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Thoughts on defending Rand against this attack?

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Thesweetscience,

You've got to be kidding. To pretend that to be an atheist, one cannot believe in God but still can believe in a "creator" is simply ludicrous. You are indulging in semantics, and not very effective semantics at that. No, a person most emphatically can NOT believe in a "creator" and still be an Objectivist (which, by the way, you have been asked to capitalize before---please do so). I don't think you understand Objectivism at all if you think this.

By the way, I just went there and found that there have been quite a few more posts. I haven't read them yet, but I hope you will be more careful in what you say before responding.

I have re-read my last post and unless I am going blind I did capitalize correctly.

And I did NOT say that a person can be an atheist and still believe in a creator either.

So maybe you are reading posts by someone else or living in another universe because I didnt say or do either of the two things you just accused me of.

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Objectivism can stand on its own. To conceal the fact that Objectivism rejects religious faith to "lure 'em in" is distasteful and also ultimately disrespectful of those you are trying to "convert".

Not to mention how disrespectful such an approach is to the one who created the philosophy -- Ayn Rand. The last thing Objectivism needs is naive and ignorant proselytizers. The hope for the future lies not with "converting" the mystics, but in appealing to the best and the brightest with concern for rationality and values. Sure, it is possible, though unusual, for deeply religious folk to discover and embrace Objectivism, but even then it is only those few who already have a foot-hold on reality. I have told the story here of my young friend Don, a Hasidic Jew with whom I shared a great interest in talking about ideas. Don eventually read Atlas Shrugged and shed his religious trappings, but only because I never pulled any punches and always let him know where I and the philosophy stood.

God help us from the proselytizers who do not grasp the philosophy themselves, attempting to "save" others just like a good Christian should. If "Thesweetscience" is really concerned about creating a better world, he should put his effort into trying to understand the philsophy instead of trying to "convert" others.

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I have re-read my last post and unless I am going blind I did capitalize correctly.

But you have failed to acknowledge that you did so as an edit after the post had already been made. Many of us, Sherlock most likely included, get email updates showing the posts made[*]. My copy of your post shows that you did not capitalize Objectivism, but corrected it later with an edit, after the fact. There is nothing wrong with editing that post per se, except hiding that fact to make it appear otherwise.

[*]Others may respond between the time the post is initially made and the time it is edited.

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Thesweetscience,

You wrote: "And I did NOT say that a person can be an atheist and still believe in a creator either."

This is what you wrote: "I take the term atheist to be a person who does not believe in "god". I think a person CAN believe in a creator and still be an Objectivist."

Semantics, pure semantics.

As for the capitalization, I apologize if I was wrong. I may have seen an earlier post while scrolling through. Mea culpa.

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Ahh, so I wasn't going blind either: you edited your post and then chose to accuse me of  "reading posts by someone else or living in another universe". That's rather tasteless, and deceptive to boot.

The only think I edited was the word "god" which I UNcapitalized. It is not semantics, you misread what I wrote. I never said or meant that one can be an atheist and believe that there is a creator. Didn't say it and I don't believe it.

You can attack anything that I say that is wrong, just not things I didn't say. Especially when I agree completely that it would be untrue to say "A person can be an atheist and still believe in a creator" I find that to be as idiotic as you do.

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The only think I edited was the word "god" which I UNcapitalized.

This is not true. The word "god" was not capitalized in the original post, nor was the word "objectivist." You went back and changed "objectivist" to "Objectivist" and did nothing to the word "god" at all. This can be clearly verified by anyone who was sent the original post, which I still have on my computer, and comparing it to the post now on the forum, which you can no longer change. Again, there is nothing wrong with editing within the time allowed to edit after posting, unless you choose not to acknowledge the fact of doing so while condeming another for something you did.

Here is a copy of the original post, just as it was sent to me by the forum. Anyone can check it themselves against the one currently on the forum.

****************************************************************

Thesweetscience has just posted a reply to a topic that you have subscribed to titled "Defending Ayn Rand against attacks".

----------------------------------------------------------------------

QUOTE(Sherlock @ Jan 7 2005, 12:07 AM)Thesweetscience,

You wrote: But, to try and create more Objectivists is a worthy goal."

Objectivism can stand on its own. To conceal the fact that Objectivism rejects religious faith to "lure 'em in" is distasteful and also ultimately disrespectful of those you are trying to "convert".

