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Galt would have refused Conservatives from the Gulch just like he would have refused Liberals

Posted by JohnConnor352 5 years, 12 months ago to Philosophy
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Both [conservatives and liberals] hold the same premise—the mind-body dichotomy—but choose opposite sides of this lethal fallacy.

The conservatives want freedom to act in the material realm; they tend to oppose government control of production, of industry, of trade, of business, of physical goods, of material wealth. But they advocate government control of man’s spirit, i.e., man’s consciousness; they advocate the State’s right to impose censorship, to determine moral values, to create and enforce a governmental establishment of morality, to rule the intellect. The liberals want freedom to act in the spiritual realm; they oppose censorship, they oppose government control of ideas, of the arts, of the press, of education (note their concern with “academic freedom”). But they advocate government control of material production, of business, of employment, of wages, of profits, of all physical property—they advocate it all the way down to total expropriation.

The conservatives see man as a body freely roaming the earth, building sand piles or factories—with an electronic computer inside his skull, controlled from Washington. The liberals see man as a soul freewheeling to the farthest reaches of the universe—but wearing chains from nose to toes when he crosses the street to buy a loaf of bread.

Yet it is the conservatives who are predominantly religionists, who proclaim the superiority of the soul over the body, who represent what I call the “mystics of spirit.” And it is the liberals who are predominantly materialists, who regard man as an aggregate of meat, and who represent what I call the “mystics of muscle.”

This is merely a paradox, not a contradiction: each camp wants to control the realm it regards as metaphysically important; each grants freedom only to the activities it despises. Observe that the conservatives insult and demean the rich or those who succeed in material production, regarding them as morally inferior—and that the liberals treat ideas as a cynical con game. “Control,” to both camps, means the power to rule by physical force. Neither camp holds freedom as a value. The conservatives want to rule man’s consciousness; the liberals, his body.


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    Posted by ObjectiveAnalyst 5 years, 12 months ago
    Hello JohnConner352,

    For sake of argument, I will accept your definitions- the commonly accepted understanding of today (conservative, liberal). They have changed...

    "The liberals want freedom to act in the spiritual realm; they oppose censorship, they oppose government control of ideas, of the arts, of the press, of education (note their concern with “academic freedom”)." I would disagree with much of this today. It was once so, but today's colleges and liberal controlled media outlets are bastions of liberal intolerance that stifle, shout down and intimidate opposing voices. The liberal activists are in the classrooms and the streets creating mayhem... disrupting political conventions...

    The "conservatives" are now learning their mysticism does not hold the weight it once did with the voters. If it were otherwise, Huckabee would probably be the presumptive GOP nominee and the "conservatives wouldn't be so upset.

    I learned long ago that the "conservatives" and their moralizing and spirit control have far less deleterious affects on my life than the liberals/progressives. I do not see their use of force to the same degree as you do. I can choose not to listen to them and they can't station a guard on each of us to see that we bend to their way of life. The liberals on the other hand with their redistributionist, altruistic policies use the force of government to take from me with every tax and regulation. One is unenforceable and can be avoided; the other is inescapable. The conservatives have not made me their serf.

    True enough, the philosophy of both today is from the same rotten statist, collectivist basis and should be confronted.

    Respectfully,
    O.A.
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    • Posted by dbhalling 5 years, 12 months ago
      Hi O.A.,

      "I learned long ago that the "conservatives" and their moralizing and spirit control have far less deleterious affects on my life than the liberals/progressives. " This is why I used to vote or at least argue for conservatives, but I am no longer sure that this is true. (I voted or voiced support for the free market candidate available).

      At the political level it might seem better to support conservatives. However, a fake "free market or capitalist) politician is worse than an open socialists, because he (e.g. the Bushes) confuses people as to what capitalism is. It would be better if conservatives quit pretending they were for freedom or capitalism, because they are not.

      On a philosophical basis conservatives and liberals both trace their lineage back to the irrationalism of David Hume, so they are just minor forks in the same tree of irrationalism.
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      • Posted by ObjectiveAnalyst 5 years, 12 months ago
        Hello dbhalling,
        Yes. I agree. I just find the "liberals" more offensive because they don't even put up the pretense of adherence to most constitutional principles as written. And I still maintain they have been the worst offenders when it comes to my prosperity. It does come down to the rate at which our free markets and capitalism is obliterated by either group. The end is the same. One may choose their poison. Pull the bandage slowly or rip it off. I would like a third alternative. Remove each group from power; make these labels irrelevant, but first we must change the philosophy of most of the nation. No one said it would be easy. Like K is fond of saying,.we have the world to win.
        Regards,
        O.A.
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      • Posted by BeenThere 5 years, 12 months ago
        plus to the nth....................

        " It would be better if conservatives quit pretending they were for freedom or capitalism, because they are not."

        That's for certain!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BT
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      • Posted by Maritimus 5 years, 12 months ago
        Hello, DB,
        I think that you just illustrated the futile and misleading nature of all these one-word labels. For instance, I would argue that the irrationalism label covers both conservatism an liberalism, Nowadays it seams that liberalism and progressivism are one and the same thing. In Europe, after the fall of the soviet regime, many communist parties overnight became socialist parties with the leadership and the same membership. I would argue that the Bushes were not conservatives in the literal meaning of that label. But, what does that label mean? Some people would say it means those who wish to preserve a regime or to restore one from the past. Others would argue that it means those who would like to preserve or restore the social mores based on religious tenets which once were much more widely accepted.
        I like the spirit of our Constitution, which assumes that vast majority of us wish life, liberty and pursuit of happiness and are entitled to a certain, relatively short list of inalienable rights, to which all are entitled in front of the government and the law. They did not institute any dividing labels that I am aware of.
        Of course there are people who are masochists and sadists or those who are insane. But, could they not be handled under the principle of no one is allowed to initiate use of force? Consenting masochist is free to pursue his own happiness jus like every normal human being.
        So, I would urge let's refrain from using labels other than a membership in a defined club or organization with all the uncertainty of the individual views that it may imply. Is this not one of the reasons for why the vote is secret?
        Just think how much uncertainty today is hidden in the meaning of "he is a Republican" or "he is a Democrat?"
        Political correctness note: I use he to mean both genders (even those that are trans or otherwise devious).
        Stay well and say hi for me to you kind wife.
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        • Posted by dbhalling 5 years, 12 months ago
          At a deeper philosophical level, conservative has a pretty well defined meaning. The founders of conservativism are Edmund Burke and David Hume. Both attack reason. Burke's distinction is he thinks that the French Revolution is the logical result of reason unbound by tradition and religion. Burke is ignoring that the intellectual leader of the French Revolution was Rousseau (who was anti-reason).

          The Bushes actually fit the philosophical definition of conservativism perfectly.
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    • Posted by 5 years, 12 months ago
      Not saying of your conclusions aren't correct, but I do want to point out that those are Ayn Rand's definitions, not mine. I just forgot to give her credit, and I can't edit the post.
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      • Posted by ObjectiveAnalyst 5 years, 12 months ago
        Hello JohnConnor352,
        Yes. And, they are for the most part, today's accepted definitions. They were not always so. There was a time early in our nation's history when being a liberal had a much more "libertarian" connotation. It is also true that there was a time when being a"conservative" meant adhering strictly to small government, Constitutional principles.
        It is important to be clear, making sure we are on the same page, yet see how the language has been absconded over time. There are still some people (mostly old timers) on each side that see themselves that way.
        Respectfully,
        O.A.
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  • Posted by Herb7734 5 years, 12 months ago
    So, here we are. If we agreed with either Liberals or Conservatives, why would we be on this site at all? John Connor 352 has clearly delineated the differences between the two. The only reason for an Objectivist to lean toward the right is "the freedom to act in the material realm." As has been pointed out many times in this forum, most current Americans wouldn't know what rational freedom was if it bit them in the behind. You'd hear them yell, "Anarchy, Anarchy!"

    Life is easy for me because I'm near the end of it. I can take the road less traveled, or just sit by the side of the road and be a friend to man. I can spread around the wisdom I've accumulated if anyone asks, or just mouth off as I see fit. The consequences to me at this time are almost nil. This may not be true in the future, depending on what happens in DC. Believe it or not as you wish, but as this country goes, so goes the rest of the world. Even China or Russia, for the USA has been the only truly free country in history, but is holding on by its bitten fingernails and the future looks bleak.

    The true battle is not Liberal VS Conservative. It is Right VS Wrong. Truth VS Lies. Good VS Evil. I sometimes wish there was a Windex product that could clear away men's minds so that they could see more clearly.
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    • Posted by $ Abaco 5 years, 11 months ago
      Man, this is dead on...

      "... As has been pointed out many times in this forum, most current Americans wouldn't know what rational freedom was if it bit them in the behind. You'd hear them yell, "Anarchy, Anarchy!"

      Life is easy for me because I'm near the end of it. I can take the road less traveled, or just sit by the side of the road and be a friend to man. I can spread around the wisdom I've accumulated if anyone asks, or just mouth off as I see fit. The consequences to me at this time are almost nil."

      ...Herb. I've got two little kids. This has really forced me to evaluate the machine. If I didn't have them I'd be such a different person. I wouldn't care. Now...I care, but I can see that there's nothing I can do to help the country anymore. I just want the state to leave my family alone. Man - that is a challenge. It is downright spooky how hard it is to navigate this system with kids. (assuming one cares about their own kids) I am teaching my kids to think globally.
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      • Posted by Herb7734 5 years, 11 months ago
        You have 2 little kids. If you feel responsible for them, and I'm sure you do, your work is cut out for you. It's almost a full-time job in today's world just to raise kids. The first and best thing to do is to lead by example. I found all my answers to child raising in Objectivism, and I think I did OK. Not always, but mostly. They turned out better than me.
        Much better.
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  • Posted by $ jbrenner 5 years, 12 months ago
    The terms conservative and liberal have unfortunately lost much of their meaning. For instance, Thomas Jefferson has been described by non-Gulchers as liberal, conservative, and libertarian. I prefer to stick to terms that like statist, religionist, constitutionalist, etc. that still have meanings.

    I am a radical on behalf of capitalism, but choose to live my personal life in a way that many would describe as "conservative" to make it easier for me to live a noncontradictory life. I do recommend my philosophy to others, but certainly do not enforce it or want to enforce it on others.
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  • Posted by ProfChuck 5 years, 12 months ago
    This is just one more example of how belief trumps understanding. Liberal-Progressives "believe" in Marxist lite ideology and conservatives "believe" in a moral system based on a theology. In both cases the belief structure is ultimately driven by acceptance of authority as a definer of truth. Neither camp is willing to look too closely at their fundamental precepts because beliefs are generally incomplete and tend to fair poorly when carefully examined. The so called left and right differ only in which freedoms and liberties they are willing to constrain.
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    • Posted by BeenThere 5 years, 12 months ago
      " In both cases the belief structure is ultimately driven by acceptance of authority as a definer of truth." Bullseye!!!!! +++++++++++ BT
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      • Posted by $ MichaelAarethun 5 years, 12 months ago
        Bingo nice short succinct and honest. Apply that to see if it's useful I'm even happier. Is it real. Yes. Is it useful yes? Can it be tested. Yes. Is it easy to use? Yes.

