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ukelelemasta

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  1. I've read up alot recently on the topic of God and his existence or non-existence. I selected "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins and "The Reason for God" by Timothy Keller in the hope that I'd get both sides of the debate. I must say I've been much more convinced by Mr. Dawkins' argument but Mr. Keller did bring up one very interesting point that I haven't been able to refute. A major aspect of his book is how there are objective truths and the only way for them to exist is through a higher being. This isn't what I want to address, though. What he later brings up is the fact that atheists, presumably believing in evolution, believe that reason, knowldege, etc. are all created through natural selection (essentially they are changing and variable rather than universal). I'll directly quote the book so I don't bastardize his argument: " 'Dennet (an atheist author) protrays reason in service to natural selection, and as a product of natural selection. But if reason is a product of natural selection, then how much confidence can we have in a rational argument for natural selection? The power of reason is owed to the independence of reason, and to nothing else. Evolutionary biology cannot invoke the power of reason even as it destorys it.' It comes down to this: If, as the evolutionary scientists say, what our brains tell us about morality, love, and beauty is not real -- if it is merely a set of chemical reactions designed to pass on our genetic code -- then so is what their brains tell them about the world. The why should they trust them?" Any thoughts on this?
  2. I have never struggled with the axiom that religion creates wars (secular religion's that is) but I still struggle to grasp the concept of there being no higher being. My backing for this is 1) the concept of creation and 2) "miracles" that I have seen in my own life. 1) The big bang theory and theory of evolution are technically fact now. I agree with them but I struggle with the fact that some higher power had no hand in them. As it pertains to the big bang my basic question is how did something (everything, I should say) come from nothing? 2) It just seems like you can only have so many coincidences in life. In my case, when I was young I got caught in a storm and a the top of a dead tree broke off and fell straight down towards me. At the very last second, inches before it hit my face, a great gust of wind blew it to my right into a set of bushes and I ran inside unscathed whereas the branch could have likely knocked me out or killed me. Maybe it's coincidence though. Furthermore, my Great Grandma was a woman of much faith and one her major predicaments was she prayed for God to change a flower she had into a rose before she traveled to my uncles wedding where she wanted a handicap accessible room in her hotel (she was old). The flower never changed and when she got to the hotel they did not have a room available. Thus, she decided to leave and just go back home, skip the wedding. Then, when she was about to leave, an employee who went by the name of Rose came up to my Great Grandma and told her they had a room available. What's more, when she got to the room the wall paper was covered in roses and so were the bed sheets. Her theory is that God sent her a rose just not in the way she expected. Was it all just coincidence though? You hear of many situations like this; I'm not talking dreams and crazy stuff like that where a miracle is debatable, but where someone experiences a large amount of coincidences (coincidences implying that they are dealing in reality). That's my struggle with the axiom that there is no higher being. I don't think these miracles prove that there is one God, or many Gods, or that one religion is right (so don't take the argument in that direction) but they seem to substantiate the claim that some higher being/power has its hands in reality. What say you guys? I'm going to play devil's advocate on you, fyi.
  3. I realize that Ayn Rand says that men are meant to be traders rather than stealers, looters, or conquerers. The basis of this claim is that immorality is that which defies man's metaphysics. Thus, if men are not meant to be aggresive then aggression is immoral. But, I have questioned whether or not power truly is a factor of man's make-up. In her books, Ayn Rand reveals the men who are inclined to conquer -- Gail Wynand, Elsworth Toohey, and such. Throughtout history we have seen countless instances of men trying to take power. Even in small groups of friends, there are struggles to dominate, or the drive to "be better" -- have a larger income, more attractive significant other, etc. than the others. Thus I ask, are men truly meant to be traders or is aggression actually in man's metaphysics?
  4. I'm confused on why Nathaniel Branden is no longer a part of the Objectivist movement. In watching videos of him he seems to still be an objectivist. But why did Ayn Rand remove him? I've heard about the sexual controversy but is that reason enough to expel him from Objectivism?
  5. I would ask your room mate to define efficiency for you. Then go from there. But an economy run without a profit motive is inneficient for it 1) defies human metaphysics and 2) therefore produces nothing. Was the light bulb just created to light peoples houses? No profit in mind. Was the automobile created to carry the middle class long distances for no cost? No profit in mind. If your friend says that we should force people to produce then ask him how much quality a ration of food and a whip to the back will produce.
  6. I have just finished reading "The Virtue of Selfishness" and it is a great read and has turned me on to Objectivism even more. But, I have been confused in one area. Ayn Rand logically makes it clear that an organism's primary concerns should be selfish and it's actions should therefore be furthering it's ultimate value: life. This fact is substantiated very logically. But, she also states that a human's violation of another human's right is morally impermissible. She simply says that that is so but does not substantiate the claim (as far as I can recall). So, my question is logically how can a human not violate another's rights? Defining this fact is critical to the difference between Objectivism and Subjectivism. Furthermore, where in "The Virtue of Selfishness" does she prove this thesis? To make it clear, I don't think rights should be violated but as of yet it has been more of a feeling that I have had than something I feel I can truly substantiate logically. To add, I agree it shouldn't happen for the simple fact that I don't want my rights violated but how should this be a universal moral?
  7. I understand what you are saying. What are some books I can read to further understand this subject? I have Atlas Shrugged and The Virtue of Selfishness, anything you would recommend.
  8. I simply do not have enough time to read all of Ayn Rand's works so I apologize if I ask some questions that may seem to have obvious answers. But, I'm digressing. Ayn Rand said the duty of the state is only to provide domestic and foreign protection and provide a judicial system. An extension of the judicial system would be prisons in order to enforce the laws against coercion upon someone's life. As I understand it, if someone chooses to kill someone they obviously do not value life therefore logically they do not value their own life and deserve to be thrown away by the gendarme, if they are to be consitent with their logic. The prison system would exist in a society of humans who respect life (Objectivists) but they would be the ones to throw a criminal away, therefore revealing a comntradiction in their own logic. How is this not contradictory? I think I am viewing this situation from an unusual angle (in the sense of consistency with a criminal's logic) so please give me a different angle to look at it from. I might agree with you, I may disagree, I may just be playing devil's advocate but the truth will set me free: please respond.
  9. I am new to the philosophy of Objectivism but very intrigued. I read Atlas Shrugged and am in the middle of The Virtue of Selfishness -- two very good books. I just want to clear up something because I am a bit confused. In The Virtue of Selfishness Ayn Rand makes it very clear that man's standard of value and highest value is his life but she also has stated in Atlas Shrugged and The Virtue of Selfishness that there are ideas that one is willing to die for. But if life is man's highest value then why would he be willing to sacrifice it for something that is obviously not as high of a value as his life? that would be altruism. So, this seeming contradiction has been gnawing away at me and I hope you guys can explain it to me. Thanks, Tim
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