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Tomer Ravid

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  1. The "Randian cult" conspiracy is primarily a fallacy of conceptualization. It involves such epistemological errors as non-essential thinking (which leads to bad metaphors, e.g., "You believe that you are in the center of everything the same way people used to believe that Earth is the center of mass of the universe," etc.), invalid, out of context usage of concepts (the same causes Marxists to hold that liberty is the equivalent of so-called "oppression"), as well as the absence of an explicit stand of evaluation (e.g., atonal music is "sophisticated," anarchy is "freedom"---ask yourselves what's common about all of these instances). Let me handle it briefly: in order to prove that Objectivism is irrational on the same grounds that cults are as such (which is what they attempt to do), one has to define a cult, explain what's wrong about it (and why), and find whether Objectivism does or does not share those characteristics. And if they followed these steps, they will have inquire the following: (i) (Fundamentals) do Objectivists think that Ayn Rand has an authority over knowledge?---can she, according to them, comprehend things "ordinary" people are unable (as distinguished from unwilling) to, and the latter will be thus forced to take her on faith? is a statement true just because Ayn Rand said so? (ii) (Ethics) morally speaking, do Objectivists place Rand above themselves? do Objectivists live for Ayn Rand? Any true Objectivist's answer would be, of course: Not at all. Then, it begs the questions: Why do they keep calling you a 'cultist?' and, that being their intent, what use is the 'cult' metaphor of---can't they just show that Objectivism involves any form of faith or sacrifice? These two questions have a single answer: They always, regularly, systematically skip the above step, and not only in the sense that they often openly reject the whole concepts of 'proof' and 'rationale.' Instead, they choose to make a blind comparison between Objectivism and various cults, based on either some complete random non-essentials or actual shameless lies. (As an illustration of the last lies, consider the "Divine Miss Rand" case. Presumably, I am involved in Objectivism more than Mr. Shermer or any of his friends, and I know beyond any doubt that this idea has absolutely no basis in fact, whatsoever.) The term 'cult' (which is barely even properly defined by them) constitutes something of an intermediate station, that helps them transform the given facts (so long as what they give you is truly a fact) into a false conclusion. It makes it easier to confuse the unfocused reader. So far we discussed the bad reasoning of the "cult" conspiracy. But, obviously, the 'cult' thing is but a rationalization. Their deepest motive has to do with the fact they do not accept at least one of the three axioms, and I think it is expressed eloquently in The Unlikeliest Cult in History by Michael Shermer, who is apparently upset since he would not have been accepted as an Objectivist due to the 'insignificant' disagreement on objective values: "As long as it is understood that morality is a human construction influenced by human cultures, one can become more tolerant of other human belief systems, and thus other humans. But as soon as a group sets itself up to be the final moral arbiter of other people's actions, especially when its members believe they have discovered absolute standards of right and wrong [is this absolutely right? Is your object of criticism absolutely wrong?], it is the beginning of the end of tolerance and thus, reason and rationality. It is this characteristic more than any other that makes a cult, a religion, a nation, or any other group, dangerous to individual freedom. This was (and is) the biggest flaw in Ayn Rand's Objectivism, the unlikeliest cult in history." (This is just one example, and do not presuppose that this conflict is merely ethical---he mentions the belief in an 'absolute truth' as another cultish attribute. Italics added.) Because they do not accept the fact that reality exists or that it might be perceived by man, it makes no difference to them whether a knowledge is acquired by reason and perception or by faith and emotion. As far as they are concerned, its validity remains the same. When asked about the essence and the nature of religion, they reply: "Certainty and consistency," for this is what they never had and never shall have, and this is least primitive fact they can possibly identify with their method of thinking. And I suspect we are going to get a further analysis of that in the DIM Hypothesis. Now, this topic has an ironic aspect, too. I have met numerous 'Randian cult' theorists. I have repeatedly asked them to tell me what makes Objectivism a cult, and even made similar arguments. But, no matter how I tried, and no matter how convincing my speeches were---they literally refused to understand, and kept obsessively calling me a 'cultist'---as the emotionalist ever will---implying that I am too dogmatic to judge their alleged proofs. So, in that sense, the 'Randian cult' conspiracy is a cult itself Oh, and BTW, Ninth Doctor: since as far as I remember, there was a time when you addressed yourself as an Objectivist---and you know, at least to a certain degree, that you were not a "cult member"---I think you should not be accused of trusting propaganda, but of something far worse: accepting the basic premises on which the propaganda is founded.
