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Everything posted by brian0918

  1. I'm not saying this is a bad idea, but there are already much better resources for starting clubs and organizing social events (FB, Meetup). From my experience, clubs only post on a forum when they have an event that they want to advertise - they do not use the forum as a place to discuss club activities or organize events.
  2. That's really great that you've gotten rich by taking hunks of other peoples' money, Miss Warren. God bless! But part of property rights is, you take those hunks of money and give them back to their rightful owners.
  3. On its own, maybe, but it is necessary for the house. The house we have now, has been built on an unsure foundation. You are yet again putting the cart before the horse, presuming that you already know *how* to understand properly, in order to understand the house - but that foreknowledge requires a philosophy. Philosophy is not just the foundation on which the house is built - it is also all the knowledge of construction that is necessary in order to build a house that serves the purpose of shelter. This makes sense, given that they were dealing with the most perceptually-accessible concepts. As science advances to more and more abstract conceptualization, it becomes increasingly important to maintain that firm rooting in reality. Please re-read my statement and understand why it is not necessary to learn about successful examples of the application of the scientific method in order to know how to successfully apply the scientific method. I believe his was more a commentary on academic philosophy, which he derided along with most other "liberal" fields. His "disregard" for philosophy was in name only, for he certainly applied a philosophy rooted in the evidence of the senses whenever possible. As the house grows taller and taller, and science becomes more and more abstract, the soundness of the foundation becomes increasingly more important. Your statements regarding infinity in the Existence of God thread indicate that your professors may not have spent enough time on it. Feel free to bump the relevant thread if you do not find the answers you're looking for. Did I say they could? No. You asked about what is ethical. If one does not value argument and debate, one need not concerns oneself with the details necessary to debate such topics. One can, however, readily interrogate an opponent, and discover the contradictions or fallacies that underpin their arguments, with very little knowledge of the details of those fields of science.
  4. Warning: Incoming rant based on previous reply. A correct conclusion isn't necessarily reached by valid reasoning. This is proof of that. This is due primarily to bad philosophy in the field of science, which has been forced to supplant conceptual understanding with rote memorization. You have put the cart before the horse, but rather than derail this thread, I will simply guide you to another discussion on the topic. Feel free to discuss the oft-cited "problem" with infinities there, if you do not find the answers you seek.
  5. First, regarding Rand/Peikoff: Philosophy is more fundamental than science - with a bad philosophy you will hit a dead-end in science, as you go searching for the existence of a contradiction. So I would argue that Rand and Peikoff have a better understanding of what is necessary for proper science than many scientists, who implicitly accepted the philosophy that was handed down to them by their predecessors. I can personally say that in my 120+ credit hours of physics and math courses, philosophy of science was only briefly presented, and in a way that left all questions unanswered (or worse, unanswerable). Now, regarding what Objectivists must know: it is not necessary for a person to even know anything about "Objectivism" to be an Objectivist, if his actions, values, and reasoning are in line with Objectivism. A knowledge of science will certainly help one debate such things as global warming, evolution, etc, but it is not necessary to value debate. So to answer your question: no.
  6. I'm not sure what you're going on about. I meant something very specific when I said, "the axioms" - the axioms of Objectivism. You attempted to assert something else as being what I meant ("in the sense that "2 + 2 = 4", or "if A = B, then B = A""), and I corrected you. Rand's axioms certainly fit the standard definition of axiom as a "self-evident truth", so the word is being used properly. If you want to discuss Rand's theory of concept- and definition-formation, I would recommend starting a separate topic so as to avoid derailing this thread even further.
  7. Given that there are 33 replies in that thread, would you mind citing the specific post you refer to? That is not what is meant by the term "axiomatic" in Objectivism, and is not what I meant by "the axioms": "Existence exists—and the act of grasping that statement implies two corollary axioms: that something exists which one perceives and that one exists possessing consciousness, consciousness being the faculty of perceiving that which exists." Those statements form the base of all knowledge. Any assertion contrary to those statements is necessarily contradictory, as one must necessarily assume the axioms in order to refute them. The existence of alternative views is not an argument.
