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Everything posted by Jackethan

  1. I am gay, and Ayn Rand's opinions on the morality of homosexuality don't affect my self esteem too much. Either she learned to accept that being gay is not immoral and was right, or she didn't and she was wrong. My curiosity is academic. It's a frequently asked question from non-Oists and students, and I've heard many conflicting answers on the subject so I'd like to collect evidence and see if I can get to an accurate answer. Objectivism has taught me how to think, not what to think. Thanks for the concern.
  2. Doctor, do you have a citation on the Binswanger account? I'm interested in evidence of her specific views as well as any friends she had who were gay. I seem to remember the specific friend's homosexuality was known to her and she maintained the friendship. Kerry O'Quinn may be the one. Thanks for the info so far guys.
  3. Hi all, been a while. I remember in a discussion about the ethics of homosexuality and Ayn Rand's views on it many years ago on this forum I encountered someone who claimed that Ayn Rand had changed her views on homosexuality later in her life and that one of her close friends was openly gay. I could be remembering wrongly, but I distinctly remember seeing the man's name. If anyone knows the identity of the man or any information about this I would appreciate it.
  4. Honestly I think it should be between you and your doctor to decide of Propecia is right for you. A lot of people here are making a lot of assumptions about DHT, Just because it is an androgen doesn't mean that reducing it is "reducing what makes you a man" or anything of that kind. It's just a chemical. Many people's hormones are probably out of whack due to poor diet these days anyway.
  5. Any name from pretty much 1AD onward is going to be based on the altruistic mythologies of Judeo-Christians. This includes most names from all of the areas of Byzantine influence. These are the names which are most common today that don't sound 'weird' to modern ears. A few characters in the bible were actually badasses, such as Samson. If you're interested different names from those I suggest looking at Greek and Roman names. However most of those represent ideals or mythology from those religions. Alexander, for instance, is Greek for 'protector' (I believe). However, I doubt you will come up with any names of specific Objectivist ideals, since Objectivism has only existed within the last century.
  6. JASKN: This means the presidential election is going to focus on this issue. People are going to vote based on who wants to shut down Obamacare, meaning a GOP candidate might have a chance of winning. Whether that's a boon to the country is up to your personal opinion, personally I think it would be good if one did. And there is also the more bittersweet news that the harder the state clamps down on freedom the more individualistic people will 'wake up' and rebel.
  7. I don't think sexual fantasies fall very much under morality. I don't think you can judge your own thoughts as moral or immoral, since they are simply thoughts, not actions. Whether fantasizing about another woman is a smart idea depends on you. Are you fantasizing about her for physicality, because she's different from your wife and you crave that variety? Or are you in love with this other woman? If the first, then calm down, you're normal and human. If the second, then you may need a marriage counselor and a good talk with your wife. Fantasies are as valuable as their effects on your life. If you feel fantasizing about another woman is harming your sex life then you need to address that in a candid conversation with your wife, and find out what kinds of things you can both do together to have a better sex life. A sexual fantasy is not an attempt to escape from reality anymore than a non-sexual fantasy about living in the world of Middle Earth or Mass Effect is.