  2. Whether I have or haven't read enough, I am not interested to discuss. At any rate: what ethical knowledge do you think I lack?
  3. You must have not understood the proof of man's ultimate value as his own life correctly. The proof does not imply that life is an ultimate value because without life you cannot achieve any of the actions which you regard "values," whatever they are, but that they are not valuable to you as long as you are not alive. The whole concept of value refers to and comes from life. Consciousness is conscious is an axiom implied in all of your says and acts. Life is an end in itself. Without life, as far as you are concerned, there is absolutely nothing. That ultimate value is called ultimate because there is only one such value, and it constitutes the basis and standard for all else. Nor can there possibly be any other ultimate value: values are hierarchical since they are never automatic. Without choosing between values, you will gain and keep nothing. The terms "objective" and "subjective" are highly equivocated today. Sometimes certain fields of thought are meant by "subjective," sometimes, as in your case, it stands for something regarding a specific, contextual entity (as opposed to an "absolute"), and at times it describes whatever involves "personal-judgment." The purpose of these variants is one: either making some nonsense whims acceptable or causing logical reasoning to seem detached from reality (there is no essential dichotomy between the two). But in fact, the sole definition of "objective" is: based upon the facts of reality, whereas subjective is the opposite. Conclusion: I suggest you be careful and focused while using these abstract concepts.
  4. Ohhhh, so that's your claim, right? Pretty much begging the question, I'd say. No, it isn't; it is a contradiction. It is a contradiction in your view that violating individual rights is legitimate if done to protect them. The non-contradictory alternative is that you should not force the protection of individual right upon people, and, at the same time, the fact they cannot or do not want to afford for any reason doesn't mean they have no rights. But hey, don't attack me. It's not me, it's my "straw-man." He has really no self-control.
  5. From my Facebook inspirations: Aristotle, Newton, Thomas Jefferson, Ramanujan, Ayn Rand, Richard Feynman, Mike Mentzer (yes, I know he hasn't had a deep understanding of Objectivist epistemology, but I really tend to like the concept of a greatly educated bodybuilder; this combination of mind and body clearly does remind me of Radian heroes), Steve Jobs. All these were innovative geniuses, and---to different extents and in different ways---had an impressive biography and held generally positive premises.
  6. I have to re-read that article, if I ever read it (that's right: I have never read VOS since I did not find it necessary to delve more into it, or rather, I am pretty certain of ethics and I don't think I can be englightened much by another book about it). I assume that if there is a "right" to medicare, then it is a physician's duty to serve any ill or miserable person. Rather than a brilliant scientist, a doctor turns into a slave of the mob. And then, as soon as the government obtains a monopoly over medicine, he will have to obey its rules and work under their conditions (just to make it clear: A government is independent of supply and demand, so you can only evaluate how destructive it is). His private work will be nationalized for the sake of anyone but himself. Of course, it doesn't mean that most doctors do not accept it---most of them are there due to altruism, but this just makes it worse and more unfortunate. As a tragic illustration, suppose that somebody found a cure for cancer. But he would sell for his own interests; he would not tell what it is or how it is made. Consider what would happen at this stage. My guess: He would be tortured until revealing it, and then any Iranian savage woman would enjoy his product, in which he invested so much effort.And that, by the way, would be a great point to mark as the beginning of the short-term crticial state of the world.<p> As for your latest sentence: That's not an "either-or" case. The higher the livelihoods are---the more the taxpayer is looted, and the vice versa: The more of what a person has created is legally recognize as his, the less other productive people (I am talking, of course, of a monopoly, where doctors have no chance but turning to the governmental service) may earn. There is no objective solution within the range of the welfare-statist premises, although I would suggest that that the latter is the favorable, since it is still possible to choose what job one takes. To begin with, Objectivism rejects the notion that man exists with a permission of Society or that, in any variant, the group has primacy over its individual entities.This idea is mathematically false; much further, it is metaphysically false.Consciousness is conscious, man possesses