Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by determinist

  1. Richard Dawkins (whom I admire) agrees with you, but this is where I subjectively differ. Why on Earth would I ever prefer to be miserable? If I could be told a lie that makes hot porn stars chase me, I could care less about being told the lie. Tell me a myth. Obviously, if I become aware of a threat and avoid it, then truth served me well. I do not know if the same advantage applies to dying and Christianity. A person can not believe in an ancient superstition without embracing some type of wild illogic. A "moderate Christian" may believe in less myths, be more likable, assert fewer contradictions, have less certainty, be less dangerous, or behave in more practical ways, but it does not change the fact that he or she had to go way off the track in order to believe in such nonsense. One way to look at it (as you seem to) is to say more knowledge of the scriptures and historical contexts reveals a Christian who is at least informed. But I tend towards a less favorable perspective. If a person dedicates significant time to studying the Bible and still takes it seriously, that individual has willfully ignored more facts that suggest religion is false and employed more fallacies. Religious people outnumber atheists, so that could easily be the reason. Also, if you are religious, then there is reason to wonder if you tend to associate with Chrsitians more (which could also explain it). At any rate, that is hardly important. My friend is a Christian who attended very prestigious university and earned a PhD in Chemistry. Francis Collins is brilliant. There is no question in my mind that he (and a myriad of other Chrsitians) are brilliant. However, none of this changes the fact that they abjectly fail to apply these same standards of logic to the subject of Christianity. Public intellectuals who are Muslims and Christians make mutually exclusive claims, so being brilliant in one field does mean stupidity or insanity can not be present in another. Anyways, I hope that is not offensive. Thank you for sharing the link about the happiness study. That language was a contradiction in terms, but I get your point and it may be a good one. If reality makes a person unhappy, then maybe he or she is dumb for choosing to embrace it. That makes sense to me. I get what you meant. The only problem is, I have no choice. I can not believe flying happy ponies exist just because it is pleasant.
  2. In the last thread I started, I was reading replies when I discovered this by MarcT. I have been thinking about this a lot lately. Christianity has made me insanely frustrated in my life. Sometimes, I like to play lawyer and debate with a Christian. Other times, I have to suppress a lot of stress when someone starts talking to me about Jesus, prayer, and how much the Bible makes sense. If I do not change to subject or leave, I know it is just a matter of time before I think to myself, "Are you THAT f***ing stupid???" Now, having said that, I will be honest. I am extremely skeptical that logic and reality have a tendency to bring people more happiness. I could be saying this because I subjectively experience pessimism and just project it onto other people where it does not exist, but here it is: I really question the honesty of someone who claims to be happy, knowing that they will physically deteriorate more and more and more and more, look uglier and uglier, and eventually a time will probably come when your internal organs giving out on you in burning pain (or something like that). So, anyways, my point is that I am not sure Christians are worse off. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if I was capable of believing in the pleasant aspects of Christianity. I will never know because I can't bring myself to believe such blatantly stupid bullshit, but who knows? Maybe I would feel a bit more optimistic a bit more often. That seems to be what I observe. I do not do drugs, but I have been high, and if that's what Nathaniel Branden calls "the pleasure of being unconscious" then I would love to live life that way if it could be permanent. Obviously, a beer wears off, there are side effects, and withdrawal is real, so that is not possible. I bring that up because religion and drugs are forms of "escapism." Anyways, is there any evidence that atheists or Objectivists seem to be happier?
  3. Is it true that Objectivism maintains that survival is the metaphysical basis of morality? If smoking was not in the interest of her survival, and Ayn Rand smoked, was her smoking immoral (according to the morality of Objectivism)? If not, how do you reconcile survival as the metaphysical basis for morality with Ayn Rand's smoking? If she was (according to the morality of Objectivism) immoral by smoking, then did she live up to her own philosophy? That would, of course, not negate Objectivism, but I suspect I could be misunderstanding something about Objectivism.
