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Everything posted by necrovore

  1. One man dedicating his life to a purpose is far more effective than a thousand men bumbling around randomly. This is why the professional soldier, who knows what he is doing and why, and who can be intelligent and creative with that knowledge, is far more dangerous to his enemies than a bunch of mindless and hastily-trained draftees would be. Conscious direction in general is far more influential than chance (such as the odds that you will get run over crossing the street) because chance is noise rather than signal, and over the long term, averaged over many people, chance cancels out. Chance can sometimes be used, but that requires conscious direction. It is true that the defeat of a dictatorship requires more than refraining from visiting its tourist sites. It requires an identification, and a refutation, of the ideas that make dictatorship possible. That, too, is a task for professionals. If you choose a good purpose for yourself, you will find that it is not helped by contributing to evil, or by being passive. A good purpose is not helped by anyone being passive. Evil, on the other hand, only requires that good men do nothing, although those who seek to accomplish evil deliberately accomplish it far more effectively...
  2. For some reason this reminds me of a thought I had some time ago. I doubt I am the first to have had this thought, either. OPAR describes three variants of the primacy of consciousness metaphysics, and each variant has its own political party. God (primacy of a cosmic consciousness) - Republicans Social (one man can't bend reality to his desires, but a group is irresistible) - Democrats Personal (each consciousness creates and inhabits its own private universe) - Libertarians There is no party that represents the primacy of existence. Yet.
  3. For the record, I think I was the one who said that, and I had only played a little bit in the first two levels, and up to that point there really were no Objectivist overtones, except for a few disconnected slogans and elements. It was just a game, I was running around shooting at things and getting killed. Now, however, I have reached the point where , and I am not done yet. What a plot twist! At first I thought . I am trying to reserve judgment until the end of the game... I am bothered, however, by the number of "reviews" out there that seem to be written by people who haven't even bothered to play the game but instead wish to use it as an opportunity for Rand-bashing or Objectivism-bashing. Apparently this sort of thing would happen regardless of the content of the game... I hope I am not disappointed by the game's ending.
  4. Hello moogle525. I will only answer a couple of your questions. Objectivism starts with axioms; an axiom is a self-evidency which you must assert even in an attempt to deny it. The first of these is that existence exists. The second is that you are conscious. The third is the law of identity -- that every existent is something specific, has a nature and acts accordingly ("A is A"). It is this third one that explains why logic works. To put it simply, you don't have to know everything (i.e., be omniscient) to know what you do know (i.e., to possess knowledge). When you do make a generalization you have to ensure that it is the product of everything that has been observed up to that point; that's the best that anybody can be rationally expected to do. If new evidence comes along, it will have to be taken into account; this is how people learn -- but until it does, you use what you have. As an aside, you may enjoy reading Dr. Leonard Peikoff's book Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand (also known as OPAR), Ayn Rand's Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, and Philosophy: Who Needs it (also by Ayn Rand). These books deal with these and similar questions in greater depth. [minor edits]
  5. Fox News reminds me, more and more over the past year or so, of the Wynand papers. Many of the other news sources have a blatant left-wing bias, though, which is just as hard to tolerate...