volition, you, individually, independently, apart, are fully aware of the reality perceived by your very senses.Secondly, factually, there is no contract and nobody is singed. Suffice to honestly observe reality in order to comprehend it. It is clearly a floating abstraction and a sloppy metaphor, as the Marxist concept of "exploitation" or the religious concept of "Judaism."It is impossible that "society," whoever it is, charges prices for staying in the territory and interacting with people either, because these are my natural rights anyway (as long as the land's owner and the specific people one wishes to contact).Finally, what remains is the economic calculations and facts: The taxes you pay and the services you get are really nonidentical, and those services are similar to Mafia "services" in the sense that they are not chosen. Moreover, the governmental services that I use are mostly monopolies; in fact, without those monopolies I could have purchased much higher-quality products.So, to put it briefly: A bunch of nonsense.P.S.THIS EDITOR SUCKS!One can barely believe to the amount of time that had passed until I could have posted this reply, at last!Also, please accuse it of the confused paragraph structure of this post. (I use the newest version of Firefox.)
  7. Besides the second paragraph which provides the general overview of the issue, it is based on arguments you and Grames (from the other thread, though I have not read it all) made the way I remember them. I could just make a comparison, but let's make it simpler: With which of the above statements do you disagree? Furthermore, is there any argument for taxes that did not appear in my reply?
  8. You know, that's not such a great compliment. To make it clear, observe that Rand advocated reason before egoism (which means a mathematician who loves his work but is a self-proclaimed altruist and socialist is morally superior to an "individualist" barbarian), and the egoism she advocated was rational egoism, not the Nietzschean "egoism." (Although even that doesn't apply to this case: They are ultra-conformist and reputation-driven creatures, which, to some extent, was opposed by Nietzsche.)
  9. I was not too focused and careful while writing this post. My editing in []:
  10. I am not proud of it, but in that hackneyed case sounding like those Objectivists who can only implicitly quote Miss Rand would be necessary. All the arguments I am going to be refuting are highly similar to those of the average anti-capitalist: Briefly, man has to rely on his judgment to rationally contend with the facts reality, thinking is a volitional process. But the momentary whims of an incidental thug are not facts of reality; man can neither predict nor rationally handle them. His only way to survive them is therefore to avoid them ahead. Distinguished principle to describe a proper avoidance may be found in the concept of individual rights. There are no rights but the rights of the individual, and such rights contain, among others, the right to property: As it causally and naturally is, a man can do whatever he pleases (speaking within a limited context) with the goods he produced and the wealth he created. If one planted the seeds of an apple tree, they would not disappear for no satisfactory reason. Thus, the right to property is the corollary of the recognition of Law of Causality. In the field of ethics, rights mean your chance to live for the sake of your life. In the field of epistemology, it is your alternative of thinking or not thinking. It is your rational self-interest to recognize the nature of other human-beings like yourself, and to act accordingly to yours. It is your rational self-interest to live in a society where the initiation of physical force is completely denounced, no matter on what grounds it is used. It is your anti-rational "self-interest" to live by plundering others. I suppose that's no news to you. Whether or not that statement is true in itself, I intentionally mentioned life as an end in itself right above. It is utterly evil to sacrifice the rights and the choices of the individual for some "higher good." This statement is somewhat similar to the voices made by Zionists in Israel: Faith kept the Jewish People alive. Not as in the inanimate, in man, 'possible' is a logical default. Possessing a faculty of volition, everything is possible for man to do except what contradicts the metaphysical-given in a specific manner---and as such its consequences. Proposing that something is "impossible" requires more of evidence. But in this case it is not based on any evidence, but on the arguer's habits. You are used to this kind of system, and therefore conclude that it is of some metaphysical necessity. The right to property, or the right not to be robbed, is a principle. Hierarchically, ideas have primacy over practical applications, for the same reason (objective) abstractions work in reality, and that thinking necessarily leads to objectivity. How to solve the problem is one question, a question that might be probably easily solved---but first one has to understand that the principles that will later make the answer possible and determine its course. In any case, the moral is the practical---otherwise what would the point in being moral be?