Mr. Speicher is simply not doing what you wish to do to others: candy-coat truth. I guess it does seem fitting that those who advocate hiding the blunt truth are themselves unable to accept truth unless it is cloaked with nice words.

-----------------------------

Sherlock, remember the context of the question that was asked of me. "Does one have to be an atheist to be an Objectivist"

I take the term atheist to be a person who does not believe in "god". I think a person CAN believe in a creator and still be an objectivist.

If the question had been can a person have "religious faith" and still be an Objectivist? I would have definately answered no.

I still believe in the strictest sense my answer to him is correct. It may be a technicality, but it is still correct.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

The topic can be found here:

http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.p...view=getnewpost

************************************************************

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I take the term atheist to be a person who does not believe in "god". I think a person CAN believe in a creator and still be an Objectivist.

If the question had been can a person have "religious faith" and still be an Objectivist?  I would have definately answered no.

How does one believe in a "creator" without having faith, religious or otherwise? To believe in something means there is a lack of certainty. If you have certainty, then you have knowledge, not belief. Objectivists really don't tend to be "believers". They tend to be "knowers" or "not knowers".

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Thesweetscience,

You apparently don't have a problem with deceiving "converts", nor do you have a problem with attempting to deceive us over a trivial matter such as this. I don't see the point in continuing a conversation with someone who does not value honesty.

Adios.

To be completely fair, I think it possible that rather than being deceitful he is just not remembering which word he actually changed. However, considering the deceit he proudly proclaimed in "converting" mystics towards Objectivism by concealing the philosophy and "finessing" them, without any further evidence I too would opt for dishonesty in this instance, rather than misremembrance.

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To Thesweetscience,

In Objectivism, there is no room for god - ANY god. Objectivism is atheistic from its deepest fundamentals to its greatest abstractions. What you are trying to do - explaining someone that Objectivists will accept god if it be logically explained and proven to exist - is incorrect at the very least. There is no "journey" to be taken when "converting" to Objectivism - you learn and understand Objectivism and that's all there is to it. Just like you would have learned any other science. Reading "The Fountainhead" will not suffice.

For your further reading, if you are really interested in Objectivism and wish to learn its principles, I would suggest Leonard Peikoff's "Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand." It's book 6 of "The Ayn Rand Library" and you can find it on Amazon. It explains Objectivism in sufficient detail for an average reader and I think that reading it will set some things straight in your thinking - that is, IF you choose to understand what it says.

To others,

Of all the people, you should know that man is not born omniscient. After being fed false philosophies for a lifetime, it is easily conceivable that one will be completely confused by Objectivism and its use of reason and logic. Not everyone knows what it means to hold life as one's standard of value and what consequences it has. Things like this have to be learned and you all choose to ignore that fact. Instead of recognizing this man's good sense of life (which he has shown through his admiration of The Fountainhead and his reaction to the attack on it), you choose to ignore that and expect him to discuss with you the most complex concepts of Objectivism as if he held them with utmost clarity. And instead of referring him to further reading, you whip him for not knowing and thinking wrong. It's like a teacher beating up a first grade student because he can't integrate.

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To others,

...

Things like this have to be learned and you all choose to ignore that fact. Instead of recognizing this man's good sense of life (which he has shown through his admiration of The Fountainhead and his reaction to the attack on it), you choose to ignore that and expect him to discuss with you the most complex concepts of Objectivism as if he held them with utmost clarity. And instead of referring him to further reading, you whip him for not knowing and thinking wrong. It's like a teacher beating up a first grade student because he can't integrate.

This is a rather pointed charge. If you are going to accuse people of choosing to ignore facts, you should be specific as to whom you are accusing, and you should have facts yourself to prove that was their choice.

I have read through this thread and I have noticed "others" have been helpful to TSS. Those who have been critical of him have been critical of his deceptive means for "converting" people to Objectivism. Deception is still considered to be wrong by those "false philosphies" and by first graders so that offers no defense. One need not know the most complex concepts of Objectivism to understand that deception is wrong.

My suggestion would be to support your charge or retract your accusation to "others".

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To others,

Of all the people, you should know that man is not born omniscient. After being fed false philosophies for a lifetime, it is easily conceivable that one will be completely confused by Objectivism and its use of reason and logic. Not everyone knows what it means to hold life as one's standard of value and what consequences it has. Things like this have to be learned and you all choose to ignore that fact. Instead of recognizing this man's good sense of life (which he has shown through his admiration of The Fountainhead and his reaction to the attack on it), you choose to ignore that and expect him to discuss with you the most complex concepts of Objectivism as if he held them with utmost clarity. And instead of referring him to further reading, you whip him for not knowing and thinking wrong. It's like a teacher beating up a first grade student because he can't integrate.

