, in essence, this is the issue:
  8. But you claim to be quite clear on the issue, don't you? Being agnostic, you are seeking to straddle a fence that you yourself admit to exist by even bringing this issue up. But let me ask you to apply your agnosticism to your own statement. Are you exactly 50% correct? Are you 80% correct? Certainly you aren't 100% correct otherwise that would be a blatant contradiction. Tell me also whether you wake up in the morning on Monday believing in God but come Tuesday evening you are an atheist. Or are you one of those people who claim to "suspend belief" entirely? Agnosticism is a cognitive impossibility. Your mind works in black and white (true and false); every thought you have implies one or the other. Agnosticism is an attempt to breach the nature of cognition. You should read Chapter 5, "The Arbitrary as Neither True Nor False" in Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand. Let me leave you with some words from Miss Rand:
  9. And since you keep coming back, I'll offer something for your benefit. I haven't participated in this thread at all and I don't plan to get more involved than this: I may have been silent thus far but don't think that makes you a friend of mine, brother.
  10. Welcome to the forum. There are many articles about environmentalism on the ARI site. You are not advocating what environmentalists are advocating. Also, for details about how much environmental research is based on bad science, see the The Science & Environmental Policy Project site.
  11. Not surprising since, as you say here "It is a pretence to say that Ayn Rand's philosophy as she articulated it is comprehensive," one can pick and choose whatever parts of Objectivism one wishes to suit one's purposes of the moment...of course you would have no objection to his supposed "use" of Objectivism. Non-scientific and non-naturalistic modes of explanation are not at all equivalent with the arbitrary. You are just supporting my argument against the book by showing how the author lacks an understanding of the real issues. The infinite regress argument against a first cause is not how one should argue against theism. Once again, this type of argument comes from a lack of understanding of what atheism really is. How about backing this up? You show me where Miss Rand ranked atheism because I can't for the life of me find an article along the lines of "Atheism: The Core of Objectivism." In fact, she only even used the word "atheism" about a dozen times so good luck. Not one single principle of Objectivism is predicated on the view that there is no god. Do you know what the word "predicated" means? Again, show me where in the world you are getting this.
  12. The only thing that would make this paper interesting is if it were written for a graduate philosophy course. In that case, to even mention Objectivism in a paper and get a grade would be interesting indeed.
  13. Obviously your understanding is well beyond anything that a mere OAC instructor could offer. Best you stay away from any kind of organized learning, I agree.
  14. Now that I understand more about where this E-mail came from, I can be more confident about two things: your honest intentions, stranger, and my assessment of the pure maliciousness of Thomas. Daniel Schwartz (a current OAC student) has already commented on how much you are pushed as an individual in the Center. I would just echo his experience and say that nowhere in the world will you be pushed harder to stand on your own two intellectual legs. You are constantly drilled in class and in one-on-one sessions with the instructor; in other words, you had better know what you are talking about! If you want to know who the parrots are, just toss Mr. Thomas a cracker and see what happens.
  15. And FYI...OAC courses have been the most demanding (and consequently rewarding) courses I have ever taken. This is coming from someone who has done graduate work in philosophy...
  16. I'm not sure what to make of your question since you are a "mysterious stranger," you are asking about a ToC instructor's opinion about ARI, and the question is simply ridiculous on the face of it. On the benevolent universe premise I will give you the benefit of doubt and simply answer an emphatic NO! I was a student of both the undergraduate and graduate levels of the OAC and if this person is giving you that impression of the Center, I can only conclude that he is purposefully trying to deceive you. This is a person who is out to destroy Objectivism...do not fall for his tricks.
  17. For anyone that is unsure how to answer yet another of Eddie's arbitrary arguments against Objectivism, I'll post this one for your benefit:
  18. I'm not going to speculate about what record executives are "scheming" when they create a project. Let me, however, tell you what I think is good about pop music and I believe this ties in directly with what you are saying about eay-to-recall lyrics and music. One of the things that makes pop music popular is the way that it takes crow epistemology into account. The songs are typically short and do not place a large demand upon your awareness. Lyrics are quick and to-the-point. Musical motifs are simple (but powerful) and usually involve simple measures. A good pop tune is like a good principle in that it compacts a plethora of information into a single retainable unit. I see these as virtues for pop music. That's quite a devil you have on your shoulder!!
  19. That satisfies me completely. Now I understand why the concept of instincts bothered me. The only thing that an "instinct" could be other than what you mentioned (i.e., an animal's neurophysiological makeup and its perceptual-level consciousness) is some form of innate knowledge and we know that there is no such thing. This is, however, exactly what proponents of instincts want us to believe especially the nativists as you mentioned. I'm going to study this issue some more but that helps me very much.
  20. Stephen, I can agree with what you are saying; I've always had problems with the concept of an instinct. Would you tell me how we should explain more complex animal behaviors that don't seem to be learned? These behaviors aren't reflexes because they involve the consciousness of the animal performing the action. Or are all of these behaviors acquired after birth?
  21. Good question. One of the things that I disagree with in your above post is the fact that you include reflexes under the heading "instinct." A reflex is not a type of instinct. A reflex is a simple motor action elicited by a sensory stimulus. The typical example of a reflex is the knee-jerk response. This is known as a "spinal reflex" because, generally speaking, the only part of the nervous system involved are the motor and sensory neurons that meet in the spinal cord. There need not even be a brain present for this reflex to take place. The reason that a reflex differs fundamentally from an instinct is not just a degree of complexity. Reflexes do not involve consciousness; a nervous system, yes, but consciousness is not needed. Reflexes do not pose a problem to Objectivism because they are not a product of consciousness. Instincts are the province of consciousness proper and this is the point that Dr. Peikoff picks up in OPAR.
  22. OK, I retract what I said earlier...you're not confusing reflexes with instincts. You're just plain confused, period. I have no way to know what you mean by "instinct," "reflex" or "volition" since you mix them all up together as you please.
  23. Actually I'm quite surprised that you didn't list sex as another one of our "instincts." I agree with Dr. Peikoff when he writes, You are confusing reflexes (which man does possess) with instincts.
  24. This is wrong not just on a philosophical level but on a scientific one as well. We have discussed the philosophical links between consciousness and action elsewhere. Scientifically, however, consciousness requires not just mental but physical action for its awareness. For example, the process of vision is dependent on a constant process of rapid eye movements called saccades. You are not aware of these movements but studies have shown that without such movement your brain is unable to process visual information. There are numerous other examples from other sense modalities that prove the same connection. Dr. Binswanger discusses the "theater-audience" view of consciousness in contrast to the Objectivist view in his Consciousness as Identification lectures. On the deepest level, consciousness is action.
  25. A "void" in my life is not why I buy material things and I'll be damned if I ever get bored of my sportscar!
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