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Introduction:

What is more important: Some frog's species or a single man? And since "important" is an opinion not a fact, master Ayn would immediately ask: Important according to what standard? or even better in this case to "whose" standard?

If the frog would have a standard (she doesn't think) she probably would answer: "me of course!" not even the species but the single frog, and if the single man is asked he probably would say: "me of course!" That is the ancient fight for survival...

But what would a Radical Environmentalist say? That we must sacrifice the single man in favor of the frog's species. As long of course as the single man is not him...

Plus the yellow-spotted bell frog (Litoria castanea), last observed in 1970s, has long been thought to be extinct in the wild but recently reappeared to say "Hey don't believe all what environmentalists say"

Or being less naif we can indeed believe what they say but interpreting it in the right light, for what I recommend this excellent post of ewv in this same Objectivist Online Forum

Here go my main question:

What is or should be the stand Objectivism in this matter?

Is there a current "official" position? (ARI's perhaps) I also have read some time ago Rand's excellent book "The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution" that had a quite clear position about this IIRC, or at least the basis to form your own opinion...

And what is your opinion about what range should we Objectivists move in (assuming we are not all identical) between the extremes of Soft ecology to Radical Environmentalism? Should we be concerned at all about Ecology anyway?

Lately to be honest I feel just some kind of indifference or plain hatred for the green color so fashioned these days... I regret they spend a whole day at the Middle School of my step daughter teaching her the value of being concerned about the frogs instead of giving her more powerful intellectual weapons to face the real challenges of life in the future... Time is always a limited and precious resource and I feel they are wasting it at school sometimes

Sometimes also it seems to me that we as Society can afford this "luxury" just because we are all more or less under the overprotective umbrella of the progress achieved in western societies, but in this course of action we will lose in some not-so-far future the very origin of this progress: Capitalism...

I am even more concerned about my little two years old son: What will they teach to him at school in five years if the current trend continues? Should I send him to school at all or better I teach him at home myself? What values will they instill in his jung and malleable mind?

About what really Ecology and Environmentalism mean my first impulse would be try to look for some definitions, but the words "Ecology" "Environmentalism" "Green" "Organic" has ben so extensively misused that anything goes these days. There are definitions but nobody cares and most people, mass media, movements, etc. use them in their own way and for their own purposes which ranges from a quite innocent "just go with the mainstream to avoid problems" to the much more dangerous "lets smuggle out our secret agenda into this or that issue"

There are people drinking unpasteurized milk because it is green and "organic" (!) Luis Pasteur would jump from his tomb screaming: idiots, I invested my skills, time and hard-work in this life-improving technology more than one Century ago, why in the hell are you trying to come back to the past?

Some time ago kids began to get sick form smallpox in a little town on the mountains, mothers were not vaccinating them because it was not "natural" (!!)

An the list goes on...

Edited by Tonix777
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I would much prefer raw milk if it wasn't illegal. Pasteurization is unnecessary unless the cow is living in his shit. Pasteurization also kills off bacteria that make milk more tolerable. The end result of pasteurization is today's situation where all cows live in their shit, their shit gets mixed into the milk, and their milk tastes like shit. Everyone also thinks they're lactose intolerant, when really they are just intolerant of the crap they get from the grocery store.

Bottom line: things are not automatically good for you (the Objectivist) just because they have been industrialized or commercialized, and things are not automatically bad for you because they are advocated by someone whose politics are ghastly.

Edited by brian0918
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What is more important: Some frog's species or a single man? And since "important" is an opinion not a fact, master Ayn would immediately ask: Important according to what standard? or even better in this case to "whose" standard?

If you hold a rational standard of value, I dont think this is a matter of opinion, Objectivist ethics would treat this as a matter of fact. Frogs dont have intrinsic value. Environmentalism is a hippie form of mysticism. The only real ethical semi - dillema I can think of is if this frog species held a chemical that was a surefire cure for cancer or something.

What is or should be the stand Objectivism in this matter?

