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Everything posted by Jacob86

  1. Thank you for providing the link. I went to 2 local bookstores and couldn't find the book (I'll continue looking though). I have actually heard many good things about Tara Smith recently so I have been looking forward to reading some of her material. I am sorry that this was the first exposure that I had with her. Not only do I disagree with that section of her book, but I am grieved that such a position would be advocated by an Objectivist and widely accepted among an Objectivist audience. If thought through (taken to it's logical conclusion), it is a very nihilistic view of reality and it is utterly irreconcilable with those amazing aspects of the Objectivist sense of life that I love so much. One of my favorite Rand quotes is the following: "You seek escape from pain. We seek the achievement of happiness. You exist for the sake of avoiding punishment. We exist for the sake of earning rewards. Threats will not make us function; fear is not our incentive. It is not death that we wish to avoid, but life that we wish to live." - Atlas Shrugged I cannot imagine a way to reconcile the sense of life indicated in that quote with the positions advocated by Smith in that section of her book (or by Rand, herself, with the robot analogy). The essence of both is the premise that the meaning and significance of life is contingent upon the possibility of death; that the meaning and significance of pleasure is contingent upon the possibility of pain. It is, in essence, the same form of argument (with the same nihilistic premises) as the argument which opened this thread concerning the omnipotence of God. Strength requires the possibility of weakness, life requires the possibility of death, pleasure requires the possibility of pain, the positive in the universe is dependent upon the existence of the negative. Think through what this means. It means that the degree to which one is incapable of dying, one is not really alive and therefore to really be alive, one must be teetering just on the edge of death. It means that the degree to which one is incapable of pain (sort of like Roark only having the "pain go so deep"), one is not really capable of pleasure- that one must be teetering just on the edge of pain to fully experience pleasure (Sadism). I cannot and will not EVER accept any such premise- and to the extent that Objectivists genuinely do, it will be the end of Objectivism (to MY great dismay). Pleasure is NOT the absence of pain. Life is NOT the absence of death. Reward is NOT the absence of punishment. The Positive is NOT the absence of the Negative. All incorporate the absence of their opposite- but all are SO MUCH MORE than the absence of their opposite- and therefore are abundantly possible, meaningful, and significant apart from their opposite.
  2. What do you mean by "spontaneous", though? Do you mean "without any known natural cause" or do you mean "without any natural cause"? And if the latter, isn't this a form of mysticism? Of course, you would probably rather say "without an outside cause... of course the action comes from the entity's nature" So then, it is an inside cause rather than an outside cause. But this doesn't really change anything other than turning the question inward rather than outward. And then this begs the question of the type of nature. It's nature is either volitional or not. If not, then it cannot choose to act. If it cannot choose to act, then it cannot act entirely of it's own accord, and therefore any action is owing to some part(s) of it which are either volitional or not, etc... Do you see what I mean? A reaction can come from inside the thing (like many of our non-voluntary bodily functions), but these are still reactions. If an entity acts, and it's action is not a reaction to something outside or inside of it, then it's action was self-directed/chosen/volitional.
  3. 1) An entity cannot act against it's nature (Law of Identity) 2) An entity's nature in respect to action is either volitional or non-volitional (Law of the Excluded Middle) 3) All reactionary actions presume prior action (Identity-- "RE" means in response to prior action) 4) An infinite regress of reactionary actions is impossible (LNC-- An infinite regress is a conradiction. See Infinite Quantity Thread) 5) There must be a volitional action which began the series of reactionary actions (LEM-- Only volitional or non-volitional/reactionary are possibilities and the latter is precluded by the above, therefore the former is the only option) 6) A volitional action presumes a volitional actor, and volition presumes consciousness and values (Identity-- see the Oist definitinos and explanations of "volition"). Please point out any errors and openly state your epistemological laws which I apparently violate.
