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Posts posted by avgleandt

  1. lolz

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  2. A recent video. Obama goes full retard, lol.


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  3. Now, I may have hideously misunderstood the Objectivist argument for the primacy of existence, in which case I'd appreciate it if someone corrected me; but my basic understanding is that it attempts to show, a priori, that any form of consciousness is entirely dependent on the nature of the external world (and not the other way round), using analysis of the concept of consciousness. Would I be correct in saying that Objectivism holds that the PoE is analytically true--that the dependence of consciousness on reality is contained within the concept of consciousness?

    I'm not denying that this is true, but if that is the nature of the argument, then how can we know that it applies to the real world without saying that the nature of our concepts determine the nature of reality?

    Do they, or is it the nature of reality that defines the nature of our concepts?

    You know this to be true, because otherwise no concepts would be possible. If there is no reality, then there is nothing to form concepts about, including the concept of conciousness .

  4. Here is Ayn Rand talking about this issue her self.

    Norman Fox:

    Miss Rand, a particular example has been brought to my attention, involving suicide, or apparent suicide, and it goes as follows. If Man B is placed in a situation where he is under a threat of death by Man A, and the threat is contingent on Man B killing Man C, what is the resolution of this situation philosophically? What are the moral explanations of the possible actions of Man B?

    Ayn Rand:

    In a case of that kind, you cannot morally judge the action of Man B. Since he is under the threat of death, whatever he decides to do is right, because this is not the kind of moral situation in which men could exist. This is an emergency situation. Man B, in this case, is placed in a position where he cannot continue to exist. Therefore, what he does is up to him. If he refuses to obey, and dies, that is his moral privilege. If he prefers to obey, you could not blame him for the murder. The murderer is Man A. No exact, objective morality can be prescribed for an issue where a man's life is endangered.

    Norman Fox:

    Just one point that bothers me. Isn't Man B then shifting the initiation of force, made against him, to Man C?

    Ayn Rand:

    No. Because he isn't initiating the force himself; Man A is. What a man does in a position where, through no fault of his own, his own life is endangered, is not his responsibility, it is the responsibility of the man who introduced the evil, the initiation of force, the threat. You cannot ask of a man that he sacrifice his life for the sake of the third man, when it's not his fault that he's been put in that position.

    Gerald Goodman:

    But Miss Rand, what right does Man B have to take Man C's life, instead of his?

    Ayn Rand:

    No rights are applicable in such a case. Don't you see that that is one of the reasons why the use, the initiation of force among men, is morally improper and indefensible? Once the element of force is introduced, the element of morality is out. There is no question of right in such a case.

    As I explained before, you can look at such situation as any action is the moral one to do, or that the element of morality doesn't really apply anymore. I like to think of it as the later.

  5. A moral imperative?

    But what about running away?

    What about accepting the initiation of force, because the usr of retailatory force would imply your death qua biological being?

    Taxes are an initiation of force. However we do not believe to be morally obligated to retaliate and endure prison.

    Ayn Rand fled from the Soviet Union and most surely encouraged her family to escape. She avoided any sort of martyrdom.

    Mr Garza felt that his life, at such old age, was purposeless if he were to lost all the product of his mind.

    Had he been younger, say, 30-year-old, he might have thought that giving up his farm to the criminals would not stop him from starting all over again and suceed.

    Maybe, as a young man with still a future to conquer, fighting the criminals alone would have been irrational, and hence immoral.

    Using retailatory force is moral only when you have good chances to survive, suceed and live a long, rational life afterwards.

    Moral imperative does not mean that any specific individual is obligated to retaliate against initation of force. All it means is that its morally important that all initation of force is punished with retalitory force. This obligation does not fall on the individual in an objectivist society but on the government. In case of the farmer, I can tell you that the act of fighting against initiation of force is morally praise worthy. I can not tell you though, whether the farmer made the right choice to fight, or he should of just run. You can say that whatever he decided under this situation is the moral choice. Or you can say that morality does not apply to the farmers choice, the only thing we know is that the attackers are bad.

  6. But, on second thoughts, if morality ends when a gun begins, why is it preferable to pay taxes instead of going to jail?

    How would you judge a bunch of Objectivists who campaigns for Objectivism by choosing not to pay taxes and face prison? Would they be heroes or fools?

    Would that be self- sacrificial, morally neutral or brave?

    Last month, a 70-year old farmer in Tamaulipas, Mexico, Alejo Garza, fighted back a bunch of drug cartel gunmen.