        All it needs is a pre PC or earlier dictionary to determine if those claiming conservative or liberal are or are not fictionary. That leaves all the politicians out in the cold.
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    • Posted by $ MichaelAarethun 5 years, 12 months ago
      Then by your definition objectivists for the most part are not conservative. By my definition liberals, Democrats, Socialists are the entrenched party in power and there for they are conservatives.

      I will tackle somethning abut religion and secular.

      People who are afraid of the dark for no given reason are very often drawn to religion.

      People who are afraid of the dark because they no damn well what evil lurks in the minds of man may not be drawn to religion as such.

      People who choose to join a secular church or group an spend their time quaking at the thought of the group not existing are afraid of the day and the night they are called Secular progressives but they really just begging to be told what to do how to think.

      Just my observation .....My affliction is I am not afraid of the dark. It comes in handy in target rich environments.
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  • Posted by $ AJAshinoff 5 years, 12 months ago
    I do not conform to your (Rands) broad brush definition of Conservative. Nor, in any way do I think any government, outside of my voluntary association with a society, has any legitimate right to control me, my thoughts, or my actions.

    I also part ways with Objectivism on spiritual matters. Conversely, I do not press my beliefs on anyone else nor do I require a specific belief set for person be elevated to govern, and I in no away seeks a theocracy of any kind.

    I'm an unabashed Constitutional Conservative.

    "Can you milk me Focker?"
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    • Posted by $ allosaur 5 years, 12 months ago
      What gets Allosaurus="different lizard" me is how some Gulchers think a Christian conservative like Ted Cruz is out to impose a theocracy.
      The Middle Ages are over.
      Well, save for some crazy Muslims anyway.
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      • Posted by $ allosaur 5 years, 12 months ago
        It occurred to me coming back from somewhere in my car that I left out an important adjective.
        A Christian Constitutional Conservative in no way wants to impose a theocracy.
        For example, it does my heart good to see some of a football team taking a knee in a prayer huddle.
        It also does my heart good to see some choosing not to.
        That's called freedom of choice.
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      • Posted by $ Suzanne43 5 years, 12 months ago
        Spot on, allosaur! I am really having a problem with JohnConnor352 saying, "Observe that the conservatives insult and demean the rich or those who succeed in material production regarding them as morally inferior." Good grief! That's not how I would describe the Conservatives who I know. Most of them own businesses and want to succeed and become rich. My son has started a business, and he is a true Capitalist as are most Conservatives. I have never met a Conservative who regards people who create wealth and succeed in material production as morally inferior. That remark of his is totally insulting to me, my son, and other Conservatives.
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        • Posted by $ allosaur 5 years, 12 months ago
          Why am I thinking of a Troy State University journalism professor who was educated beyond his capacity? (For example, he once professed that sending jokes to Reader's Digest was like a serious way of making money).
          I have a degree in journalism by the way and worked 7 years for newspapers before crappy pay and advancement disappointments led me to think outside the box and bag higher pay doing something else and the retirement plan I now enjoy.
          Now I'm thinking of the first time I got edited in the Gulch. I can't recall who over a year ago wrote in some post that Christianity is "that dangerous religion."
          I felt insulted and wrote something along the lines of "Yes, Christians are dangerous like Muslims. I am a Christian and I don't like exposure. So I want to cut you head off for writing that."
          What I wrote plus the other Gulcher wrote disappeared in a very short time.
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          • Posted by $ Suzanne43 5 years, 12 months ago
            "'What I wrote plus the other Gulcher wrote disappeared in a very short time." Not surprised.
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            • Posted by $ allosaur 5 years, 12 months ago
              That happened after I got dino rowdy over how you were treated on that Easter post.
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              • Posted by $ Suzanne43 5 years, 12 months ago
                Thank you for your support. At the time it was much appreciated and still is. I almost needed to go into a safe zone.
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                • Posted by $ allosaur 5 years, 12 months ago
                  I had the hard-learned experience of knowing just what you had just walked into when you revealed you and your husband's Easter week church schedule.
                  I could imagine torpedo tubes being quickly loaded to sink you.
                  A nasty reaction toward a Christian here is not necessary or even objective behavior in my not so humble allosaur opinion.
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                  • Posted by $ Suzanne43 5 years, 12 months ago
                    You were so right. The torpedo tubes were loaded and ready to go. In my naivete, I actually thought that the Easter discussion was just that,,,,a discussion on Easter, not a hit job. Anyone in The Gulch can go through my comments and see that I have made not one single derogatory remark about someone who is an atheist. I really do wish that the similarities between Conservatism and Objectivism would count far more than our differences.
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  • Posted by 5 years, 12 months ago
    Objectivists are not “conservatives.” We are radicals for capitalism; we are fighting for that philosophical base which capitalism did not have and without which it was doomed to perish . . .

    Politics is based on three other philosophical disciplines: metaphysics, epistemology and ethics—on a theory of man’s nature and of man’s relationship to existence. It is only on such a base that one can formulate a consistent political theory and achieve it in practice. When, however, men attempt to rush into politics without such a base, the result is that embarrassing conglomeration of impotence, futility, inconsistency and superficiality which is loosely designated today as “conservatism.” . . .

    Today’s culture is dominated by the philosophy of mysticism (irrationalism)—altruism—collectivism, the base from which only statism can be derived; the statists (of any brand: communist, fascist or welfare) are merely cashing in on it—while the “conservatives” are scurrying to ride on the enemy’s premises and, somehow, to achieve political freedom by stealth. It can’t be done.
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    • Posted by $ MichaelAarethun 5 years, 12 months ago
      Which means radicals against government no matter how they try to duck the charge. Government 'fetterment' has held back the whole terran race in it's development. We must have something better for these parasites to do in order to justify their existence recycling valuable air and water. or is it polluting.
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  • Posted by chad 5 years, 12 months ago
    While either group would be banned from the Gulch it is interesting that when their 'leaders' are vying for votes they promise the respective groups by making promises that will win the votes that neither of them will keep. Whomever comes to power they will continue to move the country toward communism. The 'liberals' who promise to end the war expand the war and continue the movement toward the states ability to observe all people all the time. The conservatives will promise smaller government, less taxation and regulation while they increase it. When the liberals start the war (Viet Nam) then the conservatives promise to end the war, but do not. No matter who wins the votes the leadership continues toward the path of complete serfdom for the citizens.
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  • Posted by Zenphamy 5 years, 12 months ago
    The issue is freedom as opposed to anti-freedom of the individual--the freedom to act by each individual in his self-interest, according to each individual's nature--to own oneself, one's life, one's time. All politics are about the achievement of power and authority over others. It is irrational to believe that politics/politicians can contribute to freedom.

    AR's essential contribution was to develop and elucidate a rationally derived morality for freedom. Politics and political belief could not have existed in the Gulch.
    edit: for spelling correction
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  • Posted by $ MichaelAarethun 5 years, 12 months ago
    I truly thought I had made this comment but perhaps not. Someone will point it out if so i'm sure.

    The answer is neither one. John Galt hero of a story set in the thirties would not reject either conservative nor liberal for there were at the time no such thing. Even Wilson when President was using words such as socialism as communism and nazism the evil twin sons of th socialism had not come into being or were still in an infant stage.

    Whigs and Torys might have been more acceptable.

    Looking at it in the context of their time the mid thirties - many terms were still being coined. Corporatist, Statist, National Socialist, Fascism, Fascist Economics spring to mind.

    The world plunged into the Socialist Wars of the 20th Century with not a clue what they were really all about. Two biggest kids on the block duking it out for supremacy of their style until now only China is left. Amazing they have actually combined what we left behind and are working on a system paid for by capitalism but supporting a social conscience. The former USA has engaged in too many childish squabbles to claim that role. Debts paid or repudiated nothing left but an empty balloon.

    Back to the drawing board. The terms themselves didn't exist in the context of the times Rand chose to make the setting for her story. Nor were they the watered down pap when the book was written. That took another fifty years.

    So the answer is he would have evicted no one. In fact he was out working eleven months of the year to recruit the very best of the people the question claims would have been ejected. The other side of the coin carries no such stigma. He would have cast the liberals of the time of the story out or in the time the story was written without a second glance. They are the one constant when you strip off the constant changes in definition and 'framing.'

    So the answer is no he would not have done so because they didn't exist at that time even under a different name.

    Never judge what went before except first in the context of their time but do pay attention to the outcome of their actions and apply it to the context of our times.

    Granted it's harder to do than just ignoring the problem but it's a lot more rewarding.
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  • Posted by term2 5 years, 12 months ago
    This is a good article. I knew there was something that upset me about Cruz and the dyed in the wool 'conservatives', but this article names it. They want to control my spirit.

    The problem in our society at present is that we have so few people who are really into the principles of freedom. Most want to control you one way or the other like he says.

    We need to split off into another country at this point. The USA is too far gone to waste time on. Its on a downhill slide towards socialism that can only be slowed, but not stopped. The problem is WHERE and how to defend it.
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  • Posted by teri-amborn 5 years, 12 months ago
    Do you realize that at this country's founding there were only IDEAS and not "party politics"?

    The parties are there to divide followers from thinkers...and they are divided into two different genres:
    1) Those who value feelings.
    2) Those who value achievement.

    Both need principles to guide them. The group with the most consistent principles should be the standard bearer...but won't be because of 12+ years of indoctrination in public schools of the vast majority of American children.

    Chaos is what brought achievers to the Gulch. It will soon be happening in this country.
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    • Posted by $ CBJ 5 years, 12 months ago
      Feelings and achievement are not mutually exclusive. It is only when a person puts feelings above rational judgment as a guide to action that he or she runs into trouble.
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  • Posted by Hot_Black_Desiato 5 years, 12 months ago
    Liberal, Conservative? What exactly is that? Ask 1,000 people what is a conservative or what is a liberal, you will get 1,000 different variations.

    If we had a universal definition of these "labels" in the same way we can label the formula for volume or square footage, that applied to everyone and was accepted by everyone. I could accept the premise of the title to this post.

