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Posts posted by darnoconrad

  1. Hi Everyone,

    On June 25th Andrew Bernstein will be giving a talk in Toronto titled "The Case for Ending Drug Prohibition". Event details can be found here: https://goo.gl/6qysLg

    When: Thursday, June 25th - 7:30pm to 10pm

    Where: Room 116 - 200 College Street

    Wallberg Building - University of Toronto

    Admission: Free (Donations Welcome)

    The Case for Ending Drug Prohibition: Andrew Bernstein in Toronto

    The legal-political war on drugs is an abysmal failure: It violates the right of adults to legally buy, sell, or consume any substance(s) they choose, while failing—for necessary and predictable reasons—to control drug trafficking. Legalizing drugs both protects the right of adult citizens in a free society to legally choose which substances they will or will not ingest and, with the failed anti-drug war repudiated, leaves open the possibility of a vastly more effective effort: A moral-philosophic-educational campaign, exhorting each individual to recognize both that his life belongs to him—and the healthy, value-laden, joy-inducing possibilities his life holds out for him. The legalization of drugs is an integral aspect of an intensified, significantly more effective war on drugs.

  2. Hi Everyone,

    The Toronto Objectivist Committee is bringing Rituparna Basu to Toronto on March 4th.

    Here's the Description:

    "The Disease Killing Canadian Health Care: Rituparna Basu in Toronto:

    Canada's health care system is broken. Ever-increasing wait times for medical procedures, shortages of doctors and nurses, and wavering quality are just a few of the problems plaguing the system. Conventional solutions have been tried and have failed. Join Rituparna Basu, an analyst at the Ayn Rand Institute, for a discussion and Q&A on why Canada's medical system is ailing and what's really needed to fix it."

    You can join the event on our Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/738934659463702/748841595139675/

    Just Right Media has donated their video services and will upload the event to YouTube eventually. The event will not be live streamed.

    Hope you guys can attend and/or spread the word!

    You can also support the event here: http://igg.me/at/canadianhealthcare


  3. Bringing Yaron Brook to Toronto! May 6th, 2013. http://Yaronto.com/

    I hope that those of you living in Toronto can make it.

    Here's the press release:

    “The Morality of Capitalism”

    May 6, 2013: A talk in Toronto by ARI executive director Dr. Yaron Brook

    What: A talk about the nature of capitalism and its importance in our lives

    Where: University of Toronto

    Medical Sciences Building

    1 King’s College Circle

    Room 3153

    When: Monday, May 6, 7:30 p.m.

    Doors open at 7:15 p.m.

    Admission: Free. A donation at the door ($10 suggested) will be gratefully accepted, however.

    Description: Capitalism has an undisputed record of wealth generation, yet it has always functioned under a cloud of moral suspicion. In a culture that venerates Mother Teresa as a paragon of virtue, businessmen sit in stoic silence while their pursuit of profits is denounced as selfish greed. In this talk, Dr. Yaron Brook—executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute and co-author ofFree Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand’s Ideas Can End Big Government—will demonstrate how Ayn Rand’s revolutionary ethics of rational self-interest supply the moral foundation that previous proponents of capitalism lacked. Dr. Brook will explain why individual rights are crucial for capitalism’s survival—why productivity and profit, the “selfish greed” that conservatives abhor, are not vices but cardinal virtues.

    Bio: Yaron Brook (MBA, University of Texas at Austin; PhD, Finance, University of Texas at Austin) is the executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute. He is a columnist at Forbes.com, and his articles have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Investor’s Business Daily, and many other publications. He is a frequent guest on national radio and television programs and is co-author with ARI fellow Don Watkins of the national best-seller Free Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand’s Ideas Can End Big Government.

    Get more info: http://yaronto.com/

    Support the event: http://igg.me/at/yaronTO

    Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ObjectivismTO

  4. You "uniform groups" is ambiguous and irrelevant to the mathematics. A prime number is what you said it is in your first post: it is divisible only by itself and 1. Division in arithmetic is the inverse of and depends on the concept multiplication.

    My use of "uniform" is to be clear that I mean groups composed of an equal amount of units.

    My use of "groups" is relevant because taking 6(units) and dividing by 3 means having 3 groups of 2 units.

    example: IIIIII can be divided into two groups of units III and III

    I'm trying to illustrate what one does when dividing.

    Does division really depend on the concept of multiplication? Can you show why? I can certainly see how they are related as one is the inverse of the other, but I don't see why one has to come before the other?

    The conceptual and defining "relationship" between primes remains the fact that they can't be factored (except for the number itself and 1), but that is not expressed as a single computational formula.

    This is certainly a way of differentiating them against all other types of numbers, by describing this characteristic. But if we only look at prime numbers, is there another way they are related?