  6. Two replies in one here: I did say that it was a property of "the potatoes," not of each potato. Zero and the empty set and the concept of "nothing" are abstract conveniences. A count cannot exist independently of the things being counted; you cannot have three without having three of something, be they potatoes or politicians or whatever. Zero is a special case because you not only cannot have zero, you cannot have zero of anything, because by the very definition of zero, zero of something is really nothing. And "nothing" itself doesn't exist, it has no referent. Zero, nothing, and the empty set are not invalid concepts, but they would be if you tried to reify them. The whole point of having an empty set or a concept of "nothing" is so that you can denote the absence of a thing (or a set with an absence of elements), not so that you can refer to a thing actually outside of your head, in actual existence. Since concepts are formed by measurement-omission, I would argue that the concept of "nothing" is what's left when you omit all measurements. The concepts of zero and the empty set exist, because I am using those concepts in this post. But whether a concept exists and whether its referent exist are separate questions! Outer space is a derivative concept. It does not denote an existent but a potential that belongs to other existents. The existents themselves have been abstracted out (the existents are among the omitted measurements, in other words). Space is a property of the objects in it! (Thus, an empty universe would have no space.) Real numbers are a derivative concept also. They do not denote existents but an abstraction about counts and measurements, which in turn are properties of existents. That, I think, is reifying space. There is potential between the planets and the stars for other objects, or even for the objects themselves if they move closer together, and this potential we call "space." There is no such assumption embedded in the concept. A given region of space can be occupied or empty. If it is occupied, its occupant can be moved or displaced. I can fill an aquarium with water and then wonder if there is enough space for all the fish. The "space" refers to the potential locations for the fish, locations which are presently occupied by water. A fish would occupy such a location by displacing water from that location. However, I see no reason to assume that all space is occupied. The planets do not displace anything when they move. If they did, the friction would cause them to fall out of orbit. They hit occasional particles, such as hydrogen atoms, and this does slow them down a little -- but there is still space between the particles.
  7. The Objectivist rule is to neither sacrifice yourself to your company, nor sacrifice your company to yourself. If conditions are still tolerable, do what work you can. If conditions are intolerable, quit -- it's cheaper in the long run. There are other jobs. Don't worry about a letter of recommendation; if your bosses are ruining the company, their recommendations won't be worth anything anyway. [added later] If you do the best you can under the circumstances, people will notice. It can only work to your benefit.
  8. My definition of "space" is "the set of all possible places that can be occupied by any object." This covers both the colloquial usage (the "space" in a room) and the mathematical and cosmic usages. "Places" in turn are specified in terms of distances to other objects and angles between them. "Distances" in turn are defined in terms of "length," and "length" is a property of an object. The distance between two objects is the length of the (hypothetical) object that would fit between them. "Angles" can be described in terms of proportional lengths, but it's complicated. (Think of similar triangles.) So "space" is actually a fairly complex concept. But it is not a thing in itself, it's a set of possibilities. Be careful not to reify it. (Many cosmological theories do just that, and it may be a fundamental error.) A couple of notes on this: -- Just because space is an abstraction doesn't mean it's unreal. It's real, but it's a property of entities and where they can be positioned with respect to each other. It does not exist independently of the entities, just like, if I have 428 potatoes, the "428" doesn't exist apart from the potatoes. The "428" is a property of the potatoes, namely, their number. -- It is also possible to consider such things as "curved space" such as non-Euclidean space. These do not reify space either; they specify how distances can change when entities move in certain ways (e.g., "parallel"). Finally, these are my own thoughts (and the previous post, too), and I have not checked them against ITOE yet.
  9. Suppose the universe consists of a bunch of objects (stars or what-not). In any given direction, one of them would have to be the "most remote object in the universe." What would happen if you built a rocket and flew out past that object? Well, then you and your rocket would become the new most remote object in the universe. The size of this universe would be given by the distribution of objects within it. The objects could all be moving away from each other -- that would give you an "expanding universe." What are they expanding into? I suppose you could call it "empty space." But empty space is not a thing, and so cannot be counted as part of the universe. Space is a potential, just like the set of real numbers is a potential.
  10. I can't believe I went to the bookstore at midnight to get this. I can't believe I stayed up all night reading it. It is now 9 AM and I finished reading about half an hour ago. So it took me about eight hours to read. Anyway, that's what I thought of it... What did you think?
