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A mistake? As in, an honest mistake? Then on what basis did Ms. Cushman ascribe a motive to ARI’s action? BTW have we established that ARI ever took any action? Ever deleted any links? Someone say where they were, so we can check it with the Wayback Machine.

According to the way back machine:

For concrete ideas and ammunition, you may want to join the OActivists list. This is an informal e-mail list for Objectivists committed to fostering positive cultural and political change.

(Please note that while the Institute encourages donor activism, we do not endorse any outside e-mail lists or Web sites.)

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It may seem disrespectful, but it's the truth that he demonstrates has *no idea what he's talking about* in regards to transgender related stuff, and has demonstrated that on many occasions. He has used zero facts, and made a complex matter into something trivial. Is what I said disrespectful? I don't think that's disrespectful in the least, because I'm stating precisely something Peikoff should not be respected for.[bold added]

Actually, if you think he has been that wrong on so many issues (many of which we have talked about on this thread) then I have no idea how you can have any respect for him. If you think his applications of Objectivism are so far off base, then what would your respect be based upon? You would have to see him as a man with no integrity; no ability to follow the principles he espouses, no ability to be rational (given he said so many wrong things). We've talked about the facts regarding the Muslim threat and the meaning of the NYC Mosque, we've talked briefly about his date-rape issue (which he came out and said was a mistake), and we talk about all sorts of things throughout oo.net land and what I see happening is a disagreement over the philosophical meaning of the facts. I don't think it is the case that Dr.Peikoff has no facts and no reason on his side, rather even when he does clearly present the facts there is disagreement over the meaning of the facts.

Take the transgender issue. The fact is that the transgendered person was born a particular sex (male or female, penis or vagina) and then decides that it really wasn't the right sex after all, so they seek a sex change. These facts are not in dispute. No one would dispute that a male transgendered person was born with a penis and that a female transgendered person was born with a vagina. But here is the difference. Dr. Peikoff and other leading Objectivists would say to start with the perceptually self-evident facts (penis or vagina) and then identify the object with those facts in mind (penis= male, vagina=female). Evidently, you and DH and I'm sure a few others on this list want to say that it is a bit more complicated than that; that there can be an overriding factor that makes gender different from sex (penis=female, vagina=male). Well, the point of contention is precisely this: If you are going to claim that an entity is something other than what it can be identified as going by the self-evident facts, then you need to clearly identify what those overriding factors are, and back it up with further evidence -- which I don't see happening. In DH's podcast on the issue, she had a whole lot of speculation, but no researched facts, and yet her approach is considered superior to just looking and seeing that so and so has a penis and is therefore male while so and so other has a vagina and is therefore female.

The bottom line is this: If you are going to be objective, then you have to present the facts and furnish a proof, especially if you are going against the perceptually self-evident. Where is your evidence that it is possible to have a gender that is different from the fact of having a penis or a vagina?

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It's up to you to prove the positive. I am not a doctor nor an expert on the physiology of gender, but I will assert that neither are you and neither is LP. That is what this is all about: somebody talking about something they know jack about. It's just absurd that LP is wading into a subject like this.

Now, given my overriding charge of idolatry, I will also wonder aloud whether LP himself would even argue this point to the extent that others are arguing it for him. I don't know the entire context, but speaking for myself I know I've been accused of talking out of my ass occasionally and my own reaction is an honest one: mea culpa. Sometimes things are more complicated than the initially seem and you find yourself completely wrong. That's totally fine. It's part of learning.

If LP has completely lost it, then so be it (I won't buy anymore of his books I guess but I otherwise won't really care), but I actually won't make that judgement until I have clear evidence and "projected indigence" is specious evidence at best.

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The onus of proof is on he who asserts the positive -- and that goes both ways in this transgender issue. The facts on Dr.Peikoff's side is that so and so was born with a penis and is therefore male, and to cut it off is a rebellion against his manhood and his nature as a sexual being. On the other side, if you are going to claim there is something else involved, then *you* must provide the evidence, which is shortcoming from this crowd (including DH).

Edited by Thomas M. Miovas Jr.

