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About shadesofgrey

  • Birthday 07/13/1978

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    I'm not an objectivist. I'm interested in human nature and how/why people identify with various groups be they religious, atheist, objectivist, marxist, whatever. I like discussing some of the above topics to learn more about them.
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    Blue Bell, PA
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    guns, astronomy, physics, nature, chess, piano, running/fitness/weights, anatomy/physiology, cars, music, reading

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  1. This is so bizarre it's almost breathtaking. Ragnar is laughing, Rearden refuses to sell you anything at any price, and a quarry worker just raped your daughter. Galt is rewriting his radio speech, putting reasonableness and intrinsic value ahead of purpose and self-esteem. I'm sure the kids in the ghetto will be pleased to hear that they're getting free vouchers, but disappointed that their drunk, drug-addicted, ignorant, abusive mixed-race socialist parents have an Objectivist right to religion and are sending them to a maddras in Indonesia. As long as they refrain from falsely shouting "Fire!" in a theater and take care to provide cost of living adjustments for others, there's no limit to what these sweet little tykes can achieve in community organizing and government service. Not to mention there's no such thing as 'intrinsic value'... [see Tara Smith's Viable Values] Intrinsic in terms of the market value. Fundamentally, the value of all things is relative, yes, but using a car for instance, there is a basic market value that reflects the neighborhood price that most people will pay as agreement that the car is pretty much worth that price once you take manufacturing costs, labor, materials and all that into consideration. Hey, Wolfy....take a break. You don't have to be an idiot EVERY day. Did you even read the book? Rearden paid the most because he had the best workers. Ragnar never went after anyone who wasn't already stealing themselves. And Galt is about as REASONABLE a person as you can get. If your "response" resembled anything approaching a coherent point, I'd have more to say about it. But, since it doesn't, I don't.
  2. Xray, Rand was wrong. There. Feel better? Michael Yeah I think that's pretty much a load of crap, too. Rand was human and had preferences like anyone else (a fact that I think tends to be forgotten). If she wanted to see women as in a complimentary role to men or dependent upon them or their relationship for meaning, then so be it; she's free to have that opinion. But that's ALL it is, an opinion. Would I say it's applicable to every woman out there? Absolutely not. To assume so would be the height of arrogance.
  3. shadesofgrey

    Wall E

    I don't think human inventiveness is a limited resource and even if I did I don't understand what this has to do with your example. I'm not a farmer, I'm a web developer. If I was a farmer I would definitely be an organic farmer etc. I would add that human inventiveness may not be a limited resource in theory, but the problem remains in getting the invention needed to the right place in time. If it takes 100 years for us to figure out a way to harness fusion or solar energy or some other "inexhaustable" resource, but we run out of our current holdings in 80, then that inventiveness didn't do us any good. (That was a very rough example, don't nitpick it - you get my point).
  4. So who does decide what is rational, you? "Rational," in this context, means logically related to the requirements of man's existence and prosperity. You've never heard of a school treating all cultures as equal? You've never heard of a school running down the great industrialists by calling them "robber barons"? Must I go on? Darrell Welllll......I think there are certainly individual teachers that espouse ideas that your average objectivist would oppose; you hear about it every so often when a group of parents get up in arms about some idea their kids brought home. However, I think the idea that there is a concerted, organized, federally-sponsored effort to teach the virtues of socialism and all it entails in US schools is alarmist conspiracy propaganda. As for the multiculturalism, I would think that the idea is to impart the idea that all human life has value and that value is somehow expressed through a culture (itself being a variety of expressions of a people). I don't think every culture is equally valuable depending on your reference point. The idea of value itself is completely relative. So while teaching children that each culture has an empirically measurable value equal to all other cultures is erroneous, teaching them that all humans have the potential for greatness as expressed through various cultural media is a decent way to get kids to appreciate their neighbors. Regarding Robber Barons, I have no doubt that good men were caught up in the label and unjustly categorized, but there are plenty of examples of unscrupulous behavior by "great industrialists". Simply making money is not a measure of value or productivity in objectivism, you have to make it FAIRLY. You have to provide a quality product or service at a price that allows you to profit while not exceeding the intrinsic value of said product or service. You have to pay employees a wage commensurate with their value to the company, allow the possibility of wage increases, and provide cost of living and inflationary adjustments. Competitive suppression based on principles other than superior value are also immoral. Many so-called robber barons ran monopolies (at least temporarily) and a monopoly ALWAYS ends up producing an inferior product at an artificially elevated cost. Competition is the lifeblood of the capitalist system and without it the consumer becomes the victim. While many of these industrialists were also substatial philanthropists, that alone does not negate harmful business practices, as it amounts to stealing from Peter to pay Paul. It would be most accurate to teach that while these industrialists helped make the US the foremost economy of the 20th century, their gains (both personal and industrial) were not always achieved morally and that while we may aspire to their achievements, we cannot lose sight of our values on the way there.
  5. shadesofgrey

