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Everything posted by Nyronus

  1. I love all types of music (yes, even pop and rap), provided it is of a certain quality and can illicit in me a worthwhile response. I have to say my favorite genres over all are probably progressive rock and prog/opera metal. At least the kind that doesn't sound like incessant screaming. Doesn't mean I can't enjoy Beethoven's Ode to Joy or Mozart's Requiem.
  2. 1) They had fewer stupid people than the US had smart people 2) Unless they built a bridge across the atlantic made of stupid people, they didn't have the capital, resources or economy stability to engage in a protracted fight with the USA. Also, the USSR ruled half of Europe because the US gave them billions in aid, free of charge, and helped to defeat Nazi Germany. Not because they had an abundance of stupid people. I hope your being just as sarcastic as I was. I will say that everything said seems perfectly reasonable and certainly not improbable by any standard. I shall have to look into the matter further...
  3. I do agree that Germany had little hope of success in they invaded here (I made note of this in a later post). I also share similar feelings of the credit Hitler gets as both a military commander and a economic savior of Germany. I am unsure of you assessment of the strength of the Germany military. I am completely unfamiliar with the logistic claims of the one author you cite, although I feel that it would be worth looking into. Your description of Irwin Rommel as a apparently moronic and habitual loser seems to contradict every single description I have ever heard of the man. From what I understand, it was Hitler who order him into a worthless death charge and ordered him out time and again. My understanding is that Rommel asked the Furher if he could retreat, regroup, and strike back at the Allies. Hitler's reply was victory or death, and Rommel followed through to the letter. I also think you don't understand the power of stupid people in large numbers. I doubt that the Germans were as backwater and moronic as you picture them, but even if they were, it does not lessen the danger they could present. The Soviet Union ruled half of Europe in a time when it couldn't get tractors to run properly. Maybe the U.S.S.R. and Nazi Germany could have destroyed each other given half the chance, and that would be the better outcome. I don't think the stupidity that is Nazism would just fade away as easily as that.
  4. The answer is: Your right, there is no real difference. I suppose that Nazi Germany was a bigger threat since they were truly all for invasion. Their actions proved such. Stalin was content to sit upon and terrorize his private midden heap. They also had a better chance of hurting us than Soviet Russia, at least until Russia got itself the bomb. Germany had a Navy and an air force. They supposedly had a plan to invade New England, but the probability of success was probably not all that great. Let us remember the glorious success that was Operation Sea-Lion, after all. Russia was not so much threat to America, but a political scape-goat. If you look at the logistics of it, until the advent of the ICBM, a Soviet invasion of North America was utterly laughable.
  5. ... Racism... has nothing to do with Egoism... Racism is a quasi-mystic belief in the superiority of one particular code of genes... It... It makes no sense... No sense..... God damn false analogy-red herring spewing... *sigh* How exactly does Ethical Egoism NOT produce an answer? A man with no legs had different needs than a man with a mental retardation. A psychopathic behaves differently than a schizophrenic. An artist uses different tools than an author. An architect is different than the crane operator. All of these people are DIFFERENT. They must be treated as such. Equal Treatment falls apart because not everyone is equal. Someone with food allergies can't live off of my diet. Who better to treat your own desires and needs but yourself? This guy once again equates selfishness with fuck-youism as opposed to I-ism. These are two completely different things. He also fails, once again, to demonstrate the arbitrariness of Ethical Egoism, outside of a false analogy and a rather poor red herring. Idiot book... So far, the only flaw he demonstrates is that he does not like Ayn Rand, and that, hardly, is a grounds for dismissing a philosophical system.
  6. I think this man has little understanding of what he speaks of. To begin with, many Objectivist can and will do things that may seem altruistic to those who do not understand altruism. Many people associate things like community and niceness with altruism. This is not so. Most of the time that people are nice is because they either; have something to gain via politeness, or, just enjoy being nice. The problem is that they gain from niceness, and, if you gain, it is not truly altruistic. To be truly altruistic, you must give and only give, and you must not gain. Hence why the Puritans believed that doing good was impossible. So, really, when the man who wrote the book poses a theory of moderate altruism, he is more proposing a theory of niceness and amiability. Which is something different. He also lacks understanding of what it means to have a "rational self-interest." Giving to charity can very easily be in a rational-self interest. Helping in a community is within one's rational self-interest. Rational is the key-word in the phrase. This man has obviously been trained to identify self-interest with some sort of Nietzschain ubermenchse monster. Its not in ones rational self-interest to be mean or to be "selfish" in the classical sense. Objectivism is about helping yourself, not screwing the other guy. He doesn't understand that the two extremes are slave or master. Objectivism IS the middle ground!
