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Post 140

Saturday, August 27, 2005 - 8:27pmSanction this postReply
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Jody,

I cannot resist a transformation of your logic concerning Nathaniel Branden - which I will apply to Ayn Rand. You wrote (concerning NB):
If psychotherapy wishes it's finding to be treated as a science, then publish it in a peer-reviewed journal, have your results replicated by an independent group using the appropriate scientific controls and then you might have some evidence on your side.  As it is though, saying "I've had many clients who have experienced remarkable results" is not doing science, it's intellectually doing yourself, i.e. intellectually fucking yourself.
Now let's do this imagining that we are somewhere around the time when the Ayn Rand Letter was being published - or even a bit later.
If Objectivism wishes it's finding to be treated as a philosophy, then publish it in a peer-reviewed journal, have your results replicated by an independent group using the appropriate academic controls and then you might have some evidence on your side.  As it is though, saying "I've had many readers who have experienced remarkable results" is not doing philosophy, it's intellectually doing yourself, i.e. intellectually fucking yourself.
Original thinkers are original because no one has done it yet. Don't hold Branden's originality against him when you embrace Ayn Rand's originality.

The ideas are what matter.

Michael




Post 141

Saturday, August 27, 2005 - 8:29pmSanction this postReply
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Jason-
     I'm with you, Branden has always been whip-it smart when it comes to practical applications of objectivism.  I still love reading his old school stuff from back in the day.  I am just not into pop-psychology and I think it is here that he needs the old "physician heal thyself" adage applied to himself when it comes to practical applications of objectivism.  Some of the current things I'm reading from/about him come way to close to mysticism.




Post 142

Saturday, August 27, 2005 - 9:21pmSanction this postReply
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"I second John's submission." [Donald Talton]

Guys no joint submissions. I would have to award duplicate airfare and hotel prizes to CiviltyTown. This contest will have to remain open for one more day since I have to prep to teach for 8 hours tomorrow (Sunday).

CAN'T *ANYONE* FIGURE OUT MY RIDDLE???

COME ON NOW, I THOUGHT THIS WAS AN -INTELLIGENT- GROUP: Reread Post #119, the last two sentences.

You can DO it!!!






Post 143

Saturday, August 27, 2005 - 9:28pmSanction this postReply
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Philip: Collectivist-minded pissing contest?



Post 144

Saturday, August 27, 2005 - 9:51pmSanction this postReply
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Phil,

They have engaged in ad hominem and emotionalism. One of Ayn Rand's two cardinal rules of civility, emotions are not tools of cognition, has been routinely ignored. Most Objectivists can manage the second one, gentlemen leave your guns outside, but batting .500 in a philosophical debate just isn't good enough.

Jim




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Post 145

Saturday, August 27, 2005 - 10:02pmSanction this postReply
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Phil,

They are all part of your hissy fit?

//;-)

Michael




Post 146

Saturday, August 27, 2005 - 10:30pmSanction this postReply
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Better the hissy fit than the hussy fit...



Post 147

Saturday, August 27, 2005 - 10:30pmSanction this postReply
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Is it that they all run counter to a practice of winning over opponents by abstaining from calling them scoundrels?



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Post 148

Saturday, August 27, 2005 - 10:41pmSanction this postReply
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Phil,

I expected better of you than to proclaim a moral equivalence between the provocation and the response. My response was entirely appropriate in context - I was not dealing with a routine troll, but with a Jew-baiting collectivist, who chose to make his Jew-baiting personal. When Ayn Rand encountered a similar incident from National Review, she never dealt with them again. I don't wish to be the next on the list of people who left SOLO, but I think that it would be appropriate to put Master Engle under moderation for a while.

I should add some context. The Nazis murdered my older brother four years before I was born, when he was 3 years old. They also murdered all my grandparents and great-gradparents, and the entire families of two of my first cousins. Master Engle knows that I was born into a previously Jewish Atheist family in Poland in 1946, and while he did not know these specific details, he did have enough information to figure out the general context. It is taking more forbearance than anyone has a right to expect, for me to stay on SOLO in his company - and your request that I ignore the insult, and keep silent as though nothing happened, does not become a man of your presumed wisdom.

(Edited by Adam Reed
on 8/27, 10:59pm)




Post 149

Sunday, August 28, 2005 - 1:18amSanction this postReply
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Adam—threatening to leave is not the way to get our attention or support. There's been way too much of that lately. However, in this instance, Joe & I have looked at that Hitler Youth remark & there's no question that Rich owes you an apology for it. He's under moderation till he proffers it. Rich, you know we're very light-handed here, but that remark is way over the top & very tacky. Do the decent thing, man.

Linz



Post 150

Sunday, August 28, 2005 - 2:00amSanction this postReply
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Linz,

I apologize for mentioning that possibility, because my posting that amounted to not trusting you to do the right thing anyway - and you deserve better.

