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Post 120

Monday, July 31, 2006 - 9:28amSanction this postReply
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Jon wrote:

They are drawn to sophisticated-sounding philosophical pretexts for nurturing a meanness of spirit that they should be shamed, not congratulated, for.
Well put.

Bob 




Post 121

Monday, July 31, 2006 - 10:38amSanction this postReply
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Jon wrote:

Raising children, I can tell you that stuff like, “I do not need you,” rolls off their tongue regularly. It is not profound.

Yes, it is.  From your own observations, one can say credibly that children at an early age sense intuitively the profound moral ideal of autonomy and independence.  Of course, actualizing that ideal into their own moral growth then becomes a worthwhile endeavor.  The question remains whether the adults raising them will encourage that endeavor or attempt to "shame" them away from it.

(Edited by Luke Setzer on 7/31, 10:44am)




Post 122

Monday, July 31, 2006 - 10:52amSanction this postReply
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No, Luke. A parent encourages “I can do it.” THAT is the ideal of autonomy and independence.

When she pisses on a playmate, rationalizing that she doesn’t need them anyway, so why not—you shame her.

(Edited by Jon Letendre
on 7/31, 10:53am)




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Post 123

Monday, July 31, 2006 - 10:56amSanction this postReply
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I wrote: "Re Cal's 'seiz[ing] any opportunity to discredit [Rand's] views and those of her supporters' and his 'never miss[ing] an opportunity to discredit her views and to belittle her supporters as cultists and Randroids' (quoting from Bill's post #98), I think you show a lack of imagination, Bill, as to the number of possible opportunities for such criticism. Cal comes nowhere near to availing himself of all of them."

To which Bill replied:

--"Oh, really? So, you think that Rand deserves even more criticism than even Cal is making of her. That's interesting."

LOL. Beats tearing my hair over how exasperating you can be, Bill. The conclusion you draw does not follow. (Nor does the conclusion follow that I agree with the details of Cal's criticisms.) I leave you to see if you can figure out why not.

Bill wrote:

--"My criticisms have been nowhere near as broad as [Cal's]. If the opportunities of which I've availed myself have been greater, it's because I've been posting on Objectivist lists for a longer period of time, but my disagreement has been confined largely to the issue of determinism and free will whose threads have been voluminous, as I'm sure you are aware. One other area that I disagree with is the Objectivist definition of truth, but it's on a a relatively minor point."

The issue of determinism and free will is the issue on which you've most often criticized, I agree. But I think you've also often criticized exactly the sort of cultish tendencies which Cal points out. You just do it in a different "tone of voice." (I also think that you don't understand the fundamentality of her views on volition to her entire edifice and thus how really basic your criticisms are, that you don't draw the implications of your own critique, which are as sweeping as Cal's. But I'm aware that you disagree with me about the centrality of her views on volition.)

Bill wrote:

--"I certainly don't have a problem with people criticizing Rand's philosophy, but if that's all they do -- if they never defend Rand and appear to make no serious effort to understand her philosophy -- then it's difficult to see them as basic supporters of Objectivism who take exception to a few of its tenets here and there."

(1) Is it required that a person be a basic supporter of Objectivism to post on this list? Insofar as I'm aware, it is not.

(2) On the assumption (you don't specifiy; I'm going by context) that you're describing Cal as having made "no serious effort to understand her philosophy," I think you're wrong; I think he's displayed more serious and searching effort in that regard than large numbers of her admirers.


I wrote: "I also think that it isn't so much his criticisms of Objectivists at large that nettles you as it is his criticisms specifically of views you've propounded. (I base this opinion on your seeming more prickly in regard to Cal than you characteristically act responding to Rand detractors, combined with my having noticed a number of times when it's specifically been posts of yours to which Cal has replied with slighting comments.)"

Bill replied:

--"Perhaps, but why wouldn't I be more likely to respond to his criticisms of me than of someone else?"

No reason why you wouldn't be "more likely" to respond to criticisms of you. But what I'm pointing out is that I think you display more irritation in regard to Cal than in regard to other criticizers.

Bill:

--"Besides, those slighting comments have always been in response to my defense of Rand and of Objectivism."

No, they haven't been, as I recall. He's soundly criticized you on statements you've made about physics, a prominent for instance.

Bill:

--"Glenn Fletcher has observed the same anti-Objectivist bias coming from Cal that I have, and has commented on it elsewhere. So I'm not the only one to have expressed such an opinion."