  8. In a free market, it comes from demand for money. Because they have examined the arguments in support of those beliefs and determined them to be invalid. I couldn't find any matches for that quote, so you will need to be more specific. In what sense? It shouldn't be accepted on faith, if that is what you mean.
  9. Yaron Brook's lecture was yesterday (Monday), not today (September 27).
  10. The axioms establish the base of logic. They may seem obvious, yet people regularly assert claims that contradict the axioms. When such claims are encountered, the axioms allow you to easily establish that the claim is not logical - for example, the claim that an entity that exists outside of existence, acted apart from time (ie without motion), to create existence.
  11. I agree that many people define "existence" as having some higher meaning than simply, "the collection of everything that exists". But that is all that is meant by it. (see also Existence exists.) In the same vein, many people would read "making up a definition" as equivalent to "pulling a definition from nowhere". On the contrary, Rand's definitions for concepts are rooted in the evidence of the senses - they are based in reality. If they run contrary to the definitions used by others, it is not Rand that is at fault. I agree it can be confusing, though, for people who have no objective method for evaluating concepts and their definitions. (see Definitions) Agreed, every existent is itself caused, but it is caused by an earlier interaction between other existents. There are no examples of interactions among "non-existents" that produce an existent. Such a statement is entirely incoherent. And those causes are always interactions between other existents. I don't understand what is meant by this statement. To say "X is tied to Y" is to say that some prior cause tied X to Y - that is begging the question. Existence cannot be said to be "tied to" existents, as there is no possible alternative by which existents could not have existence "tied to" them. It is not possible for existents to not exist and still remain existents.
  12. You are misusing that assertion. Among gasses that cause the greenhouse effect, water vapor is the most effective, and given that it is also the most abundant in the atmosphere, it would certainly contribute the most to the greenhouse effect. All of that is irrelevant to the question of how much water vapor is increased by global warming, and/or how much global temperature is increased by an increase in water vapor. Please keep re-reading that sentence until you understand why the fact you cite is irrelevant to the actual question at hand. Increasing water vapor doesn't imply increased global warming, if for example it leads to increased cloud cover, which blocks incoming radiation, reducing both direct warming and greenhouse warming.
  13. For what reason? Please re-read my replies to your a) and c) and understand that even though I agree with you on a) and c), those two facts alone do not say ANYTHING about whether and how they relate to the Earth's global temperature. That was the entire point of my reply: you cannot just simply pick a couple facts and pretend that those facts are all that is necessary to conclude not only that the Earth is warming, but that the warming will cause more extreme weather. Your two facts a) and c) are correct within certain contexts, but their exact connection to the global climate has not been determined.
  14. We are not talking about specific property, but property rights. It is the role of government to protect rights, not to violate them. As I already stated, violating rights to protect them is contradictory. No. But they will likely pay for it one way or another, if they ever trade with other members of society. We already price in the sales tax with everything we buy, and under a voluntary system, companies would likely keep a sales tax on their products. Anyone who buys their products would necessarily be paying toward that tax. No. If the government allows property rights to be violated, then it is not upholding its purpose. And? If enough people do not voluntarily support the government, then society reaps what it sows. The people who understand that government must be funded will try to convince those who do not understand, and/or they will shun those who do refuse to pay, and setup private verification systems to confirm that they are only trading with individuals who pay their taxes. "Assault" without force - stolen concept. This is completely incoherent, and seems to simply be one of those pragmatic cop-outs, e.g. "the practical must trump the moral!", as if the two are naturally in conflict. There, I fixed that for you. That is not correct. Objectivism advocates a government that does not use force to collect taxes. That government would necessarily spend money that it voluntarily receives.
  15. Simply stating that they are different does not make them different. Violating one's property rights in order to protect them is contradictory. For government funding to be moral, it must be done voluntarily. This is not Rand's view, nor the view of anyone I have encountered here, myself included. You lack the philosophical framework by which to properly analyze whether or not something is in one's rational self interest. Simply claiming that some specific situation is beneficial to some specific people for some period of time does not mean that it is in one's rational self-interest. So that is your true standard of morality - utility.