  8. Heya Superman123, another gay Oist here. Same to the OP, hello! Welcome to the forum. In response to your recent point, Superman: In a free market system all minorities would be in the same boat. However, there's an important part of Ayn Rand's view of -how- a free market system becomes adopted. Ayn Rand believed that in order for the government to change fundamentally to become more capitalist the general attitude of individuals' personal views on morality and politics would have to change. If a dictator ran in and suddenly abolished taxes, regulations, social programs, and left the perfect framework for a capitalist government with individual rights, it would immediately topple. You can't force people to believe in a philosophical system, and such a system is a necessary part of how a government style arises. The general trend is that individualism is more compatible with atheism and (classical) liberalism than it is with religion and theocracy. Those fundamentalist religious types who are such 'ardent' supporters of individual rights are simply compartmentalizing their metaphysical and moral beliefs away from their political beliefs. When it comes right down to it Jesus was a dirty hippie who hated family and wanted people to pay their taxes and support the poor, hungry, and bereaved. The association with religion and capitalism has been a recent development in America, and in my opinion it is not a strong bond. There is a ticking timebomb in America's culture war, which ends with the marriage of fundamentalist religion and mystical altruism. Already the two parties are nearly identical ideologically on every important issue, and argue mostly on the most practical way to implement altruism. So the idea here is that if and when a free market system arises in America it will be to a whole new moral zeitgeist (which the ARI is trying to start) that will necessarily have to include individual rights for all human beings. So you're right, nothing will stop a single shopkeeper from putting up a sign what says "Keep out the gays." And similarly, nothing will stop the majority of people from simply not patronizing such businesses. Any business which unfairly and irrationally denies itself customers is doomed to failure in a capitalist economic system, besides being irrational and immoral to discriminate based on such criteria, it is also not good business sense. That is a fundamental part of Objectivism: That all real principles must also be practical. There is no dichotomy between theory and practice, because if your principles do not work in practice, they were not good principles in the first place. Also another thing I am surprised no one has brought up here: Ayn Rand had a very close friend who was gay, her husband's brother. She remained friends with him her entire life. No, she was not a homophobe, and no her recorded comments about gays do not constitute a necessary part of this philosophy. Peikoff is recorded in his podcasts saying that Objectivism does not count homosexuality as immoral and that he personally believes the theory Louie put forth earlier that it may be the sum of a number of choices. This view of his is not a result or tenet of Objectivism. Objectivism has been the most amazing force for positive change in my life. I know many Objectivist gays and many Objectivists with gay friends. So stick around, Queer Capitalist, and Superman123. We would be happy to have you, and don't let any small minds get you down. <3
  9. I'd like to correct a semantic error. I don't think Sentient is the word we want to use for distinction in this case. I made this mistake in an argument about animal rights once already. Sentient according to Merriam-Webster Online: 1: responsive to or conscious of sense impressions 2: aware (checked: having or showing realization, perception, or knowledge 3: finely sensitive in perception or feeling Sentience only means the ability to feel, not self awareness or consciousness as we define them. You put together a really good case for receiving a legitimate financial compensation for the dog, but your case is still purely financial. You spent money to get the dog, you spent money (in the form of not working) to train the dog from youth. Most of the things you said are quantifiable and able to be verified by paper documentation and financial records. They are wholly different from an emotional attachment case. I believe courts rightly should award people compensation from the aggressor for breeding, training, feeding, taking time off, and medical care. It is the idea that you should be awarded more compensation based on the level of emotional investment you have made which is more difficult to objectively quantify and prove in court. Note, I don't believe it is impossible, I just haven't seen it done yet, neither had Rand or Peikoff. I believe it can be done, and I believe they both thought so too. I think a good case could be made for doing disturbing things in earshot/view of neighbors. At least, I've seen far more petty cases on television go to court, not even involving animals. Furthermore, in an Objectivist society a homeowner's association, township, or even city could have laws against animal abuse like that as an issue of disturbing peace of mind for locals. I think the more difficult issue to legislate is when someone, willfully or not, neglects an animal to the point of abuse. I think direct violence to an animal is easier to stop than the ones who simply bought a dog, found out it was too much work, and now just leave it in their yard, forgotten, giving water and food to it maybe on a monthly basis. In these cases, the person is not acting violently toward the animal and thus creating a ruckus to distract neighbors with. The animal is just slowly dying. I think these cases are more common than direct violence.
  10. In any normal argument in logic there are premises and a single conclusion. The conclusion is said to be supported by those premises. The parts of an argument can only be declarative sentences, for example "something is", "Something else is", "Therefore this other thing is" All arguments in logic are structured this way. Each premise and the conclusion is a statement of fact, whether true or not, opinion or not, it is structured as a factual sentence. In moral arguments the conclusion is always a command. One or more of the premises in the argument is a moral principle which the speaker believes to be factual, but which may not actually be objectively factual, and the conclusion is a command: "Therefore you should live this way." It is the should, or ought, which Hume is pointing out. People's first instinct is to point out a flaw in the moral principle or premise, but Hume claims the problem lies in the conclusion. Premises which state facts cannot prove a conclusion which states how something ought to be, in Hume's view. An ought cannot be observed and explained using declarative premises. According to the ARLexicon, Rand's view is that living entities' existence necessitates oughts. The mere fact of living and choosing to continue to live means that certain things are objective values and certain other things are not values. This is why her moral arguments carry certain assumptions: That you are a living being, capable of volition, and that you are trying to continue to exist as such. Given those fundamental premises Rand said the is-ought dichotomy was disproven.