True, you aren't the only one. I disagree that Cal has an "anti-Objectivist bias." Such a bias would indicate a person's having approached Objectivism from the beginning with a negative attitude, and I don't think he did that. Perhaps I have more familiarity with Cal's background than you do. He's a great admirer of Atlas Shrugged, which he's read (I think I'm recalling correctly) sixteen times. And he's very interested by Objectivism. But the more he studied the details of the philosophy, the more he thought was in error. Also, he's irritated by people who claim to be proponents of a "philosophy of reason" exhibiting themselves so often not to be responding on a basis of reason. (I'm not saying that you in particular are doing that.)

Bill:

--"I admire Rand and am a big fan of her philosophy. I think I've made that very clear. Do you get any sense of that from Cal? I don't. What I do get is the opposite impression. His posts reflect a real animus towards Objectivism and those who defend and support it."

See the above remarks. I do get the sense that he admires Rand a great deal as a novelist, though not much as a philosopher. I disagree about his having any "real animus towards Objectivism and those who defend and support it." As indicated, I think his "animus" is against false advertising as "rational" of attitudes which aren't rational.

The subject of Cal has gotten way afield from Nathan Hawking. I suggest starting a new thread if you want to continue about Cal -- although I warn you that I'll soon be out of computer contact for awhile and might not have time to respond further before then.

Just a brief remark on the initial issue under debate, the appropriateness or non- of Luke Setzer's remarks. I, too, considered his remarks inappropriate and entirely unnecessary to the context. I agree with those who think that Luke should have kept his opinions to himself, at least on this thread, and let those who liked and will miss Nathan pay their respects in peace.

Ellen

___



Post 124

Monday, July 31, 2006 - 11:10amSanction this postReply
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Jon, if I had a daughter who judges a former playmate as immoral and breaks all relations with her, and I agree with her judgment, I would praise her conduct.  Your peculiar use of "pissing" mixes figurative and literal uses.  In any case, while I would not condone literal pissing, I would condone figurative pissing if I considered the target deserving of such, regardless of whether the target's parent agreed with me or not.




Post 125

Monday, July 31, 2006 - 11:17amSanction this postReply
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They are drawn to sophisticated-sounding philosophical pretexts for nurturing a meanness of spirit that they should be shamed, not congratulated, for.
True! I must say that I felt the same way.





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Post 126

Monday, July 31, 2006 - 11:37amSanction this postReply
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“…judges a former playmate as immoral…”

That’s just it, Luke. I asked for your reasons for your judgment of Nathan’s immorality and all you have cited was “hogging the forum.” Fact is, you and he simply had incompatible personalities, and so until you prove his depravity I take your pissing on him at death as totally inappropriate, shameful. Ed Thompson stays away from few threads, and is usually the first to make post number one for newbies to Objectivism and newbies to the forum, so why aren’t you on him for it? Your justification for your conclusions about Nathan is still unproven, despite Bill’s opinion that your conclusions are what they are and therefore are appropriate to expression.



But speaking of building autonomy and independence in children, I did write the article about spanking. I haven’t polished it, don’t intend to, and do not want it published here.

I show how to build autonomy and independence without any spanking, which I show to be counter-productive to the goal—all tied together with constant analogizing to one of my hobbies: the art of training pointing gun dogs.

Whoever wants to read it, send me an RoRMail with your email address and I will send you the Word file.




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Post 127

Monday, July 31, 2006 - 11:44amSanction this postReply
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Ellen Wrote:

Also, he's irritated by people who claim to be proponents of a "philosophy of reason" exhibiting themselves so often not to be responding on a basis of reason. (I'm not saying that you in particular are doing that.)
I am.  BTW, when this is done knowingly, purposefully, then the word corruption is accurate.

Bob




Post 128

Monday, July 31, 2006 - 11:46amSanction this postReply
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Jon wrote:

I asked for your reasons for your judgment of Nathan’s immorality and all you have cited was “hogging the forum.” Fact is, you and he simply had incompatible personalities, and so until you prove his depravity I take your pissing on him at death as totally inappropriate, shameful. Ed Thompson stays away from few threads, and is usually the first to make post number one for newbies to Objectivism and newbies to the forum, so why aren’t you on him for it? Your justification for your conclusions about Nathan is still unproven, despite Bill’s opinion that your conclusions are what they are and therefore are appropriate to expression.

Evidently you did not read the links I cited in Post 83 of this thread as evidence.  Nathan deliberately and systematically abused a forum by and for Objectivists to advance ideas totally at odds with Objectivism.  In that sense, he acted as a trespasser and, in the words of Linz, "a pain in the butt" and "an attention-seeking prat."  By contrast, Ed Thompson judiciously advances ideas consonant with Objectivism and thus respects the property rights of the owners of this forum.  Hence, I praise Ed and condemn Nathan.