  11. I still think reality is the standard of validity. It is an important philosophical question whether the senses actually sense reality or not. It is obvious that the senses do not perceive all of reality, and that they can be distorted, e.g., by hallucinogenic drugs, or by injury to the sense organs themselves. If the senses were the standard of validity, then it would not matter whether they sensed reality. Kant used the limitations of the senses to argue that what we perceive is not reality, that true reality is unknowable to us, that we are forever cut off from reality. Ayn Rand likened this to saying that a man is "blind because he has eyes" and "deaf because he has ears." The Objectivist position is exactly the opposite -- that our senses have to have a nature of some kind in order to exist at all, and that nature necessarily includes limitations of some sort. If our senses were invalid, we would not have any means of discovering that they have limitations in the first place. Kant is upholding an ideal that cannot and does not exist. It's the difference between saying "I cannot see ultraviolet light, therefore there is some part of reality that I am cut off from, therefore, I am cut off from reality," and saying "If my senses were invalid, how would I have known there was such a thing as ultraviolet light in the first place?" The validity of the senses has to be used even in an attempt to deny it. Therefore, it is an axiom. It is probably a corollary to the axiom of consciousness, but I am not sure; I don't remember. I am sure there is more about it in chapter 2 of OPAR.
  12. Interesting that I failed to notice this even after Cogito pointed it out, but it is correct. I suppose some things have an implied purpose. The implied purpose of the senses is to get information; the implied purpose of concepts is to organize information. It would never have occurred to me to try to use the senses (and only the senses) for cooking. Given a recognition of implied purpose, the question "Are the senses valid?" is answerable. The answer is "Yes," but perhaps it would be more accurate to say, "Yes, provided that your purpose is to obtain information about reality." [Edit: spelling]
  13. Here is how I answer these. "Valid" means "in accord with reality." The senses are valid because they are in accord with reality -- which is to say, reality and only reality "makes the difference" in what you perceive with your senses. (This does not mean the senses perceive all of reality.) Any particular concept may or may not be valid, but there is a valid method of making and using valid concepts. So you can say that "concepts are valid," i.e., using concepts to organize information and determine truth is valid, as opposed to not using concepts. Concepts are still only valid if you use them correctly. Ask your friend what it would mean to say that the senses, or concepts, are not valid. It would mean that reality is not available by means of the senses, or that reality cannot be described by concepts. Immanuel Kant held such views. [edit: for clarity]
  14. Aha, I think John McVey noticed something I failed to: that we are talking about Roark remaining silent in the context of Austin's publication. In this case I think it would be a big mistake for Roark to assent to being muzzled, so I agree with John McVey. That's because Roark's silence in such a context would be taken as assent. My previous answer assumed a more general context: one is not obligated to speak up about every wrong idea that pops up in the world, but then, in that context, one is not promising to remain silent, should a wrong idea threaten more directly.
  15. This is what I think: in order to answer questions like this you have to think in terms of fundamentals. The fundamentals when you are dealing with other people, either individually or when they organize into groups, is this: Is this person or group offering me value? Is this person or group a threat to my values? I have to mention in the second case there are two ways a person or group can be a threat to your values. One way is by force, which is a matter for the police or, in cases where the person or group is aided by a foreign government, the military. But the second is that a person can threaten your values by holding or spreading ideas which would lead people to harm your values. The police and the military cannot properly do anything about abstract ideas. (As an aside, that last sentence is true even in the case of warmongering Islamic states. The military cannot properly make people give up Islam, but it can properly, and must, separate Islam from the use of government power, so that Islam cannot hurt anyone without his own consent. If believers choose to believe they are not being hurt by their beliefs, that is their choice and their delusion. But they must be stopped from forcing anyone else to hurt.) So now, using those fundamentals, I'll try to address the questions. It depends on whether their disagreement rises to the level of an attack, and whether tolerance, civility, and politeness would amount to doing them a favor. One should never "tolerate" attacks against one's values. Civility and politeness are not the same thing as tolerance. Being civil and polite brings honor upon oneself and is not useful to one's ideological opponents, who would of course prefer to have their enemies frothing at the mouth, because frothing at the mouth makes one appear to be driven by emotion rather than reason. Of course, maintaining a cool head and demeanor in the face of attacks is a difficult skill to master, especially when one is passionate about one's values, and strong emotions are justified. Only if his silence implies he agrees with them. In the Tooheyite case it does not. In Austin's case it does, because Roark is giving value to the association. He would have to specify that his values and theirs are exclusive. Yes, since they threaten his values and, by their own admission, they do not value the primary thing he offers to them. If they claim they do value what he offers, why should he help them try to maintain a contradiction? If he lets them get away with hurting him, they will hurt him more. Yes, because what value would Austin offer otherwise? Austin's admiration for Roark's architecture would be nullified if Austin used his own time and money to provide a platform to those who advocate its antithesis. I hope this helps. [Edited several times playing with the wording, replacing pronouns with their antecedents, removing words like "probably" and "often" when I can't think of any exceptions, etc.]
