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I was just watching Penn & Teller's HBO show BullShit. Tonight they did a show on the Bible. Showing many irrational and contradictory statement it contains. (For the benefit of anyone who has not seen the shows). Their shows are based on using rational explanation for current irrational beliefs . Two questions came to my mind, and I was hoping for thoughts of anyone interested in commenting.

1). Does anyone believe objectivist views are displayed on this show? (With the caveat; that I or anyone on these boards, probably do not know Penn or Teller personally. So this question is as it relates to the show only).

2). Is it possible for someone to function in life with objectivist views and not be aware of objectivism as a philosophy?

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I'm not sure, mostly saying the bible full of contradictions. Some mention of moral issues.. references to stoning children, owning slaves..etc.. Mostly just flat out impossible actions listed in the bible, Noah Ark (10,000 species of animals) impossible scientifically to build anything that big. That type stuff. A lot of duality's, different accounts of the same event throughout the bible.

My personal view is the Bible was just a good fiction book, that managed to stay on the best sellers list, for a really long time, and now irrational people look at it as if it is fact. Which I think was also the point Penn & Teller were making as well.

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Nah, I doubt it. Criticism of the Bible is hardly an Objectivist monopoly, and in fact, most atheists probably spend more time on it than Objectivists do.

You might find Robert Ingersoll interesting. He was well-known in the 1800s for criticizing Christianty. infidels.org has a lot of his stuff, but the following is probably most like what you heard on the show:

http://www.infidels.org/library/historical...n_of_bible.html

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If by this you mean:

"Can someone invent Objectivism all by themselves, or do they have to be taught it?"

Than... of course they can, Rand DID!

:confused: Bingo..ding..ding..ding..litlle light bublbs going on in my head :) losts of fireworks !!!

Thank you, I made the connection, so the reality is Objectivism was and is, always there, whether someone perceived it (past, present or future) or not, however Rand revealed it/found it, therefore defined it.

The identity of reality. Is this correct?

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2). Is it possible for someone to function in life with objectivist views and not be aware of objectivism as a philosophy?

I think so. I have been studying Objectivism for less than a year, but had been living according to an ethical system of rational self-interest for quite a while before I had ever heard of Ayn Rand. It was the similarities between her ethics and my own that first drew me to Objectivism.

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Bingo..ding..ding..ding..litlle light bublbs going on in my head  losts of fireworks !!!

Thank you, I made the connection, so the reality is Objectivism was and is, always there, whether someone perceived it (past, present or future) or not, however Rand revealed it/found it, therefore defined it.

The identity of reality. Is this correct?

Well, not quite. Philosophy, like any sort of cognition, is a human perspective on reality. The facts on which Objectivism is based have been around for a very long time, available for anyone to see. But to discover fundamental principles is a monumental achievement. Principles aren't just out there floating around; to form a principle is to recognize a fundamental similarity between a number of things. So like I said, it's a uniquely human perspective on those facts, and as such, it doesn't exist until someone formulates it.

You might put it this way: you wrote "whether someone perceived it," but the real issue is whether someone conceived it.

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I can't really say that 100% but their probably more Libertarian than Objectivist.

After watching a few episodes of the show, that is the same impression I got. They seemed more against things, rather than for things, a stance which seems quite characteristic of many libertarians.

Nevertheless, the few shows I saw were still entertaining.

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These guys could have a second career turning sacred cows into hamburger.

As has been said, it's hard to see what they stand for, but quite clear what they are against. The show on recycling was excellent: they presented 12 (I think) reasons for recycling, then shot each down, one by one, by getting the facts. Great job, very entertaining -- and in 30 minutes!

The Bible episode was fun at points, but didn't break any new ground for me. It isn't hard at all to see that the story of Noah's ark couldn't really have happened, for instance. Yet they were able to find people who clung to their beliefs in the face of the facts, making the anti-reality nature of faith crystal clear. The line that had me laughing the most: "Elvis didn't do no drugs!" -- a sarcastic comment added repeatedly through the episode to indicate the extremes to which people will go to maintain their faith).

This is a show I don't make a point to watch, but often stop surfing when I run across it.

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They're certain advocates of reason and individual rights, but it's not clear if they're Objectivists.

Teller is a Mencken Research Fellow at the Cato Institute, so he might just be Libertarian.

Penn is even harder to pin down.

