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Capitalism Forever

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Everything posted by Capitalism Forever

  1. LOL Actually, the idea behind that silly post--using your scientific knowledge to make them fear you--is one worthy of consideration. It is rather risky: They might take you for a witch (or the male equivalent) and burn you alive. But if you do it well and manage to make them fear you too much to even approach you, you might even end up as a "god."
  2. Communicating your scientific knowledge is the very last thing you would want to do! Think of what happened to scientists like Giordano Bruno or Galileo!
  3. Viewing skepticism with skepticism--now there's an idea! I would say that Objectivist philosophers understand "scientists" like Schrodinger perfectly: They hate objective reality, and that's why they come up with cheap philosophical tricks like "the cat that's both dead and alive." (And just how cheap that trick is! The police routinely looks at a corpse and tells how long it has been dead. It is equally possible to find out how long a cat has been dead. Observing the cat doesn't kill it; it's the poison that kills it. The cat doesn't die when we observe it; it dies when it is poisoned-------as any three-year-old will tell!)
  4. Your problem is that you can't distinguish objectivity from infallibility. If you want to have a serious discussion on that, I recommend that you (1) first familiarize a little with Objectivist epistemology (there are plenty of resources available on the web) and (2) start a thread on that topic. This thread is about something else.
  5. I see. I don't know what the big deal about this "wave-particle duality" is. Light is light; nothing more, nothing less. It is in the nature of light to break up to its constituent colors when going through a prism, as if it were composed of interfering waves. It is in the nature of light to send off electrons from metal surfaces as if it were composed of particles. But that doesn't mean that light is a wave (a wave in what?) or "a" particle. Light is light. [edit]To advance science objectively means to[/edit] take stock of what we know and integrate it. For example, when enough was discovered about the nature of sound, scientists recognized that sound is to the molecules of air exactly what a wave in water is to the molecules of water. To know how waves propagate in water is to know how sound propagates in air; we have integrated our knowledge of air and water and arrived at a new abstraction. The analogy works because waves do indeed work the same way in water and air; the concept thus formed is therefore valid. It is easy to see, isn't it, that the analogy cannot just as simply be extended to light: water waves arise from the motion of water molecules; sound waves arise from the motion of air molecules; light waves arise from the motion of ... BLANK OUT! Until (or rather, unless) we discover some day that there is an ether which is composed of little dotlike things whose motion results in light, much the way the motion of water molecules result in waves, we cannot objectively call light a wave in anything. The behavior of light sometimes resembles the behavior of water waves and sound, but only to the extent that it actually resembles them. To go beyond this and say that "light is a wave" is nothing but arbitrary speculation. It may be helpful sometimes to imagine light as something like a wave (and at other times to imagine it as something like a "gas" made up of particles) but one should know where the bounds of these analogies are: the wave analogy is only valid to the extent that light behaves like a wave; the particle analogy is only valid to the extent that light behaves like particles. Being like a wave to some extent does not make light a wave; being like particles to some extent does not make light particles. Light is just what it is; if we cannot find anything to liken it to--well, tough luck.
  6. I can't think of any (in fact, I don't quite know what you mean by "duality" here) so do post some examples please.
  7. Yup. Here, at this site, we like to have objective standards. And we choose to have them because those who don't are bound to end up disappointed.
  8. Andrew RadCap's reply is not the least bit abusive, and you are being over-sensitive. (Any further questions?)
  9. Witch hunts ... inquisition ... decade-long wars among feudal kingdoms ... the refusal to bathe and the resulting epidemics ... if that isn't dark enough, I don't know what is. There is one little difference you forgot--the one relativists always forget--namely, that Objectivism is based on reality, while Medievalism was not. I do hope that society will be much more rational in 2530 than now--but today's irrationality is none of the Objectivists' fault!
  10. I think you can predict a fairly large proportion of an irrational person's actions by observing patterns in his irrationality. For example, if somebody opposed the toppling of the Taliban and Saddam because he would have preferred "negotiations," it's pretty safe to say that if we proposed the toppling of the Iranian regime, he would also be against that. A person who doesn't use his mind is governed by his reflexes. That sort of behavior is, by its nature, predictable. Truly evil people do use their minds, of course--or one might better say that they abuse their minds. Think of the evil schemes masterminded by Stalin or Hitler or bin Laden. This is the kind of person who chooses not to live--but wants to stay alive so he can take revenge on life. He defends himself from being destroyed, but only in order to be able to maximize the destruction before he dies. The actions of such a person are actually shaped by a goal, only that that goal is a contradictory one. It might be helpful to think of such a person as "anti-rational" rather than simply irrational; he acts like a hockey team determined to shoot as many own goals as possible. Which means that, once you've figured out the quirks of his thinking, you'll be able to predict him too.
