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A Thought Experiment…

 
nv
 
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nv
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12 June 2007 14:52
 
[quote author=“SaulOhio”]. . . the concept of intrinsic value to its natural conclusion. . . nature has value . . . NEITHER of our evaluations of nature intrinsic . . . Rand’s rejection of intrinsic value . . . natural rights . . .

Saul, you seem to be attempting to pry certain morality-laden concepts into our brains. I’ve read every word of this thread, yet it means nothing to me other than for its light reading enjoyment, and for that I say thanks. I’ve also read A.R.‘s two big books, the incredible biographies, and assorted non-fiction essays by her as well.

I know you’re bright enough to understand your role here, Saul. Most contributors to this forum have had it up to HERE with morality-laden concepts being shoved down our throats. Keep on typing if you need the practice, but my honest advice (for what it’s worth—most likely not much) is that, since most of us here have morality pretty well under control, your talent is being wasted.

 
 
eucaryote
 
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12 June 2007 14:59
 
[quote author=“eucaryote”]I rather think that not only is there no difference between mind and body, I am inclined to think that there is no mind. If there is, it’s very overrated. I’m going to have to get back to the slime molds before this is done.

[quote author=“SaulOhio”]This is, in essence, all that there is of substance in your post. The rest of it is surprisingly accurate descriptions of some of Ayn Rand’s ideas, with the assumption that stating them proves them wrong. You said that Rand rejects the idea of intrinsic value of nature, which is true. But you reject it as if she were self-evidently wrong, instead of saying why. (I challenge you to prove it. Prove that nature has intrinsic value apart from human survival.)

Well Saul, you taught me well. You express the world view of the extreme far right economists so well. Many, but not all, of these are people to which you have linked me in the past. You represent their “thoughts” well.

I am not suggesting that accuately stating Rand’s thoughts proves them wrong, but I have apparently stated them accurately so don’t accuse me of not understanding the topic. Note, I am not interesting in proving anything wrong, with objectivism as the onus of proof or reason is on the one making the proposition. In this case you propose that the balance, beyond humans, of biologic nature has no intrinsic value to itself. This of course is something that neither you or I can ever know or prove; we can only proffer our opinions.

As I recall, Rand thought that a special self-consciousness, possessed only by humans, provided the means by which humans determine their own “intrinsic” value to themselves. She denies this special self-awareness to the balance of the biologic world, essentially claiming that no other creatures value their lives. The only value in nature is that value found in nature by humans, for survival of humans, as you say. The proof of her reasoning that the human consciousness is special in this way is her recognition that other species do not exhibit the intellectual development of humans, which is true.

However, I would counter this thought with the idea that the intellect is an aspect of human consciousness unimportant to the determination of intrinsic self-awareness and self-value. Rather the characteristics that distinguish all life from non-life demonstrate self worth. Life seeks to grow, avoid death and procreate. Why would any creature with no self worth seek to preserve itself, procreate young and project itself, it’s life, into the future?

[quote author=“SaulOhio”]You don’t think that the mind exists, or matters. Therefore you can (by some miracle of mental content without a mind) go on believing whatever you want, irrespective of evidence or logic. If you really do believe that the mind is overrated, WTF are you doing on this forum???? What would be wrong with faith, religion, or even Islamic Jihad?

Well I sure touched a nerve here.
You concede that there is no difference between mind and body, but then you want to distinguish mind from body? Where is mind to be found? (BTW, if one chooses to simply not believe, then one doesn’t need a mind to believe with, and that’s how I get out of it, I’m mindless)

I think that it is this sense of self, that you call “mind” that is necessary to the selfishness that Rand found virtuous and underpins her reasoning, such as it was. I think that you and Rand confuse self with intellect, something which is most developed in humans. Intellect is a brain function. Essentially you and Rand want to identify consciousness and self with brain, denying other creatures the self-awareness and self worth that is made apparent in the world by the need by the world, (evolution) to create, preserve and procreate life.

There is a perspective in which species and tribes and subspecies can be seen as a single individual organism extended through time as a series of apparent individuals. From aspen groves to enormous fungi, there are numerous examples of this in nature.

