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He has admitted to behaving in this way with regard to the Kobe Bryant/"Date Rape" issue, so it is certainly not unknown.

Is that what he was doing here? Admittedly, an entirely different question.

That's a ridiculous statement to make in the total context. Can LP make a mistake? certainly. Did he make a mistake and admitted it? certainly. Is he making a mistake about the NYC M? NO, he isn't. We have gone over the relevant facts over and over again in this thread alone, and though the facts indicate they will think it is a potential conquest monument, some of you still don't get it. Just because someone made an out-of-context mistake on one topic does not mean or imply that he is making the same mistake this time around. It's a gross non-sequitur, especially with regard to the fact that LP never said he was infalliable in the first place.

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Why are you writing this to Steve? (You quoted him, so I'm assuming you were speaking to him.) He says right there in the second part of a very short post that he is not trying to assert with that first comment in the post that it means Peikoff is wrong on this other topic. The point of bringing up the statements on the rape podcast was just a counter to the notion that any suggestion that would involve Peikoff going off emotion rather than reason must be wrong because Peikoff would never let his emotions and not reason guide him on any subject. Since this has indisputably happened at least once recently, one cannot rationally dismiss claims on the basis of, "But Peikoff would never have his reasoning take a back seat to his emotions!" This obviously doesn't mean that is what did happen in the case of the mosque issue, but it does mean defending Peikoff's position on the subject requires other arguments/evidence.

As to the facts you mention, "the facts indicate they will think it is a potential conquest monument" <-- is there anything other than speculation that this is the case? Has anybody ever anywhere actually found some Muslim people stating anything along the lines of celebrating that mosque as some kind of symbol of support for the attack on the world trade center? Not that the entire issue necessarily rests on this, but since it has been stated so many times, having some hard evidence for it would sure be nice.

Edited by bluecherry

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I'm through discussing the NYC Mosque due to the fact that the evidence has been provided and we are just arguing around the meaning of the facts. However, I do have other things to say on the general topic of objectivity and especially to morality. I gave an example both from myself and from DH showing a non-objective argument not based upon the facts regarding morality, and I have another one from work.

A co-worker of mine, Dan, just moved into a new house and he was wondering what happened to his neighbor (call him Pete) who seemed to have disappeared for a month or so. Turns out, Pete had a roommate, call him Joe, who was doing crystal meth, so Pete told Joe he would have to move out. Joe got very irate over this and got a hammer and continued to hit Pete over the head until he was almost dead and also opened a butane lighter, poured the liquid over Pete's face, and lit it on fire. Now this is definitely immoral and evil, and yet my co-workers were laughing at it and how Joe tore up that mother f*er, quite contrary to the fact that they thought Joe was acting immorally and would have to go to jail for a very long time due to what he did to Pete. This is definitely non-objective, and shows the state of our culture with regard to morality, which many take as not having anything to do with real life due to the influence of religion.

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I will say one last thing regarding the NYC Mosque and the fact that they wanted to call it The Cordoba House after Cordoba Spain and the Cordoba Project. Historically. Cordoba Spain was settled by Christians and then the Muslim Conquest of southern Europe began and lots of Christians were killed by the Muslims for the sake of conquest. This was about the early 1000's. At the time Islam was beginning to accept Aristotle as being compatible with Islam, that reason was compatible with Faith. In fact, it was partially due to the overrun of Europe by Muslims that helped to re-introduce Aristotle to the West. However, the story doesn't end there. Shortly after the re-introduction to Aristotle, leading Islamic Clerics or Imams put a stop to the potential Islamic Renaissance, by re-asserting that only Faith was compatible with Islam, and they have remained on that idea for over a thousand years now. So, The Cordoba Project is presented to the West as Islam promoting reason (like the creation of Algebra from Aristotle's logic), but the real story of Islam is the conquest of lands via force and the re-affirmation of Faith over reason. In short, calling the NYC Mosque "Cordoba House" is re-affirming Islamic conquest via force and Faith.

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"This is definitely non-objective," (statement from the story about "Pete") Have you defined objectivity in this thread some place before? I have a vague idea that you may have, but I don't recall for sure. What I do recall though is that I have yet to see how laughing at a joke involving something that one regards as immoral is contrary to objectivity. If you have somewhere in here defined objectivity and explained how laughing at something you regard as immoral is contrary to objectivity could you please point me to where that is?

