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Donovan A.

The Ominous Parallels Test 01

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This test has been designed to assess your comprehension of The Ominous Parallels (TOP). Questions have been formed from Chapter 1 and 2 only. Subsequent tests will cover additional chapters of the book. It is not intended to be an open book test. There are 20 questions – each is worth 5 points. This test can be taken by students before and after reading TOP (as a pre and/or post-test). Only reading Ayn Rand’s fictional work will not be sufficient preparation to excel on this test. This assessment can help students of Objectivism and study-group organizers determine the ideal study materials and is not intended to evaluate one’s agreement with Objectivism.

Test Score Range:
0-60: Minimal understanding (Low) – Basic study needed
65-70: Moderate understanding (Low-Mid) – Basic study needed
75-80: Good understanding (Intermediate) – Basic study review needed
85-90: Competent (High-Mid) – Proceed to more technical studies
95-100: Advanced (High) - Proceed to more technical studies

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Email: cultureofreasoncenter@gmail.com

Other CRC Tests Include:
Objectivism: General Knowledge (01)
Objectivism: General Knowledge (02)
Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology Test (Introduction, Chapters 1-8, Summary)
The Virtue of Selfishness Test 01

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Hi Brant,

Could you elaborate on what is the matter? Six people have taken this test and five of them have answered #15 correctly.

Are you having technical difficulties? If so, you might want to try refreshing your browser.

Thanks so much,

Randall

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It is easy to ace this test without even reading -The Ominous Parallels-.

Just blame everything on Immanuel Kant.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Current number of submissions: 7


Average Score: 70%


High Score: 90%


Low Score: 55%

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Hi Brant,

Could you elaborate on what is the matter? Six people have taken this test and five of them have answered #15 correctly.

Are you having technical difficulties? If so, you might want to try refreshing your browser.

Thanks so much,

Randall

"It" refers seemingly to the people in the answers. They aren't "its."

Maybe I read it wrong.

--Brant

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85. (I blamed everything on Immanuel Kant.)

I agree with Randall on Number 15. It seemed straightforward enough, right out of college philosophy.

But, that being as it may, I am interested in Brant's view on that. He is often insightful.

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85. (I blamed everything on Immanuel Kant.)

I agree with Randall on Number 15. It seemed straightforward enough, right out of college philosophy.

But, that being as it may, I am interested in Brant's view on that. He is often insightful.

I think what's confusing Brant may be some missing commas in question 15.

Other questions are poorly written as well. Many ask the questions as if facts of reality are being sought, when what they may actually be asking is that test-takers identify Leonard Peikoff's opinions (which are sometimes mistaken). The questions should therefore be phrased, "In Leonard Peikoff's opinion or interpretation, Kant believed..."

It's kind of like if Peikoff wrote a book containing the opinion that stop signs in the US are green, and then, on a test about the book, one of the questions was, "What color are stop signs?" Well, in reality stops signs are red, so that's the correct answer. If, on the other hand, the question was, "What color does Leonard Peikoff claim stops signs to be?" it would then be proper to answer "green." So there's a lot of potential confusion in the way the questions are currently phrased. Each should specify that Peikoff's opinions are being sought and not reality.

J

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Everything is Kant's fault.

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Btw, on the test, some things are also Plato's fault.

Everything is Plato's fault, including Kant.

--Brant

a verbal cascade of altruistic anti-man, anti-life mysticism and pure evil--then Rand came along (and told us about the potency of evil and her the impotence of evil philosophy--thank God!)

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Hello Jonathan,

The test questions are taken straight from the book and many questions are direct quotes, which is what I think a test on Ominous Parallels should be. I designed these tests to assess comprehension of the material, not to assess agreement or actual correctness about the claims. It should be taken for granted that a true/false answer (especially in philosophy) is dealing with a claim made in the book by the author. Points are based on understanding (retention) of the claims, not agreement. One could potentially get a score of zero on these tests because one disagrees with everything, because one did not read the book, or because one cannot retain what was stated. If you disagree with a claim, that's fine. I encourage people to respectfully debate the claims and arguments on forums such as OL. These tests should simply be regarded as study aids in reference to the material.

That being said, I very much welcome constructive criticism. I have revised the wording of some test questions in the past and I am open to doing so in the future if the criticism makes sense. I hope you will understand that making these tests is very difficult and very time consuming. I have made these tests to improve my own understanding of Objectivism and for my own enjoyment. I have provided them to the public, but I am not getting paid to do so and so far nobody (out of hundreds of test takers) has donated to support the effort.

Thanks so much,

Randall

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The most entertaining review of the book is here.

Peikoff goes so far as to say of life in the Nazi concentration camps: "It was the universe that had been hinted at, elaborated, cherished, fought for, and made respectable by a long line of champions. It was the theory and the dream created by all the anti-Aristotelians of Western history." The reader who has gotten as far as this point in the book will have no doubt as to the identity of the chief anti-Aristotelian.

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The test questions are taken straight from the book and many questions are direct quotes, which is what I think a test on Ominous Parallels should be. I designed these tests to assess comprehension of the material, not to assess agreement or actual correctness about the claims. It should be taken for granted that a true/false answer (especially in philosophy) is dealing with a claim made in the book by the author. Points are based on understanding (retention) of the claims, not agreement.

The issue is not agreement with a claim, but the phrasing of the questions. As I said in my last post, if Peikoff asserts that stop signs are green, and you, as the test-giver, want to test my knowledge of Peikoff's assertion, then your question should ask me what color Peikoff claims that stops signs are. You should not ask me what color stop signs are.

If Peikoff claims that Kant was a kidnapper, rapist and murderer, your question should be "Which crimes does Peikoff accuse Kant of having committed," not, "Which crimes did Kant commit." See the difference? Test-takers should be expected to answer the questions that were asked, not the ones that you meant to ask but didn't.