  7. I'm not sure a single entity for Europe is necessarily a bad thing. Otherwise, how do you feel about the EU? I am not sure if a German lead Europe would be as bad as you say. Certainly the Bismarckian Soft-Socialist Imperialism was not something to be desired, but I think it might be, on some levels, preferable to rampant Nazi Racial Socialism, or hard bitten Soviet tyranny. I also have doubts that Germany could have controlled all of Europe for very long. Even Napoleon, arguably one of the greatest military minds in the last three hundred years, could not hold his Empire. While Germany had the most obviously superior military force in WWI, I don't think it could have held onto France, and certainly not Britain. Not long enough to impose an effective cultural change. Arguably, the most successful person at holding conquered ground, baring Rome and Alexander the Great, was Adolf Hitler, but that may have only been because that ground was taken back before it had a chance to truly rise up and drive him out. Come to think of it, I don't even think that Germany was looking for conquest to begin with. Remember that WWI was almost totally a defensive war. Everyone thought that they were the ones being attacked. Germany only invaded France as a means to end the conflict quickly. Of course, these are only "what-ifs." It might make fun science fiction to write, but is only interesting in the hypothetical sense. To get back to the discussion, I don't think WWI was in our interests. WWII was inevitable. I don't think either war was taken in our interests, though. We fought the right wars for all the wrong reasons. Edit: I forgot to comment on this earlier: While I am for pacifism (when no one is initiating force against me, of course) and all, I don't think appeasement was the answer with Hitler. In all honesty, the author of that book needs to be hit. Even after Poland? Did no one read Hitler's book? He makes it pretty obvious his plans for an Aryan dominated world made on the corpses of all Jews and Bolsheviks and all those who would sympathize with them. While I disagree with the way the war was fought and the way it is portrayed, I think its idiocy to think it could be avoided by the time Hitler had begun his invasions. By the time the gun has been drawn, it is obvious that reason has left the situation.
  8. While I agree with the rest of this post, fighting Hitler was unavoidable, this first part concerning WWI bugs me. Germany only sank our ships and attempted the Zimmerman idiocy because we were only neutral in name. We had long before begun to supply Britain with massive amounts of weapons and vehicles. The whole reason the Lucitania was sunk was because we had loaded it with weapons. In all honesty, Germany had more than enough reason to go to war with us! Looking from retrospect, it might have been in America's self-interest to side with Germany instead of Britain. We would have avoided Hitler, and, quiet possibly, Stalin. Not to say that some French equivalent couldn't arise, but, then again, a huge part of WWII was the victimization of Germany. Perhaps the shoe wouldn't be put onto the other foot.
  9. I was actually referring to Vietnam and Iraq. Stopping Nazism was certainly a boon. Of course, I question our ideological convictions to freedom since Roosevelt was obviously a socialist if not a full fledged fascist, and the fact of the matter is that we never really tried to take out the Soviet Union. We tried to make the angry over the years, certainly, but we never fought them. Had we kept marching past Berlin we probably could have won and taken them out too. I think WWII is romanticized in our culture too much. It gets far more press than any other war because we really were fighting bad guys. Really bad guys. Nazism has come to embody every form of evil for America. Yes, we killed some evil bastards who would have hurt us bad if we let them get too far, but we were not "good guys" ourselves at the time. Just because we were less evil than the bad guys does not, by default, make us good. My god, the only reason we did not nuke Tokyo was because we had already killed every living human being in the area with white phosphorus bombs. We treated our enemies better than almost everyone else, but thats because everyone else was the Nazis, Japan, and Russia. We didn't gas anyone in our concentration camps, but they were still there. WWII was a good war fought against an evil that made itself impossible to avoid, but it was not a romantic war. It was not a heroic war. It was a brutal one, and a brutal one only half fought.