  11. For the sake of argument, Sapere, let's analyze. (I'm not trying to debate here I'm being dialectic.) If you replace animal with...a doll. Your dead daughter's doll that you're attached to, it gives you a tangible reminder of your dead daughter, your only connection to her left in the world. Your neighbor steals it, rips it apart, and burns it. Let's put a similar monetary value to the doll as a dog, maybe it had gemstone eyes so it was worth $100 to $1000 dollars. To keep up the analogy, maybe you spent years buying expensive cleaning stuff monthly to make sure the doll was in pristine condition, (similar to how you have to feed and groom a dog). Should the court apply any special punishment beyond compensating the monetary worth of the doll? And if not, what makes dolls different from dogs in this case? If so, what makes them similar?
  12. I think it's important to remember that Animal Planet and Nat Geo both play up the situations you encounter on shows like Animal Cops. These channels, the ASPCA, PETA, and the enviro movement itself really wants you to believe that we're all cruel or negligent caretakers for animals. It is important for them that you believe it so that you'll continue to watch their networks, and support animal rights organizations. Also something important to note about those shows as I have seen them, it is rarely a successful happy person who has three dogs chained to spiked posts with no food and water in a 8x8 backyard. It is most often a house in the ghetto, with unemployed owners. For horses, a failing farm that is kept by someone who doesn't know horse care and will probably have to give up or change the property soon to get any money on it. So the case could be made that those enviro groups should advocate dropping welfare and boosting the free market so there are less poor uneducated people to mistreat the animals they own. In fact in many laboratories for the medical industry the FDA requires animal testing even when it could be deemed unnecessary, and they have strict draconian rules on how the animal must be treated during testing. If the FDA wasn't around animal testing could be conducted on a per company basis and the treatment of their animals could be overseen by free market forces. Laws against cruelty are a problem because punishment for such cases is either irrelevant or too harsh. You can throw a few guys who left their dogs alone during vacation in jail for a few years, but ultimately no objective system of law and punishment can be constructed which satisfies both reason and emotion in this case. I believe both Ayn Rand and Leonard Peikoff had said this before, that they wish some kind of special case could be formulated for animals but they could not think of one. Peikoff mentioned (I believe) prosecuting someone who is cruel to animals on the basis that they represent a threat to other humans around them, based on the pathology of someone who is capable of being that cruel to an animal. Ultimately involving government in the fight to stop cruelty to animals only causes more harm to them.
  13. Paid for stuff you never got at a restaurant? Mighty generous of you.
  14. Perhaps your sentence is just worded wrong, but as is, I would not say any man's primary function is penetration nor any woman's being penetrated. I don't think it's a good idea to define 'oughts' by biological function or morphology. A penis is a reproductive organ, but reproduction isn't an essential to being human. Defining masculinity and femininity based on 'penetrator' and 'penetratee' divorces the concepts from reason. I guess my point to you is, yes if a man gets surgery to be a woman he will be a man forever. It changes nothing about him metaphysically, and I never argued it did. I'm saying it's not 100% wrong and irrational in every case, and that deliberately berating TGs based on that one choice is obnoxious.
