About
Content
Store
Forum

Rebirth of Reason
War
People
Archives
Objectivism

Post to this threadMark all messages in this thread as readMark all messages in this thread as unreadBack one pagePage 0Page 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Forward one pageLast Page


Sanction: 13, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 13, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 13, No Sanction: 0
Post 120

Saturday, July 16, 2005 - 6:15pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
The poster above me just wrote (about Ayn Rand):
If she had been raised in middle America or even a well to do Russian family I find it highly unlikley that she would have been so hostile toward religion or spirituality.
I have to agree. I have always had a hard time of Ayn Rand not accepting the Easter Bunny. (I have no problem about her not accepting Santa, though. And Saint Patrick simply doesn't cut the mustard. That other doesn't count at all because he is just a comic strip.)

But now, seriously, I am blown away. Thanks to the superior knowledge of some gracious posters around here, we can all finally rest assured that Ayn Rand's convictions actually didn't spring from her independent rational thinking, but instead were a result of her environment.

Impressive.

May the Easter Bunny always lay such sagacious and perspicacious fat ones in the zen celebration of the eggness of being.

(Next miracle, btw - Mexicans may have their jumping beans, but the Easter Bunny is preparing flying eggs for the wonderment of all.)

Michael



Post 121

Saturday, July 16, 2005 - 7:04pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Michael, are you saying that Ayn Rand's environment and life experience had no bearing at all on her philosophical evolution and development?



Post 122

Saturday, July 16, 2005 - 7:54pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
GOD

Wow, what a concept.

But therein lies the problem. What is the concept?

"God by rights must exist if you can not disprove it, how else can everything have come into existence. You can not prove a negative after all. " Generic Religious response.

I fully agree with that statement, that you can not prove a negative. But neither would I attempt to do so, because it would be meaningless.

An arbitrary concept is just that, arbitrary. And stating that God or gods or little green men on mars exists without verifiable and repeatable data from existence is arbitrary, especially if the believers refuse to define or give a definition that says God can not be defined.

An arbitrary concept therefore by default is disproven if it has no way to be measured or quantified or verified.

Now suppose someone does define the concept. Now this can be proven or disproven as to how well it fits in reality. Is there a "theory of God?" Put it forth for us to test it.

Yes this has been done many times and as as far I can tell no definition has held up to reality. I remember as a child being able to simply dismiss the concept after thinking about the implications of Omnipotence and Omniscience and putting free will into the mix. I later found out it was called something fancy like the free will paradox. but it follows that I was, at a young age, able to poke holes into the hypothesis. I am amazed to find religious and believing people capable of putting forth this argument themselves, but refusing to accept the implications because it was easier and more emotionally securing to believe someone was watching over them.

God is disproved as a viable concept. At least as proposed hypothesis so far as I can tell. But if you say God can not be defined it is therefore arbitrary and it is not a concept worth talking about. If you can not tell us what we are discussing how can we discuss it? Or better yet how can you expect me to believe in a concept you are unable to define?

As a closing if you were to say "God" as a metaphor for existence or the universe but without the personal intelligent being then I might be inclined to understand you and accept that your "God" exists. Existence Exists. It is. But cut the superstition. Existence is knowable "God" is not.



Post 123

Saturday, July 16, 2005 - 9:29pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Can You Prove God Exists?

Before we answer this question, we must distinguish five questions that are often confused.

* First, there is the question of whether something exists or not. A thing can exist whether we know it or not.
* Second, there is the question of whether we know it exists. (To answer this question affirmatively is to presuppose that the first question is answered affirmatively, of course; though a thing can exist without our knowing it, we cannot know it exists unless it exists.)
* Third, there is the question of whether we have a reason for our knowledge. We can know some things without being able to lead others to that knowledge by reasons. Many Christians think God's existence is like that.
* Fourth, there is the question of whether this reason, if it exists, amounts to a proof. Most reasons do not. Most of the reasons we give for what we believe amount to probabilities, not proofs. For instance, the building you sit in may collapse in one minute, but the reliability of the contractor and the construction materials is a good reason for thinking that very improbable.
* Fifth, if there is a proof, is it a scientific proof, a proof by the scientific method, i.e., by experiment, observation, and measurement? Philosophical proofs can be good proofs, but they do not have to be scientific proofs.