    Wall E

    I agree with the first part. "First-world" countries have markedly lower birthrates than developing countries probably for the same reasons that the poor and uneducated tend to have more children. Additionally, now, with the jobless rate being what it is, birthrates in the US have dropped measurably as people are more into "planning" family growth. Overpopulation doesn't really have to do with physical space though. Sure, if you get too many people together in an area that's too small, you have to deal with santation issues, disease, strife, environmental degredation, etc. Usually the term is applied in reference to resource allocation though. How much room it takes to SUPPORT an individual (to grow food, provide for recreation, etc.). Obviously these measurements vary per person and as such can only be a rough average estimate, but eventually there's going to be a number of people on the planet that exceeds our ability to produce food for them all. We currently have the production, but secondary to politics and logistical issues, it doesn't always get to where it needs to go. Hence there's plenty of hungry people around. Also, this uses the assumption that we're using our environmental resources in a way that is sustainable, which we're almost always NOT doing. At the moment, we have the luxury to do so because our stores of these resources aren't exhausted yet. We're not making any more coal or oil or natural gas or gold for all practical purposes. When it's gone, it's gone. Commodities like timber are obviously renewable, but we have not approached a level of renewal that matches our use. If we had, maybe 97% of the original forest in this country wouldn't be gone. In any case, in a perfect world our resources would have the right level of renewability and would be dispersed equally. They are not, so it muddles the actual "tipping point" at which there becomes too many people on the planet. Which would explain the current conflict over that number, with some people thinking up to 13 billion and some people thinking we already passed it.
  6. I never ACTUALLY thought I'd see this on an objectivist forum. Compromise? The best of both worlds? A little reason inserted into the equation rather than an automatic, emotional, reactionary negating of the opposite side's view? That perhaps the answer to the environment vs. industrialization question is somewhere in the MIDDLE (a shade of grey if you will ;-) is refreshing to see on here. Right on. High fives all around.
  7. I'm opposed to a federally-funded healthcare program chiefly because I work in healthcare and I know firsthand that the standard of care at private hospitals exceeds that of the VA (for instance) in general. If for no other reason than the amount of beauracracy is high within government institutions. That doesn't really have anything to do with my mammogram point though. That wasn't related to federal funding; it's private insurance that sets the cost of mammograms.
  8. Thank you. I'm getting really tired of this reactionary crap from objectivists. They're supposed to know better. Unfortunately even some of the ones I know personally are prone to simply gainsaying some point because at first glance it's not in line with their beliefs. The whole concept of a rational series of statements intended to establish a proposition goes right out the window when they hear some trigger word like "Obama", "healthcare", or "socialism." Being a student of general human nature, I find it fascinating to see how people who profess to come to conclusions based only on rational thought actually arrive at those conclusions subconsciously through reactionary emotion. Hardly good representatives of the philosophy. Shades: Anymore than a priest who claims celibacy while he is molesting the choir boy, personal immorality and irrationality does not reflect on the philosophy, but on the individual. Are you finished with the strawmen, or do you have a whole roomful? Let's see, I am against medical research because Joseph Mengele experimented with real people. Hmmm Have you read much of Ayn? Adam Well, define much. What an individual thinks doesn't really matter to me, but when someone has immoral or irrational views under the guise of a philosophy that teaches the opposite, I have to take issue. For example, what that priest claimed in your example should, while being unpleasant to most people, be particularly offensive to Catholics.
  9. The middle ground. I've been lucky not to find any grey hairs as of yet The non-E issue is what I was getting at. If we don't know what we don't know, I can't think of a good way to describe what we don't know.
  10. shadesofgrey