    "In the quest to discover the pattern for finding Prime Numbers one is asking what is common among all groups that cannot be divided into smaller uniform groups?"

    ...because if there is a pattern to their reoccurrence then wouldn't that be considered a relationship between them?

  5. Here are my thoughts so far about Prime Numbers:

    Let me start with a definition of "Division"

    - Division is separating a large group of uniform units into smaller uniform groups.

    Thus, the meaning of "divisible only by 1 and itself" means...

    - A Prime Number is a group of uniform units that cannot be separated into smaller uniform groups.

    If one attempted to separate a prime into smaller uniform groups, one would find that there would remain one group that is different than all the others.

    In the quest to discover the pattern for finding Prime Numbers one is asking what is common among all groups that cannot be divided into smaller uniform groups?

    My question:

    Is there necessarily a pattern? Which would mean there is a relationship between all Prime Numbers.

  6. An Objectivist named Marty Lewinter teaches number theory in college and he has a fun Facebook group called "Marty's Math Gang." We often discuss prime numbers and other interesting numerical ideas there. Check it out at https://www.facebook.com/groups/125183547645750/


    To get a better understanding of how to think about them and the basic properties to keep in mind get a book on number theory. It's one branch of mathematics that to a large extent does not require a lot of preliminary knowledge of other areas of abstract mathematics. The site Betsy recommended can help you, but an inexpensive classic book published by Dover is Number Theory and its History by Ore (see chapter 4 -- so you don't have to read very far into the book to be able to understand the chapter on primes).

    Interesting implications range from some fundamental and historical theorems of number theory, to famous unsolved problems, to their use in other areas of mathematics (like proving that √2 and more are irrational numbers as a very simple example), to the very practical applications today of prime numbers in cryptography.

    They don't tell you how old the universe is. Mathematics is about method, not metaphysics.

    Other than that you can search on the internet and hang around on the site Betsy recommended.

    I'll give the book a try on Saturday. Thanks.

    But I was also hoping that we could post some interested bits on the forum.

  7. Hi guys,

    I’d like to know more about prime numbers. I understand that they are natural numbers (1, 2, 3, etc…) that can only be divided by 1 and themselves. But apart from that I don’t know their significance and I’d like to get a better understanding about how to think about them.

    Here are my questions about them:

    Are there any interesting implications about them?

    What are some common questions about them that are wrong… ie: How old is the universe?
    Any properties one should always be considering when thinking about primes?

  8. The Edge (1997), also a survival movie, is another such "anti-mysticism" movie, or a movie about not suspending reason in moments of crisis. Only, I remember The Edge delving deeper into philosophical issues than The Grey. If I am mistaken, at least it had many pro-reason quotes in it. It also features a successful businessman as the protagonist.

    Darrell, why didn't you start this thread in the Movie Review section? http://forums.4aynrandfans.com/index.php?showforum=79

  9. However, the lyrics in the theme song are really depressing. Do these lyrics capture the theme of the story? Why should I watch this film?

    That is just one song from a magnificent, dramatic, melodic score. From the tragedy of Fantine, who sings that song, comes the triumph of Jean Valjean, a giant of a man, who heroically builds his life and character from nothing and against tremendous odds.

    So you're saying that it's a benevolent story?

  10. I haven't seen the video, but the question is itself invalid as posed: good for the earth by what standard? The only possible way to address that properly is by the standard of use of the earth for what is good for human beings, otherwise 'good' has no objective meaning.

    That's exactly what Alex means and argued for in the debate. McKibben tried to argue precisely the position he chose as well, that the earth has intrinsic value, and we must protect it for it's own sake apart from man. The fact that Alex keeps his argument framed as such, and clearly to McKibben no such concept is possible, the stark contrast, from an Objectivist's point of view, is interesting.

    Also, it was not Alex's original choice of topic or format. It was negotiated in order to get McKibben on board.

    Alex's Challenge:

    @billmckibben Duke will host a debate between you+anyone and me+Dr.-Eric-Dennis on the morality of fossil fuels. You’ll get $10K. Deal?

    McKibben's Response:

    @Alexepstein happy to debate $10k to 350.org, you and me 1 on 1, “Resolved: Humans are causing risky warming,” neutral audience

    Then Alex posted on his blog:

    This is a complete switch in topic–and the topic he proposes is not a valid topic at all.

    ...Further, for me to accept such a debate would mean arguing the proposition “Humans are notcausing risky warming.” That is proving a negative, which is impossible–that’s Logical Fallacies 101.