    They had demanded him to give up his ranch, his property for which he had worked so hard all his life. The gunmen gave him 24 hours to leave the farm (drug cartels in Mexico use this tactic to get hold of isolated farms and make them training camps for new gunmen or drug factories). They promised that if he did what they said, his life would be spared.

    Mr Garza asked his workers not to show up the next day. He knew that calling the police would be a mistake: he lived in an isolated place, far from cities, the police were fighting at the big cities and anyway many of policemen were in cahoots with drug dealers. Mr Garza was a skillfull hunter, so he prepared all his rifles and placed them at all windows. He patiently awaited the enemies... Alone. After the 24 hours had passed, the criminals appeared. They came in big numbers, heavily armed and used even granades. Our old farmer died fighting, and killed four gunmen and caused inhuries to many more. Alejo Garza has held as a hero in all newspapers. Even songs have been composed to remember his deed.

    Were all actions taken by Mr Garza devoid of a moral content?

    Do you think that it is possible to judge him as a fool or as a hero? Or was his deed morally neutral?

    To me, he judged that losing his property at this age would mean he would no longer live qua man. But he knew he could not win fighting alone. He knew he was lost, qua man, both leaving quietly his property in the hands of the criminals and fighting alone against them. At this point you could say that he had no choice and his decision was out of the scope of ethics. Nevertheless, by choosing to fight back, he was making a strong moral point. Mr Garza was saying : I am in charge of my life. If I am not to live as a free man, I choose not to live at all.

    Give me freedom, or give me death.

    Using retalitory force against the intation of force is actually a moral imperative. The problem is this farmer lives in the country whose government is not able to complete their obligation and use retalitory force in his name. So he decided to do it him self. He is a hero.

  7. But this is true of people at any time. People mistakenly judge how much something will affect them all the time, not just under fear of death. When you have to make a decision there and then, you still have to go with your best judgment, even though it's fallible.

    I agree with that. But in all those other situations, even if the person makes an error, we are still able to judge his action moral or immoral. For example a person thinks that drinking alcohol makes him happy and gives him more confidence, so he goes on to abuse alcohol. He made an error of what is good for him, and we can still judge his reality evasive actions as immoral.

    While in the gun example, you are telling me that even if the person makes an error of what is good for him, he is till acting morally? So as long as he does what he thinks will leave him happier, any choice he makes is moral? Morality is not whatever you think is good for you, that is why I think morality is impossible in this situation.

    It is impossible for this person in this situation to do a good thing, to pursue a positive value, he is being force to choose between doing two bad things. I like to say that this type of situation is outside of morality. I guess you can also say that any action he does is a moral one, but I think that might be making the concept of morality more confusing.

  8. I think I know what you are saying. Lets say someone has a gun to your head and says shot that person or I kill you. Do you shot or die? What I think your saying is that the moral thing to do is what you will be content with. If you can't live knowing you killed someone then you choose to die. If you don't want to die and can live with it, you shot. What I am saying is that the person who is under the threat of death, also may not be able to think rationally. He may shot, and then not be able to live with it.

  9. Morality is only possible in the face of an alternative. Its only possible if a person is able decide rationally for him self. Where rationality is not possible I think morality is not possilbe. A situation in which a person is under threat of physical harm, I think his actions can be considered morally neutral.

  10. Human babies (as well as people with profound dementia) would have no chance to survive.

    Human adults would have some good chance to survive. They would use their minds to feed themselves, build shelters, etc.

    Chance of survival has nothing to do with the entities identity. Like I illustrated a lion that has 0% chance to survive is still a lion.

    What makes them human, then? Genome? Neocortex? A mystical soul given by God? Physical appearance? Our feelings?

    Any answer?

    I think Eiuol answered this question, read his post.

    The same thing that makes a human a human, is what makes a baby a human. How do you know that a chair is a chair? It looks very similar to a table or a stool. But for some reason we still know it’s a chair. Because a chair has a lot of characteristics and some defining characteristics. Similarly a human has the same thing. The faculty of reason is one of the defining characteristics and is very imporant. However, you can have a human with faculty of reason that doesn't have rights, such as a criminal. A human with faculty of reason that survives through the initiation of force has no rights. Though faculty of reason is an important characteristic that gives human's rights, it is not the only one.

  11. I invite you to do this mental experiment:

    Drop 50 babies in an inhabited island.

    Be generous: leave them some matches, lanterns, bows and arrows, some bottles of purified water and a first-aid kit.

    Leave them alone and come back one year later.

    Tell me how many of them will be alive.

    Do the same experiment with 50 people with severe dementia.