  4. Actually, my main argument is a bit more broad then that. We've focused in on "motion" because it's the easiest to have a conversation about. But my main argument is as follows: 1) An entity cannot act against it's nature 2) An entity's nature in respect to action is either volitional or non-volitional (reactionary) 3) All reactionary actions presume prior action 4) An infinite regress of reactionary actions is impossible 5) There must be a volitional action which began the series of reactionary actions 6) A volitional action presumes a volitional actor, and volition presumes consciousness and values Whether energy is eternal or not doesn't really factor in. Any change in the state of energy or matter or whatever else wants to be postulated would be considered an action- which would either be volitional or not. Either the energy being postulated is an attribute of some entity (to which the first point of my argument should be applied), or the energy being postulated is, itself, an entity (in which case the first point of my argument is likewise applicable). I don't care much whether anyone wants to claim that this eternal energy is an entity, itself, or that it is an attribute of some non-material entity. Either way, an entity will be involved and the Law of Identity (and therefore the rest of my argument) will apply.
  5. Yes. God. Have I ever seen Him? Do I have empirical proof that He exists and that He doesn't have a cause? No. Do I need it? No. Instead of asking insinuating questions with vague implications of your approximate (but unspoken) epistemological laws, why not just STATE them in the open and accuse me of violating them?
  6. Really? Is this a universal principle? That all living beings must have causes? Does the idea of an un-caused living being violate some unknown law of logic? Nothing. Why do you suppose that God requires a cause. I sincerely hope (against what I know is probably the case) that you don't intend to say that I've contradicted myself by accusing me of asserting "that everything requires a cause" because I most certainly have not ever said that and I have not operated off of that fallacious principle once.
  7. That's fine with me then- The Nobel Prize doesn't really seem to mean much anyway Haha! I've just heard too many people saying "both heads & tails at the same time!" which is the type of thing I was criticizing.
  8. I'm actually more interested in getting back on track to our discussion. Do you have a response to the third part of that above post of mine concerning what my argument is and is not resting on? Meanwhile I'll answer your below objection really quick. I never said that there isn't a cause of that volitional action. I will admit that the type of cause is a little different, though. Remember that causation deals with entities acting according to their nature. A volitional action will have a different type of causality then a non-volitional action because of the differing natures. The cause of volitional action is a combination of consciousness and values. So what was the cause of God's initial action of motion in the universe? The answer must lie somewhere in His values. No contradictions there.
  9. Then all I am saying is that the prediction has an error somewhere if it predicts a contradiction. I don't know if he is saying that or not. I know that YOU said that QM models have particles behaving contradictory, and my response is that those models/predictions have an error somewhere (which I think is exactly what Rand would say based on that quote I posted of hers recently). I'm not saying they don't know what they are talking about. I'm not saying they're idiots. I'm not saying that there research and conclusions are void of any value. I am only saying what Rand has said: Contradictions do not (and I would add CAN NOT) exist. If you think you've come across one, you have made a mistake somewhere. That's all.
  10. I completely agree. I was actually careful to say "probably" because I personally do not know any of the details. The problem that I was pointing out was the fact that they had seemed to conclude that photons have no mass on the grounds that they have no means of discovering a photon's mass. Of course, better than saying "they don't have mass" and "they probably do" is saying "we don't know yet". The point I wanted to get across is that our inability to know a property of something does not in any way negate that property if it is there. I personally don't have much interest in that particular issue (whether photons have mass or not). I care more about the observation you pointed out which is that they are physical objects and that energy is a property of an object.
  11. There's a bit of a difference. The people holding to the QM positions (mostly Ninth Doctor) claimed contradictions in their own position. I was simply showing the logical conclusion of this. If I claimed contradictions in my own position, then your post would make sense. You may accuse my position of containing contradictions, but being accused of contradictions and proudly claiming contradictions are two very different scenarios.
  12. WHO said they don't hold on "the God level"? I certainly did not, and I never would.
  13. "Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong." -Ayn Rand EDIT: I want to make this more clear... What the physicists have claimed to find regarding quantum physics is a contradiction. Therefore an Objectivist has two options: 1) Accept Rand's maxim above and therefore determine that the physicists have made a mistake somewhere (one need not know WHERE the mistake has been made in order to know that there indeed is a mistake) OR 2) Reject Rand's maxim above in favor of the physicist's conclusions, and accept that contradictions do indeed exist and therefore no knowledge is possible (including this little bit).