    I personally know both self-identified liberals and conservatives, who very closely in personal life follow the Oth of John Galt. My Liberal friend who gives away pretty much all his self-perceived excess to charities claiming the liberal mantle, but constantly complains about being forced to part with his money for things he does not support. I have a conservative friend who thinks school taxes are necessary and should be imposed as well as some other Government impositions. So who is liberal and who is conservative.

    I would think my "liberal" friend would be accepted and my conservative friend may not be.
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    • Posted by 5 years, 12 months ago
      It's an observation of not self-assigned titles, but of the generally accepted concepts. Yes there will be disagreements, but that doesn't stop us from being able to discus the inconsistencies in their philosophies.
      More the record, these are all statements from publications written by Ayn Rand, and so possibly the understood concept of each term in the 70s would be more appropriate.

      My purpose in writing this is to demonstrate once again that this not designed to be a conservative blog, but for those who want to learn more about and discuss Objectivism. I've seen a lot of examples lately of those who seem to forget that and who make arguments like "90% of Americans think this" or "it's what is best for society."

      Neither of those hold water when put to reason, and have no place here other than to be refuted.
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      • Posted by Hot_Black_Desiato 5 years, 12 months ago
        Therein lies the issue. "...generally accepted concepts."

        You can watch all the talking heads on all the cable channels, read all the editorials in all the papers, and, in my opinion, there is no "generally accepted" definition or concept, other than a similar idea that was expressed in Star Wars during the fight scene between Anniken and Obi-Wan, when in summary, from the Jedi: Sith = bad, Jedi = Good, and from the Sith: Sith = Good and Jedi = bad.

        From the "Right, Conservative = good, Liberal = bad, from the Left Liberal = good, Conservative = bad, but they all still only provide ambiguous at best loose ever-changing ideas of what each label is.
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        • Posted by 5 years, 12 months ago
          You make a great observation about the ever-changing nature of the typical conservative/liberal ideologies. The underlying reason is because they have a self-conflicting philosophy. The concept of accepting or rejecting control based on whether it is an economic or a social issue is the contradiction inherent. One cannot expect to have consistent views on new issues if your base is flawed.

          But let's not argue semantics over this particular topic. The point I'm trying to make is that they are both wrong, not that one is superior to the other. I can understand tying to draw specific and ultra-precise distinctions in general, but in this case it doesn't matter which is which. The better terms that Rand uses are the Mystics of spirit and Mystics of muscle, both of which are clearly defined above. If a particular individual falls into both categories on different issues, that is not relevant to the fact that they are still wrong regardless of the camp that they choose.
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          • Posted by Hot_Black_Desiato 5 years, 12 months ago
            Excellent points.

            I might have drawn that comparison for oddballs like myself, whereby one would parallel the Liberal with the Mystics of Spirit and Conservative with Mystics of Muscle. Seems both labels, Liberal and Conservative fall into both categories, and both want to control the minds and bodies of others, just different tactics and shaming methods.
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            • Posted by 5 years, 12 months ago
              I prefer Rand's version which flip flops the two. The "mystics of spirit" are those who value the spirit (or man's mind), and therefore feel bad is the part of a man that ought to be controlled. The part that is about to be free is the part for which they do not actually see any value. The opposite for the "Mystics of muscle" who value the material, but do not value the immaterial and so simply let it roam free.
              Both irrationally seek to impose control upon that which they value, which makes them not only self-contradictory, but also flawed at their core. We do not want parts of our live to be free because they see it as a value, they simply just do not care what happens to it. They see it as their job to protect and therefore control that which they feel is important. They are not half-authoritarian and half-libertarian, they are half authoritarian and half-nihilist.
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      • Posted by $ MichaelAarethun 5 years, 12 months ago
        Full circle. I'm laughing at the choice use of words. "It is generally accepted that.' is verbiage Ayn Rand used to depict the dark side in Atlas shrugged. First I thought ' is he kidding?" I noted by the second paragraph a well deserved slap at the face of illiteracy had occured.

        Well done!
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  • Posted by $ blarman 5 years, 11 months ago in reply to this comment.
    A protein doth not a DNA strand make. Proteins are the end product - not the beginning. I would also point out that it is not the presence of a single protein which creates a cell, but the harmonious operation of cell organelles - all with specific purpose, and all relying on the others to do their part. It is the interoperability and dependence which defies the notion of random assembly.
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  • Posted by $ blarman 5 years, 11 months ago in reply to this comment.
    Agreed. And if my observations say that an existence after this exists, am I to conclude with a contradiction by saying that my observations say two things at the same time?
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  • Posted by $ blarman 5 years, 11 months ago in reply to this comment.
    Every scientific postulate starts out as a guess. What you are really asking is have I taken the step to confirm my "guess". Answer: Yes. More than that is reserved for a private conversation.
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  • Posted by $ MichaelAarethun 5 years, 11 months ago
    I had to read the starting explanation again carefully. This is a new one on me and wanted a bit of careful study. Of all the useless descriptions of conservative and liberal and in the face of a nation that refuses to use the dictionary I'm giving this one an A Plus. I've often wondered what those two words meant to the pop illiterati. This one will do as well as if not better than most.

    It makes very very glad I'm not one of them. Which one? Either one. Both. I'm now more than ever convinced conservatives and liberals exist only in the minds of Hollywood, the media, and the propagandists at Rino/Dino HQ

    Whew... back to the real world. if they don't know what they are I'll not be the one to break the news. It's a single word. Nothing.
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    • Posted by 5 years, 11 months ago
      If this is new to you, I cannot understand how you can be a student of Ayn Rand. Do a little more reading of her non-fiction and you will see this exact thing mentioned many times.
      The main problem with the types of individuals described in this (which is obviously not all people who call themselves conservative or liberal, but what people call themselves does not change the definition. Words are not subject to the whims of individuals or the masses, they have meaning) is their basic axiom. Namely the metaphysical primacy of consciousness over existence. Both believe this logical error and differ only in their opinion of whose consciousness is the one that controls existence. The conservatives conclude that God's consciousness does, and liberals that society's collective consciousness does. Of course, an Objectivist's conclusion about both of these opinions is not only that consciousness CANNOT alter, create, destroy or affect existence in any way on its own, but that neither of those two entities actually exist.
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  • Posted by $ Olduglycarl 5 years, 12 months ago
    I disagree mostly...liberals no nothing of the "spiritual" realm...which expressed in a conscious quantum physical way is nothing more than the vibrations our brains transceive given connection to the ether via the mine...liberals lack that connection and have chosen to make it up in their heads and deny the way things have been designed or the consequences thereof...how ever one likes to view it. Of course that also depends upon our present and evolving understanding of these things.
    We all understand that progressivism has overshadowed both sides and most recently the conservatives and again, both sides are desperately hanging on to their perceived power.

    Conservatives...the few that are honestly so, know that the natural laws, the physical laws and the intended natural order of things; not to mention lessons learned the hard way through out history requires some simple moral, actionable guidelines to live by in order to have a just and peaceful society...one inwhich won't depend upon an Overseer; one inwhich that can lead itself...that is what our forefathers hoped for and all that requires is at least, an appreciation of our existence...The maddening part of this is when it is expressed mystically instead of quantum physically...right down to the individual cells in our bodies.
    Honest scientist, biologist and Rand understood this.
    I don't think anyone to date has articulated this completely, consistently nor logically in a way that everyone can understand and take to heart.

    Many in our world have yet to achieve a consistent state of conscience and it boggles the mind to think that 3000 years has not been a sufficient amount of time to make that transition.
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  • Posted by johnpe1 5 years, 12 months ago
    this is well-written, in Rand's style. . Thank You.

    we might note that there are "conservatives" who
    are "cleaner" than your explanation, who choose to
    use the label in a gentle way. . my wife is one. -- j
    .
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  • Posted by $ blarman 5 years, 12 months ago
    I would argue that you are missing the point entirely on the difference between modern liberals and conservatives. Modern liberals believe that man makes the rules and can change them as they wish. Conservatives believe that the rules have been set from the beginning and are constant.

    Galt would reject modern liberals rightly because they take the stand that they can determine reality because they tell themselves that since they can make laws that they can alter reality to conform to their edicts. That is nonsense.

    Conservatives are another matter entirely. Galt might reject them for believing that God is the one who set the rules, but he would not dispute the existence of universal morals.

    But you sorely misunderstand conservatives if you proclaim that they want to rule man's consciousness. They do not. They simply assert that there is a continuity to consciousness which persists after death and that our actions here have repercussions there as well as here. Their "constraints" are not controls, they are recognitions that one will be limited in his scope of abilities in the next life if one undertakes certain behaviors in this one. Conservatives recognize that the same life we live here will be the life we live there, and that unlike here where we are free to live lives of contradiction, that option will not be present there.
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    • Posted by 5 years, 12 months ago
      But since there is no logical basis for such a belief, in fact it is illogical to believe such, then those constraints are entirely arbitrary.

      However even apart from that, the fact remains that they wish to impose controls on people based upon their personal beliefs. Conservatives wish to pass laws to force others to follow their religious doctrine. If a man is not free to act on his own conscience, he is not free to think for himself. They wish to control man's mind, enforcing morality and censorship to conform to the arbitrary commands of a supernatural being.
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      • Posted by $ blarman 5 years, 12 months ago
        When you can prove that no god of any kind may exist, you can prove that there is no logical basis for such. Good luck with that.

        "However even apart from that, the fact remains that they wish to impose controls..."

        Do you believe that a law prohibiting murder actually stops someone from committing murder? No, it does not. It simply places a penalty for engaging in the behavior. There is no such thing as "control" of another human being - whether through legislation or otherwise. Everyone is free to choose whatever they want.

        What you are really complaining about is the imposition of penalties associated with specific actions according to their judged morality: right or wrong, i.e. laws. And what are laws really? They are societal pacts where certain standards of behavior are set forth. The debate between liberals and conservatives (and libertarians) is on which sets of standards are applicable. Liberals want to establish a class system with rulers and peasants where some are "more equal than others" (Orwell). Libertarians and conservatives promote the idea that all are equal, they simply differ on why all men are equal. Conservatives assert that men are "created equal" (Jefferson) and libertarians (and Objectivists) assert that it is the presence of intellect which makes men equal (Rand).

        Your issue is that you disagree with the set of universal standards being selected as the basis for society. You believe in equality which disassociates you from the liberals, but you also don't believe that man's equality is a result of anything other than himself, which is what disassociates you from conservatives.

        You have every right to want to form a society in which the members of that society agree to and adhere to a set of standards. That's what the premise of the fictional Gulch is all about: the creation of a society centered around Galt's Oath. The question which is much more difficult to resolve is how to tell whether or not the standards of any society created by man reflect the reality of true universal principles.
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        • Posted by $ CBJ 5 years, 12 months ago
          RE: “When you can prove that no god of any kind may exist, you can prove that there is no logical basis for such. Good luck with that.”