I agree; sometimes I cringe when I see the "greeting" that some newcomers get when they say something wrong. But I can't change that, so I just try to be as constructive as possible, within the context of their views.

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I agree; sometimes I cringe when I see the "greeting" that some newcomers get when they say something wrong.[...]

Let me see if I have understood this situation correctly.

1. Source addressed Thesweetscience, then he addressed "others" without any delimiting qualification.

2. He accused them of various failures and even dishonesty (evasion, choosing to ignore).

3. Because I have posted in this thread and because I am not Thesweetscience, I am one of the "others."

4. You agree with source's attack.

Are you then accusing me of failures and dishonesty? If so, please present your evidence. If not, please either make your charge specific -- naming individuals and posts -- or withdraw your blanket condemnation.

Is my point relevant to this thread? I think so because it may be instructive to Thesweetscience, whose basic, underlying question -- How should one deal with religious people? -- is a good one, even if his recent approach was fundamentally flawed.

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I just went to that site, having a little time to spare. Wow, that conversation just kept going and going.

Inspector, let me very respectfully suggest that you refrain from personal attacks. It does great harm to your arguments, and it's not necessary.

I don't feel qualified to respond myself, and I appreciate that you're taking a lot of time (!!) doing this, but I think it would be wise not to indulge in name-calling.

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Let me see if I have understood this situation correctly.

1. Source addressed Thesweetscience, then he addressed "others" without any delimiting qualification.

2. He accused them of various failures and even dishonesty (evasion, choosing to ignore).

3. Because I have posted in this thread and because I am not Thesweetscience, I am one of the "others."

4. You agree with source's attack.

Are you then accusing me of failures and dishonesty? If so, please present your evidence. If not, please either make your charge specific -- naming individuals and posts -- or withdraw your blanket condemnation.

Is my point relevant to this thread? I think so because it may be instructive to Thesweetscience, whose basic, underlying question -- How should one deal with religious people? -- is a good one, even if his recent approach was fundamentally flawed.

I too was among the "Others" but did not think he was speaking to me, because I did not fit the accusation. If you do not either, then his statement does not apply to you. If that does not suffice, then I'll withdraw the statement.

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Just thought I should point this out: When I went back to the site to read any new replies, I got a message that said that the post I wanted to look at was not approved for display. Here is the link:

http://www.voy.com/59609/4445.html

I was wondering if this had something to do with it:

...

Inspector, let me very respectfully suggest that you refrain from personal attacks. It does great harm to your arguments, and it's not necessary.

...

Either way, is anyone still able to access all the messages on that thread?

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I too was among the "Others" but did not think he was speaking to me, because I did not fit the accusation. If you do not either, then his statement does not apply to you. If that does not suffice, then I'll withdraw the statement.

On second thought, BurgessLau, I'll retract my statement anyway. If I can't spell out the exact posters and facts in advance, I just won't say it. I should know that by now.

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Inspector, let me very respectfully suggest that you refrain from personal attacks. It does great harm to your arguments, and it's not necessary.

I don't feel qualified to respond myself, and I appreciate that you're taking a lot of time (!!) doing this, but I think it would be wise not to indulge in name-calling.

I'll try to tone it down, but when someone pulls a Kira quote out and calls it solid evidence of Ayn Rand's misanthropy, I really can't help but conclude that that person is a depraved charlatan. Jean is obviously well educated and has read at least some Rand, and so she can't claim that she didn't know any better.

That board is driving me crazy, though, since it's almost impossible to follow a thread in that format. Suffice to say, I could tear Jean's arguments open if she would just come over here. I mean, come on! She's admitted primacy of consciousness, she's conflating the metaphysical and the man-made, and any number of other errors.

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Oh, and to add: The Kira quote is not the first time Jean said something absolutely ridiculous, only to back down when I called her on it.

Now that she's admitted primacy of consciousness metaphysics I should just leave, but I don't want any confusion as to why I'm going. She keeps trying to insinuate things when I say I'm leaving.