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My respect extends as far as topics about epistemology especially. He has provided insight that I've found valuable, have been applied, and has consequentially improved my own life, given that thinking about concepts is so important. The ideas have proven useful for various topics for me. I probably would agree with Peikoff on many things. This is the way I respect him. People are fallible, so it isn't baseless to suggest that he will make errors in the principles he espouses.

In fact, it's quite clear that I'm saying he has made some errors. The transgender stuff are some of the more egregious errors, because he did not use scientific facts about a psychological issue. You explaining self evidency of one's sex makes little sense, given that it is still yet to be demonstrated that sex reassignment surgery is any more a revolt against reality or even any more destructive than plastic surgery (nope, you don't just "cut it off"). It is a naturalistic fallacy to say that if your biology is one way, it is improper to alter that biology, supposing the modification is life improving for the individual. Gender is more a psychological aspect of identity that isn't necessarily connected with the parts you have. I could speculate on why that is - perhaps there is an aspect of the brain that enables gender identity related to being XY or XX (or even XXY!). Most people feel perfectly content with their sex, but some don't, desire thus change themselves to feel better, happier. I really don't pay attention to new things Peikoff says often, because it's not all that impactful as the stuff he did years ago. What bothers me, though, is that it's seen as some sort of attack on Peikoff's fundamental character that he made some *pretty bad* mistakes. I do not think he is being evasive, but I do think he is being inconsistent on a handful of topics.

Edited by Eiuol

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The onus of proof is on he who asserts the positive -- and that goes both ways in this transgender issue. The facts on Dr.Peikoff's side is that so and so was born with a penis and is therefore male, and to cut it off is a rebellion against his manhood and his nature as a sexual being. On the other side, if you are going to claim there is something else involved, then *you* must provide the evidence, which is shortcoming from this crowd (including DH).

No, I'm not asserting any positive--I'm saying that he hasn't the faintest clue as to what he's talking about. This is based on my understanding that there is an incredibly complex set of physiological factors weighing in on gender and LP simply glosses over them and makes himself look like an ignorant idiot by saying, "PENIS=MAN, VAGINA=WOMAN" ignoring a rather gigantic context of modern medicine.

I charge again, however: does LP himself even know this conversation is going on? Why can't he defend himself?

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I charge again, however: does LP himself even know this conversation is going on? Why can't he defend himself?

Why should he, when there is an small army of sycophants to do it for him?

Remember these people have no issue more important to them than to bash people who don't "respect" Peikoff enough. That's their touchstone for being an Objectivist.

Never mind the fact that independent minded people (you know, that virtue of independence?) are supposed to call someone on it when they argue from ignorance, and that the ignorant someone ought to thank them for correcting their ignorance. That would be the correct implementation of integrity on the part of the formerly-ignorant person.

And by the way, justice doesn't mean your past accomplishments give you a blank check allowing you to argue ignorantly and/or stupidly and/or outright immorally today without being called on it, and that no argument you make, no matter how outrageously wrong, can ever be condemned.

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According to the way back machine:

I don’t get it. Your link is to the Wayback Machine archive of the site www.olist.com. Where, on ARI’s site, that is www.aynrand.org, was there material that was deleted? The Wayback Machine should show us what the page in question looked like previously, so we can judge the material’s context, and allow us to infer a date range for when changes were made.

Edited by Eiuol

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Why should he, when there is an small army of sycophants to do it for him?

Remember these people have no issue more important to them than to bash people who don't "respect" Peikoff enough. That's their touchstone for being an Objectivist.

Never mind the fact that independent minded people (you know, that virtue of independence?) are supposed to call someone on it when they argue from ignorance, and that the ignorant someone ought to thank them for correcting their ignorance. That would be the correct implementation of integrity on the part of the formerly-ignorant person.

And by the way, justice doesn't mean your past accomplishments give you a blank check allowing you to argue ignorantly and/or stupidly and/or outright immorally today without being called on it, and that no argument you make, no matter how outrageously wrong, can ever be condemned.

Why should he, when there is an small army of sycophants to do it for him?

