Stricken

So...what's the answer?

41 posts in this topic

Well, OPAR was written by Leonard Peikoff, so it was not in that book that you ever read her make such statments. Ayn Rand's/Objectivism's fundamentals are set that being:

Metaphysics: Objective Reality

Epistemology: Reason

Ethics: Self-interest

Politics: Capitalism

Esthetics: Romanctic Realism

Now someone can go on and further discuss this fundamentals to a deeper degree, but the fundamentals of Objectivism were set by Ayn Rand.

From your statements about evolution it seems that you hold some mysticism and skepticism as your guides in epistemology. Mysticism, because you seem to be willing to take some religious doctrine on faith or feeling. Skepticism, because you seem to discard the idea that man can be certain. Until you choose to use reason as your guide to understanding reality you will probably never agree with the theory of evolution and all the facts that support it.

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I would just like to add that it is not possible to accept Objectivism on faith. To the degree that any part is accepted without full understanding and agreement, it is not Objectivism. This makes it much harder work than accepting something on faith with is the easy way of escaping the work needed. Faith is an affront to reason; it is belief without justification. If you want an anchor in life, what could give you more confidence than a reasoning mind and a reality that is consistent? Depending on some capricious god to look after you is no way to live a confident life.

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Carlos or RayK, would you be kind enough to provide me resources that support evolution as scientific fact?

The entire scientific establishment of modern Biology?

I'm as clueless on how to answer this as if someone were to say to me "can you provide resources that prove Classical Electrodynamics is scientific fact?". It's much more than simply being true by virtue of a fact or two. It's an entire realm of knowledge, a vast theory, built from the ground up by observations, experiments and theoretical insights. To me it's as if we are standing on the beach and you ask what proof I have for the ocean, and all I can do is gesture helplessly towards the sea. Showing you drops of water isn't going to convince you of anything; you just have to wade out there and get your feet wet.

Here's a good website perhaps:

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-intro-to-biology.html

http://www.talkorigins.org/

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Things do not happen without cause, but causality means an entity acting in accordance with its nature. It does not means some conscious creature had to do it, and it does not mean that all of "existence" -- the totality of all that exists -- as such requires a "cause". Causes occur within reality, not outside of it. An explanation is always in terms of something else about which you already know and which exists. That is how the concepts of cause and explanation arise. To ask for a cause of all existence itself, outside of existence, is a contradiction in terms; it denies the meanings and origins of the concepts of causality and explanation.

I like the clear way you put this, and hope Stricken copies it into his book for future reference.

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Henrik - To be frank I'm not even sure evolutionists believe in evolution anymore, except in regards to some sort of monetary or political profit. I may have taken a leap earlier by saying Christianity is 'conclusive', but it would be treason to call evolution scientific fact. It does give an adequate secular explanation, but so does anything if it's convenient, whether that's Cro-Magnon man or Jesus Christ. I can throw in the Easter bunny and some leprechauns and somehow make it a proper explanation for that matter.

I strongly doubt that you have studied the theory of evolution seriously, Stricken, if you think that it is in the same category as the Easter Bunny and leprechauns. I am not a scientist, but I have done enough reading of popular science to be certain that the theory of evolution is based on a wealth of empirical evidence, and strictly logical reasoning. And I know that the Christians´ "alternative" to evolution is ludicrous (you know, the creationists "explain" the fossil strata by saying that the big animals were not able to run so fast uphill when it suddenly rained for 40 days and 40 nights). It is the Christian "explanations" for natural phenomena such as evolution, which is truly in the category of the Easter Bunny and leprechauns.

I suspect that you may be, in your mind, be giving credence to "straw man" conceptions of science, which the religionists perhaps have invented, if you think that evolution is in the category of the Easter Bunny.

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Things do not happen without cause, but causality means an entity acting in accordance with its nature. It does not means some conscious creature had to do it, and it does not mean that all of "existence" -- the totality of all that exists -- as such requires a "cause". Causes occur within reality, not outside of it. An explanation is always in terms of something else about which you already know and which exists. That is how the concepts of cause and explanation arise. To ask for a cause of all existence itself, outside of existence, is a contradiction in terms; it denies the meanings and origins of the concepts of causality and explanation.

ewv´s point is important, Stricken. If you have really studied Objectivism in a serious manner, you should be aware of the principle called the Axiom of Existence (which was not discoverd by Ayn Rand, but by the ancient Greek philosopher Parmenides). The fact of existence comes before *anything* that you can say about existence. You could not say anything about existence, unless it already existed (and you knew it). This means that existence is prior to causality. That is why you cannot legitimately imagine that something could have caused existence.