  4. Be sure to understand this post is intended as food for thought rather than an assertion. Correct me if I am wrong, but it seems that Objectivism maintains that lies and neuroticism goes together, and that Aristotle had it right when he said "The best way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be." It holds that running from reality or pretending to be something you are not can give feelings of fear/fraudulence. Think about lie detectors. Yes, polygraphs are inadmissible evidence in courts, but from what I understand, they have a strong tendency to be right. Again, correct me if I am wrong, but the explanation for lie detectors is simple: the subject lying has an increased heart rate while making a false statement. Is the heart rate increased because the act of lying causes anxiety? Is anxiety not a form of neurosis? Does hiding the facts of objective reality cause neuroses, and is this supported by lie detectors?
  5. I just read this article and it pisses me off. http://www.cnn.com/2011/12/26/world/meast/iran-woman-stoning/index.html Now that most of the troops left, does anyone think Iraq presently has more hope than it did when Saddam was in power?
  6. When I rely on a primary source of information (Ayn Rand's actual writings), Ron Paul appears that he would be very favorable to Ayn when compared with any other candidate. He preaches individualism, stood against the majority in opposing the TSA, wants to end the entire Department of Education, wants to end minimum wage altogether, disagrees with conscription, opposed the PATRIOT Act, did not vote for TARP, is not an anarchist, wants more tax cuts than anyone else, and is not a gigantic demagogue. When I talk to secondary sources, they seem to fabricate a model of Ayn Rand that would oppose Ron because of his foreign policy. I don't buy it. As modest as I am about understanding Ayn Rand, it seems crystal clear to me that Ron is very close with respect to her preferred policies, and while he not an Objectivist who bows down to her every idea, no candidate that Ayn ever endorsed was. That is actually what scares me about Ayn Rand and Ron Paul.
  7. Presently, I am reserving judgment about the wars in the Middle East because I do not know enough. I realize there is a widespread consensus that UN intervention in Middle Eastern countries failed. I hesitate to hop on the bandwagon. You can call this subjective whim, but here is where I began brainstorming the wars more. I saw a YouTube video and it was only an imitation of what happens in real-world Iran rather than first-hand footage, but it was disturbing. It was a woman, completely alive, whose body was buried under the ground with only her shoulders, neck and head above the ground. A crowd gathered around her, shamed her, and threw rock after rock at her face, stoning her to death. What was her crime? It was something really petty and stupid, like having sex before marriage. The video struck a chord with me and reminded me of Ayn Rand. She argued that a country that does not respect individual rights can complain about being invaded but can not do so by right. I always found this persuasive. I realize the critics of the Iraq war claim that guerrilla warfare and instability turned out worse than before the United States entered, that Al-Qaeda swarmed in after the UN entered, and that there is blowback. That is a very widespread consensus, but Ayn Rand inspired me never to treat something as an irreducible primary and to supposed axioms. So I am. Does anyone think that Iraqi citizens are or will be will be better off with respect to individual rights? Is there evidence? Do you think Rand would have supported the war?
  8. I saw many Ron Paul fans in here, so I thought you might love the new creativity of this business owner. For every dragon you slay in this game, the dude donates $5 to Ron Paul for Iowa. http://www.dungeoneers.com/ronpaul lol that has got to be one of the best political ideas for a candidate who is popular on the internet.
  9. I wrote my local congressman to oppose the bill. After the TSA, nothing surprises me. They are going to keep using terrorism as an excuse to trample on our rights. In the following link, I saw that Ron Paul is furious about it. http://rt.com/usa/ne...-detention-745/ On the other hand, I do not see Romney or Gingrich raising a fuss.
  10. If Ron Paul and Gary Johnson lose, it makes virtually no difference to me whether or not Obama beats Romney. The only difference between Romney and Obama is the particular array of policies that violate my individual rights.