(edited for spelling)

Edited by Inspector
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This is a rather pointed charge.  If you are going to accuse people of choosing to ignore facts, you should be specific as to whom you are accusing, and you should have facts yourself to prove that was their choice.

I have read through this thread and I have noticed "others" have been helpful to TSS.  Those who have been critical of him have been critical of his deceptive means for "converting" people to Objectivism.  Deception is still considered to be wrong by those "false philosphies" and by first graders so that offers no defense.  One need not know the most complex concepts of Objectivism to understand that deception is wrong.

My suggestion would be to support your charge or retract your accusation to "others".

I don't think that he meant to deceive anyone, he, in fact, was merely confused. Howard Roark himself has admitted to be "a profoundly religious man" when he was asked by Hopton Stoddard to build the Temple of the Human Spirit:

"That doesn't matter. You're a profoundly religious man, Mr. Roark - in your own way. I can see that in your buildings."

He wondered why Roark stared at him like that, without moving, for such a long time.

"That's true," said Roark. It was almost a whisper.

To a person who only read "The Fountainhead" this can be misleading. This, I think, is why he claims to be agnostic, why he claims that there is a religious aspect of Objectivism, etc., although I may never know that now since he's already said goodbye.

"Others" in my post was in no way meant to implicate "everyone else." I should have made a better choice of words since I hadn't had the time to identify which of my claims apply to whom. What I noticed in the thread was, generally, an attack on a person who has come here for help in defending a book he admires, and I should have said "some others" instead. I apologize.

Now as I have more carefully examined the thread, I can see that it was stephen_speicher first who ignored Thesweetscience's sense of life and throw him off completely with his first post in this thread. A sense of life, according to Ayn Rand, is:

...a pre-conceptual equivalent of metaphysics, an emotional, subconsciously integrated appraisal of man and of existence.

Stephen_speicher ignored the sense of life which Thesweetscience has showed. He ignored that, as of yet, Thesweetscience is not able to consciously formulate and explicitly state this subconscious metaphysics, which caused his sense of life emotions, and he began flunging accusations such as:

You want to finess mystics towards Objectivism by concealing that the philosophy rejects faith and religion? Sounds more like a sales technique used by a devious salesman promoting a bad product.

Thesweetscience, having insufficient conceptual knowledge to even see his error, let alone fix it, was only left with one choice - to draw a conclusion based on the only good thing that he still had - his sense of life. And that conclusion was that, no matter how much he loved The Fountainhead, he certainly hated the welcome he's had on the board which is supposed to support the philosophy the book is based on, and most likely is not coming back. What his further feelings towards Objectivism might be I do not know, because he's gone (or better said, was driven away) without learning a thing about Objectivism, and because he has very little to none conceptual, conscious knowledge of it to explain what has happened here. Whether he will read any books on Objectivism and learn Objectivist principles, has been left to chance.

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Stephen_speicher ignored the sense of life which Thesweetscience has showed.... and he began flunging accusations such as:

In the past I have stated on this forum how I would rather be friends with a value-oriented person with a good sense of life than with a person who intellectually embraces Objectivism but does not reflect the sense of life and and act on the values that matter to me. I also told the story, which I repeated the essence of on this very thread, of the young Hasidic Jew, Don, whom I befriended. (You cannot get too much more religious than with Hasidics).

Don was ultra-religious but he had a joyous sense of life and a very active mind. Unlike the other poster I did not conceal the philosophy or try to finesse him towards Objectivism. I was always open and forthright, as was Don, and we both enjoyed arguing passionately. Don's honesty and integrity won out in the long run and he shed his religious trappings, read Atlas Shrugged, and went to work for IBM.

"Thesweetscience" stands in distinction to Don. He was admittedly deceptive in trying to "convert" others to Objectivism, and when confronted with this fact he defended it on pragmatic grounds. I admire and value honesty, and disdain deception, and Source chooses to find fault with me proclaiming so. Actually, I can understand that, since in thread after thread Source himself has continued to also earn my disdain. I am not in the least bit surprised that he should here invert the truth and attempt to elevate a deceptive poster while faulting an honest one like me. I have come to expect such poor understanding and judgment from Source, so, yes, I am not at all surprised.

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I don't think that he meant to deceive anyone, he, in fact, was merely confused. Howard Roark himself has admitted to be "a profoundly religious man" when he was asked by Hopton Stoddard to build the Temple of the Human Spirit: [...]