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Post 129

Monday, July 31, 2006 - 11:51amSanction this postReply
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Wow, the psuedo-Objectivist PC crowd really came out for this one.

The problem is: did anybody question the appropriateness of posting a eulogy for Nathan on this site?  If I am not mistaken about the history, the heads of this site at the time put him on moderation for his antics.  He then left in a huff.  Not only that, he continued his attacks on other Objectivists elsewhere, including his new website.  Leveling the usual "Randroid" attacks, which, of course, his now defenders such as Ellen Stuttle and Cal applaud.

I don't speak for Bill or Luke, but I think it is safe to say nobody was looking to piss on his grave.  But the fact remains, his initial presence here was not welcome, so why post a eulogy here?  Would it not be controversial given his actions?

Ah, but the PC crowd wants any dissenters to just shut up and take it.  Don't question the appropriateness of a eulogy in the first place, they say, because...well...he died.  But Bill had it correct, why serve up an honor after death when he was not honored here in life?

What if Marx died yesterday and somebody posted a eulogy here, would that be appropriate?  And NO!!, I am not comparing him to Marx, it just needs to be emphasized that there is a time and place for others to mourn his loss and perhaps an Objectivist site that he was run out of is not that place.

Michael




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Post 130

Monday, July 31, 2006 - 12:15pmSanction this postReply
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Ellen writes:

"as to the number of possible opportunities for such criticism. Cal comes nowhere near to availing himself of all of them. Indeed, I think that during the years of my acquaintance with you in listland, you've availed yourself of significantly more such opportunities than he has."

Ellen, in her uncanny ability, or should I say inability, to discriminate thinks Bill and Cal are on the same level.  Wasn't it Bill who defended a number of critiques on Objectivism by Cal, including Rand's view on ability/talent, the analytic-synthetic dichotomy, etc.?  Something to ponder.

Something else to ponder is the fact that I was in "listland" debating Cal when he levelled moronic critiques on virtually every basic philosophical premise of Objectivism, including freewill, rational certainty, the nature of concepts and definitions, his divorcing of ideas from reality, and on and on and on.  Not to mention his perpetual condescending manner, including labeling other Objectivists as unthinking "Randroids", AR's ideas as "howlers" and "simplistic" and on and on.

Now, I have disagreed with Bill on some things--including freewill--but can anybody reading his arguments in toto claim he is even remotely close to Cal?  Considering he has given excellent arguments in defense of numerous Objectivist positions while Cal does NOTHING BUT give lame critiques/characterizations of Objectivism/Objectivists--is there any comparison at all?  Just plain silly.

But it does bring up an important point, what is the motivation of the Cal's, the Ellen Stuttle's, the MSK's of this world who constantly find the need to label other Objectivists as "Randroids"?  If their disagreement with the philosophy is so profound, why do they hang out on Objectivist websites?  What psychological need is being fulfilled for them when they constantly rail against Objectivists being unthinking "Randroids"?  What benefit do they derive?  Something else to ponder.

Michael




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Post 131

Monday, July 31, 2006 - 1:01pmSanction this postReply
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Luke,

Then you were right many posts ago: We will have to agree to disagree. Specifically, I consider advancing ideas at odds with Objectivism (like determinism,) being a pain in the butt (like you,) and seeking attention (why are any of us here?) as fairly innocuous stuff that gets nowhere toward a conclusion of immorality deserving total disrespect and targeting of grieving parties.

My block to seeing where you guys are coming from may come from the fact that I have never in my life been called a “Randroid” nor gotten worried about people advancing ideas at odds with Objectivism (whether done on their forum, her forum, or to my face,) nor been impressed by individuals who strive to agree with Ayn, defend Ayn, challenge everything except Ayn, defend Ayn, agree with Ayn, “Hey, look how much I have defended Ayn!”




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Post 132

Monday, July 31, 2006 - 1:20pmSanction this postReply
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I can't keep up with all the posts, therefore only a few points (and thanks to Ellen who did give some good anwers):

Bill:
My criticisms have been nowhere near as broad as his. If the opportunities of which I've availed myself have been greater, it's because I've been posting on Objectivist lists for a longer period of time, but my disagreement has been confined largely to the issue of determinism and free will whose threads have been voluminous, as I'm sure you are aware. One other area that I disagree with is the Objectivist definition of truth, but it's on a a relatively minor point.
So if the number of criticisms remain below some critical value (to be determined by you, I suppose), it's ok, but when it's higher, then it suddenly becomes a denigration? In fact my criticisms are mainly limited to scientific issues, like causality, determinism or perception, where I see serious problems with Rand's ideas. I've nowhere attacked Rand's ideas about politics, economics or ethics (which doesn't imply that I always agree with her completely in these areas).