Natural is anything that happens and as Saul says, humanity is as natural as anything. Anything that humans do is by definition a natural occurrence. That includes overpopulating, using up our resources and dying in our own waste. No different than what we see occur in a Petri dish. This fate can be avoided by humans who may use their intellects to identify and perceive threats, especially the slow moving ones. This perception (science) can motivate individual organisms into demonstrating adaptive behaviors and the species can be extended into time, which is what it’s all about.

[quote author=“SaulOhio”] Your other “refutations” of Objectivism are just smear tactics, like calling it a cult. This does nothing to disprove any of Objectivism’s contents.

It’s not a smear if it’s true. Part of the definition of a cult over other such groups and religions is the focus on the leader. I derive most of my information here from Micheal Shermers book, Why People Believe Weird Things. He does a pretty “objective” chapter on Rand her writings and the history of the cult. He does not disagree with all of her philosophy, few would as the agreeable part consists of simple truisms based on her strong need individualism and to not belong to the hive. Shermer notes all of the attributes of the Rand phenomenon that make it a cult. The history of the cult is very interesting, maybe Saul can inform us of some of it. There were several fallings out with men who had sexual relations with Rand and the cult was fractured in two I recall.

No, this cult status doesn’t prove or disprove objectivity, nothing can. Again, the postulate is yours. This is Russell’s orbiting teapot. If you insist that the balance of the natural world has no intrinsic value, then you should prove it.

I think that ethics requires that the benefit of any doubt goes to this accident of reality we call nature.

 
 
eucaryote
 
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12 June 2007 17:29
 

[quote author=“Salt Creek”]
You are off the subject of unchosen obligations and onto intrinsic value before we’ve had a chance to sort things out there. Never mind. I measure the effectiveness of my questions by how assiduously you avoid answering them.

By the way, Saul, you owe every minute of your existence to some ancestor who survived by taking only what nature gave her. At least in that sense, you owe nature a small debt of gratitude.

Unchosen obligations and intrinsic value are related. Rand allowed for a very narrow class of unchosen obligations to humans only. That class includes only the obligation to not abridge other human’s “rights”. In Rand’s world, nothing else has rights and there are no other creatures with intrinsic value, this as a function of an assumed lack of awareness of self worth. (I am reminded of the general who proclaimed, (with respect the vietnamese), that the “orientals” don’t value life the way us white folk do. (heavily paraphrased, I can look up the actual quote if you want).

Anyway, as you point out, Salty, Saul has an unchosen obligation to preserve his own life and pass his and granny’s miserable genes on. Hopefully another generation will make better use of the potential than Saul has. Possibly some day we will isolate a “believer gene” and try to select against it. Clearly this is a maladaptive trait in these later years.

All creatures share this unchosen obligation to preserve and promote life with each other and as we result share an unchosen obligation toward each other. None of these parts may be separated readily from the whole. We are all necessarily a part of the same experiment by evolution. This obligation toward each other is recognized by virtually every creature on the planet except for cancer cells and the like. Even weeds are seral creatures, which pave the way for climax or other ecosystems more in equilibrium. The raw reasoning behind the idea of stewardship is to involve the intellect of humans with natural events in such a way as to stabilize an ecological equilibrium in which humans, as a function of intellect, are natural stabilizing component. Otherwise, it appears that our “minds” will kill us.

 
 
eucaryote
 
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12 June 2007 17:39
 

Well, I promised I would get onto slime molds and it appears that the time has come. I think that that this is appropriate to the thread and may address Nhoj’s original thought experiment concerning free will and has (d)evolved into a discussion of consciousness.

I wrote this at the tail end of another thread on “The Great Global Warming Swindle” which also (d)evolved somehow to a similar place. It features a reply to Salt Creek and I post the following with his forebearance, (I hope).

[quote author=“Salt Creek”]

Next time you’re caught in a category 10 storm whose intensity was influenced by “global warming”, see if it isn’t your feet that are doing the walking while your “consciousness” is merely screaming “Holy Sh1t!” over and over again.

[quote author=“eucaryote”]I like to consider but do not know, that all life may be concious at some level.

[quote author=“Salt Creek”]Well, then you’ve just succeeded in making life and consciousness equivalent. We only need one word to describe whatever-it-is.

At what point does phototropism or response to nutrient gradient cross the line into “taking evasive action”? Well, duh. People aren’t actually “conscious”; just better than average at taking evasive action. Or evading the evidence. Or whatever. Instead of “consciousness”, why don’t we try using the word “evasiveness”?