          So we should obey an alleged god’s commandments because we can’t prove that he/she/it does not exist? If so, which god should we obey?

          A bedrock axiom of Objectivism is the primacy of existence and its opposite is the primacy of consciousness. This axiom underlies the philosophy’s rejection of the supernatural and of any form of mysticism. It also underlies Objectivism’s view of morality as rationally derived rather than divinely ordained.
          http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/pri...
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          • Posted by $ AJAshinoff 5 years, 12 months ago
            Hello CBJ, long time.

            "So we should obey an alleged god’s commandments because we can’t prove that he/she/it does not exist?"

            No. But until the matter is settled a measure of respect toward others who do have faith is due. Tolerance isn't necessarily acceptance, its just as it should be, live and let live. In short, we do not and cannot know until after we're dead if there is another more and there is a point of no return. I do believe the basic tenants of Christianity have served this nation well, not great, but well. The loss of those tenants is directly responsible for the nations decline, the rise of collectivism and its natural aversion to capitalism.

            I disagree with the notion that morality is rationally derived. If true, morality would be subjective to the individual's personal self interest and no one would be able to reject or deny anyones anything since it rationally make sense to that individual. A rational derived morality would work against society in general.
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            • Posted by $ CBJ 5 years, 12 months ago
              RE: “But until the matter is settled a measure of respect toward others who do have faith is due.”

              I respect those who have faith, to the extent that I do not join online religious forums and tell them that their philosophical and moral views are wrong because they cannot prove that their god or gods exist.
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              • Posted by $ AJAshinoff 5 years, 12 months ago
                I know. I've never had issue with many people here. There have been those here where any mention of God, reference to the unknown, or not knowing comes into play make association here hell (metaphor). I don't and have never pushed what I believe on anyone else (I'm not that kind of guy) but I do express myself without (much) reservation and at times touch on those subjects. I've lost friends here over my neutrality.
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            • Posted by 5 years, 12 months ago
              I have to disagree with you that Christianity prevented collectivism because Christianity itself is collectivist.
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              • Posted by $ AJAshinoff 5 years, 12 months ago
                Society itself is collectivist. Christianity offers community.

                Last I checked I never had to attend a church, volunteer my time, give money, proselytize, live in a specific location with certain people, or eat certain foods to have Christian faith. Thats doesn't sound like collectivism, it sounds like free will and a sense of community.
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                • Posted by 5 years, 12 months ago
                  Christianity is altruistic at its core, which advocates sacrificing the good for the sake of the evil. This is inherently collectivist, or at the very least it is anti-individual.

                  Rand explains it well.
                  "Christ, in terms of the Christian philosophy, is the human ideal. He personifies that which men should strive to emulate. Yet, according to the Christian mythology, he died on the cross not for his own sins but for the sins of the nonideal people. In other words, a man of perfect virtue was sacrificed for men who are vicious and who are expected or supposed to accept that sacrifice. If I were a Christian, nothing could make me more indignant than that: the notion of sacrificing the ideal to the nonideal, or virtue to vice. And it is in the name of that symbol that men are asked to sacrifice themselves for their inferiors. That is precisely how the symbolism is used."

                  Playboy Interview: Ayn Rand
                  Playboy, March 1964
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                  • Posted by $ AJAshinoff 5 years, 12 months ago
                    While Christianity does promote generosity and helping your fellow man it does not mandate or force anyone to do anything. So the ideology of Christianity can promote altruism but without force (coercion) its a personal choice to believe in or follow, no?

                    Rand was just a person with her own view on life. While I agree with much of what she has to say, she's quite inspirational in many way, she is not entirely right on everything. I define my own philosophy on life and she has helped validate large portions of my philosophy.

                    I never say "God says" to validate my position because doing so productive to conversation or learning (I'm just not that kind of Christian). I also don't buy into "Rand says" for the very same reason.

                    Any religion, except maybe islam, is a societal framework, an social club with significance if you would, that resides beneath government to provide, at least in this nation, a personal moral foundation so the Constitution do what its intended - limit government.
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                    • Posted by $ CBJ 5 years, 12 months ago
                      RE: "While Christianity does promote generosity and helping your fellow man it does not mandate or force anyone to do anything." That's not quite the case, and I'm not talking only about what took place during the centuries when Christianity was the dominant political force in Europe and the Americas. Christianity does "mandate" that one follow the ten "commandments," and its adherents (including children who are not capable of intellectually or emotionally defending themselves) are threatened with eternal damnation of they resist or rebel. This may not rise to the definition of direct physical force (although parents sometimes resort to physical force if their children refuse to go to church), but it is force just the same, supposedly in the name of "promoting generosity" and "helping your fellow man".
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                      • Posted by $ AJAshinoff 5 years, 12 months ago
                        Willful acceptance, even influenced, is not force, it's still an act of self interest. No one makes anyone be Christian, no one will kill you for not being Christian. Even when the christians did those things it was more about power, control, domination and profit by a king or pope. Recall that the Knights Templar were a Christian order who forced a king (john?) to sign the Magna Carta which subjected all men to the same law, even kings. The backlash, Friday 13th 1307, was the pope Clement V massacring the Templars causing them to disburse across the known world (some believe they came to America as Masons).
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                    • Posted by 5 years, 12 months ago
                      While I do agree that one does not necessarily need to apply force to the Christian belief and still call yourself a Christian, that isn't exactly the issue at hand as much as the very basic core of Christianity which is flawed.
                      The Christ figure is held up to be the most ideal form of humanity, and what we should all strive to emulate. However, we are all flawed and lesser than Him, so in order to save our eternal souls, he sacrificed himself for inferior humans. It is the most absolute and complete example of altruism imaginable. Altruism is not "generosity" but the idea that if one has any value greater than another, the only moral choice is to give up your value to that other. It is completely antithetical to reason and logic... That one's need can impose a moral mortgage on another. Objectivism, being a rationally derived philosophy, concludes that our ethics do not come from divine providence, but are logically deduced from the laws of reality. Many rational values, such as self-interest, conflict with the Judeo-Christian ethic. "It is easier for a camel to make it through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter heaven..." Sacrifice is a value in Christianity and is a vice in Objectivism.
                      The reason I bring this up is to ask one crucial question. If God exists, and he created us, then why would he give us reason and logic if the conclusions we draw about ethics while using those basic tools of survival contradict what he dictated as our morals? The only two conclusions one can draw from this contradiction are either that reason is not correct and is a completely arbitrary and therefore useless tool, or that God's laws are incorrect. If you believe both can be true you are violating the very nature of existence, or the law of non-contradiction.

                      I'm not proselytizing, mind you, just asking questions.
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                      • Posted by $ AJAshinoff 5 years, 12 months ago
                        As promised I started organizing my thoughts to present a clear understanding of my view on this matter. Unfortunately, it is presently more than a page long and deviates pretty far from the subject of this post. Also, seeking to clarify I feel it asks people to accept certain ideas to fully understand what I'm saying (which would answer all of your question). I do not, and never have, pushed my beliefs on anyone here and I'm not flirting with that now.

                        Suffice it to say, and this leaves a lot of explanation on the cutting room floor, its a matter of perception. Not my perception or your perception but the perception of all things from God POV. I'm not copping out. If you want to talk I will, just not here and not posted to this forum.

                        I'll talk at length with you or a group of you through skype or Teamspeak (I own a server). I think, if you are able to think outside the box, you'd at least find my "take" on God, reality, and the "why" things happen compelling.

                        If you, or anyone, want to talk and listen to my view on this let me know and I'll PM you my skype account or the settings to my teamspeak server.
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                      • Posted by $ AJAshinoff 5 years, 12 months ago
                        I understand that your only asking questions and I appreciate that. I'm not a Bible thumper, I'm a sci-fi author. I have my theories about this but it will take a little time for me to write them out properly (bothers my wife, and stunned one pastor I shared these ideas with).

                        For now I'll give you this, self-interest is the cornerstone of Christianity. How? Salvation, Heaven, is entirely selfish.

                        I will write out an answer though and post later.
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            • Posted by Hot_Black_Desiato 5 years, 12 months ago
              I have my own personal beliefs, however, based on Ayn Rand's definition of "Self-Interest", i.e. Rational Self-Interest" in the pure sense this would not be detrimental to society at all. In fact, quite the opposite.

              If I were, say, selfish in the sense of greedy and only out for myself with no regard for others and set on a path to only "screw" over everyone else, I may indeed harm others on my path. The problem is eventually, others would group together and put an end to me, so it would not be beneficial in the long run for me to execute selfishness, that was not beneficial to others I plan to do business with or trade with at a later date.

              My right ends where yours begins. The moment I violate basic premise, I harm the nature of how others view me, making any future endeavor that much more difficult, especially if I have to depend on those who's rights I encroached on.
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              • Posted by $ AJAshinoff 5 years, 12 months ago
                I understand what your saying.
                Still
                If each person made his/her own morality society would crumble in less than a week. Sure an individual can be decent (oops, strike that morally subjective), good (damn, strike that too, morally subjective), moral (ambiguous in this scenario), and choose not to inject himself/herself into someone else's liberty. Even so, I'd speculate that the large majority would reason that their particular need mattered more than the person next to them (self-interest). In a society where morality is absent and based on relative determination defined by each person, people will justify ANYTHING they desire simply because they are the ultimate authority in their small circle, even if that meant theft (I need and must have), rape (I need and must have), murder (I'm intimidated or he/she has something I want but won't give it to me).

                Human Nature trumps ideology, we see that every day.
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                • Posted by Hot_Black_Desiato 5 years, 12 months ago
                  Good points. I would h ave to reply then, that we would have to break down society into two groups. The STUPID/Ignorant, and Intelligent/Reasonable.

                  The Intelligent/Reasonable, would be fine to possess their own morality since they would be capable of "reasoning" on the long-term benefits of their behavior/actions hense not bad for society.

                  The Stupid/ignorant. Well, Todays Liberals IN SanFrancisco is an example of stupid leading stupid, believing stupid and acting stupid, with the results self-evident.
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                  • Posted by $ AJAshinoff 5 years, 12 months ago
                    I agree about the intelligent and reasonable as long as the group stayed relatively small. Any society needs a set of rules. There is and never has been a shortage of stupid people in this world or useful idiots in this country.
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          • Posted by $ blarman 5 years, 12 months ago
            "So we should obey an alleged god’s commandments because we can’t prove that he/she/it does not exist?"

            I don't obey an "alleged" god who's existence can not be proven and advocate no such thing. All I will say is that just because you have not found something doesn't prevent someone else from doing so.