---theoretical considerations regarding man's guide of action are applicable in reality, which is compatible with the fact that all crises thus far have been the consequence of governmental policies---not of the acts or liberties of the individual. In spite of the fact that it is highly unlikely given that we hypothetically managed to convince people about the need of an absolute, consistent freedom, yet the equation is not this complex at any rate: People don't pay for it ==> they won't have it. Neither is self defense a 'human right' in the Marxist sense, and individual-rights need realization before than can be obtained. But it most certainly does not grant any right to exploit them for your needs. Is that what you want freedom for?---This semi-dictatorship that allegedly promotes freedom? Too bad, that's none of their fault. Well, it is compulsory and, in essence, dictatorial, the same way F=am applies to my 400-pound-car. There is no principle that can possibly praise that and yet condemn any other system of taxation. Now you are forcefully taxing people. Tomorrow you will "generously" prevent a workers revolution, by rewarding the non-productive and the freak for being non-productive and freak, just "a little bit." From then on it is just a matter of time until the crisis is here and you will have to "acknowledge the failure of free market" and all that follows. Your system will hold more than the Founding Fathers', but shall still eventually crash and turn collectivist, and will never get perfection either. That's all, folks. As simple as that.
  11. Existence had existed before, and you just abstracted it. Unless you found an original algorithm, which is a tool of dealing with reality. And even then you can charge "intellectual property" for its usage: The means of using such a creation would be thinking, and stopping men from thinking would be purely evil.
  12. Most of the ones you all mentioned, unfortunately, turned to irrational philosophy. It is better to leave philosophy aside than to hold this kind of philosophy, which at least does not constitute a deliberate distortion of man's mind. Then you begin to describe "scientists" of the humanities---no better than contemporary philosophy. I don't get it: What's the point of this thread? Just to document career changes for the sake of interest?
  13. It maybe is an unscientific position, but I don't really care about that as long as it applies to an essentially pseudoscience---as much as the fact that Nazism is illegal (as distinct from other totalitarian theories) is politically wrong, but it doesn't bother me since they are Nazis. In the current situation, there is so much to fundamentally change---whereas some violation of certain rights of Nazi ideologists (which should not be properly used by a rational man anyway) would be a mere concrete concern to be changed while realized. Why do you consider it to be an "anti-science" act? It is a political (to use 'politics' in its more negative connotation) response to what was political from its very beginning, back in the 1970's. He merely faked the data that had already been fake. As such, I do not manage to understand why it particularly "disgusts" you. And yes, even the term "anti-science," in a sense, is an example of political influence over science: I saw it used by political activists who claimed that Obama is the "scientific choice" with my own eyes. I'd call it anti-pseudoscience, or, more correctly, anti-some specific variant of pseudoscience. Of course, it does not imply that the act is consistent with the scientific method in itself, because anti-pseudoscience is not the equivalent of pro-science. Most importantly: The fact that the act was not scientific, or that few of the "climate-skeptics" have a non-scientific mentality (primarily the religious ones) doesn't mean that climatology or ecology or environmentalism are objective, since in fact the people who identify themselves as supporters of those concepts lie more than anybody else in "science." A principle can be judged only qua principle---not by what it opposes or by the way it is opposed. Finally, I went over that site. Once, when you stated that Richard Dawkins' notions are "as scientific as Newtonian mechanics" and that Hume was actually "pretty rational in some aspects," I asked you whether you thought also that Kant's philosophy is positive and Global Warming is science. As far as I remember, the answer I received was "I don't," and maybe some condemnations for my "package-deals" as well. As for the latter: Have you changed your mind? If so, when do we get to see you suggesting that Kant's philosophy is a philosophy of reason, and that even Kant himself said so (though it couldn't get much worse than pointing out that Hume was rational)?