As to the name of the place, the support for reason in Islam may not have stuck around for long, but what is being referred to is a time and place where it was there. I would guess the idea of naming after that location is intended to imply trying to model oneself after that and revive the idea of reason going along with Islam. They are wrong of course ultimately that religion and reason are compatible, but plenty of people fail to see this ultimate incompatibility and try to support it anyway. Why bother citing that part of Spain if you are trying to make a monument to terrorist attacks? Calling it something like, "Hooray for Osama" of course would get them busted in no time flat, but they could give it a neutral name and as long as everything else was the same, nobody would change their mind and try to get rid of them as opposed to leaving them alone. Practically nobody in the U.S. even would know there was anything being referenced anyway to be won over by that name. If one was looking to send a message that pretty much only Muslims would get, this seems like it would be very easily misconstrued as the exact opposite of supporting terrorism - pretty counter productive if the aim is to communicate in a subtle manner, "Woo, go aggressive, violent taking over!" Perhaps if one is already convinced that place is truly meant (secretly) to support the worst elements of Islam then that interpretation of the name doesn't seem like such a stretch, but otherwise it sounds like you've got to go pretty far out of the way to come to that conclusion about the name. Basically, that interpretation of the name may make complete sense to you, but it wouldn't do anything to convince anybody that you are right who doesn't already agree for other reasons.

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"This is definitely non-objective," (statement from the story about "Pete") Have you defined objectivity in this thread some place before? I have a vague idea that you may have, but I don't recall for sure. What I do recall though is that I have yet to see how laughing at a joke involving something that one regards as immoral is contrary to objectivity. If you have somewhere in here defined objectivity and explained how laughing at something you regard as immoral is contrary to objectivity could you please point me to where that is?

That's rather a strange question considering that I have mentioned the fundamentals on the concept "objectivity" quite a few times in this thread. I haven't written a separate essay on it or how it relates to morality, but the Ayn Rand Lexicon has a whole entry under "objectivity." Objectivity basically comes down to relating the facts of reality together in terms of essentials and similarities and then relating them rationally to the fact that man is alive and must conform to existence if he is to live and to flourish. For morality, that means taking into consideration that which is beneficial to man's life as understood by a process of reason. So, joking about something that is immoral throws this relationship out implicitly and often explicitly. Making a joke on something that is immoral is laughing at human life and the requirements of reason and reality to further human existence.

Edited to add link to "morality" in the Lexicon.

Edited by Thomas M. Miovas Jr.

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What do you think is open to being the subject of humor then, assuming you don't reject the legitimacy of humor altogether? How is one harmed by finding amusement in anecdotes involving immorality exactly - how does such a thing necessarily interfere with one's ability to maintain consistent moral ideas and actions? (Side note, I can't imagine what was found amusing in the story about "Pete" though.) Making a stab in the dark here, but maybe you think it degrades one's reverence of life and that in turn makes one less willing to take on the tasks of living seriously? This hasn't been my experience though. If it's something else, I'm drawing a blank on what it is.

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I am not sure how I feel about the fact I accurately predicted how this thread was going to go almost down to post specifics after I noted the participants on page two, with the exception of the apology to Diana, which certainly changes my view of Thomas, of whom I enjoyed and appreciated the presence of on my facebook until he mischaracterized over and over again after my numerous attempts to clarify and correct the misunderstanding. This seems to be a habitual problem with a certain subset of the Objectivist community and is quite frustrating as it breeds hostility and isolation when there are intellectual disagreements, rather that two people who disagree but have taken the time to bee sure they actually understand the position and views of their counterpart in the discussion. This is not conducive behavior to what is primarily an intellectual movement. In fact it is incredibly damaging when it occurs regularly. Far more so, I would argue, than anything Diana has done or is likely to do.

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What do you think is open to being the subject of humor then, assuming you don't reject the legitimacy of humor altogether? How is one harmed by finding amusement in anecdotes involving immorality exactly - how does such a thing necessarily interfere with one's ability to maintain consistent moral ideas and actions?