Ironically, I thought that my reference to the National Review incident would be enough for everyone to understand my context. Then Philip managed to demonstrate otherwise. Well, people learn - even former trolls, so why not a (hopefully soon to be former) Jew-baiter?



Post 151

Sunday, August 28, 2005 - 4:51amSanction this postReply
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Michael-

If you honestly believe your analogy in post 140 is valid, then I have some homeopathic remedies to sell you.  Act now and I'll even throw in a do-it-yourself cold fusion kit.

Original thinkers are original because no one has done it yet. Don't hold Branden's originality against him when you embrace Ayn Rand's originality.

The ideas are what matter.
 
Yea, and original artists are original because no one has done it yet.  Contrary to everything, Jackson Pollock was a great artist?!!  That's honestly your criteria for science?

I'm not holding his originality against him, I'm holding his lack of evidence against him.  Yes, science does require rigorous experiment and evidence.  It's history is littered with original though and 'ideas' that unfortunately went nowhere.





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Post 152

Sunday, August 28, 2005 - 6:38amSanction this postReply
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Jody,

Once again you are using a piss-poor argument that you know very little about. Do you even know what homeopathic remedies are? They are small doses of specifically selected poison that stimulate the immunological system to cure the organism. They are medium to long term treatments and, as such, when the organism's immunological system is not completely overwhelmed by the pathology (there are points of no return for all medical systems - that's why people die), they work marvelously. Brazil is doing the scientific work in this area that the USA refuses to do.

I vastly prefer your present position of starting to talk about Branden's ideas than attacking his professional standing among peers - especially in a field where it is being alleged very loudly around here that such peers are full of shit anyway, since the whole field is corrupted by wrongheaded ideas. (No they don't use this language, but when you say a field is invalid, you obviously have to include the practitioners.)

At least you have read some things he wrote. Read some more and you will discover that he is no pop psychologist.

Michael




Post 153

Sunday, August 28, 2005 - 7:28amSanction this postReply
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Andy,

Just as a lesson in manners. Your statement in Post 102:
Calling someone a Scientologist or a Randroid are fightin' words around here.
If you remember correctly, I did not call you a Scientologist, but I can see where you would think I implied it, so let me say that my intent was not to call you one. Sorry about the misunderstanding. You did include me in "making an ass out of themselves" remark. That was very clear. Only after being called an ass did I call you a Randroid (which I am really starting to believe).

Now to extend the olive branch to me, you finish up with:
Now it's up to you if you want to be one of Branden's Talmudic heroes.
Pardon me while I say, "Fuck you."

(You listening, Phil?)

Michael



Post 154

Sunday, August 28, 2005 - 8:11amSanction this postReply
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Adam,

I am sorry if I seemed to give any offense to you. I didn't make a moral equivalence (or any other) between the provocation and the response in your case. And, given your personal situation, it would require enormous self-control not to respond on the thread. But sometimes your opponents can say really stupid things in the heat of battle which are tremendously offensive...which is just one more reason for having a tone of civility more broadly than this particular exchange, isn't it?

Don't these personal exchanges (and this particular thread as only the latest example) tend to lead to anger which leads to rhetorical escalation and loss of context and control?

I still stand by this: "It's usually best to either ignore the insult and cease debating the person entirely or even explicitly point out that the person is no longer worth it. If you fire back in kind and in anger, you just add another personal ongoing feud or exchange to the thread, thereby detracting from the conversation."

Moreover, you said, "It is taking more forbearance than anyone has a right to expect, for me to stay on SOLO in his company". I respectfully suggest that one not leave a public forum because of one person's remarks one time who is just a tiny part of the forum. It's not like being in a small room in person with someone who has mortally insulted you.

Imagine a hypothetical (as opposed to just the heat of acrimonious battle): that someone wanted to chase you or someone else away because they can't answer his objective arguments and his thoughtful reasoning. Then they could just look for a hot button find a way to insult you or the opponent in a way that is so offensive that you or he would leave. Or so distract you or the thread of discussion that you or the substantive arguments would be ineffective or forgotten.

[I don't want to say this is the same as Objectivist immaturity and barroom brawls, but we see a much worse form of this all the time today in the ad hominem and poisonous political atmosphere in Washington and among the activist groups such as the enviros, the Left, animal rights, anti-abortion, etc. Their purposes are served by making it all emotional and personal.]

