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Getting the work of Ayn Rand into the Public Domain

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On a related note, does anyone know the copyright or moral status of Anthem? That has always been not clear to me.

This isn't a clear yes or no answer, but here's my experience as a club leader. I asked the ARI if I could distribute Anthem for free among my club prior to the start of this semester. I offered to proofread it against my own printed copy to ensure accuracy. I was told quite firmly not to distribute it or the link to it. I was not given a reason.

Addressing the subject of public domain, copyright now lasts life of author + 95 years, thanks to a certain large company that has made its fortune in public domain works. This is the same law (PRO-IP) that created the new copyright czar. This also means that Ayn Rand's works will not enter the public domain without being released by whoever the owner is until 2077 (barring that same large company paying more lobbyists to extend copyright again).

If a media items copyright has already expired before PRO-IP took effect, that law can't extend the copyright of that item without violating section 1, article 9 of the US constitution for it will place in jeopardy people who legally distributed it.

Thanks for your answer however, because my question was a complex one, because even if it was legal to distribute it(but immoral, if the law somehow differs from the way how the protection of copyright should be), I was not going to distribute it and your story does send up a red flag to me.

My intention for asking, was that if it was legal / moral, I was going to run some distribution experiments on that book(but not for free to consumers) with the plan on giving half of the profits to the ARI.

I should contact the ARI/the estate of Ayn Rand to find out the true position of the book.

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I will say this: the simple and obvious fact is that the electronic world is rapidly replacing the physically printed word. To be indifferent or actively hostile to this change is to actually suppress the dissemination of the ideas, ESPECIALLY for those whom it matters the most: the young.

My point is that it *is* better (though not necessarily ideal) to place all of her works into the public domain, so that those who *do* still give a damn can do something with them, than to state hopelessness about the future of the world while not doing enough to maximize the spread of those ideas, especially when the replication of them is legally restricted.

Whether or not ARI or Leonard Peikoff authorized it, some of Ayn Rand's books are already available online, free at the Pirate Bay. Other Bit-torrent sites have them also, but I believe the pirate bay is the most popular. However I could be wrong.

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Whether or not ARI or Leonard Peikoff authorized it, some of Ayn Rand's books are already available online, free at the Pirate Bay. Other Bit-torrent sites have them also, but I believe the pirate bay is the most popular. However I could be wrong.

This is a violation of The Estate of Ayn Rand's intellectual property rights. Whenever I see something like this, I report it to a representative of the Estate and sometimes they can stop it.

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Not to be particularly cynical over Quixotic quests, but if the Estate of Ayn Rand could actually persuade the Pirate Bay to take down a torrent, they could make more money than god by licensing those magical words to the MPAA/RIAA. They've been trying to shut down distributed file sharing, and the Pirate Bay in particular, for years. They even got the Pirate Bay shut down for a few days in 2006 by sending in the police to sack the entire data center, but they were operational again within a few days.

No cloud is without a silver lining. The works of Ayn Rand have enough sustained interest to be pirated. Think of how many people will be exposed to the ideas that might not have been. Several large publishers (TOR, for instance) offer free (and DRM free) ebooks and find it boosts sales. I've bought just about every book I've read online. If I read it and like it, I would rather read it in print.

Besides, if her work is in the public domain, then we'll all have to get used to misrepresentation, misquotes, and rather creative libel. Yes, it "can be freely copied, quoted, translated, wiki-fied, analyzed, argued about, stored on millions of electronic devices, transcribed onto etched superalloy sheets (one of my ideas) that would last millions of years, and searched all around the internet." However, it won't always be favorable or even accurate.

The choice of whether to put works into the public domain is what is important to advance Objectivism. This instance at the Pirate Bay is a perfect example. Allowing it to be in the public domain means that you can do nothing legally about it - no copyright infringement, no libel, nothing. Anyone can selectively edit any works in any way they want or create new works with the same 'universe.' (I'm not opposed to Atlas Shrugged fanfic, but maybe it's just being into scifi where it's common ...) Is it worth dealing with crap to reach more people?