Hello Salt Creek, I see you are in fine form. I have a hard time reading through some of the static but I gather that you possibly misunderstand what I meant, especially what I meant by intellect and consciousness.

Actually, I was referring almost specifically to chemical-biological processes like phototropism, the likes of which abound in more complex creatures but are not absent from “lower creatures”. In phototropism, the plant move towards the light, so as to more effectively gather light. A tropism is a favoritism, a moving toward.

Individual cells are studded with chemical receptors and emitters through which they see and respond to their environment.

Often studied is dictyostelium, a slime mold, the spores of which geminate into individual, microscopic, amoebae. These amoebae feed, grow and multiply in the environment (an area of several square centimenters) until at one moment, they contact one another by means of a chemical messanger, cyclic amp. This chemical messanger is diffused into the environment from an original emitter amoeba causing other amoebae to emit cyclic amp and simultaneously move up the gradient to the original emitter.

What is remarkable that the individual amoebae move together to form a “pseudo plasmodium”, which is a macroscopic, aggregate creature in it’s own right. This creature includes and eyespot which it uses to move away from light where it finds a place to create the fruiting body, (a space needle looking creation about 1 or 2 mm tall. The amoeboe in the upper part (non stalk) of the fruiting body specialize to become spores. At maturity the spores fall into the environment….where they germinate….and out crawls a microscopic amoeba.

The point is that these cells demonstrate specialized awareness of each other and the environment, they communicate and cooperate even as they exist as separate individuals.

[quote author=“wikipedia”] Dictyostelids are used as examples of cellular communication and differentiation, and may provide insights into how multicellular organisms develop. Plasmodia are useful for studying cytoplasmic streaming. It has been observed that they can find their way through mazes by spreading out and choosing the shortest path, an interesting example of information processing without a nervous system.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slime_mold

Another process of conciousness would the motivation behind someone trying to remove themselves from your hurricane. It would not be a process of intellect. You run from the hurricane in the same sense that you quickly remove your hand from the hot object, without thinking, without any intellectual processing. Your hand is moved before your intellect even has a clue what was going on. In the case of the hurricane, the most intellectual you might get is to differentiate which way to run, a critical decision. Your fear though is an emotional biochemical response to your awareness. Not a lot of thinking going on. Information from the senses pretty much short circuits the brain.

Conciousness, in my view, is a function of all the cells in the body where intellect is a brain function. I think that it could be said that if not all life, all life down to the eucaryoutic level if not procaryotes, posesses some kind of conciousness. See Candace Pert and her book The Molecules of Emotion. Also Peter Kramer, Listening to Prozac.
Anyway, Salty, I’m not really projecting conciousness as anything metaphysical.

To my mind, meta-physical is like super natural. It only exists in it’s absence. As soon as you put your finger on it….it changes state.

 
 
SaulOhio
 
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12 June 2007 23:29
 

[quote author=“eucaryote”]
I am not suggesting that accuately stating Rand’s thoughts proves them wrong, but I have apparently stated them accurately so don’t accuse me of not understanding the topic. Note, I am not interesting in proving anything wrong, with objectivism as the onus of proof or reason is on the one making the proposition. In this case you propose that the balance, beyond humans, of biologic nature has no intrinsic value to itself. This of course is something that neither you or I can ever know or prove; we can only proffer our opinions.

Thats like saying we can neither prove nor disprove the existence of God, we must simply have faith.

As I recall, Rand thought that a special self-consciousness, possessed only by humans, provided the means by which humans determine their own “intrinsic” value to themselves. She denies this special self-awareness to the balance of the biologic world, essentially claiming that no other creatures value their lives. The only value in nature is that value found in nature by humans, for survival of humans, as you say. The proof of her reasoning that the human consciousness is special in this way is her recognition that other species do not exhibit the intellectual development of humans, which is true.

However, I would counter this thought with the idea that the intellect is an aspect of human consciousness unimportant to the determination of intrinsic self-awareness and self-value. Rather the characteristics that distinguish all life from non-life demonstrate self worth. Life seeks to grow, avoid death and procreate. Why would any creature with no self worth seek to preserve itself, procreate young and project itself, it’s life, into the future?

Because it has the instincts to do so programmed into it by evolution. Those that lacked these instincts died. And even these instincts aren’t exactly reliable. Notice squirrels trying to evade your car by zig-zagging as if evading a predator, instead of just going in a straight line to get out of the way?

