bradbradallen

Christian Objectivist

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In the example under discussion, if death of individual life has meaning because it serves evolution, what does evolution serve?

All this does is remove the question one level. If that satisfies you, fine. It doesn't satisfy me.

Doesn't satisfy me, either. I'm an individualist to the core; I'll ALWAYS value the individual over the species.

My answer to "Why do we have to die?" is that we DON'T have to; we just haven't yet solved the problem of immortality. I think it's solvable, and that the answer is damned close, but that you and I, Michael, will probably not live to see it, and that idiots in governments will probably screw things up badly if it ever is developed. And I don't know what kinds of nightmares would develop with reproductive rights after its development, because while I am staunchly libertarian, I can't imagine what would happen if people insisted on reproducing after humans became immortal; some sort of regulation might become necessary out of self-defense.

Judith

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Something has always existed and something will always exist. Why? Because nothing cannot exist. There is no nothing anywhere; there never was and never will be. That is also why reality--something exists--is infinite. Only our observations are finite and those are epistemological, not metaphysical.

--Brant

Wrong, unless always means three times as long as the earth. Existence is finite and has finite dimensions. All existents are finite. Time and space are within existence, and relative to it, and finite, per Einstein and Augustine, not external, as per Newton. You have to define always as 13.5 billion years.

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I like Judith's answer. Who is to say our evolutionary journey isn't leading us toward immortality. After all, we continue to live longer. Maybe in another million years ... There's a neat Star Trek (sorry, I'd quote the bible, but I have a habit of quoting Spock) episode where our friends meet a race that used to be human but now is totally made up of spirit - the body, which they didn't need, is gone. They are pure brain - which lives forever.

Don't know why, but I've always loved that episode. I am (no proof, so don't ask) convinced we might be heading in that direction vis-a-vis evolution.

Just a thought.

Ginny

Edited by ginny

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I like Judith's answer. Who is to say our evolutionary journey isn't leading us toward immortality. After all, we continue to live longer. Maybe in another million years ... There's a neat Star Trek (sorry, I'd quote the bible, but I have a habit of quoting Spock) episode where our friends meet a race that used to be human but now is totally made up of spirit - the body, which they didn't need, is gone. They are pure brain - which lives forever.

Don't know why, but I've always loved that episode. I am (no proof, so don't ask) convinced we might be heading in that direction vis-a-vis evolution.

Just a thought.

Ginny

I'm afraid something is going to have to feed that brain. And what will it use for senses? If the spirit doesn't need the body then the spirits that inhabit our bodies are merely on vacations. Sorta like going to Six Flags! "Look, mommy! I can be an ax murderer." "Dad, I want to be a farmer."

--Brant

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Ginny:

Great episode. I saw it as pure "energy" albeit mental which lives forever.

Adam

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Brant, I don't have all the answers yet. (Just most of them.) See me in a million or so years ... Seriously, if we do evolve like that, I'm sure the brain will find some way.

It's only logical (Spock-speak).

Ginny

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In the example under discussion, if death of individual life has meaning because it serves evolution, what does evolution serve?

All this does is remove the question one level. If that satisfies you, fine. It doesn't satisfy me.

Doesn't satisfy me, either. I'm an individualist to the core; I'll ALWAYS value the individual over the species.

My answer to "Why do we have to die?" is that we DON'T have to; we just haven't yet solved the problem of immortality. I think it's solvable, and that the answer is damned close, but that you and I, Michael, will probably not live to see it, and that idiots in governments will probably screw things up badly if it ever is developed. And I don't know what kinds of nightmares would develop with reproductive rights after its development, because while I am staunchly libertarian, I can't imagine what would happen if people insisted on reproducing after humans became immortal; some sort of regulation might become necessary out of self-defense.

Judith

If we beat death (highly unlikely) we will either have to stop reproducing (which will stop evolution) or we will simply stack up and smother our species to extinction (which will stop evolution of our species). In either case evolution and immortality do not fit together very well.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Umm

Folks - Asimov, Heinlein, Herbert H.G. Wells and how many others see the longevity, immortality and the diaspora as integral parts of the scene.

Was it Heinlein in Time Enough for Love where Lazarus is basically immortal as well as the rest of their community. It has been a while.

Adam

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Yeah, it was in Time Enough ... and Lazarus, if I remember correctly, was unhappy and bored - been there, done it. I think immortality will force us to think outside the box on issues such a procreation. I mean, some years ago, no one could have imagined computers and flight. Maybe there are things we cannot imagine now. But I do really believe we're heading toward a very, very long lifespan, at the least. Maybe each "Person" (will we still be people then?) will have the option of opting out if that is his or choice.

Still say this live much longer or live forever sounds logical to me.

