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  • Posted by $ 6 years, 10 months ago
    What Dave Brat believes (from his web site):

    •That the free enterprise system is the most productive supplier of human needs and economic justice,

    •That all individuals are entitled to equal rights, justice, and opportunities and should assume their responsibilities as citizens in a free society,

    •That fiscal responsibility and budgetary restraints must be exercised at all levels of government,

    •That the Federal Government must preserve individual liberty by observing Constitutional limitations,

    •That peace is best preserved through a strong national defense,

    •That faith in God, as recognized by our Founding Fathers is essential to the moral fiber of the Nation.

    The last item will undoubtedly be controversial amongst Gulchers, but other than that, this is someone we can support. Will he end tonight's announcement by asking Who is John Galt?
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    • Posted by conscious1978 6 years, 10 months ago
      So many times it seems we have to choose between a candidate that is "not as bad" as the other. Is this the case with Brat? He does appear to be a better choice, but some of his beliefs quoted above are not that clear.

      If his best defense of the free enterprise system is that it "is the most productive supplier of human needs", then he appears to have given away the moral ground to those that hold "needs" as a standard. And honestly, what does "economic justice" really mean?

      I agree with equal rights and justice under the law; but what is meant by being "entitled to" "opportunities"?

      Lastly, why is "faith in God" "ESSENTIAL to the moral fiber of the Nation"?
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      • Posted by $ 6 years, 10 months ago
        I am not going to disagree with anything you said, but if ideological purity is that important to you, then you should have already started building Atlantis. If it's any consolation to you, I am trying to serve as a nucleation site around which Atlantis can grow into a beautiful crystal.
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        • Posted by conscious1978 6 years, 10 months ago
          JB, my point isn't ideological purity. I'm just weary of candidates that relinquish the foundations of their principles by accepting the fundamental premises of their opposition. Brat could do a lot better in what he publishes as a defense of free enterprise. My other questions are honest ones, even if Brat is a good candidate.

          I've read many of your posts in the Gulch, and I agree with much of what you write. I also respect your knowledge and appreciate your efforts regarding a real Gulch, but I think that battle will need to be waged from multiple locations rather than one. ;)
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          • Posted by $ 6 years, 10 months ago
            I have seen and enjoyed much of what you write as well, conscious1978. I like your moniker, too.

            Brat has some different foundational principles than you do. I have seen several people here in the Gulch who share many Objectivist values other than atheism and yet remain Christian. As long as such Christians realize the burden of lordship that Christianity entails to go along with the questionable prospect of an eternal heavenly reward, people like Brat can have much in common with Objectivists and can live non-contradictory lifestyles. However, as I have said before, they cannot take Galt's oath.

            Christians have one fundamentally different premise than Objectivists. Many of those who participate here in Galt's Gulch have checked such premises and are quite comfortable with the one fundamentally different premise that Objectivists do not share.

            The battle will have to be waged on many fronts. I am in Florida at a non-tenure-granting engineering university in what many would consider a position of prestige and in a job I work quite hard at, but I still consider it a shrug job because I could have founded multiple companies or been a few levels below a Robert Stadler had I been willing to continue accepting the government gravy train.

            I will battle from here during the academic year but want to start building a real Atlantis during the remainder of the time. I consider the shrug jobs we are in the battle positions, but we all need a vacation periodically.
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            • Posted by airfredd22 6 years, 10 months ago
              ReL jbrenner,

              as you may recall, we have been of different opinion on a few things in the past, but I muat acknowledge your well thought out and written commentary above. On the other hand, i must also differ with you on the opinion that Brat or any other christian can be an objectivist and still believe in God. as to his ability to take the "Galt Oath," as a believer, you couldn't be more wrong.

              Ms. Rand's atheism was based more on her growing up in Russia than on any real disagreement with Christianity. I don't doubt that she refused to believe in a God, yet her moral principles are in fact in line with christian beliefs.

              Fred Speckmann
              commonsenseforamericans@yahoo.com
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              • Posted by ShruginArgentina 6 years, 10 months ago
                Perhsps Alisa Rosenbaum 's (pen name Ayn Rand) atheism (and any "disagreement" she may have had with Christianity) was more likely the result of being able to reason as well as having been born into a non-practicing Jewish family than her geographic location.

                She was born in early 1905 and the Russian Revolution did not occur until 1917 when she was twelve. I seriously doubt she became an Atheist after reading the Communist Manifesto or being exposed to communist propaganda prior to her departure from th Soviet Union in 1926..

                I grew up in the US Bible Belt (in a city on the circumference of Project X) and was raised by very religious (Christian) parents who, ironically, also taught me to think for myself. My transformation to Atheism occurred after reading Atlas Shrugged for the first time at age seventeen.

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                • Posted by airfredd22 6 years, 10 months ago
                  Re: ShruginArgentina,

                  The sheer arrogance of believing as an atheist that they are always smarter than anyone else is truly amazing.

                  What I offer is an opinion that is open to debate. I don't for a moment believe that I have the answer that everyone should accept. i offer food for thought whether it's on Christianity or Ayn Rand's philosophy.

                  The irony is that your explanation for Ayn Rand's atheism in fact proves my point that she was very likely affected by the pervasive communism i.e atheism that she grew up under.

                  The point I was making is primarily about her philosophy being very much in line with Christianity and that the two are not mutually exclusive. Her philosophy is very much like mine and mine is certainly influenced by Christianity. I lay no claim on perfection but I would like to achieve it and if I ever did, it would be influenced by both the christian philosophy of Jesus and have no conflict with the philosophy of Ayn Rand.

                  Fred Speckmann
                  commonsenseforamericans@yahoo.com
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                  • Posted by ShruginArgentina 6 years, 10 months ago
                    RE: FredSpeckman,

                    If, prior to making your baseless assertions (and indigestible "food for thought") about Ayn Rand's Atheism and my (assumed) arrogance, you took five minutes to search "Ayn Rand Atheism quotes" in google you would have been able to find this:

                    "Ayn Rand was an atheist. According to her one-time associate Barbara Branden, Rand became an atheist at age thirteen. Branden records Rand writing in her diary at that age: "Today I decided to be an atheist." Branden then reports her as later explaining, "I had decided that the concept of God is degrading to men. Since they say that God is perfect, man can never be that perfect, then man is low and imperfect and there is something above him – which is wrong." [Branden, PAR, p. 35.] Branden continues that Rand's "second reason" is that "no proof of the existence of God exists."

                    Rand therefore proposes two objections to the existence of God. First, belief in God degrades man, by positing something "higher" or more "perfect." Belief in God is anti-man. Second, there is no proof for the existence of God. While Rand would later emphasize the irrationality of belief in God, the impression from her writings is that her principal objection to belief in God was a moral or psychological one." [Ryan, OCR, p. 270.]

                    Also: "It is important to keep in mind that Rand opposed religion at its most basic level. That is to say, she believed that it was untrue in all its manifestations and that its consequences were disastrous."

                    In "Requiem for Man" she sees Catholicism as the principal rival to communism: "Today, Catholicism and communism may well cooperate, on the premise that they will fight each other for power later, but must first destroy their common enemy, the individual, by forcing mankind to unite to form one neck-ready for one leash." [Rand, CUI, p. 316.]

                    http://rebirthofreason.com/Articles/Pari...

                    Even though she saw the Catholic church as a rival to Communism (and the actions of Pope John Paul II would prove this to be true), it is absurd to claim that the "Christian philosophy of Jesus" is not in conflict with the philosophy of Ayn Rand.

                    In her own words:

                    (The following excerpt is from a letter to Sylvia Austin dated July 9, 1946, in Letters of Ayn Rand, p. 287):

                    "There is a great, basic contradiction in the teachings of Jesus. Jesus was one of the first great teachers to proclaim the basic principle of individualism -- the inviolate sanctity of man's soul, and the salvation of one's soul as one's first concern and highest goal; this means -- one's ego and the integrity of one's ego. But when it came to the next question, a code of ethics to observe for the salvation of one's soul -- (this means: what must one do in actual practice in order to save one's soul?) -- Jesus (or perhaps His interpreters) gave men a code of altruism, that is, a code which told them that in order to save one's soul, one must love or help or live for others. This means, the subordination of one's soul (or ego) to the wishes, desires or needs of others, which means the subordination of one's soul to the souls of others.

                    This is a contradiction that cannot be resolved. This is why men have never succeeded in applying Christianity in practice, while they have preached it in theory for two thousand years. The reason of their failure was not men's natural depravity or hypocrisy, which is the superficial (and vicious) explanation usually given. The reason is that a contradiction cannot be made to work. That is why the history of Christianity has been a continuous civil war -- both literally (between sects and nations), and spiritually (within each man's soul)."

                    http://www.noblesoul.com/orc/texts/jesus...

                    Anyone who understands the meaning of the word "contradiction" should be able to understand the reason that Christianity and Objectivism will be "forever" locked in an unresolvable conflict. A compromise between the two should be unacceptable to both "sides" for obvious reasons.


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                    • Posted by airfredd22 6 years, 10 months ago
                      Re: ShruginArgentina,

                      Thank you for your response to my commentary.

                      However in your spirited defense of Ayn Rand’s acknowledged atheism you simply overlooked several points that I was making.

                      I never stated that Ayn Rand didn’t claim to be an atheist; she surely did so through her writings and in her interviews. My point was that she was simply wrong. Her philosophy, which I agree with and admire very much quite often, at least in my humble opinion, corresponds to the philosophy of Christianity. I have no desire to change your opinion of her atheism; my purpose is to point out the contradictions. I write these opinions for the purpose of providing “food for thought” among her many admirers. Whether any of them change their mind about Christianity is of little concern to me. My life does not revolve around creating converts but to cause people to think beyond their personal limitations. In that process, it also provides me with reasons to re-think many of my own beliefs and opinions.

                      The major points of Christian and Ayn Rand’s philosophy are the following.

                      A belief that hard work should be rewarded by whomever is willing to pay the worker or the producer of that work.

                      That the individual has a right to the fruit of his labor.

                      Yes, even that no man should sacrifice for another and no man has a right to have any sacrifices made on his behalf. However that does not mean that man can not voluntarily choose to make a sacrifice to whoever he wishes.
                      No one should ever be forced to do anything and that his life is his own to do with whatever he or she wishes.

                      We are all responsible for our own actions and brute force by governments to take man’s property can never be justified.

                      These are just a few of the similar principles of Ayn Rand and Christianity.

                      What you took to be offensive were in fact only my opinions that can hopefully be debated. I happen to believe that neither mine nor your opinions are absolute.

                      Fred Speckmann
                      commonsenseforamericans@yahoo.com
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                      • Posted by ShruginArgentina 6 years, 10 months ago
                        I grew up believing that the major point of Christianity was individual salvation. While Ayn Rand was focused on the individual, she was only concerned with life on this earth, not "life" after death, which she clearly did not believe to be possible.

                        I never heard anyone who claimed to be a Christian assert that property rights were a major point of their faith and I cannot find anything to support that assertion in the Bible. Ayn Rand, however, believed that without property rights, the concept of individuals rights was meaningless.

                        I cannot find anything in the New Testament to support the idea that opposition to the seizure of property by government is a a principle of Christianity. I can, however, find what I believe to be a "reference" to sacrifice:

                        "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done." (Matthew 16:24-27)

                        PS: I wasn't offended by your opinions. I was surprised by the insinuations in your comments. They did nothing to support your opinions.


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                        • Posted by airfredd22 6 years, 10 months ago
                          Re: ShrugArgentina,

                          Does the Commandment below ring a bell?

                          Thou shalt not steal

                          What does a thief steal except property of another; therefore Ayn Rand’s and Christian philosophy are in fact the same.

                          It is always amazing to me that Atheists make such a great effort to deny Christianity as a valid philosophy whether they believe in God or not. They spend all their time trying to convert Christians to their belief system when most Christians look for and often find that they in fact treat their belief, Atheism, as a religion. Atheists of course deny that fact but it is very obvious to all but them.

                          Christians are indeed gratified when anyone decides to believe, but Christians only want to offer their views to anyone willing to listen. We don’t sue to outlaw atheism as Atheists are constantly suing to outlaw Christianity at every turn.

                          I know that I will not convince you that Ayn Rand for whatever reason proclaimed herself to be an Atheist and chose not to believe in life after death, Christians however do believe in it, that’s why it’s called faith. Some people have it and others don’t.

                          Fred Speckmann
                          commonsenseforamericans@yahoo.com
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                          • Posted by ShruginArgentina 6 years, 10 months ago
                            "What does a thief steal except property of another; therefore Ayn Rand’s and Christian philosophy are in fact the same."

                            Is this supposed to be a syllogism ?

                            It appears to be a question followed by an unsupported conclusion. It does not follow the simple formula of a syllogism and your "conclusion" is not logically derived.

                            I know Ayn Rand did not believe in stealing, but it doesn't logically follow that her philosophy is the same as Christianity,

                            As a matter of fact, the "commandment" you referred to above appears in the Old Testament.

                            Would it not therefore be correct (using your form of 'logic") to conclude that her philosophy is actually the same as Judaism?

                            The Koran also forbid stealing. Does that make her philosophy the same as Islam?

                            PS: Ayn Rand clearly did believe in all of the Ten Commandments. Frank O'Connor was her "ideal man" in real life and she placed no God above him. Nonetheless, she may have granted herself an exemption for commandment number seven as well.





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                            • Posted by airfredd22 6 years, 10 months ago
                              Re: ShruginArgentina,
                              You speak of logic, yet I see no evidence that you understand the concept. There’s a reason why I used the philosophy of Christianity and not Islam. While the Koran also forbids stealing like the Bible in the 10 Commandments, there are many differences in the two books and philosophies. Is there one thing written in the Bible that Ayn Rand would find objectionable with the exception that she didn’t believe in an afterlife?

                              For that matter do you think I, as a Christian disagree with anything in her philosophy? I disagree with her only in the sense that I believe in Christianity and she doesn’t. That does not make her an evil person; I can still admire her thought processes and her writings.

                              It is you that wants to push her and other peoples claim to Atheism. I have no objection to that belief, but I do have an objection to the Atheists constant desire to destroy the concept of Christianity. You have quoted the Bible to me several times; sadly I don’t believe that you have an understanding of it. For that matter I’m not convinced that you understand Ayn Rand’s core of her philosophy either.

                              I have the freedom to choose my faith and you have yours, but you don’t have the right to dictate to me what my belief should be. Zeroing in on Atheism will not allow anyone to find justice or happiness. Good luck following your path, I’m very comfortable following mine.

                              Fred
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                              • Posted by ShruginArgentina 6 years, 10 months ago

                                "Is there one thing written in the Bible that Ayn Rand would find objectionable with the exception that she didn’t believe in an afterlife?"

                                Yes, the concept of altruism.