  14. So what you're saying is that the law of identity breaks down on the quantum level? That Rand was wrong that "contradictions do not exist"? That the physicists have effectively proved the basic laws of logic (and therefore all knowledge) to be null and void? I'm of the persuasion that perhaps they might be mistaken on what they think they are seeing... Take just a minute to THINK about the implications of what you're saying. If the laws of Identity, Non-Contradiction, & Excluded Middle do not hold on the Quantum Level, then they do not hold, PERIOD. If the laws of logic do not hold, then nothing can be known with any amount of certainty. If nothing can be known with any amount of certainty, then neither can THAT be known. It is self-refuting. One need only step back from all the blinking lights (data) for a moment and do some basic elementary analysis to realize this. And I think I can say with confidence, by now, that you have absolutely nothing to say in a PHILOSOPHICAL conversation/forum. You don't seem to even understand the basic, elementary rules of philosophy (the laws of logic); or the distinction between philosophy and science. This is like debating Capitalism with a Socialist who refuses to analyze basic moral premises, but rather obsessively wants to compare every possible research point about "resource allocation", etc... never realizing that he is COMPLETELY missing the point.
  15. I have a few semi-off topic comments on the recent semi-off topic string of posts, and then a serious on topic response that I think will help clear/clean up a lot of the confusion here. Comments: 1) I find it funny that physicists determine that photons have NO mass because they are incapable of measuring the mass of photons. Isn't this rather subjective? "Because I currently have no way of knowing what the mass of a photon is, therefore photons do not have mass". It reminds me of the ridiculous Shrodinger's Cat: "Because we don't know whether the cat is alive or dead, therefore it is both alive and dead". This is what happens when the Special Sciences are not governed by accurate Philosophy. Ridiculous and illogical conclusions are made based off of the incomplete empirical data collected. Wouldn't it be more astute to conclude that "we do not know whether the cat is alive or dead, but we do know that it is EITHER alive OR dead". Likewise, "we don't know what the mass of a photon is, but since it is a physical object, it likely does have some mass". 2) I think Dante is hitting on an important point that seems to be overlooked. I could be wrong, but from my understanding, energy is an attribute or aspect of an entity. The concept of energy presupposes an entity possessing the energy. It seems that physicists have only considered the idea of entity-less energy because they have discovered that some form of energy preceded physical entities; and in their hyper-inductive, concrete-bound minds, only physical entities exist and therefore there must be entity-less energy. I obviously challenge the middle premise: that ONLY physical entities exist. There is no empirical or logical justification for this premise. I'm sure most on here will contend that this premise is justified by the fact that we have no empirical evidence of non-physical entities, but this- once again- assumes empiricism as the exclusive epistemological law. And now the Response to the Issue: 3) Greebo (and likely others) have misunderstood the form (and therefore, the force) of my argument. My argument concludes the necessity of a volitional action as the beginning of action/motion in the Universe. This is based on the principles of causation- however this is where the misunderstanding lies: Greebo thinks I am resting my argument on the laws of physics (inertia, action/reaction, etc...) and that these laws do not necessarily apply in a pre-material universe. I agree that these laws do not necessarily apply in a pre-material universe, but these are not the laws upon which my argument rests. Rather, my argument rests on the law of causation which is an extension of the law of identity. These laws most certainly do apply in a pre-material universe and in ANY "possible world" to use the old philosophical terminology. I am not arguing based on empirical observation (i.e. "we've only seen objects acting like this and that and therefore my conclusion stands"). I am arguing based on logical necessity (i.e. "objects can ONLY act in this or that way, no matter what the details, and therefore my conclusion stands"). Do you see the difference? Supposing this latest theory of the Physicists is correct: that there was entity-less energy which gave rise to matter, this does not suffice in refuting my argument. When the status of the energy changed (i.e. "acted") and matter was born, either this change/action of the energy was volitional or reactionary. Once again, no matter how far back on the timeline you go (i.e. pre-big bang, pre-matter, etc..) or how far down the microscope you go (i.e. molecular, atomic, photons and other particles, etc..) the same alternative will stand because the law of identity will still stand; an entity cannot act against its nature and therefore an action will either arise from the volitional nature of the entity or from the reactionary nature of an entity.