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Besides, if her work is in the public domain, then we'll all have to get used to misrepresentation, misquotes, and rather creative libel. Yes, it "can be freely copied, quoted, translated, wiki-fied, analyzed, argued about, stored on millions of electronic devices, transcribed onto etched superalloy sheets (one of my ideas) that would last millions of years, and searched all around the internet." However, it won't always be favorable or even accurate.

So what? It's better to have furtive illegal copies from Pirate Bay and the countless distortions of her ideas that exist around the web that cannot be directly countered electronically with her own words? If the works were P.D. (and as I've clearly stated that is not *my* project), anybody mangling her words and offering them as hers would be instantly subjected to condemnation and ridicule by anybody who knows better and who could easily point to, or offer themselves, what she actually said. Your statement is a total non-sequitor; the situation *now*, is that it is not legally possible, without pointing people to paper that they have to either pay for or check out of a library, to actually directly counter misstatements with significant sections of Ayn Rand's own words currently.

Allowing it to be in the public domain means that you can do nothing legally about it - no copyright infringement, no libel, nothing. Anyone can selectively edit any works in any way they want or create new works with the same 'universe.'

You mean like Bioshock, which is so clearly a ripoff and distortion of the Valley in Atlas Shrugged that many spontaneously identify it as such? (not to mention explicit references to that effect by the creator, Ken Levine as I recall.) Somehow that happened even while the works are copyrighted.

Egochick, your position is even more pessimistic than mine, really. At least I grant the possibility that Ayn Rand's ideas will do some good, the more widely they are known, rather than focusing on what the enemies of Objectivism already do, and have done, for decades, which is to misrepresent and smear her ideas.

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The choice of whether to put works into the public domain is [not?] what is important to advance Objectivism.

I assume that the inserted negative, above, (without the question mark) is what was intended.

I'm glad that Ayn Rand's works are (for the most part) not yet in the public domain. Public domain is often the surest way to bury something or to have it distorted, because the financial incentives to publish quality work is vastly reduced. If a work is in the public domain, and a careful publisher expends money on producing a terrific, faithful copy of a work, it can be stolen too easily and diminishes the rightful profit of the publisher. There is also the problem of people rewriting and reworking what a genius wrote and offering it to the public (as Natalie mentioned). Such "work" is normally the repulsive retching of presumptuous mediocrities.

However, I can't see why Ayn Rand's works should not be published in digital form, on Kindle (or similar). One can read garbage on the screen, OR work as wonderful as Ayn Rand's. I would like to hear, from Leonard Peikoff, or whomever makes the decision about the digital publication of Ayn Rand's work, whether there is some good reason(s) why they are not yet published in some electronic / digital format, aside from Phil's work, which is now no longer available, though it is a TERRIFIC resource.

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*Millions* of old books are now in the public domain and many accurate copies of each of them exist all over the place. See Project Gutenberg. Copyright exists for a limited time for a reason - it is the *original* creator of the work who truly merits the rewards, anything after that is actually optional. Would it be sane to be paying royalties for Mark Twain or Shakespeare at this point? In fact, the U.S. 1790 copyright law only provided for 14 years of copyright with a single 14 year renewal, then the 1909 act made it 28 years with a single 28 year renewal. If the 1909 law were still in effect, We The Living, Anthem and The Fountainhead would unambiguously be out of copyright right now, and Atlas would be out of copyright in 2013 (in 5 years). But, revised copyright acts keep pushing the dates further out, contrary to the original intention of the Constitutional protection of copyrights.

The assertion that a public domain work automatically marks it for inaccuracy and distortion, as though accurate copies would be impossible to easily acquire (or would not represent the vast majority of the copies made), is totally arbitrary. In fact, Anthem has been floating around the net for years now and as far as I know, it's an essentially accurate copy, there are not hordes of people maliciously mangling copies and or "rewriting" it.

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[...] and a careful publisher expends money on producing a terrific, faithful copy of a work, [...]