                                Altruism means “selfless” concern for the welfare of others. Altruism is not synonymous to charity, because in truth and in reality, altruism makes charity impossible, as it imposes obligation on the individual to put the interest and welfare of others above his own.

                                Relying on Aristotle’s philosophy, philosopher Ayn Rand offered the most proper definition of individualism, by identifying its metaphysical, epistemological, ethical, and political foundation. Both Aristotle and Ayn Rand reject the morality of altruism. Aristotle rejects altruism because he champions rational egoism. For example in his theory of friendship in Nichomachaean Ethics, the philosopher contends that an individual must befriend himself first before he can befriend others.

                                On the other hand, Ayn Rand rejects altruism because according to her, “the basic principle of altruism is that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that service to others is the only justification of his existence, and that self-sacrifice is his highest moral duty, virtue and value.”

                                Ayn Rand wrote in the Virtue of Selfishness:

                                “Individualism regards man—every man—as an independent, sovereign entity who possesses an inalienable right to his own life, a right derived from his nature as a rational being. Individualism holds that a civilized society, or any form of association, cooperation or peaceful coexistence among men, can be achieved only on the basis of the recognition of individual rights—and that a group, as such, has no rights other than the individual rights of its members.”

                                http://fvdb.wordpress.com/2010/11/05/the...

                                There are a number of Christians who strongly disagree with Rand's definition of altruism, even claiming that she distorted the Christian view of altruism. If they are correct, her philosophy cannot be the same as Christianity.

                                https://www.google.com.ar/search?client=...

                                I have no desire to destroy the concept of Christianity. I want it to be known for exactly what it is and it is not the same as the philosophy of Ayn Rand. It requires a fallacious argument to "conclude" that it is. It is also fallacious to make an "argument" with expressions like, "sadly, I don't believe that you have an understanding of it (the Bible) or "For that matter I’m not convinced that you understand Ayn Rand’s core of her philosophy either." It's more ad hominem.

                                I acknowledge that what I have done in this post is zero in on altruism and, in this topic, I have zeroed in on your claims that the philosophy of Ayn Rand is the same as Christianity. That is an equivocation that requires a massive amount of evasion (if not misrepresentation) of what she actually believed and expressed.

                                The last thing I would ever consider doing is dictate to you what your beliefs should be, but don't expect me to remain silent when you misrepresent the "beliefs" of Ayn Rand in a website like this.

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                                • Posted by airfredd22 6 years, 10 months ago
                                  Re: ShruginArgentina,
                                  We’ll just have to agree to disagree. I am convinced by your comments that you neither understand Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism, nor Christian philosophy.

                                  That’s only my opinion. I wish you well in yours. As an admirer of Ayn Rand’s books and philosophy I see absolutely no conflict between the two. How could I when I am a practicing Christian and also believe her philosophy to be consistent for a life of business and labor. The simple problem we have to deal with are the corrupt politicians that have abused people all over the world and that includes our politicians in the United States.

                                  I wish you well,

                                  Fred
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                            • Posted by ShruginArgentina 6 years, 10 months ago
                              PS: "The seizure of property by government" has not always been considered stealing, even by Jesus when he was shown a coin bearing the image of the emperor:

                              …(19) "Show Me the coin used for the poll-tax." And they brought Him a denarius. (20) And He said to them, "Whose likeness and inscription is this?" (21) They said to Him, "Caesar's." Then He said to them, "Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and to God the things that are God's."…Matthew 22:19-21

                              As an Objectivist, Ayn Rand believed that all taxation constitutes the seizure of property and, based on the above scripture, that belief is not consistent with "Christian" philosophy.

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              • Posted by $ 6 years, 10 months ago
                Fred, we have had some interesting discussions in the past, and I appreciate your compliment.

                Regarding the oath, we will agree to disagree on whether a Christian will be able to take Galt's oath. It could be reasonably argued that a Christian didn't ask Jesus to live his life for us, but a Christian who takes his/her faith seriously should be living their lives for Jesus.
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                • Posted by airfredd22 6 years, 10 months ago
                  Re: jbrenner,

                  That is my very point, yes Christians should live their lives for Jesus, but what you fail to understand is that doing so is by the Christians choice. free will is what ayn Rand's philosophy is all about as it is for Christians. I'm always puzzled that atheists can't seem to understand that. even Ayn Rand missed that understanding about christianity. considering that she was raised in Russia it is not really surprising.

                  To therefore decide that a Christian couldn't take that oath is an absurdity of the strongest order.

                  Fred Speckmann
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                  • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
                    Ayn Rand's ethics are fundamentally different than Christianity and its ethics. This is not a matter of free will and choice in a social context as some kind of common ground. Ayn Rand's ethics are not "all about" freedom to do what you want regardless of what it is. She rejected hedonism and did not base her ethics on libertarian politics, which is upside down.

                    Anyone can always choose to live any way he wants to anywhere and take the consequences in both its affect on his personal life and in accordance with whatever political system he lives under. That does not mean he is living in accordance with Ayn Rand's ethical principles.

                    Moral philosophy is more fundamental than politics. You have to know what man's nature is and what is right for him in making choices before you can know what social system is proper. Every moral system implies a political system.

                    Ayn Rand did not misunderstand Christianity. She rejected it.

                    Her morality of rational self interest implies and requires a politics of capitalism; Christianity does not. An ethics requiring a duty to serve others has consequences for political philosophy. Capitalism cannot be defended based on Christianity.

                    You should read the non-fiction books.
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                    • Posted by airfredd22 6 years, 10 months ago
                      Re: ewy,
                      What I’m about to write is not meant in any disrespect to your opinions stated above. However, I must say that your understanding of my points are negligent at best.
                      First of all, I’m not arguing that free will in accordance with Christianity allow Christians to engage in Hedonism or any other immoral behavior as defined in Christianity. The point I was making is that Ayn Rand’s philosophy and principles of how free people should live are in accordance with Christianity not the other way around. I’m stating that her philosophy is based on the philosophy of Jesus Christ whether you accept Him as a Deity or not. I don’t question that she did not believe in Christianity, but that’s only because she didn’t recognize the similarity, doubtlessly as a result of having grown up in a Russian Atheist society. For that matter, it doesn’t matter that she proclaimed herself to be an Atheist. As a Christian I have absolutely no conflict with her beliefs. The difference is that I recognize Christianity both as a faith and as a philosophy.
                      The question then becomes of whether Rand’s philosophy is positive or not. I believe it is, as is Christianity.
                      I’m not sure as to the meaning of your remark about that I should be reading the “non-fiction books.” I have been reading all her books for almost 50 years since shortly after publication as a young man.
                      I also believe that I may have a little more understanding of her background as I was born and lived as a boy in East Germany under Soviet domination where Christianity was to say the least frowned upon.
                      It always amazes me that instead of engaging in debate, some of the commentators in the Gulch tend to assume themselves to be smarter than everyone else and seem to have trouble engaging in debate about the nuances of Ayn Rand’s writings. None of us have an insight into her mind.
                      During the decades of my reading and re-reading her works, I continue to discover new meanings in her work.
                      Above all else, I have always admired her insight into the future, much of it based upon her past in Russia. I do believe strongly that the very background and history of her early life as is mine, has provided her with the insights that allowed her to see the true future of this nation and caused her to write Atlas Shrugged as a warning tome to us all.
                      Fred Speckmann
                      commonsenseforamericans@yahoo.com
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                      • Posted by ShruginArgentina 6 years, 10 months ago
                        "It always amazes me that instead of engaging in debate, some of the commentators in the Gulch tend to assume themselves to be smarter than everyone else and seem to have trouble engaging in debate about the nuances of Ayn Rand’s writings. None of us have an insight into her mind."


                        What is there to "nuance" about the fact that she became an athiest at the age of thirteen and never wrote anything that would suggest that decision had anything to do with communism, which she abhorred?

                        What amazes me is how those who want to be "Christian Objectivists" have to misrepresent her history and philosophy in order to find "new meanings" in her writings, while saying no one has an insight into her mind.

                        She clearly recognized a similarity as well as an inherent contradiction between Christianity and Objectivism when she wrote:

                        "There is a great, basic contradiction in the teachings of Jesus. Jesus was one of the first great teachers to proclaim the basic principle of individualism -- the inviolate sanctity of man's soul, and the salvation of one's soul as one's first concern and highest goal; this means -- one's ego and the integrity of one's ego. But when it came to the next question, a code of ethics to observe for the salvation of one's soul -- (this means: what must one do in actual practice in order to save one's soul?) -- Jesus (or perhaps His interpreters) gave men a code of altruism, that is, a code which told them that in order to save one's soul, one must love or help or live for others. This means, the subordination of one's soul (or ego) to the wishes, desires or needs of others, which means the subordination of one's soul to the souls of others.

                        This is a contradiction that cannot be resolved. This is why men have never succeeded in applying Christianity in practice, while they have preached it in theory for two thousand years. The reason of their failure was not men's natural depravity or hypocrisy, which is the superficial (and vicious) explanation usually given. The reason is that a contradiction cannot be made to work. That is why the history of Christianity has been a continuous civil war -- both literally (between sects and nations), and spiritually (within each man's soul)."

                        http://www.noblesoul.com/orc/texts/jesus......

                        Anyone who truly believes in subordinating their self (aka soul) to the soul of others would not be able to honestly take Galt's oath. The term "Christian Objectivist" is a contradiction in terms. No one has to be "smarter than everyone else" to realize this fact.

                        They just have to be able to think logically (without contradiction).


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                    • Posted by $ stargeezer 6 years, 10 months ago
                      I differ, Ayn rejected religion as she was exposed to it in Russia as a child (Russian Orthodox), she never understood protestant Christianity. There is a huge difference between the two. Russian Ortho. is most similar to Catholicism, but even as close as it is the doctrinal problems that make it objectionable to Objectivists exist.

                      Now we all know we are talking generalities, it's hard to know just what she took in, but nothing I've read showed any exposure to anything but these. That established as much as possible, all we can say is that she dis not understand protestant doctrines even as she laid them out in Atlas Shrugged. Yes, even in the strikers oath.
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                      • Posted by ewv 6 years, 9 months ago
                        Ayn Rand understood the nature of religion very well. She knew a lot more than what she experienced with religion as a child in Russia and rejected it entirely for good reason, with all its variants and competing sects. There are no exceptions for "protestantism". Your religious mysticism contradicts Ayn Rand's ideas in all fundamentals and you can't save it from that by appeals to some preferred sect and ridiculous accusations that she "didn't understand it".
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                      • Posted by ShruginArgentina 6 years, 10 months ago
                        Alisa Rosenbaum (pen name Ayn Rand) was born into a middle class Jewish family in the midst of tsarist Russia. If she rejected religion as a child it may not have been because she was "exposed" to the Russian Orthodox church. It may have been due to her ability to reason. Even if she had not rejected religion entirely, it would not have been at all surprising for her to reject Christianity simply on the basis of being Jewish (albeit with no involvement in Jewish religious life).
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      • Posted by RevJay4 6 years, 10 months ago
        The "faith in God" reference tells me that he understands that not all citizens can be counted on to use their own internal guide, via reasoning, to do the right thing. While the faith in God and heavenly rewards gives some folks an additional reason to behave themselves when dealing with their fellow man. My faith comes from looking around me every day for 70+ years and seeing wonders I can't explain with science.
        The "needs", "economic justice", and "opportunities" are addressed by "responsibilities as citizens in a free society". To me that last phrase states folks are responsible for their own lives and the choices they make in pursuing their own needs, etc. I, nor the government via my taxes, are responsible for their poor choices.
        For myself, I have no problem with his beliefs as stated. To me they are clear.
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        • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
          RevJay4: "My faith comes from looking around me every day for 70+ years and seeing wonders I can't explain with science."

          Science is not omniscience. There is always more to understand. That is not achieved by a "fallback" position of mysticism as a substitute. It explains nothing.
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          • Posted by RevJay4 6 years, 10 months ago
            It works for me. May not be for everyone. Ain't my job to convince others to my way of looking at things which seem to be "mysticism" to some. In my life, I still seek answers to the questions "why" and "how". As science answers the questions with proof, not "consensus" as in the "global warming" theory, I'll adjust. As this is a "free" country, so far, I'll ignore the PC police and keep on trucking.
            Like I said, it works for me, but, maybe, not for thee. And, here on the Gulch, we are encouraged to have independent thought and ideas. None more valid nor worthy than the other. Just different. Get it?
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            • Posted by ewv 6 years, 9 months ago
              Faith in the supernatural does not work for anyone as a means for obtaining knowledge. Belief in the absence or in contradiction to reason is not a default position for "explaining" that which you don't otherwise understand because you haven't figure it out. Fantasy is not a tool of cognition.
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              • Posted by RevJay4 6 years, 9 months ago
                See last part of my comment for further elucidation of my point of view. Try not to close your mind to the possibilities in the universe. I may be disappointed in the future, or, you might be by whatever is at the end of this ride we call life. Never can tell.
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        • Posted by airfredd22 6 years, 10 months ago
          Re: RevJay4,
          Bravo for your analysis of the election results and your religious beliefs. In my opinion, too many gulchers seem to be at the least agnostic if not actually Atheists. As you stated about the wonders you have witnessed that science can't explain.

          Fred Speckmann
          commonsenseforamericans@yahoo.com
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          • Posted by $ rockymountainpirate 6 years, 10 months ago
            "In my opinion, too many gulchers seem to be at the least agnostic if not actually Atheists."

            True. So what the problem?
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            • Posted by Zenphamy 6 years, 10 months ago
              So someone finally gets us.
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              • Posted by $ stargeezer 6 years, 10 months ago
                I certainly have no problem with folks who don't hold my views on the world, the universe and all that's out there, I only object to the opinions of people who said that I don't belong here because I believe in God. (this is NOT directed to you Zen) I certainly won't tell you that you must think like me to talk to me.
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              • Posted by RevJay4 6 years, 10 months ago
                Yep. Some folks don't need the faith in God to behave themselves, some do. Not all "human beans" are on the same path to whatever, thus the diversity of belief practices, or none at all. As long as they refrain from attempting to force their opinions on anyone, including the Gulch folks, Its cool with me. And I welcome their contributions to the discussions here, makes me think harder, and continue to learn.
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        • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
          Ayn Rand showed exactly how the morality of "ought" depends on what "is" by showing the facts that give rise to it.