  10. We actually went into WWI because we had sold a huge amount of weapons to the U.K., most of it on credit. When the Germans threatened to overrun the French, we either would become involved or lose out on the money. I've also heard it claimed that Progressives pushed for war as an excuse to attempt an experiment in "war socialism." Wether or not this in itself is a cause of the war, or an unpleasant effect, the result was that we got dragged into war to promote "self-determination" while our own country devolved into a fascist autocracy. Wilson's propaganda ministry was second to none and the ultimate inspiration for Hitler and Gobbles. There was a lot of nationalization and secret police, along with virulent anti-German racism. I will give you that WWII was unavoidable. I have heard sources claim that FDR coaxed the Japanese into attacking so he could have an excuse to enter the war against Germany. While their is some truth to this (we did cut off the Japanese coal and oil supplies prior to Pear Harbor), we would have eventually gotten involved in the war. Wether it was the viciously racist Japanese (see their treatment of prisoners of war and the Rape of Nanking), or Germany, we would have had to have started fighting. Hitler was supposed to have had begun planning a bombing of New York City and an invasion of New England before the war ended. Chances are we would have never toppled Germany like we did had we gotten involved much later. Hitler was beginning to go insane was dying from either syphilis or Parkinson's and chances are someone competent would take his place. I will agree that the World Wars were a large symptomatic, if not causal, part what opened the way for the degradation of American society. Wilson's and FDR's regimes were classic cases of fascist (who are really just militant socialists) administrations. Secret police, nationalization, concentration camps, and more propaganda than you can shake a stick at. It can happen here. It already has. As for us sacrificing "a little freedom for a little advantage," let me ask you this; was it really worth "a little freedom" to get the nation embroiled in the worlds biggest pissing contest that could have very well ended in nuclear holocaust? Was it really worth "a little freedom" to fight useless war after useless war? Was it worth a little freedom to have to painfully pick between a liar and cheat for the job of deciding how to run the people who were supposed to be protecting us? Was "a little freedom" worth all that? Edit: I also forgot, what makes the pre-1910 years the "Golden Age of Free-thought" in America? Usually its the late 1700's thats considered the height of the Enlightenment, which is the considered the historical golden age of Free-Thought. I always figured that came to the end with the rise of nationalism for nationalism's sake and the rise of "Realism" and Byronic Romanticism as serious philosophical mindsets. Long before the world wars. Not being hostile here, just curious as to what you mean.
  11. If I remember correctly, was it not Socrates who first came up with the basis for the scientific method? The idea of learning by questioning, i.e. by testing ideas against reality constantly, is often called the "Socratic" method, after all. Most people I know credit Socrates with the birth of science and modern logic.
  12. Nyronus


    Not quiet. That one is more of a vampire/apocalypse horror story. I haven't read it, but Starship Troopers get a lot of praise, along with other works by Robert A. Heinlein. Oh, and A Clockwork Orange. I have yet to read the book, but the movie is good. V for Vendetta is also fun, the comics supposedly emphasize the dystopian elements more than the movie, but this is secondhand knowledge.
  13. If they're really going to be so stupid as to pull the transcendent god line, stick it to them. Fine, an extra-physical being made the universe. The problem with this idea is that the god they love to say exists beyond reality has a nasty habit of messing with it. If God can interact with reality, then he is subject to its laws. If he wasn't, then we would have some really nasty fucking space-time distortions every time God answered a prayer. Because the universe operates under formulaic laws, that which enters it must either be governed by those laws, or simply not be. Argue against the transcendent god from the axioms. If they insist on God's transcendence still, then they are committing something I like to call the "A Wizard Did It" Fallacy. Essentially, they have accepted without reason a premise so powerful that it is not only self-justifying but above the rules of logic. Imagine an omnimax wizard who can break reality at a whim. Or a God that can. once you accept this God or Wizard, it becomes impossible to argue against him, because the Wizard is so powerful he justifies not only himself but every single argument against him. Its all part of his ineffable plan you see... If they still insist on such anti-logic arguments, I say fight fire with fire. Declare yourself God and use their bad logic against them. They can't disprove that your not God (you can't affirm a negative), plus, since your so powerful, every argument against you is really a subtle part of your ineffable plan which they, as mortals, cannot understand. Humiliate them.
  14. I'm not sure about deliberate Gerrymandering, but it is a historical fact that colonies were made without care to tribal or religious consent. Why these new nations don't just redivide into smaller and less culturally exclusive states is beyond me. Glad to hear the good news. Who would have guessed that sending forces out to go and fight the enemy would have worked so well!
  15. This is essentially my friend's argument. I don't see your reasoning. You say your argument is not a rational for stealing on a mass scale, but that is the way it looks from here. Using your logical precedent, since I have teeth that need root canals, and since those teeth could become infected in a potentially fatal manner, my need of dental surgery is life threatening. Since I value my life, which is in danger, by your logic I can steal to pay for my dental work, as long as I turn myself in later or try to make amends. This is essentially Rand's ethics of an emergency, but I don't think it really applies to either situation. There is nothing immediately at danger in either case. While the scenario is set up for the immediate need of the medicine, you could argue from the emergency standpoint, in real life there are so many alternatives its a little silly.