Remember these people have no issue more important to them than to bash people who don't "respect" Peikoff enough. That's their touchstone for being an Objectivist.

Never mind the fact that independent minded people (you know, that virtue of independence?) are supposed to call someone on it when they argue from ignorance, and that the ignorant someone ought to thank them for correcting their ignorance. That would be the correct implementation of integrity on the part of the formerly-ignorant person.

And by the way, justice doesn't mean your past accomplishments give you a blank check allowing you to argue ignorantly and/or stupidly and/or outright immorally today without being called on it, and that no argument you make, no matter how outrageously wrong, can ever be condemned.

Indeed. Justice for some people seems to allow certain people (who and by what criteria?) to put "money in the bank" and then live off the depreciation. This is not an issue of respect, not that the people on those sites seem to show the same respect for any other Objectivist that they pile onto, but a simple policy of expecting people to live by the code they preach.

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Some of you are throwing around words that you obvious don't know what they mean, like sycophant, since I am not being servile to Dr. Peikoff, and would have nothing to gain by being that way anyhow. I don't even think he knows who I am, though he might. But, like I've said before, if you are going to make a claim that goes against direct evidence re transgenders having the opposite gender to their sex, then you have to provide evidence. Speculating that it might be hormones, or genes, or chromosomes, or whatever must be shown to have validation.

Edited by Thomas M. Miovas Jr.

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But, like I've said before, if you are going to make a claim that goes against direct evidence re transgenders having the opposite gender to their sex, then you have to provide evidence. Speculating that it might be hormones, or genes, or chromosomes, or whatever must be shown to have validation.

Certainly, but there is evidence out there that there is a legit psychological phenomena that psychologists have identified which warrants investigation before making conclusions that all transgender people and the people helping them to get a sex change are immoral. My perspective is that psychological problem or not, the necessary changes aren't as destructive as presented, even though the whole process takes years.

Edited by Eiuol

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Okay, I did a little bit of background research on the poster (I'm not sure why... bored for a few minutes I guess), and found this (a blog from Mr. Miovas above):

"What caused the bubble and the speculation was the government forcing banks to deal with uncreditworthy people, who bought homes when they couldn’t afford them or signed deals with a variable interest rate thinking interest rates would remain low. Both thoughts were supposedly backed by the government via Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae, semi-government institutions that bought up mortgages to keep people buying houses they couldn’t afford. In other words, what fueled the speculation on the bundling of mortgages into securities was the government forcing there to be a bigger market than would otherwise exist in a free economy"

Actually, F&F only backed a small part of the "toilet paper" loans which characterized the massive losses and the resulting crisis.

The actual reasons behind the crisis were far more complicated--yes, government intervention, but not like this. The ratings agencies, for instance, had a lot more to do with it, along with a "heads I win tails you lose" regulation system that that ensured that losers would never lose. It's a long story--but that's sorta the point here.

This sort of "armchair xxxxx scientist" is what will make Objectivists look like crackpots... It's actually quite parallel to the LP intellectual myopia that we're discussing here...

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This sort of "armchair xxxxx scientist" is what will make Objectivists look like crackpots... It's actually quite parallel to the LP intellectual myopia that we're discussing here...

WTF? Sure, everything is complicated when you don't think in terms of principles. And it has been proven that it was government intervention in the economy primarily through government supposed loan back-ups that brought about The Great Recession. But, go ahead and did up something else off topic.

Not to continue discussing this topic,since it has been hashed over and over again in other threads, but here is Yaron Brook's take on the Financial Crises.

Edited by Thomas M. Miovas Jr.

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WTF? Sure, everything is complicated when you don't think in terms of principles. And it has been proven that it was government intervention in the economy primarily through government supposed loan back-ups that brought about The Great Recession. But, go ahead and did up something else off topic.

Not to continue discussing this topic,since it has been hashed over and over again in other threads, but here is Yaron Brook's take on the Financial Crises.

Everything is easy when your entire world is a floating abstractions...

All you have to do is read the linked YB article and compare it to the paragraph above and see that it's a completely retarded condensation on something that was already a extreme condensation of the subject.

