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Ayn Rand Gets Quoted on Criminal Minds

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Criminal Minds is a TV show that has FBI agents trained in behavioral analysis to profile criminals. The show typically begins and ends with quotes from famous authors that set the tone for the criminals behavior and the resolution after they're caught. The voice reciting the quote is typically one of the FBI agents.

On Wednesday's show, 12/10, titled "Brothers in Arms," Ayn Rand was the author who was quoted: "We are all brothers under the skin—and I, for one, would be willing to skin humanity to prove it." However, it was actually the character of Ellsworth Toohey who made the statement. I am somewhat ambivalent because saying the quote was from Ayn Rand made it seem like it was something that she would actually believe, but I'm not sure that is what was intended.

Anyone have opinions on this?

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With all the great characters to quote and they choose Toohey. I do not know the show or it's creators, but I do not think it is a good thing in the context used.

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There was one good quote by Toohey in The Fountainhead: "Don't bother to examine a folly—ask yourself only what it accomplishes."

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I sent to the following complaint on the feedback website of CBS.

On the 12/10 show, "Brothers in Arms," the show opened with a quote attributed to Ayn Rand: "We are all brothers under the skin—and I, for one, would be willing to skin humanity to prove it." The quote is actually from one of the villains in her fiction book, The Fountainhead. For your show's writers to attribute this quote to her makes it seem like it represents her viewpoint. If your intention was to assert it as her belief, the writers have made a significant misrepresentation of her ideas. I think some explanation is owed to the viewing public. I have been a fan of Criminal Minds for many years, but I am a bigger fan of Ayn Rand and her writing. I am very disappointed with this apparent misrepresentation. I would appreciate an explanation. If this is not explained by the writer or producer of the show, I will find it hard to continue to support the program by continuing to watch it.

Sincerely,

PC

There's no guarantee they'll respond, but I'll wait and see.

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With all the great characters to quote and they choose Toohey. I do not know the show or it's creators, but I do not think it is a good thing in the context used.

In the context of the story, the criminal and his actions, it was an appropriate quote. It is the attribution of it to Rand outside of the context of her book that makes it misleading.

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Paul, thank you for the explanation. I like what you wrote to CBS and would love to hear what their response is, if they respond.

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I used to watch Criminal Minds until the show blatantly misrepresented atheism during an episode. That was it for me.

theDML2112

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I used to watch Criminal Minds until the show blatantly misrepresented atheism during an episode. That was it for me.

theDML2112

How was it misrepresented? Considering the variety of interpretations of what atheism means in society, why would misrepresenting a negative be of such importance to you? Misrepresenting reason would be of importance to me. And the show demonstrates the power of reason, as used by the agents to solve problems.

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I used to watch Criminal Minds until the show blatantly misrepresented atheism during an episode. That was it for me.

theDML2112

How was it misrepresented? Considering the variety of interpretations of what atheism means in society, why would misrepresenting a negative be of such importance to you? Misrepresenting reason would be of importance to me. And the show demonstrates the power of reason, as used by the agents to solve problems.

One of the characters described most or all atheists as devil-worshipers which is a gross misrepresentation. And how is atheism a "negative"? When Ayn Rand declared in her journal "Today, I've decided to be an atheist", I don't think she was saying, in essence, from now on I'm going to be a negative - quite the opposite.

All religions are negative and misrepresent reason, and that misrepresentation has been going on and tolerated for centuries. That IS of great importance to me and why I decided to be an atheist. Going from an anti-life way of thinking to embracing life seems like a positive to me.

theDML2112

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And how is atheism a "negative"?

Because atheism is a lack of a belief in God, not a conviction in any other idea. Many atheists are nihilists, or socialists. Nor is a rejection of God a rejection of mysticism as such. Environmentalism is very mystical, as are all forms of collectivism, which one can hold while also being atheist. This is why I think things like social groups for atheists are very silly and superficial. To be an atheist says nothing of one’s morality, or even personal values. In fact, give me a non-practicing Christian over an atheist, if I know nothing more about them. Statistically, we will have more to talk about.

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I used to watch Criminal Minds until the show blatantly misrepresented atheism during an episode. That was it for me.

theDML2112

How was it misrepresented? Considering the variety of interpretations of what atheism means in society, why would misrepresenting a negative be of such importance to you? Misrepresenting reason would be of importance to me. And the show demonstrates the power of reason, as used by the agents to solve problems.

One of the characters described most or all atheists as devil-worshipers which is a gross misrepresentation. And how is atheism a "negative"? When Ayn Rand declared in her journal "Today, I've decided to be an atheist", I don't think she was saying, in essence, from now on I'm going to be a negative - quite the opposite.

