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Everything posted by Dante

  1. Let's be clear about what the claim is here. Religious people, merely by virtue of being religious, are therefore mentally unhealthy. Not that they hold wrong ideas, or even that their methodology for deciding on these ideas is wrong, but that their actual mental functioning is flawed. Recall that we're talking about 80% of all Americans here. I don't see how anyone living in modern-day America could possibly think this, or stand by a statement like this.
  2. Let me stop you right there. No legitimate medical profession would (or should!) include religious belief as such as a contributing factor to mental illness, and you do a disservice both to atheists and to psychologists by claiming that anyone with religious belief has some level of mental instability or psychological illness. This is simply a ridiculous notion.
  3. For the record, I don't think that the anti-Kant T-shirt is a legitimate exercise of intellectual property. Furthermore, I think people here have been mislead by Timothy Sandefur's statement concerning the anti-Kant T-shirt in his essay. It essentially functions as a hook for the essay, to draw in the reader's interest by pointing to a particular case of IP abuse that is also specifically related to Objectivism. However, although Sandefur implies that the anti-Kant shirt was part of the reason that the cease and desist letter was sent, he doesn't actually say that, and I suspect he can't. T
  4. The point of the example is simply to illustrate that exerting mental and physical effort on what is already someone else's property doesn't make it yours. The example was a bit contorted and historical because, quite frankly, we don't really have unowned land in America anymore. When we did have unowned land out West, we had a system that avoided many of the problems that you point to in your previous post (how do we decide how much land a person reasonably owns from developing some of it, do they need to fence it off). Their solution was simply to standardize the area of land that an individ
  5. I don't have a full-fledged defense of IP to lay out here, but I would like to address this issue of the innocent independent inventor that is raised both here and in the contra-IP essay linked to earlier. In this situation, inventor B has, through his own independent intellectual and physical work, produced something that happens to fall under a patent owned by inventor A. I think we can shed a little light on this by considering a similar situation in the case of physical property, say unowned land. Consider a situation where individual A begins to develop some parcel of unowned land and, be
  6. The majority of Christian denominations (in America at least) believe that the teachings of Jesus have supplanted Old Testament verses like this. There are some radical Christian sects that don't (like Christian Reconstructionism), but most Christians see verses like this as part of their history, not part of their doctrine. It takes more to understand a religion than just reading its holy book. Edit: Just found the name for this doctrine (that Old Testament verses are largely not applicable to today's Christians): Dispensationalism
  7. Wow, thanks! This looks great. I very much enjoyed the first Ayn Rand Society Philosophical Studies book.
  8. Picking one concrete difference between men and women and extrapolating one's entire theory of masculinity and femininity from that is not a good example of keeping one's ideas tied to reality. This requires taking all facts into account, periodically checking and rechecking one's conclusions against these facts again and again. Without that, floating rationalism is exactly what it is.
  9. They stopped selling it at the ARI bookstore? It's quite an interesting read, although very dense. I recommend it for those seriously interested in the topic.
  10. Dante


    Also, it looks like bitcoins are experiencing quite a bubble right now: https://medium.com/money-banking/2b5ef79482cb
  11. This thread is a revealing display of the utter lack of intellectual justification for the position that homosexuality is immoral. It doesn't get more rationalistic than this: 'I define sex as only between a man and a woman... so how could same-sex couples possibly have sexual desire for one another? I've defined it away!' The best part is pretending to cite evidence by simply referencing 'human biology.' Quality, in-depth support that.
  12. This is rationalism. You still have not confronted the previous dissections of your arguments, or even acknowledged that they exist.
  13. Secondhander dealt with this 'argument' thoughtfully and thoroughly here: http://forum.objectivismonline.com/index.php?showtopic=25156&p=308005 Rather than confront this argument, you simply moved to a new thread without those posts in it, and kept repeating the same one-liners. Considering that you reasserted this argument: You need to confront Secondhander's reducto ad absurdum here:
  14. That's how I read the assignment also, but if that's the case, why would a student get in trouble for not following through with the stomping? If the assignment ultimately allows students to decide they can't do it, then they wouldn't be sanctioned for that.
  15. But we do have a concept to delineate literature which records reality vs. recreating reality, do we not? Fiction vs. nonfiction.
  16. Yes. He's a real person in addition to symbolizing something for her.
  17. You're reading in something that isn't there. The kiss was not sexual, it was symbolic.
  18. Yeah, I know what you mean. That movie Ocean's Eleven sucked, they spent the whole movie trying to steal from someone! /sarcasm
  19. The "no gun" list is an interesting suggestion, but I don't see how it is substantially different from requiring background checks. To buy a gun, you would still have to provide your name and proof that you are who you say you are (as is done at the airport), and thus your name is still recorded with the purchase and the serial number of your gun. The gun dealer doesn't have the information in your background check under this system, but surely the government could get that information if it desired. In short, you still have to meet a positive burden of proof that you haven't been banned fr
  20. This is not an accurate description of tabula rasa as Rand conceived it and argued for it. Rand's issue was with the idea of innate knowledge, not innate tendencies, reflexes, or processes. Certainly we are born with certain capacities, tendencies, predispositions, etc. Rand was attempting to address a different question: are we born with innate knowledge? Her answer to this was absolutely central to her philosophy, because she argued that we are capable of obtaining knowledge only though a volitional process of observing reality and forming concepts. Furthermore, we can verify the truth
  21. How does running a background check force people to provide additional personal details to the government? The gun purchase is registered with their name and the serial number on the gun in either case, and the background check (as I understand it) does not add any information to government databases. It simply searches the existing data and notifies the gun dealer of preexisting criminal records. As to individuals having to demonstrate their innocence, is this not what a proper border policy would do by screening for criminals and enemy combatants? Is this not what the government does
  22. What do you think 'inevitable' means? Because from where I'm standing, the phrase 'could be inevitable' makes no sense at all. Freedom of choice and the fallibility of the knowledge discovery process means that we can't be sure that true ideas will win out; it also means that we can't be sure that people will choose to do wrong. In both cases, the choices of people who have free will determine the outcome. If you're asking whether it's theoretically impossible for people to live in society without intentionally initiating force, my response is unequivocally no.
  23. I see this issue as similar to the question of so-called "Gun-Free Zones" at schools. You haven't created an actual gun free zone simply by passing a law that says you can't bring a gun there. In fact, this creates the kind of perverse scenario with zero enforcement where only the law-abiding citizens obey the law. If you actually want schools to be gun-free zones, that requires erecting actual physical barriers to people bringing guns into schools (metal detectors, security guards, etc.). If you call a school a 'gun-free zone' but don't erect any such barriers, then it's a gun free zone i
  24. The two (preventing criminals from buying guns and arresting criminals for owning guns) are not mutually exclusive. They are complementary, and both justified in the same way: violent criminals have forfeited their right to purchase and own firearms. Characterizing this as 'targeting law abiding citizens' is simply hyperbole. Universal background checks could conceivably be misused to erect barriers to law abiding citizens buying guns (by creating a process that takes months to complete, for example), but there is no reason why this must be so. At the same time, universal background check
  25. It's worth pointing out that the practical implementation of prohibiting gun sales to criminals involves requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales. This is one of the prominent gun control proposals in the wake of the Newtown massacre, and probably the single law most likely to pass. The NRA is prone to prattle on about spreading 'suspicion' about gun owners by requiring background checks, or that it will lead to registration and confiscation, but the truth is that if you agree that violent criminals have forfeited their rights to buy firearms, universal background checks are si
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