I know from my own experience that the discovery of the axiom of existence will go a long way in cementing your confidence in atheism (if you choose to become an atheist, and, hopefully, an Objectivist). I discovered the axiom of existence at the age of either 11 or 12, and I never entertained any thoughts that there might be something to religion after that.

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I know from my own experience that the discovery of the axiom of existence will go a long way in cementing your confidence in atheism (if you choose to become an atheist, and, hopefully, an Objectivist). I discovered the axiom of existence at the age of either 11 or 12, and I never entertained any thoughts that there might be something to religion after that.

Just to be a little picky here, strictly speaking, I don't think one can choose to be an atheist, because it is the default position; we are born atheists. Since atheism is not a belief, one can't choose to believe it, one can only believe in a positively claimed existent. One can choose not to allow his thinking to be guided by mystical claims and and obligations, which will restore him to the default position. I only bring this up, because some people put forward that atheism is a belief, and as such need to be justified.

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I only bring this up, because some people put forward that atheism is a belief, and as such need to be justified.

Quite so. It is belief in God, god, the gods or supernatural powers that must be justified.

Bob Kolker

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Which brings us to the question of how do we decide whether or not something is correct. We need a standard by which we tell whether an idea is true or false. In order to find this standard, we need to consider what we mean by words such as "correct" and "true." There must be a reason why you are looking for a correct set of ideas rather than just any random ideology that may or may not be correct. Can you put your finger on what that reason is?
to live

Right, the reason we need correct ideas is that we want to act in a way that ensures our survival. (If that is what you meant by your two-word answer--while I'm usually the one who asks people to try and summarize their ideas, I think that a two-word summary will only work if you're damn sure your audience knows 100% exactly what you mean by those two words!)

So we have: true ideas -> life; false ideas -> death. This is a great reason to seek true ideas, but we still haven't got the standard by which we can tell whether an idea is true. You will probably agree that "The sky is blue" is true while the "The sky is yellow" is false--but what is it that makes the former true and the latter false? What do we mean when we say, "This is true," or "This is false" ?

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I am looking for truth. Unadulterated and unbiased without motive or agenda.

[...]

Christianity provides an answer to everything. If you take it as a whole, without exclusion or provision, it's complete. It's the only worldview I've found that provides a conclusive answer for everything; the question is whether that answer is correct.

[...]

Christianity relies on emotion, and obviously isn't palpable. The daily struggle of fighting your own conscience not knowing whether it's a devil or angel on your shoulder giving you supernatural insight makes life a process of rolling one ball up two different hills.

If Stricken's situation is similar to what mine was, then no amount of logical explanation can help. You feel that there is this void that can only be filled or supplanted by appealing to some kind of meaning or 'ultimate truth' outside of reality. For myself this was a radically transformative period, that forever changed the relationship between my life and the world. I don't know what kind of advice can be possible given, as this is primarily a psychological battle that only he can wage.

These viewpoints seem to exemplify what Leonard Peikoff has described as man's inexorable search for cognitive integration, even if it means taking a "leap of faith" into ideas that are not based on realitiy. The DIM Hypothesis, as presented so far in Dr. Peikoff's recordings, identifies three approaches to integration: disintegration (D), which is where everyone starts; misintegration (M), which is where too many people all too often end up as they strive desperately for cognitive integration but can't find it any other way; and integration (I) in which a mind is integrated not only cognitively (internally) but also with objective reality. Achieving 'I' is extraordinarily difficult, especially if there are no great "guideposts" from the past to point the way. I can only hope, as does Carlos (apparently) and others, that Stricken will persist in his search, not only for integration but also for truth and correctness, and will eventually, through Objectivism, find what he longs for.