  16. There's been a lot of positive comments about Gary Johnson among Objectivists, though he's unlikely to win.
  17. Arbitrary, incoherent rambling. It is certainly not an argument of any sort.
  18. Agreed. So what can we learn from the fact that certain specific men (philosophers and theologians of the past) have argued for the existence of a creator of existence? 1. That man potentially desires to construct rationale to support preconceived beliefs. 2. That in order to even analyze the validity of the original question, it is vital to build a solid, objective foundation for metaphysics and concept-formation. This is necessary to understand how the concepts used in the question are formed, in order to determine whether those concepts are being properly utilized - i.e., within the contexts of the sensual evidence that gives rise to those concepts (the referents). Given that all the referents for the concepts of "cause" and "effect" involve existents, one can only properly apply those concepts to interactions among existents. To attempt to apply them beyond that context is similar to committing the sort of scientific error I mentioned earlier. Rand generally calls this context-dropping, and specifically the fallacy of the "stolen concept".
  19. Yes, but it has not been demonstrated a) what effect increased water evaporation has on other factors, and what effect increased water evaporation has on global temperature. This latter variable is the "water vapor feedback" that is the entire crux of the prediction that major warming will occur. Obviously man interacts with the world, and so necessarily interferes with it. But it has not been determined a) whether his interference is of any consequence, and whether his interference is detrimental or beneficial. Yet it hasn't been demonstrated whether weather becomes more extreme due to global temperature increases or decreases (or neither!). There are statistical models which claim to predict extreme weather from high global temperatures, but again that can only lead to a hypothesis, which then needs to be tested against reality. If we don't know the causal mechanism, then we don't know how to act to "eliminate the possibility". And without knowing whether warming is good or bad, we don't have a reason to eliminate our interactions with the environment. This is off-topic, but in a free market economy, oil would never disappear. It would become prohibitively expensive long before it is used up. However, in a government-manipulated economy, oil could run out, as government can remove the proper incentives that would increase price as the supply diminishes.
  20. Did I mention anything about that in my replies? No, because it is irrelevant to the question of the causes, consequences, and proper means of acting in response to rising temperatures. I would also point out, as softwareNerd did, that this "fact" depends on how the "global temperature" is defined and measured. It is a highly abstract concept, and depends on the veracity of underlying concepts and algorithms. Agreed. All of which are irrelevant to what I said. It's easy to measure the amount of gases, amount of solar activity, and number of hurricanes. It's next to impossible to determine how any of it relates to the global temperature. Certainly, yet we are highly capable of evaluating the assumptions underlying the rationale used to produce those predictions. You just went from saying that none of us can make predictions, to making a prediction. But what does this prediction even mean - "something is happening". Obviously things are happening, but without understanding how things interact together, you cannot make conclusions or accurate predictions.
  21. Not only has it not been demonstrated that on Earth, increasing CO2 will increase temperature by anything other than a logarithmic "diminishing return" (see Grames post above), but it has yet to be demonstrated whether a) the water vapor feedback (which is crucial to the claim that warming will be significant) is positive OR negative, man can even contribute significantly to warming, c) warming is bad OR good for the world, d) humans could do anything about any warming that occurs. So basically, nothing has been demonstrated, yet government panels are trying to assert that because some highly-contrived models which assume certain answers to the above, show a certain result, which has yet to be tested against reality, that therefore we should put the world into a state of emergency and act in a way that we are not certain could even have any effect.
  22. The problem is that much of this is NOT science, but rather statistics and modeling which cannot be tested against reality. At best, the climate models that predict a warming trend can only ever be used to construct a hypothesis, never to produce conclusions on how to act. Only after these predictions have been tested against reality can they lead to theories, and ultimately to conclusions on how to act. That is true science, something incredibly lacking in fields that are highly susceptible to political pressures via government grants (economics, health, and environmental).
  23. Appeal to tradition. Straw man. No. He left. There is only one correct interpretation - that one which does not attempt to apply the evidence of certain data (referents to the concept of "effect") outside of their valid context (existence). It is no different from a scientist who erroneously attempts to apply the results of his very limited study beyond the scope of the study, to a much broader context - he arrives at false conclusions.
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