          The reigns of terror of totalitarian dictators were not the result of reason. That vicious attack on reason is disgusting.
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    • Posted by Robbie53024 6 years, 10 months ago
      Objectivists shouldn't be frightened off by a reference to God.
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      • Posted by khalling 6 years, 10 months ago
        Who 's frightened? I don 't like the second point about responsibility. Sounds a little nationalistic. AndI do not think belief in God is the essential part of morality. A personal philosophy founded in reason and based on natural rights is. When I heard him speak last night he said as much. He talked aboutgoverning through a philosophy based on the philosophy of our founders. He listed off starting with getting back to a free enterprise system, regaining the rule of law in the Constitution,, protecting property rights, fiscal responsibility in govt and then he said immigration. So I 'm good with that
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        • Posted by $ blarman 6 years, 10 months ago
          I guess I would look on it that if you want individual rights, you have to be willing to assume the responsibilities that come with them, ie voting, paying taxes, working, etc. I don't find anything in there that espouses any kind of irrational "responsibility to the collective" or such nonsense.
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        • Posted by Robbie53024 6 years, 10 months ago
          We've had these discussions before, and I think we both know one another's views.

          Unfortunately, there are some (here and on more hard core O boards) who insist on atheistic purity and will discount this candidate on that aspect alone.
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          • Posted by khalling 6 years, 10 months ago
            well they can say that, but if they are the Os who need the ARI seal of approval-Professor Brat has it. ARI (Ayn Rand Institute, fred)
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            • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
              ARI does not endorse political candidates and as a tax exempt 501(c)3 is not allowed to. (Don't we all have enough problems with tax agencies?) They also do not endorse the views of recipients of the BB&T grants, which are not controlled by ARI, and are only intended to put the moral foundations of capitalism into the curriculum with at least some inclusion of Ayn Rand as a serious alternative.

              Whatever Brat's politics and improvement over Cantor, no one should be excited about Brat being an advocate of Ayn Rand's philosophy. Despite the reports claiming he loves Ayn Rand, etc., there has been no supporting evidence for that, only that he likes Atlas Shrugged and has been "influenced" by it in politics, that he "appreciates" her "case" for human freedom and markets, and that he is in deep with religion and has also been influenced by the likes of Calvin and Niebuhr.

              He may be "appreciating" Ayn Rand's arguments only enough to get BT&T money used primarily to promote his religion as the alleged moral foundation of everything while only liking a few of Ayn Rand's formulations at the level of politics, which does more harm than good if that's what he is doing.

              Until we see the one article he co-authored on Ayn Rand's moral philosophy we don't know explicitly what his position on it is or if he understands it at all. If someone finds a link to it, please post it on gg. Meanwhile be glad that Cantor is gone and watch your back.
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              • Posted by $ CBJ 6 years, 10 months ago
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                • Posted by $ 6 years, 10 months ago
                  Regarding the "full article", what is being referred to as a "paper" are technically conference proceedings. That doesn't mean that the talk did not happen. It just means that the only permanent documentation are the conference proceedings. To be fair to Dr. Brat, many talks without conference proceedings are referred to as papers.
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                  • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
                    He describes it as both "presented and published in the proceedings", and it is listed in the "2010 Southeastern INFORMS Conference Proceedings Papers Listed by Track and Chronological Presentation Session" under a different title, "Testing Ayn Rand's Moral Foundations of Capitalism: 20 Testable Hypotheses on the Nature of Capitalism".

                    "Southeast Informs", turns out to have been an annual multi-disciplinary meeting of a chapter of InfORMS, the Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences.

                    The paper he delivered is apparently not available in written form, but a 4 page printed summary was released prior to the presentation under the alternate title. The summary describes it not as a philosophical analysis or evaluation of a philosophy of moral foundations, but as an attempt to statistically "test" political goals using "freedom indices" compiled by the World Bank for different countries today.

                    "We plan to explore the moral foundations of Randian capitalism as Ayn Rand defined them and compare these ideas to several prominent western philosophical thinkers. We then plan to line these ideas up with real world economic variables and to test what it is possible to test. Is economic freedom good? Is it correlated with many of the goods we desire?"

                    And

                    "There are obviously arguments for and against capitalism and there are both societal advantages and disadvantages to such a system. I plan to examine these advantages and disadvantages; examining whether in fact the advantages of competition and the free market system that Rand so strongly advocates in both her pieces of fiction and nonfiction outweigh disadvantages of capitalism. For Rand, this is almost easy by definition, but social science must [d]o better. The debate must be put forward in falsifiable and testable terms."
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                    • Posted by $ 6 years, 10 months ago
                      That seems reasonable enough to me. In some cases, publishing in conference proceedings prevents one from publishing the same in scholarly journals. The line on this is kind of fuzzy.
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                      • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
                        Ari Armstrong reported that InfORMS told him he might have published it somewhere else, implying that they don't forbid it.

                        I have no idea why it has not been made available. I have only been trying to find out first hand what he thinks about Ayn Rand's philosophy.
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              • Posted by Robbie53024 6 years, 10 months ago
                I think you're attributing far to nefarious a perspective on Mr. Brat. He seems genuinely to espouse a theistic Objectivist view.
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                • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
                  There is no such thing as "theistic Objectivism". That is a self-contradiction. Ayn Rand's philosophy is a coherent position relating all the major topics of the branches of philosophy, not a Chinese menu of out of context slogans amenable to grafting with diametrically opposite positions like mysticism.

                  If that is what Brat is doing then it _is_ nefarious, but there has been no evidence so far that he is doing that. There are no details at all so far available on his views of Ayn Rand's philosophy. There are many possibilities.
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                  • Posted by $ CBJ 6 years, 10 months ago
                    It’s true that there's no such thing as "theistic Objectivism," but in the political real world, theistic admirers of Ayn Rand's political philosophy is the best we can expect at the moment. No avowed atheist has a chance to be elected to any higher federal office.
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                    • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
                      We vote to select one person to be in power from an alternative that we have no choice over. Voting by nature is not a philosophical endorsement. One of several important factors is the candidate's mental abilities to act and behave rationally and competently, including but not limited to not pursuing theocratic agendas and not being a crackpot flake.

                      Not much is now known publicly about Brat other than vague free market tendencies and slogans, with a religious twist. It behooves us to find out. There will be no candidates anywhere near a rational ideal in many aspects for a very long time (if ever).

                      "Atheism" as such is secondary; it is a negative position only denying belief in the supernatural and tells us nothing about what the person does believe.
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                  • Posted by Robbie53024 6 years, 10 months ago
                    Why? Just be AR said so? Did somebody make her God (or Goddess)? You seem to believe that a theist cannot develop the same perspective starting from a different foundation. That is irrational.
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                    • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
                      You said that I attributed too nefarious a perspective to Dave Brat because you think he is a "theistic objectivist" and I replied that there is no evidence that he is that bad.

                      Objectivism is Ayn Rand's philosophy. That is why she got to say what it is rather than you. There is no such thing as "theistic Objectivism". If you want to steal some of Ayn Rand's ideas from what you regard as a Chinese menu to munge them with contradictions as if ideas were pawns floating on a table to be manipulated and interchanged with plug'N'play while calling it "developing from a different perspective", then pick another name for whatever you want rather than trying to imply it is a kind of Objectivism. It isn't. You are contradicting it.
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                      • Posted by Robbie53024 6 years, 10 months ago
                        Well, let's examine the facts. Brat believes in God and is a devotee of AR and the ARI. You claim there's no evidence that he supports the ideas of AR or the ARI, yet he has expressed such support. Thus, you must be attributing these reports as nefarious subterfuge by Mr. Brat to lure in the O's and L's to his support.

                        And, if one believes in a deity, and expresses support for O, then ipso facto, one must be a theistic Objectivist.
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                        • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
                          Brat has said that he is "not a Randian" but "appreciates" some of her arguments for "political freedom and the free market". He is not a "devotee of AR and the ARI". There is no evidence that he believes your "theistic Objectivism" nonsense, and if he or anyone else does it still remains a contradiction and not a kind of Objectivism. There is no such thing as "theistic Objectivism", only religionists who contradict Ayn Rand's philosophy while stealing part of it and expropriating the name, calling the resulting mish-mash nonsensical "theistic Objectivism". That does not make the mish mash a kind of "Objectivism". Believe whatever you want, but at least have the honesty to disassociate it from Ayn Rand.
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                          • -2
                            Posted by Robbie53024 6 years, 10 months ago
                            Why? Again, you seem to believe that whatever AR said is infallible, thus you have made her god.
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                            • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
                              Stop your nonsensical ad hominem strawmen. No one one believes Ayn Rand was infallible and no one except for you has tried to appeal to such a notion. You consistently evade the facts of what Dave Brat has said and the contradictions between your theism and Ayn Rand's philosophy, which you never bother to discuss. There is no such thing as a "theistic" Objectivism.
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                              • Posted by $ stargeezer 6 years, 10 months ago
                                So you agree that she just MIGHT have been in error in her (and your) rabid atheism?
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                                • Posted by ewv 6 years, 9 months ago
                                  She was not mistaken in rejecting the destructive faith in the supernatural. Rejection of your nonsense does not make anything else an appeal to an "infallible god". Your illogical, snide personal attacks are just as irrational as your theistic promotions.
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                  • Posted by $ AJAshinoff 6 years, 10 months ago
                    Please explain to me how believing in a deity is not an Objective pursuit and cannot co-exist with Rand's philosophy?
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                    • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
                      Ayn Rejected all forms of faith and belief in the supernatural. All kinds of contradictory ideas can coexist in someone's head if he isn't careful or doesn't care, but not within a rational philosophy that rejects contradictions, let alone its literal opposite. You should read Leonard Peikoff's systematic presentation in his book "Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand" to see what she formulated in her philosophy and why.

                      She once gave a famous very brief "standing on one foot" summary in terms of the following principles, but this (as she said) isn't enough for a full understanding of their meaning, their justification and the connections between them:

                      "At a sales conference at Random House, preceding the publication of Atlas Shrugged, one of the book salesmen asked me whether I could present the essence of my philosophy while standing on one foot. I did as follows:

                      Metaphysics: Objective Reality
                      Epistemology: Reason
                      Ethics: Self-interest
                      Politics: Capitalism

                      "If you want this translated into simple language, it would read: 1. “Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed” or “Wishing won’t make it so.” 2. “You can’t eat your cake and have it, too.” 3. “Man is an end in himself.” 4. “Give me liberty or give me death.”

                      "If you held these concepts with total consistency, as the base of your convictions, you would have a full philosophical system to guide the course of your life. But to hold them with total consistency—to understand, to define, to prove and to apply them—requires volumes of thought. Which is why philosophy cannot be discussed while standing on one foot—nor while standing on two feet on both sides of every fence. This last is the predominant philosophical position today, particularly in the field of politics.

                      "My philosophy, Objectivism, holds that..."

                      See http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/object... for the rest of this summary.
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                      • -1
                        Posted by Robbie53024 6 years, 10 months ago
                        So, in essence, you have made AR "God." That seems to be a circular and self-defeating position.
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                        • Posted by khalling 6 years, 10 months ago
                          I reject that. You set up AR as a "God" which is a false argument. If I have learned Newtonian physics, I accept Newton as a God? Or accepting logic sets up Aristotle as a God? stick to facts and evidence
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                          • -3
                            Posted by Robbie53024 6 years, 10 months ago
                            Well, if AR is infallible, then that would be saying the same thing.

                            You reject any evidence that I can provide on the existence of a deity, so I cannot "prove" the existence. Neither can you "prove" that a deity does not exist.

                            My argument is with those who say that AR said so, so it must automatically be the final "truth." That, in essence, is calling her "God." That I reject.
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                            • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
                              No one said Ayn Rand was infallible or that "AR said so, so it must automatically be the final 'truth'". Drop the strawman arguments projecting your own psychology onto others.

                              AJAshinoff asked "how believing in a deity is not an Objective pursuit and cannot co-exist with Rand's philosophy?" and was given an answer, which neither of you have yet to acknowledge, let alone discuss. The answer requires knowing what Ayn Rand's philosophy is and her explanations for it. Your religious pronouncements contradict it.

                              Neither you nor anyone else has given "evidence" of a supernatural being. Existence is not "evidence" of the supernatural. The religious 'arguments' have for centuries ranged from overt mysticism to a long history in the Catholic orthodoxy of rationalistic fallacies regarding reason as a handmaiden to faith. The arguments are now used as classic examples of logical fallacies.

                              No "proof" of non-existence is required to reject unsubstantiated assertions, which is all atheism is: the rejection of a belief in a god.
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                            • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 6 years, 10 months ago
                              No one says that, except people who claim that others do. Citing Ayn Rand is merely canonical. It does help to sort out _opinions_ and _interpretations_ from the actually content of _Objectivism_. This is especially important with technical language that can be mistaken for vernacular. See khalling above on Newton. We use "weight" and "mass" interchangeably in common talk - and wrongly so. Similarly, conservatives who were "influenced" by Ayn Rand have all kinds of opinions about immigration, national defense, and the role of religion in government. Citing Rand verbatim helps to keep the opinions attached to the opinionators.
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                    • Posted by Rozar 6 years, 10 months ago
                      Because God's don't objectively exist.
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                      • Posted by $ AJAshinoff 6 years, 10 months ago
                        Keplar 22b doesn't exist either then. There are a thousand things we're told exist but we've never seen for ourselves.

                        Just because you can't physically see or experience something for yourself doesn't mean it does not exist.

                        I say this with all due respect, I'm not sure why Objectivists feel threatened by the notion that some may believe outside their perceived and self-defined box.
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                        • Posted by Rozar 6 years, 10 months ago
                          I just looked up keplar 22b and it said that it's observable and demonstrably so. Like if I wanted to see it they could show it to me.

                          I guess we all have our own criteria for determining what's real and what isn't. Keplar22b meets mine, God doesn't.
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                          • Posted by $ AJAshinoff 6 years, 10 months ago
                            Keplar 22b exists to all of us solely because the we're told that the Keplar satellite saw it. Even now there are only artists renditions based on what data (not pictures) we're told was sent back. A telescope can't see it, only that lone satellite and those assigned to monitor it, a dozen or so.

                            12 apostles eyewitness and wrote of Christ.

                            Not much difference at all, IMO.
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                            • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
                              Legends spread hundreds of years later by primitives claiming 'miracles' that contradict everything we know is no substitute for a satellite operating on physical principles, reproducible, and engineered and built by men committed to logic and reason.
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                              • Posted by $ AJAshinoff 6 years, 10 months ago
                                Yet, no one is worshiping Gilgamesh.

                                We are TOLD there are satellites out there (and we're told the Navy spends $500 on a toilet) and TOLD that they are finding planets that we will never set foot on. We are TOLD...and yet there are those who believe this is factual despite never seeing or experiencing them first hand.