  16. I should emphasize that I conceived of a Wiki that would originally be absolutely blank. In other words, the purchasers would not only read and edit the transcript, but write it, too. That's my basis for saying that it would cost the ARI almost nothing. Dan Edge points out how demanding it is for a person to transcribe an hour of audio. This is why the Wiki idea would be useful. The idea is that, if there were no content, a listener can add some, but if he gets tired after transcribing five minutes, he can stop. If there is content, the listener can read along as he listens. If the content is wrong, he can fix it. If he reaches a point where the content stops, he can add some. Eventually the listeners would fill in all the gaps and correct the errors. At the end of all this, there would be a word-for-word transcript, and listeners could follow along as they listen. The Gutenberg Project did something similar with the scanned pages of books for which the copyright had expired. OCR software was unable to convert the books to text files automatically, so the Gutenberg Project invited web site visitors to enter individual pages manually. Visitors could contribute as much or as little as they chose, and thus through the volunteer efforts of many people, many books were entered. The Gutenberg Project dealt with public-domain works. My requirement that the Ayn Rand Bookstore host the Wiki, and that they limit access to those who had purchased the lectures, was intended not only to prevent vandalism, but also to ensure that only people who had paid for the work could access it, thus protecting copyright. A transcript of a lecture, in book form, would not be as good as a book that was written as a book, for the reasons Dr. Peikoff noted. However, it would certainly serve to make the lecture more valuable.
  17. Being a thief is not something you can advertise openly, because it causes people not to trust you. How can you explain that you choose to steal from strangers but not your friends? What really determines the difference? Your friends would wonder if they are friends enough that you would not steal from them. And also if they know about your thievery, they have the ability to turn you in and be rewarded by the authorities. How can you trust them? Maybe you want to protect them from having the burden of knowing you are a thief, having to choose between protecting you and protecting themselves. So you will have to keep your thievery secret. And yet if you choose to keep your thievery a secret, the facts will be out there, always threatening to expose the secret. This will be a constant source of tension and will make it more difficult to lead a happy life. You can be happy by ignoring the problem, of course, but if you ignore that problem it increases the risk that you will ignore the very thing that leads the cops to you (and you will get caught). Or you can worry about it. Worrying about it will cause you to be more careful about concealing the evidence, thereby increasing your chance of success in thievery, but on the other hand you will always worry, and so you will never be able to be truly happy. In OPAR Leonard Peikoff compares this sort of lie to playing with a lighted fuse. The bomb, he says, may never go off. That's how it is that some people die without ever having been caught. The thing is, you can never be sure. Actually this is a half-truth. Man is a being with a specific nature. He can live or he can die, and in order to live, he has to perform certain actions and refrain from performing certain other actions. This much is also true of plants and animals. Every living being has a means of survival. A lion survives by hunting; a bird by flying. Man's means of survival is his mind. He uses his mind to think about what to do. And therefore he makes better choices than a mere animal can. The proper use of his mind is therefore key to his survival. Anything that threatens his mind, or its proper use, therefore threatens his life. This is what leads to the idea of the moral life. The moral life is not just some idea that Ayn Rand cooked up out of thin air. It is a logical conclusion drawn from the facts of man's very nature. It is natural that a man should benefit from the minds of other men. That is why a proper civilization is a value to him. But when a man chooses to use the minds of other men as his means of survival -- rather than using his own mind -- he is making a choice that threatens his survival. It would be like choosing to walk with the legs of other men even though you have perfectly good legs of your own. It is not improper merely because of what would happen if everyone did it (although that is one way to expose the trouble with the idea). It is improper because the logic of it flies in the face of your nature as a man. If they don't care about their lives, why not shoot themselves and have done with it? If all they care about is experiencing pleasure, why not shoot themselves up with drugs and have done with it? The whole point of being a thief instead of doing these is that you want to pretend you are living an honest life, but without actually doing so. And that is the key to the psychology of a thief: pretense! By bothering to pretend, he is conceding that an honest life is a value to him! But if an honest life is so valuable, why isn't it worth going to the trouble to actually live one? A thief is trying to live a contradiction. I hope this gives you something to chew on for a while...