Ginny

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If we beat death (highly unlikely) we will either have to stop reproducing (which will stop evolution) or we will simply stack up and smother our species to extinction (which will stop evolution of our species). In either case evolution and immortality do not fit together very well.

It sounds like you worship evolution as some sort of god.

If you're talking about growth and development of humanity, imagine how much a single human could learn if the lifespan were extended greatly. What a waste to learn a limited amount and then to die! Did you know that the human brain has the capacity to store the memories for 1,000 years of life before it has to start kicking out memories to make room for more? (Source: Frank Tipler, "The Physics of Immortality".) We're vastly underusing ourselves with our puny current lifespans.

Judith

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You make such a good point, Judith. Rand may view man as "god," but we're really just a puny, tiny fraction of what we could be. Less body and more brain would be a step in the right direction.

Ginny

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Great points ladies:

Ginny you reminded me of a sci fi story wherein the state has taken the option of opting out and made it treason because the commitment to preservation of all human life is the sole role of the state.

It is hilarious to see an underground of risk takers who literally try to die and are prevented by all sorts of technologically advanced controls.

I have to find that story.

Adam

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Umm

Folks - Asimov, Heinlein, Herbert H.G. Wells and how many others see the longevity, immortality and the diaspora as integral parts of the scene.

Was it Heinlein in Time Enough for Love where Lazarus is basically immortal as well as the rest of their community. It has been a while.

Adam

All works of fiction.

The real rub with Immortality is Boredom. If one lives sufficiently long, one may become tired of the same-old same-old. In which has one might commit suicide to end the boredom. Some immortality that is. I would rather have a long life than immortality. The optimal length (assuming a long health life) is when the mental capacity for new experiences is exhausted. After that one must forget stuff to remember new stuff. It is like having all the book shelves filled. If one wants to stack new books he must get rid of some old ones.

It is highly unlikely that humans will achieve immortality. With all our science and technology we cannot generally extend healthy lifetime to much past 100 years of age. Aging still happens and along with aging comes a loss of mental agility and memory skill. The best we can do is to keep diseases from shortening our lives or debilitating us. In the long run old age kills. The brain rots first.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Ba'al Chatzaf

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It is highly unlikely that humans will achieve immortality. With all our science and technology we cannot generally extend healthy lifetime to much past 100 years of age. Aging still happens and along with aging comes a loss of mental agility and memory skill. The best we can do is to keep diseases from shortening our lives or debilitating us. In the long run old age kills. The brain rots first.

Right. Immortality is a pipe dream. So far we haven't even been able to make any advance in increasing our maximum age, in spite of all the optimistic promises. People don't get older, only more people get old. We are built from the wrong stuff, the restrictions built in our DNA and the degradation of our cells are not so easily removed (do you know an octogenarian who looks twenty?). Let's find a real cure for cancer first, perhaps then we may talk about adding a few years to our life span. Promises are cheap.

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Right. Immortality is a pipe dream. So far we haven't even been able to make any advance in increasing our maximum age, in spite of all the optimistic promises. People don't get older, only more people get old. We are built from the wrong stuff, the restrictions built in our DNA and the degradation of our cells are not so easily removed (do you know an octogenarian who looks twenty?). Let's find a real cure for cancer first, perhaps then we may talk about adding a few years to our life span. Promises are cheap.

Here is why we will not be immortal. Normal cells divide about fifty times and then they die. The only cells that keep on dividing are cancer cells and they kill the healthy cells. Immortality is indeed a pipe dream. The best we can do is slow up the rate at which we hit the limit of divisions.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Ba'al:

Interesting. There was a sci fi short story I read geez 45-50 years ago wherein this scientist in England learns how to allow the cancer to become him with his will directing it's form. Since he has now become immortal, he systematically pursues and kills scientists that get close to a cure.

Once during the Blitz, he molds itself into a bomb and blows up the scientist in his lab at the back of his English manor. He/it takes days to reattach all the "flesh" into human form again.

Amazing how good the human memory is.

Adam

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What are all the “Why do we have to die?” questions other than a wish for an eternal life which implies denying the natural law of biological facts?

Right. Immortality is a pipe dream.

A pipe dream which has its origin in the fact that we are the only animal on earth with a brain developed sufficiently enough to be aware of our mortality.

Edited by Xray

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What are all the “Why do we have to die?” questions other than a wish for an eternal life which implies denying the natural law of biological facts?

Xray,

What are they other than your speculations? That's easy.

Questions.

:)

Michael

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What are all the “Why do we have to die?” questions other than a wish for an eternal life which implies denying the natural law of biological facts?

Xray,

What are they other than your speculations? That's easy.

Questions.

:)

Michael

Speaking of questions, when are you going to get back to me with those examples of where Rand used the terms, concept and category close together?