As a matter of fact, it is well known (including to ARI scholars) that every new printed edition contains a new set of errors, some egregrious, because of careless manual retypesetting.

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*Millions* of old books are now in the public domain and many accurate copies of each of them exist all over the place. See Project Gutenberg. Copyright exists for a limited time for a reason - it is the *original* creator of the work who truly merits the rewards, anything after that is actually optional. Would it be sane to be paying royalties for Mark Twain or Shakespeare at this point? In fact, the U.S. 1790 copyright law only provided for 14 years of copyright with a single 14 year renewal, then the 1909 act made it 28 years with a single 28 year renewal. If the 1909 law were still in effect, We The Living, Anthem and The Fountainhead would unambiguously be out of copyright right now, and Atlas would be out of copyright in 2013 (in 5 years). But, revised copyright acts keep pushing the dates further out, contrary to the original intention of the Constitutional protection of copyrights.

The assertion that a public domain work automatically marks it for inaccuracy and distortion, as though accurate copies would be impossible to easily acquire (or would not represent the vast majority of the copies made), is totally arbitrary. In fact, Anthem has been floating around the net for years now and as far as I know, it's an essentially accurate copy, there are not hordes of people maliciously mangling copies and or "rewriting" it.

What saves great works over the long term is their quality; the quality of those reading, studying, and writing about it; and the quality of those who attempt to publish it. Ayn Rand's work is the best quality possible, so there is not problem there. But excellent quality things are buried all the time. Did you read Burgess Laughlin's Aristotle Adventure? It's partly a matter of luck that modern man is aware that this philosopher existed and wrote. And even so, MUCH that was worthy in great cultures was lost or destroyed by barbarism.

I can see that Ayn Rand's work is important. But I am constantly faced with massive ignorance of and about Objectivism. The only reason that I accept how ignorant so many people are about it is because it's a fact. But why this is a fact is pretty much the most depressing topic of our day. And it's not just PLAIN ignorance. Evasion too often has an ugly role in that ignorance.

[...] and a careful publisher expends money on producing a terrific, faithful copy of a work, [...]

As a matter of fact, it is well known (including to ARI scholars) that every new printed edition contains a new set of errors, some egregrious, because of careless manual retypesetting.

I was speaking in general about work in the public domain, not about the quality of publishers that treat pearls like swine-food. The literature, essays, and philosophy that have been around for longest, and have had the most academic attention paid to them, tend to be published most accurately. And that is just one reason why ARI's push to get Objectivism into academia is SO important.

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What saves great works over the long term is their quality; the quality of those reading, studying, and writing about it; and the quality of those who attempt to publish it. Ayn Rand's work is the best quality possible, so there is not problem there.

I agree, that's a good statement of the essential of my point here. It would be dead easy to do a better job than the current publishers/owner. My electronic copy of Atlas underwent additional careful checks by a foreign language translator and is very likely to be higher quality than the most recent printing of Atlas. That does not apparently interest either the publishers or the copyright holder of her works.

But excellent quality things are buried all the time. Did you read Burgess Laughlin's Aristotle Adventure? It's partly a matter of luck that modern man is aware that this philosopher existed and wrote. And even so, MUCH that was worthy in great cultures was lost or destroyed by barbarism.

Sure, that was a major reason why I wanted to publish many copies of Ayn Rand's works in electronic form as well as considering optically reduced transcription onto gas turbine engine nickel-based superalloy sheets which would be virtually indestructible by a collapsed culture (they can't be burned by religious zealots or even melted with primitive technology, extremely acid-resistant, very tough stuff to even scratch, would probably survive even a relatively close nuclear explosion, could be read with nothing fancier than a good magnifier or microscope, and they certainly aren't going to be "rewritten" by anybody.)

I can see that Ayn Rand's work is important. But I am constantly faced with massive ignorance of and about Objectivism. The only reason that I accept how ignorant so many people are about it is because it's a fact. But why this is a fact is pretty much the most depressing topic of our day. And it's not just PLAIN ignorance. Evasion too often has an ugly role in that ignorance.