  18. Ultimately you are harming yourself by enslaving others. In other words, if you are rational, a free man is of more value to you than a slave. This is because a free man can think of things that you wouldn't or couldn't have thought of, whereas a slave will only do what you tell him. Also, a free man can give you real information, whereas a slave will only say what he thinks you want to hear. A productive man can make more productive use of his own property than unproductive men, so if unproductive men take a productive man's property through taxation, they prevent the creation of whatever wealth the original owner could have created with it. Also, if you live by taking unearned loot rather than working for it, your own brain will atrophy from lack of use. [Note (added later): the "you" in this post is a rhetorical device; I do not mean to imply that I am addressing anyone personally.]
  19. As to the social context thing, I may have misinterpreted the meaning of that phrase. Obviously if I borrow a chair the original owner still has the right to set the terms of its use, even if I am in private and no one can observe whether I am following those terms or not. It is a matter of respecting the owner's wishes. But more importantly, the social context still applies, because the original owner's property is still his. If you walk into a town and no one is around, that does not mean that you can assert ownership of everything you see. The social context is still there. It is also reasonable that when you buy a CD, you own the CD but you are only "borrowing" the content of that CD. However, this has little to do with copyright; even if there were no copyright, the original owner of the CD would still have the right to set terms on the content. It is also correct that you do not have a natural right to the property of others. You do, however, have a natural right to your own property, even if you bought that property from someone else. And in exercising your own property rights, there is no social context; you do not need to seek the approval of anyone else. If the seller imposed terms on the sale, then that indicates a partial-ownership situation, and you have a natural right to do anything not prohibited by those terms -- anything that does not trespass onto the part that the original seller still owns. So really I haven't discovered any new natural rights here and the whole natural rights argument, and the social context argument, were red herrings. I think I agree with other Objectivists on those issues. The question is whether you do or do not have the right to copy CDs to your iPod. When you buy a CD, the whole value of the CD comes from the terms under which you can use the content of the CD. Those terms are what you are really buying. The physical CD itself has no value. (Would you pay money for a CD if the terms were that you did not have the right to even play it, after having bought it?) So it's a very important question: when you buy a CD, what rights to the content does that purchase confer? And should you be entitled to those rights as long as you own the CD, or can the original author change those rights after your purchase? If the record companies want to retain the right to change their terms at any time, then the purchaser of a CD really cannot count on having any rights at all, and so the value of the CD decreases. Many buyers would not buy a CD, at current prices, under such terms. The record companies are trying to achieve a contradiction: they want people to buy CDs as always, but they want to not actually sell them the same value that they had reason to believe they were buying. I found out why I held the belief that it was OK to copy CDs from your iPod. It must have percolated to me from the record companies themselves. I will cite this (PDF). Mr. Verrilli is arguing before the Supreme Court on behalf of the record companies in MGM Studios et al. vs. Grokster. Now, presuming that Verrilli was right about the record companies advertising that they permitted certain copying at the time (and I think he was, because I got the idea, not from the Supreme Court argument, but from an article elsewhere, where a RIAA representative said "We want people to enjoy their music," an article I cannot find anywhere anymore) -- a couple of things were clear. It was reasonable for me to believe at the time I bought my CDs that I could legitimately copy them onto an iPod. The RIAA is attempting to use the government to change the terms of the contract after the sale. That, I think, is the problem.