    They will all die. Its likely that 50 adult humans might all die as well. There are normal adult humans that will die living in industrial society if someone doesn't tell them what to do. Put 50 full grown lions, or 50 grown cows on a desert island, and they will all die as well. Doesn't mean that they are not cows or lions. The point is that infants, though they can not survive on their own, like majority of any new born animal, still live like a human, they pursue values like a human.

  12. A baby does not survive by using his mind.

    He survives by being cute enough to attract the attention of adults who will ensure he is kept fed, warm and safe. He survives by crying in the face of any potentially dangerous stimulus or sensation. He survives as many other baby mammals do: by keeping healthy automatisms and reflexes, like sucking.

    So, you can't claim rights for babies on the grounds of their survival mechanism.

    A severily mentally challenged man (one that is fully dependent on other for his food and health, for example) does not survive by using his mind: at least, not in the conceptual level as we do.

    If they could survive by using their minds, they wouldn't need caregivers or legal representatives: they would be free to use their life projects, lifestyle, etc.

    So, you can't claim rights for severily mentally challenged men on the grounds of their survival mechanism.

    Regarding siamese twins, I brought the example to attack the argument of "separateness" or "separate entities", not the argument of rationality.

    I think a baby survives like an adult human. Its usings its mind to learn ideas and integrate concepts. Though it can not perform the full actions of an adult human, this is only dew to lack of physical development, and idea integration. The baby is processing its first sensory data.

    A mentally challenged person does not survive like an animal. He survives and lives similarly to a normal adult human, he just can not perform rational activity at the same level. However, I think that there are cases when the mental capacity of a person is so gone, and the way he lives becomes like an animal, or even a vegetable, that this person looses his rights. For example a brain dead person lives like a vegetable.

  13. Rights aren't about survival specifically as much as it is survival in a social setting. Humans are uniquely able to trade value for value, which enhances survival capacity. In fact, anything with a rational faculty is capable of trading value for value, which can only occur when you respect the rights of others with that same faculty and all their needs of survival. Although vampires are kind of an arbitrary example and entirely fictional, they still need to evaluate how to acquire blood. So, that survival method does not resemble animals, the method would still fundamentally be use of reason. Application of rights can vary though because, for example, a baby is not capable of evaluating contracts.

    The vampire example is arbitrary, I agree. Since vampires are fictional, you can construct one that has rights. My intention was to show that it is possible to have an entity that has rational capacity but does not have rights. The full nature of the entity must be considered before it can be validated that it has rights. For example if you have an immortal vampire that the only thing that he needs is blood. Then the only thing that it is possible for him to value is blood. The concept of life is what makes the concept of value possible, and since the only alternative that this type of vampire has is to have blood or not to have blood, blood is the only thing he can value. Further depending on how he acquires blood, we would be able to decide if he has the right, aka freedom of action to earn blood.

  14. Why do human's have rights? Because of their rational capactiy? That is diffently one of the big reasons, but its not the whole story. Humans have rights because like every entity there is a proper actions they have to take if they are going to survive. The actions that the human entity takes is using its mind. Everything that human's need for survival they create with their mind. In order to survive a man must be able to engage in self-sustaining and self-generated action by using his mind.

    An adult human, a human infant, a mentally challanged human, siamese twins all survive in the same way, and thus they have rights. A fetus however survives differently, and that why it doesn't have rights. Also I think its possible to construct an entity that has rational capacity but does not necesarrly have rights. For example if vampires were real, I don't think they would have rights. Even though they would have exactly the same rational capacity as an adult human, they do not survive by using their rational capacity to create things they need to live. All they need for their survival is blood. Their survival resembles the survival needs of animals.

  15. Incorrect. What has been tested and observed is that there is something taking place which which is taken to be time dilation (for whatever various reasons). But I have seen nothing that proves definitely that A) time exists in the sense claimed and that B) It must dilate for the events described in said experiments to be possible. Though I am aware that is commonly believed that both must be true according to the results of these experiments.

    Denying that experimental evidence is not evidence is not an valid argument, it can be done for anything.

    Electromegantisim does not exist. What has been observed is that there is some attraction taking place which is taken to be electromagnetism(for whatever various reasons). But I have seen nothing that proves definitely that A) electromegantism exists in the sense claimed and that It must attract for the events described in said experiments to be possible.

    Or Dogs do not exist. What has been observed is that there is some animal that is taken to be a dog(for whatever various reasons). But I have seen nothing that proves definitely that A) Dogs exist in the sense claimed and that it must bark for the events described in the said experiments to be possible.