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                            • -1
                              Posted by Robbie53024 6 years, 10 months ago
                              Some sycophants are incapable of having a rational discussion and will reflexively down vote anyone that they disagree with. They refuse to accept the evidence that we cite, and then having rejected it, say that no evidence exists, thus they are right. Yet, when confronted with their own "belief" in things that they cannot themselves "prove," hide like the coward they are.
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                              • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
                                There are no "sycophants" or "cowards" "incapable of rational discussion" opposing you. You are systematically evading the content of posts rejecting religious fallacies. Don't be surprised when people who know better disapprove of your posts. Your resorting to name calling is no answer to that.
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                        • Posted by $ CBJ 6 years, 10 months ago
                          "There are a thousand things we're told exist but we've never seen for ourselves." Yes, and some of the things we are told are backed by evidence and some are not. Existence itself is not evidence of a deity, and neither are "miracles".
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                          • Posted by $ AJAshinoff 6 years, 10 months ago
                            Evidence, Jesus was written about in the tomes of 3 major religions. Almost all of the cities and towns from the old an new testaments have been found using satellite imaging.

                            I still don't understand the threat to objectivism by those who believe in a deity.
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                            • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
                              Towns and cities are not supernatural. The mysticism of ancient wandering tribalists thousands of years ago passing on their myths are not evidence of contradictory supernaturalism. You are grasping at straws trying to defend mysticism while trying to steal the prestige of empirical observation as an excuse for it. You can't have it both ways.

                              Primitive belief in the supernatural is not a threat to civilization or Objectivism. It is rejected because it is screwy and irrelevant to rational knowledge, not out of fear. The threat is from irrational people committing irrational acts by physical force. Those who act on faith inevitably use force to get their way because they have no objective standards that anyone else can see in order to come to any agreement.
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                              • Posted by $ AJAshinoff 6 years, 10 months ago
                                I wasn't grasping at anything I was pointing out the fact in the existence of the person. Anything supernatural done is still a matter of eyewitness testimony and faith. Faith is personal choice - a selfish one at that made for rational reasons, no?
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                                • Posted by Robbie53024 6 years, 10 months ago
                                  Untold numbers of individuals have endured the harshest conditions, suffered through the most horrendous illnesses, and persevered after tragedy all because of faith. That alone would be reason enough to accept its benefit to humankind.
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                                  • ewv replied 6 years, 10 months ago
                                • Posted by $ AJAshinoff 6 years, 10 months ago
                                  I would add that those twelve men writing down their eyewitness accounts of what they saw as they understood them is equal to believing a scientist who claims something you will never understand or witness yourself (aka you are going on faith).
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                                  • ewv replied 6 years, 10 months ago
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                              • Posted by Robbie53024 6 years, 10 months ago
                                Which is always the response of the atheist. Those "tales" from thousands of years ago are just mysticism, even though everything that is documentable from those stories has been substantiated (the people, the places). Modern examples of supernatural phenomenon and miracles are discounted as delusions, frauds, and mass hysteria.

                                It is easy to "prove" your point when you discount out of hand those things that you don't want to agree with.

                                How do you explain the 3 girls who viewed Mary at Fatima? Or how about Colton Burpo who at the age of 4 has an experience where he describes meeting people in heaven and seeing things that he could not have seen?
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            • Posted by airfredd22 6 years, 10 months ago
              Re: khalling,
              Thank you for the reminder, however even an ignorant old man like me knows that ARI represents the Ayn Rand Institute. It does beg the question however if you truly understand the meaning of the Ayn Rand philosophy. There are many on this site that do understand, but I am amazed at the number that don't seem to have a clue.

              Fred Speckmann
              commonsenseforamericans@yahoo.com
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              • Posted by khalling 6 years, 10 months ago
                now see, fred, there you go insulting me and others on the site. I was just complying with your wishes. Enjoy your weekend.
                K
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                • Posted by airfredd22 6 years, 10 months ago
                  Re: khalling,

                  Based on your last comment directed at me you have proven the old adage that "It's better to keep silence and let others think you a fool than to speak and let it be know to be true."

                  My suggestion is that I'll just ket you prove it to be true and not be bothered to try and engage you in debate on points of difference. free speech and opinions go for everyone and sometimes criticism is justified.

                  Quote me one time where I have in fact insulted or condescended to you as you have to me.

                  Fred
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        • Posted by Maritimus 6 years, 10 months ago
          Where do you see the nationalistic tinge in that second point?
          Also, it is reasonable to assume, I think, that there are moralities and moralities. I would agree that the one based on a personal philosophy founded in reason and based on natural rights is the best one we discovered thus far. I don't see anybody claiming that the belief in God is the essential part of morality. On the other hand, we cannot deny that many people have been able to find in their belief in God a foundation for their personal philosophy for a morality that I can readily accept in very many situations. It is, I think, a kind of choice that a free society worthy of that name must never deny. Ultimately, morality is just a cognitive guide for our actions. Mistaken choice of morality (or ignorance) is no excuse for misdeeds. Is it?
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          • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
            He said that "faith in God... is essential to the moral fiber of the Nation".

            Personal philosophy is not based on natural rights. It's the other way around. Every political philosophy presupposes a moral philosophy.

            Much of the "moral principles" held by today's Christians in modern society are not due to the otherworldly mysticism of early Christianity at all. They embrace out of common sense a highly secularized version that does not depend on religion at all.
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      • Posted by $ 6 years, 10 months ago
        I'm not frightened by such a reference.
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        • Posted by Robbie53024 6 years, 10 months ago
          ;-)

          But then again, you're not a typical O.
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          • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
            Typically frightened "off" from what? The legitimate fear is of the consequences of rejecting reason for faith when carried out in principle, not some isolated person throwing out a god cliche.
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            • Posted by $ AJAshinoff 6 years, 10 months ago
              Belief in God is quite self-oriented, selfish, and purposeful. I'm not sure how or why the "reason" of Objectivism discounts the very rational belief.
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              • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
                Mysticism is not selfish and belief in the supernatural is not rational. The original Christianity was fundamentally other-worldly, preoccupied with saving one's "soul" in another, mystical world. Helping others here on earth was a distant second. It was individualistic only in concern with one's own soul in a mystic realm apart from life on earth, with an irrational duty to love everyone else as one's self as a means to soul saving. It was selflessly sacrificial for one's own life here on earth, which is the only place there is.

                Ayn Rand advocated man's nature as the standard of morality and one's own happiness here on earth as the moral goal for each individual. She rejected all forms of the supernatural and mysticism, and categorically rejected -- not "discounted" -- mysticism posing as "rational belief". Mystical "self-orientation" with a mystical "purpose" is not rational and not in one's self interest. Most professed Christians in this country have been better than than, with mixed premises, while not realizing that Christianity is the philosophy of the Dark and Middle Ages that were overthrown by the Enlightenment making American individualism possible.
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                • Posted by $ AJAshinoff 6 years, 10 months ago
                  You aren't seeing this in the proper context if you think religious belief isn't selfish or rational.

                  Where science, atheism, and objectivism stop religion begins. It is entirely selfish to want to live beyond your life. In those ways it is perfectly rational to look for ways to avoid those things. Science, atheism and objectivism have no answer to these questions.

                  Christianity has not been overthrown by the Enlightenment by any means, not when 70% of the US professes Christ in one way or another. Christianity provides a functional and acceptable social/personal code of conduct that prohibits the need for government controls (totalitarianism). The Framers didn't choose the word "inalienable" for no reason, they put certain rights above the ability of men to alter, pretty shrewd if you ask me.

                  Science deconstructs what is to understand it - it creates nothing and theorizes much.

                  Athiesm and Objectivism each have no answer for creation.

                  I'm not sure why you would take a point when I asked a question and was prepared to give you a rational answer.
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                  • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
                    The "proper context" in which to determine what is in our self interest is reality, not mysticism. Rationality is not wishful thinking in pursuit of what you want but can't a find a way to get in reality. Pursuing contradictions is not in your self interest.

                    The Enlightenment did overthrow the stranglehold of religion. Christianity was the philosophy of the Dark and Middle Ages. Theocracy and sacrifice to other worldliness were destroyed, making possible the moral acceptance of the right of the individual to his own life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness here on earth.

                    Our rights are inalienable natural rights because they are based on the nature of man, who requires freedom in order to make choices and live in accordance with his nature; rights are not mystical decrees that explain nothing while in the name of a supposedly superior mysticism concede reason to the statists, hoping that that mysticism will keep them in check as a "shrewd" maneuver while they laugh at you and do what they want.

                    The best of American Christians in the remnants of religion today pay lip service to it with little impact on their personal lives. Most of them don't even bother to go to church any more. They are productive individuals who pursue values on earth, and are much better than and have nothing in common with the sordid sense of life of the likes of Tertullian and Augustine groveling before the supernatural in the Christian era, which is the opposite of the American sense of life. But "atheism" is not an explanation of anything and is not intended to be. It is not a substitute for a positive view of life and the world, it only rejects the supernatural, making it a minor aspect of rational thought required for positive achievement.

                    Science did not "deconstruct", it made possible rational pursuit of knowledge and the engineering that has created so much. The rise of reason, individualism and science broken free from the stranglehold of religion resulted in a spectacular improvement in our lives in only a few hundred years out of millennia of primitivism. You count on it as you type at your keyboard denouncing it.

                    There is no "answer for creation" in the religious sense; there is no creation of existence as such out of literally nothing, which is meaningless. Those who want to understand the world pursue it by understanding its nature and processes rationally through science. Mystical speculation of an imagined super being running the universe is not understanding of anything, any more than primitive tribes attributing causes of everything from the weather to the growth of food to airplanes in the sky built by advanced civilization understand anything through imagined gods pulling strings.
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                    • Posted by $ 6 years, 10 months ago
                      Tertullian can best be explained as believing what he does "because this story is so crazy that for it to have survived this long, it must be true". This is, of course, a logical fallacy.

                      Many throughout time have seen the concept of a crucified deliverer as absurd, and it would be absurd if one applies logic to the situation.

                      All of this points to the idea that our universe is extremely logically laid out, and it is. Anyone with intelligence can see its order and wonder from whence it came. If one says that the order in the universe happened by a series of unlikely chances, then that person needs to answer how such remarkable order arose from disorder. A couple of months ago I referenced a list of 322 items that had to go right just to have an Earth capable of sustaining life, let alone producing life. That is just too many coincidences for me to accept. This same audience is quick to correctly point out even one "coincidence" when it comes to the Obama administration.

                      None of that, however, does not prove or disprove that there is a deity who looks at humanity very ironically and chooses whether he/she is to be revealed or not revealed. Would it not be poetic justice if those here in the Gulch and people of faith were to be confronted by someone like Q from Star Trek: The Next Generation as a quirky omniscient, omnipotent deity? My point is that we have no idea what will transpire after this life and should go on living our lives honorably. If we do that, then we will have nothing to apologize for if there is an afterlife to which we must provide an accounting.

                      I will see the universe as a child like Einstein did. I can see its order and wonder about who could create such an order. And if you call me foolish or illogical, I want you to consider how foolish you sound in mocking someone who tries to see the universe as Einstein does.
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                      • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
                        jbrenner: "All of this points to the idea that our universe is extremely logically laid out, and it is. Anyone with intelligence can see its order and wonder from whence it came. If one says that the order in the universe happened by a series of unlikely chances, then that person needs to answer how such remarkable order arose from disorder. A couple of months ago I referenced a list of 322 items that had to go right just to have an Earth capable of sustaining life, let alone producing life. That is just too many coincidences for me to accept. This same audience is quick to correctly point out even one "coincidence" when it comes to the Obama administration."

                        The physical universe did not evolve by chance as a coincidence and the universe has no "goal". Everything does what it does in accordance with its nature. If it weren't what it is now we wouldn't be here talking about it. That includes the conditions for life and the evolution of life itself. Darwin's theory of evolution was not and is not a progression of probabilities, nor was it compatible with a teleology and Creationism.

                        However we classify the distribution of entities within the physical universe as more or less uniform or "ordered" for purposes of our understanding, the universe continues to be what it is and acts accordingly. There is no metaphysical "disorder". There are only different states in a progression which we try to understand by identifying patterns and formulating principles of causality.


                        jbrenner: "None of that, however, does not prove or disprove that there is a deity who looks at humanity very ironically and chooses whether he/she is to be revealed or not revealed. Would it not be poetic justice if those here in the Gulch and people of faith were to be confronted by someone like Q from Star Trek: The Next Generation as a quirky omniscient, omnipotent deity? My point is that we have no idea what will transpire after this life and should go on living our lives honorably. If we do that, then we will have nothing to apologize for if there is an afterlife to which we must provide an accounting."

                        There is no evidence that we have any kind of soul or consciousness after physical death. All known observation requires a living, functioning, physical brain for consciousness. Anything else is pure, pointless speculation, often accompanied by equally pointless wishful thinking. We go on living our lives "honorably" in accordance with what we believe is proper for our lives while we live, not in a hope of fulfilling an unknowable future criteria for an after world, and not in accordance with standards guessed to satisfy it, hoping that by "coincidence" that they are the same.


                        "I will see the universe as a child like Einstein did. I can see its order and wonder about who could create such an order. And if you call me foolish or illogical, I want you to consider how foolish you sound in mocking someone who tries to see the universe as Einstein does."

                        Invoking the scientific prestige of Einstein as intellectual poetic intimidation for a hope of Creationism will not work. It doesn't matter what he thought about religion or deism (which wasn't much at all). We know better. We wonder how the universe works and try, like he did, to understand it. That does not imply wondering about a supposed superconsciousness creating and running everything, contradicting everything we know about the physical and biological universe.
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                        • Posted by $ 6 years, 10 months ago
                          ewv said, "The physical universe did not evolve by chance." If it did not evolve by chance, then there must have been an intelligent being behind its evolution. You just contradicted yourself, ewv.

                          I will agree with you that the universe does not have to have a goal. khalling and I had a side conversation about the existence of spontaneous order. I am not going to deny that such a thing is possible; in fact, we have seen spontaneous ordering on some scales. However, such spontaneous ordering assumes that we are progressing toward a global minimal Gibbs free energy (often confused with heat or enthalpy, which are only parts of the Gibbs free energy) and maximum entropy. If one believes that, then Darwinian evolution should be very highly disfavored as it does require an activation energy (related to the enthalpy term) to overcome. I am not saying that Darwinian evolution is impossible; in fact, I think it is part of the history that has transpired.

                          Use of Einstein was poetic intimidation. My purpose in using such intimidation is to counter the attempt of Ayn Rand and many who follow her, notably ewv, regarding atheism. Considering the possibility of the presence of a deity is not nonsensical. Many of the great minds throughout history have considered the topic. You are free to reject deism, atheism, or agnosticism. My point is that there is room for debate on this topic and that we will have no concrete answer in this life. Whether there is an afterlife or not is an equally valid question to ponder. All I am saying is that AR was dismissive of the whole topic and did not adhere to the same standards of proof that she did with regard to everything else.