  11. According to the recent Gallup poll, Ron Paul is polling just about neck-to-neck with Obama. http://www.gallup.co...hmann-paul.aspx Ron Paul has very steadily increased his support since his last campaign. RP is an internet favorite and individuals are increasingly influenced by the internet. He can get many votes from independents in a general election. The primary election is interesting. Ron Paul is in 3rd in national polls, including the Gallup poll. http://www.gallup.co...l/election.aspx Here is a screenshot of the image at the time of this post. Both candidates (Gingrich and Romney) who are above Ron Paul in national polls are substantially higher than Ron in those polls. However, prior to Newt, 3 people (Bachmann, Perry, and Cain) rose and sank. And now, (unsurprisingly) it appears that throughout the past 1+ week(s) Newt Gingrich's "surge" has been a downward trajectory (according to the trend in the Gallup graph above). Ron Paul has a lot more campaign money than Newt (and he is now using quite a bit to air ads challenging Newt): http://www.opensecre...hp?id=N00005906 http://www.opensecre...hp?id=N00008333 So, to say the very least, the idea of Gingrich staying at the top is seriously questionable. Romney has been more steady than the candidates who surged and sank. He also has quite a bit more campaign money than Ron Paul. However, Romney is roughly tied with Ron Paul in the first state that will be voting in the primary election: Iowa. I do not know if Ron Paul will win Iowa, but if he does, he just might be the #1 focus on mainstream news and surge. My guess is that Ron will not win the primary election, but I bet his odds are nowhere nearly as low as most people believe.
  12. Ayn Rand admired founding fathers who were not Objectivists. Ayn Rand has endorsed several Republicans for president. Not a single one of them was an Objectivist. While Ayn Rand was upset with the Libertarian Party, she was friends with prominent libertarians who advocated the Austrian school of economics. For example, Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard wrote these letters to Ayn Rand. http://mises.org/jou...21_4/21_4_3.pdf According to the Wikipedia entry for "Ayn Rand," Henry Hazlitt and his wife were personal friends of Ayn. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayn_Rand Ron Paul knew Murray Rothbard well. According to Ron Paul's Wikipedia entry, it was actually Austrian economics that motivated Ron to enter politics and he credits Ayn Rand as one of his big influences. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Paul Ron Paul seems very honest. He fervently spoke out against the TSA, voted against the PATRIOT Act, and (unlike Romney/Gingrich) wants smaller government. While I am not an Objectivist, I read a few books by Ayn Rand and can not possibly imagine her ideas aligning with any present Republican candidate more than Ron Paul. Gary Johnson (who I like) said he looks at everything as a cost-benefit analysis (i.e. which does not match the theme of morality being a means to an end as much as Ron Paul). Ron does not entirely align with her perspectives on foreign policy, but on the other hand, I bet Rand would be completely terrified if she saw the TSA today. I think she would know Ron Paul is not a power-hungry demagogue like Romney and Gingrich and Paul stood up as an individual against the collective many times (like Howard Roark). And sorry to RP fans, I would not be surprised if Gingrich sank but I think Romney's odds are a bit better than Ron Paul's.
  13. I hate to say it, but I think socialism is gradually winning. Check out this video. Instead of just directing animosity at specific bankers who speculated and got bailed out (or artificially low interest rates), the Occupy Movement is targeting "the 1%" (many of which played no role with toxic assets). They are looking to demand a politician create jobs when businesses create jobs and senators have limited powers to affect many regulations. And what is the capitalist counter-movement? The Tea Party started with Ron Paul's 2008 campaign (of course, those who play on semantics might bring up the original one but you know what I mean). So far, they have not been crashing a ton of events and interrupting politicians on the news with a human microphone. The Occupy Movement seems more enthusiastic, faster-growing, and larger. Ron Paul's 2012 campaign has a lot of spreading enthusiasm but I suspect he may not win (sorry RP fans - that is just my personal guess), the movement is not as large as OWS, and there will not be a Ron Paul 2016 campaign to keep the momentum culminating. Are there any other gigantic, pro-capitalism movements like that? It looks like a growing movement that wants to loot successful people is brewing up and will not be realistically offset. Are we eventually headed for Soviet style socialism? Are we screwed?