As bborg stated, she simply meant that she was a non-theist.

All religions are negative and misrepresent reason, and that misrepresentation has been going on and tolerated for centuries. That IS of great importance to me and why I decided to be an atheist. Going from an anti-life way of thinking to embracing life seems like a positive to me.

theDML2112

When you state "all religions are negative" I think you may be equivocating on negative. I was not making a moral evaluation by stating that declaring oneself an atheist is a negative. It simply means that one is not a theist. It is a negative statement, like saying "I am not blond." Being an atheist does not mean that one embraces life. As many religionists point out, more people were killed in the name of communism than that of religion during the last century.

Deciding to be an atheist is, of course, important. But what moral code one acts on is what is pro- or anti- life.

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When you state "all religions are negative" I think you may be equivocating on negative. I was not making a moral evaluation by stating that declaring oneself an atheist is a negative. It simply means that one is not a theist. It is a negative statement, like saying "I am not blond." Being an atheist does not mean that one embraces life. As many religionists point out, more people were killed in the name of communism than that of religion during the last century.

Deciding to be an atheist is, of course, important. But what moral code one acts on is what is pro- or anti- life.

I don't think there was anything unclear or ambiguous about my statement "all religions are negative" - all religions are. All religions rely on faith, and faith is in diametrical opposition of reason. And I realize that one being or becoming an atheist doesn't "automatically" mean one embraces life. Reason has to be chosen...and up to 95% of the world's population chooses the opposite.

theDML2112

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I failed to quote properly and I apologize. Didn't mean to intentionally...was just trying to keep the post succinct.

theDML2112

Equivocating doesn't mean unclear or ambiguous. It means that you have changed the meaning of the word, in this case: "negative," and are using both meanings at the same time. (Of course, the result is lack of clarity.) A negative sentence is not a morally negative principle, which is what you are implying.

But all religions cannot be regarded as negative because such a moral statement depends upon the standard of value. A statement that "I am not a blond" or "I am a not a theist" are statements that can be acknowledged as grammatically negative regardless color hair I have or what my beliefs are. What about the statement "happiness is achieved through faith" is negative? You may regard it as morally or epistemologically negative because it is against reason, but the statement is a grammatically positive statement.

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What "both meanings" of 'negative' are you talking about?

The definition of equivocate according to Webster's Dictionary Second College edition is "to have the same sound; to use equivocal terms in order to deceive, mislead, hedge, etc.; be deliberately ambiguous." If any one is equivocating, it was the character from Criminal Minds when he said in effect all atheists are devil-worshipers. That's totally misleading and ambiguous. When I say "all religion is negative," I am not equivocating the word negative.

The definition of negative according to the same source as above is "opposite to something regarded as positive...lacking evidence...".

All religion...all faith in the unknown...all worship and conduct glorifying divine powers to be obeyed is opposite to man's reason and lacks evidence.

All religion is negative.

theDML2112

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What "both meanings" of 'negative' are you talking about?

The definition of equivocate according to Webster's Dictionary Second College edition is "to have the same sound; to use equivocal terms in order to deceive, mislead, hedge, etc.; be deliberately ambiguous." If any one is equivocating, it was the character from Criminal Minds when he said in effect all atheists are devil-worshipers. That's totally misleading and ambiguous. When I say "all religion is negative," I am not equivocating the word negative.

The definition of negative according to the same source as above is "opposite to something regarded as positive...lacking evidence...".

All religion...all faith in the unknown...all worship and conduct glorifying divine powers to be obeyed is opposite to man's reason and lacks evidence.

All religion is negative.

theDML2112

Do you not see the difference between saying "I am not a blond" and "I am a brunette"? Which one is negative?

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What "both meanings" of 'negative' are you talking about?

Negative:

1. denying a predicate of a subject or a part of a subject

2. lacking positive qualities; marked by features of hostility, withdrawal, or pessimism that hinder or oppose constructive treatment or development

"I am an atheist" is meaning 1. "Religion is negative" is meaning 2.

The dictionary definition of equivocal/equivocate is not the definition in logic that is meant. In logic, to equivocate means to (implicitly or explicitly) change the definition of the terms under argument, the result of which is confusion. As we've demonstrated by our discussion here.

The definition of equivocate according to Webster's Dictionary Second College edition is "to have the same sound; to use equivocal terms in order to deceive, mislead, hedge, etc.; be deliberately ambiguous." If any one is equivocating, it was the character from Criminal Minds when he said in effect all atheists are devil-worshipers. That's totally misleading and ambiguous. When I say "all religion is negative," I am not equivocating the word negative.