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MacArthur's sermon can best be summarized with the following verse found in Romans: "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools." Paul wrote this to the church in Galatia in regard to the Ephesians at Ephesus and their idol worship and sexual promiscuity, if I remember correctly. I listen to the last 6 minutes of MacArthur's message and entertain the notion that's he's right; if done honestly and with a clear mind that's terrifying.

Betsy - It's not that I cannot decide between polar opposites, as in a broad sense, but specifically in regards to Objectivism and Christianity. I guess you could say I find the arguments compelling on both sides. Other philosophies, and especially other religions, fail to convict or convince me in any way. If I'm to adopt one I have to completely drop the other, and that's hard when you find both compelling.

I am looking for truth. Unadulterated and unbiased without motive or agenda.

I don't find anything appealing about Ayn Rand; her personal life, favorite composer or author I find irrellevant and outside my realm of concern. Whether or not she cheated on Frank with Branden and the potential reasons why doesn't put food on my table or tools in my hand. I'm interested in her mind, in her ideas, in her creation of Objectivism. Now to answer your question, Betsy, when I'm finished reading a chapter of Atlas Shrugged I crease the upper corner of the page and put the book down. When I lift my head up, I see things differently. My sense of awareness, not only of my surroundings but also of myself, is enhanced. It's been so powerful to me at times it's almost alarming. Objectivism provides an answer to the purpose behind things and people, including their motives, in direct relation to myself.

Christianity provides an answer to everything. If you take it as a whole, without exclusion or provision, it's complete. It's the only worldview I've found that provides a conclusive answer for everything; the question is whether that answer is correct.

Objectivism is not complete, it's a work in progress. I struggle with the possibility of how any creature can explain his own existence. Finally, when did your keyboard manifest itself? It didn't, it was created. Our existence itself is a study of creation. Nothing our senses provide us make a case for unexplained manifestation without cause or beginning.

Christianity relies on emotion, and obviously isn't palpable. The daily struggle of fighting your own conscience not knowing whether it's a devil or angel on your shoulder giving you supernatural insight makes life a process of rolling one ball up two different hills.

Stricken,

Reading this, I'm "stricken" with how abstract and unattached to reality your writing is. There are no causal connections at all, just idiosyncratic associations between random concrete things, floating abstract ideas, and how you feel about them.

I sincerely hope that you only take this self-defeating psycho-epistemological approach when "doing philosophy" and you don't do this in his everyday life because, if you did, you would be totally unable to function.

For instance: Should you eat food or rat poison?

Would you examine each, seek information on what they were, their respective properties -- especially, the consequences when ingested?

-- OR --

Would you look at both, free associate and allow abstract ideas to dance around in your mind, and then decide based on how you feel?

If you did the latter, you might end up dead or, at best, not knowing whether it's a devil or angel on your shoulder giving you supernatural insight.

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More questions for Stricken:

  • You say you are looking for "the answer." What for? What good will it do if you have it vs. not having it?
  • Are you looking for something or someone to tell you what to be and do?
  • Are you looking for omniscience? Once you have "the answer" will you have certainty and all the knowledge you will ever need?
  • Once you have "the answer" do you think you'll "have it made" and never have to think any more?

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Carlos had said that (religion) was emotionally crippling, and that opened my eyes. This weekend I 'adopted' a different frame of mind, without a god or higher purpose governing my actions. At first I expected to feel alone and lost, instead I began to feel capable and self sufficient. Of course it's only been 72 hours or whatnot, but the least I can say is that it's thus far been refreshing. It feels so many more doors are open to me, that my success is dependent on the efficacy of my own actions, not any sort of fate or predeterminer.

Betsy, I believe I was brought up to believe human wisdom was the rat poison and to be avoided as such. Being exposed many years later to Ayn Rand brought this flood of new emotions that I simply didn't know what to do with and struggled as I failed to identify what I was feeling. Coming here through open forum, and discussing things such as this with people who understood what they were talking about enabled me to name the origin of those feelings; my own intellect. With this (albeit limited) new knowledge I can proceed further into Objectivism with the open mind I needed before.

Later this week between work and other time absorbing adventures I intent on picking up OPAR again along with Philosophy: Who Needs It. Be prepared for my name to potentially pop up in other threads with various questions relating to various subjects.

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Stricken, good for you.

When fate is left to die

One's lightened wings fly

All by themselves across the sky.

"Not by themselves--new boss is I."

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