Humans don’t have such instincts. We have to think ahead to know how to survive.

[quote author=“SaulOhio”]You don’t think that the mind exists, or matters. Therefore you can (by some miracle of mental content without a mind) go on believing whatever you want, irrespective of evidence or logic. If you really do believe that the mind is overrated, WTF are you doing on this forum???? What would be wrong with faith, religion, or even Islamic Jihad?

Well I sure touched a nerve here.
You concede that there is no difference between mind and body, but then you want to distinguish mind from body? Where is mind to be found? (BTW, if one chooses to simply not believe, then one doesn’t need a mind to believe with, and that’s how I get out of it, I’m mindless)

I didn;t say there is no difference between mind and body. I said: “This is more and more evidence that the mind and body are pretty much inseparable.” The mind, consciousness, is something the body DOES. The mind is not a physical object, but a vastly complex action of our central nervous systems. Where is running? There is no such thing!

If you are mindless, how can you identify the fact that you are? And WTF am I doing arguing with you if you have no mind? This is why the reason I “debate” with you isn’t to try to persuade you, but for entertainment. You do make me laugh, not with your lame jokes aimed at Ayn Rand, but with the image of a mindless being babbling about how it doesn’t bave a mind.

No, this cult status doesn’t prove or disprove objectivity

Then why do you keep bringing it up, except as a smear tactic, an ad hominem attack? Thats a dirty trick, and why use dirty tricks unless you have nothing else to offer? Thats what I keep saying, you’ve got nothing.

, nothing can. Again, the postulate is yours. This is Russell’s orbiting teapot. If you insist that the balance of the natural world has no intrinsic value, then you should prove it.

I have posted a brief outline of the argument for objective value. You have ignored it. The existence of intrinsic value, like the existence of God, is a positive statement, and the burden of proof is on those who make it.

However, Objectivism does have a definition for the word value, one that bases its meaning in human needs and human consciousness. The very concept of intrinsic value makes the word “value” meaningless. Like what I said about beauty, if there it exists without anyone to appreciate it, what does the concept mean? It just becomes an empty word.

I think that ethics requires that the benefit of any doubt goes to this accident of reality we call nature.

And what is that supposed to mean?

[ Edited: 13 June 2007 06:10 by ]
 
 
SaulOhio
 
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13 June 2007 00:04
 

[quote author=“homunculus”]
Saul, you seem to be attempting to pry certain morality-laden concepts into our brains. I’ve read every word of this thread, yet it means nothing to me other than for its light reading enjoyment, and for that I say thanks. I’ve also read A.R.‘s two big books, the incredible biographies, and assorted non-fiction essays by her as well.

I know you’re bright enough to understand your role here, Saul. Most contributors to this forum have had it up to HERE with morality-laden concepts being shoved down our throats. Keep on typing if you need the practice, but my honest advice (for what it’s worth—most likely not much) is that, since most of us here have morality pretty well under control, your talent is being wasted.

Philosophy is actually a distillation of everything the human race has learned throughout history. Thats what Aristotle did, and thats what Ayn Rand and the Austrian economists have done. They have created summaries of what everyone else has already learned by trial and error and observation. Read Robert Tracinski’s essay What Went Right

History has shown again and again that such ideas as altruism and the intrinsic value of nature lead to disaster. Altruism has given us both socialism and fascism, with both of their mass slaughters. It has given us unjustified criticisms of free market capitalism and held back human economic and moral development. How many more lives must be sacrificed to the religion of altruism? I am trying to present a more scientific alternative.

The same goes with the intrinsic value of nature. Millions of lives have been lost because environmentalists believe that unspoiled nature has value over and above its value to human life. This is the idea that was behind the ban on DDT, the idea that motivated Rachel Carson to fake science to influence public opinion against DDT. Since then,   millions of people have died needlessly from malaria . Fortunately, the World Health Organization has come to its senses and changed its policy on DDT.

People are DYING because of these ideas, and you think people have morality “pretty much under control”?

 
 
Traces Elk
 
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13 June 2007 01:19
 

[quote author=“eucaryote”]All creatures share this unchosen obligation to preserve and promote life with each other and as we result share an unchosen obligation toward each other…. We are all necessarily a part of the same experiment by evolution. ... The raw reasoning behind the idea of stewardship is to involve the intellect of humans with natural events in such a way as to stabilize an ecological equilibrium in which humans, as a function of intellect, are natural stabilizing component. Otherwise, it appears that our “minds” will kill us.