  16. I might have something here she can play with; The Argument from Design holds that since humans and life are so complex, they must have been designed. The implicit assumption is that an effect must be less than or equal to in complexity to its cause. Otherwise, what is to stop primitive non-complex amino acids from developing into complex humans? Let us establish several rules. All effects must have a cause. This can be derived from the first law of thermodynamics, in which the total energy of the universe remains constant. Since energy, and therefore mass, can not simply come into being, all things have a cause. Nothing can be created out of nothing. To establish a formula: E(X) -MH- C(X) (E(X) = Effect #X, -MH- = Must Have, C = Cause #X) A second rule, all causes must have an effect. The second law of thermodynamics holds that energy is lost from a system and into the environment. So no system, even those existing in a vacuum, are perfectly self contained, and thus can and will eventually effect other objects So then; C(X) -MH- E(X) Now, going from this, since all causes have an effect, and an effect will eventually cause something else, we have established a chain of causality; E(X) = C(X+1) Ergo; C(X) -MH- C(X+1) Now, when we apply the Creationist assumption to the equation, we learn that the most recent cause in the chain must be of equivalent or less complexity than the previous cause. Therefore, in terms of complexity; C(X) > C(X+1) Now, since matter and energy can never be destroyed, it can be assumed that the cosmological universe (e.g.a. the cloud of energy and matter that was once the Big Bang singularity) (which is finite) has a finite amount of energy and matter. Therefore, eventually, we shall reach a point in the chain in which the reactions involve all matter and energy in the cosmological universe. This event shall be labeled C(0); C(0) = M (M = Maximum Complexity) Ah, but all Causes are equivalent to a previous effect, therefore; C(-1) -MH- C(0) And, since C(0) is at maximum complexity, C(-1) = M and since M is Maximum Complexity, and nothing can be more complex than its cause; C(-X) = M Now, since mass and energy can never be destroyed (1st Law), and all matter-energy systems interact with their environment (2nd Law), it can be concluded that the cosmological universe has always been operating at M C(X) = M Now, if the universe has been always operating at the current level of complexity, than we can conclude, based on the logic inherent in the Argument from Design, that the universe has always existed, in some form, as complex as always. Now, this either means that A) Since the universe has always been this complex, there is no creator God, or That the logical assumption of the Argument from Design is a false one, thus removing the need for a creator God. ----- Now, I think the logic towards the end is a little less solid than the logic at the beginning, but the point is clear. This is essentially a formal proof for what I call the Dawkin's Argument (Who made God?). If there are any errors, I'd like to know.
  17. *WARNING: Spoilers and a little bitterness aplenty* There was a reason this film was named "Requiem" To begin with, I am something of a fan of monster movies. Essentially, I love monsters. The more horrible the better. Nothing works better to concrete that which is evil than the type of personification a monster can bring. When I write stories, most of my villains are not only inhuman, but monstrous in form. As far as movie monsters go, I have to say one of my favorites of all time has to be the xenomorphs from the ALIENS franchise. Inhuman, horrible, unstoppable and sinister, the xenomorphs are evil in a way that is both subtle and explicit, and disturbing in the extreme. I will say that I was not disappointed with the first AVP movie. I've seen it harshly criticized by fans, but I didn't think it was bad for what was essentially a popcorn battle fantasy. In fact, using those standards, it was rather good. Aliens vs Predator 2: Requiem, did not, in any way, come close to such tepid praise. To begin with, this movie could have just as easily been called Aliens vs. Predator: Laughing at Genocide! or Aliens vs Predator: Its only mildly disgusting!. Probably the only things that saved this movie from getting such titles is that Requiem (For two franchises) was a far shorter expression of the essential reality of this film. To begin, for those who do not know, this is the only ALIENS film to not take place in an explicit sci-fi setting. its no longer a rag tag team of mercenary, prisoners, or space Marines fighting the monsters, stranded alone in some derelict ship or ancient temple. This is your uncle Ned's arm that just got ripped off. Your nephew Jim who just had an alien rip its way through his chest. That's your family doctor who had his skull blasted open. Since a radically different cast was in order, so was a radically different set of interpersonal aesthetics. Unfortunately, the screen-writers simply borrowed its characters from another branch of horror, the teen slasher. The characters are so insipid and generic, I can't even remember their names. In fact, I don't think they had any. There is the dorky kid, the hot blonde who really likes the dorky kid, the bully of an ex-boyfriend, the cop... The only character with any shred of, well, character, is the dorky kid's brother, fresh back from prison. The characters are so poor and flat, you feel no empathy towards them. Which is rather good, because most of them die rather pointlessly at random intervals, almost for laughs. The "scares" this film throws up alternate between unrepentant gore, and "shocks" that are so horribly trite, you laugh. There is one scene, in which a girl spots an alien looking at her through the window via the use of a pair of night-vision goggles. She screams that there is, predictably, a monster out there. Her parents come in, with the father smiling kindly. "There's no monsters out there." He says, kindly, as he turns his flashlight out into the darkness of the