YB doesn't go over the entire situation (it's a long, long story) but at least what he does cover is perfectly accurate (and he makes it clear the F&F were only one part of the problem).

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No, it is not a "condensation" just a spitting out of what events transpired, but rather an identification of the cause as to why it became so wide spread that it effected the entire economy.Normally, when something like this happens (a government cause bubble in the market), when the bubble collapses,only those directly involved get taken out; this would be the people buying houses and the banks, which would have been bad enough. What made this crises lead to the Great Resession was the mortgage backed securities that were being traded as if they were gold; and many institutions began trading in them both in the USA and in Europe.. The question is, why were they acting this way? Ordinarily, the bubble is caught before institutions get taken down, because they have the wherewithal to spot that the bubble is over. They didn't do it in this case because the government, through various channels and agencies,declared that they were going to back up the mortgage market come hell or high water, and F & F was definitely a key player in that set-up. However, like most things the government and politicians promise they didn't do a damn thing about it, so a panic took effect, but it was too late to sell the mortgage backed securities, as these became devalued and often worthless paper. See the rest of my essay on the situation here, since CE decided to quote me out of context.

Learning to think in terms of causality is one of the skills that comes from being objective. Otherwise, things are just too complicated to grasp. It's like understanding that the primary philosophical cause of the formation of the United States was the re-discovery of Aristotle in Europe, especially through Thomas Aquinas, which gave a more existence centered outlook on life and things related to man's life on earth. Of course, many people would say that it is more complicated that that, because we are talking about a series of events that took about 400 years to come to fruition; and yet, that was the primary cause.

The bottom line is this: If you want to think poorly of me and my fellow Objectivists for thinking objectively according to principles and in terms of causality, then we don't give a rats ass, since you have made yourself irrelevant.

Edited by Thomas M. Miovas Jr.

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From a transcript of a congressional hearing on the Financial Crises:

"Well, fast forward to the late 1970s. In 1977, the Credit Reinvestment Act was passed, and in the early 1990s, there were amendments made to the Credit Reinvestment Act. What did that do? It suspended, for the first time in American history, 200 years' worth of sound financial loan making.

"So before when you and your wife, Congressman Latta, if you went to get a loan to buy a house or my husband and I got a loan to buy a house, we had to show that we were credit-worthy risks. Under the Community Reinvestment Act, the banks were ordered under penalty of fine and lawsuit, ``You don't make loans anymore to people who are creditworthy. Now you're forced to make loans to people who are not creditworthy.'' It turned the world upside down.

"So the world of banking became like ``Alice in Wonderland'' where banking rules were turned topsy-turvy on their heads and banks were fined or threatened with lawsuits if they did not make loans, a certain quota of loans to people who weren't creditworthy. Guess what? That's when a new product called subprime loans started to be made. And unfortunately, now we all know what subprime loans are. They were made to people who weren't creditworthy, who, in other words, had no means to pay those loans back."

Edited by Thomas M. Miovas Jr.

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The bottom line is this: If you want to think poorly of me and my fellow Objectivists for thinking objectively according to principles and in terms of causality, then we don't give a rats ass, since you have made yourself irrelevant.

I think CrowEpistemologist is just pointing out that there is more involved to the causality and principles than is immediately apparent. Nothing more, nothing less. That's perhaps the common theme in the thread; the issues presented are probably a lot more complex than you make them out to be, so disagreement isn't about disagreement of philosophical principles, but disagreement that all the relevant facts have been presented. In other words, there is more to the story much of the time, even when it seems like you've got the whole story.

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I think CrowEpistemologist is just pointing out that there is more involved to the causality and principles than is immediately apparent. Nothing more, nothing less. That's perhaps the common theme in the thread; the issues presented are probably a lot more complex than you make them out to be, so disagreement isn't about disagreement of philosophical principles, but disagreement that all the relevant facts have been presented. In other words, there is more to the story much of the time, even when it seems like you've got the whole story.