I don't think that it is simply ignorance, and I actually give Americans more benefit of the doubt on the moral issue of mass evasion (though plenty of people do evade Objectivism and logical reasoning.) I think it's much more about limitations of intelligence in the context of existing philosophic confusion, not a desire to do the wrong thing.

Certainly if anything could change the culture positively it would be better dissemination of Objectivism within academia. I recently looked at a sociology textbook and it's a mind boggling spew of Marxism. They don't even pretend not to be Marxist - Marx's "conflict theory" saturates the entire book, and I gather it's a standard college textbook.

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I don't think that it is simply ignorance, and I actually give Americans more benefit of the doubt on the moral issue of mass evasion (though plenty of people do evade Objectivism and logical reasoning.) I think it's much more about limitations of intelligence in the context of existing philosophic confusion, not a desire to do the wrong thing.

Obviously one needs a minimum level of intelligence to grasp certain concepts. Perhaps your experience is different, but here is an example of mine. A young lady who was religious came to stay with us a while. When she asked what I had against religion, I told her "It's irrationality". I added that man needed to be rational in order to survive, and that someone with no rationality had to be institutionalized or else would soon die - that insane people were irrational for example. She asked if I thought she was insane on the grounds that she was irrational. I replied that it was to the degree she was irrational, and as long as she had the ability to choose there was still hope that she would choose to be rational. Her response was that she wanted to believe what she did. This is why I think that personal dishonesty is the block to understanding. I'm interested in what IQ you think is required, if 100 doesn't do the trick. This lady, for example, is she stupid or dishonest, or is there some other reason she won't deal with what is presented?

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Her response was that she wanted to believe what she did. This is why I think that personal dishonesty is the block to understanding. I'm interested in what IQ you think is required, if 100 doesn't do the trick. This lady, for example, is she stupid or dishonest, or is there some other reason she won't deal with what is presented?

I think it's a muddy process. My best theory so far is that, at an early age (much earlier than teen years), a young mind is confronted with the arbitrary. If it does not have the capacity to stay focused on its own independent thinking and focus on facts - to *have* independent thinking - which is where the "certain kind of intelligence" part comes in - and then accepts the arbitrary as a given and go from there. At that point, it's like an acid that starts eating holes into whatever logical thought might have developed, and the best result from that is an unstable compartmentalization, where some narrow segments of a mind are logical and perhaps highly competent within a certain domain, but dis-integrated overall and strongly resistant to complete integration.

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Her response was that she wanted to believe what she did. This is why I think that personal dishonesty is the block to understanding. I'm interested in what IQ you think is required, if 100 doesn't do the trick. This lady, for example, is she stupid or dishonest, or is there some other reason she won't deal with what is presented?

I think it's a muddy process. My best theory so far is that, at an early age (much earlier than teen years), a young mind is confronted with the arbitrary. If it does not have the capacity to stay focused on its own independent thinking and focus on facts - to *have* independent thinking - which is where the "certain kind of intelligence" part comes in - and then accepts the arbitrary as a given and go from there. At that point, it's like an acid that starts eating holes into whatever logical thought might have developed, and the best result from that is an unstable compartmentalization, where some narrow segments of a mind are logical and perhaps highly competent within a certain domain, but dis-integrated overall and strongly resistant to complete integration.

But, if the issue is primarily one of pre-existing or "raw" intellectual capacity, why don't whole families (brothers and sisters) accept Objectivism? In my family of three brothers and a sister, two of the men are serious students of Objectivism, while the third man is an active philosophical investigator who has read a lot of philosophy, has read a significant amount of Ayn Rand's work, has a summa cum laude degree in Electrical Engineering and an MBA, yet rejects Objectivism with all the vengeance of an emotionalist college professor.