window. He had about half a second to react before a xenomorph launched itself through the window, pins him, and then proceeds to use its proboscis to pound his face it a horrible screaming crushed-cherry red mush. I laughed. Hard. The execution was so poor, I saw the gag, for that is what it was, a mile away. In fact, the instant I saw the girl go to the window, I could have written the script word for word. There is little suspense to be seen. A much better treatment of this scene might have been to have the alien either sneak inside while the parents tried to comfort the child, or force entry after they left. These scenes, if treated with proper suspenseful effect a'la the early ALIEN movies, could have been truly frightening. As it was, they are, quite literally, laughable. This though, underlines another point. The xnomorphs just don't act like they should. In the earlier movies, the aliens had three primary motivations for ALL of their actions; 1) Establish a Hive 2) Gather resources for the Hive 3) Defend/Assist the Hive/Queen. They sneak and attack en masse using chaos and fear. A queen never makes an appearance in the movie (we shall get to this later), and the drones only begin to construct a hive in the last ten minutes. Instead of acting like a race of viciously intelligent hive insects, the xenomorphs of AVP2 run around Your-town America gleefully and nihilistically murdering all of the people meant to stand as cyphers for your relatives. In fact, there is only one scene in which you witness a xenomorph actually eating its kill. Most victims get a brutal proboscis to the skull, and are left to bleed out of the gaping hole in their skulls and twitch to death. At least, the lucky ones do. Apparently an alien born from a predator has the ability to impregnate other beings with chest-burster larva without the need of the iconic face huggers. This development felt like an ad-hoc adjustment made when the screen-writers realized they had only one Predalien and four face huggers and lacked the time (or skill) to write an actual queen into the plot. While this ability is hinted at throughout the movie, it is only revealed when the Predalien murders a hospital doctor and proceeds to rape a maternity ward full of pregnant women. ... Yes, you read that right. The Predalien personally rapes a maternity ward full of pregnant women, the first of which goes into labor just before the act! My jaw dropped at the scene. Not because it was particularly shocking or scary, but because it was done without a hint of taste or art. While such a scene certainly had potentially to be a gruesome and horrifying scene, this is a series famous for the first movie (ALIEN) driving its spectators to vomit in the stands, the utterly senseless nature of the portrayal leaves the viewer with only a very empty feeling of mild disbelief. The same manner of feeling you get when your idiot friend calls you at three a.m. for bail. Again. I feel like I should be outraged by what can only be a blatant attempt to shock me, but I don't. I can only shrug my shoulders. Now, while one may note that at length I have spent much time attacking the Alien half of the movie, fear not, I have some things to say about the Predator. The most important thing about AVP2's sole predator is simply this; he was a non-entity. Yes, certainly he was there for a huge amount of screen-time, hacking his way through the black shelled xenomorph ranks. The problem is though, that when put against the quasi-honorable jungle hunter Predators from Predator and AVP, or the omnicidal maniac predator from Predator 2, this predator feels like... a man in an incredibly well-made predator costume that was not paid nearly enough to try and act. Like the other anthropomorphic members of the cast, the Predator fell short as a flat, irrational, and unmentionable waste of time. The predator goes to great trouble to hide its footprints, including destroying xenomorph corpses with some sort of universal bio-solvent, but then kills a cop for looking at it the wrong way and then skins him, leaving him hanging from a tree for all to see. Why? The final battle of the movie, between the Predalien and Predator, was a huge let down. The two, who are nearly impossible to tell apart in the rain and gloom, stare each other down for a few seconds, violently disembowel each other in the next five, and they die still trying to rip each others faces off as the government drops a nuclear weapon on the town in an attempt to keep the aliens infestation from spreading. Most logical scene in the entire movie. The main characters (who somehow escaped a nuclear blast in a helicopter) find themselves alone and stranded in the mountains. They sit there for a short time, before the bushes begin to shake ominously. Somehow three shaking bushes materialize into about fifty U.S. marines (What were fifty U.S. marines doing on a mountainside a few miles away from a nuclear blast zone?). The lead marine orders the older brother to drop his gun (which he took, interestingly, from the Predator). What follows is the most idiot bit of dialogue I have seen in a while. *tense* "You destroyed my town..." *aims rifle* "I was only following orders..." *perfectly calm* "Oh, okay then, never mind. Perfectly acceptable. My little brother needs some medical help, o.k.? *drops gun* (Note; some these lines were somewhat paraphrased for the sake of satire, but the scene actually went down like. I kid you not.) The pacing in the movie was terrible. There was no sense of time or suspense. What you know actually took three days feels as if it took the exact two hours and some-odd minutes it took you to sit through the movie. While a good movie draws you in, drags you along in time with it. AVP2 does not. Watching AVP2 is no different than watching someone play a Grand Theft Auto game, badly. Rather incoherent and senseless violence topped with the kind of laughter only an idiot can bring. I would recommend just buying the Grand Theft Auto game instead. That, at least, could be fun if you did it right.