This will vary depending on a persons value heirarchy. (Im speaking of environmentalism in general, not the frog in a lifeboat situation) An objective value structure with the right standard of value (your life as a man) should make it easier to form opinions on these things. I happen to enjoy wildlife, and nature in general. But, the thing to keep in mind always is, am I sacrificing a higher value for a lesser one?

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Here go my main question:

What is or should be the stand Objectivism in this matter?

Is there a current "official" position? (ARI's perhaps) I also have read some time ago Rand's excellent book "The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution" that had a quite clear position about this IIRC, or at least the basis to form your own opinion...

And what is your opinion about what range should we Objectivists move in (assuming we are not all identical) between the extremes of Soft ecology to Radical Environmentalism? Should we be concerned at all about Ecology anyway?

Well, I can take a crack at this. I am pretty sure I am the only professional ecologist on this board. Someone feel free to correct me but I have never run across any other ecologists, or even any biologists who are not working at the molecular level, around here.

Ecology as I understand it is nothing more than the study of living systems at the macro-level (organismal and above, so population, community, ecosystem, etc). You can choose to focus on the biotic parts of the system (i.e. the living things), or you can also study the abiotic parts (such as tracing the nitrogen or carbon cycles, water, you get the idea). I became an ecologist because aside from my fascination with how nature works, it is a good area of study for my puzzle- and systems-oriented thinking...I gravitated to it as a "big picture" kind of person who also swore never to be trapped in a lab all her life.

I believe that the study of ecology is crucial to man's flourishing because it is, in a very fundamental way, the study of our context on this earth. For the majority of our existence we have lived inexorably tied to our natural environment, and even though we are a little bit farther from it now, we are still not that far. I do not believe that nature is something separate from man, nor do I believe man and nature are somehow opposed. Instead it seems obvious to me that man exists within nature and is a part of it.

If you have more particular questions for me, fire away. I could prattle on and on about my research interests but that may not have anything to do with what you actually want to know about. Also you should know, for the sake of honesty, that I do not call myself an Objectivist. I guess you could say I am "Objectivish" (not sure where I picked up that word but I like it). In other words, I am committed to reason and egoism but am not yet 100% confident that I agree with the entire philosophy. It will require more thought on my part, but I'm in no hurry.

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I would much prefer raw milk if it wasn't illegal. Pasteurization is unnecessary unless the cow is living in his shit. Pasteurization also kills off bacteria that make milk more tolerable. The end result of pasteurization is today's situation where all cows live in their shit, their shit gets mixed into the milk, and their milk tastes like shit. Everyone also thinks they're lactose intolerant, when really they are just intolerant of the crap they get from the grocery store.

Bottom line: things are not automatically good for you (the Objectivist) just because they have been industrialized or commercialized, and things are not automatically bad for you because they are advocated by someone whose politics are ghastly.

Don't forget all the shit in the meat you are eating too. Combine that with all the shit you are drinking in the milk and I dare say, you are full of shit.

Edited by DoubleIPA
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If you hold a rational standard of value, I dont think this is a matter of opinion, Objectivist ethics would treat this as a matter of fact. Frogs dont have intrinsic value. Environmentalism is a hippie form of mysticism. The only real ethical semi - dillema I can think of is if this frog species held a chemical that was a surefire cure for cancer or something.

This will vary depending on a persons value heirarchy. (Im speaking of environmentalism in general, not the frog in a lifeboat situation) An objective value structure with the right standard of value (your life as a man) should make it easier to form opinions on these things. I happen to enjoy wildlife, and nature in general. But, the thing to keep in mind always is, am I sacrificing a higher value for a lesser one?

Whether you "hold a rational standard of value" or not facts are facts and opinions are opinions, this is a basic distinction between metaphysics (facts) and epistemology/ethics (opinions). Some Objectivists tends perhaps to somewhat diminish the value of opinions probably because of the popular tendency to say "it is just a matter of opinion" that usually justify that anything goes which means basically not having strong opinions or no opinions at all.