Ellen:
Objectivism from the beginning with a negative attitude, and I don't think he did that. Perhaps I have more familiarity with Cal's background than you do. He's a great admirer of Atlas Shrugged, which he's read (I think I'm recalling correctly) sixteen times. And he's very interested by Objectivism. But the more he studied the details of the philosophy, the more he thought was in error. Also, he's irritated by people who claim to be proponents of a "philosophy of reason" exhibiting themselves so often not to be responding on a basis of reason. (I'm not saying that you in particular are doing that.)
I no longer remember the exact number of times I've read AS, but I think it's about a dozen (and I've reread all her non-fiction many times, but I could give no numbers).

See the above remarks. I do get the sense that he admires Rand a great deal as a novelist, though not much as a philosopher. I disagree about his having any "real animus towards Objectivism and those who defend and support it." As indicated, I think his "animus" is against false advertising as "rational" of attitudes which aren't rational.
You hit the nail on the head.



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Post 133

Monday, July 31, 2006 - 1:33pmSanction this postReply
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In Michael Moeller's posts 129 and 130, he uses the description "other Objectivists" in contexts wherein he refers by name to (1) Nathan Hawking; (2) me; (3) Cal; and (4) MSK. Once again -- I've corrected Michael M. himself on this point at least once before on RoR, as well as stating this clearly several other times on lists on which both he and I were participating:

I do not now consider myself, nor have I ever considered myself "an Objectivist." I've had too extensive of disagreements with Rand on various issues of psychology from my first reading of Atlas Shrugged (when I was eighteen and a half years old) onward ever to have used that label in describing my views. (I didn't know when I first read Atlas that there was such a label, since the copy of Atlas I read had been printed prior to her having begun to use the term "Objectivism.")

I doubt very much that Cal would describe himself as an "Objectivist" either, or that Nathan Hawking thus described himself. MSK does use the label.

Two other factual corrections:

(1) I didn't defend Nathan Hawking. I said nothing at all concerning my own views of Nathan. I never had the time really to read his website and don't know what he was saying there. I had mixed agreement and disagreement with what he wrote on lists where I read some of his posts. I didn't like the way he acted on the old SoloHQ.

(2) Re MM's question "what is the motivation of the Cal's, the Ellen Stuttle's, the MSK's of this world who constantly find the need to label other Objectivists as 'Randroids'?" In addition to my not considering myself an Objectivist, thus the error of "other Objectivists" in the query, I find no need, constantly or otherwise, to label Objectivists as "Randroids." I don't off-hand recall having used that description myself on any of the lists I've participated on in 7+ years of listlife, though I might be forgetting occasional examples of my using it. Every now and then I use it in private correspondence with friends, but Michael Moeller has not been the recipient of such correspondence.

Ellen

___



Post 134

Monday, July 31, 2006 - 1:41pmSanction this postReply
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Cal wrote: "I no longer remember the exact number of times I've read AS, but I think it's about a dozen [...]."

I thought you'd said about sixteen on OL, but maybe I misremembered -- or you miswrote. If we were industrious about charges and countercharges, we might be able to have a huge battle about the discrepancy, ending with accusations of immorality (and other dire flaws)...

;-)

Cheers,

Ellen

___



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Post 135

Monday, July 31, 2006 - 1:44pmSanction this postReply
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Bob replying to Bill:
Marked by immorality and perversion; depraved.

This attitude oozes from your posts, even when you've been shown to be in error. You wonder why things get "prickly" and personal?? This also explains quite nicely when you encounter a rational objection you so often digress into fallacy - nowhere else to go.
Exactly, that is the attitude that I criticize, not being able to counter the arguments of his opponents, his last resort is to tell them that their ideas are "corrupt" and that all in big letters, as if shouting makes an "argument" more convincing. In contrast, I've had in the past many disagreements with people like Nathan, Robert Campbell and Ellen, but these were rational discussions, from which I've learned a lot.



Post 136

Monday, July 31, 2006 - 1:56pmSanction this postReply
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Ellen:
I thought you'd said about sixteen on OL, but maybe I misremembered -- or you miswrote.
Well, fortunately I keep copies of all my posts... on 15-6-2006 I wrote on OL: "I must have read AS at least a dozen times." I couldn't find any relevant reference to "sixteen" or "16". Just wait till my book about you comes out...