  18. My tale might be one of interest. To begin, I was not well liked child. I was one of those strange smart, yet socially inept little kids all of the little darling children enjoyed torturing so much. I was pretty much despised by the vast majority of my peers. I grew up in a conservative yet secular household, by two parents who had some problems of their own. They both drank over job stress an basically psychologically tormented me when I didn't meet their standards. (Don't worry, things get better). This kind of pattern grew until I got to about the tenth grade. At this time, I was something of a socialist (of course, my concepts of socialism were a little uniformed. I mean, what's so wrong about everyone being nice? (Not to mention my idea of what a socialist society would look like, in retrospect, bears more resemblance to a Smithian capitalist utopia than any Stalinist mojo)). I was balanced somewhere between an atheist and an agnostic. Sophomore year started, promising to be another miserable little benchmark in an existence that was not by any stretch of the imagination "happy." Then the best thing to happen to me so far, occurred. Hurricane Katrina came, destroyed my home and drove me out of a state I've come to hate. Due to the problem of not having a home, I was sent to live with my aunt (who was a born again bible thumper, but this is unimportant). I got put in a small school near her home where I discovered this strange thing called socializing. With the help of a wacky Polish boy I refer to as Kaz and a band of misfits and freaks, I went from a total introvert to something of a freakish extrovert. I became not only well known (being something of a novelty attraction in a small town helps), but not universally hated on top of it. I became an open knowledge seeker. I learned to love rock and roll through the awesomeness that is Ozzy Osbourne. I blossomed. Despite stress with my aunt and fears of returning to my parents, I was forced to come back down south. I was pleased to find my parents had sobered up and straightened out. I was enrolled in a middlingly large school. Since I was not something of an attraction, I had to work my way out of a shell again. There though, via Economics class, I was introduced to Why Capitalism Works So Darn Good. This, on top of my distaste over the actions communists had taken in the name of utopia, caused my to throw socialism to the wayside, and became an ardent capitalist pig dog. I was an atheist, an iconoclast, and a capitalist. I was closer than I think I realized at the time. Then came the English III Honors research project. The project is to pick a book by an author, read it, write a paper on it, then do a thesis paper on the author. We were given a list of American authors. I picked names I heard before, one of them being Ayn Rand (where I heard the name, I cannot remember.) I brought my teacher the list to talk it over with her. I crossed out Hawthorne and Asimov since I had read them both. She suggested not doing Eliot or Cummings as they were poets. She then noticed that I had marked Ayn Rand off. She gave me a brief synopsis of Atlas Shrugged (Smart people rebelling against the idiots in power? Sounds like my kind of story!). She also commented that Galt's oath sounded like it would be something that I would say. I puzzled over this and told her that, well, maybe so. I checked the book out the weekend before Christmas break ended and only six days or so before the paper was due. I figured I would read it over the New Years trip to my Grandmother's house. I had not quiet grasped the fact that the novel was twelve thousand pages in length. As I was reading the first chapter in my father's truck, listening to Dagny speak inside my head and watching her feminine leg shift in her chair, a strange series of thoughts occurred to me. These people act like I do. Followed by; No, silly, your just projecting yourself onto the characters in order to find some sort of kinship... ...No, wait, never mind, these guys act like I do. I returned to school the next week having only just wrapped up Wyatt's Torch. I begged my teacher for more time, and she happily agreed. I finished Atlas Shrugged while simultaneously digging through hundreds of negative reviews on the book to support a thesis paper I was writing. Spoiled the story for me. Still loved it. (I remember one particular episode: I wandered into library for English class, walked up to my teacher and stated, rather calmly "They killed the Wet Nurse!" "That's what happens when you get in the way." "... I know, but I liked the Wet Nurse!" Reading Atlas Shrugged not only spring boarded my interest in philosophy, but has also cemented my dreams of pursuing a career in writing and professional philosophy. It has, perhaps profoundly, perhaps not so profoundly, changed my out look on life. This fall, I start college. I try to think for myself, reach my own conclusions. I am a studier of all of human knowledge and I seek the truth. Where has this personal quest for truth lead me? Well, I am here now.