I believe we can answer yes to the first four of these questions about the existence of God but not to the fifth. God exists, we can know that, we can give reasons, and those reasons amount to proof, but not scientific proof, except in an unusually broad sense.




Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Post 124

Saturday, July 16, 2005 - 11:41pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Erik, you asked:
Michael, are you saying that Ayn Rand's environment and life experience had no bearing at all on her philosophical evolution and development?
Point 1. I traditionally try not to spout off crap as speculation about things I do not know. (Sometimes I fall into this trap, but I try to correct myself the moment I catch myself at it - or someone else calls me on it, and you can ask around about that to some very surprised individuals at times.)

Point 2. Were I to speculate on what Ayn Rand might have done in other circumstances, I would approach that issue with respect and not simply dismiss the tremendous effort she put into learning another language, going through the Hollywood mill, and other choices she did make about her life while she was developing her philosophy. I know what achieving something hard feels like. That has my full respect and I have little patience for those who dismiss it.

Point 3. In my own opinion, if Ayn Rand had been sent to Siberia or a concentration camp, I believe she would not have written a bestseller, because the "environmental bearing" on her development and evolution would not have permitted much anything beyond mere survival. If Russia had not been Communist and she had stayed there, she probably would have written in Russian and not English. If she had been born with balls she would have been a man and not a woman. This type of speculation could go on all day to no avail, but the main point is that she used her mind rationally in a certain manner. It is a pretty good guess that under normal conditions of thriving, she would have come up with something similar to what she did in life. To posit otherwise is to claim knowledge of what you cannot know and step outside of reality.

Point 4. For an excellent discussion of the actual environmental/cultural influence on Ayn Rand's thinking, please see a masterly work, Ayn Rand The Russian Radical by Chris Matthew Sciabarra. It reads a lot more convincingly that your New Age opinions.

Point 5. If Ayn Rand had met the Easter Bunny, Objectivism would have been based on Bunnydom and not reason. (We can all be thankful that she never met Santa.)

Michael

(Edited by Michael Stuart Kelly on 7/16, 11:44pm)

(Edited by Michael Stuart Kelly on 7/16, 11:46pm)




Post 125

Sunday, July 17, 2005 - 3:05amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
If she had met the Easter Bunny, she'd have had it for dinner - ending that bit...



Post 126

Sunday, July 17, 2005 - 4:25amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Erik,

Is God a separate entity?



Post 127

Sunday, July 17, 2005 - 10:42amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
I am pretty sure Rand would have been an atheist if she was born in middle America, I was born smack in the middle of the bible belt and I was an atheist by the time I was 18. Rand was certainly more astute about these things then I was. If the experiment could be done I would wager $5,000 on atheism by the age of 15.

Rand didn't convince me of atheism, she never discussed it enough. She instead got me curious enough to read George Smith "Atheism: the case against God". Even that didn't do it immediately, I had to put the book down and think it over for a couple of months.

Rand never took a position on Santa, but one can guess she acquired her idea of justice from Him (He knows if you've been bad or good). She defintely would not have taken to the Easter bunny, with his unproductive and unearned rewards (finding hidden "eggs"...pfah!)




Sanction: 3, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 3, No Sanction: 0
Post 128

Monday, July 18, 2005 - 9:26amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Michael,

I am disappointed that you and a couple of others that have written on this thread ultimately end up doing nothing more than indirectly poking fun at others, with the things about the Easter Bunny, and so on. This seems to be something that, for no positive purpose I can imagine,  you choose to add on to the discussion- implying under the guise of humor that any adult differing from your view probably also literally accepts the existence of such figures.