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Post 137

Monday, July 31, 2006 - 2:37pmSanction this postReply
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Since I was cited as one who has some kind of dastardly something to gain (or whatever), I believe it is reasonable to ask a question.

Has anybody heard of anything productive Michael Moeller has ever done in the Objectivist community other than bitch about people? I am not aware of anything, but I may have missed something. About his constant bitching, I like the way he asked it:

"What benefit does he derive? Something else to ponder."

Actually, I don't expect a reasonable answer. Just thinking out loud...

Michael




Post 138

Monday, July 31, 2006 - 7:06pmSanction this postReply
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Bob Mac quoted me as follows - "As I said in a previous post, just because someone is not entirely supportive of Rand or Objectivism, it doesn't follow that he or she is unworthy of our respect; it depends on how corrupt the person's values are." - and replied
Assuming that any rational disagreement is the result of a corruption of values explains quite a lot. This is even more cultish behaviour than just taking offense as Cal explained.
I replied, "Why would you assume that I regard the disagreement as rational, if I thought it reflected philosophically corrupt ideas?" He replied,
The non-specific, or generalized character of the statement of yours that I quoted is offensive to me. I inferred, and you corroborated, my conclusion that you assume that all dissent is rooted in corruption.
Obviously, "corrupt" was a poor choice of words. I certainly didn't mean it in the sense of immoral or depraved, but in the sense of flawed, and probably should have used that term instead. What I was getting at is that just because a person has a disagreement with Objectivism, it doesn't mean that the person is unworthy of respect. But if his disagreement is based on serious philosophical errors, then he would be unworthy of it. Also, I'm not saying that the people I disagree with are "corrupt" human beings; I would never say that, and if I gave that impression, I apologize. Nor am I saying that they don't deserve my respect. I certainly respect Cal's views, which I think are often well argued, even if I don't always agree with them. What I don't respect (and don't understand) is his attitude of always attacking Rand and her supporters and never defending them. I was quite surprised to learn that he liked Atlas Shrugged enough to read it multiple times, which has left me wondering whence comes his hatred for Objectivism and his evident failure to appreciate some of Rand's more insightful contributions.
First you said corrupted "values" then you wrote "philosophically corrupt ideas". I do not believe you wrote "corrupt" in the sense of simple error, which is a legitimate usage of the word. I think you wrote corrupt purposefully and meant it in the more usual meaning of the word : Marked by immorality and perversion; depraved.
No, as I say, I did not mean it in the sense of perverse or depraved, but in the sense of flawed.
This attitude oozes from your posts, even when you've been shown to be in error. You wonder why things get "prickly" and personal?? This also explains quite nicely when you encounter a rational objection you so often digress into fallacy - nowhere else to go.
Bob, there's no way I can respond to this except to deny it; it's just a nasty accusation with nothing to back it up. You wrote,
The problem is that Cal has not just aired his disagreements, he has pointed out errors. There's a big difference.
To which I replied, "Why do you assume that I agree with this when it's obvious I don't. And if you don't assume it, then why are you stating this as if it were a self-evident truth?" You responded,
Because in these cases, reality demands that you do.
Bob, this makes no sense. Why state something that you know I don't agree with as if you thought that I did, and that give as your reason the fact that you think I should? How does that further the argument? If you just want to engage in arbitrary assertions, be my guest, but I'm not going to participate in the discussion, if that's all you do.

- Bill

(Edited by William Dwyer
on 7/31, 7:22pm)




Post 139

Monday, July 31, 2006 - 8:06pmSanction this postReply
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Bob replying to Bill: "Marked by immorality and perversion; depraved. This attitude oozes from your posts, even when you've been shown to be in error. You wonder why things get "prickly" and personal?? This also explains quite nicely when you encounter a rational objection you so often digress into fallacy - nowhere else to go." [Cal chiming in]: Exactly, that is the attitude that I criticize, not being able to counter the arguments of his opponents, his last resort is to tell them that their ideas are "corrupt" and that all in big letters, as if shouting makes an "argument" more convincing.
Cal, where have I shouted at you (all in big letters)? And where have I done so as an "an argument" against a particular view of yours? As for my use of the word "corrupt," let me retract that term, as it was misleading and misunderstood. See in this connection my reply to Bob Mac.
In contrast, I've had in the past many disagreements with people like Nathan, Robert Campbell and Ellen, but these were rational discussions, from which I've learned a lot.
So you're calling me "irrational"! Cal, that hurts! You know how much that hurts! But I'll forgive you, just so long as you grit your teeth and write me a glowing eulogy!

- Bill



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