  19. Technically, the axioms of consciousness and existence prove that there is consciousness, there is a reality separate from it, and that there is a link between the two (Perception). So the idea of a disembodied in space is a faulty one. Now, you could have a brain in a vat being fed information to create a fake perception, but this is fundamentally different. Now, the problem with asking us to demonstrate that reality is not a hallucination is that, since solipsism throws perception and sensory data out the window, and sensory data is the only means for man to learn and understand the universe around him, your essentially asking us to preform a feat without doing it. By accepting all but a hypothetical solipsistic stance, you destroy man's ability to gather data. If he can't gather or trust his data, man cannot make conclusions. Essentially, solipsism is self-justifying. If nothing is provable, then nothing is disprovable. Its analogous to stating that legs don't exist, then demanding proof that they do, then stating that since legs don't exist, we can't trust the sight of men walking. While there might be some logical basis for solipsism in the fact that perception can be duped, demanding proof against it is almost circular in its logic. You invalidate our tools, demand us to preform without them, and then cite victory when, surprise, we can't. How can we be logical if our premises can not be trusted? You can't really argue that nothing exists outside the mind because you consciousness implies external existence. Even if the demon is giving us an illusion, the demon and the means to create the illusion exists. As does the organ housing the consciousness and the body housing that. The idea of a brain floating in space is silly. One of the fundamental ideas in Objectivism is that everyone has a choice to believe what they want. The problem is that you have to live with it. You can think there is another life, and you can think reality is some sort of subjective dream, but you'll have to deal with the consequences of these ideas, particularly if you try to force them upon others. If you think you can make rocks into food through force of will, more power too you. I just hope the trick works when your stranded alone on the desert island. So, yes, Objectivism does state that your conscious and reality are existent and independent and interdependent of and with each other, but as for the question of the possibility of the brain in the vat or the Descartes demon, well, you can invalidate reality and sensory data, but you have to find some way to exist like this (which means most likely reevaluating the data and perception), or simply cease to exist. So, really, its kind of pointless to dwell on the possibility of the Matrix, unless your speaking hypothetically, or you have some proof.
  20. Actually, there is a lot of, or used to be, debate on the Constitutionality of at least the income tax. The tax only became permanent after the Civil War, and only after a lot of debate. (I can't remember if there was an amendment or not) There are many people today who are taken to jail because they refuse to pay federal income taxes as a form of protest.
  21. Some optical illusions rely of psychological quirks to get things off. (An example of one: http://www.grand-illusions.com/images/arti...hardgregory.wmv ) This though, is, as you point out, rather minor. The senses, such as in the case of deafness, can be faulty. Perception can also be fooled by extrasensory influences, such as hallucinatory drugs or disease. The fact that there are such things a hallucinations means that perception, at least, can be fooled or tricked (although, as pointed out, this needs outside help to effect). This is the basis of the brain in the vat scenario, and the only (logical) basis I can think of to justify solipsism. The problem is, hallucinations don't operate under cause and effect, and the very fact that they are viewed as abnormal levers the case against solipsism. The central thrust of my argument that, even if I see red where you see blue, the fact that I always see red when the cause is appropriate, and you always see blue, demonstrates that even if the senses can be tricked or are not perfect, they are giving us a operable model of the rest of reality. So either, our senses are essentially correct, or the illusion is so utterly perfect that it cannot be perceived. I also have to agree with other arguments in that asking a man to disprove solipsism is like asking him to walk to the bathroom without moving. edit: Just to clarify, what I mean by perception is the metaphysical model of the world you mind builds in your head based off of sensory data. For example, your mind measures packets of energy (light) with your eyes, and your mind then expresses this with a quality of matter (color). If you feed bad data (such as with drugs) into the model, you get a bad model.