            "If so, which god should we obey?"

            That is the real question, isn't it? The question is all about which principles one is going to adopt and thereby govern one's life with. The embodiment of any religion or philosophy is their "god". Liberals worship themselves as their own gods. Environmentalists worship trees and nature and such (which is absurd to me). Some worship money and hold as their gods the rich. Some worship power and worship politicians, kings, and despots. Some people worship athletes, others entertainers. You pick something out there and there is likely to be someone who worships it.

            And that brings us to an interesting question: what exactly is worship? Is it actually taking orders? I don't see it that way. Worship is emulation. "Imitation is the greatest form of flattery" or something like that. Children literally worship (emulate) their parents. As they mature, they then have to choose which of the principles their parents taught them they want to continue to practice. And so again it all comes back to principles - enduring principles.

            You see, the corollary to your question is how long it is applicable. As I pointed out above, a belief in the Judeo-Christian God comes with a belief in continued existence after death. Hindus are another matter entirely, as are Buddhists. That's a big deal when selecting a philosophy or religion. Those who are focused on only the short-term tend to focus on outcomes geared around immediate gratification. Those focused on long-term outcomes tend to be more willing to treat decisions as investments. It's all in the eventual outcome.
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            • Posted by $ CBJ 5 years, 12 months ago
              RE: “The question is all about which principles one is going to adopt and thereby govern one's life with.” That is not the question at all, the question is whether society should be organized around principles allegedly handed down by a conscious supreme being that rules the universe, or whether it should be organized around man’s rational understanding of objective reality, including the reality of human nature. That question cannot be sidestepped by changing the definition of god from conscious overlord to mere metaphor. Either there is a conscious all-powerful creator or there isn’t. Either existence is primary (Objectivism) or consciousness is primary (supernaturalism and mysticism). There is no middle ground.
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              • Posted by $ blarman 5 years, 11 months ago
                "the question is whether society should be organized around principles allegedly handed down by a conscious supreme being that rules the universe, or whether it should be organized around man’s rational understanding of objective reality, including the reality of human nature."

                There is the question of derivation of principle, and the question of the principle itself. You focus on derivation, I point back to the principle in the first place, because the derivation of such is irrelevant until the principle is proven. One does not become an authority on a matter based on false understanding or application of principle - unless one is a modern-day politician. ;) Authority comes from proper application and understanding of true principles.

                "That question cannot be sidestepped by changing the definition of god from conscious overlord to mere metaphor."

                I sidestep nothing. I merely back up long enough to establish definitions so that the conversation may proceed forward.

                One of the core principles being challenged is on the origination of consciousness itself. For those who believe in evolution, they have no explanation for the origin or termination of consciousness - none whatsoever. They may hypothesize that somehow consciousness is formed or created from nothing and somehow dissolves back into that void at some arbitrary state. I actually hold to the notion of primacy of consciousness in parallel with primacy of existence by challenging the notion of evolution itself. I don't believe that consciousness puffs into existence, nor that it will puff out of existence, but rather that it persists. Just as matter neither is created nor destroyed, neither is consciousness. It merely changes form.

                I leave the implications of such a notion to you for consideration.
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                • Posted by $ CBJ 5 years, 11 months ago
                  “ . . . the derivation of (a principle) is irrelevant until the principle is proven.” What exactly do you mean by this? To prove a principle is to derive it from the facts of reality or from axioms, using logic. “Understanding of true principles” requires understanding of how they were derived, not acceptance of them by faith (which, sooner or later, all supernaturally-based religions conveniently require).

                  “For those who believe in evolution, they have no explanation for the origin or termination of consciousness - none whatsoever.” Of course they have an explanation. It may not be complete, and scientists may make new discoveries regarding consciousness, but much about the nature and requirements of consciousness are well known and not particularly controversial. Consciousness is awareness, and presupposes both the existence of a conscious entity and one or more entities to be aware of. If a being does not exist, it cannot be conscious. If a being lacks awareness, it cannot be conscious. If a being has a temporal beginning and a temporal end, its consciousness can span that range, but there is no evidence whatsoever that its consciousness can exist outside that range, since its physical means of perception and processing information are not present.
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                  • Posted by $ blarman 5 years, 11 months ago
                    The argument you forward is that everything a theist does is based on the logical fallacy of appeal to authority, i.e. "since God said it I must do it". Parents tell their children things to do and things not to do all the time. Why? Because their experience and wisdom tell them that if their offspring pursues a specific course they will subject themselves to the pain and injury of some choices or alternatively allow them to enjoy the pleasure and satisfaction of others. Is the child wrong to rely on their parents until they grow to understand for themselves? Does not the commander of an army rely on his scouts for information on the position of the enemy in order to construct his battle plans? There are many examples in life where we start out relying on others for information.

                    The second side of things that the atheist tends to ignore is that "because God said to do it" is only half of the situation. An end is also presented. The path to get to the end lies in doing what is asked even though the goal is beyond the horizon or behind a closed door (choose your analogy). Atheists get so wrapped up in the fact that they can not see the end right now that they deny it even could exist - nor do they look for signposts. Theists choose to believe that the goal does exist even though they can not detect at the moment - and they look for the signposts that give them hope to continue.

                    "... there is no evidence whatsoever that its consciousness can exist outside that range, since its physical means of perception and processing information are not present."

                    Atheists tend to reject the proof put before them as well as the means of perception. I could tell you that I have proof of myself. Would it matter?

                    The only way to settle the controversy for one's self is to decide that the truth is more important than one's preconceptions. To do that, one must posit what may be then take the journey to see if it is there.
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                    • Posted by 5 years, 11 months ago
                      This is not intended to be a conversion technique, but a discussion, so please read it in that light.

                      First of all, your appeal to authority fallacy is showing again. But that is neither here nor there any longer. You are accepting an appeal to authority as a plausible way of conducting oneself, and denying it is even a logical fallacy. All of those examples you give are actually logical fallacies, if the actor is acting purely on the assumption that the authority figure is always right because they are the authority figure. The army example is especially confusing, because you then seem to be suggesting that God relies on us to give him updates about Satan's doings on Earth. However the main point remains that one cannot build an ethical system on an appeal to authority, because it is circular reasoning. One can, at times in one's life, take shortcuts in decision making until one fully understands the ramifications of one's actions. However, that cannot be the foundation of a philosophy. It must be based on reason and reality.

                      "There are many examples in life where we start out relying on others for information."
                      If your position is that one can outgrow the need for God's guidance on ethical matters, then wouldn't it also mean that he was not the basis for them in the first place? If God is just acting as a teacher or guide, like one's parents, then is he not also bound by the laws of the universe? Your parents' job is to teach you reality. If that is all God is doing, rather than what I was taught as a Christian that morality is based upon emulating God's very nature, which is perfect by definition, then I would suggest that He seems incapable of changing the rules and he really isn't so omnipotent as so often suggested. If that is the case, and his whims and wishes do not actually alter or contradict the facts of reality, then we are still left with our faculty of reason as our only means of determining the laws of reality and how we must act because of them. That is Philosophy.

                      "Atheists tend to reject the proof put before them as well as the means of perception. I could tell you that I have proof of myself. Would it matter?"
                      If you have proof, then please share it. All information must be considered before drawing a conclusion. If your means of perception is anything other than our senses, however, then I doubt it would be valid. Share it however, please.

                      "The only way to settle the controversy for one's self is to decide that the truth is more important than one's preconceptions."
                      Keep in mind that your God is closer to a preconception than our conclusion that there isn't one.

                      "To do that, one must posit what may be then take the journey to see if it is there."
                      That is a false and foolish methodology to follow when building a philosophy. It would lead inevitably to failure after failure, chasing one impossible, illogical, or just simply incorrect possibility after another. Why handicap oneself by "taking the journey" alone without the knowledge and work done by our predecessors to give us a starting place. Rand's starting place is the axiom that "Existence Exists." Your method seems to suggest that we should fully entertain the possibility that existence does not exist, and then follow that around for a while and see what happens. If you actually try to live life with that as an axiom, you will inevitably fail at everything you attempt (that is consistent with that axiom), causing yourself nothing but pain and unhappiness.
                      If by "take a journey" you instead mean simply a thought exercise, then I can understand it a bit more. However, long before you get to the possibility of the existence of a supernatural being of any sort, you reach the conclusion that nothing exists outside of existence.
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                      • Posted by $ blarman 5 years, 11 months ago
                        "All of those examples you give are actually logical fallacies."

                        Appeal to authority is only applicable if the principle is false. If the principle is true, it is the veracity of the principle itself which lends the air of authority. One can cite appeal to authority only after one has determined the principle to be false - not beforehand. As a father of several small children, I can point to numerous examples of times when I could see very real dangers present to my children they themselves were ignorant of. There was no time (and in dealing with a two-year-old no mental capacity) for them to understand the true danger they were in. When I yelled "STOP!" they had to trust that I knew something they did not. When I tell my two-year-old to wait for his food to cool before he eats it, it is because I know what he is not yet cognizant of and the potential for danger which lies directly ahead if he pursues his present course in defiance of my recommendation. Is he still free to grab those steaming potatoes and burn his fingers and wail? Yep. But was the principle involved "listen to dad"? No. The principle was that one must wait for food to cool before handling it or one will be the unintended instrument of rapid heat transfer! He could either learn by trusting dad or the hard way through personal experience and the trauma of a few burnt digits. (You can probably tell which choice he made.)

                        "However the main point remains that one cannot build an ethical system on an appeal to authority"

                        I completely agree. One may start out trusting on the word of another, but at some point they must cut the apron strings and move forward of their own volition.

                        "If your position is that one can outgrow the need for God's guidance on ethical matters, then wouldn't it also mean that he was not the basis for them in the first place?"

                        To go back to your point about appeal to authority, is the principle true because of who says it or is it true because it is? I would opt for the latter interpretation. That being said, I will ask you a question: if He exists and knows what the rules are, regardless the source of the rules are His efforts to instruct us any less valuable?

                        "If you have proof, then please share it."

                        I have proof for myself, but what I have found is that what matters is whether one is willing to seek their own proof. Ultimately, the decision must be yours and made freely, openly, and honestly. Now if you are willing, I will share with you in a PM exactly how you can ascertain for yourself the truth of the matter.

                        "That is a false and foolish methodology to follow when building a philosophy. It would lead inevitably to failure after failure..."

                        Failures have never stopped the entrepreneur nor the inventor. Why? Because the goal is deemed worthy of the effort. However, there is a shortcut available to those who wish to so take advantage: one can look to others who have been there and follow in their footsteps. Why blaze a new trail when one can take the one already there?

                        "However, long before you get to the possibility of the existence of a supernatural being of any sort, you reach the conclusion that nothing exists outside of existence."