To a person who only read "The Fountainhead" this can be misleading. This, I think, is why he claims to be agnostic, why he claims that there is a religious aspect of Objectivism, etc., although I may never know that now since he's already said goodbye.

In the "Introduction" to The Fountainhead, separately copyrighted in 1968, Ayn Rand explains her use of the term "religious." Have all editions since then contained that explanatory introduction? I don't know. Did Thesweetscience read an edition containing the introduction? I don't know. But if he did, he has no reason to be confused.

Thesweetscience, having insufficient conceptual knowledge to even see his error, let alone fix it, was only left with one choice - to draw a conclusion based on the only good thing that he still had - his sense of life. And that conclusion was that, no matter how much he loved The Fountainhead, he certainly hated the welcome he's had on the board which is supposed to support the philosophy the book is based on, and most likely is not coming back.

Why would a rational person have only the one choice? A rational person would ask himself -- and others in this thread who offered valuable information -- questions that would eventually lead him to a conclusion, one way or the other. A particular sense of life, good or bad, does not preclude the primary functions of reason: asking questions, finding answers, and comparing those answers to the facts and to knowledge already gained. Reacting only emotionally, if that is what has happened here, is not a sign of rationality.

What his further feelings towards Objectivism might be I do not know, because he's gone (or better said, was driven away) without learning a thing about Objectivism, and because he has very little to none conceptual, conscious knowledge of it to explain what has happened here. Whether he will read any books on Objectivism and learn Objectivist principles, has been left to chance.

Chance? Is a rational person a billiard ball careening around the world knocked about by chance encounters? No, sir. Even if his feelings are hurt, he will conclude that no rational person can judge a whole philosophy based on one incident in one forum at one time in his life.

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I came to this forum because someone attacked Ayn Rand in another message board. Because I have tremendous respect for her and her works, but not enough "technical knowledge" to argue the points properly I solicited help from the members here.

The early responses were that I should ignore them and that there was nothing worthy of responding to.

I didnt accept that and began to try and defend her and Objectivism to the best of my ability. For that I was roundly criticized and accused of "proselytizing".

I became interested in Objectivism because of it's free thinking and logical reasoning way. It seemed beautiful to me and The Fountainhead moved me like no other book has.

I must admit before a few days ago I have never had a single negative thought about Objectivism. But, there are people here who I do not wish to be anything like.

In closing, I want to thank the few here who understood where I was coming from and thanks to Inspector for standing up to the idiot who started all of this.

I won't bother you guys anymore.

Bobby

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To others,

Of all the people, you should know that man is not born omniscient. After being fed false philosophies for a lifetime, it is easily conceivable that one will be completely confused by Objectivism and its use of reason and logic. Not everyone knows what it means to hold life as one's standard of value and what consequences it has. Things like this have to be learned and you all choose to ignore that fact. Instead of recognizing this man's good sense of life (which he has shown through his admiration of The Fountainhead and his reaction to the attack on it), you choose to ignore that and expect him to discuss with you the most complex concepts of Objectivism as if he held them with utmost clarity. And instead of referring him to further reading, you whip him for not knowing and thinking wrong. It's like a teacher beating up a first grade student because he can't integrate.

This is the most ridiculous thing I have seen on this forum.

Since you have now specified your post as being against Mr. Speicher, let's examine the facts.

Thesweetsciece openly acknowledged engaging in deceit to get others interested in Objectivism. Mr. Speicher called him on it with a succinct analogy to the shoddy used car-salesman. The sweetscience made further errors that were also called.

Now you are asking him to engage in the very behaviour that is in question here; that of deceit. You asking that a spade not be called a spade so as not to "scare" someone away from Objectivism.

Honesty is not a complex part of Objectivism, and as Peikiff has noted (Understanding Objectivism) is hardly unique to Objectivism as a virtue. And your example of the standard of value was not a topic of discussion. It was a clear issue of honesty in dealing with people. Particularily when introducing it to ones that are unfamiliar with it. It is not a complex issue to know that misrepresenting something as something that it is not is a vice.

I have seen this happen here again and again, and again and again the same charges are brought up. "You shouldn't have scared him away like that, maybe he doesn't know any better."

Well, is that not one of the virtues of letting the person know and not engaging in the deceit by pretending that person did not commit the error (or crime)?

Every principle of Objectivism should be proudly and explicitly laid out in a discussion where it is relevant.

And the proper response when an error of yours is called is : "Thank you."

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