This leads me to believe that you find that kind of behavior to be perfectly acceptable; to be accepted in the course of things when people having any degree of divergent viewpoints engage in discourse, particularly those involving how people view the nature of existence, and how they live it.

Ayn Rand's primary on this is simply that existence exists;  and yes, how sad that it was so difficult and necessary for that proposition to even have to be argued in the first place. Beyond that, there is room and reason for discussion, and there always will be. When those discussions occur, it is almost without question that some will choose to bring in what has been brought in here, by you, by others. It is almost unremarkable and basically just sad that when such things are done, it doesn't matter where they are done, or who is doing them; it is just as common coin here as it is in right wing fundamentalists christians, and everywhere in between. It does not speak well for the person speaking it, because it transcends the bounds of true human compassion. It begs the questions: why would a person say that, and what are they saying about themself?

The most confusing, and disturbing of them all might be Sharon's post, where she requested a "short answer," for her seven-year-old granddaughter, who was "waiting". That is a behavior that truly saddens me, even though I don't know the whole "why" of it.  

The Objectivist community is known and respected for their sharp logic, and staying on point with debates, and I have always been proud to say that when people ask me things about it. But, even that and all the other virtues are not enough to stop this behavior, it never has been. How does that make you feel?

(Edited by Rich Engle on 7/18, 9:27am)




Post 129

Monday, July 18, 2005 - 10:27amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Rich,

It's very difficult to speak to your sadness at such a distance; but I want to convey my utmost sensitivity to your feelings.  As a non believer, I taught Roman Catholic kindergarten children for 25 years.  I didn't have to explain; I was charged with maintaining a previously injected idea of God:  the fatherly, benevolent creator, and Jesus the Son and teacher whose message is love.  As a teacher, I supported children's duty to show appreciation for everything that had been given to them; and the benefits of showing love to one another.  

In order to give my son and daughter a bilingual education in the French language, they also attended RC schools, up to eighth grade. My children learned the doctrine; but were not required to accept it on faith.      My personal view of God, is that of an entity invented by the human mind.  That's it.

When my granddaughter (who has previously received no prejudicial information) hears something on the radio and asks,  "WHO IS GOD ANYWAY ?"

You received the job of giving me a better answer than  "OH GOD,  OH,  WELL, HE'S IN CHARGE OF THE SPIRIT WORLD."   This is to avoid giving a nihilistic answer to children which understand "existence" before they can understand "non-existence".

MICHAEL!

Ten years ago I had a medically-induced psychotic episode in which I almost scared myself out of my wits.  "Knowing right from wrong"  was a very important issue in overcoming this moral dilemma.  Being taken DEADLY SERIOUS  was an important aspect to my recovery. Making fun of another person's  ethical dilemmas is a cruelty, beyond understanding.  It's a form of moral assault.  Believe me!  

Sharon 



Sanction: 8, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 8, No Sanction: 0
Post 130

Monday, July 18, 2005 - 7:38pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Rich, you wrote:
I am disappointed that you and a couple of others that have written on this thread ultimately end up doing nothing more than indirectly poking fun at others, with the things about the Easter Bunny, and so on.
Why does it bother you? It shouldn't. You are not in your own home. This site is paid for by atheists.

You come here on an atheist site, constantly expound on the existence of God, and demand to be taken seriously to the point of wanting to prohibit humor about the existence of God.

By what standard? Your feelings of discomfort? What about the feelings of discomfort of those who own this site and practice the atheistic philosophy of Objectivism - and those who use it thus? Don't their feelings of discomfort count? I, for one, do not post on Solo to be converted to believing in God. Please get it through your head that Objectivists are atheists by definition and consider a belief in God, and any "higher" force that requires faith, to be EVIL.

If you don't like it Rich, just deal with it or go play somewhere else. You certainly will not find any converts around here, if that is what you are seeking (and the humor is blowing out of the water).

There is no restriction on proposing your belief in God. But you just have to live with the consequences around atheists. Humor is one of them.