                        I have never once posited existence outside of existence. That is a strawman. Let's say you had existed from the Big Bang and had watched the formation of galaxies and stars, of nebulae and comets. Don't you think that knowledge couldn't be drawn upon? And if we persist after death for a similar duration...
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                        • Posted by 5 years, 11 months ago
                          I'll answer your last paragraph. And only because it is the only portion of this post that I can assume was something as innocent as a misunderstanding of what I said. The rest is willful blindness. Aka faith.
                          If one is to conclude that existence exists, then one must also conclude that the law of identity holds and all things have a specific nature and can only act within them. If a particular entity has no specific nature (not personality but what defines it as an entity separate from other entities) other than omnipotence, omnipotence, and omnipresence, then it must necessarily exist outside of the laws of reality… Not a part of our reality… And not be part of existence… you cannot have a being that existed before existence and still believe in the metaphysical primacy of existence over consciousness. There logically opposite positions. You are suggesting that an entity can be both entirely one attribute and also entirely its opposite attribute at the same time. This would be the equivalent of stating a painting is entirely red and also entirely green at the same time.
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                          • Posted by $ blarman 5 years, 11 months ago
                            "You are suggesting that an entity can be both entirely one attribute and also entirely its opposite attribute at the same time."

                            Not at all. It is you who are insisting on such a definition applying to God - not me. We haven't even touched the attributes of any such character in this discussion - you are superimposing what you think and expecting that it is the same thing I am suggesting. I suggest you check your premises. I have done nothing more than suggest possibility.

                            I would also point out the sheer hubris of affirming that mankind's knowledge is to such a point that we can say with any degree of certainty what may or may not exist. That is the path of arrogance and presumption. Presumption applies blinders or the proverbial rose-colored glasses so that when one travels the path he/she sees a perverted view. Exploration, on the other hand, does not seek to make up rules for itself about what it will find on the path. The explorer follows the path, takes in the wonders, and derives knowledge from the experience. Presumption would have gotten Lewis and Clark killed by grizzly bears.
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                        • Posted by 5 years, 11 months ago
                          I'll answer your last paragraph. And only because it is the only portion of this post that I can assume was something as innocent as a misunderstanding of what I said. The rest is willful blindness. Aka faith.
                          If one is to conclude that existence existence, and one must also conclude that the law of identity holds and all things have a specific nature and can only act within them. If a particular entity has no specific nature (not personality but what defines it as an entity separate from other entities) other than omnipotence, omnipotence, and omnipresence, then it must necessarily exist outside of the laws of reality… Not a part of our reality… And not be part of existence… you cannot have a being that existed before existence and still believe in the metaphysical primacy of existence over consciousness. There logically opposite positions. You are suggesting that an entity can be both entirely one attribute and also entirely its opposite attribute at the same time. This would be the equivalent of stating a painting is entirely red and also entirely green at the same time.
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                    • Posted by $ CBJ 5 years, 11 months ago
                      RE: “Theists choose to believe that the goal does exist even though they can not detect at the moment - and they look for the signposts that give them hope to continue.”

                      Or, broken down into steps:

                      I believe X.
                      I don’t have evidence for X at the moment.
                      I think I’ll look for signposts of X.
                      If I find them, they will give me hope.

                      This puts the cart before the horse, belief before evidence, based on “hope”. It underscores the point I made earlier: “Understanding of true principles requires understanding of how they were derived, not acceptance of them by faith (which, sooner or later, all supernaturally-based religions conveniently require).”
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                      • Posted by $ blarman 5 years, 11 months ago
                        Yes, it does. Just like the inventor must press forward with his belief in new techniques and new products before he actually builds them. Edison was asked about the times all his failed attempts to create the lightbulb. His response: "Now I know 99 ways how not to create a lightbulb!" Why did he persist? Because he believed - without proof - that his goal was achievable.

                        If one is never willing to move without immediate gratification/proof, one never has to work to achieve and one never gains the satisfaction in so doing. Those who choose to deny to reach for that unseen goal will never achieve it - real or not. They will be the ones standing by while others achieve.
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                        • Posted by $ CBJ 5 years, 11 months ago
                          Edison had evidence that matter would behave in a certain way under certain circumstances, his inventions consisted of tweaking the known variables until he achieved his desired result (or didn’t). He didn’t “believe” something was possible simply because he hoped it was true. And there’s a big difference between “moving without immediate gratification or proof” and “moving without any evidence whatsoever.”

                          And how do you “prepare” for an afterlife, anyway? There are any number of incompatible “supreme beings” worshipped by various religions. What happens if you choose to obey the wrong one?
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                          • Posted by $ blarman 5 years, 11 months ago
                            And if I have evidence of an afterlife, am I operating on any different principle than Edison?

                            "And how do you “prepare” for an afterlife, anyway? There are any number of incompatible..."

                            Agreed. So I would think the best idea would be to get help.
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                • Posted by 5 years, 11 months ago
                  Consciousness is a topic which Objectivism discusses in great detail. I'd suggest listening to Leonard Peikoff's lectures on the subject. Or read his book about objectivism.
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                  • Posted by $ blarman 5 years, 11 months ago
                    I've read Piekoff's work "Objectivism" and find the same criticism mentioned above applies to his work. The first problem with atheism lies in the absolute inability to prove a negative - a fallacy even according to Rand. The second is that is that despite no possibility of proof of such a position, atheism refuses to attempt to disprove the converse, instead simply asserting (rather wishfully) that it can not exist.

                    My first observation that it is hard for one to find what one does not wish to look for. I also point out that one must be able to describe in fair specificity what one is seeking before one attempts to go looking and one must be searching in the right place using the correct tools and methodology. A failure in any of these areas will lead to a failure to find. Most erroneously conclude that nothing exists, rather than examining to see if there is a fundamental flaw in the search itself.
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                    • Posted by 5 years, 11 months ago
                      Blarman, I like a lot of what you comment here. I do have to take exception with this post though. It is certainly a logical fallacy to attempt to disprove a negative, but claiming that since a negative cannot be proven thus one must accept the existence of that negative if anyone suggests its existence is absurd. Atheism does not necessarily claim to have disproven the existence of, or proven the nonexistence of, a supernatural existence or deity... It simply states with certainty that one must not accept its existence since it hasn't been proven.

                      Rand does take atheism another step forward however, by claiming the entire concept of any supernatural entity or mystical presence outside of reality is irrational. And just like the rest of her philosophy, you can choose to except this or not. The entirety of objectivism is based on accepting only what is readily observable in reality, or what can be proven based on The axioms you derive from your observations.
                      Reason is man's sole means of survival, and our sense perception is our only means of acquiring knowledge. An often overlooked, but very important tenant of objectivism is the rejection of any forms of acquiring knowledge that are not one of these two. Such examples would be divine revelation, intuition, hereditary instinct, etc.

                      The reason this is important is because that is the only way one can reach the conclusions about the importance of individual and human rights that Objectivism does. Any other derivation of rights falls apart at its beginning and leaves an inconsistent result among man's secondary rights, or concludes that man has no rights at all. The "rights from God" argument falls into the latter category, as rights that are given can always be taken away at a whim, and as such are not rights at all but permissions from a master.
                      Don't even get me started on how the dignity of man is entirely diminished by the inescapable soul/body dichotomy of any religion.

                      I will state however, that the last part of the Objectivist puzzle to fall into logical place for me was the complete rejection of mysticism. Maybe it'll come, maybe it won't. We are all learning and interested in her ideas, so let's continue discussing.
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                      • Posted by $ blarman 5 years, 11 months ago
                        "but claiming that since a negative cannot be proven thus one must accept the existence of that negative if anyone suggests its existence is absurd."

                        Actually, what I said is that to rely on the assertion of a negative is fallacy and behooves us to attempt to prove the positive. If you took that as a missive, I apologize.

                        "The entirety of objectivism is based on accepting only what is readily observable" (emphasis mine)

                        And that is to me intellectually lazy. We can not observe gravity directly, yet we know it exists as a force every bit as real as the proverbial falling apple. We know electricity exists even though we can not "see" the electrons which make it up. And even much of what we know now was not "readily observable" even a hundred years ago - mankind had to build the tools with which to explore such! The claim that nothing exists outside of what our limited senses can at present detect is wholly undermined by the advances of science itself!

                        "An often overlooked, but very important tenant of objectivism is the rejection of any forms of acquiring knowledge that are not one of these two. Such examples would be divine revelation, intuition, hereditary instinct, etc."

                        That's like saying that just because one doesn't know how to identify or use a mass spectrometer that it isn't a valid tool. As a father, I've watched my wife exercise the "eyes in the back of her head" too many times to deny the notion of either intuition or hereditary instinct. Divine revelation is nothing short of confirmation of the entire notion of deity. Not only that, but one would literally be denying the very proof of the positive!

                        So in the pursuit of truth, what I would say is that first of all one must suspend one's active disbelief long enough to posit what might be. This is consistent with any inventor. One must be willing to posit what would have to be for god to exist, then once that idea has been formed, to devise a test.

                        You mention an interesting one: the notion of "rights from God". Now, please feel free to correct me if you determine I am misrepresenting your objection, for I am taking liberty here, but let us ask a question about rights: if our presence on this planet at this time is not accident, but was in fact facilitated, would that not mean that our ability to enjoy or take advantage of the rights and abilities we have was entirely dependent on the force which created this place and opportunity for us - altogether independent of our beings? Would not then we owe some debt to the facilitator of our opportunity? Another question which tickles at my brain is also why would a being facilitate such in the first place?
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                    • Posted by $ CBJ 5 years, 11 months ago
                      Dictionary.com gives two definitions of atheism:

                      1. the doctrine or belief that there is no God.
                      2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.

                      Ayn Rand falls in the second category, which can be summed up as: ““There is no evidence of a creator, so there is no reason for me to believe in one, so I don’t.” The burden of proof rests with those who assert a positive claim. You are not logically required to prove, for instance, that an invisible elephant does not exist in the next room.
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                      • Posted by $ blarman 5 years, 11 months ago
                        The burden of proof is always a positive one - to simply rest on one's laurels content with the fact that one's position can not be proven is intellectually lazy. And with a question with ramifications this massive, to simply assert the invisible elephant claim is the resort of one who does not wish to know the truth. It is to claim that because one does not believe the elephant exists one refuses to even walk into the room to verify. It is a claim based on a belief of what one wishes to be truth - not truth itself. What is most ironic is that atheists have no problem logically deriding theists for claiming to believe what they wish despite theists' claims to have found exactly what they are looking for!