  11. I would try and escape to a place where the reach of the irrational society does not extend, and live my life there. (Well, this doesn't really address the question of living a virtuous life in a culture of irrationality, but that's what I would see as my best option. It's better to live alone than to live among repulsive fools.) As an alternative, I might try to "play along" with the irrationalists for a while in order to learn how to predict their irrational reactions, and then turn their irrationality against them. The strategy would be to let the truly evil ones destroy themselves, and at the same time find those people among the population who are willing to give up the irrational ideas and seek the truth. One tool I might find useful is the "reductio ad absurdum" : The true irrationalists would believe the absurd (which would increase their irrationality, and thus hasten their demise), while the more rational people would recognize it as absurd, and re-examine their premises as a result.
  12. I would say that choosing to think about something that might be evil (but you're not sure it is) in order to find out whether it actually is evil, is perfectly moral. Choosing to think about something you know is evil just because you find some perverse joy in imagining it happening, is definitely a self-destructive, and therefore immoral, choice. Not that any thoughts should be made illegal. Mere thoughts don't violate anybody's rights, even if they result from immoral choices.
  13. OK, here ya go: YOU YOURSELF acknowledged that there is a tale of the 72 virgins and you admitted that it's related to suicide. Then, in your very next post, you have the audacity to deny this fact and demand evidence from me! Quoting Muslims saying some pretty things won't do. The Taliban themselves shed their share of crocodile tears on the very day of 9/11/01. I never said that Islam was consistent; in fact, I asserted its irrationality. Irrational people regularly say one thing one time and another thing another time. That's why they're irrational! If you say "Kill Jews!" and the next moment you say "I condemn the killing of Jews," you still have said "Kill Jews!" Listen buddy, my statements are retracted when I say they are retracted, not when you declare they are. The only statement I retract is the following: Which means that I'm done talking to you. Go post your terrorist apologies elsewhere.
  14. Now that's more like it. Thanks for choosing to have a rational discussion. There are various degrees to which you can 'belong" to a particular religion. In America, for example, there are many people who consider themselves Christians, but hardly ever attend church at all. Then there are those who go to church only as a matter of custom and formality, without paying serious attention to what the clergy has to say. Others consider religion an important part of their lives, but don't always "act as good Christians." And so on--at the far end of the spectrum are the few true fanatics who (try to) take every sentence in the Bible literally. The same is true for Islam. The majority of Muslims don't take the teachings of the religion seriously enough to do something as irrational as killing yourself to kill others. Of course there are "hard feelings." The Koran tells them to hate the infidels and fight for the "true religion." The hatred for infidels and the prospect of a reward in paradise are not mutually exclusive; what's more, they complement each other in motivating the terrorists. "Ahmed, you should really blow yourself up because these are very, very bad people. But if that isn't reason enough for you, consider those hot houris you'll be making out with in paradise." Most terrorists are strongly motivated by both of these factors--and both of them are, of course, utterly irrational. Yes, I know. But this is still utterly irrational: 1. If they are waging a jihad, they shouldn't be surprised if the infidels fight back; 2. Didn't Israel do the family member a favor by helping him martyr himself in a jihad and get into paradise? 3. If I really wanted to take revenge for some crime, I would try and kill the actual perpetrators of the crime, not some randomly chosen innocent people and myself. Your actions are shaped by your ideas. As I pointed out many times above, Islamic culture has some bizarrely irrational aspects that encourage "true believers" to kill other people and even themselves. It is only logical to conclude that this irrational death cult is responsible for the irrational and deadly actions of the people who believe in it.
  15. Of course it is possible. If a nation has rational, objective leaders, the nation will have an objectivist foreign policy. Not that the current administration of the United States is immaculately rational; far from it. They get some things right and other things wrong. The things that they do get right offer you a taste of what an objectivist foreign policy would be like.