                          Frankly, ewv, we don't "know better" than Einstein.
                          I knew that you would fall into my trap to claim to know better than Einstein.
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                          • Posted by khalling 6 years, 10 months ago
                            j, I am the one who used the word "nonsensical." It was regarding a statement of made about an Objectivist philosophical shortcut, not about contemplating a deity. Most cultures in the world are steeped in mysticism and religion.
                            However, Objectivism does not need to address the existence of a deity in order to be valid. As well, Rand spent a fair amount of time addressing all sorts of definitions of God, mostly from Christianity, applying reason and logic. The definitions fail due to contradictory definitions, which the religious tell us to accept on faith and reject a rational explanation for-because we cannot know. Imagine a scientific hypothesis that did the same. The religious would like to argue we must have perfect knowledge in order to have knowledge. That would assume you must know everything to know anything. We know that gravity works at a distance, however we do not yet know how.
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                            • Posted by $ 6 years, 10 months ago
                              I apologize if I offended you regarding use of the word "nonsensical" to you. Perhaps I have been reading too many of the other posts in this blog to keep track of whose postings are whose. You are always reasonable in your posts, and are worthy of respect.
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                          • Posted by khalling 6 years, 10 months ago
                            j, even geniuses like Newton can make mistakes or be driven by emotion and culture. Newton on the wrong side of the longitude debate, into alchemy- for example.. I disagree with Rand on The Theory of Evolution. You do not have to accept the whole of a person's thoughts or work to recognize and value other parts of their work as objectively valid. It seems as though you are saying we must accept all postulations of geniuses as that is the most valuable litmus. I disagree.
                            Why would you try to intimidate in arguments regarding truth? I'm confused.
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                            • Posted by $ 6 years, 10 months ago
                              I am not saying that we must accept all postulates of a great mind, but we can't immediately discount them, as is often the case with atheists on this topic.
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                            • Posted by $ 6 years, 10 months ago
                              My "intimidation" regarding the use of Einstein was necessary. The strategy of atheists has been to discount anything that disagrees with their worldview. It takes someone of exceptional chutzpah (like ewv) to claim intellectual superiority to Einstein. If Einstein, arguably the most intelligent and scientific human mind ever to exist, was willing to consider the possibility of a god, that in itself should be enough to at least keep the debate open. It should prevent people from closing the debate as "nonsensical" or "absurd" or any of the other words that atheists routinely use to shut down debate.
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                              • Posted by khalling 6 years, 10 months ago
                                j,
                                please define God.
                                Actually, in my debates with religious people, they dance around definitions so it's extremely difficult to stick to logic and reason. If you do not want to define God, then we can just have a discussion about faith. Most often in these discussions, things get heated because the participants are using different definitions for concepts.
                                Objectivists will reject contradictory reasoning. Atheists are all over the map
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                                • Posted by $ 6 years, 10 months ago
                                  For now, let's discuss God as defined in the Bible. In a future debate, we should discuss the concept of a god who simply set the Big Bang into motion.

                                  At some later point, we will discuss the issue of faith. There is no reason why anyone would have faith in a god who simply set the Big Bang into motion. There is nothing to be gained in such a pursuit. As for faith in a god who interacts very rarely in human events, there can be some discussion as to whether or not this is reasonable, but we will save that for a later time.
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                                • Posted by Robbie53024 6 years, 10 months ago
                                  The entity which created all else.

                                  And don't try the trick of what then created God. God has always existed, and will always exist. God may be beyond anything that we can comprehend, as beings of a physical world.
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                                  • Solver replied 6 years, 10 months ago
                                  • khalling replied 6 years, 10 months ago
                      • Posted by khalling 6 years, 10 months ago
                        Why would the argument assume order from a series of unlikely chances? Tell me why order is not natural and why you assume chaos is natural?
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                        • Posted by $ 6 years, 10 months ago
                          Spontaneous order is present in some physical and biological systems, and is being discussed by some as an outgrowth of the mathematics of chaos theory. In some cases, such order is "natural". It is in many ways non-Darwinian. There is that nasty little 2nd law of thermodynamics about work needing to be done to prevent the disappearance of order. Where does that work come from?

                          Granted, that argument applies to closed, equilibrium systems, and the universe is neither.
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                          • Posted by khalling 6 years, 10 months ago
                            2nd law doesn't say anything about "order"? it discusses heat. distribution of heat. for instance, as water loses energy or heat, it becomes more ordered (crystalline structure).
                            I'm going to stick here because you can run circles around me in this arena ;)
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                            • Posted by $ 6 years, 10 months ago
                              What the second law says it that entropy is constantly increasing in the absence of external work. If you use Maxwell's relations, you can express deltaG in terms of deltaH - T*deltaS.

                              More ordered crystalline structures do appear, but the impurities segregate to grain boundaries and to surfaces. The impurities are what dictate many of the other material properties. In a system without impurities, many of the spontaneous order arguments do make sense, but refinement of such impurities requires someone like me or like Rearden who know a thing or two about phase diagrams. The problem is that the world is not a system free of impurities.
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                              • Posted by khalling 6 years, 10 months ago
                                j, you'll be bored quickly with me here, But, again, it is about heat, not about order. Can you address that?
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                                • Posted by $ 6 years, 10 months ago
                                  A solid background on the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics is at http://chemwiki.ucdavis.edu/Physical_Che...

                                  If deltaG is negative, then the process occurs spontaneously. Entropy is always increasing. That is one term in the equation. Enthalpy (which most people simplify to "heat") is the other term in the equation. One can think of deltaG (the Gibbs free energy) as the energetic driving force toward equilibrium.
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                                • -1
                                  Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
                                  Heat is molecules in motion, which is described by statistical physics. Rather than try to make sense out of equations the meaning of which you have no clue, try reading the non-technical:

                                  Broda, "Ludwig Boltzmann: Man -- Physicist -- Philosopher", Ox Bow, 1983
                                  Von Baeyer, Maxwell's Demon, Random House, 1998,

                                  But this has nothing to do with the physical universe being regarded as inherently chaotic rather than operating under causality and identity. "Chaotic" and statistical mathematical descriptions are methods, not physics or metaphysics.
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                                  • khalling replied 6 years, 10 months ago
                      • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
                        jbrenner: "Tertullian can best be explained as believing what he does 'because this story is so crazy that for it to have survived this long, it must be true'. This is, of course, a logical fallacy. Many throughout time have seen the concept of a crucified deliverer as absurd, and it would be absurd if one applies logic to the situation."

                        It is a logical fallacy but it wasn't Tertullian's position. Tertullian (165-220), an early father of the church operating not long after the compilation of the New Testament taken as a Church authority, did not just believe that a crazy story must be true because it survived so long. He threw out the idea of explanation entirely and literally embraced the irrational as an act of faith. He thought that the religion itself was too bizarre to be capable of philosophical explanation. He believed revelation was both above and contrary to reason and denounced the possibility of a philosophy of the religion at all. That is how he wound up at this stage of his evolution in a crack-up as a screaming mystic literally embracing the absurd and unable to sensibly articulate it. Windelband quotes him as "credibile est, quia ineptum est; certum est -- credo quia absurdum". [Windelband, A History of Philosophy, revised, 1901, citing De Carne Chr. 5; De Praescr. 7.]

                        Fuller gives a classic translation of his position "It is believable, because it is absurd; it is certain, because it is impossible" [Fuller and McMurrin, A History of Philosophy, 3rd ed 1955]. (This is a source used by Leonard Peikoff in his lectures on the History of Western Philosophy.)

                        There are other similar quotes from Tertullian and others in the Church leadership. They make no logical sense, and by Tertullian's own principles of the time could not make sense; their statements illustrated, as they went in tortured circles trying to express the inexpressible, an embracing of absurdity as such on faith and intuition alone. This was in contrast to others who tried to buttress the faith they started with employing rationalized qualifications and fallacious 'proofs' employing "reason as a handmaiden of faith". And that is the point. It was all based on an irrational faith formulated in one form or another considered above reason.

                        About 900 years later St. Bernard [1091-1153] was still writing in the Tertullian tradition: "Like Tertullian, Bernard reveled in the incomprehensibility of this experience: 'I believe though I do not comprehend, and I hold by faith what I cannot grasp with the mind." [Jones, A History of Western Philosophy: The Medieval Mind, 2nd ed 1969.]

                        You still run across people today who gravitate towards the mysterious and feel at home mentally wallowing in the incomprehensible, but not usually with the same intensity committed across the board to their personal lives and not on a cultural scale or else we would be back to a Dark Ages, living under the philosophy of the original Dark Ages that put and kept it there for over a millennium.

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                        • Posted by $ 6 years, 10 months ago
                          Fuller's translation is an accurate translation and is consistent with what I wrote. This is one point that we should not be arguing about, ewv.
                          The line that "It is believable, because it is absurd; it is certain, because it is impossible" should have "without some outside explanation such as a deity" after both clauses. This is implied both in Tertullian's writings and in those of the apostle Paul's. I am not saying that they are reasonable or should be believed. They are absurd unless one also accepts the presence of a deity.
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                    • Posted by $ AJAshinoff 6 years, 10 months ago
                      Nothing I said was false, I think you're in denial particularly when it comes to the historical context of inalienable rights.

                      Arguing this is pointless, I've learned that atheists are some of the most closed-minded folks I've ever encountered. I'm not a very religious person, btw.

                      Writing sci-fi and simply thinking things through I've learned that its best to entertain a wide variety of ideas particularly when matters aren't settled (and they aren't).

                      I respect your position. I do not remotely agree with it.
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                      • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
                        Arguing with someone promoting religion on faith is indeed pointless. There are no standards or criteria when one side makes arbitrary pronouncements based on what he calls "faith".

                        Nor is this a matter of having an "open mind". "He who has an open mind quickly has it filled with garbage." I have an _active_ mind, open to new ideas and rational explanation, not to the arbitrary and not to the constant repetition of variations on old fallacies promoted with an alleged requirement to be "open" to them without regard to prior knowledge.

                        This is a positive point of view, not "atheism", which is only a rejection of belief in the supernatural and not a positive statement of any position. Whatever atheists you talk to and lump together, the atheism itself tells you nothing about anyone's philosophy or the degree of activity of anyone else's mind. Accusing someone of being "closed" for rejecting nonsense, claimed to be based on talking to "atheists", is not a justification for dismissal of the rejection.

                        You can entertain any idea you wish for the purpose of fiction, but even in that there are standards to make your stories coherent and plausible enough to illustrate a theme. If you mean non-fiction by "matters not settled", there is always advancement in the frontiers of knowledge, especially in science. The need for creative thought does not imply openness to anything and everything. Science is not fiction.

                        The Framers did not just "choose" the word "inalienable" for no conceptual reason beyond politics, and they didn't just "shrewdly put" certain rights above the "ability of men to alter" as a political move to try to head them off by calling rights "inalienable". They identified the fact that rights are inalienable by our nature as human beings and that this fact precedes concepts of government: As men of the Enlightenment emphasizing reason and individualism they understood that man's nature requires him to be free in order to live in accordance with his own thinking and choices, and that therefore government should accordingly be limited. "Inalianable" is philosophical, and means by our nature, not either shrewdly political or theological.

                        They knew that this was man's nature regardless of how that nature came to be over history. Their reference to 'endowed by a creator' referred briefly and in general to a permanent endowment however it was created, what our characteristics and moral rights are permanently by our nature, regardless of how they got that way. It did not mean a Christian god. It was an application of their individualist outlook to politics made in a political statement, not theology. 'Creator' was vaguely deist in an era of pre-evolutionary science which they could not have known about; they had no idea how or by what mechanism we became what we are, nor was or is that relevant to what they needed to do based on what they knew. It was a lot deeper than just being either "shrewd" or religious dogmatists.
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                  • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
                    AJAshinoff: "I'm not sure why you would take a point when I asked a question and was prepared to give you a rational answer."

                    I have no idea what that means and so can't address it. I don't know what it means to "to take a point" or what you mean by "being
                    prepared to give a rational answer" to your own question that you did not ask.
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            • -2
              Posted by Robbie53024 6 years, 10 months ago
              Why can't they both exist simultaneously? You reject faith because it requires you to believe in something beyond your ability to directly observe. Yet, I bet you believe in atoms, gravity, photons, etc. You believe the scientists who tell you that these things exist, yet you reject someone who has experienced a miracle because it doesn't fit your preconceived notion of rationality.
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              • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
                I reject faith because human reasoning is not infallible, it requires correct methods to validate one's ideas. There is no evidence whatsoever of some '6th sense' giving infallible knowledge bypassing the necessity of observation and logical thought based on it. I reject the arbitrary and all claims to "faith" as a source of valid knowledge.

                There is no sixth sense bypassing the other five, but there is a wealth of knowledge about the human capacity for gullibility, imagination and lack of objectivity. There are no "experiences" of contradictory "miracles", only people who interpret whatever bizarre notions that go through their minds as supernatural, contradicting everything that is known. Fantasy is not a tool of cognition.

                I do not naively "believe" whatever someone calling himself a "scientist" says, with no explanation or understanding. That is your approach, which you falsely attribute to others because you know no other. I distinguish between bald bizarre and contradictory assertions, versus understanding the classical experiments and the conceptual and mathematical explanations of physics. I put a lot of effort into understanding and connecting all knowledge to ultimate observation, taking care to identify the facts that give rise to the hierarchy of concepts and principles. I know what the source of my knowledge is, retaining the distinction between what I have replicated first hand and what is reported by scientists who make and duplicate observations, committed to rational scientific method reproducible by others as opposed to 'reporting miracles'.

                I don't believe in "atoms" or anything else only because someone "told me they exist" so "take it on faith", with no explanation of how they discovered it and why they think so or who else accepts it for what rational reasons. Science represents objectivity in method, not mental authoritarianism to be taken on faith. Modern physics texts are not sacred texts repeating myths and legends passed down from wandering primitives in the desert thousands of years ago. Those who cannot make the distinction or understand the explanations means that they have no rational claim themselves to believe in atoms, gravity and photons, and that as a trafficker in faith and the arbitrary that they have no credibility on anything as they nihilistically demean science as no better than themselves.
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                • Posted by Robbie53024 6 years, 10 months ago
                  Like I said. Anything that doesn't fit your view of the universe is just discounted. Explain the experience of Colton Burpo.
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                  • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
                    My "view of the universe" excludes your irrational mysticism and is therefore rejected, not just "discounted", as not worthy of pursuing in what has become your trolling demanding to be taken seriously. Why are you here at all? What is that attracted you to Atlas Shrugged, or are you at all?
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    • Posted by Hiraghm 6 years, 10 months ago
      The last one doesn't disturb me at all (I happen to agree with it to a certain degree), but #2 throws red flags all over the place. When candidates start talking about "equality", I hear, "socialism".
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      • Posted by $ blarman 6 years, 10 months ago
        There is no doubt that the idea of "equality" has been perverted in recent years by socialists, I think the distinguishing factor is in whether it is equality as individuals (which I would support) rather than some sort of irrational "equality of the collective". As long as equality is consistently an individual item, I think we stay with Constitutional concepts.
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      • Posted by Robbie53024 6 years, 10 months ago
        Equal rights, equal justice are OK. Equal opportunity is a bit unrealistic, as opportunity is something that doesn't occur equally. But what he is clearly not saying is equal outcomes.
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        • Posted by Hiraghm 6 years, 10 months ago
          "In hyperdemocracy, inequality of results is considered proof of inequality of opportunity. Inequality of what level of opportunity? Is innate, God-given ability undemocratic? Something to be suppressed, punished, ground out, so that we can have absolute equality?"
          - John W. Campbell, "Hyperdemocracy"
          http://www.xtimports.com/text/Hyperdemoc...
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          • Posted by Robbie53024 6 years, 10 months ago
            As I always taught my children - Life's not fair. The sooner you come to grips with that, the happier a life you will have.