                        In pursuit of proof, one must first quantify or describe what one wishes to prove, does one not? Before one can say there is no "supreme being", one must characterize/define exactly what one says can not exist. To me, that means one must define the attributes of such an entity and determine if such existed, how one would go about finding it, what purpose it may have, what may motivate it, etc. Now whether one chooses to engage in such a mental exercise is purely individual and is what I think the Founding Fathers would protect under "pursuit of happiness" (Declaration of Independence) and certainly "religion" (First Amendment).

                        I look at the existence of this planet, of a specific size, rotational period, composition, axial tilt, presence around a certain class of star of a certain age and I consider the possibility of such being random and the mathematics of that alone are staggering. Then I consider the probability of the creation of a peptide chain and it's protective environment simultaneously that would lead to DNA and self-replication even of a single-cell organism with the required specialization in organelles. Then I consider what would be required to simultaneously develop whole systems of interoperating organs into a human. The sense of hearing requires seventeen separate steps alone - the notion that such a chain of events (and its interpretation by the neural system) somehow precisely developed both by accident and simultaneous accident defies reason. To me, there is ample proof to support the notion that this world is not an accident. Therefore I must conclude that because the probability of accident is so remote as to be absurd, I must go looking for the most probable reasons - not rely on the least probable.
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                        • Posted by $ CBJ 5 years, 11 months ago
                          This Creator is impressive indeed. So much so that its existence, consciousness and vast powers could not possibly have come about by accident. Whatever created our Creator must have been vastly greater by trillions of orders of magnitude. Et cetera. Assuming a Creator does not explain existence, it simply leads to an infinite regress.
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                          • Posted by $ blarman 5 years, 11 months ago
                            I will point back to matter and energy, which are neither created nor terminated in their existence. They exist, they merely shift form. And if I have the knowledge how to manipulate them on a cosmic scale, is that not a power which to us seems incredible?

                            Can you explain the creation of that point of matter leading to the Big Bang?

                            I accept the fact that there are certain questions which we do not yet have answers to. The erroneous presumption is that we currently have enough knowledge to presume the only answer is an assertion of a negative.
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                            • Posted by 5 years, 11 months ago
                              The universe, meaning the totality of existence, has always been.
                              You are very correct that we do not have all the scientific answers to the universe, but those are not all needed to know that a supernatural creator is logically impossible, for many of the reasons we have already enumerated.
                              We do not need to know all the answers to the entire universe to know that the earth is not flat, for instance, or that one cannot accelerate matter to exceed the speed of light. Only certain aspects are necessary to know those facts. All that is needed to know that a supernatural creator does not exist is an axiom of existence exists, and following the logic from there.
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                              • Posted by $ blarman 5 years, 11 months ago
                                "The universe, meaning the totality of existence, has always been."

                                I suggest you prove such a hypothesis. At best, all we can do is take from the point of the Big Bang forward.

                                "We do not need to know all the answers..."

                                But there you diverge into the realm of faith, or acting upon what one does not know to be true, but merely hopes to be true. I must ask why then you insist that others have all the answers?!? You make everything to be about proof, proof, proof, when you admit that you yourself are not in possession of all knowledge. Can you not see the blatant double-standard in such a stance?

                                "All that is needed to know that a supernatural creator does not exist is an axiom of existence exists, and following the logic from there."

                                Unless you have acted upon your hypothesis and tested it, it is only that - an hypothesis. Logic is not proof - only observation fulfills that requirement. One can infer such a thing - but it is not proof until tested and verified.
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                                • Posted by 5 years, 11 months ago
                                  Axioms cannot be proven. To provide proof is to break down further, and an axiom is the most basic. They can, however be validated by observing reality, and the axiom that existence exists is self evident.
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                                  • blarman replied 5 years, 11 months ago
                            • Posted by $ CBJ 5 years, 11 months ago
                              RE: “The erroneous presumption is that we currently have enough knowledge to presume the only answer is an assertion of a negative.”

                              Again, http://Dictionary.com gives two definitions of atheism:

                              1. the doctrine or belief that there is no God.
                              2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.

                              Ayn Rand falls in the second category, which can be summed up as: “There is no evidence of a creator, so there is no reason for me to believe in one, so I don’t.”

                              So Ayn Rand’s formulation of atheism is not an “assertion of a negative”, it is rather the refusal to accept a positive statement that encompasses multiple logical contradictions and no real evidence.
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                              • Posted by $ blarman 5 years, 11 months ago
                                I have already cited the necessities of support for life on this planet as an instance which defies the literally astronomical odds. It was rejected out of hand as "leaps of logic and subjectivist definitions of reality" because that individual did not want to face the truth of what was being said. You are your own judge. You have your own powers of reason and observation. You can confirm that what I have said is true or merely deny it out of your own prejudice. I refuse to force anyone to undertake a journey of the unwilling. Since you seem resigned to your course, I will not further pester you with my suppositions. If you wish a continuance, you may PM me.
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                                • Posted by 5 years, 11 months ago
                                  Let's analyze your impossible situation.

                                  E. coli bacteria are about 1 cubic micrometers not size. There are 1000000000000 cubic micrometers in 1 ml of water.
                                  Number of proteins in an e.coli cell:3-10*10^6 (depending on growth rate)
                                  So let's assume the low concentration.
                                  In a single ml of water there can be 3x10^18 proteins.

                                  Earths water surface: 361 million square km
                                  So if we assume only 1 m of the water is that concentrated to contain enough "soup" then that would be 3.61x10^14 cubic meters, or 10^23 ml. So up to 10.83x10^41 places for a protein to form in the "soup." Assuming the chance happens once a second (which would be so slow as to be considered nearly inert), every second, that gives you 1.7x10^57 chances for a protein to form over 3 billion years. Multiply that by a nearly infinite number of planets with water and you get the point.

                                  Also keep in mind that once a protein forms, it actually is more stable and requires less energy to be at rest the more complex it is. They grow themselves simply by the laws of thermodynamics. Eventually lipids would form, combining together into cell membranes, and then the rest I'm sure you can imagine.

                                  Once that first protein formed, the process and rate of growth would increase geometrically, if not exponentially.

                                  Looked at this way, life forming would appear to be an inevitable consequence rather than a near impossibility.

                                  Sources:
                                  http://kirschner.med.harvard.edu/file...
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                                  • blarman replied 5 years, 11 months ago
                        • Posted by 5 years, 11 months ago
                          "What is most ironic is that atheists have no problem logically deriding theists for claiming to believe what they wish despite theists' claims to have found exactly what they are looking for!"

                          Please, then. Tell me what you have found. However if your answer is that you "have faith," then that is not finding, but abdicating reason.

                          "In pursuit of proof, one must first quantify or describe what one wishes to prove, does one not? Before one can say there is no "supreme being", one must characterize/define exactly what one says can not exist."
                          I would say this is not incorrect. I cannot say if it is true in all cases, but it seems true enough to assume it to be correct for the sake of discussion. Rand and Peikoff do a fantastic job of defining what it is they are refusing to accept as real... anything that is not bound by the laws and rules of reality. By definition, a creator of existence would have to have existed outside of, prior to, and completely unbound by existence... or put another way, that it does not fall within existence, or that it doesn't exist. It is a logical impossibility. This is a gross oversimplification of the argument, but it makes the point well enough for now.
                          Closer to your argument, however, one does not need to know every aspect of a given entity in order to conclude whether its existence is logically possible or not. One only need find a single logical inconsistency for the proof to brek down. This is basic logic. Then, when the logical inconsistency identified is something so central to any possible definition of an entity, such as its very identity and nature of existence, is found to be inconsistent with reason and logic, one can comfortably conclude that it does not exist. This is not a proof, per se, but a validation, as one cannot prove an axiom. I think we would both agree that the existence of a creator of existence could be defined as a primary or axiom in a religion.

                          Your final paragraph is completely littered with leaps of logic and subjectivist definitions of reality. While basic critical thinking can tell you that you are committing any number of logical fallacies, including the false dichotomy, strawman, and appeal to authority, Leonard Peikoff's 1976 lecture on Objectivist Metaphysics soundly puts your philosophy to rest, rationally speaking that is. You can continue to accept it after reading this, but you cannot accept it and continue to claim that it is a rational decision, but instead that you reject the self-evident axioms of objectivism of the laws of identity and existence, and the corollary primacy of existence.
                          https://campus.aynrand.org/campus/glo...
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                          • Posted by $ blarman 5 years, 11 months ago
                            "By definition, a creator of existence would have to have existed outside of, prior to, and completely unbound by existence"

                            We hold that matter is neither created nor destroyed, do we not? So in actuality, "creation" is a misnomer. It is not the sudden existence of something where nothing was prior, but rather an organization of the existing into a new form. So all a "creator" would had to have done was utilized the existing rules of gravity, knowledge of particle physics, etc. to facilitate such action. Imagine if you had the ability to directly manipulate the forces of gravity. Could you not lasso a passing comet to provide water for a large ball of silica?

                            Now if you want to argue temporality, please keep in mind that just because we have no individual knowledge of any state we may have existed in prior to what we know now, to deny that any such could have happened seems rather presumptuous to me. The only way to assert that such a thing could not have happened is to have positive knowledge of what did happen. This is where the atheist's argument breaks down into an assertion of the negative, because the inherent assumption is that no such knowledge is possible. They are left with at best an untestable hypothesis - hardly the solid bedrock of proof demanded by their own standards. Theists at least have the appeal to an atemporal source of knowledge.

                            "Closer to your argument, however, one does not need to know every aspect of a given entity in order to conclude whether its existence is logically possible or not."

                            I would agree. However, one has to know enough details to devise a practical test.

                            "one can comfortably conclude that it does not exist."

                            "Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth." - Sherlock Holmes. Only when one is 100% confident that one has considered all possibilities and ruled each of them out through observation may one conclude non-existence. Logic assists in the derivation of the conditions, it is not the test itself. That is why atheism can be nothing more than an unproven hypothesis. How Objectivists can simultaneously embrace and unproven and unproveable hypothesis on the one hand yet insist on the proven for everyone else is a contradiction I can not resolve.

                            "Your final paragraph is completely littered with leaps of logic and subjectivist definitions of reality."

                            It is all fairly basic astrophysics and biology, actually. Astronomers and biologists have long examined our solar system and the requirements for life as we know it to exist and found them to be rather stringent and specific. Dismiss them at your own peril. As I said, I find that atheists tend to reject the obvious evidence right under their own noses.