J

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The test questions are taken straight from the book and many questions are direct quotes, which is what I think a test on Ominous Parallels should be. I designed these tests to assess comprehension of the material, not to assess agreement or actual correctness about the claims. It should be taken for granted that a true/false answer (especially in philosophy) is dealing with a claim made in the book by the author. Points are based on understanding (retention) of the claims, not agreement.

The issue is not agreement with a claim, but the phrasing of the questions. As I said in my last post, if Peikoff asserts that stop signs are green, and you, as the test-giver, want to test my knowledge of Peikoff's assertion, then your question should ask me what color Peikoff claims that stops signs are. You should not ask me what color stop signs are.

If Peikoff claims that Kant was a kidnapper, rapist and murderer, your question should be "Which crimes does Peikoff accuse Kant of having committed," not, "Which crimes did Kant commit." See the difference? Test-takers should be expected to answer the questions that were asked, not the ones that you meant to ask but didn't.

J

If I understand you correctly, your criticism is that each question does not state: "Peikoff believes." Given the fact that the source material is The Ominous Parallels and not some other book, I think the point you are making is implied. Anyone familiar with taking tests should understand that. If this is confusing because you think Peikoff does not identify the color of stop signs correctly, i.e., you think he is wrong on some points, I'm sorry.

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The test questions are taken straight from the book and many questions are direct quotes, which is what I think a test on Ominous Parallels should be. I designed these tests to assess comprehension of the material, not to assess agreement or actual correctness about the claims. It should be taken for granted that a true/false answer (especially in philosophy) is dealing with a claim made in the book by the author. Points are based on understanding (retention) of the claims, not agreement.

The issue is not agreement with a claim, but the phrasing of the questions. As I said in my last post, if Peikoff asserts that stop signs are green, and you, as the test-giver, want to test my knowledge of Peikoff's assertion, then your question should ask me what color Peikoff claims that stops signs are. You should not ask me what color stop signs are.

If Peikoff claims that Kant was a kidnapper, rapist and murderer, your question should be "Which crimes does Peikoff accuse Kant of having committed," not, "Which crimes did Kant commit." See the difference? Test-takers should be expected to answer the questions that were asked, not the ones that you meant to ask but didn't.

J

If I understand you correctly, your criticism is that each question does not state: "Peikoff believes." Given the fact that the source material is The Ominous Parallels and not some other book, I think the point you are making is implied. Anyone familiar with taking tests should understand that. If this is confusing because you think Peikoff does not identify the color of stop signs correctly, i.e., you think he is wrong on some points, I'm sorry.

Jonathan is precisely correct. This is standard test-making-taking methodology. The test-taker isn't supposed to put into each question explicitly what is implicit before proceeding wondering if on that particular question if there is any implicit there that needs explication or whether the question per se should be taken literally. You are making him think about the wrong things at the wrong time. The problem gets compounded when what Peikoff and Rand wrote is actually sound and true and one is interested in knowing that through use of critical thinking.

--Brant

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If I understand you correctly, your criticism is that each question does not state: "Peikoff believes." Given the fact that the source material is The Ominous Parallels and not some other book, I think the point you are making is implied. Anyone familiar with taking tests should understand that.

I agree. The start of the test already says, "This test has been designed to assess your comprehension of The Ominous Parallels (TOP)." A little better would be to add a sentence to elaborate. Adding "In Leonard Peikoff's opinion or interpretation" to every question would be very redundant.

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If I understand you correctly, your criticism is that each question does not state: "Peikoff believes." Given the fact that the source material is The Ominous Parallels and not some other book, I think the point you are making is implied. Anyone familiar with taking tests should understand that.

I agree. The start of the test already says, "This test has been designed to assess your comprehension of The Ominous Parallels (TOP)." A little better would be to add a sentence to elaborate. Adding "In Leonard Peikoff's opinion or interpretation" to every question would be very redundant.

That's another problem for no multiple choice test can really do that. There is comprehension from the inside--hence this test--and there is comprehension from the outside: this is crap or this is great, etc. In this case TOP illustrates the fallacy of history through a philosophical lens, itself questionable, from an author badly deficient in a liberal arts education. The fallacy makes it worth reading if only to see that. Rand herself was also deficient that way, but if she hadn't been she never would have written her two great novels. The Fountainhead doesn't need much deconstruction; it's mostly art. Atlas Shrugged needs major evaluation and deconstruction even though it's filled with lots of "right-on!" material. It's not mostly art; it's mostly ideas dressed in art.

--Brant

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There seems to be something the matter with question #15.

Yes. The Ominous Parallels reads "Reality, declared Hegel, is inherently contradictory..." The test omits the commas.

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It is easy to ace this test without even reading -The Ominous Parallels-.

Just blame everything on Immanuel Kant.

You could hardly be more wrong. Kant is not one of the multiple choice answers for many of the test questions. Plato, Hegel, and Fichte get plenty of blame.

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I have corrected the commas for question 15 (Test 01).

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Adding "In Leonard Peikoff's opinion or interpretation" to every question would be very redundant.

Well, that's where good test makers get creative instead of lazy. They don't put the same phrase in front of each question. They realize that if they put in just a tiny amount of thought and effort, it's actually pretty easy to structure questions with clarity while avoiding redundancy.

J

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Jonathan,

If you have specific issues with specific questions and if you would like to offer constructive suggestions on how you think certain questions could be improved, I'm open to what you have to say.

In regard to claims being false, each question includes a reference and as I have said three times now, test questions (IMO) have to be formed from claims made in the book. That is what it means to have a test on content from a book. True/false or multiple choice answers have to be selected in relation to the claims made in the book and not on one's own views.

- R

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