Laughing at something indicates that you do not consider it to be metaphysically important -- to dismiss it, to belittle it, to say it isn't worthy of further consideration. So, one can legitimately laugh at the fact that one made a stupid mistake, for example; but one should never laugh at oneself, not if one wants to maintain a healthy level of self-esteem. So, I would say to laugh with or at eating human babies states, at least implicitly, that human babies are not important (even though in this case it was a deformed human baby). I'm not sure why my co-workers were laughing a the terrible thing that happened to Pete, such as getting his head busted and his face lit on fire. Perhaps they felt the necessity of brushing it off because it didn't happen to them or to anyone they knew and loved.

From the Lexicon under "humor": "Humor is the denial of metaphysical importance to that which you laugh at. The classic example: you see a very snooty, very well dressed dowager walking down the street, and then she slips on a banana peel . . . . What’s funny about it? It’s the contrast of the woman’s pretensions to reality. She acted very grand, but reality undercut it with a plain banana peel. That’s the denial of the metaphysical validity or importance of the pretensions of that woman. Therefore, humor is a destructive element—which is quite all right, but its value and its morality depend on what it is that you are laughing at. If what you are laughing at is the evil in the world (provided that you take it seriously, but occasionally you permit yourself to laugh at it), that’s fine. [To] laugh at that which is good, at heroes, at values, and above all at yourself [is] monstrous . . . . The worst evil that you can do, psychologically, is to laugh at yourself. That means spitting in your own face."

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I am not sure how I feel about the fact I accurately predicted how this thread was going to go almost down to post specifics after I noted the participants on page two...

I'm not going to say that I am only human and therefore am prone to making mistakes; but yes, it sometimes takes me a while to realize that I made a mistake, even after things are pointed out to me. Why does this happen? because in this particular case,I had listened to DH's podcast twice and had come to the same conclusion, so I saw no reason to check my premises. It was only after someone on this thread analyzed the podcast in terms of statements and times that I realized I may have made a mistake and went back and listened to the podcast for the third time, very carefully and introspected while I was doing it to realize my emotional reaction to DH's statements led me to forget that she had said it would be immoral.

Now, is this harmful to an intellectual movement? No, certainly not. I have disagreements all over the place regarding my ideas, and I see no need to check my premises each time someone disagrees with me. I have an integrated view of existence and it takes more than a mere disagreement to get me to check my premises. And saying so and so didn't say that, when I have heard it myself (or at least think I have) is no grounds for checking premises; depending on who is saying it and what facts they presented. So, in this thread, given the facts I have studied and have presented does not lead me to check my premises regarding the NYC Mosque, for example. One would have to provide counter-evidence, like a movement among Islamic Clerics and Imams openly condemning the violence of Muslims around the world when something like an accidental (or even intentional) burning of the Koran occurs. I haven't heard one of them come out and condemn the riots in Afghanistan a few years ago or even recently, when a Koran was burned and they run-amuck and want to kill everyone in our base in Kabul due to "being offended". They are most certainly not preaching that one ought to follow reason.

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"Laughing at something indicates that you do not consider it to be metaphysically important -- to dismiss it, to belittle it, to say it isn't worthy of further consideration. So, one can legitimately laugh at the fact that one made a stupid mistake, for example; but one should never laugh at oneself, not if one wants to maintain a healthy level of self-esteem. So, I would say to laugh with or at eating human babies states, at least implicitly, that human babies are not important (even though in this case it was a deformed human baby)."

I don't think the subject of the humor was babies in general. The thing that was the source of humor is the sheer absurd unlikelihood of the matter of eating brainless babies ever becoming an issue one would face in real life, especially on a large scale. These brainless babies are a rare occurrence and presumably must have been wanted by the parents or else they would have been aborted long before the medical condition would have become apparent. Since the parents wanted this baby (or more precisely, wanted what they thought this baby was going to be), they are very unlikely to get enough emotional distance from it to be willing to consider allowing the body to be used for food before it has already begun decomposing. There would also be no point in trying to manufacture them artificially in a lab. Aside from the fact that the costs that way would probably be outrageous, they could grow just the meat rather than the whole baby-sans-brain and that would probably be easier and cheaper too. Nobody needs to take this subject seriously since it just isn't going to happen.