                            I am not here to coerce you or force you into any course of action or belief. You must decide for yourself what to pursue and what not to pursue. But I'm not going to waste either my time or yours trying to prove to you something which is better discovered of one's self. I pursue reality. I pursue the fate of my consciousness, refusing to believe in its termination as a desirable option. I pursue my ultimate self-interest: my continuance.
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                            • Posted by $ CBJ 5 years, 11 months ago
                              RE: “Only when one is 100% confident that one has considered all possibilities and ruled each of them out through observation may one conclude non-existence.” Does this mean, for example, that I must observe every swan that exists or that has ever existed (or might exist in the future) to conclude that red swans don’t exist? And that otherwise, my “a-red-swanism” is “nothing more than an unproven hypothesis”?

                              RE: “I pursue the fate of my consciousness, refusing to believe in its termination as a desirable option. I pursue my ultimate self-interest: my continuance.”

                              Objection 1: Desires do not trump reality.

                              Objection 2: You do not have options, desirable or otherwise. Either your consciousness will terminate or it won’t. It’s not your choice.

                              Objection 3: Your “pursuit” of the “fate” of your consciousness is pointless, since its “fate” is not in any way dependent upon your “pursuit”.

                              Objection 4: One’s “ultimate self-interest” consists of discovering and integrating facts of reality, and living according to them to the best of one’s understanding. This is true whether or not one’s consciousness will live on forever. If it does, great. If it doesn’t, then the “pursuit” of immortality is futile and takes precious and irreplaceable time away from pursuing one’s rational self-interest in the here and now.
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                              • Posted by $ blarman 5 years, 11 months ago
                                "Does this mean, for example, that I must observe every swan that exists or that has ever existed (or might exist in the future) to conclude that red swans don’t exist?"

                                I didn't quote Sherlock Holmes for nothing. If you choose to look at a sample and conclude that nowhere in the entire population could exist a single red swan, all you can really claim is that you do not believe such to be true. Certainty is a much higher standard. Scientists believed coelecanths were extinct - up until someone actually found one. The reality is that they hadn't looked far enough or long enough and ended up asserting a presumption that turned out to be very wrong.

                                "Objection 1: Desires do not trump reality."

                                Never said they did. But we don't achieve our goals by telling ourselves they can't happen either.

                                "Objection 2: You do not have options, desirable or otherwise. Either your consciousness will terminate or it won’t. It’s not your choice."

                                If you admit two possibilities, why do you insist on asserting the first as the only real one, then? And if the second is real, what then?

                                "Objection 3: Your “pursuit” of the “fate” ..."

                                Now you're getting into pure speculation - and it's just false. I am an agent unto myself. I choose, and by my choices determine my path. Even in the presence of a junction in the path I can not avoid, I am still free to determine the path afterwards. You have the choice to assume such a path does not exist. I proceed on the assumption that it does. If I'm right, I'm prepared for what follows. If I'm wrong, it won't matter. On the other hand, if you're right it doesn't matter and if you're wrong... Hmmm... You're betting the entirety of your continued existence that it doesn't exist and claiming that I'm the imprudent one. To each his own I suppose.

                                "Objection 4: One’s “ultimate self-interest” consists of discovering and integrating facts of reality..."

                                I agree wholeheartedly with you on this one, believe it or not. But go back to my point in #3: if I prepare for the eventuality of continuance, I shall not be disappointed when it proves real.
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            • Posted by 5 years, 12 months ago
              Religion is essentially a primitive form of philosophy. It was mankind's first attempt at explaining the universe, and as we matured and learned about reason and logic we developed philosophy.
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              • Posted by $ blarman 5 years, 11 months ago
                What has really changed over the centuries? I would argue that it is the amount of leisure time available to the common man. How one uses that time may be to study the mysteries of the universe or merely to engage in hour after hour of mindless entertainment. I would argue that given the size of the entertainment industry (or our politics), we aren't really making much real progress at all. :S

                You also assume an evolutionary standpoint as the crux of your argument: that somehow man's philosophical achievements mirror scientific ones. I would argue that such can not be assumed at all.

                The choice of philosophy is all about where one desires to end up - the fate of one's consciousness. If one believes that consciousnesses merely pop into existence and then wink back out, a relatively short span of applicability of principle reigns. If one, however, believes that consciousness neither pops in nor out of existence, suddenly those "antiquated" ideas are just as relevant today and just as valid an option.

                If man is a thinking, reasoning animal and has been so from the beginning, what has really changed over the millenia is that we have started out each successive generation upon the shoulders of our ancestors. Of course our reach will be higher. But to argue that the intellects themselves are somehow greater is unsubstantiated.
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        • Posted by $ MichaelAarethun 5 years, 12 months ago
          I don't need to comply with paragraph one sentance one. That's why who or what provided me with a brain and the ability to think and reason.

          The rest stems from that one correction.

          The sentence that which disassociates or I assume associates, one with ....whomever.

          Same answer my brain and the ability to think and reason.
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    • Posted by $ MichaelAarethun 5 years, 12 months ago
      Nice now which defining loyalty group are you representing.
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      • Posted by $ blarman 5 years, 12 months ago
        ?? I don't understand your question/statement.
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        • Posted by $ MichaelAarethun 5 years, 12 months ago
          In retrospect I didn't either. So I walked through the forest of dotted lines and it came to aha! Within the realm of those you are speaking about are multiple claimants to the term conservative. I thought it might clear the air ....if you could define which one if any of them you considered home turf.
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          • Posted by $ blarman 5 years, 11 months ago
            Ah. I am a Constitutional conservative. I believe that the principles of the Founding Fathers were the best combination in allowing for reasonable dissent and individual thought while establishing a framework of government which guarded liberty. I also hold to the opinions of the Founders that vigilance would be required to guard against the erosion and destruction of those protections via encroachment by government, and further that that vigilance has not been maintained by our culture sufficiently. As a result, we have degraded and now face a pivotal moment when our liberties and freedoms are challenged by those who see themselves as a ruling elite but who actually seek the serfdom and servitude of the majority of the people.
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            • Posted by 5 years, 11 months ago
              The founding fathers' concerns about the erosion of society and morals were fears of us having too much liberty unless we sel-restrained. If you are to argue that our ethics have changed, you must provide evidence of its former state and current state, not simply anecdotes or generalizations, please. Then if you are able to successfully demonstrate that, you must causally link the decline in ethics with the decline in liberty.

              I agree with you that we have not defended Liberty appropriately, and that is the reason we are losing it, not that our culture or whatever is changing.

              Many of our biggest losses of Liberty have come from when the statists on the left find agreement with the altruists on the right. That results in the welfare state, the patriot act, corporate income taxes, prohibition, the drug war, etc.

              The point central to this whole post is that conservatives are just as wrong as liberals, just on different topics. Neither, however, holds a rational or consistent philosophy to begin with, and so both are incapable of using reason to support their positions. They are left appealing to vague feelings or other mystical mumbo jumbo.
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              • Posted by $ blarman 5 years, 11 months ago
                "The founding fathers' concerns ... were fears of us having too much liberty unless we sel-restrained."

                That's certainly not how I read their comments as documented in either the Federalist Papers or Anti-Federalist Papers. What the Founding Fathers were concerned with was maximizing and maintaining individual liberty by imposing checks on the governmental apparatus which might attempt to usurp those rights and freedoms (as hitherto seen in the British monarchy and Parliament). Now to that point self-restraint was and remains key, but I think you confuse liberty and freedom with absence of consequence. Self-restraint is the inner attribute and conscious choice to defer action in the present in favor of some alternative/"better" outcome in the future. If our nation still suffered under the burden of "self-restraint" common to the Founding Fathers, there would be no Benghazi, IRS-gate, Fast and Furious, or any number of other debacles, nor would our government be the size or rapacity of its current state.

                "If you are to argue that our ethics have changed..."

                That list would be far too long to enumerate in a post. I would point to the welfare programs, constraints on the Second Amendment, electronic data-gathering without warrants in violation of the Fourth Amendment, and could go on and on. From an ethical standpoint, this nation used to value hard work and independence - those notions are all but surrendered to the communistic mindset so lauded by Bernie Sanders' followers that I think it most plain and obvious that our nation's ethos has altered significantly from those days. I would simply ask you turn your assertion on its head and prove to me that things have stayed the same. It won't take but five minutes for you to abandon such a course for lack of foundation.

                "The point central to this whole post is that conservatives are just as wrong as liberals, just on different topics."

                What you are really complaining about here is that you disagree with the principles of either. Rather than rely on generalizations, however, let's get to specific principles and go from there. It's all fine to point and label but this is merely distraction, adding little of actual value. People can be neither right nor wrong - only principles can achieve either of those two attestations. So I would move to focus on principles and allow the appellations to fall where they may. Select a principle of either side and go from there.
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                • Posted by 5 years, 11 months ago
                  "What you are really complaining about here is that you disagree with the principles of either."
                  I am arguing that neither conservatives not liberals have principles, but random grab-bag values based upon nothing other than vague intuition, feelings, or the expediency of the moment, which an inescapable result of holding a philosophy based not in reason but in mysticism.
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                  • Posted by $ blarman 5 years, 11 months ago
                    They most certainly have principles. What you are arguing is the correctness or veracity of the principles because of the source: liberals because their principles emanate from their feelings and conservatives because their principles stem from a belief in the divine, both of which you deem to be invalid because you believe only reason-based principles derived by men may be valid.

                    My response is again to focus on the principles themselves first and foremost. If the exercise of those principles proves false, one can deduce that the derivation was also in error. "The proof is in the pudding" as they say.
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  • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 5 years, 12 months ago
    Plusses to several people all down the line, starting at the top, but that includes those who disagreed. The question is complicated.

    First of all, everyone here is proud of being a producer. No one accepts unearned guilt for their intelligence and productivity. Everyone here gives primacy to reason, even most of those who claim to believe in God, do so for reasons of their choosing, not for appeals to faith, or challenges to ignorance. (Some do. They tend not to stay.) Everyone here recognizes that rights are a requirement for people to live in society, and, to the point, recognize the nature of rights. The abortion/choice debates never claim a woman's "natural role" as a mother, something that some religionists try and that Karl Marx actually did accept. (Read the Communist Manifesto.) The debate is always about the rights attendant in personhood, and the difficulty in defining that term.

    So, I would say that just about everyone here would be acceptable to John Galt of the novel.

    That said, realize, too that the book was a fiction derived from the real world before 1957. Rand successfully challenged the moral precepts of the previous 2500 years. We all benefited from that. If just about anyone here could be transported into the novel, they would be a minor hero, easily, along with Hastings, Ives, Willers, Rearden's accountant and the company's union leader, and many others throughout. (My favorite is from the movie, Jeff Yagher's portrayal of Jeff Allen. They changed the story, but it worked for me.)

    But I agree with the central thesis. The Tea Party, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Paul Ryan, are the modern conservatives. They are enemies of personal freedom no less than Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and Elizabeth Warren. They align on opposite sides of the same counterfeit coin.
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