    ...Dr. Dennis and I spent an hour and a half explaining why we wanted to debate McKibben and a scientist of his choice on the morality of fossil fuels and the associated scientific issues. If McKibben wants to just debate me (which would mean two non-scientists debating) I am happy to oblige.

    Then Alex announced:

    On November 5, I will be debating Bill McKibben, considered “world’s leading environmentalist” by some, on the proposition: “Fossil fuels are a risk to the planet.” I will be arguing that fossil fuels dramatically improve the planet for human beings.

    P.S. Betsy: I hope that you can fix my ugly formatting in my initial post.

  11. Alex Epstein challenged Bill McKibben to a debate plus offered a $10,000 (ten thousand dollar) incentive. McKibben accepted, and the debate was held last night at Duke University. The video has been posted to YouTube.

    McKibben was to argue that "fossil fuels are a risk to the planet"

    Epstein was to argue that "fossil fuels improve the planet"

    Bill McKibben is a globally known environmentalist who damns the fossil fuel industry as being "Public Enemy Number One" and has called for reducing fossil fuel consumption by 95%.

    Here is a recent article of his published in Rolling Stone Mag: http://bit.ly/RHl9dr

    Alex Epstein recently founded the Center for Industrial Progress:

    http://industrialprogress.net/. He is a long time advocate of Objectivism and has given many talks in this respect: http://arc-tv.com/ca...g/alex-epstein/.

    If you liked Alex's performance, please share the video and help give it attention.

  12. Leonard Peikoff makes a statement about this election!


    Obama is an unprecedented threat to America. Romney is a precedented one.

    As I have explained in The DIM Hypothesis, Obama is in essence a destroyer for the sake of destruction, a nihilist, the first such to become President. The object to be destroyed is America. Given the academic and popular support he has received, he has been able to pursue this goal methodically and, to many observers, with astonishing success.

    Many evils are in store for us if Obama wins a second term, ranging from crippling taxation and Obamacare to the war on energy and the imminence of economic collapse. These are certainly legitimate concerns, but to my mind what is even more frightening is Obama’s practice of ruling by executive order—that is, by moving into the legislative realm and instituting federal policies he himself approves, regardless of the ideas of Congress, and even in contradiction to established law (e.g., his latest edict on immigration). So far, most of these orders have been unchallenged by Capitol Hill’s supine politicians. If this trend continues, it can lead ultimately only to the effective end of the legislative branch. Add in to this a couple of Obama-picked Supreme Court justices, who will effectively nullify the Court as a force restraining the President. What is left of checks and balances among the three elements of our government when two are no longer functional? An executive with unlimited power is the definition of a totalitarian leader.

    Qua candidate, Romney by contrast is not moved by passion, of any kind, good or evil. He seems to hold no political convictions, to be a textbook example of a “moderate” Republican—pragmatic, appeasing, directionless, and therefore following along in the wake of the Establishment consensus. So he too would move the country in the direction of ever-increasing statism, as Republican administrations have always done. (While I approve of the selection of Ryan, I do not believe that an isolated subordinate can change the nature or results of an administration.)

    Although both Obama and Romney will move us closer to dictatorship, there is a critical difference: time. Obama is not stumbling, but racing to his goal, and his pace can only increase in a second term, when keeping the public happy would no longer be an important concern to him. By contrast, though following the same road as Obama, Romney the pragmatist can’t race to anything; since he moves by groping through compromises, he can only, perhaps unknowingly, amble with us to the cliff (no doubt, with some dashes now and then).

    This difference in pace has profound practical implications. Within a decade or less, for example, it is quite possible that a nihilist assault on free speech, already visible, will gain some respectability and momentum, and in that way start to intimidate and silence any opposition. Whereas the Romneys won’t get around to attacking the First Amendment for at least a generation, which gives us some time to try to educate the country.

    The political choice in November is: non-entity vs. anti-entity. Or: a man who is nothing vs. a man who wants to mass-produce nothings. This, in my judgment, is an unanswerable reason to vote for Romney, no matter what the nature and quantity of his flaws. A man such as our current president is far more dangerous to the survival of the United States than any terrorists from the Mideast.

    P.S. For the same reason, I intend to vote for whatever Republicans are in my district running for the House and the Senate. Republican control of at least one of these bodies, however weakened they have become, is still some restraint on Obama if he wins.

  13. Well done. I think the edit still left it intact and to nitpick, I agree with cutting out the last sentence "The US should take advantage of this event to iterate on this key point." Because it doesn't make clear that American citizens should take advantage of this event to loudly and proudly defend free speech, and to defend the proper role of government in such situations. However, I'm sure that's not why they cut it out.

    I wish that all news casts would take 10 seconds to broadcast something offensive, in any form, to reinforce what free speech means, and that Americans will defend it, unmoved by its opposition.