  16. Haven't we been over this gravity issue like 5 times now and I still don't recall you having any response to my position on it. Gravity is not an action, its a force (as you said). Its a force that only causes motion when two objects have some amount of distance between them. If gravity and the objects were eternal, they never would've been separated. If you wish to say that the objects were not eternal, that they sprung into existence as a result of the motion of energy, then the motion of energy is the prior motion that gave rise to the gravitational motion by creating objects which were separated by distance. Notice, though, that we have only taken the step BACK to the motion of energy (whatever that means). Was this motion ALSO caused by gravity? Gravity acting upon what? And whatever was in motion that gravity was acting upon will bring up the same problem-- that they are separated and in motion as a result of prior action. EDIT: I want to try to drive this point home. Reactions are not limited to actions caused by direct physical contact with other objects. Reactions cover any and all actions that occur as a result of the action of another object in ANY way (whether it is the mass and proximity of the object as with gravity, or the polar charges of the objects as with magnetic action, etc...) All of these are REactions which presuppose prior action (prior CHANGE in the status of the objects involved) in order for the action to have occurred at all.
  17. These are good questions, but like I said before, they jump the gun. It's pointless to discuss HOW God would interact with the physical universe before establishing THAT He exists and THAT He interacts with the physical universe. You are anxious for some sort of empirical proof and you won't find any, but I will challenge you to examine the epistemological premises which make you so anxious for it. Self-directed must mean volitional and conscious because that's all that it possibly could mean. To act volitionally is to act with a chosen intention. To act non-volitionally is to act without chosen intention (i.e. cumpulsion, reaction, etc..). Those are the only two possible types of action. Of course there are many SUB-types, but there is no middle ground between volitional & non-volitional, chosen & unchosen, purposeful & accidental.
  18. Actually, Greebo has done quite a good job of educating me on this particular position (although he seems to call it a theory while you seem to consider it proven fact... whichever). He and others have also introduced many other special science models (big bang, God-Particle, etc..) So, what your saying is that there was motion (heat) before matter existed? Ok. Was this motion a reaction to prior motion or not? That's ALL I need to know. No. I'll actually indulge you on this point because I think that may be the only way that I can convince you of what is meant by the fundamentality of the philosophical to the scientific. So go ahead. Elaborate on this position. There was motion (in the form of heat/energy) which gave rise to the formation of matter. That explains the formation of matter, but it does not explain the origins of motion per se (which is the issue we are debating). It only takes the question a step back to pre-matter motion. Was the motion in this energy reactionary or volitional motion? If reactionary, it is a response to prior motion which we must then ask the same question of, and so on ad infinitum until we get to motion which is non-reactionary (i.e. volitional).
  19. It's true that objects act according to their natures, but the nature of an object is such that it either moves of its own accord (volitionally) or as a reaction to some prior action. An eternity of REactions is impossible because a REaction by definition necessitates an initiatory action. An infinite regress is impossible. Make sense?
  20. ND & RB: The reason special science details are irrelevant to the issue at hand is because I am claiming (and I think I can prove) than ANY theory derived by physicists which "explains" the origins of motion without a volitional actor will be a contradiction. IF it is a contradiction, then its details are irrelevant. They might have had some very good and true data, but if they arrive at a contradiction, they've made a mistake somewhere since contradictions do not exist. That is what is meant when Plasmatic and I refer to this as a PHILOSOPHICAL issue: it is dealing with the logical consistency of ideas/theories and if an idea/theory is proven logically inconsistent, then no special details about that particular idea/theory are relevant. My position is the volition is required because any other theory is a contradiction. There are likely a MILLION variant theories (supported by some physicist or another), but I do not have the time, patience, or most importantly, the NEED to know their details, IF I can prove that they are contradictions from the get-go. Does that make sense? So, this is a PHILOSOPHICAL discussion in which I am attempting to prove that a non-volitional beginning is a contradiction. Your side is attempting to prove that a non-volitional beginning is NOT a contradiction. No special science details necessary. They just lead to endless rabbit trails. Perhaps you are more of a concrete-bound scientist and are not yet able to communicate in abstract, philosophical terms- that's fine. Go to a scientific debate on the matter and let those who wish to talk philosophy do it here.