  14. One out of five. That perfectly makes sense. Say, what do you think is the role of ideas?--Does man act solely on unavoidable instincts?--Do you think technology and wealth naturally exist?--Is thinking an impractical \ useless process?
  15. This is not a critique. It doesn't even seem to apply to any fundamental aspect of the philosophy (or any aspect at all), it merely deals with . . . well, words. It is closer to a detached from reality set of pans.The writer seems to completely misunderstand Rand's wording, and he uses that as a virtue. "One plus one makes two." "Well, there are LOTS of gaps in your very argument. One what? Does one plus one always make two? Does one isotope plus one static public class make a pair of male common unicorns? And why use the odd term 'make?' Is this some kind of an all-powerful creator that brings numbers into existence? And why not simply say: two times one makes two? Jeez, I'm suchah genius." He should seriously work on his conceptual faculty. Furthermore, in my judgment, he may have a discussion with an actual, confident, knowledgeable, living Objectivist who will show him what worth his 'arguments' are of in practice.
  16. Now that I see what your last paragraph implies, and that those children are apparently a far less optimistic vision than I presupposed, I realize that some of things I wrote above are invalid ("giving human-beings mind"). Anyhow, I absolutely get it, that there are some people that cannot be persuaded. I know I can hardly stand having to learn with them; as some of my sole honest and rational teachers can hardly stand having to teach them. Nevertheless, I do not know how more influential over them you might get given that you state an explicit philosophy of education. I suppose that, as it is with anything else in life, significantly more.
  17. I won't answer your question right now. Being a high-school student myself, I shall merely quote myself from a recent letter whose main excuse to go over the philosophic system is indeed education: "If I were a teacher, I would allow my students to avoid attendance---which would wipe out interruption in the classroom---yet make my lessons interesting. I would make my students think good, rather than memorize whatever I would write on the board. I would encourage and demand that they inquire "why" as for anything crucial, and frequently ask whether they fully understood my meaning. If I were involved with science teaching (which is perhaps the most likely), I would focus more on sophisticated experiment and the inference based on it, and less on the remembrance of the already-discovered. I would praise anybody who deserves it, and if any of the savages laughed at me, I would show him what worth his 'arguments' are of, so that even his friends would ridicule. If I were a teacher---I would certainly be dismissed." (Taken from an essay named "That Which Ought---Might"; I haven't found it a name in my native language other than that.) However, I do not actually plan on being a teacher: it fairly differs from the actual purposes I hold for my lifetime. This is just a "what-if" supposition, nothing more and nothing less. In any case, I wish you good luck, where the term "luck" is used metaphorically, for I know that what you need here is not luck at all. As in response to your title, in fact, I cannot think of anything fulfilling in the same way of giving human-beings mind from A to Z, whereas what some schools (well, let's name it as it is: primarily the public ones, but also the others due to government monopoly over the matriculation certificate) perform is about the opposite. And, of course, bring some more rational people to the world, not for the sake of the 'world,' but since it is the interest of all of us. As a rule I do not appreciate teachers of myself, but this time I honestly appreciate the job you've chosen!