When it is the opposite: Facts are facts no matter what and that some people don't recognize even facts is another problem.

But probably the most important thing that defines you as an individual are your opinions: What do you think about the world and yourself and why? Your values, your logic, your knowledge, your skills, your powers of observation, etc: (your reason) are the makers of your opinions

And the frog case is not a "lifeboat situation", it is just an example about what is happening everyday all around us thanks to the modernly fashioned Environmentalist tendency that evidently is getting so deep into the society that is influencing also the Objectivists, according to some other posts in this thread :lol:

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But probably the most important thing that defines you as an individual are your opinions: What do you think about the world and yourself and why? Your values, your logic, your knowledge, your skills, your powers of observation, etc: (your reason) are the makers of your opinions
In other words, your opinions are not important in defining you as an individual. Your values, your logic, your knowledge, your skills, your powers of observation etc are what are most important in defining you as a person and will, incidentally, have an effect on your opinions.
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Don't forget all the shit in the meat you are eating too. Combine that with all the shit you are drinking in the milk and I dare say, you are full of shit.

Your words demonstrate is exactly my point: thanks to the modernly fashioned Environmentalist tendency almost everyone is convinced that we eat and drink shit and we live in a dangerous and polluted environment. Why then the global life expectancy is now double than a couple centuries ago when almost everything was "natural"?

Truth is that "natural" is not necessarily synonym of "healthier" and industrialized is most of the times better than raw. I am not a nutrition expert and perhaps milk can be just one of the few exceptions to the rule... My wife is not Objectivist and he buys all our food in "Whole Foods" that is supposed to be organic bla, bla, bla. But of course much more expensive. It has come to be a very good business being "organic" these days but I would love to see the results of some comparative blind test about taste and some real impartial scientific study about nutrition properties, potential damage to health etc.

Other thing that surprises me is that suddenly in the last decades all industrialized products apparently are "carcinogenic" but no one tells the truth: that everything natural or industrialized is carcinogenic in some degree and that quantities are essential.

It is like if suddenly everyone wants to live forever and in a perfect world. I have bad news for them: it only happens in heaven, in the real world there are viruses and substances and dangers natural and/or artificial that your body has to defend from every minute of your existence.

Life is not perfect and everyone is going to age and die some day no matter how much organic food you eat

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Your words demonstrate is exactly my point: thanks to the modernly fashioned Environmentalist tendency almost everyone is convinced that we eat and drink shit

I am not convinced by "tendencies". I am convinced by evidence, and the evidence indicates that not only are the modern dietary guidelines for which foods are healthy often absolutely wrong, but that most of the food available in grocery stores or restaurants will increase heart disease risk or other health issues. This is due to a variety of reasons, including govt subsidy of corn, wheat, and other grains, and FDA/NIH and other govt-funded health organizations poor research and bad advice.

Why then the global life expectancy is now double than a couple centuries ago when almost everything was "natural"?

Medicine.

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In other words, your opinions are not important in defining you as an individual. Your values, your logic, your knowledge, your skills, your powers of observation etc are what are most important in defining you as a person and will, incidentally, have an effect on your opinions.

I disagree: The practical implementation of your philosophy (your values, your logic, your knowledge, your skills, your powers of observation etc) are your opinions which allows you to make the millions of big and small daily decisions that marks the course of your life: Good or bad, red or green, left or right, black or white or grey, etc. Otherwise philosophy is just a theory without practical effects in your life

So perhaps it is just semantics but for me opinions are the practical implementation of your ethics and the driving force behind your decision making processes. And when I say "ethics" it is practical ethics as in the Objectivist point of view, meaning there is ethics not only in choosing not to steal funds from your company but also in choosing the school for your kids, the person to share your life with or the brand of tires for your car

Edited by Tonix777
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I am not convinced by "tendencies". I am convinced by evidence, and the evidence indicates that not only are the modern dietary guidelines for which foods are healthy often absolutely wrong, but that most of the food available in grocery stores or restaurants will increase heart disease risk or other health issues. This is due to a variety of reasons, including govt subsidy of corn, wheat, and other grains, and FDA/NIH and other govt-funded health organizations poor research and bad advice.