  22. I don't know much of the other two, but I have played with solipsism. Let's establish a logical basis for solipsism. All data input is sensory. This is a given. Science shows us that the senses are the only way our minds can garner information. Speaking hypothetically, even if things such as ESP exists, they would probably be just sensory organs that we have yet to fully understand. Now, secondly, the senses are fallible. Things like optical illusions, the subjective nature of memory, and outright hallucinations show this. There are many psychological experiments showing that perception can be fooled. So then, if all data is perceptive data, and perceptive data is fallible, then it follows that all data is fallible. The grand question being; so what? The problem with applying possible fallibility to all of existence is that existence does not behave as if it is fallible. Yes, in theory, you could have some Descartian Uber-Demon producing a Matrix-like perception of existence. The problem is that cause and effect always works. Reality does not glitch like the Matrix. Water always boils when heated, no matter your exact perception of the event. Every time you exact a specific cause, a specific effect occurs. Even if you perceive hot as cold, and cold as hot, the fact of the matter is that when you do one thing, over and over, you will perceive the same response each time. So then, either the reality we perceive is close enough too exact to be correct, or the demon's illusion is so absolute that we will never be able to the difference. In the end, solipsism is a fun idea to toy around with, but it serves no real practical purpose.
  23. Nyronus


    Those last three you posted, particularly tranquility, are rather moving. I love them.
  24. I am curious how this response labels him as a mystic of muscle. If anything, what he's saying is that people derive morality from a non-divine source, regardless of whatever deity they profess to. Interesting enough, I wonder how this meshes with his meme theory and his idea of teaching religion as a form of abuse and brainwashing. If people can derive morality from somewhere else, then why is religion so bad? (Note, this is a rhetorical question) I also think your labeling of him as a skeptic is a little rash when you consider that he's a scientist, which, by profession, means he has to be skeptical, but not the manner you think of. He's not referring to any inability of humanity to understand reality when he says we can't know that something didn't happen. He's simply admitting that he is not all-knowing or omniscient, and that, if he finds his premises wrong, he would logically have to adjust his conclusion. This question is also an example of the problem of "proving a negative." Dawkins isn't deprecating human knowledge or ability, he's simply saying that he could be wrong (but that this highly unlikely).
  25. Sounds pretty contradictory. So does this, actually, considering that this is WHAT THE BIG BANG IS. I was worried I was misjudging you and making assertions when I attacked you for linking multiple universe theory and Big Bang theory. It seems my worry was misjudged. Must I reiterate that Big Bang theory is marginally unrelated to Multiple Universe Theory? Multiple Universe Theory is something else having to do with a mostly unrelated issue (that of virtual particles and observable quantum particle movements)? But this is besides the point of the Big Bang argument. I think you seem to be lashing out against one thing altogether different than what is there. If what your arguing against the statement "The universe was created by this thing called the Big Bang which existed completely and differently from this thing called the universe," then that is a point we can see eye to eye on. The Big Bang no more created the universe than ice creates water. A singularity, even one encompassing the entirety of the universe, is just another natural state of matter. Now, I may be misjudging you again, but it seems to me you don't like a scientific theory because it disagrees with the words of your philosophical mindset. This statement, if I am reading it correctly, puts you dangerously close to a creationist as far as mindsets go. Objectivism is a philosophy for dealing with reality, and if you don't agree with the implications of a scientific idea, which may well be fact, then, unless you can demonstrate why multiple universe theory is wrong, you need to reevaluate your position, or stop calling yourself an Objectivist. If this is not the case, then I deeply and profoundly apologize and withdraw that statement. I am moving away from Big Bang theory, because as far as the Big Bang goes, it seems to me that your only really upset about semantics, about the way I phrased something. What I refer to in that last statement is what seems to me to be your irrational hatred of multiple universe theory. I'm not really sure what it is your trying to argue here as far as MUT (Multiple Universe Theory) goes. Big Bang Theory has nothing to do with MUT. MUT has nothing to do with Big Bang Theory. MUT is an unrelated phenomena, and the only reason I can find for your constantly pairing the two is some sort of ignorance on both. What is it about MUT, or a universe without end, that upsets you so? What are the "philosophical implications" you rant about? The very fact remains is that you talk a lot about how Multiple Universe Theory is wrong, yet have yet to justify why. And, if it is so demonstrably false, then why not take your evidence to the scientific establishment? All I can see is that you attack MUT because it seems to contradict some part of Objectivism. In a word, what I want to know is your actual "argument." Don't suggest I read other post, don't deflect my reply with ad hominen attacks against evidence or scientists. Don't toss a red herring. Give me what you know of MUT, and why you think its wrong. Or, if I am completely misreading your position, calmly correct me as to what you argue about and why. agrippa1 handles this point well, I think.
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