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I think it's a muddy process. My best theory so far is that, at an early age (much earlier than teen years), a young mind is confronted with the arbitrary. If it does not have the capacity to stay focused on its own independent thinking and focus on facts - to *have* independent thinking - which is where the "certain kind of intelligence" part comes in - and then accepts the arbitrary as a given and go from there. At that point, it's like an acid that starts eating holes into whatever logical thought might have developed, and the best result from that is an unstable compartmentalization, where some narrow segments of a mind are logical and perhaps highly competent within a certain domain, but dis-integrated overall and strongly resistant to complete integration.

What qualifies as the arbitrary at that age? The problem I see is that children believe many things for which there is no proof, from Santa Claus to God. But take Santa Claus, for example. A child does not have the requisite logical skills to evaluate the "evidence" they are given, such as presents under the tree and the stories from their parents.

My own view at the moment is that beliefs such as those, before reasoning ability has been fully developed, can't be attributed to compartmentalization. What's important is how they evaluate the beliefs later, once they know better. Most children eventually come to realize that Santa Claus isn't real, as they apply logic to the many ridiculous claims, such as flying reindeer and delivering presents to all the children of the world in one night. Compartmentalization occurs more often with God, when they decide for emotional reasons not to challenge their belief. Our culture is largely to blame for this, teaching things like "follow your heart, not your head" to people at a very young age.

Even then, it may be too early to project independent thinking in adulthood. I didn't fully shake off belief in God until I was 17 or 18. It wasn't that I was continuing to compartmentalize, but there was just so much subconscious junk I had to deal with that it took me that long to go through. A few years before, I had stopped going to Church with my family. At first it was just because I didn't see any value in what they were teaching us there. Over time, I started to question what I had been taught when I was younger.

It's only at that point that I think I could have done serious, permanent damage to my mind. That was the turning point. I had the choice to evaluate my beliefs, or make excuses to keep on accepting them. But I don't think that choice had anything to do with my intellectual development as a child, which was essentially the same as that of any other American child.

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What qualifies as the arbitrary at that age?The problem I see is that children believe many things for which there is no proof, from Santa Claus to God. But take Santa Claus, for example. A child does not have the requisite logical skills to evaluate the "evidence" they are given, such as presents under the tree and the stories from their parents.

I mean all of the above and much more. *Which* children "do not have the requisite logical skills"? I was consciously an atheist at age 6, never believed in "Santa Claus", the "Easter Bunny", the "tooth fairy", or any other of that crap, because it *was* obviously nonsensical. True, most children don't seem to fight the arbitrary - and they also are not, and never will be, consistently logical thinkers. That is exactly my point.

Believing in something logically plausible (some evidence and not contradicting everything else) that happens to be *wrong* is entirely different, but that is not what arbitrary means.

The deadliest arbitrary nonsense is religion, because it's so philosophical: it's an ongoing daily source of the arbitrary and it provides an altruist ethical framework "supported" by the metaphysics of insanity.

It's only at that point that I think I could have done serious, permanent damage to my mind. That was the turning point. I had the choice to evaluate my beliefs, or make excuses to keep on accepting them.

The damage to anyone's mind from accepting religion - or lesser arbitrary statements - *is* serious, and most never make the effort to repair it. The few that do, may be able to be consistently logical thinkers. And while I am not going to get into a protracted personal discussion over it, I think the damage after accepting arbitrary religious nonsense is extremely difficult to ever completely fix, because a person's mind had to accept nonsense without a shred of evidence as though it were true, then the junk from that is mixed up with everything else in their mind. Imagine a drop of food dye into a glass of water and then mixed up. Pretty hard to remove the dye after that.

But I don't think that choice had anything to do with my intellectual development as a child, which was essentially the same as that of any other American child.

As a child, were you more intellectually curious about the world than others?

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No cloud is without a silver lining. The works of Ayn Rand have enough sustained interest to be pirated. Think of how many people will be exposed to the ideas that might not have been.