Medicine.

Well... Medicine is another field subtly attacked by most Greens & Naturalists and some branches of Environmentalists, all of them very closely associated with the dozens of New Age movements also so fashioned these days. All the "alternative therapies" that opposite scientific medicine are based on the same basic axiom: Equaling natural to good and artificial to bad. Wrong

Other example: Good pesticides like the old beloved DDT that could be saving millions of lives in India are banned by modern Environmentalist lobby/tendencies. The mistake that people normally make about food, medicine, pesticides, etc. is not judging benefits against dangers. Every solution carry its own problems but it doesn't mean that we have to renounce to the solutions. Let's don't abandon cars because they kill thousands of people every year, let's improve cars.

Edited by Tonix777
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I disagree: The practical implementation of your philosophy (your values, your logic, your knowledge, your skills, your powers of observation etc) are your opinions which allows you to make the millions of big and small daily decisions that marks the course of your life: Good or bad, red or green, left or right, black or white or grey, etc. Otherwise philosophy is just a theory without practical effects in your life
But your opinions are entirely a function of your philosophy; your philosophy causes your opinions (professed or otherwise). Furthermore, your opinions are of clearly importance than your actions are: opinions not translated into action is not even a theory, it is just a list, and has no practical effect on your life.

I don't understand in what way a mere opinion is important. Your actions are important, and your philosophy is important, and your opinions are not really worth a hill of beans, practically speaking or theoretically speaking.

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Well... Medicine is another field subtly attacked by most Greens & Naturalists and some branches of Environmentalists, all of them very closely associated with the dozens of New Age movements also so fashioned these days. All the "alternative therapies" that opposite scientific medicine are based on the same basic axiom: Equaling natural to good and artificial to bad. Wrong

You claimed that the life expectancy increase was due to diet. I said it was due to medicine. Now you are talking about how environmentalists distort medicine. Why is that relevant?

Edited by brian0918
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But your opinions are entirely a function of your philosophy; your philosophy causes your opinions (professed or otherwise). Furthermore, your opinions are of clearly importance than your actions are: opinions not translated into action is not even a theory, it is just a list, and has no practical effect on your life.

I don't understand in what way a mere opinion is important. Your actions are important, and your philosophy is important, and your opinions are not really worth a hill of beans, practically speaking or theoretically speaking.

In my opinion the cause-effect chain is the following Philosophy-->Opinions-->Actions

I agree with you about opinions without actions, I was assuming that your actions are a direct consequence of your real opinions.

Opinions for me is not just what you say to others but specially what you say to yourself in order to make some decision/action

Perhaps you are referring to people who "say" the have some opinion but act differently: They are lying ether just to you or also to themselves which happens frequently. Your actions are the reflection of your real internal opinions, no matter what you say to others.

I closely associate opinions to Ran'd concept of "sense of life" that in the end strongly marks the course of our lives

o·pin·ion (-pnyn)

n.

1. A belief or conclusion held with confidence but not necessarily substantiated by positive knowledge or proof: "The world is not run by thought, nor by imagination, but by opinion" (Elizabeth Drew).

2. A judgment based on special knowledge and given by an expert: a medical opinion.

3. A judgment or estimation of the merit of a person or thing: has a low opinion of braggarts.

4. The prevailing view: public opinion.

Edited by Tonix777
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You claimed that the life expectancy increase was due to diet. I said it was due to medicine. Now you are talking about how environmentalists distort medicine. Why is that relevant?

Read my post again, I didn't say that life expectancy was just due to diet I was only answering to DoubleIPA who focused in food and using him as an example of a broader modern concept that I think is wrong: Natural = Good / Artificial = Bad

So my point is more general against all manifestations of Environmentalism, New Age, Naturalism and all dozens similar movements/philosophies anti-progress, anti-man. Either focusing in food, alleged extinction of animal or vegetal species, global warming, pesticides, medicine, etc. etc.