  16. Falafel, when you registered on this board, you had to check a box indicating your agreement to certain rules, including the following (emphasis mine): Sorry to bring this up, but I think your last post on this thread borders on violating this. I'm not reporting you or anything, I just wanted to remind you. I am not very inclined to continue this discussion with you: I made a point (Islamic culture, especially the teachings on submission and on jihad rewarded by virgins, being the true root cause of terrorism); you continue to state your disagreement with that point, but offer no refutation. Just insisting that you think it isn't so won't do--especially not on this forum. You won't change my mind by saying many times that you disagree with me; you can only change my mind by showing that your point of view, and not mine, is the one that is consistent with reality. So please try and provide a rational refutation of my take on Islam, or retract yours. I will not reply to a post that doesn't contain either of these.
  17. They are certainly within the universe (given that the universe is defined as all that exists) but they are things of a special nature: they are conscious, and they have a will. Other things just react to events according to predefined rules--but we can act on our own. You don't think rationally because a series of random mutations have caused you to think rationally. You think rationally because you choose to think rationally. Man's brain may have evolved in a Darwinian way; but the brain only provides a capacity for rational thought. This capacity is not utilized automatically. The very idea of rational thought is to exert your will to get your brain to produce the result you are looking for. (And analogously, rational action means exerting your will to get your body to act as your brain has determined it should.) Is it possible for men to have mutant children who lack the capacity for rational thought? It certainly is. Will such dumb offspring be fitter to survive than rational humans? Certainly not.
  18. Ha! Thanks for the laugh... Nations don't have rights to territories. People do. A government derives its rightful power from the consent of the governed--so if the owner of a particular block of land does not want to belong under a given government, that government may not rightfully force him to accept its authority. Uh, that's certainly not what I was taught in school, but then I'm a Hungarian! BTW the Romans were already gone by the time we got there; the area was inhabited by Avars and Huns at that time. The Magyars displaced part of them and absorbed the rest. Yes--but why do you ask?
  19. Why so dismissive? Sure, an explanation involving horny teens and promises of orgies in paradise doesn't sound as academic in style as that convoluted analysis you posted about monarchs and mistrust propagation and conspiracy theories and what not--but I assure you, yer average suicide bomber boy cares much more about satisfying his desires than about the lofty quirks of academia. Reality isn't created in ivory towers, nor does it follow their stylistic rules. Of course, all these young boys don't get these ideas out of nothing. They are indoctrinated by the religious leaders to believe all this garbage--so we should also examine what motivates the leaders to do so. The name "Islam" means submission. It is a religion that promotes submission to Allah (and to Allah's spokesmen--the mullahs) as the means to "making the world a better place." Of course, a society built on these false ideas can never be as successful as one built on individual rights; so, not surprisingly, America, Britain, and Israel are much, much better places than any Islamic nation. This fact pretty much seems to contradict the notion of submission to Allah being the panacea to cure all the world's ills. How do the religious leaders escape this embarrassing contradiction? They could just admit that they are wrong ... but that is not what they choose to do. Instead: They put the blame for Araby's poverty on the West, insinuating that we are thieves or something like that. (It should be noted that they get a considerable amount of help in this activity from liberals and other Western hand-wringers who continue to express their moral doubts regarding "our imperialist policies" etc.) They insist that "good" Muslims will have a much better place in paradise than Westerners have here on earth, if only they do their part and blow up some infidels. This, of course, will not make Araby a better place--but it will, if it succeeds, destroy the West. And that's exactly the idea: "If you can't beat 'em, zap 'em." To make the point that vacillation due to a lack of moral clarity can often lead to ending up supporting the bad guys. I can well imagine that the British made the same mistake--they wrung their hands about whether it would be moral to "impose British law" on those territories, and ended up giving them "independence"--independence from the rule of just law, at the price of being at the mercy of an unjust tyrant. Oops, my last-but-one sentence in that post should read: "In a civilized nation, the right to retaliate against convicted criminals is usually vested in the government, so unless Paul is a cop, he may still not rob Joe after Joe is convicted."