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By the way, fans of this show may also enjoy "Mythbusters" on the Discovery channel. They run experiments to test myths and urban legends, such as:

Can a penny dropped from the Empire State Building kill someone?

Do breast implants explode at high altitudes?

Can a cellphone ignite a fire at a gas station?

In the case of the penny, they estimated the terminal velocity of the penny, then built a gun(!) for launching the penny at various speeds. They launched the penny at terminal velocity and "busted" the myth: the penny would sting, but wouldn't even break skin. when fired at concrete it just bounces off.

In contrast to Penn and Teller, Mythbusters focuses more on the details of the experiments rather than just the theory. I like both shows, but prefer this show as a reality check, and prefer Penn and Teller as a polemic against bad ideas.

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Check out the website at:

http://www.sho.com/site/ptbs/home.do

From what I see on the website, it looks fantastic.  I think a “Bullshit Blog” would be a great idea.

Especially check out the video preview for the PETA episode. They trash modern academic philosophers. It's awesome.

Preview of the preview:

Animal rights activist: This is a fight for liberation, no different than the fight for the liberation of slaves or women or any other oppressed group in the past. We have to equate our movement with those movements.

Dennis Prager: The foolishness of that comment is so deep, I can only ascribe it to higher education. You have to have gone to college to say something that stupid.

And then they go to a philosophy professor... :lol:

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My favorite show on Penn & Teller Bullshit was the one on Environmentalist. You got to love this one. They had this young gal there at the Environmentalist rally with a clipboard claming she was wanting signatures to ban hydrogen oxide, she said it is every where and people are consuming it, the government isn't doing anything about it.. :P .hahaha. I love it, she got hundred of signature on that thing. Banning WATER. All these people heard was ban and government in the same sentence, and signed it, with no idea of what it was...

Then they had this tree hugger lady, trying to safe a tree from being cut down. What was her plan, she bought some lumber (where did she think this came from) and built a tree house, on the tree, using nails to attach it to the tree. Then lived on it until someone would give up on cutting the tree down. :lol:

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My favorite show on Penn & Teller Bullshit was the one on Environmentalist.  You got to love this one.  They had this young gal there at the Environmentalist rally with a clipboard claming she was wanting signatures to ban hydrogen oxide, she said it is every where and people are consuming it, the government isn't doing anything about it.. :P .hahaha. I love it, she got hundred of signature on that thing.  Banning WATER. All these people heard was ban and government in the same sentence, and signed it, with no idea of what it was...

Then they had this tree hugger lady, trying to safe a tree from being cut down.  What was her plan, she bought some lumber (where did she think this came from) and built a tree house, on the tree, using nails to attach it to the tree.  Then lived on it until someone would give up on cutting the tree down. :lol:

Not only was that episodes enjoyable but scary at the same time. Bullshit only shows what happens when people decide to not think.

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Dennis Prager: The foolishness of that comment is so deep, I can only ascribe it to higher education. You have to have gone to college to say something that stupid.

Dennis Prager is an interesting guy. He originated on talk radio here in Los Angeles with a religious show some twenty-something years ago. Eventually he morphed into a general discussion show, and he is now syndicated in dozens of cities. He is a somewhat rare creature: fundamentally, a real valuer with a passion for ideas, yet one whose morality is firmly anchored in religion, namely Judaism.

He can drive you up the wall with his reliance on and reverence for religion, but then he redeems himself with brilliant intellectual insights in other areas. I have a sort of love/hate relationship with him. When he is ranting about religion, I stop listening to him for a while. Then, when I tune in another day, he is talking about the proper application of abstract ideas on a level not often heard on radio. It is hard not to like a guy who, when a caller presented a new and interesting idea to him, he said (this is from memory) "Let me take a moment to revel in that wonderful idea."

Ideas matter to him, even though he has such a strong religious base.

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  • 1 year later...
2). Is it possible for someone to function in life with objectivist views and not be aware of objectivism as a philosophy?

None of my friends know anything about objectivism, but they all have some of it's qualities. So long as someone is true to himself, I can look past the other things, such as some religious belief. It's the people who act like a different person depending on who they're around, because they care so much about what they think about them, that piss me off. And people who are afraid to follow their passions...I'm sure the world has lost many great male dancers and the like because of that fear :D

Edited by goldmonkee
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