  20. necrovore


    There is more about this in the section of OPAR on emotions. (Chapter 5.) Happiness is an emotion and, like any other emotion, can be rationally justified or not. For example a person could murder somebody and feel happy about it. But this happiness would not be rationally justified, because that person would have just put his own survival in grave peril. Of course, a person could feel happy about committing suicide. The Objectivist ideal is to experience a happiness which is rationally justified. That justification includes a consideration of one's nature as a rational being. That justification is what makes happiness "real," because if you are happy, and your reason tells you that you should be happy, and your reasoning is correct, taking into account all the relevant facts, then what can endanger your happiness? An irrational happiness, on the other hand, is subject to being ended or tainted by reality, by thinking, or even by ideas in a person's head which the person refuses to think about.
  21. The web page Starblade Enkai cited looks to me like the opposite of what he describes: the web page's author was named, and the games were created, after Atlas Shrugged. John David Galt lists an address in California, and the games are said to have been published in a magazine in 1996. I don't think Ayn Rand would have written anything that had symbolic meaning "only to her," because of her insistence on language as an objective instrument in The Art of Fiction. She made scathing comments about Gertrude Stein and James Joyce, because they made up undefined words, and wrote stuff that made sense only to themselves. However, she apparently had no qualms about using literary allusions which were rationally graspable, even if they required some education on the part of the audience. Some of these are obvious -- the use of Atlantis in Atlas Shrugged, for example -- and some are not so obvious. (An article on the web pointed this one out to me years ago: In The Fountainhead book 2 chapter 13, Ellsworth Toohey writes, of the Stoddard Temple suit, "Mr. Roark pulled a Phryne in court and didn't get away with it" -- an allusion to the trial of Phryne in ancient Greek history.) As to where she got the names for her characters -- I'm not sure where, and I'm not sure it matters too much. A character has to be called something -- and it's important not to pick something that calls up irrelevant associations in the mind of the reader -- but ultimately it is the character's actions and dialogue that determine what the character's name means to the reader. The name John Galt probably didn't mean anything until Atlas Shrugged was written. The same thing is true of Ebenezer Scrooge or Luke Skywalker (that their names didn't mean anything until their respective works were written). [several minor corrections]
  22. "Few there are who will discuss cuisine with the Night People, but I see you have an interest." -- Tunesmith, in The Ringworld Throne by Larry Niven. I picked my nick a long time ago; actually I picked it long before joining this board. I used it on IRC in the late 90s. I am an engineer and a fan of some of Larry Niven's work (the Ringworld books, The Integral Trees and The Smoke Ring, N-Space, Playgrounds of the Mind, and I also liked Fallen Angels, which Niven wrote with Jerry Pournelle and Michael Flynn.) I also tend to be up late at night. And I work with communications systems. And I compose music. The Ringworld species that stays up all night and has a communications system and plays music is the Night People, but they also eat dead people and have other characteristics which I don't share with them. But mostly Niven portrays them favorably. It is notable also that Neal Stephenson has, in his essay "In the Beginning Was The Command Line," compared engineers to the Morlocks in H. G. Wells's The Time Machine. So, I guess by that standard I'm a Morlock. I'm not accepting the standard; I'm laughing at it. Don't worry; no Night Person would ever eat John Galt, because John Galt will never die. As to the avatar, well, I thought it would be better to have an avatar than not, and, also motivated by copyright reasons, I figured I'd draw my own. That way I own the copyright. I admit I am not a skilled artist. I did intend a genuine smile with it, not mockery. I suppose it may seem jarring compared to my nick; there is really no relation. For the record, I do not think David Odden is a dogmatist. On this board, I see evidence against such a notion. (His avatar is a dog, but I don't think that proves anything.) Like I said, it's possible to write in a dogmatic form (or tone, if you prefer) without being a dogmatist. I also think I alluded to his post when I said that I have taken great care to avoid dogmatism in my own posts. I did say that a requirement to reduce everything down to A