Phil



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Post 155

Sunday, August 28, 2005 - 8:17amSanction this postReply
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Whatever one's view of the current distinctions between Branden and Rand on the issue of morality (I discuss that Talmudic quote here), it must be emphasized that Rand herself regarded Branden's work, while he was associated with her, as part of the Objectivist canon.  From her 1968 statement of policy in The Objectivist, Rand writes:

My role in regard to Objectivism is that of a theoretician. Since Objectivism is not a loose body of ideas, but a philosophical system originated by me and publicly associated with my name, it is my right and my responsibility to protect its intellectual integrity. I want, therefore, formally to state that the only authentic sources of information on Objectivism are: my own works (books, articles, lectures), the articles appearing in and the pamphlets reprinted by this magazine (The Objectivist, as well as The Objectivist Newsletter), books by other authors which will be endorsed in this magazine as specifically Objectivist literature, and such individual lectures or lecture courses as may be so endorsed. (This list includes also the book Who Is Ayn Rand? by Nathaniel Branden and Barbara Branden, as well as the articles by these two authors which have appeared in this magazine in the past, but does not include their future works.)

I emphasize this point in some of my other essays.  Here, I state the following:

All of Branden’s work that appeared in Rand’s periodicals—essays on causality, free will, determinism, emotions, ethics, self-esteem, romantic love, social metaphysics, alienation, anxiety, education, economics, and, yes, the subconscious and repression—were sanctioned and regarded by Rand as part and parcel of Objectivism. 

And in my essay "Reason, Passion, and History," I also state:

When some of Rand's intellectual progeny try to bracket out those contributions, the result, in my view, is a diminished Objectivism.  (My book Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical goes a long way toward reintegrating the theoretical work of Nathaniel Branden into the corpus of Objectivism.)  The intellectual relationship between Ayn Rand and Nathaniel Branden was significant and it had some enormously positive long-term consequences. One might even say (as I did in Russian Radical) that if Nathaniel Branden is the legitimate “father” of the self-esteem movement in psychology, "Ayn Rand is its mother” (Sciabarra 1995, 403 n. 64).  Branden didn’t become a leading figure in the psychology of self-esteem by simply “exploiting [his] association with Rand” ([Valliant 2005, 171); he is an author unto himself of nineteen books and countless articles. And he continues to credit Rand as having had the most important impact on his intellectual development. In The Psychology of Self-Esteem, his first treatise in psychology, much of it a verbatim republication of his essays written for The Objectivist Newsletter and The Objectivist, Branden states unequivocally that “[t]he Objectivist epistemology, metaphysics and ethics are the philosophical frame of reference in which I write as a psychologist” ([1969] 1979, ix). And, in the years since 1968, even as he developed his psychological theories of self-esteem and romantic love, his work on the relationship of reason and emotion, and his pioneering “sentence-completion” exercises in directed association, Branden (1999, 21) has continued to recognize in Rand an intellectual forebear, one who “speaks, on many different levels, to the quest for individuation, autonomy, and self-actualization.”


(Edited by sciabarra on 8/28, 9:07am)




Post 156

Sunday, August 28, 2005 - 8:23amSanction this postReply
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"Pardon me while I say, "Fuck you." (You listening, Phil?)"

Unfortunately.



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Post 157

Sunday, August 28, 2005 - 8:36amSanction this postReply
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Phil,

To me, it looks like many participants on this thread are turning Branden's Talmud quote on its head and trying to make enemies out of friends.

It is harder to accept differences of opinion among people who purport to share your philosophy than with those who don't.  Thus, Ayn Rand could condemn and repudiate Nathaniel Branden, but I'll just bet she never condemned and repudiated her doorman or her grocer or the people she interacted with at stamp-collecting shows because they were Democrats, for example.

My other favorite internet forum is for devotees of the Honda CRX.  We get into plenty of political and philosophical discussions over there as well.  But the level of acrimony over there is usually less than here, because deep down we know the other person loves CRXs, so he can't be all bad!  Seems like if the connection is less fundamental, we can be more forgiving.

Ironic?  I dunno, I'm just an American. ;-)




Post 158

Sunday, August 28, 2005 - 9:43amSanction this postReply
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Michael-

Once again you are using a piss-poor argument that you know very little about. Do you even know what homeopathic remedies are? They are small doses of specifically selected poison that stimulate the immunological system to cure the organism. They are medium to long term treatments and, as such, when the organism's immunological system is not completely overwhelmed by the pathology (there are points of no return for all medical systems - that's why people die), they work marvelously. Brazil is doing the scientific work in this area that the USA refuses to do.


I DO know what homeopathic remedies are.  They simultaneously fail to understand the nature of disease, physics, chemistry and statistical probability.  So where would you like to start with this debate?  Actually, let's just start where you say "They are small doses of specifically selected poison..."  My question to this is "How small?"  What is the ratio of poison to the inactive ingredients?  We'll start here with big picture stuff and then delve in to some more scientifically detailed arguments.

I suppose you would think my argument piss-poor if you buy into this quackery.  But as I said, fortunately I know all about homeopathy so I'm really looking forward to this.

(Edited by Jody Allen Gomez on 8/28, 9:45am)




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Post 159

Sunday, August 28, 2005 - 9:50amSanction this postReply
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So, Phil: I won, right?



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