The list of attacks to man and to reason is really long...

Edited by Tonix777
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In my opinion the cause-effect chain is the following Philosophy-->Opinions-->Actions

I agree with you about opinions without actions, I was assuming that your actions are a direct consequence of your real opinions.

o·pin·ion (-pnyn)

n.

1. A belief or conclusion held with confidence but not necessarily substantiated by positive knowledge or proof: "The world is not run by thought, nor by imagination, but by opinion" (Elizabeth Drew).

2. A judgment based on special knowledge and given by an expert: a medical opinion.

3. A judgment or estimation of the merit of a person or thing: has a low opinion of braggarts.

4. The prevailing view: public opinion.

Lol , which one of these definitions are you choosing? 1. Is directly opposed to 2. in regards to facts. What have you read on Oism?

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Lol , which one of these definitions are you choosing? 1. Is directly opposed to 2. in regards to facts. What have you read on Oism?

I have probably read on Objectivism much more than you, but this is not the point

You are missing the whole meaning of my post just for this detail and these are not my definitions but were taken from some online dictionary.

And please learn to read more carefully: The definition #1 says "...but not necessarily substantiated by positive knowledge or proof" which is true: some people don't support their opinions with facts which is wrong. But some people do

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The Paleo Diet movement in Objectivism is wholly separate from the Environmentalist movement. In fact, most of the people in this thread who say they prefer raw milk enjoy eating the flesh of furry creatures for health and pleasure. As one of these supposedly "Environmentalist" Objectivists, I can tell you that I hold no such principle as: "Natural = good, artificial = bad." I follow science. I have read a great deal of well founded research on why the current pasteurization processes (which use chemicals, not heat radiation like Louis Pasteur) make milk less nutritious and sponsor allergies to casein and lactose. As far as organic vegetables free of pesticides, I don't eat them. I haven't seen any convincing evidence against "non-organic" fruits and vegetables. But my judgement of whether or not to eat them is not a philosophic one, it is unrelated to the principles of human progress and technology.

In fact I believe if I understand your point correctly, Tonix, you are attempting to make a scientific issue into a philosophical one, for the purposes of condemning those who don't eat the same foods as you.

Let's go into the facts here:

Fact: Pasteurized and ultra pasteurized milk creates milk allergies. Unpasteurized milk is antibiotic and healthy.

Fact: Food grains contain poisonous antinutrients which block the absorption of minerals and clog the function of the body's organs.

Fact: Grains and sugars can cause many of the modern diseases which plague our life expectancy, including heart disease, cancer, obesity, and some mental disorders.

Sources: here, here, here, and here.

Scientifically backed, and thus by nature not an issue of philosophical principle. I do not recycle, I do not cry for polar bears, I support drilling for oil, and for the advancement of human progress into new technologies at whatever speed we can. I will, however, eat what I think is healthiest for me, be it something humans have eaten since we evolved from apes, or something invented recently by the power of modern men's minds.

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Whether you "hold a rational standard of value" or not facts are facts and opinions are opinions, this is a basic distinction between metaphysics (facts) and epistemology/ethics (opinions).

You seem to be forgetting that opinions are based on values, and values are based in facts. "Epistemology/ethics is not a matter of arbitrary subjective opinions. Values, and thus opinions, if looked at through the proper ethical lens so to speak, are objective ie. based on reality as processed by consciousness according to a rational standard of value. Following your logic, we may as well say, there is no right or wrong, there are only opinions. Sorry to nit-pick this one point, but I cannot simply ignore it.

j..