  15. Some individuals in those professions yes, which again turns this into a case by case judgement basis of morality at best. It is not the habit or principle of modern medicine to administer these surgeries on a whim. I'm not sure I understood the first sentence, but I think I agree. Just sexual urges do not a moral case make, since morality is about choices and not urges. My problem is that defining homosexuality as strictly no-choice, and then forming moral judgement on the basis that scientists tell us that it isn't a choice, doesn't sit right for me rationally. Tabula rasa, anti-determinism, and my personal experience as a homosexual who chose to be, tell me otherwise. And before anyone goes into a thing about how I'm only a bisexual who chose to only be with men, how can that be a real distinction? I don't have sexual attraction to females, but I considered them as possible mates just the same, and I continue to do so. I find it unlikely that I'll ever find a female I'm interested in partnering with, so I look for partners exclusively in males. What backwards definition of morality would exclude me? My apologies, "You don't understand" was not proper in that context. I only have a problem with a blanket moral statement that any and all TGs who have surgery are immoral and irrational. I believe that judgment can only be made on a case by case basis at the individual level. TGs: I object to a level of disgust shown for TGs by the public, but my objection is an interpersonal one and not a moral one. I object to using pronouns they dislike on principle because I do not see the principle. I was never taught in Grammar class: "And his and her ARE ONLY FOR THOSE SEXES, and if you see a man dressed as a woman, YOU CALL HIM A HIM." What to call them is a matter of courtesy, not preciseness of language. Gay: I do not agree with you that orientation is not a matter of choice. But that isn't essential to the point I want to make about the morality of homosexuality and homosexuals' rights. I am saddened that civil rights for homosexuals is so little informed by enlightenment philosophy. It has taken the careful admonition of psychologists that homosexuals can't really help being how they are for society at large to really give a damn. Women's rights required no such scientific justification. Blacks' rights did not either, in fact science was against them in many cases. The civil rights movement for Blacks in America did not begin and was not predicated on some scientists stating that studies show Black people cannot help the way they act or feel. Successful movements for more rights are based on philosophical justifications, not scientific ones. I do not need empirical data to prove that it is my right to be gay, choice or no choice. In a private business a rule against men in the women's room would be a rule, not a law. Violation of the rules of the house could be regarded as tresspassing. I agree with the right of private citizens to dictate the rules of their house. I disagree with a state or a government's right to legislate that men cannot be in the women's room, in either public or private buildings. Such a law is unenforceable by such entities. Only a private property owner can enforce the rules correctly, morally, and objectively in his own property.
  16. Again, you've gone into the legal realm and not the moral realm. I will never argue that it is wrong for a proprietor of an establishment to discriminate his customers as he sees fit. I cannot help but think you are equivocating 'male.' If a person is born a man, they continue to be a man biologically their entire life regardless of plastic surgery. The pronoun 'his' or 'her' is part of a social convention, language. Language is essentially a means of communicating to other people, and the pronouns his or her are not for strict scientific identification of sex, they are social constructs, just as much as masculinity is a social construct.
  17. Again, just being in the women's restroom does not make you a peeper. Just like being in the men's restroom doesn't make you a peeper. The idea that a man in a woman's restroom can only be up to no good is an ancient social meme. As for indecent exposure, I must disagree, it is un-objective, or at the very least it is an incorrect law. Nudity is not a crime. Other people cannot be 'subjected' to nudity, just as they cannot be 'subjected' to your smoking in public, or your vomiting in public. There are many things one sees in public that one might rather not. To legislate against them simply on that basis is not what freedom is about. If a man is harassing a woman, that is a violation of her rights, and the law, be he clothed or not.
  18. What will a man in the women's room be charged with? Indecent exposure? I thought it was well established that such laws are not objective. If the man is charged with peeping, then firm evidence for the fact that he was actually peeping needs to be established. It's not like women keep the stall doors open for a chat while their skirts are down.
  19. "Why would someone choose this?" That's precisely the issue. Because you don't understand why they would, you are assigning a blanket moral statement that it is wrong for anyone to do. This is far different from, say, a Muslim woman choosing to undergo circumcision to bring herself closer to God. There are documented instances of people having a sex change and enjoying a stable healthy life afterward. The fact that the surgery is invasive, permanent, and that some people may not be quite as happy as they thought afterward does not negate the fact that some people -are- quite happy, so at most moral condemnation should only be assigned on a case by case basis. In the future, when geneticists have figured out how to give someone a real actual sex change, this debate will be quite different. Glad we agree on restrooms. I also agreed with you earlier on masculinity. A sex change surgery requires a lot more rigorous testing than being a simple whim. If a person can convince a doctor to give them hormones, a psychologist that they need them, and then after that they need a surgery, then it may go beyond a simple whim. Plastic surgeons aren't just handing out sex changes to anyone who can pay. The morality of homosexuality necessarily -must- be about freedom of choice. Regardless of what psychology says now, or what it might say in the future, being gay is okay because it is morally okay for a person to choose to be that way. Psychologists used to say it was a disorder, now they say it's a trait, in the future they might say it's nurture. This is just the nature of science, and it's why the moral evaluation of homosexuality must divorce itself from science. Homosexuality being a choice or not is not a first level concept. To play devil's advocate on your devil's advocate, I used to work in a retail position where I had to clean bathrooms, and frequently the women's bathroom was more filthy than the men's. Cleaning soiled tampons off the floor and toilet is just as disgusting as cleaning piss from beneath the urinal. I thought we were speaking morally and not legally. If we're speaking legally, no argument can be made, because volition definitely is a legal principle, even in the modern USA. Also if we're speaking legally, a law against transgenders using a bathroom would be a violation of rights in any context. You could only punish stupid or ugly transsexuals who, for some reason, reveal their sex to someone else in the bathroom. Generally the convincing ones will get by, whatcha gonna do, lift her skirt? Also as a side note, I'm personally against urinals, I dislike them and never use them. I'd prefer if Men's restrooms didn't have them.