Yes, but what I also read above was in essence, "if you just know the principles, you don't need to know the details" which is plainly rationalism. The implication is that you can trust "an Objectivist" more than you can trust a doctor in matters of health because "being an Objectivist" trumps years of medical experience, etc.

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Yes, but what I also read above was in essence, "if you just know the principles, you don't need to know the details" which is plainly rationalism. The implication is that you can trust "an Objectivist" more than you can trust a doctor in matters of health because "being an Objectivist" trumps years of medical experience, etc.

I am not responsible for your wild interpretation of what I said, since I clearly didn't state what you think I stated above.

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A further reply to Crow Epistemologist and my other detractors:

Thinking in Terms of Principles

By Thomas M. Miovas, Jr.

03/24/2012

I’ve come across some students of Objectivism that are confusing thinking in terms of principles with rationalism, and I think this is an incorrect way of understanding what each term means. Rationalism is thinking in terms of definitions – of not taking into consideration the facts about an object that is not included in the definition. For example, let’s say the definition of a dog is a four legged animal that wags its tail and barks. In an argument about dogs, a rationalist will not include in his thinking the fact that a dog has a digestive system, and therefore if you own a dog you don’t have to worry about feeding it. Sounds ridiculous, and yet that is the way the rationalist thinks about dogs. The definition does not include the eating habits and necessity of good nutrition for a dog, so he doesn’t take that into account. Obviously, this ignoring of crucial facts will lead to a dog that is malnourished and even dead, if followed through consistently for the rationalist dog owner. However, these facts will not convince a die-hard rationalist that he ought to feed his dog.

Thinking in terms of principles is different, for it means organizing the facts mentally into a hierarchy and according to cause an effect. Thinking in terms of principles means that one does take into account that a dog does need nutrition if one wants a happy and healthy pet. The principles is that a dog is a living being and has certain needs that are not specified in the definition, and yet, these facts about the dog need to be taken into account, if one wants to enjoy having a dog as a pet. Rather than ignoring facts, as the rationalist does, the principled man has his facts organized in such a way as to clearly identify what something in reality actually is, and yet the organization doesn’t require going over all the facts each time one thinks about dogs. In other words, it is a fact that a dog has a tail, but when the dog is suffering from an infestation of fleas, the principled dog owner knows that the fact of the fleas attacking his dog doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that the dog wags its tail. The wagging of the tail is irrelevant to the fact that the dog has fleas. So rather than, say, cutting off the dogs tail to prevent fleas, the rational dog owner will get the right powders or dog collars that has poison on it to kill the fleas.

Similarly, a good automobile mechanic will diagnose problems with one’s car without having to go over every single detail about one’s car. For example, my car lost power tremendously one day. Even without being a mechanic, I knew that the loss of power had nothing to do with my tires, the windshield wipers, the horn, or the seat cushions, even though each of these is a fact about the car. So, thinking in terms of principles, I was able to come to the conclusion that something had gone wrong with my engine, and when I took my car into the mechanic, I didn’t have to bury him with details about my horn, my seat cushions, and my tires – I focused on the engine and told him what the problem was. Turns out it was the O2 sensor that reads the O2 levels in the exhaust and gives feedback to the engine computer as to how to burn the gasoline (rich or lean). By replacing the O2 sensor, I was able to have a well running car once again. So, while, I, myself, could not diagnose the problem in this particular case, I was able to think in terms of principles well enough to give the right information to the mechanic to help him diagnose the problem. A die-hard rationalist would have concluded that since the car is no longer drivable, that it is no longer a car and that matter just doesn’t conform to a rational principle, so there is no use in expecting predictability from things made of matter. He would not have been focused on the facts at all, just the ideal of the perfect car, and would have condemned the automobile manufacturer for making a non-ideal car.

Thinking in terms of principles is an important skill and a practice that can be learned by studying the philosophy of Ayn Rand known as Objectivism. Only it doesn’t directly concern itself with the owning of a pet nor the owning of a car in those details, but rather organizing the facts available regarding cultural, historical, and political events in terms of essentials – those facts that are more fundamental and causative that lead to certain cultural, historical, or political current events; even though the progression of those events may well have taken many years, decades, or even centuries to transpire. It helps to give one a great overview of what is moving the world and why we live in the times we do these days.