Would you be so kind (as you promised) to respond to my posts #223 and #243, Cardinal Values thread; and post #281, "Existence Exists" thread, and answer the questions therein?

And, since no one else has, can you come up with an example of an action that was not motivated by self interest?

TIA.

Edited by Xray

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What are all the "Why do we have to die?" questions other than a wish for an eternal life which implies denying the natural law of biological facts?

Xray,

What are they other than your speculations? That's easy.

Questions.

:)

Michael

Speaking of questions, when are you going to get back to me with those examples of where Rand used the terms, concept and category close together?

Would you be so kind (as you promised) to respond to my posts #223 and #243, Cardinal Values thread; and post #281, "Existence Exists" thread, and answer the questions therein?

And, since no one else has, can you come up with an example of an action that was not motivated by self interest?

TIA.

Is "motivated by self interest" the same thing as self interest?

--Brant

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And, since no one else has, can you come up with an example of an action that was not motivated by self interest?

TIA.

Is "motivated by self interest" the same thing as self interest?

Every action is motivated by self-interest, although the self-interest as the motive may not be as obvious in some actions as in others.

For example, when a kid in a sandbox snatches a shovel from another kid, the self-interest is obvious.

Whereas the action of another kid who voluntarily offers his shovel to another kid may look "altruistic" at first glance, but the action is also motivated by self interest (gaining the other kid's approval, not wanting to mess with a sandbox bully, etc.)

Edited by Xray

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And, since no one else has, can you come up with an example of an action that was not motivated by self interest?

TIA.

Is "motivated by self interest" the same thing as self interest?

Every action is motivated by self-interest, although the self-interest as the motive may not be as obvious in some actions as in others.

For example, when a kid in a sandbox snatches a shovel from another kid, the self-interest is obvious.

Whereas the action of another kid who voluntarily offers his shovel to another kid may look "altruistic" at first glance, but the action is also motivated by self interest (gaining the other kid's approval, not wanting to mess with a sandbox bully, etc.)

If you want to look at this, I strongly urge you to read:

Isn't everyone selfish? By Nathaniel Branden, September 1962 issue of The Objectivist Newsletter

and then

Counterfeit Individualism, by Nathaniel Branden, April 1962 issue of The Objectivist Newsletter

As it is, you are jousting with a windmill which is not even a remote caricature of Rand's position - not even that close.

Regards,

Bill P

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Speaking of questions, when are you going to get back to me with those examples of where Rand used the terms, concept and category close together?

Would you be so kind (as you promised) to respond to my posts #223 and #243, Cardinal Values thread; and post #281, "Existence Exists" thread, and answer the questions therein?

And, since no one else has, can you come up with an example of an action that was not motivated by self interest?

TIA.

Xray,

I'll get around to it, but I have to come up with an approach that will get through to you. For instance, I explained several times what "subjective" means not only in Objectivism, but the normal insinuations that come with this term. You have totally ignored the ideas involved and have kept repeating over and over in several places that values are subjective as if this were a self-evident truth.

That is not discussing. In other words, there is no communication nor any attempt to understand, but instead repetition of a party line. Frankly, this level of treating ideas bores me. I am currently up to my eyeballs in work, so doing something like this (probing this way and probing that way to see if there is a communication form that works that will get the ideas on the table) is pretty low on my priorities.

I said I would do it, so I will eventually get around to it.

EDIT - Read ITOE and you will see many examples of Rand using concept and category close together. That takes care of the first one.

Michael

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And, since no one else has, can you come up with an example of an action that was not motivated by self interest?

TIA.

Is "motivated by self interest" the same thing as self interest?

Every action is motivated by self-interest, although the self-interest as the motive may not be as obvious in some actions as in others.

For example, when a kid in a sandbox snatches a shovel from another kid, the self-interest is obvious.

Whereas the action of another kid who voluntarily offers his shovel to another kid may look "altruistic" at first glance, but the action is also motivated by self interest (gaining the other kid's approval, not wanting to mess with a sandbox bully, etc.)

You did not answer my question. I don't think you understood it. Maybe you didn't see it. I don't know. I think it's a purblindness. There is a difference between subjective and objective self interest even though they frequently will or can coincide. The kid in the sandbox has true self interest in being a thief rather than a trader? Human beings are naturally productive, trading animals. This comes out of conceptual consciousness. To be a stealer or cannibalistic predator instead of a producer is to essentially traduce ones' humanity in spite of what ones' motivation might be. That's why we have laws and cops and wolves do not. Wolves can only be wolves. Humans, some humans, will be less than human. Humans cannot be more. Humans have to live up to their humanness. It's a moral imperative. It's all about expressions of free will. Denying free will is denying the humanity of humanity. that's a worse moral transgression in the abstract than any particular criminal or should be criminal act for it subsumes all criminal (immoral) acts.

--Brant

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