Human beings have an unfortunate tendency to receive too much of the data of the world through this filter of purposefulness.

I think that all threads at Sam Harris Forum have an intimate and implicit (and possibly even intrinsic) relation to one another. Certainly, we get reports all the time (too often for my liking) that go like this:

[quote author=“burt”]But you don’t need all the information, that is the intellect trying to make a reasoned decision, and that automatically blocks the intuition.  Not to say this is wrong, most decisions in life are best made by rational analysis of the available data, but sometimes there is something more.

...Now I’m not saying that there was anything going on here other than serendipity and the alertness (on the part of my wife) to seize opportunity when it appeared, but that’s the point—if she had been all tied up with internal chatter and such those opportunities would have gone by unnoticed. 

...I think that we are touched by cases like this because they show us, at a deep level, that something exists beyond our own selfish concerns and in that way, give us an opening to something more universal.

This skips burt’s long story about buying and selling condos, but I edited it out because it didn’t seem to have that much to do with spirituality or the unchosen obligations of sentient beings to one another.

Practicing scientists tend to try to minimize the amount of stuff like this that goes into an analysis (and especially into proposal writing) because the effort that goes into research is too arduous to risk not getting it published (or funded) simply because one failed to resist giving vent to one’s emotions. It’s just an occupational hazard scientists look out for.

One of the things I love about the Forum here is that you pretty much can get anything published, as long as it is not about Brittany Spears and odd things that happen to her various bodily orifices. SHF is the beanbag chair of intellectual endeavor. On that note, sit down and get comfy…

Back to our discussion of Objectivism. Or not, as you choose. Far be it from me to foist any unchosen obligations on any sentient being or its inorganic substrate.

[quote author=“SaulOhio”]Philosophy is actually a distillation of everything the human race has learned throughout history.

Philosophy isn’t “actually” anything. It’s a bunch of ideas, few of them actually tested against a reality that even Objectivists will admit imposes some limitations. Well. A man’s gotta know his own limitations. Objectivism posits that limitations are almost as imaginary as Jesus.

I regard Objectivism much like I do Wahhabi fundamentalism. There’s nothing much that compels me to accept its principles or its conclusions except the point of a gun. Or maybe my chagrin at having Saul call me some names. Even then, I still have the existentialist’s choice.

History has shown again and again that such ideas as altruism and the intrinsic value of nature lead to disaster. Altruism has given us both socialism and fascism, with both of their mass slaughters. It has given us unjustified criticisms of free market capitalism and held back human economic and moral development. How many more lives must be sacrificed to the religion of altruism? I am trying to present a more scientific alternative.

As with other fundamentalisms, Saul’s philosophy is not aimed at accomplishing anything other than giving him a delusion of moral superiority. It’s far more fun than all that Prosperity Seminar/Positive Thinking pap we get all the time from burt that is so powerless when it comes to inspiring real righteous indignation.

Thought experiment, indeed.  One that validates the null hypothesis.

[quote author=“eucaryote”]All creatures share this unchosen obligation to preserve and promote life with each other and as we result share an unchosen obligation toward each other….

All things bright and beautiful
All creatures great and small
All things wise and wonderful
The Lord God made them all

 
 
SaulOhio
 
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13 June 2007 02:59
 

[quote author=“Salt Creek”]
Philosophy isn’t “actually” anything. It’s a bunch of ideas, few of them actually tested against a reality

That is true of many philosophies, but not Objectivism. If you read that Robert Tracinski article I linked to, you will find that people all over the world are independantly re-discovering many specific ideas of Objectivism. They are testing it against reality, and proving it true.

that even Objectivists will admit imposes some limitations.

Uh, “admit”? You mean INSIST. Thats what the axiom of Identity is all about. More evidence that you have little clue about Objectivism.

Well. A man’s gotta know his own limitations. Objectivism posits that limitations are almost as imaginary as Jesus.

Wrong. See what I said about the axiom of Identity. It is limits that define the identity of anything that exists. Again, you have no clue.

I regard Objectivism much like I do Wahhabi fundamentalism. There’s nothing much that compels me to accept its principles or its conclusions except the point of a gun.