  14. The last survey I posted yielded more questions about my survey questions than answers to them. As a result, I created new survey questions that are similar but framed more specifically, with new details, and with updated clarifications. 1. Are you an Objectivist or student of Objectivism that presently rejects any philosophy that is mutually exclusive with Objectivism? If "yes" is your answer to this question, then Question #2 is intended for you. 2. Based on all of Ayn Rand's actions known to you, do you believe that that Ayn Rand was morally perfect or morally imperfect? By "moral perfection" I mean what the self-identified Objectivist (or student of Objectivism that presently rejects any philosophy that is mutually exclusive with Objectivism) believes it is. The same idea applies to the phrase "standard of morality" as well. That is, the second survey question is being asked with respect to your own standard of morality if you are a self-identified Objectivist (or student of Objectivism that presently rejects any philosophy that is mutually exclusive with Objectivism). I realize that nobody has an archive from a camera man who followed Ayn Rand her whole life (and if there was, time would still be an issue). Therefore, this second question is being asked with respect to all of Rand's actions that are known to you. 3. If your answer to Question #2 is that Ayn Rand was morally imperfect according to her actions known to you, what (specifically) did she do that was immoral?
  15. I understand threads get long and tedious, so I will quote my post in this thread that addresses this question for you: "By 'moral perfection' I meant what the self-identified Objectivist believes it is. The same thing applies to 'standard of morality' as well. That is, the question is being asked with respect to your own standard of morality if you are a self-identified Objectivist." Perfect morality would mean that in accordance with your standard of moral, an individual's track record of actions has no immoral actions. Of course, in this context, it would mean no known immoral actions exist in the individual's known track record of actions. I emphasize "known" because the questions is intended in a practical sense; we can not know everything that Ayn Rand ever did.
  16. The first question is only intended to prove the person responding is a self-described Objectivist. By "moral perfection" I meant what the self-identified Objectivist believes it is. The same thing applies to "standard of morality" as well. That is, the question is being asked with respect to your own standard of morality if you are a self-identified Objectivist. To address the unfamiliarity with Rand's personal life: Of course, nobody has an archive from a camera man that followed Ayn Rand her whole life (and if there was, time would still be an issue). The 2nd question is being asked with respect to all of Rand's actions that you are familiar with. For those who questioned the point of #3, it might have been better if I framed it this way. "If Rand was morally imperfect, what (specifically) did she do that was immoral?"
  17. I am sure it is familiar to many of you that some people call self-described Objectivists "cultists." Rumors say her writings are often followed like a Bible, that self-identified Objectivists are highly intolerant of critics, and she is treated like a morally perfect being by self-identified Objectivists. I created this thread as a survey that serves to refute the "cult" accusation. Here it is. 1. Are you an Objectivist? 2. Do you believe that that Ayn Rand was morally perfect or morally imperfect? 3. Did Ayn Rand ever make a mistake when she publicly assert anything, and if so, what exactly was it? What was her mistake and what should she have done differently?
  18. I recall watching a video where Ayn Rand said she was for the complete separation of economics and state. There is something strange about the American judicial verdicts being weighed by private market attorneys that are blended with government employees.