As much as I'd like to believe otherwise, I don't think the fact that Ayn Rand's works are being pirated can be used as an indicator to determine interest in her ideas. From what I've seen from people who pirate, there isn't much selective focus in what they steal. For example, if they like a song, they won't say "I'll download it." They'll say, "Let me download all of the songs off that album, and all of that artist if I can get it too." Hard drive space is cheap, and they don't care.

And maybe I'm letting my judgments of some of the pirates I know (guys who steal and store terabytes of data) get in the way... but I don't think that someone who chooses to get Ayn Rand's works through theft is someone who will accept her ideas. Or even has the attention span to finish one book.

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But, if the issue is primarily one of pre-existing or "raw" intellectual capacity, why don't whole families (brothers and sisters) accept Objectivism? In my family of three brothers and a sister, two of the men are serious students of Objectivism, while the third man is an active philosophical investigator who has read a lot of philosophy, has read a significant amount of Ayn Rand's work, has a summa cum laude degree in Electrical Engineering and an MBA, yet rejects Objectivism with all the vengeance of an emotionalist college professor.

So the third man has a compartmentalized mind and let himself get attached to an arbitrary notion at some point. Ask him *why* he rejects Objectivism so strongly; I would bet that it's religiously based, or at least based on an attachment to altruism.

It goes back to "necessary" vs. "sufficient".

A *necessary* factor means that it must exist for a certain result to exist. That does NOT logically mean that it is ALL of the factors needed for a certain result to exist. If ALL necessary factors for a given result exist, then in combination they are *sufficient*.

For example, free oxygen is needed for a fire to exist. Fuel is also needed. And an ignition source is also needed. Independently these are *necessary* factors, but unless *all* of them exist at once, there are not *sufficient* conditions for a fire to start.

I am saying that, in my logical thinking, a *necessary* condition for an adult to be an actual Objectivist was an individual who was capable of rejecting the arbitrary from their mind at an early age. That isn't a *sufficient* condition. Men have free will as well and can choose not to focus later in life. A certain man may never encounter the works of Ayn Rand. So while the factor is *necessary* it is not *sufficient*.

Those who never accepted the arbitrary are rare enough, and even if they never encounter the ideas of Ayn Rand, will be much better off cognitively than the compartmentalized/disintegrated rest of the society.

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And maybe I'm letting my judgments of some of the pirates I know (guys who steal and store terabytes of data) get in the way... but I don't think that someone who chooses to get Ayn Rand's works through theft is someone who will accept her ideas. Or even has the attention span to finish one book.

Your judgement of them is correct, not "in the way".

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I mean all of the above and much more. *Which* children "do not have the requisite logical skills"? I was consciously an atheist at age 6, never believed in "Santa Claus", the "Easter Bunny", the "tooth fairy", or any other of that crap, because it *was* obviously nonsensical. True, most children don't seem to fight the arbitrary - and they also are not, and never will be, consistently logical thinkers. That is exactly my point.

Believing in something logically plausible (some evidence and not contradicting everything else) that happens to be *wrong* is entirely different, but that is not what arbitrary means.

Ayn Rand was the same way, if I recall, and I'm not saying that no children have the ability to make that judgment. I know little about child psychology, so I don't have much more to offer on the subject. I just am hesitant to say that if a 6 year old believes their parents when they tell them that Santa Claus exists, that they are necessarily evading.

The damage to anyone's mind from accepting religion - or lesser arbitrary statements - *is* serious, and most never make the effort to repair it. The few that do, may be able to be consistently logical thinkers. And while I am not going to get into a protracted personal discussion over it, I think the damage after accepting arbitrary religious nonsense is extremely difficult to ever completely fix, because a person's mind had to accept nonsense without a shred of evidence as though it were true, then the junk from that is mixed up with everything else in their mind. Imagine a drop of food dye into a glass of water and then mixed up. Pretty hard to remove the dye after that.

I certainly don't disagree with that.

As a child, were you more intellectually curious about the world than others?

I wasn't aware of being more curious until adolescence, and my memory of my thoughts in childhood isn't good enough to really say one way or the other.