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For example, my car lost power tremendously one day. Even without being a mechanic, I knew that the loss of power had nothing to do with my tires, the windshield wipers, the horn, or the seat cushions, even though each of these is a fact about the car.

Some things are simple enough that you don't need to be a mechanic to know. However, it's a problem if you would then think your layman principles of "electric problems require power sources" are enough to figure out complex problems. Such a principle is more like a heuristic as merely a handy rule of thumb that usually works. Using that heuristic to make conclusions about complex car problems would be like rationalism to the extent you are suggesting your heuristic is enough to make any conclusion relating to car problems. Your heuristic may be absolutely right, but it is insufficient to say anything substantive. A principle requires a greater depth of knowledge, not just your ability to use generalizations.

In a similar way, the transgender topic seems to be like "man = penis, woman = vagina, therefore, rebelling against reality". The problem there is that it sounds like: "Even without being a psychologist, I know these are all the important facts, thanks to philosophy. Any psychologist who thinks otherwise is corrupted. They should listen to Peikoff." Unfortunately, that is essentially thinking in definitions, thinking that how you define male and female here is all that matters. I don't want to add much else unless you wanted to start a separate thread about it, but (1) the required surgery isn't destructive in the way you think it is, and (2) even if transgenderism is not a disorder, it's quite alright to change yourself for a desired body image. You never addressed either point, both of which are important.

Edited by Eiuol

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For example, my car lost power tremendously one day. Even without being a mechanic, I knew that the loss of power had nothing to do with my tires, the windshield wipers, the horn, or the seat cushions, even though each of these is a fact about the car. So, thinking in terms of principles, I was able to come to the conclusion that something had gone wrong with my engine, [...]

Strange, I know a lot of people that have this sort of skill set but none of them are Objectivists and are not even close. In practice I have never seen a correlation between somebody's understanding of Objectivism and their problem solving ability that couldn't be explained by general intelligence--leading one to factor away Objectivism as a driving factor.

My mechanic is a Mormon for Chist's sake--and he's brilliant.

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Added a paragraph to my essay on Thinking in Terms of Principles, due to the feedback I got:

NOTE: My claim is not that only Objectivist know how to think in terms of principles and broad generalizations and causality; it is a skill that many people have regarding their every day lives as they, say, go grocery shopping and use a list of needed items rather than just buying anything on the shelf as the mood strikes them. However, with Objectivism, because it is a rational philosophy, a broader range of being able to think in terms or principles occurs, especially with regard to long-term thinking about world events.

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Strange, I know a lot of people that have this sort of skill set but none of them are Objectivists and are not even close. In practice I have never seen a correlation between somebody's understanding of Objectivism and their problem solving ability that couldn't be explained by general intelligence--leading one to factor away Objectivism as a driving factor.

My mechanic is a Mormon for Chist's sake--and he's brilliant.

In all fairness to Thomas, what he is describing is inducting knowledge into principles. It is the proper way to gain knowledge so anyone can do it whether they are an Objectivist or not. Objectivism just clarifies it and places it in a greater philosophy.

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I don't want to get too much further into the transgender issue myself,as I haven't read up on it and it looks like neither has anyone else in this thread. I say this because no one has pointed out the facts that would make someone a female "gender" even though he is born with a penis.The problem is that one's sex is all the way down to the sub-cellular level with the XY chromosomes in each cell, and I find it difficult to imagine that someone could be born with a penis and yet have female chromosomes or some other similar biological malfunction. Some are saying it is due to hormones or something like that, but one would need to present the evidence from a study of transgenders, which no one here has done. In lieu of some biological problem or some deep-set long-term psychological condition, then the fact of philosophical preferences and fighting against one's own nature would take precedent; which means open to moral appraisal or condemnation. And it is not just "body image" because as I have already indicated male or female goes all the way down to sub-cellular structures and functioning. Changing one's sex is not like changing one's hair color or getting breast implants; it is much more radical.

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