  20. Nations are composed of individuals. You cannot violate the rights of those individuals. Assume that you, your brother, and I discover an island (imagine we're in the 17th century if that helps) and settle on it, bringing our families with us. The island doesn't belong to any government, so each of the three of us forms his own little government on his part of the island. We live in peace and prosperity until one day I walk over to your place with a gun in my hand and demand that you and your family leave. You try to defend yourself but I happen to overcome you. As you get on the boat to leave, I ask, "Why the angry look?" Surprised, you say, "I was hoping you would respect my property rights." I reply, "Oh, I sure do respect your property rights, my dear Andrew. My nation was just exercising its right of conquest." At this point, would you say, "Oh, I see! It's all fine then. Feel free to also conquer my brother's part of the island" and accept my conquest as perfectly moral and unobjectionable? Or would you continue to fault me for violating your rights? If the latter is the case, you do not recognize my right of conquest.
  21. I think the term often carries an implicit sense of disapproval--but of course if you didn't mean it that way, I won't take it that way. Perhaps the monarchs were the "independence." Remember, independence only makes sense in a nation of independent people. If you leave a slavish-souled nation alone, it's not likely that it will end up as a constitutional republic, or even a "democracy." It will likely end up as a tyranny. The Arab nations would have been much better off if they had been admitted into the British Empire. Hmm, another "root cause" ? We are told by some that it's all because of America's support for Israel. Others insist it's because of US troops being stationed in Saudi Arabia. Then there are those who say it's because of American "decadence." I suppose there are some environmentalists who are convinced the Arabs are so angry because America is endangering the spotted owl. These theories all miss the point: That Islam teaches its followers to get into paradise by becoming a martyr. If you kill enough infidels, Allah will reward you by giving you 72 virgins you can rape all you want. It is actually quite a well-engineered religion of mass destruction: The adolescent boys of Arabia are full of lust and, uhm, not so thoroughly versed in Objectivist epistemology, so they will gladly believe this garbage and rush to their deaths as suicide bombers. Well, that's the conclusion you get if you assume the worst about the British and the best about the Arabs. I think the problem was that the British had no strategy ; they lacked a vision of what was morally right and just vacillated, much like the Bush administration is doing now. Today, the despots use the UN as a fig leaf to confer moral respectability upon them. "This war will be illegitimate if the UN does not approve of it!" the propaganda goes. But the voice of the majority in the UN is the voice of African dictators and Islamic theocrats. If the American administration accepts the premise of the UN being a fountainhead of morality, it will end up doing the bidding of those dictators and theocrats. I don't. As other posters have already said, it is at best a sloppy articulation of the fact that the rights of individuals are not respected in those uncivilized places. Well then let's say "they need re-colonization, British style," meaning bringing the rule of law back there. Joe is presumed innocent until he is proven guilty in a court of law. So if Paul robs him before he is convicted, that means he robs him while he is still presumed innocent--so Paul is guilty too. In a civilized nation, the right to retaliate against convicted criminals is usually vested in the government, so unless Paul is a cop, he may still not rob Joe. Also, Joe will regain his rights after he has compensated Jack for his loss and served his prison sentence.
  22. That's no surprise, as anarchism is quintessentially un-Objectivist. There is one similarity that a superficial observer might perceive: That both are opposed to a big government. But that is because anarchists think they are opposed to all government. They think so--but if you take a closer look at yer typical anarchist, you'll notice that they seem to have absolutely no problem with communist governments. Anarchists are frequently seen protesting together with communists. The following picture offers quite a good insight into their mindset: When they speak of "The State," they mean a capitalist government--a government that punishes thieves, defeats terrorists, enforces patents and copyrights, and so on; in other words, a government that guarantees freedom by protecting individual rights. Freedom is when people don't have to worry about their rights being violated. Tyranny is when people's rights are systematically violated by a central organization which calls itself the government. Anarchy is when people's rights are violated at random by several competing gangs. Thus, both tyranny and anarchy mean a lack of freedom. And, make no mistake, it is freedom that anarchists hate.
  23. Gosh, Wonder, you're the most hopelessly collectivist-idealist person I've ever talked to! I have to ask: What do you consider your goal in life? Do you want to be successful and free, enjoy your life, have friends who respect you and love you, and live in a happy marriage? Or is it something else ... perhaps something involving "society" or your "brothers" ? I am asking this because your idea of your goal in life fundamentally influences all aspects of your thinking. If we want to have any fruitful debate, we need to make sure that our thinking rests on the same fundaments, or at least compatible ones.
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