is A (or, more accurately, to trace the hierarchy of the entire theoretical structure of Objectivism) in every post is absurd. I am not asking for the absurd. In the first case, I supported the statement in the rest of the same post. In the second case, I was amplifying a contradiction that had already been implied in a previous post, in order to make it obvious. In the fourth case, I had been trying to support the statement for the duration of the entire thread. If I could take back one thing I ever said it would be this: What I meant was the same thing that I was saying here: that only with a rational argument can anyone have any hope of changing my mind. If I do not see such an argument, then as an adherent of reason I have little choice but to stick with my own position. It is not anyone's "duty" to persuade me of anything, but if they intend to do so, they have to do it by a specific means. Finally, I'll add one more thing: I certainly don't think Leonard Peikoff is a dogmatist, because I've read his books, but I do think his statement about the election had that tone. It gave me the impression that he had been arguing about it with people a lot and was just exasperated. I think the statement was esoteric. It did prompt me to think of things that I might not have thought about otherwise, and I ended up agreeing with him, so I suppose it "worked" on me, but only because I was familiar enough with his previous work to trust him (hey, he's Leonard Peikoff!) and to try to figure out the reasoning on my own. Apparently a lot of other people were not able to do this.
  23. I don't think hazing is ever Objectively justified. Personal attacks -- or the ascription of views to me that are not mine -- lead me less to question my own views and more to question the character of the people opposing them in such a manner. They also make this board less of a value for me and, if the people doing the hazing would really think about it, it makes the board less of a value for them. If people disagree with me, that's fine. If they can say why, even better. It is not necessarily dogmatic if they don't say why, but when they make attacks instead it can come across as "for those who understand, no explanation is necessary; for those who do not, none is possible" -- and hazing does have an air of dogmatism about it; it is as close as you can come, over the Internet, to saying "I'm going to bash your brains in, to assist you in using them." Only a rational argument can cause me to change my views. I expect that only a rational argument on my part will change anyone else's. Sometimes people (including me) can be thick-headed and stubborn, so that even a rational argument may not work right away; if you have presented your rational argument but it hasn't appeared to work, try waiting. The light may turn on later. Besides, a position, once stated, isn't going anywhere; the person may read it later and "get it" then; in the meantime it will be there for anyone else who has the question it answers. I've tried very hard to avoid dogmatism in all my posts, I think successfully, and I certainly haven't hazed anybody. I do not intend my nick or avatar to offend anyone. The stories behind them are irrelevant to this thread, but might be amusing. Maybe someday.
  24. This is a gross misrepresentation of the statements I have made earlier in this thread, followed by an ad hominem attack (on my avatar, but an ad hominem nevertheless). I submit that this is in violation of the Forum Rules: "a touch of sarcasm directed at issues is sometimes appropriate, after laying the groundwork in a particular piece of writing. However, a post laden with sarcasm is not appropriate, particularly when directed at a person's character. If you disagree with another poster, attack the argument, not the poster."
  25. This sounds like the opposite of the onus of proof principle as presented in chapter 5 of OPAR. A single statement in isolation can appear arbitrary (and thus dogmatic) to the person who does not already know how to prove it. It is not wrong to present your conclusion first and then follow it with the evidence. But the more controversial and provocative your statement is, the more important it is to present some grounding for it so that people can at least grasp why you hold it. Of course it is not possible, in every post, to prove everything all the way down to A is A; that would be absurd; but it is possible to try to explain it in terms of principles that are already proved in Rand's work, and then others can take it from there. I do see how the post could be read as humorous, but it rubbed me the wrong way, and it might do so for others as well. Maybe David Odden should have used a smiley when he said it. This is true, but the post I quoted was the second one in its thread.
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