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I mean all of the above and much more. *Which* children "do not have the requisite logical skills"? I was consciously an atheist at age 6, never believed in "Santa Claus", the "Easter Bunny", the "tooth fairy", or any other of that crap, because it *was* obviously nonsensical. True, most children don't seem to fight the arbitrary - and they also are not, and never will be, consistently logical thinkers. That is exactly my point.

Most children, for better or for worse, believe what their parents tell them. If parents abuse this trust and damage their children, then shame upon them. Think of how vulnerable youngsters are. It is scary.

Dropping your belief in the absurd at the age of 6 is slightly precocious. I woke up at age 9 and (later) I did a straw poll among acquaintances and I found out their age of awakening was in the 9 to 10 range. Which is no coincidence. By the age the brain is fully grown and is in near prime condition for abstract thought. The only thing most 9 or 10 year old folks are lacking is experience and knowledge which they will acquire by the by. By 9 or 10 most youngsters no only have all "their marbles" but they nearly at their neurological peak. When the sex hormones kick in, youngsters then show their maximal powers of thought and action. That is when scientific, mathematical and artistic geniuses begin to shine forth, at the onset of puberty and adolescence. For boys this is around 12 or 13.

ruveyn

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I mean all of the above and much more. *Which* children "do not have the requisite logical skills"? I was consciously an atheist at age 6, never believed in "Santa Claus", the "Easter Bunny", the "tooth fairy", or any other of that crap, because it *was* obviously nonsensical. True, most children don't seem to fight the arbitrary - and they also are not, and never will be, consistently logical thinkers. That is exactly my point.

Believing in something logically plausible (some evidence and not contradicting everything else) that happens to be *wrong* is entirely different, but that is not what arbitrary means.

Ayn Rand was the same way, if I recall, and I'm not saying that no children have the ability to make that judgment. I know little about child psychology, so I don't have much more to offer on the subject. I just am hesitant to say that if a 6 year old believes their parents when they tell them that Santa Claus exists, that they are necessarily evading.

Appearance-reality tests for 2- and 3-year olds show intelligent ones apply logical reasoning. I do not know what you mean when you wrote in an earlier post that children apply logic to various fantasies. They accept appearance and function labels for various entities, classify objects by functions, shapes, non-obvious biological categories and unseen properties - consistently - which they would be unable to do if they were not able to reason at that age. Fantasy leaking into reality shows a child's desire reflect desire for social and emotional acceptability over rational thinking when they find it "beneficial", not necessarily confusion about what is real at that age. That "beneficial" finding is the start of compartmentalization and the less intelligent, the more "benefit" is found. The aspect of intelligence that 3-year olds cannot perform is they cannot reflect on the nature of prior mistaken beliefs, but the "requisite logical skills" definitely came with intelligence at birth or not.

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True, most children don't seem to fight the arbitrary - and they also are not, and never will be, consistently logical thinkers.

Children believe their parents. Which is not an illogical thing for them to do. They act on trust (a repeated cause and effect evaluation) which has been building from birth. The shame is on the parents for being dishonest.

It is not true that if a person believes in the arbitrary in childhood that they can never be consistently a logical thinker later in life. Proper epistemology (knowing what logical errors are is very helpful for example) can be learned - it just requires one to be curious and honest. A lot of people however don't have access to the right information - many don't even know it exists (I did not until the age of 29!).

As a child, were you more intellectually curious about the world than others?

I don't think I was. I had been around pretty bright kids while growing up. I was more independent and less second handish but not more intelligent.

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But, if the issue is primarily one of pre-existing or "raw" intellectual capacity, why don't whole families (brothers and sisters) accept Objectivism? In my family of three brothers and a sister, two of the men are serious students of Objectivism, while the third man is an active philosophical investigator who has read a lot of philosophy, has read a significant amount of Ayn Rand's work, has a summa cum laude degree in Electrical Engineering and an MBA, yet rejects Objectivism with all the vengeance of an emotionalist college professor.