More generally though, I'm still not clear on what your answer is to this, "How is one harmed by finding amusement in anecdotes involving immorality exactly - how does such a thing necessarily interfere with one's ability to maintain consistent moral ideas and actions?" Putting the Pete story aside because I have no idea what the heck those people were laughing about, things that are immoral but also very unlikely and/or not very severely immoral I could easily see being dismissed as not that important. If it is very unlikely or maybe even impossible, then there's really no need to worry about such a thing. If it is a small actual or likely immoral thing, as long as it isn't something one has done or will do themselves (or if they did do it but they have since learned their lesson and it was a while ago and they've made up for it by now), then it is still ultimately not very significant. The incident can be mended and probably forgotten about pretty easily and quickly.

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More generally though, I'm still not clear on what your answer is to this, "How is one harmed by finding amusement in anecdotes involving immorality exactly - how does such a thing necessarily interfere with one's ability to maintain consistent moral ideas and actions?"

You'll have to give me some specific examples of laughing at something that is immoral before I can answer you specifically. In general, however, if it was actually immoral and he knew it, but did it anyhow, and you laugh at it, then it might be a case of laughing at evil -- of dismissing it (so long as no one got seriously hurt, say) and he only harmed himself in the process of being immoral or stupid with regard to existence. There is nothing wrong with that per se, so long as it doesn't become a primary focus. For example,there is a very famous puppet skit, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBBGDGHLpHQ, , saying "I will kill you!" every time the audience laughs at something he says. That's laughing at evil and is fine, so long as one takes the evil seriously enough about it in real life to defend oneself from them.

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like a movement among Islamic Clerics and Imams openly condemning the violence of Muslims around the world when something like an accidental (or even intentional) burning of the Koran occurs. I haven't heard one of them come out and condemn the riots in Afghanistan a few years ago or even recently, when a Koran was burned and they run-amuck and want to kill everyone in our base in Kabul due to "being offended"

I am not sure if you can currently see my postings on facebook but, for instance on Mark Nitikman's wall, I have been condemning such things outright when postedo n his wall as well as in the Open Objectivism group there. Now that I have made that clear, of course you won't hear about it, I don't hear about it either. You know what I do, I google it, and I find a number of examples of just that for pretty much any of these events. I am all for bombing the living hell out of any Muslim extremists that are a real and active threat against our country as long as things are kept in perspective of the broader context of the conflict (by that I mean, doing so in a way where we aren't actively facilitating blowback, which is something we seem to be experts at). So I am not sure what you are looking for, I would think what can be found easily enough with a 1 minute google search would be satisfactory, given that no one here woudl suggest that there is no such thing as extremist muslims or muslims that are prone to or advocate violence.

Now, is this harmful to an intellectual movement? No, certainly not. I have disagreements all over the place regarding my ideas, and I see no need to check my premises each time someone disagrees with me.

I was speaking more in general, not about you, and I meant more in the way of basic conversational structure during disagreements or just normal intellectual debate.

Edited by CapitalistSwine

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I am not sure if you can currently see my postings on facebook but, for instance on Mark Nitikman's wall, I have been condemning such things outright when postedo n his wall as well as in the Open Objectivism group there.

Well, it looks like you defriended me, so no, I cannot see your posts on FB unless you write something in a friend's column. But I don't understand why you are emphasizing that *you* condemn the actions of extremist Muslims, when I was saying it was the Islamic Clerics and Imams that need to do it. As far as I know, you are not Muslim, nor are you a cleric or an imam. And, yes, we should be hearing about that openly and everywhere if the clerics and Imams want to distance themselves from such violence over a burnt Koran. I can only conclude that at a minimum they sympathize with the rioters because, they too, want Islam to be respected, even if it takes force to get some respect.

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"there is a very famous puppet skit, Achmed, the dead Terrorist, , saying "I will kill you!" every time the audience laughs at something he says."

You forgot the "Silence!" and he never says "will" in the phrase. :P I have a night shirt with that puppet and phrase on it. Hehe.

"You'll have to give me some specific examples of laughing at something that is immoral before I can answer you specifically."

