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Everything posted by brian0918

  1. Exactly - it is axiomatic. That which exists has a specific nature which can be identified by a conscious entity. It is invalid to ask why there is order (i.e., why everything acts in accordance with its nature), as any answer must presume what it intends to show.
  2. Assuming the traditional notions of "god", if there is a god, then contradictions can exist (A is not A), and all knowledge - as well as the very ability to know and communicate - is invalid. Such a world is not capable of being understood with certainty, so there's no point in trying to pursue your values. Best to simply stop existing.
  3. Others??? Yours! You say that God is all those various things that have no connection to eachother, including abiogenesis, natural selection, the totality of matter, reason and volition, and a metaphysical characteristic of the universe. You've completely evaded my response, and just blindly re-asserted your original claim. Tossing in the word "objective" does not validate your claim if you are unable to provide rationale for your conclusion. You have not provided an objective measure of "good", just the assertion that something was good. You can't have your cake and eat it too. You use anthropomorphic words in order to inject "purpose" into physical processes and "good" into amoral circumstances. If you ditch the anthropomorphic words, then you must also ditch "purpose" and "good", which depend on living entities with value systems. All the referents for "good" are examples of circumstances that promoted the values of a living entity. All the referents for "purpose" are examples of goals or actions taken to achieve a goal. So there is no basis for your usage of those terms apart from living entities. That is your assertion to prove. No, it is not (depending on context), and by offering that as an example, you reveal that you have not understood what I am saying at all. Rain has benefits for my life. I can also judge that a torrential downpour that leads to flooding is probably bad (depending on circumstances). On the other hand, the rain that occurs on a lifeless planet is amoral. As RationalBiker states, without any context, rain is neither good nor bad. But that thing or event must actually have impacted you directly as a living entity. It was neither good nor bad that the universe formed with just the right characteristics to allow for the possibility of life. Neanderthals were also a product of evolution - so by your logic evolution was a good thing for them. It can't be simultaneously good and bad for them. Evolution is neither good nor bad for anyone. What is good or bad are specific circumstances or situations that are beneficial or detrimental to a specific individual's existence.
  4. You must be using the word differently. A value is that which one acts to gain or keep. Plants and animals act to gain food and water - food and water are of value to plants and animals.
  5. See my reply immediately following the line you quoted. Reproduction in living things is certainly purposeful. Non-human lifeforms automatically act in accordance with their values. But the abstract concept of natural selection is not purposeful, as purpose requires value, value is agent-relative, and no agent underlies the process of natural selection.
  6. I would be interested in a comprehensive reply to FeatherFall's preceding post. This is not such a reply. It is obviously unnecessary to know the scientific basis for some specific man's observed effeminate behavior. That behavior is certainly the result of some is - i.e., the result of the environment and circumstances under which he developed. A boy is not a man - his mind and body are still growing and developing years after leaving the womb. Depending on the environment in which he grows, his behaviors, tendencies, and preferences will develop and become ingrained. It's up to you to not only show why he should want to change them, but also why he should be morally condemned for not changing them.
  7. Your question is not clear, but the fundamental sources of information for any concept are its referents - in this case, the referents are past examples of situations or actions that supported or promoted your values. From those examples, you form the concept "good". Your rational faculty determines the essential, defining characteristic that sets the referents apart from other examples - and that essential characteristic becomes the definition or meaning of the term. This is Objectivist Concept-Formation 101. Who said that's how life started? Nobody knows yet how life can come into existence. You're arguing from a straw man. Even if it were that simple, you have to keep in mind that such a basic lifeform - as with other non-human life forms - acts automatically in accordance with its values (if any). Those that didn't act to gain energy (i.e. "food") didn't sustain their existence for long. Those that didn't act to reproduce didn't leave any off-spring. So we don't see examples of them today. All living things that exist today are the off-spring of entities that were capable of gaining energy and reproducing, and automatically acted to gain energy and reproduce.
  8. No, because "good" doesn't *mean* a lot of different things simultaneously. The concept has one meaning - one definition - one essential characteristic that unites all of the referents of the concept. The event was neither good nor bad - it was amoral. Value, and the moral evaluation of actions, requires life, but there was no prior life for which one could evaluate such actions. You are misusing words. "Conspiracy" involves conscious entities (as you yourself state). Natural/physical laws are observed patterns constructed in the minds of men. Nature doesn't "follow laws" - rather, men observe nature and deduce patterns, which we call "laws". Again, this is amoral. "Survival of the fittest" is simply death of the unfittest. The unfit are the ones who happened to have a slight genetic disadvantage at birth to adapt to the environment at hand. Whether or not some action or circumstance is good/bad depends on the values of the entity. Those least capable of surviving in an environment were at greater risk of death, which was certainly bad for them. Correct, but "good" and value in general are only valid relative to a given agent - what is good for one person may not be for another.
  9. It's simply the fact that these variety of things that "God" is supposed to simultaneously mean have no direct connection to eachother. It is basically like saying "God is all those things that we haven't yet fully explained." Concepts are created out of necessity, but nothing necessitates the creation of such a concept.