Or maybe you could look into that Easter Bunny thing. After all, you never know...

//;-)

Michael




Post 131

Monday, July 18, 2005 - 8:09pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Rich, just ignore Michael and Sharon's sophmoric cheap shots. I personally find your posts quite enjoyable and illuminating. They seem to think that because we are not atheistic that we cannot also appreciate and practice many of the tenents of Objectivism. I wouldn't post at this website unless I thought that Objectivism had something to offer and that SOLO was a great source of knowledge and discussion. Although I don't agree with every poster at SOLO, I do find myself agreeing to most that is posted here. Anyhow Rich, you're very well spoken. Keep up the good work. If I may quote the immortal Shakespeare's Henry V ,'We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.'



Post 132

Monday, July 18, 2005 - 8:24pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
I'm suddenly reminded of that phrase about heat and the kitchen.

Sorry if anyone gets offended, but it's a pretty central and essential part of Objectivism.  And to top that off most Objectivists consider the content of faith and religion evil.  If you are dealing with Objectivists most will identify the idea as such.  That's the risk you pose by choosing to interact with them.

Nothing personal, just an evaluation of the facts as I see them.

---Landon




Post 133

Monday, July 18, 2005 - 9:36pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Michael,

While I haven't read all of Rich's posts, what I've gathered is that he doesn't believe in God, but does have some kind of sense of spirituality. I haven't tried to understand further than that and I don't want to ask because he's probably written it somewhere and I'm just being lazy by not going back to read his long posts.

Sarah



Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Post 134

Monday, July 18, 2005 - 10:00pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Eirk and Rich,

Actually I find myself continually having to ignore the cheap shots of you guys. How would your sensibilities feel if I started hounding you all the time on the "correctness" of posting on believing in God on an atheistic forum? That you shouldn't do that because you are being disrespectful of the others here?

Does that concept seem strange? It should. The faith you guys practice has centuries of torturing and murdering people for blasphemy behind it. You can't do that now, so you want respect for "feelings" and political correctness. I will have none of it.

For as much as both of you think there is mockery going on, there is none on my part. I simply find the concept of myself giving up my rational capacity for such an important metaphysical decision, after all I have been through in life... funny. Laughing kind of funny. Tickle me kind of funny. Benevolent kind of funny.

Like Wiley Cayote going off a cliff, stopping in midair to look down, waving goodby then a long whistle down. Poof.

Not mockery. Funny. I don't know if centuries of social intimidation will allow you to understand that this mentality now exists - but I assure you it does. It is one of the blessinsg of holding reason supreme.

You think I am thinking about you when I horse around with the Easter Bunny. I don't. I simply don't think about either of you. I think about the joke - which is downright cute, to tell you the truth. (That is not a sanction for that dastardly Santa, though.)

The "ignore him" advice is very good. Ignore me if your "sensibilities" get offended. Tell me to shut up and I will tell you to fuck off. After all, I do not tell either of you to shut up about God. You can even seek converts if you can find them.

I will have my fun and celebrate my good nature with like minded souls whether either of you find it appropriate or not. And if that screws up your convert strategy, well... long whistle down. Poof. 

Sharon - Obviously I do not live based on fear. That is not part of my internal make-up.

Michael




Sanction: 11, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 11, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 11, No Sanction: 0
Post 135

Tuesday, July 19, 2005 - 8:43amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Michael-

I am disappointed because I assume that intellectuals, at least civilized, inquiring ones, agree in the area of being respectful while engaging in discourse, because they understand that deep discussion usually will hit emotional and psychological triggers all around.  I never attacked nor insulted your position, which would be as easy to do as any other position, if one chooses the path of humor.  It's easy, I practically wrote the book on it. I used to be a very stupid man in that respect; and on occasion I still will lose sight of humanity and resort to that. It is a very common behavior, no matter how articulately one performs it- it impresses, to an extent, but in the end, if a person is fortunate, it will stop impressing them. There is maybe some use for it, but reserve definitely seems to be a concept to consider before doing so.  