And still again, no clue. One of Rand’s basic principles of politics is the non-initiation of force, in other words, guns don’t persuade.

Here’s some more evidence that you are almost INTENTIONALLY ignorant of Objectivism. There is no way you could be so misinformed about Objectivism without TRYING to get it confused.
You said:

Well. We are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, among them being life, liberty, and the purfuit of happinefs. Maybe “the purfuit of happinefs” is just the exercise of volition. Who am I to say? I think you ought to leave it to me to decide what my “purfuit of happinefs” actually ought to be.

You say that as if it is an objection to Ayn Rand’s ethics. But the very sentence “I think you ought to leave it to me to decide what my ‘purfuit of happinefs’ actually ought to be.” minus the fake lisp in the phrase “pursuit of happiness”, is a one-sentence summary of Ayn Rand’s moral philosophy. You are claiming to disagree with Ayn Rand, but in the process, you agree with her about precisely what you claim to disagree with her on. Its things like this that make me wish for telepathy, so I can see inside your head and figure out what kind of malfunction allows you to hold such contradictions.

Or maybe my chagrin at having Saul call me some names. Even then, I still have the existentialist’s choice.

On the whole, with a few admitted exceptions, it is you and eukaryote who are doing the name-calling. I have done it a little, but mostly I have been trying to present evidence and rational arguments. As I pointed out above, you keep missing the point.

As with other fundamentalisms,

See what I mean? Your doing the name-calling.

Saul’s philosophy is not aimed at accomplishing anything other than giving him a delusion of moral superiority.

This sounds like projection on your part. Its more an attribute of altruists. People feel really good when they think they are acting altruistically, because that is their definition of the good, what is good for other people. If you are being altruistic, then obviously you are a good person.

 
 
waltercat
 
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13 June 2007 04:20
 

[quote author=“SaulOhio”]
The same goes with the intrinsic value of nature. Millions of lives have been lost because environmentalists believe that unspoiled nature has value over and above its value to human life. This is the idea that was behind the ban on DDT, the idea that motivated Rachel Carson to fake science to influence public opinion against DDT.

What horseshit!!  What kind of evidence do you have that Carson faked here evidence?  Is it the same kind of “evidence” that compact-fluorescent bulbs contribute to more mercury pollution than incandescents?

I took a look at your links:

[quote author=“SaulOhio”]]Since then,   millions of people have died needlessly from malaria .

Nothing about Carson in this article.  Though the national geographic site does have a   very informed article about DDT and its benefits:

Here is a quote:

Environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club have acknowledged the chemical’s usefulness in saving human life.

“We have not opposed the use of DDT to fight malaria in developing countries,” said Ed Hopkins, director of the Sierra Club’s environmental quality program.

So environmentalists don’t actually oppose the use of DDT.  This is the second time I have been able to easily refute your ignorant claims.


[quote author=“PaulOhio”]]Fortunately, the World Health Organization has come to its senses and changed its policy on DDT.

Nothing about any faked science here either. 

Saul, it is beginning to look like you are more interested in prostelytizing for Objectivist dogma than critically assessing evidence and arguments.

 
 
waltercat
 
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13 June 2007 04:26
 

[quote author=“SaulOhio”]

Human survival is not unconditional. It may be that our need for food, clothing and shelter is a no-brainer, but those needs still have to be identified rationally, not only as an empty feeling in your stomach when you haven’t eaten in a long time, but also what kind of food we need, how to obtain it, how to make it. All the science behind modern agriculture is an example of how reason is essential to human survival. So is the science and art of architecture, geology in mining, chemistry in metalurgy. Every manufactured article you see is an example of something a human mind identified as having value to human existence. You may disagree, see no value in it yourself, but the fact remains that some person has decided that it is good, that it serves some human need or desire. He has used HIS capacity for reason, correctly or incorrectly, to come to the conclusion that something is good, and that it should be made.

I know of no “wisdom of those who came before” that can refute this.

And here we have the logic of the True Believer in a nutshell:  “I’m right, you’re wrong.  That’s Final.”

You really believe that Rand was the smartest person to have ever lived.  That there is no one who can demonstrate the poverty of her ideas.  She is very unconvincing about value.  Most philosophers throughout history have disagreed with her.  If you don’t have an open mind (as you appear not to) you will be unable to think critically about positions that differ from Rand.  She was not as bright as you want to believe.  Many more capable people had views radically opposed to hers.  You need to critically confront those who disagree with Randianism.  If you don’t you are nothing but an uninformed dogmatist.