  18. The ability of man to produce makes money possible, and more particularly his technical interest to homogeneously exchange each other's products and save the values he has obtained. It does not, either way, come from the government, since a government is not a productive foundation, which is derived from the fact that its main source of income is all kinds of taxation (et al). In a free society, the government does not and may not "own" (i.e., steal) anything. That is a concrete. It cannot and will not change a principle. And, anyway, you don't have to use a currency that is being printed, yet you can't pick out your government (or at lest not under any condition). The most rational choice regarding that is, of course, the standard of an actual value; not a mystical one. This role can be performed by gold standard. Because this is the essence of philosophy: having fundamental, clear principles. If you defined 'dishonesty,' you would find that this issue has nothing to do with it. However, most likely, you don't think before you use a certain concept. Besides, you think that it is negative to do so because this is what your intellectuals taught you: nothing is true, it is unwise to find anything specific to be true. This is why you made the false comparison of religion and rational philosophy, which is the same reason that makes people regard Objectivism a 'cult': Religion does have ideas somewhat consistent, however irrational they are, whereas anyone who holds the above stance has none of them. With this absence of distinction (or ability to distinguish) between true, arbitrary and false, it is just a matter of time until science will be considered to be "belief" (and there is no essential difference indeed). In a more honest period, the philosophers who influenced our current intellectual and emotional atmosphere have stated that they frankly reject Newtonian mechanics and modern math. No. What it means is that there are some members of an Objectivist club who do not comprehend the fallacies of determinism or do not explicitly know the way to falsify it, and anything that logically follows. Because her novels are all consistent within the context of her position on man and reality, great in their events as well as comprehensive. There we encounter this axiomatic truth once again. "No philosophy is flawless." You certainly don't have any real argument against it, but it just can't be absolutely true! No one can know something for true, right? Any premise of Objectivism is proven, and its premises cover almost all fundamental issues. (And any fundamental issue which is not covered may be latter discovered and dealt with, based on former knowledge.) There is nothing to be 'improved' or 'fixed' about a proper inference. P.S. Am I right that your nickname is affected by Saw? One of the most horrendous and anti-life films of today, though none of them has any form of seriousness so that one cannot determine which is the worst. And I want to hear anybody say it isn't.
  19. First, are there any reasons that are non-mystical to celebrate it? As long as you don't pray, all the Jesus songs are not of such importance. Seconds, the fact that you maybe want to celebrate with your parents or friends doesn't necessarily indicate that you have psychological weakness. The question is, do you really like it? Of course, if you celebrate it because you dread God (which is less likely) or because you want to be treated well by some strangers, then yes, it is irrational and you handle it. Personally, I can perfectly get the later. I literally hate (arbitrarily-)extended family events. These are a few of the occasions on which I am not actually myself, nor anyone else: terrifically bored, I just respond whatever they want to hear of me (if the comment is necessary), and I understand that this is improper, but for now I have no choice. However, hopefully I shall get rid of it as I grow up.
  20. Yes, maybe I shouldn't have said "goddamn." That was not my original intention. I just wanted to emphasize it: A philosophy is compounded of highly abstract principles, not of detached concretes. That is unto the individual to decide how to deal with concretes, unless it it really a matter of contradicting Oism or remaining consistent with it. You can formulate your own reasoning on why to like or dislike Xmas But one thing is for sure: Christmas is certainly not "immoral for an Objectivist," and such questions should be asked outside the context of Objectivism as a philosophy.
  21. Superman: I don't understand why you should be proud of your sexual tendencies.

    1. Show previous comments  6 more
    2. Tomer Ravid

      Tomer Ravid

      It is not a stereotype, my friend. This is what "pride parade" means.

    3. Maken


      It is a stereotype to say that they all wear costumes and shout. Some gay people do not even partake in this. Just saying, you made a stereotype.

    4. Tomer Ravid

      Tomer Ravid

      Who is "them?" No, you misunderstood me. I have nothing against homosexuals in general. Our topic was gay 'pride.' If I were gay, I would certainly not be 'proud' of it and take part in those embarrassing parades. And no, there is nothing 'individualistic' about the opposite.

  22. Why do you imply that a goddamn philosophy will tell you how and when to celebrate? All it can tell you is that you should have the values of your own.
  23. Huh? Yeah, for sure. I got it from the first moment. I simply mentioned that I might have the intention to actually share it, that's it.
  24. You write that you are "not interested if some of the readers may disagree" with you, but whether you are interested or not I honestly have to mention that this is exactly my view regarding space, though I don't have the physical experience of yours. Every other one I have encountered in my lifetime must have been absurd and rationalistic in real-life terms, be it Kant's "conscious primalist" mysticism or any theological nonsense that regards space a non-physical entity independent of its components. I certainly shall share it as soon as I face such a pointless discussion again. Thanks for the well-phrased essay and nice that you can still find your branches of philosophy in which you can still make new things explicit (not impossible, yet pretty tough I'd say). ---Tomer
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