    I am assuming you are not familiar with the experiments of special relativity, and all the practical applications we have of it in todays technology.

  16. This is not yet experimentally verified. If true, the gravitational force will be mediated by mass-less particles called gravitons. Gravitons have not been shown to exist yet.

    I doubt they will be. Why must gravity be temporally lagged? Unlike electromagnetic potentials, gravitational potentials are scalar. Because it is non-directional, gravitational potential cannot be affected by the direction of travel of the masses that determine it. If the gravitational force were transmitted radially at finite speed, then the inter-attraction of masses under gravity would be affected by their relative state of motion. This appears to be a contradiction.

    - ico

    Yeah I don't think the speed at which gravity waves move has been verified directly yet. I was just explaining what general relativity says about gravity. General relativity is currently a well accepted theory of gravity.

    They are building LIGO, a gravity wave ditector, so we might get a direct expirement soon. One of the reasons that general relativity is so accepted is because a lot of its predictions have been verified experimentally. The speed of light is not all about light, its a fundemantal ultimate speed of any phsycial interaction in nature.

  17. As for the time about time dilation and general relativity, well I really think it would have been better without that stuff. I am a firm believer that modern physics needs to purge those sorts of bad interpretations as soon as possible.

    Thats highly improbable. Time dilation has been tested and observed in hundreds of thousands of expirements. They even have obsevational evidence in experiments done at normal speeds such as on an airplane. Measured with a atomic clock the time dilation was insignificant, however it was still there. Time for a moving object moved slower then for stationary object. What exactly is bad about them that needs to be purdged? Why do you feel that they are bad theories?

  18. More or less related to this, I have a question of my own: have there been any (valid) attempts at an explanation for why gravity is so pervasive (over immense distances that would make it seem as if it's acting at speeds faster than light - although this might just be convenience-naming)?

    Yeah the theory of general relativity. Gravity doesn't not act faster then light, it acts at light speed. If the sun would suddenlty vanish. Both gravity and light would go out at the same time on earth, approximatly 8 minutes after the sun vanishes.

  19. Obviously dated - since the current light barrier is approximately 13 billion light years off. 56 light years wouldn't get us out of our own galaxy. Or across it.

    What do you mean? It could. He is talking about the time that passes on the ship. If you could travel significantly close to the speed of light, time on the ship would slow down enough so that only 56 years would pass for the travelers. We can use the relativity equation to calculate exactly how fast we would have to go in order to cover 13 billion light years in 56 years, ship time. Obviously for everyone else not traveling at close to speed of light 13 billion years would pass. It doesn't even have to be 56 years. The closer you get to the speed of light the slower time goes for you. Theoretically if you get close enough to the speed of light you can cover that distance in a second. For the traveler. And at the speed of light it wouldn't take any time at all.

  20. As Ayn rand said, at the root of any unresolvable conflict you will find that someone's rights are being violated.

    This is such a conflict. Public property in its self is already a violation of rights. As long as public property exists you cannot possibly resolve this conflict objectively. There is no possible way to validate either parties claims based on the objective principle of initiation of force. Force has already been initiated through the existence of public property before this situation even arose. The only way to solve this problem is to get rid of the original initiation of force, which means getting rid of public property.

  21. The most important part of creating a new nation is defense. No one is going to allow you to secede or start a new nation for free. No one is going to move there or even visit if its to big of a risk. The only viable defense option that I see right now is secrecy. Which means that if an Atlantis does exist out there right now, its most likely a secret just like Galts Gulch in Atlas Shrugged.

  22. I was wondering why google would want promote such policies. My friend who is more knowledgable in computers explained. 90% of bandwith is used by 5% of people who download stuff on peer to peer networks. Its immpossible for a server to be able to indentify who is using regular internet and who is using peer to peer. Peer to peer activity can swallow up a lot of bandwith and leave regular internet users with slower internet. Comcast created somekind of new mini servers that can somehow differentiate between peer to peer and regular users. They use these servers to protect some bandwith for regular internet users. This leaves peer to peer speeds almost untouched, and speeds up regular users internet to high speeds.

    Verizon has its own internet providing network, and Google owns large part of an ISP(internet service provider)called clear. Both don't have access to these new mini servers, I think because of a patent. So they will have a hard time competing with comcast, because their servers that cannot tell the difference between peer to peer and regular will not be able to offer the same high speeds to regular users as comcast. So they want to use the power of the government to level the playing field for them. They want to make the new mini servers ability to tell the difference between peer to peer and regular illegal.

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