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The Paleo Diet movement in Objectivism is wholly separate from the Environmentalist movement. In fact, most of the people in this thread who say they prefer raw milk enjoy eating the flesh of furry creatures for health and pleasure. As one of these supposedly "Environmentalist" Objectivists, I can tell you that I hold no such principle as: "Natural = good, artificial = bad." I follow science. I have read a great deal of well founded research on why the current pasteurization processes (which use chemicals, not heat radiation like Louis Pasteur) make milk less nutritious and sponsor allergies to casein and lactose. As far as organic vegetables free of pesticides, I don't eat them. I haven't seen any convincing evidence against "non-organic" fruits and vegetables. But my judgement of whether or not to eat them is not a philosophic one, it is unrelated to the principles of human progress and technology.

In fact I believe if I understand your point correctly, Tonix, you are attempting to make a scientific issue into a philosophical one, for the purposes of condemning those who don't eat the same foods as you.

Let's go into the facts here:

Fact: Pasteurized and ultra pasteurized milk creates milk allergies. Unpasteurized milk is antibiotic and healthy.

Fact: Food grains contain poisonous antinutrients which block the absorption of minerals and clog the function of the body's organs.

Fact: Grains and sugars can cause many of the modern diseases which plague our life expectancy, including heart disease, cancer, obesity, and some mental disorders.

Sources: here, here, here, and here.

Scientifically backed, and thus by nature not an issue of philosophical principle. I do not recycle, I do not cry for polar bears, I support drilling for oil, and for the advancement of human progress into new technologies at whatever speed we can. I will, however, eat what I think is healthiest for me, be it something humans have eaten since we evolved from apes, or something invented recently by the power of modern men's minds.

You have a strong position based on your own research and I respect that, but you probably would agree with me in than you belong to a small minority of conscious people that do some research before forming an opinion

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Of the Objectivists I know who follow the paleo diet, I have met none who made the decision to eat this way unconsciously. Other than those Objectivists, I know of none who vocally advocate eating organic foods or grass fed beef or raw milk.

I also don't know any Objectivists who agree with the Environmentalist movement or any of its subsets. So if your post is not directed at Paleo Objectivists, I do not know of any Objectivists to whom it could be directed to. Perhaps you could give an example of persons or stances you've seen previously which led you to believe there are Objectivists being unwittingly influenced by the Environmentalist movement.

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Of the Objectivists I know who follow the paleo diet, I have met none who made the decision to eat this way unconsciously. Other than those Objectivists, I know of none who vocally advocate eating organic foods or grass fed beef or raw milk.

I also don't know any Objectivists who agree with the Environmentalist movement or any of its subsets. So if your post is not directed at Paleo Objectivists, I do not know of any Objectivists to whom it could be directed to. Perhaps you could give an example of persons or stances you've seen previously which led you to believe there are Objectivists being unwittingly influenced by the Environmentalist movement.

Interesting...

I don't know very much about the paleo diet, but my post is certainly not directed to Objectivists only, on the other hand I probably assumed wrongly that most people participating in this forum are at least close to Objectivism

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Of the Objectivists I know who follow the paleo diet, I have met none who made the decision to eat this way unconsciously. Other than those Objectivists, I know of none who vocally advocate eating organic foods or grass fed beef or raw milk.

I also don't know any Objectivists who agree with the Environmentalist movement or any of its subsets. So if your post is not directed at Paleo Objectivists, I do not know of any Objectivists to whom it could be directed to. Perhaps you could give an example of persons or stances you've seen previously which led you to believe there are Objectivists being unwittingly influenced by the Environmentalist movement.

As a side topic: I was reading some basic concepts about the paleo diet in Dr Ben Balzer’s Paleolithic Diet Weblog and it sounds very interesting and well backed by research and objective facts...

Can I ask you how long have you been practicing this diet and what is your personal experience? Did you note any changes in your health, physical abilities, behavior, moods, etc?

Thanks!

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I just wrote a post for the Modern Paleo blog about just your question in fact. Here you go!

And the blogs I've linked and this Modern Paleo blog are really good blogs for you to read if you're interested in the paleo diet. Modern Paleo is specifically run by Objectivists who eat this diet and they've done a great job so far.

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