 
 
Traces Elk
 
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13 June 2007 04:31
 

[quote author=“SaulOhio”]If you read that Robert Tracinski article I linked to, you will find that people all over the world are independantly re-discovering many specific ideas of Objectivism. They are testing it against reality, and proving it true.

I could research it, Saul, but as I do with the contentions of the 9/11 conspiracy theorists, I insist that it is up to you to present the argument here, instead of dropping links to whatever has convinced you. You are the advocate for Objectivism here; serving as an advocate means that you have to master the points you think make your case. As I conclude below, spewing epithets that your audience is ignorant or under some misapprehension of the ideas of Objectivism is not a way to persuade an admittedly-hostile audience.

If you are so into reality, I think you should contend with the facts, which are that the audience you are facing is not necessarily misinformed, but clearly hostile to your ideas. It is virtually impossible to make arguments on the basis that your audience is simply ignorant of the facts. Present the facts. At the very least, do not assume that people are hostile only because they are ignorant.

[quote author=“SaulOhio”]See what I said about the axiom of Identity. It is limits that define the identity of anything that exists. Again, you have no clue.

I am not interested in the limits that “define the identity of anything that exists”. I am interested in the limitations of what anything that exists can do beyond spouting a lot of gibberish about what gives it an identity. Which is about all that Objectivists seem able to do. There’s a clue for you. What have you accomplished, Saul, to demonstrate the validity of your philosophy? What does your resumé have to say about the great power of Objectivism?

I regard Objectivism much like I do Wahhabi fundamentalism. There’s nothing much that compels me to accept its principles or its conclusions except the point of a gun.

One of Rand’s basic principles of politics is the non-initiation of force, in other words, guns don’t persuade.

Did I say I expected Objectivists to convert me at the point of a gun? No. I implied that I would accept its principles only at gunpoint. If Objectivists adhere to non-initiation of force, I won’t adopt their principles. This is an oblique way of reminding you that the so-called “rational” arguments presented by Objectivists are not convincing to me. On the face of the evidence here, they are not convincing to others. We are unconvinced, but you call us “ignorant” or “misinformed” or “misconceived”.

Here’s some more evidence that you are almost INTENTIONALLY ignorant of Objectivism. There is no way you could be so misinformed about Objectivism without TRYING to get it confused.

One cannot be “almost” intentionally anything. One either has an intention or one does not. It seems you, especially, should appreciate this. “Trying” to be ignorant is a difficult trick. We cannot be as ignorant as you seem to make us out. We are manifestly hostile to the ideas you are presenting. Let’s call a spade a spade. I’m sure Ayn Rand would want us to do that at least.

I don’t know where you get the epithets of “misinformed” and “ignorant”. You have presented your arguments to us. We are not ignorant of them. If you insist that we need to read the actual sources you are using in order to understand them properly, then it becomes evident that your own understanding of them is so poor that you are unable to present them with clarity to a hostile audience. You seem to think you do not have to do any work to convince people who are hostile to your ideas. Nathaniel Branden would hardly approve of this sort of laziness. No, I do not think “ignorant” is the term you require. It is true that we are “hostile” to the ideas of Objectivism, but we are far from ignorant of those ideas.

the fake lisp in the phrase “pursuit of happiness”

This isn’t a fake lisp, Saul. It’s a joke about the way English was written back around the time of the Declaration. Internal esses and the first ess in a double-ess were written with a symbol that looks a little like the letter eff. It wasn’t the letter eff, but you are ignorant of late 18th century penmanship, and think I am making fun of you. You’re making a fool of yourself now.

mostly I have been trying to present evidence and rational arguments. As I pointed out above, you keep missing the point.

You seem especially skilled at simply telling people they have missed the point. You afford yourself so much practice at this, and so little at actually arguing the points that you should be using for defending Objectivism to an admittedly hostile audience. Since Objectivism has no content, this comes as no surprise.