Alright. Hmm . . . How about this as an example? A friend of a friend from high school has a pain in the butt for a mother. She drinks way too much, she's paranoid, she's very unintelligent, doesn't work and so they've always been poor, and she has a long history of being very bossy even about mundane things. She'll do things like frequently change their phone number without warning because she thinks that will throw the government off from wire tapping her and now her son's friends can't seem to get a call to go through to where they live anymore and have no idea why for the longest time until her son realizes the number was changed again and tells them. She'll order huge pizzas and her son will be permitted one slice and the rest is all for her (she's already extremely obese as it is and this incident I'm recalling from when we were all still minors.) Et cetera. Anyway, near the end of high school this guy was getting really fed up with his mom and for various reasons got up the nerve to stop taking crap from his mom. What ensued from this point . . . well, I'll mention some specifics. Once his mom was coming back home and found her son dressed in her close while apparently making dinner. She asked him what he was doing and he informed her that he was the mother and she was the son and he wondered what was wrong with her. I think she may have been pretty drunk at the time because finally she just started to walk off and go head to sleep in her son's room, apparently starting to believe what her son was talking about. Just before she was out of the room, their cat jumped out of one of the pots where it seemed dinner was being cooked. (No, there was never any cooking involved.) One time he played his keyboard on organ setting in a room full of candles and wrote some kind of creepy looking magic symbol things on their bathroom walls in ketchup. When his mother came in to see him playing the keyboard amidst all the candles he informed her for various reasons (I don't recall why exactly, maybe some crap about a cruel world or something) that he was going to go back into her womb. As she tries to run off, she gets to the bathroom and then finds the writing on the bathroom walls and panics more. She may well have been really drunk at this time too. I think she may have passed out this time, but whether it happened this time or not, any time she would pass out drunk he got in a habit of covering her in bacon before she woke up. Once he was working on writing a parody musical involving his mom and some of these kinds of things. She found it and started flipping out and took the pages and locked them in her trunk. Later, he got into her trunk and switched the pages for the same number of blank sheets of paper and played dumb when she found the blank sheets. She figured she must have imagined the musical thing after all.

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So, I would say to laugh with or at eating human babies states, at least implicitly, that human babies are not important (even though in this case it was a deformed human baby).

I don't think this is true. I understand why you quoted the lexicon entry on humor, but I don't think Rand captures all aspects of humor, only *some* kinds of humor. Humor is about absurdity, which is in some sense denying that there is any kind of objectivity to the object of humor. In this case, "baby eating" is really absurd all around, and when people accept the absurdity of it, they'll laugh at it. I can think of times when I've joked around that I pray to my Ayn Rand statue every night and recite line and verse from Galt's Speech. I've done that several times to people who suggest I may be in some kind of cult. I make the joke in order to highlight absurdity, not to provide legitimacy to the idea that Objectivism is a cult. I suppose you're talking about dark humor (which I incline towards), which I don't have a good explanation for right now, but I take it as seeing absurdity of treating harmful things as normal occurences. Although, I think there's a line to be drawn even in that, particularly if an immoral event really did happen that is especially evil (like the Holocaust perhaps).

While it doesn't apply to this thread much, here is another thread on humor that I found interesting: http://forum.objecti...showtopic=21622

Edited by Eiuol

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But I don't understand why you are emphasizing that *you* condemn the actions of extremist Muslims

I apologize for failing to clarify my purpose in doing so. Some people within the Objectivist community have felt it sensible to tag me with the title of "Muslim Sympathizer" and one person even defriended me over it recently, so I am extra careful to clarify myself in this area when talking to other Objectivists, because I am in no way a Muslim sympathizer, I am cautious and very specific when it comes to foreign policy matters, and this is sometimes (somehow) mistaken as sympathy or approval. So I wanted to make it clear I don't approve of such barbaric practices such as stoning and I have no issue with bombing our enemies to the Stone Age 5x's over. I just don't want us to be careless when it comes to instigating military conflicts, which in the past this country has had a tendency to do. Sometimes people seem to be confused by what I am trying to say.