So the third man has a compartmentalized mind and let himself get attached to an arbitrary notion at some point. Ask him *why* he rejects Objectivism so strongly; I would bet that it's religiously based, or at least based on an attachment to altruism.

Attachment to altruism is ideologically based.

The same people whom you estimate to not be intelligent enough to accept Objectivism - don't have a problem grasping and manipulating successfully very difficult, abstract, highly interrelated concepts at their work (in science for example).

The fact that people can compartmentalize (are able to shed the arbitrary from their thinking) is a proof that the raw ability which is necessary IS there - just needs to be utilized.

The barrier (why they choose not to do it outside of their work) is ideological.

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Appearance-reality tests for 2- and 3-year olds show intelligent ones apply logical reasoning. I do not know what you mean when you wrote in an earlier post that children apply logic to various fantasies.

Well, this is what I said:

My own view at the moment is that beliefs such as those, before reasoning ability has been fully developed, can't be attributed to compartmentalization. What's important is how they evaluate the beliefs later, once they know better. Most children eventually come to realize that Santa Claus isn't real, as they apply logic to the many ridiculous claims, such as flying reindeer and delivering presents to all the children of the world in one night.

In other words, what they accept at first they later evaluate as they become better thinkers.

They accept appearance and function labels for various entities, classify objects by functions, shapes, non-obvious biological categories and unseen properties - consistently - which they would be unable to do if they were not able to reason at that age. Fantasy leaking into reality shows a child's desire reflect desire for social and emotional acceptability over rational thinking when they find it "beneficial", not necessarily confusion about what is real at that age. That "beneficial" finding is the start of compartmentalization and the less intelligent, the more "benefit" is found. The aspect of intelligence that 3-year olds cannot perform is they cannot reflect on the nature of prior mistaken beliefs, but the "requisite logical skills" definitely came with intelligence at birth or not.

Do I understand you correctly here? Are you saying that we are born with logic?

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But, if the issue is primarily one of pre-existing or "raw" intellectual capacity, why don't whole families (brothers and sisters) accept Objectivism? In my family of three brothers and a sister, two of the men are serious students of Objectivism, while the third man is an active philosophical investigator who has read a lot of philosophy, has read a significant amount of Ayn Rand's work, has a summa cum laude degree in Electrical Engineering and an MBA, yet rejects Objectivism with all the vengeance of an emotionalist college professor.

So the third man has a compartmentalized mind and let himself get attached to an arbitrary notion at some point. Ask him *why* he rejects Objectivism so strongly; I would bet that it's religiously based, or at least based on an attachment to altruism.

Actually, he is an atheist - only my mother and sister are religious. My father and brothers are all irreligious. My father is agnostic; my brothers and I have been agnostics/atheists since our teens. Even my sister, a practising Christian, was partially instrumental in my "conversion" to agnosticism at 11. She and I, being the older two, were reading the old man's Bertrand Russell and Paul Siegel together.

I have argued many times with my non-Objectivist brother. My judgment is that he, like my sister, is afraid of being the odd man out, of being the lone wolf. There is a definite refusal to face reality first-hand. And it's not that he was more sociable than I was. While I was no wild child, I was considered the "black sheep" of the family, and, so, had more popularity to give up than he did.

He will readily and proudly admit to being an altruist.

I am saying that, in my logical thinking, a *necessary* condition for an adult to be an actual Objectivist was an individual who was capable of rejecting the arbitrary from their mind at an early age. That isn't a *sufficient* condition. Men have free will as well and can choose not to focus later in life. A certain man may never encounter the works of Ayn Rand. So while the factor is *necessary* it is not *sufficient*.

Culture has a great deal to do with what people accept growing up. I have known several agnostic/atheistic women since I got to the West, and at least one gave up the little religion she had, completely, upon exposure to Objectivism. And the bulk of these women were either African or of African descent, so I don't think it's genetic. Where I grew up, a woman who isn't religious is a real rarity.

One of the Western women (we had been close before I turned to Objectivism) went back to religion in search of morality, I think. She graduated in engineering and went on to medical school.

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