    Wall E

    Hm....interesting, I've never heard that about vitamin C before. The literature is pretty clear on megadoses of vitamin C being ineffective in preventing onset or duration of the common cold, but I haven't seen any randomized controlled trials regarding Hep C. I'll have to look into that. C. Diff. a horse of a different color, you're right. Unfortunately it usually arises from antibiotic use to cure a different infection, like pneumonia or pancreatitis. Usually Vancomycin is used to treat it, but that's a pretty harsh antibiotic and the prevailing census is that it won't work forever. There's already at least one bacteria (VRE) that's resistent to Vanc.
  11. Interesting, I've never heard of that. Regular cats work with heat instead of electricity, which is why cold engines pollute more than hot ones. The precious metals in them do the catalyzing of exhaust gasses into what (in theory) should only be CO2 and H2O. It's not a perfect process, so you get CO, SO4, hydrocarbons and other stuff. On another note, Adam is right about spillover highway pollution. The amount of CO ingestion running next to a busy highway has been estimated to be equivalent to a half-pack of cigarettes over an hour. That doesn't take into account any other pollutatant or particulate. NYC has noticably worse air to me. If you're coming in from NJ or the air, on many days you can see the suspended smog above the island. I'm assuming the buildings play a role in trapping it.
  12. I wouldn't think so. Even if you take it to the extreme in terms of sound, to the point where something is physically uncomfotable to hear, people could still choose to listen to it because they wanted to for some reason. There's plenty of photographs or art that's deeply disturbing, but people choose to look at it for one reason or another. They desire exposure to things that elicit a viscerally negative reaction. So in that sense, what may cause a physically negative reaction because of its ugliness may still be appealing for emotional reasons.
  13. If art is representative of the artists "re-envisioning" of the world around him, paint splotches should be able to be art in that they can representatively convey meaning. If it's rich in symbolism, cannot those same paint splotches be used as symbols? Red representing anger or passion perhaps? I think it would be short-sighted to say that we've never looked at an abstract painting and gotten a "mood" out of it. A bunch of pointy black and red lines scrawled on a canvas conveys an entirely different mood than a group of pastel circles. Regardless of what YOU think of it, the artist may have been conveying anger over the death of a loved one in the former and a sense of peace and reconciliation after a divorce in the latter. The symbols used as splotches of paint may well be representative of real-world events. By relegating them to "decoration" you view them SUBJECTIVELY. Just because you may not understand an artist's reasoning for picking the medium and style that he did, doesn't mean that it was picked randomly. There may be a direct symbolic representation there of which you are simply not privy. The artist owes an explanation of his art to no one. Hence the usually subjective nature of art observation. It's perfectly understandable why she envisioned this school of art and why she liked the art that she did. However a fundamental question remains for me: Why is art "positive"? If you don't view man as essentially heroic (and unfortunately there's plenty of examples of that), than art as representative of the world around you or your value judgements may be dark, lugubrious, or unsettling. It seems naive to me to say that all men everywhere strive to become something greater. Many do not. Many strive to undermine the world around them, to pull others down in their self-hatred, to ruin that which others produce. This type of thinking, while morally questionable, is no less "valid" than idealistic Romantic thinking. It's the opposite side of the same coin.
  14. I was wondering when someone was going to mention Wilkinson on here; he's like your quintissential objectivist sculptor. My dad introduced me to his work years ago and I've always liked the modern simplicity of the pieces. His website has a great cross-section of all of his works.
  15. Well, the idea that rights are inherent in what it means to be human COMES from humans. Jefferson saying "We hold these truths to be self-evident..." pertains only to anyone who AGREES with the declaration. Unfortunately, you will have no trouble finding people today or at any point in the past who think that all men are most certainly NOT created equal. The English crown certainly didn't agree and their standard of living was as good as the Americans'. Ultimately it's an opinion, not a fact. It's an opinion that benefits most people and generally leads to a better quality of life all around, but an opinion nonetheless. In Burma or Somalia or Afghanistan the prevailing view is that there is a severe stratification when it comes to the value of human lives. You could easily make the argument that the quality of life in those places is inferior to that of the US, but they'll probably look at you and say "So what?" Just because it can be rationalized doesn't mean it can be effective. Being "right" is nice when you can pat yourself on the back, but it doesn't mean anything when you can't effect change. Equality in those settings doesn't mean anything when you all you know is INequality. If it did, then the ridiculous exercise known as "nation-building" would actually work.