As far as the defriending, you are probably correct. I believe this occurred after we had some sort of heated disagreement way way back on facebook, and I believe I felt that what I was saying had been misconstrued, and that had been the source of the argument. At any rate, I'd be more than happy to re-establish our facebook relationship if you have such a desire, as I have said already I value your commentary and input, although I don't always agree with it. Anyways, I am beginning to ramble, and this latter half of this post is probably better fit for a pm than a thread posting.

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Evidently, DH's OList Objectivist Activist link has been removed from the ARI (Ayn Rand Institute) website primarily due to her shown disrespect for Dr. Peikoff. From a FaceBook posting by Charlotte Cushman:

"The Ayn Rand Institute has removed all links from Diana Hsieh on their web site. The time has come to make a choice. Are you with ARI or the group of people who have been mutilating the Objectivist philosophy and insulting Leonard Peikoff?"

I checked and I don't see anything official on either Yaron Brook's FB pages nor on the ARI website, but OList is no longer there.

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Evidently, DH's OList Objectivist Activist link has been removed from the ARI (Ayn Rand Institute) website primarily due to her shown disrespect for Dr. Peikoff. From a FaceBook posting by Charlotte Cushman:

"The Ayn Rand Institute has removed all links from Diana Hsieh on their web site. The time has come to make a choice. Are you with ARI or the group of people who have been mutilating the Objectivist philosophy and insulting Leonard Peikoff?"

I checked and I don't see anything official on either Yaron Brook's FB pages nor on the ARI website, but OList is no longer there.

Where was this link previously on the ARI site? I just checked, and under "community groups" there's:

Colorado

Front Range Objectivism, Denver, CO

Contact

Diana Hsieh

E-mail

[email protected]

http://www.aynrand.o...ommunity_groups

I suppose that if this disappears in the near future we'll have some evidence for your purge hypothesis. As it is, I took the time to listen to her 40 minute discussion of date rape, consent for sex, and all that rannygazoo we were all arguing over for the last month. The thing I was most disappointed in was that at no point did she reference Peikoff's podcast on the topic, the obvious casus belli. I took this to mean that she is out of the criticizing Peikoff business. If it were me, I'd have been extra harsh on him, by way of elevating the middle finger in the direction of the Checking Premises perpetrators. But that's me, and at least according to this fella, I'm "dedicated to [Peikoff's] persecution".

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That's a great point. I thought she had been listed under the activism page, but they have no outside links on that page, just reference links to other ARI pages (like community groups page). I asked Charlotte and will get back with you on that one for sure. The community Group page does have this disclaimer:

"Disclaimer: While we encourage Objectivist community groups, they are not affiliated with the Center. The appearance on this list of a community group does not imply ARC’s endorsement."

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Well, Ninth Doctor, given that you referred to that posting that brought up points against you regarding Dr.Peikoff, I would say it is pretty damning of your positions against him. It is one thing to disagree with him, but not to acknowledge that Dr. Peikoff is a great philosopher in his own right is beyond the pale of disrespect for him. Yes, he learned it from Ayn Rand, but he has clearly shown that he has understood Objectivism via his lectures and especially OPAR (Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand). Since this thread is on objectivity and its applications, perhaps you can indicate where Dr. Peikoff has been non-objective as an example.

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According to a thread on FaceBook DH's OList link was removed due to too many people including her slamming Dr. Peikoff. Not sure where it was listed, but it was confirmed by Chip Joyce and a few others.

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According to a thread on FaceBook DH's OList link was removed due to too many people including her slamming Dr. Peikoff. Not sure where it was listed, but it was confirmed by Chip Joyce and a few others.

I'm curious about how this came about in the first place.

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I'm curious about how this came about in the first place.

It's quite simple: DH showed no respect for Dr.Peikoff in a recent podcast about transsexuals stating that Dr.Peikoff was engaged in armchair philosophizing at its worse when he stated that transsexuals were violating nature by changing their sex and claiming that nature had made a mistake with them, and then only referred to a Wikipedia link as her backup. Then there were reports that she and members of some of her OList participants were really badmouthing Dr. Peikoff and those who supported him. I do think it is rather strange that all of these schisms seem to hit many people as coming out of the blue with no basis. Checking Premises gave the basis, but many on this thread didn't want to accept it.

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