  21. hmmm. I'm not sure if I follow. However, I think what you seem to be saying would eat away at the Objectivist view of volition. The only real "cause" of volition that I can think of (and I think most Objectivists would agree) is consciousness.
  22. @ Plasmatic: I'm not sure how your proposal of eternally dynamic entities acting upon each other is any different than an infinite regress. It just a more complex regress. @ Ninth-Doctor: Who said anything about God tyrannically bossing around your sex life. Give the straw-men a break already. Your here debating ME-- not the stupid religionists that have annoyed you your whole life. I know you haven't used the term "arbitrary" nearly as much as others on this forum, but you've suggested it by referring to my position as "God of the gaps" (i.e. arbitrarily deciding that God is the answer just because we don't know what the answer is). My argument is emphatically NOT that. It is that a volitional actor is logically necessary since the absence of a volitional actor leads to contradictions. Contradictions do not exist, therefore if the only alternatives are "position A" and a contradiction, then "position A" is necessarily true. THAT is the nature of my argument. If you want to have a debate, then debate ME, on MY actual argument. Challenge MY premises, or show how my conclusion does not follow from my premises. As Plasmatic has pointed out, special science details do not factor in. We are dealing with Philosophy and logic here, not physics. There will never be any contradictions in Physics. I am arguing that any and all models proposed by physicists which do not include a volitional actor are contradictions. I don't need to know all the details of their models-- that's sort of the nature of Philosophy.
  23. Of course. Have any of the above (or any Objectivist writers, for that matter) produced specific epistemological laws like what I suggested above?? If so, please refer me, or feel free to quote. From my interaction with Objectivist Literature, I have yet to find it. I have found a lot of anecdotal examples and illustrations of the un-named and un-defined epistemological laws of Objectivism, but I haven't found the laws themselves. Do they even exist? I mean, judging the validity of ideas sort of presupposes some sort of standard of validity. How can you or any other Objectivist (or any philosopher for that matter) hope to accurately judge the epistemological soundness of anything if there are no definite and objective standards by which to judge? How can you or anyone else speak so certainly about the errors in someone's position if you have no explicit standard by which to tell the erroneous from the factual? This is why I say that the Objectivist usage of the term "arbitrary" is quite, well.... ARBITRARY. Give me a definition of arbitrary that is not, itself, arbitrary, and then perhaps we can determine whether my position is arbitrary or not. It doesn't have to be your own creation. It can be a quote or reference from anyone. I'm familiar with that piece by Branden- just like I'm familiar with almost any and all variations of the same objections against the same stupid straw-men. I do not hold that existence as such requires a cause (and neither has ANY serious Theistic Philosopher). I hold that motion/action requires causes which are either reactionary or volitional. An infinite regress of reactions is impossible. Therefore there must have been a volitional action which began motion in the universe. That is a brief and specific summary of my position.
  24. No. Nothing fancy. Just basic. Name your basic epistemological laws, define them, and demonstrate how I violate them. I say name and define; not illustrate with examples, because one (or even 300 examples) is too concrete. A principle or a law must be abstract enough to encompass all possibilities in that category and it must be specific enough not to include anything extra or irrelevant. Examples: "A proposition should be considered true if __________________________" "A proposition should be considered arbitrary (neither true nor false given the information) if ________________________" A proposition should be considered false if ___________________________" You have made it obvious that empirical observation belongs in there, and you have hinted that reason belongs somewhere in there. But that is not helpful when determining if someone has violated a law (whether social or philosophical). Incidentally, it might help if you worked out and defined the proper and improper uses of reason- again, not by examples and approximation, but by definition. "It is proper to use reason in the following manner: ____________________________" "It is improper to use reason in the following manner:___________________________" This isn't just for ninth doctor. This is a request to any and all Objectivists. If and when a person does this, I will ask that we examine the laws to make sure that 1) They do not fail their own standards, and 2) They are not violated in the rest of Objectivist Philosophy. If all of that can be done, and these laws can clearly show how my position actually violates them, I will concede.
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