            The corollary is that: Even though life isn't fair, you should always seek to be just in your dealings with others.
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    • Posted by teri-amborn 6 years, 10 months ago
      I think that the term "faith in God" can easily be thought of as: "The knowledge of and implementation of along-term thought process based upon reality and reason."
      "Come let us reason together, says the Lord."
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      • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
        That is not what faith means. Faith is belief in the absence of evidence or despite the evidence. It is the opposite of reason, not a "long term thought process" of reason.
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        • Posted by teri-amborn 6 years, 10 months ago
          "Faith is the substance of things not seen, the evidence of things hoped for."
          This very lengthy phrase from Paul would be translated into modern and succinct language as: Deductive reasoning and inductive reasoning.
          With all due respect, context dropping and concept swapping is why there is so much confusion about Bible quotes and/or teachings. It's much simpler than religion makes it out to be. In fact, it dovetails with Objectivism. (Believe it or not.)
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          • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
            Things that can only be "hoped for" and cannot be "seen" does not mean "deductive and inductive reasoning". "Hope" is not "evidence". The quote means speculating in defiance of the lack of evidence. It does not "dovetail" with Objectivism. "Believe it or not" yourself with your faith in absence of reason, but it has nothing in fact to do with Objectivism.
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            • Posted by teri-amborn 6 years, 10 months ago
              "Hope" simply means the ability to move into the future (abstraction).
              You need to subtract from what you think about the word in order to glean meaning from the word.

              This conversation reminds me of when Ayn and a theologian were arguing about universals. "What makes a rose a rose?", was the thought. The theologian said: "It's "rose-ness" is what makes it a rose."
              Ayn correctly retorted: "There is no such thing as "rose-ness"!"
              Then the theologian asked: "Then what is it?"
              This is when Ayn discovered the Objectivist principle of universals. You have to subtract in order to find the meaning.
              It's the same thought here. You need to subtract the "implied and inferred" meaning to get to the universal truth.
              I'm sure that you will make it.
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              • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
                That is _not_ what Ayn Rand said about abstracting universals. The meaning of a concept is the units subsumed by it, with essential characteristics in common to some degree and integrated as a mental entity concretized by a word as a verbal symbol, not something to be "found" and "gleaned from a word" by "subtracting" reality. Her theory of omitted measurements in concept formation has nothing to do with supernatural speculation "found" by "subtracting" logical inference. These attempts to rationalize mysticism in the name of Ayn Rand have nothing to do with her philosophy and are rationalistic gibberish.
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                • Posted by teri-amborn 6 years, 10 months ago
                  The Bible is a book of thought. It's also history. It's also ethics and politics.

                  It's not about subtracting reality, it's about removing your pre-conceived notions.
                  Extrapolation is the ability to take existing thoughts and glean meaning from the patterns.
                  Abstraction is to use those patterns to see the future.
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                  • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
                    You are a mystic relying on sacred text and vague "gleanings". The statements about "subtraction" misrepresenting Ayn Rand are your own. Your strained analogies trying to rationalize your arbitrariness have nothing to do with Ayn Rand's principle of omitted measurements in concept formation.
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                    • Posted by teri-amborn 6 years, 10 months ago
                      You have to be able to form abstract concepts with a VERY well-developed mind.
                      If you can picture that your mind is an abstraction of a VERY great mind, you will see my point.
                      If not, I'm certain that you will still have good thoughts and premises because you can get to where Ayn was ... and a more brilliant mind has rarely existed.
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                      • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
                        You made strained, meaningless analogies with Ayn Rand's principle of omitted measurements in concept formation to try rationalize your faith in the name of "abstraction". Calling it "gleanings" and "subtraction" of logical inferences, and now imagining some other "well developed mind" are all excuses and do not justify either your supernaturalism or specify any method you claim to be using. In leaping to a floating abstraction of the supernatural you are in fact "subtracting reality".
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            • Posted by teri-amborn 6 years, 10 months ago
              You can do a mind exercise: Think of yourself as a hyper-intelligent being on a planet which has the ability to sustain life. How would you plan for life to exist and thrive? Would you not take what is available to you and make a reproductive plan?
              It's an abstaction.
              Then: Think about yourself being the life that was created and how you would

              create more and better life from the pattern that you have been given. That is extrapolation.

              Faith is extapolation and abstraction.

              This reminds me of the conversation between Ayn and the theologian about universals. The argument was: "What makes a rose a rose?". Ayn concluded that you need to subtract inferred meaning in order to grasp fundamentals. It's the same thought here.
              NOW: Faith is a
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              • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
                No, I don't do speculative "mind exercises" trying to imagine a super consciousness planning how to sustain life. That is not a valid way of obtaining knowledge. We start by observing reality as it is, not with speculative "faith".
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                • Posted by $ 6 years, 10 months ago
                  I don't do speculative "mind exercises", but Einstein did. He called them Gedanken experiments. In such a way he constructed the foundation for both special relativity and general relativity. Einstein was a deist. As intelligent as many of those here in the Gulch are, I would be excited to see any of you disparage Einstein as lacking in reason or having existed prior to a proper understanding of the universe or any of the other reasons that people use to explain away theism. I would also be interested to see anyone claim to be more intelligent or knowledgeable than Einstein either. As sure as many people are that there is no god, many of the great scientists grappled with this topic. A non-dismissable number wound up on the theistic, the atheistic, and the agnostic sides of this issue. I think it is time that we acknowledge that there are some things that will not know with absolute certainty in this life. No one is going to be able to prove or disprove the existence of a god in this, or in any, forum with sufficient evidence to make all those here in Atlantis come to an agreement on this topic.
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                  • Posted by $ 6 years, 10 months ago
                    And before I hear AR's Occam's Razor argument that a god is unnecessary to her belief system, let me be on record that this was the one point that AR took a logical shortcut of questionable validity. Had she been self-consistent, she should have admitted that she could not know the answer to the theism/atheism question convincingly and consequently not answered it.
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                    • Posted by khalling 6 years, 10 months ago
                      Your statement is nonsensical. First, her philosophy is based on reason and logic not belief. Objectivism is not a "belief system." Second, a concept of a diety is not essential to logical metaphysics. Not needed. Therefore, why does it "need" to be addressed? What "shortcut?" In Science, this is done all the time. One need not address false premises in order to make their proof.
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                      • Posted by $ 6 years, 10 months ago
                        I will politely disagree with most here in the Gulch. AR's use of Occam's Razor (The simplest explanation is the best explanation.) has been proven incorrect way too many times for me to accept it as "proof" of existence or nonexistence of a deity. Simply because a concept is not essential to logical metaphysics is not reason enough to dismiss any subject. Just because something is irrelevant to you or anyone else is not proof or non-proof of anything. The logic associated with mathematics and science dictates that one forms a testable hypothesis. A deity's existence or non-existence is not a testable hypothesis unless the deity decides to reveal iteself. The logical shortcut known as Occam's razor states that the simplest explanation is the best explanation. Sometimes it is, and sometimes it is not. Occam's razor is at best only a temporary answer to any scientific question and the basis for the next testable hypothesis.

                        Einstein said, ""I'm not an atheist and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangements of the books, but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God." (G. S. Viereck, Glimpses of the Great (Macauley, New York, 1930), quoted by D. Brian, Einstein: A Life , p. 186.)

                        If one chooses not to address the subject of a deity or no deity, then one can do that and acknowledge that some things are not knowable in this life. One can do that and be non-contradictory. You are correct, khalling, the existence or non-existence of a deity does not have to be addressed, but if you choose to not address it, then you cannot simultaneously claim an answer other than agnosticism on the issue.
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                        • Posted by khalling 6 years, 10 months ago
                          bottom up: agnosticism is a way of evading the concept.
                          to Einstein's quote: it is perfect for literary points but miserable from a physics point of view. But people will use analogies.
                          Rand's answer was by the very definition of God, it was nonsensical. What definition would you give for God, J?
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                          • Posted by $ 6 years, 10 months ago
                            Agnosticism does evade the concept. On that we agree.

                            Einstein did not think that it was unreasonable from a physics point of view. He actually wanted to be an atheist and defined a constant to avoid dealing with "the beginning". He then acknowledged that as a mistake.

                            I could give numerous definitions from multiple religious cultures, but I will readily admit that I could not convince most (or even any) people of God's existence. I will gladly acknowledge my lack of knowledge in this area.

                            We all know what a BS degree means. An MS degree is more of the same, and a PhD is piling it higher and deeper. The other story about a PhD is that you realize that you don't know anything and neither does anyone else. It is kind of sad, but regrettably true.
                            Rand's answer of God being nonsensical is an evasion. Ultimately those who attempt to solve this puzzle will either evade the issue or ask someone to take a step in faith.
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                            • Posted by khalling 6 years, 10 months ago
                              j, in order to have a conversation we need to define our terms. If you cannot define God, then I don't know what we are talking about. That is not evasive. That is not post doc 'I don't know anything because I know everything':) Rand took a common definition used by Christians:
                              "God, a being whose only definition is that he is beyond man’s power to conceive—a definition that invalidates man’s consciousness and nullifies his concepts of existence. . . . Man’s mind, say the mystics of spirit, must be subordinated to the will of God. . . . Man’s standard of value, say the mystics of spirit, is the pleasure of God, whose standards are beyond man’s power of comprehension and must be accepted on faith . . . The purpose of man’s life . . . is to become an abject zombie who serves a purpose he does not know, for reasons he is not to question." -Galt's Speech
                              Why can we not be comfortable with no origin? Conservation of matter and energy implies things have always been. adding God doesn't solve a puzzle. who created God? no short cut
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                              • Posted by Solver 6 years, 10 months ago
                                I'm very comfortable with existence exists, has always existed and will always exist.
                                That's my opinion.
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                                • Posted by Robbie53024 6 years, 10 months ago
                                  OK. so the universe is without a beginning or seemingly without an end. That leads to the catch-22 that all that could have ever existed has existed and exists today. Thus, time has no meaning. Only in a universe with a beginning, and hence an ending, does time matter.
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                                  • Solver replied 6 years, 10 months ago
                                • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
                                  The notion of existence having a beginning, coming from non-existence is meaningless, not just a matter of opinion. There is no non-existence as any kind of thing or place. Non-existence is not a kind of existence that can be somewhere waiting to sprout existence. It is an abstraction that first requires existence to abstract out a state when something is not there.

                                  Piling on top of that the notion of an indefinable god outside of existence, but existing to create existence out of a literal non existence is even more preposterous. If the fact of existence is supposed to require and explanation, then this concoction still explains nothing and makes the problem much worse -- far worse than the infinite regress of 'who created god?'.

                                  That's why it always winds up with the likes of an image of a man with a long beard sitting on a cloud described in mystical terms as having indefinite powers and which makes no sense at all, and is why you are then told to suspend your rational thought in a series of floating abstractions and just accept the ineffable in a trance of mysticism.
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                                  • Solver replied 6 years, 10 months ago
                              • Posted by $ 6 years, 10 months ago
                                The choice of a definition of a deity is important here. I accept some of AR's definitions of a Biblical god
                                and reject others, and I will explain the points separately as follows.

                                "God, a being whose only definition is that he is beyond man’s power to conceive—a definition that

                                invalidates man’s consciousness and nullifies his concepts of existence. . . .

                                Christians should reject much of the above portion of the definition. If one accepts that Jesus was the son

                                of the Biblical god, then the Biblical god has made a reasonable attempt to give Christians the power to

                                conceive of the Biblical god through communication with his son. This is an indirect communication that is

                                admittedly unacceptable to Objectivists. Christian teaching actually validates man's consciousness and his

                                concepts of existence in that Christians believe that they are in made in God's image and likeness.

                                "Man’s mind, say the mystics of spirit, must be subordinated to the will of God. . . . "
                                While Christian men and women are expected to use their minds, they ought to be subordinated to the will of

                                God. It is for this reason that I have said, to the disagreement of Fred Speckmann, that Christians should

                                not be able to take all of Galt's oath.

                                "Man’s standard of value, say the mystics of spirit, is the pleasure of God, whose standards are beyond man’s

                                power of comprehension and must be accepted on faith . . . "

                                Christians should reject much of the above statement. The standards were laid out in the Ten Commandments.

                                One does indeed have to have faith that Moses actually did communicate with God at the burning bush.

                                However, the person of Jesus reinforced such standards of value.

                                The purpose of man’s life . . . is to become an abject zombie who serves a purpose he does not know, for

                                reasons he is not to question." -Galt's Speech

                                This part of Galt's speech should be rejected by Christians completely. Christians (yes, including

                                Catholics) are encouraged to read the Bible as God's handbook on how to live a proper life. I have never

                                found reading zombie-like. The purpose of such reading is precisely to discover God's purpose for the

                                Christian life. Moreover, the reasons for such instructions are also laid out. Such reasons included "so

                                that you may live long in the land". The best reason that the Biblical god gave was in Exodus 20:5-7.

                                "You shall not worship them (false gods) or serve them, for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting

                                the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,

                                but showing loving kindness to a thousand generations to those who love Me and keep My commandments. You

                                shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes

                                His name in vain.…"

                                Why can we not be comfortable with no origin? Some people can be comfortable with no origin, particularly

                                Objectivists. Admittedly, this is a significant problem that theists must confront. However, even atheists,

                                as noted by the number of people participating in this blog, want to know from whence they came. The

                                JudeoChristian tradition teaches that God made us to seek God. While that may be true, it is not

                                particularly satisfying.

                                Conservation of matter and energy implies things have always been.
                                This, of course, is true since the "big bang". Before such a big bang, if there was such a time, is not

                                answered adequately by atheism. Deism's answer for such a time isn't all that great either.


                                Adding God doesn't solve a puzzle. Who created God?
                                The addition of God into the equation doesn't solve all puzzles.
                                It would solve many puzzles, but it creates another that cannot be solved satisfactorily either.