The definition of negative according to the same source as above is "opposite to something regarded as positive...lacking evidence...".

But that is not what "I am an atheist" means, as I've shown above.

All religion...all faith in the unknown...all worship and conduct glorifying divine powers to be obeyed is opposite to man's reason and lacks evidence.

All religion is negative.

theDML2112

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I hope we aren't straying too far off the thread which was originally about a TV show, yet I have to ask the following question.

Does religion reject reason?

theDML2112

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I hope we aren't straying too far off the thread which was originally about a TV show, yet I have to ask the following question.

If it does stray too far, I'll split the thread.

Does religion reject reason?

I depends on what you mean by "religious." For instance, in Ayn Rand's Introduction to the Twenty-fifth Anniversary Edition of The Fountainhead, she comments on a brief dialogue between Roark and Hopton Stoddard:

" 'You're a profoundly religious man, Mr. Roark—in your own way. I can see that in your buildings.'

" 'That's true,' said Roark."

In the context of that scene, however, the meaning is clear: it is Roark's profound dedication to values, to the highest and best, to the ideal, that Stoddard is referring to (see his explanation of the nature of the proposed temple). The erection of the Stoddard Temple and the subsequent trial state the issue explicitly.

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I hope we aren't straying too far off the thread which was originally about a TV show, yet I have to ask the following question.

Does religion reject reason?

theDML2112

Yup, but that's really not the point. You had asked Paul what he meant when he said atheism was a negative, and his answer was that he meant negative as in negation, not as in morally bad. For example, when Christians argue that you can't prove that God doesn't exist, trying to put the burden of proof on atheists, the rational atheist will say that it is a logical rule that "you can't prove a negative", that the burden is on the person making the claim. Atheism is not a belief, it is a lack of a belief. That is what we mean by negative in this context.

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I hope we aren't straying too far off the thread which was originally about a TV show, yet I have to ask the following question.

Does religion reject reason?

theDML2112

I would say as a philosophic idea, yes, it does. But as a primitive attempt to understand the world, it was man's first attempt to understand things when he wasn't aware that those issues existed. And, today, certain emotional associations are typically developed which are normally assoicated with religious activities but can be equally assoicated with rational contexts. The enjoyment of giving presents during the holiday season is one example. There are some concepts typically assoicated with religion which do have a rational basis in reality, outside of the context of religion. Sacred, reverence, dedication, and morality are examples.

PS. You have not addressed my comments in the posts above. Do you agree or disagree?

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I know atheism is not a belief. I'm not saying that it is. All I did was state how a TV show misrepresented atheists by calling them devil worshipers. And I don't understand how the statement "all religion is negative" can be mis-interpreted. I guess I can qualify it by adding verbiage: All organized religion is negative to man's ability to reason. Is that a better way to state it?

When I hear Ayn Rand state in interviews (in regards to religion and faith): "It gives men permission to function irrationally; to accept something above and outside the power of their reason". - from Phil Donahue interview

...and...

"Well, I regard it as evil to place your emotions, your desires above the evidence of what your mind knows". - from Tom Snyder interview

...I agree with her. Yet religion seems to get a free ride...apologized for...tolerated. Any religion or organization that "gives men permission to function irrationally" I would think is negative.

As a side note...I hope my posts aren't being taken as "argument for arguments sake", because that's not my intention. I'm really pursuing an understanding.

theDML2112

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I know atheism is not a belief. I'm not saying that it is. All I did was state how a TV show misrepresented atheists by calling them devil worshipers. And I don't understand how the statement "all religion is negative" can be mis-interpreted. I guess I can qualify it by adding verbiage: All organized religion is negative to man's ability to reason. Is that a better way to state it?

------------

I haven't been arguing against your statement that religion is negative. What I was pointing out was that your statement, "how is atheism a "negative"? When Ayn Rand declared in her journal "Today, I've decided to be an atheist", I don't think she was saying, in essence, from now on I'm going to be a negative" followed by "all religions are negative and misrepresent reason." I demonstrated that you were using two definitions of negative when comparing the two ideas. The statement about atheism is a negative statement about theism. The statement about religion is a positive statement about its lack of positive qualities. When someone says "I am an atheist" it most certainly does mean that they are going to be negative, about theism.

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We may have just been talking past each other...I see where I was confused and your last post cleared it up.

theDML2112

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I sent to the following complaint on the feedback website of CBS.

Did they ever send you a response?

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I sent to the following complaint on the feedback website of CBS.

Did they ever send you a response?

Nope. :lol:

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