 On the other hand, you definitely have done so. Your choice of  innuendo, and left-handed weaponry is telling. It pains me some  to watch someone do that, because it inevitably seems to point at a certain kind of uncomfortable meanness not normally seen in the same person. It has many possible origins, the main one usually ending up to be a self-esteem issue. That simply seems to be the fact;  I am not saying that it is the cause of your behavior. All I can say to that is I meant no intrusion into a forum where you have found yourself comfortable to write freely. That freedom is one I equally value.

I notice that you have written about being in recovery for about 8 years. If you did so via a 12-step program, maybe still participate in one, then perhaps look to those principles for a moment- how do you justify even Step One? It involves admitting powerlessness- that you must give up to a "higher power" before anything else happened. Did you work with that modality? It is an interesting discussion, whether one embraces or rejects it.  

You err to say that I came onto an Objectivist forum and started espousing or arguing for the existence of God, or attempting some kind of conversion strategy. I cannot imagine a viable purpose for anyone setting out to do that, although I have seen it occur. I have devoted many years to Objectivism- to this day, hardly a week goes by that I do not take the opportunity to expose someone to the possibilities that Ayn Rand brought forward in her brilliant work.  I did not attempt to sway belief systems, in any way, shape, or form.  Aside from the fact that doing so would be bush-leauge, and stupidly ineffective, my values prevent me from doing so, because I consider actions like that to violate people's way of living their lives, while making tacit assumptions about errors in how they do so. The questionable behavior is yours, not mine, and I will not wear it.

I am comfortable with atheists- I fully accept them, and recognize that atheism is right and appropriate for those who embrace it. Under certain forms of definition, I am an atheist. The other reason I have no quarrel with atheists is because my value system is based on spiritual pluralism, and that is so because I know that it is a freedom that follows from the fact that we are all different and unique through nature and nurture. Through individual experience. Just as we see global similarities in the human experience (such as people like Jung and Campbell have brought forward so well), we see individuality- as unique as the fingerprint of the person who holds it.  

Why should I be disappointed? Because my values include principles such as tolerance of individual religious freedom. It is clumsy, but if it makes my meaning more clear, call it individual sense-of-life freedom. What your actions are showing me is that you support that in spirit, but not in practice. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it looks very much like you have rules about that, and they go beyond the nature of everyone accepting what "is", "is". It is in forays beyond that where your lack of manners present themselves.

(Edited by Rich Engle on 7/19, 9:02am)

(Edited by Rich Engle on 7/19, 9:47am)




Post 136

Tuesday, July 19, 2005 - 4:43pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Oh Puleeeeeze!!!



Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Post 137

Tuesday, July 19, 2005 - 7:02pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit

Michael K: "like Barbara Branden's little green man in a tuxedo (at least he's kinda cute)."

He's very cute, and I won't have you speaking of him with such disrespect.

Adam, where do you think Nathaniel got the example of "the invisible unicorn looking over my shoulder?" I first came up with such metaphors when, at a party, a man was telling me that he wasn't at all sure that he existed. I asked him if he'd mind going away and not talking to me, because if he didn't exist, but I was seen speaking to him, I would be greatly embarrassed.

Yes, Rand was asked fairly often about Deism. Her answer always was that of a hard atheist. In relation to Deism, too, the question becomes what on earth (no pun intended) is the being one is talking about; what is a consciousness that operates not through a brain but through stones and mud and water? It is no more susceptible to non-contradictory definition than is an omnipotent and omniscient God.

Barbara





Post 138

Tuesday, July 19, 2005 - 11:22pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Barbara,

Thank you - I was hoping for exactly this information.



Post 139

Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - 10:12amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Oh Puleeeeeze!!!
 
Meaning?






Post to this threadBack one pagePage 0Page 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Forward one pageLast Page
User ID Password reminder or create a free account.