  19. That seems to make a lot of sense. Lack of objective criteria in law is a recipe for judges and juries to cause differing outcomes? Is that the idea? That is the question I came here to brainstorm. Your insights seem to helping it along. I am not sure what you mean. There are public defenders who are paid by the government. Also, there private attorneys whom (who or whom?) own private firms and customers pay them directly. There are, of course, some attorneys that do both. Are you accounting for these distinctions? Do you reject that there is any statistically significant tendency for defense attorneys charging money via private firms to win more cases? Are you saying that anyone else, including every innocent person who has not received voluntary donations and can not afford to hire an attorney, would have no defense attorney? If your answer is "yes," do you think a fair trial is one in which an innocent individual has no defense attorney? Remember, a JD is typically seen as a 3-year degree that follows a Bachelor's Degree; to my knowledge, that is the minimum credential for a district attorneys. More food for thought: Ayn Rand sees morality as a means to an end: If individuals compel another innocent individual (defendant) to sacrifice his or her time on trial, and that defendant is found to be innocent, should the defendant be compensated for the time?
  20. I observed two people in a debate. One of them said the following content. I will ask the same question they asked: Do you consider substandard public defenders against seasoned lawyers fair [a fair trial]?
  21. The phrase "right to health care" may seem like a con game for something that means stealing from neighbors. I always thought that coming out and saying "for the greater good" is an honest way for a liberal to say what they mean, but I thought "right" was improper for the context. When thinking about rights, it raised a few questions. According to objectivism, should all individuals have the right to a fair trial if charged with a crime? If so, according to objectivism: Should an innocent, poor individual who can not afford to hire an attorney be given no public defender when facing a very brilliant prosecutor hired at a high price? If an objectivist advocates that a poor person who can not afford any defense attorney may face a prosecutor, would that person have a fair trial? I have been going over this in my head and thought it would be interesting to hear the input of objectivists. Thanks.
  22. I'm not sure if I want to take Political Science (American National Government) this summer. The other social sciences I've taken tended to have liberal professors. My sociology professor trashed America and asked tons of biased questions. My psychology textbook pointed to Sweden as a role model. According to Hayek in The Road to Serfdom, Germany did the same thing at the very beginning stages of Nazi Germany. I had two economics professors. One advocated voting for Obama and the other leaned towards free market. Well, now I'm skeptical about whether Political Science (American National Government) is another hole-riddled network of ideas, or very valuable as long as awareness of potential agenda is kept in mind. Here is the textbook for this class on Amazon and it lets you browse through it a bit: http://www.amazon.com/American-Government-Politics-Today-Essentials/dp/053849719X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1305381371&sr=8-1 What do you think? Does this textbook look biased to you? If so, is it just a light bias and nothing to fret over? (I have an interest in American politics, Constitution stuff, the American Revolution, etc.)
  23. I was talking to someone who said he's a fan of Obama. I didn't have a desire to debate, but I began asking him questions because I knew his answers would contradict one another. He decided to ask questions because I asked so many. My honesty sparked the debate I tried to avoid. He asked if I support stem cell research. I told him that I'm opposed to federal funding for stem cell research because I'm against taxes, not for any religious reasons. He asked why I'm against federal funding for stem cell research. I told him it's because I'm against taxation. He asked me why I'm against taxation. I said it's a method of using brute force to steal from individuals rather than voluntary exchange. This began the debate. He used social contract theory. He said that if a person doesn't want to pay taxes, that person can leave the country. I was familiar with this from reading this link. I'll quote it below. Saying taxation is voluntary because a person can leave the country seemed flawed. Why? The argument assumes that the government owns the United States's territory, not anyone else, and that the people are merely the government's customers. But something seems even more wrong. I would be very interested to know what Ayn Rand said about the social contract theory argument and what your position is (and most importantly, why you take that position).
  24. I was reading Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal and it was basically talking about government cronyism. It mentioned that the government's ability to grant favors to businesses attracts special interest groups. It named examples. It mentioned subsidies, franchises, licenses, and some others. Why franchises? Will anyone explain to me, as a beginner, why a franchise is spoken against? What do franchises have to do with special interests and why are franchises lumped with these other government things? I thought a franchise was just one form of free market business. I'm confused. I have seen it said elsewhere too, so I'm pretty sure I'm missing something here. Thanks for any response. Edit: Maybe the following content from the book will help.
  • Create New...