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                                • Posted by khalling 6 years, 10 months ago
                                  "concepts of existence in that Christians believe that they are in made in God's image and likeness."
                                  ok, let's start here. somehow man is made in God's likeness. However, without God's knowledge. He is at once everything and all knowing-you are not. therefore, how can you be made in his likeness?
                                  The 10 Commandments and in particular following the Bible. There are so many anti- concepts in the Bible you can't get two theologians to agree. Hence Aquinas coming up with the false doctrine of the trinity to purposely confuse in order to resolve a dispute. To assume the Deuteromonists were not politically motivated in writing down the first texts would be naive. Yet, Man is asked to give up his own consciousness to follow a set of rules derived not from logic but from a mystical all-power he cannot know fully yet has to accept in order to ensure himself a place in the afterlife.
                                  I am ot saying there are not universal truths in the Bible, but the tests of faith are all control mechanisms. and have been used as such throughout history.
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                                  • jbrenner replied 6 years, 10 months ago
                        • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
                          Ayn Rand did not employ Occam's Razor as a standard, not anywhere.

                          She did reject arbitrary assertions, and no amount of dressing them up as "testable hypotheses" justifies them. The onus of proof is on he who asserts the positive. The burden is on he who asserts it for it to be taken seriously at all, let alone demand that a commitment to belief be made.
                          .
                          Atheism means not believing in a supernatural deity, not denying that anything we don't know about must not exist, which is ridiculous.

                          Agnosticism says: you have just made an arbitrary statement with no evidence and no proof so I don't know whether to believe it or not. The rational response is to reject it out of hand and not believe it.

                          That does not mean denying outright that it could be true, provided the assertion is specific enough to be meaningful. When the arbitrary assertions of the existence of a god ascribed with contradictory characteristics or characteristics described as indefinite, i.e., no identity, then it is logically required to deny it _can_ exist. There are no contradictions in reality and everything that exists exists as something in particular, which means it is definite and specific in every respect -- that is 'identity'. No identity, no existence. The history of the Church is filled with fallacious assertions with contradictory notions of a god, which led to all kinds of endless and irresolvable disputes and official accusations of heresy. The proper response is to deny the whole approach as knowledge and leave them to their own devices.
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                          • Posted by $ 6 years, 10 months ago
                            ewv says, "The onus of proof is on he who asserts the positive." Where you, Ayn Rand, khalling, and all atheists disagree with me is on the application of this point. A statement of non-existence of a deity is actually a positive statement. Those who make the case for atheism are stating positively that no deity exists. For that, atheists argue that they do not have to prove his non-existence. It is the burden of those who say that a deity exists to prove their case. This is a logical fallacy. Both atheists and theists are making positive statements, and therefore, the onus is on both of them. AR and Peikoff derides agnosticism "by rejecting arbitrary assertions." With all due respect to everyone involved here, agnosticism is the one case for which the onus must not be proven. Atheism has never and can never be proven. It may indeed be correct, but it cannot be proven. The burden of proof lies on both atheists and theists. Atheists have felt (and I do mean "felt") no need to justify their belief in no god because they think that they only have to battle theists.
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                    • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
                      Ayn Rand did not use an "Occam's Razor" argument. She did not appeal to the "simplest" as a standard of argument. Where did you get that from? She addressed what is rational to pursue. It is not a "shortcut" to reject the irrational. She was "consistent" in rejecting invalid concepts and unsubstantiated assertions, and in denying that versions of a god claimed to have contradictory or meaningless attributes, i.e., no identity, can exist.
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                    • Posted by Robbie53024 6 years, 10 months ago
                      However, like so many atheists, she took the absolute road instead of the agnostic road. There are no inconsistencies in deriving "I own myself" by starting with a deity created all that is and imbuing his creations with free-will.
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                • Posted by Solver 6 years, 10 months ago
                  I agree. What if there were giant undetectable beasts in the sky which controlled the fates of everything? Using this “mind exercise” as some factual foundation one could infer absolutely anything. Some do.
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                • Posted by $ Mimi 6 years, 10 months ago
                  Yet, there is something to what he is saying about the mind’s abilities. One of the most profound symptom seen in serious mental defects is the inability to understand abstractions. The trick is that you have to begin with a mind of order. You have to be able to look at abstractions and process the order. An order mind perceives that “people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw rocks” has nothing to do with rocks and glass. That is a simple abstraction. If you can look at abstractions and see the arguable value that is a sign of truly resourceful brain.
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                  • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
                    The meaning of the metaphor about throwing rocks isn't perceived. It must be explaine, at least the first time it is used. One of the common ways the human mind employs abstractions is in selective focus on different characteristics which are then mentally recombined into entities that are imagined but which do not or cannot exist in physical reality. This is done routinely in characterization in fiction, and more obviously in cartoons -- but rabbits and ducks do not hold conversations in reality, and there is no entity as a referent to a supernatural god, which is cartooning with floating abstractions on a grand scale. It is not a sign of a superior mind.
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                    • Posted by $ Mimi 6 years, 10 months ago
                      The ability to understand abstracts is an important function of the cognitive process. I’m sorry if you had to have the proverb or phrase explained to you the first time around; I didn’t. I think most people who have well-functioning brains have the ability to process this type of abstract once they have been exposed to at least one or two patterns of examples. Is that what you meant? Also, I clearly wrote resourceful brain, not superior mind.
                      I think most people are capable of being like foxes; not too terribly bright but very, very clever. But if your brain is not operating properly the function of abstracts and the resourcefulness of cleverness are moot points.
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                      • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
                        Teri-amborn tried to link those mental machinations as a sign of a superior mind. You are right that they can sometimes be very clever in their manipulations but not very bright -- bright in the sense of understanding facts and principles tied to reality, but "bright" isn't quite the right word for that. But often it isn't even clever, simply repeating fallacies indiscriminantly absorbed from others as rationalizations.

                        Medieval times were filled with church scholastics who were very facile with rationalisticaly manipulating floating abstractions detached from context and reality -- they could easily fill volumes with exegeses on the likes of 'how many angels can dance on the head of a pin' -- and so are many modern analytic philosophers, if you have ever seen them in action. (Robert Nozick was one of them, giving dazzling displays of stream-of-analysis classroom performances that led nowhere.) They are "bright" in the sense that they are quick and glib, but that's about it. They do not, as you put it, have "well-functioning brains" if that means using their brains to understand the world.

                        All normal humans can easily form abstract concepts, but a measure of intelligence is the ability to understand and work with higher level abstract concepts and principles (that are valid), such as in physics or engineering. The ability to detect and isolate patterns is part of that as an act of abstraction. Most people could think in higher level concepts more than they are, but don't because they don't know how, leaving themselves with vague imagery as a substitute.

                        A metaphor is one kind of abstraction, but you can't understand it initially if it is only stated literally. How could you? It either has to explained or used in a clear enough context making it possible to see the connection. (I don't remember how I learned it the first time.)
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                • Posted by $ 6 years, 10 months ago
                  Isaac Newton did.
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                  • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
                    Newton squandered most of his life speculating about religion (and alchemy), but kept that mentality separate from his physics.
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                    • Posted by $ 6 years, 10 months ago
                      Newton certainly spent a lot of time thinking about how such a well-constructed universe could exist. You may consider that time squandered. He did not. It was the motivation behind his desire to study physics, as was the case with several of the Renaissance astronomers, some of whom the Catholic Church squelched (most notably Galileo).
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                      • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
                        His religious speculations were not part of his science. A desire to understand is not theology, even when mixed with it in his mind. He could not have been at the university at all without being a theologian, which was a requirement at the time, but that's not a justification for theological thought, and neither were his occasional theological ruminations attached to his scientific works. Most of Newton's life was devoted to theology .and alchemy, which was in fact a waste of time. If he hadn't created his physics we would not have ever heard of him. Fortunately he, Galileo, Maxwell, and others were able to compartmentalize and pursue objective science apart from their religion. It would have been a lot more efficient if the established Church and the pollution of its ideas had been out of the picture, as the speed of more recent advances in science illustrates. But the history was what it was, and we can be grateful for not just the accomplishments of these giants, but that they were able to do it under the physical and cultural conditions they were in. It would have been impossible for them and everyone around them to make a sudden jump from the medieval world to a culture of dominant individualism and rationality that came gradually over time only ultimately with the Enlightenment. Without such mixed situations heavily weighted against the geniuses who were able to properly motivate themselves at least in isolated bursts, no progress would have been made at all and mankind would still be there in the swamp.
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                          • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
                            There is no role for religious faith in science. The science stands on its own without any extraneous commentary, especially religious dogma, which when it occurs at all is dropped from subsequent re-confirmations, explanations and presentations. Pruning out the warts does not make Newton's science impossible to understand. Newton's science is understood by millions of people without regard to his extraneous religion. The same is true for Maxwell, who kept his religion and science even more separate. There are no "outright religious implications" from science, except that religious dogma is constantly rolled back before the discoveries of science.

                            Dave Harriman is not wrong that great scientists had radically new ideas and conclusions. The time it takes for others to catch on or drop competing inferior ideas does not imply that what happened in the mind of the individual creator did not happen.

                            Validated scientific theories change as they are expanded with additional knowledge, not reverted, unless an outright mistake is discovered, which is relatively rare.
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                            • Posted by $ 6 years, 10 months ago
                              The point that those who are making the point on behalf of religion are making is that numerous Christians who are also scientists have been motivated by their Christianity to learn what were then the secrets of the universe and have been able to do so without compromising their scientific validity.
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                              • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
                                I have written that religion has no part in the science, meaning the content of scientific understanding and its methods, and that Newton and others were able to pursue science despite belief in religion by keeping it out of their scientific investigations. If what you wrote above is all that the religionist detractors meant they would have nothing to object to.

                                When someone responds by belligerently trashing what he calls "to propagandize on behalf of their idea of a religion-free rationality" and claims that "Newton's religious speculations completely underpinned his scientific investigations, and it's impossible to understand his approach to science without taking that into account" he is not just arguing that they were able to pursue science without it being compromised by religion. He wants religion in it and wants to believe it was necessary.

                                He's advocating a notion of rationality somehow including religion, and that religion is essential to Newton's science. That is the usual false apologetics for religion: They are trying to make religious belief essential to the science and to steal the prestige of science for religion by exploiting the name of famous scientists who also held non-scientific beliefs, but who in fact did not let it compromise their work. Sometimes it's even cruder, as in "Maxwell believed it so you should, too."

                                It isn't religion that makes it possible for someone to want to learn about the universe, no matter how he mixes it in his own mind. Newton, for periods of working in genuine science, wanted to understand something in rational terms (i.e., not religious) and pursued it by rational ("religion-free rationality") means.

                                For whatever reason, _he_ wanted to do it and he knew what rational understanding meant. The religion, whatever he thought of it, was cognitively irrelevant. It didn't make him do it, it didn't make it possible for him to want to understand, it did not help regardless of what he thought of it, and the science has been understood ever since without reference to it. If he had permanently confused religious notions of understanding in his desire to understand subjects like dynamics and optics, he would not have been able to succeed. The early conceptual confusions in Newton's dynamics that required further work are more important in the history of science than his religion.

                                Likewise for the claim that religion provided an ordered universe designed by a god so that scientific understanding of regularity is possible. The universe _is_ regular, with everything doing what it does because of what it is in accordance with its identity. Everything is what it is and acts accordingly. All knowledge, including science, depends on that. Otherwise there would be nothing to know and we wouldn't be here discussing it.

                                Positing a god pulling strings who made it that way might have done it differently is irrelevant and potentially harmful to a proper understanding because under that view you never know when a fickle god, whatever it is supposed to mean, may change everything so there is no law of identity: "A is A except when god wants otherwise".

                                Belief in a religion and a supernatural realm have nothing to do with either the possibility of science or the methods by which it is done, but have done much to obstruct it. When a scientist recognizes that the universe is orderly and natural laws can be formulated to explain and describe it, it doesn't make any difference to either that awareness or his scientific methods if he also holds some religious belief about a deity creating it -- unless he tries to mix them in which case the attempt fails to the extent religious dogma and faith are allowed to intervene. Newton and Maxwell succeeded because they didn't mix them.
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                        • Posted by $ 6 years, 10 months ago
                          No disagreements there. The problem that we have here between Christians and Objectivists is that they have different definitions of what constitutes faith. Hebrews 11:1 is probably the best Biblical definition of faith. "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." I am not seeing a lot of reason or rationality there. I'm not saying whether there is a god or not. That definition of faith is not particularly consistent with reason. On the other hand, the rest of Chapters 11 and 12 of Hebrews cites numerous examples from the Old Testament of the entire history of the Jewish people of how their acts of faith were rewarded. That Judaism still exists despite such persecution is remarkable. The "rational" basis that Jews and Christians use is based on quite a bit of historical evidence over a long period of time (millenia).
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                          • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
                            The entire tradition of the Christian era defines faith in opposition to reason, and is illustrated in the Catholic orthodoxy that dominated for centuries, from Tertullian's "I believe it because it is absurd" to the regarding of reason as the handmaiden of faith by Abelard and many others. Their famous "proofs" of God intended to rationalize a prior belief on faith, which always came first and is required in the dogma, have been held out as examples of logical fallacies ever since logic began to be respected again as not the "handmaiden" of anything. "Historical evidence" in the form of legends of religious testimonials to "miracles" have no rational credibility and do not even begin to justify the rationalistic superstructure of doctrine they have spun out and demanded be accepted as dogma ever since.

                            As for the survival of the Jews despite the long history of persecution, it is remarkable that humanity has survived at all, let alone advanced so much, in the face of the routine barbarism.
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              • Posted by Robbie53024 6 years, 10 months ago
                This is a waste of time. It is the trick of the atheist to disallow evidence which refutes their assertions, calling such hallucinations, misinterpretations, and outright fraud. It is easy to claim to be correct when you disallow any evidence to the contrary. Notice how this troll refuses to answer the queries about instances such as the Fatima sighting or Colton Burpo.

                I haven't brought up the genesis of life or the issue of human sentience. This troll would have no answer but claim it nothing more than a statistical coincidence.
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                • Posted by teri-amborn 6 years, 10 months ago
                  Don't worry. He or she will be surprised.
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                  • Posted by Robbie53024 6 years, 10 months ago
                    That is the one thing that causes me to inwardly smile.
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                    • Posted by khalling 6 years, 10 months ago
                      ok, imagine for a moment how comments like yours and teri's are viewed by an atheist. It does nothing to advance an argument about truth.
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                      • Posted by Robbie53024 6 years, 10 months ago
                        Let me take you back a few months. You made a comment that insinuated that because some members of my church committed vile atrocities that I must share in that guilt. How do you think such comments are viewed by Catholics? And yours was a much more direct and spiteful comment than was this very mild exchange.
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                        • Posted by khalling 6 years, 10 months ago
                          my comment wasn't spiteful. I just said a true statement. nor did I insinuate you should feel guilt for the actions of others. Guilt is a useless emotion.
                          regardless, I am NOT offended by the statement above. I said that clearly below. why are you changing what I said? The exchange above is a bad form of argumentation and actually strengthens an atheist's viewpoint. I made the comment to get you off that kind of exchange and back to the central, key issues. I also said that I appreciated your frustration.
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                      • Posted by Robbie53024 6 years, 10 months ago
                        Why? How can one be offended by something that one rejects?