  20. So far TG opponents here are ignoring freedom of choice. What if a person simply wishes to become the opposite sex? If technology exists to make that mostly possible, what moral condemnation can rightly be brought? If a woman who has undergone transformative surgery to become a man wishes to use the men's restroom, why stop her? Will the men all be tainted by her presence? The idea of gender specific bathrooms is an Augustinian social convention anyway. She's not there to be a pervert, she's not tapping her foot beneath stalls, she's just using the bathroom most congruous with her outward appearance. Transgenderism is okay morally just for the same reason homosexuality is, and that fundamental morality has nothing to do with biology or physiology in every way, and has everything to do with volition. EDIT: I originally said "You're all ignoring" at the beginning, that was pretty inaccurate. Fixed.
  21. I can't think in silence. Probably an effect of being part of the digital generation. In silence I tend to want to do something physical. When I have a flood of sound or sensation that I don't have to focus on entirely I usually get my best thinking done. Mostly in the shower, in the car when no one is talking and when music is playing. My mom was into new age when I was a kid so I was taught to meditate often. She used to listen to nature sounds or classical. For me, I set my pandora to my dubstep station and let the 'river' flow.
  22. I tried a though experiment replacing the OP with a physician and Joe with a patient but it doesn't pan out. Mostly because your action would not directly or indirectly cause Joe's meltdown (if that's what you hypothesize would happen). If, in the worst case scenario, Joe flips it, it would be caused by the psychic trauma from the past, his own personal methods of dealing with it, and his failure to conquer these overreactions. Not to rationalize on a grand scale, but if his psyche is so fragile, what's to say something else won't set him off in the future? Obviously I don't mean, "Well if the vase is -going- to be broken, may as well break it now." I mean simply that if, in your opinion, he's liable to break because you told your friends he's a butthead and to ignore him, then it is highly likely something else that is equally indirect and silly will set him off in the future. So I guess the point there is, (based on the false lemming over cliff legend) that lemmings will jump over cliffs, you can't just poke one and then assume that now, if that lemming goes over, it's your fault because you poked it.
  23. If you're referring to Dinosauria, they were not reptiles. As to your questions, I don't want to answer them each individually. You seem to be focused on the details of evolution and not the process. Darwin proved that the process of evolution occurs and how it occurs. The theory of this process is validated by scientific discoveries in the field. The specific details of how individual species evolved certain traits may or may not be known to scientists, but the point of evolution is they are explainable under the process of natural selection. Daniel Boros, you don't seem to be arguing in favor of creationism, at least you don't mention it, so this next part of the post isn't directed at you. And yes I realize this is a necrothread and some of the original posters aren't here anymore, but since this thread will be on the front page for a little while I thought I'd add my two cents. Creationism isn't really a theory, I have never heard an ID debater proffer an alternative process. Often they don't want to get into specific details of faith, so as not to alienate particular denominations. The alternative process which remains unnamed, of course, is God. Most commonly a Judeo-Christian God. The reasons that it is entirely impossible that the origin of species is mystical are too obvious and numerous to count. Richard Dawkins' book, The God Delusion does an exceptional job of pointing out arguments against god, for evolution, and for atheism in general. I recommend it to anyone interested in debating on the topic.
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