Asserting that a person is entitled to the pursuit of happiness in the absence of placing unchosen obligations on others is not a demonstration of the validity of Objectivism. Asserting that there is no intrinsic value in nature is merely a rationalization of your frustration that you cannot buy everything you want because I stand before you saying I will not permit you to buy it just because you have the money. The idea that altruism is responsible for certain types of social disasters is not accepted by most people. Stating that those who disagree with you are “ignorant” or that they misunderstand the ideas of Objectivism is not a way to persuade anyone otherwise.

[quote author=“waltercat”]You need to critically confront those who disagree with Randianism.  If you don’t you are nothing but an uninformed dogmatist.

 
 
SaulOhio
 
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SaulOhio
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13 June 2007 05:03
 

[quote author=“waltercat”]
Here is a quote:

Environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club have acknowledged the chemical’s usefulness in saving human life.

“We have not opposed the use of DDT to fight malaria in developing countries,” said Ed Hopkins, director of the Sierra Club’s environmental quality program.

So environmentalists don’t actually oppose the use of DDT.  This is the second time I have been able to easily refute your ignorant claims.

That is ONE environmentalist group that has admitted that DDT is safe to use in mcombating malaria. ONE. But if you mentioned DDT almost anywhere in the past, you would have gotten hysterical opposition to any use of it at all. It has only recently become acceptable to advocate its renewed use, and it BECAUSE of people who agree with me.


[quote author=“PaulOhio”]]Fortunately, the World Health Organization has come to its senses and changed its policy on DDT.

Nothing about any faked science here either. 

Saul, it is beginning to look like you are more interested in prostelytizing for Objectivist dogma than critically assessing evidence and arguments.

I didn’t intend to prove that Carson faked her science with those links. All I intended to prove was that it has now been proven that DDT is safe for the environemnt and for human health, if used with moderation. Carson claimed that DDT would cause an epidemic of cancer, but there is NO evidence for this claim. If it is now safe, how did Carson prove it to be so deadly in the past?

There is more to say on this subject. I need to find some internet links on it, which I don’t have time for at the moment.

 
 
eucaryote
 
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eucaryote
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13 June 2007 05:49
 

Well,

You are all at it early. smile

Before I read Saul’s reply to my posting of last night, I would appreciate it if he would correct the quotes. He posted my comments without quoting them quite correctly. It sounds like you are making my points. We wouldn’t want that would we?

 
 
SaulOhio
 
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SaulOhio
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13 June 2007 06:11
 

[quote author=“eucaryote”]Well,

You are all at it early. smile

Before I read Saul’s reply to my posting of last night, I would appreciate it if he would correct the quotes. He posted my comments without quoting them quite correctly. It sounds like you are making my points. We wouldn’t want that would we?

OK. Corrections made.

 
 
waltercat
 
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waltercat
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13 June 2007 06:17
 

[quote author=“SaulOhio”]
I didn’t intend to prove that Carson faked her science with those links. All I intended to prove was that it has now been proven that DDT is safe for the environemnt and for human health, if used with moderation. Carson claimed that DDT would cause an epidemic of cancer, but there is NO evidence for this. If it is now safe, how did Carson prove it to be so deadly in the past?

From the article I linked to above:

When it was used liberally, the pesticide wreaked havoc on ecosystems and caused reproductive ailments in wildlife.

Because the chemical is fat-soluble, it can be passed along the food chain, steadily accumulating in animal tissue. Studies suggest that a buildup of DDT in predatory birds blocks calcium absorption and causes thinner eggshells.

. . .

A dramatic population decline in the 1960s landed the U.S.‘s national bird on the U.S. Endangered Species list, an event that was blamed on DDT use.

Overall, DDT’s ecological effects were most memorably evoked by Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring—the bestselling 1962 book that signaled a watershed moment for environmental movements worldwide.

The chemical has been blamed for some human ailments as well, including potential as a cancer risk, although its actual effects are a matter of debate.

Mothers exposed to DDT may have premature births and babies with lower IQs and may also retain the chemical in their breast milk.

Study results vary and some experts say more research is needed to determine what negative impacts DDT has on humans.

And DDT is not being used as it once was:

The suggested technique for indoor antimalarial use today would be a far cry from the crop-dusting methods of DDT’s heyday in the 1950s, experts say.

Very small amounts would be used to treat only house walls, so the probability of human and environmental contamination would be low.

Even small amounts of DDT deliver a lot of bang for the buck as an effective, cheaper, and longer-lasting pesticide, supporters say.

 
 
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