  10. No, you misunderstand what an axiom such as "existence exists" is. It is not an assertion - a view that one "holds" -, but an assumption that everyone makes when making a statement, or holding a belief. You cannot make a statement, or hold a belief, without implicitly presuming that existence exists. Depending on which of the myriad definitions you assert for "God", it could certainly say a lot about the possibility of God's existence. Rightly so, given that such a definition relies on a contradiction, i.e. "an existent that creates existence". You've completely misunderstood what an axiom is - see above. It only seems compelling because it sets impossible requirements for the capabilities of the senses and of reason. We reason based on the facts that we know, and our knowledge is finite, not infinite. Our senses are likewise finite, not infinite. That does not imply that our senses, or our ability to reason effectively, are in doubt. A person who reasons correctly from his prior knowledge, but arrives at a conclusion that does not agree with reality, is not wrong - he simply needs to expand his knowledge-base, and form new concepts to explain the apparent contradiction. Your friend throws up FUD regarding the senses and rational faculty, and implicitly asserts that "faith" always exists unless one's knowledge is unlimited (i.e., infinite). Since that's impossible, every action is taken "on faith". Thus, "faith" - as your friend wants to define it - is an invalid concept.
  11. That is called abiogenesis. That is called natural selection, or put another way: those who don't die get to reproduce, and it just so happens that those who are most able to survive (in a given environment) usually don't die. That is the universe itself - i.e. existence. That is reason and volition. Those are all abstract concepts existing in the minds of individuals. And, apparently, it can mean a lot of different things simultaneously, and so is an invalid concept.
  12. People trade to mutual benefit. I give you X in exchange for Y, because I value Y higher than X, and you value X higher than Y. They are not of "equal value" because values are agent-relative. We are both better off as a result of the trade. Thus the free market is not a zero-sum game. Regarding your equations, my signature seems fitting.
  13. They are only different in the way that they are wrong. The first (your position) is wrong in claiming that because we are born without any pre-existing knowledge ("tabula rasa"), that therefore our choices as infants/toddlers/children are capable of being judged morally, when in fact such judgment requires that the one making the choice had the capacity for reason. Just as a dog cannot be judged morally for its actions, neither can a pre-rational child, whose early experiences influence a later preference for food, music, sexuality, career choice, etc. You also fail to demonstrate that sexual preference can even be judged morally. And we're back to 2006 now.
  14. Another NPR article from today makes your point about the Republicans inconsistency: http://www.npr.org/b...ion-inspiration Yes, that's right: two largely positive NPR articles on Rand in the same day. Watch out for flying pigs.
  15. These are the assertions you have failed to demonstrate.
  16. The traditional notion of "determinism" versus "free will" is a false dichotomy - both conceptions, as traditionally understood, are incoherent and false. It is in the nature of human beings to have volition, but free will does not mean freedom from reality. It merely means that we have values (some the result of our nature as living organisms, others the result of experience), that we receive information about the world, and that we act on that information in accordance with our values. See also the four previous threads on the exact same topic linked in the FAQ under Epistemology.
  17. That's the point. People normally assume that things like "importance" and "value" are determined by communal/popular opinion, but Objectivism turns that on its head. With a proper understanding of value and importance, the statement is correct, and does not require qualification. The intent of the meeting, I assume, is to expose the audience to a proper understanding of value.
  18. Apparently you didn't read her multiple replies explaining that she is serious. And you'll note that before she explained that she was serious, people rightly assumed she was joking.
  19. And until you identify the "somehow" that caused you to have that emotional response to that statement, your post cannot be taken seriously.
  20. Do you see how important it is to adhere to rational judgment of reality? The fact that you have allowed yourself to believe in the ability of a consciousness to exist apart from a brain or living organism, based on nothing but emotional responses to the unknown, has made you so gullible as to believe something that is clearly satire - and clearly labeled as such. How many of these stories do you consider honest or potentially factual?
  21. Then your value is irrational. If you would like to state specific rationale for why you're a socialist, I would be willing to respond to that. However it would be quite epic to attempt a broad, catch-all response in a forum post - you are essentially asking me to dictate Rand's entire philosophy to you. I will simply state generally that man has a specific nature, with certain requirements for living as a human being, and the statist nature of communism runs contrary to man's life as a human being. Obviously that's not particularly convincing for you, but that's not my problem. I would recommend Rand's Objectivist Ethics and Man's Rights as an introduction.
  22. Certainly not. If a communist/socialist came to me and claimed he was acting rationally, and explained his logic, I would show why his logic is flawed, and how his philosophy is ill-founded. I would never ask him to accept my conclusion on faith.
  23. You're equivocating on "rational". The communist/socialist is not being "perfectly rational". He may have rationale that he uses to justify his conclusions in his own mind, and he may even claim to be acting rationally, but he is not.
  24. It's interesting how this sort of thinking (placing rationalistic models above reality) penetrates so many fields concerned with dynamic, chaotic phenomena (biology, economics, climatology, and even physics). The desire to explain reality leads many to jump to premature conclusions, and either invent causes where none are apparent, or mistake effects for causes.
  25. Without citation (full quote in proper context), this statement is equally silly.
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