                        Besides, the comment was made to an individual. You are "eavesdropping" in essence, and as such, cannot now claim to be offended because you or others "overheard" something. Wasn't addressed to you or about you.

                        I tried several times to engage honestly and rationally. Those attempts were not met with the same consideration. After several attempts, I write off the encounter and feel no need to treat those posters with respect. You have my respect, until your actions demonstrate you no longer deserve it. At that point, all bets are off, and I'll treat them as they have demonstrated that they deserve.
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                • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
                  None of that is true. It is more strawman evasions from someone who consistently avoids the content of what has been discussed. But it is true that he is wasting his time trying to defend religion.
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  • Posted by khalling 6 years, 10 months ago in reply to this comment.
    and this is why we are done. It is not testable. You will say he created that. I will say how do you know? Why can't things just exist? you have no answer, and admit it is incomprehensible. therefore the definition fails.A definition must define what is and what is not.
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  • Posted by $ 6 years, 10 months ago
    Dave Brat considers himself a Christian, according to what he said on Hannity's radio program. In fact, he went to seminary and repeated the word "miracle" at least twice during his interview. Given how much he was outspent, while I wouldn't use the word "miracle", I would describe his win as possible but highly improbable. I will rejoice nonetheless.
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  • Posted by $ 6 years, 10 months ago in reply to this comment.
    1) The tests of faith are all control mechanisms. I can't disagree with that.

    2) It is timely that you should bring up the doctrine of the trinity, as this is the time of year for it to be discussed traditionally. Even if there were a father god, Jesus, and a holy spirit, that does not necessarily mean that they are all godlike in their abilities. The trinitarian concept is either the least or second least defensible position within Christianity. +1 for khalling.

    Regarding the giving up of one's own consciousness to follow a set of rules not derived from a logic, I will argue that the commandments that only involve human-human interaction are utterly logical. I can see Objectivists complaining about one or two of the human-human interaction commandments, particularly with regard to adultery, but even adultery has its own consequences.
    The basis for the Sabbath is also logical in that one who works too hard without at least some rest will eventually wear him/herself out.

    Getting theologians to agree has always been challenging, and is why the Catholic Church sought to control Biblical interpretation for as long as it could. Such disagreement has been the reason for as many denominations existing as there are. The existence of so many denominations is a fair knock on Christianity.

    With regard to the image and likeness question, you make some fair points about the Biblical God's abilities far surpassing human abilities. Here is something to think about, however. If one looks at the degree of commonality of the DNA code for humans vs. most animals, one sees remarkable similarities. From that perspective, we aren't as different from single cell organisms as we would like to think of ourselves being.
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  • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago in reply to this comment.
    No, it is not. Whether or not people have survived threatening conditions through temporary false beliefs to give them hope, believing falsehoods does not make them true and does not justify faith as a means of knowledge.
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  • Posted by $ AJAshinoff 6 years, 10 months ago in reply to this comment.
    Not everyone can agree on everything. I can admit somethings I say could be considered dumb within this context even though I seldom post without thinking or reason for doing so.
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  • Posted by $ CBJ 6 years, 10 months ago
    "Brat has published papers titled 'Adam Smith’s God and the End of Economics,' 'An Analysis of the Moral Foundations in Ayn Rand,' 'God and Advanced Mammon—Can Theological Types Handle Usury and Capitalism?' and 'The Moral Foundations of Capitalism, From the Great Generation to Financial Crisis.' "
    http://reason.com/24-7/2014/06/11/dave-b...
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    • Posted by $ 6 years, 10 months ago
      Thanks for the reason.com link. It says he teaches Ayn Rand in the classroom!
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      • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago
        They have no idea whether or to what extent he is teaching Ayn Rand. Under the BB&&T funded programs Ayn Rand is typically (but not necessarily) _included_ in teaching about the moral foundations of capitalism. Brat says he "appreciates" Ayn Rand's arguments for freedom and markets but does not agree with her. He has a long history of explicitly promoting religion. He may or may not be properly explaining some aspects of Atlas Shrugged as he takes what he wants from it to push his contrary religious agenda. If he is in fact including Atlas Shrugged then at least students are able to see it for themselves, but they may be subjected to sophistry distorting it to support something else, causing distortions making it much more difficult for them to assess it for what it is.
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      • Posted by Hiraghm 6 years, 10 months ago
        If that's true...

        Who's buried in Ayn Rand's grave?

        And doesn't it put the other students off?
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        • -3
          Posted by Robbie53024 6 years, 10 months ago
          ewv is a petty and petulant person.
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          • Posted by ewv 6 years, 9 months ago
            This troller is speaking about himself. He's a militant promoter of religion in a forum in which it does not belong, cannot tolerate rejection of his arguments, has no rational response to the rejection of his stock religious slogans, and resorts instead to this kind of personal attacks and name-calling.
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  • Posted by $ richrobinson 6 years, 10 months ago
    I am glad to see Cantor go. I think he enjoyed playing the game and was just interested in gaining power. Lets hope the establishment helps him win in the general election.
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  • Posted by Robbie53024 6 years, 10 months ago in reply to this comment.
    It's the discounting of such out of hand. There have been enough such type of events across the centuries that at worst would merely call into question whether there is a deity or not. To dismiss it out of hand by disregarding such is disingenuous to reason.

    Alien abductions? Inconclusive.
    Big Foot? Unlikely given the sightings are in areas where man habitually resides as well, and not finding conclusive evidence would tend to negate such existence. However, we do continue to find new species all the time. Generally in locations where man has had little interaction, but occasionally in places that we have inhabited, so if we did conclusively find proof I would be intrigued but not surprised.
    Claims of living in another body? If there is an omniscient deity, then within the realm of possibility.

    I, at least, will try to form a reasoned response.
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  • Posted by Solver 6 years, 10 months ago in reply to this comment.
    I did not say that the universe was without beginning or end.
    Time has meaning only to life.
    Here is my opinion: If all life was obliterated, existence would still exist and changes would still occur. "Time" would still progress although no life would exist to recognize it. Eventually, new "life" would be created.

    This discussion should be a different post entirely.
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    • Posted by Robbie53024 6 years, 10 months ago
      You are free to start said post.

      From your original comment that I responded to: "I'm very comfortable with existence exists, has always existed and will always exist.
      That's my opinion."

      That indicates an infinite universe. Thus my response stands. You cannot have an infinite universe and have time that means anything. If the universe is infinite then all possibilities have already happened, and are currently happening. That's non-sensical.
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      • Posted by Solver 6 years, 10 months ago
        Some scientists theorize that this universe was created by a big bang. This in essence means that it did not exist before that. I do not invalidate that theory.
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        • Posted by Robbie53024 6 years, 10 months ago
          But from what did the essence of the Big Bang occur if nothing existed prior to it? Did matter just spontaneously come into being on its own volition?
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          • Posted by Solver 6 years, 10 months ago
            I never said nothing existed before. Anyway it is just some theory. The problem with this conversation is in the definition of words. What is existence? What is the universe? I do not see these as the same things.
            There are many theories about many things. There is a theory that this universe is only a part of existence. I do not reject this theory. I also do not reject some infinite time theories. I do reject conflicting theories of infinite super beings, such as the one (or three) characterized in, “The Bible.”
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            • Posted by Robbie53024 6 years, 10 months ago
              Please, if you're going to engage in a meaningful dialogue, keep your story straight. You said, "this universe was created by a big bang. This in essence means that it did not exist before that." If the universe didn't exist before that, then what did? An infinite amount of energy?
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              • Posted by Solver 6 years, 10 months ago
                I said, “Some scientists theorize that this universe was created by a big bang.”
                Others have theorized that it grows and collapses in cycles, recreating itself each time.
                I accept these theories as possible much more then infinite super beings.
                In my opinion, existence would not stop existing even if this universe fully collapsed on to itself.
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                • Posted by Robbie53024 6 years, 10 months ago
                  Unfortunately, the universe is all that exists.

                  From Merriam-Webster:
                  Universe - the whole body of things and phenomena observed or postulated, and, all of space and everything in it including stars, planets, galaxies, etc. Thus, the universe cannot cease to exist on its own, nor could it have come into existence on its own.
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                  • Posted by Solver 6 years, 10 months ago
                    If that is correct, that would mean these Gods are just part of and bound by the universe.

                    I still think that multiple universes are far more likely then infinite super beings.
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                    • Posted by Robbie53024 6 years, 10 months ago
                      Why?
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                      • Posted by Solver 6 years, 10 months ago
                        It seems to me that one can believe that the existence of one or more eternal all knowing all powerful perfect immortal beings that are everywhere is valid, or that logic itself is valid, but not both.
                        I choose logic.
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                        • Posted by Robbie53024 6 years, 10 months ago
                          Why? You assume that you can know everything (not that you do, but that you can). I don't suffer under that assumption. Thus, what you deem as logic may only be so in one construct of the universe, but as you say, that may not be the true or only construct. I provide for that possibility since there are things that are unexplainable by that logic, but that are explainable under a construct that includes a deity.

                          It's been awhile since I've said this, but soon enough we will all know. If you are correct, what have I lost by having my perspective? However, if I am correct, think about what you might have lost.

                          That's not a guilt trip, nor am I proselytizing, merely posing a question.

                          You are open to your views, and I hope that you'll respect that I am open to mine as well. My guess is that, beyond this question, since you are on this site, we probably agree on most other things.
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          • Posted by Hiraghm 6 years, 10 months ago
            Theories range from an "over universe" to an alternate universe, to the end of time (recursive existence).

            Time's a funny thing...

            Where is wealth before it's looted, mooched... or created?
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            • Posted by Robbie53024 6 years, 10 months ago
              It exists in your muscles and your brain. You use them to create wealth, either by taking raw materials and transforming them into more valuable things (muscles) or by using your mind to develop the ideas that are valuable (music, literature, ways of doing things/solving problems/doing things more efficiently).
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  • Posted by Solver 6 years, 10 months ago in reply to this comment.
    I agree. Many others have a different opinion—That there was universal non-existence and it took one or more Gods that wished absolutely everything out there into existence. And, they are still out there, somewhere, needing worship and obedience. Their main disagreement is which true God (or set of Gods) did this miracle and thus should be literally obeyed with out question. That requires a lot of faith.
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  • Posted by khalling 6 years, 10 months ago in reply to this comment.
    I wouldn't assume I have no clue regarding equations. I was responding to j's assumption the world is chaotic. and the law of 2nd in thermo showed this. The question has still not been answered.
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    • Posted by ewv 6 years, 9 months ago
      The reference I cited conceptually explains the relation between 'order' and 'heat' and how they gave rise to the concepts, which is what you seem to be asking about.
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    • Posted by $ 6 years, 10 months ago
      The increase in entropy of the universe generally implies a progression toward disorder. A spontaneous process only happens when the deltaG is less than zero.
      deltaG = deltaH - T*deltaS
      If deltaH is sufficiently negative, then deltaS can actually be negative, resulting in increased order. Such cases do happen. They don't happen often, but are not impossible.
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      • Posted by dbhalling 6 years, 10 months ago
        J, entropy is about heat not order. In addition, there is no reason to believe that the Universe is limited or fits the definition of a isolated system.
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        • Posted by j_IR1776wg 6 years, 10 months ago
          Uh d wiki begins its definition of entropy thus..".In thermodynamics, entropy (usual symbol S) is a measure of the number of specific ways in which a thermodynamic system may be arranged, commonly understood as a measure of disorder" A measure of disorder..
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          • Posted by dbhalling 6 years, 10 months ago
            Yes, and it is mistake. See http://www.science20.com/train_thought/b..., which clearly explains why order is not the right term.

            "But is disorder really the best word to use to define entropy? I don't think so. There are several problems with using disorder to define entropy. The first problem has to do with systems having multiple levels of organization. A system might be more or less "orderly" on one level and not at all on another. Take the example of the ice cubes flying around in space. On the level of the ice cubes, the system is disorderly, but on the molecular level, the ice molecules are locked in place, neatly in order."
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            • Posted by $ 6 years, 10 months ago
              The number of specific ways in which a thermodynamic system may be arranged is an accurate definition; this concept is the number of degrees of freedom. Note that this gentleman's readers had to correct him on, with regard to the integral of the heat capacity divided by temperature with respect to temperature from absolute zero up to temperature T. One can calculate such the entropy from first principle statistical mechanics. A system that is orderly on a macroscale and not on a microscale is not at all close to equilibrium. Neither is a system that is nanoscopically orderly such as the ice cubes but is macroscopically disorderly. The latter case is much more common, even though it is harder to calculate.

              Neither of these mean that such situations cannot exist in that state; it does mean that such conditions are metastable. Life itself is metastable. Your equilibrium condition is the dead corpse described in that web site, and indeed that dead corpse has fewer degrees of freedom and thus has a lower entropy. Another common example of a metastable condition is a huge pile of snow in a parking lot at several degrees Celsius. Eventually it will melt, but not until the atoms rearrange themselves. Often such conditions are diffusion-limited. Diffusion becomes significant at about 1/3 of the melting point.

              Regarding the term "disorder" to define entropy, that isn't a great definition. The number of degrees of freedom definition, however, is sound.

              Boltzmann's "degrees of freedom" definition has been proven adequate to describe the physical chemistry of a wide variety of atoms, molecules, and solids. The biggest reason why "order" has been associated with entropy is that a well-ordered crystal requires a very high energy to disrupt the symmetry of the crystal. Crystals are typically at energetic minima, with any impurities phase segregating to surfaces and grain boundaries.
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  • Posted by ewv 6 years, 10 months ago in reply to this comment.
    I agree with you on that. Here he has become nasty and personally insulting pushing religious irrationalism while evading the many thoughtful posts explaining what is wrong with the philosophical arguments he tried to rationalize it with. I hadn't "voted down" any of his posts until he launched this latest snarling attack as he complained about others rejecting him.
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  • Posted by $ AJAshinoff 6 years, 10 months ago in reply to this comment.
    I'd say that holding out hope in an afterlife is a very selfish decision even if you personally do not value or mock that possibility. A person, today especially, does not have to have a faith or religion. So someone taking a belief structure is very selfish.

    This is the rational perspective I've tried repeatedly for you to see and you irrationally toss aside as mysticism and/or folklore.

    A religion could start up tomorrow and promise eternal life and anyone subscribing to it would be doing so for selfish reasons.
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  • Posted by wiggys 6 years, 10 months ago
    only time will tell if this fellow can accomplish convincing those who are there that his way of thinking is the way to go. I hope he can, but hope springs eternal.
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