All of Amaroq's Comments + Replies

You fail to make a clear distinction between simple and easy.

Something to Protect

I think you're pretty close to the core of this one. You identified that having something to protect gives you strength. And having a worthy cause to work for, for the same reason.

But what is that reason? What is it that gives you strength? What is the underlying cause of us gaining strength from certain causes?

I'm not certain I understand the topic well enough myself, but I think I have something that you might find insightful here.

Moral Idealism. That's where your power comes from. Whether you're fighting to protect a loved one, or you're fighting to pro... (read more)

Can Humanism Match Religion's Output?

I feel I must reply to my own post to update a bit as what I believe has changed a little.

By the nature of humans, every individual human is potentially valuable to you unless they prove themselves otherwise. Humans are capable of reason, productivity, trade, etc.

Just don't go sacrificing the actual (yourself) to the potential (the usefulness of a stranger). If you can aid someone in an emergency without risking yourself, there is a selfish justification for doing so.

The Futility of Emergence

I just came from a debate with a friend of mine about emergence, so here's a simple example of what emergence is and isn't that I just told to him. (That he rejected anyway.)

Let's take, as an example, a car. Motion is an emergent property in cars. (I'm talking about motion on the level we live on that allows whole objects to move great distances.)

The pieces of the car, gathered into a pile, could not move. So motion was not a property in the parts making up the car. Motion emerges when the parts are built into the complex relationship that makes up the car... (read more)

Whining-Based Communities

I come hailing as a more learned Objectivist than I was before. This article actually caused me to go find an online Objectivist community for the purpose of observing them to see if your assertion was true. I've found that it is not. I have not met a single "whiny" Objectivist out of all of the Objectivists I now chat almost-daily with.

Objectivism holds a primacy of existence attitude towards reality, as opposed to a primacy of consciousness attitude. This means that reality comes before our wishes, and if we want our wishes to come true, we hav... (read more)

2David_Gerard8yYou can't criticise North Korea until you've read all of Kim Il Sung in the original Korean.
3buybuydandavis9yFor the purposes of this discussion, I don't think that's true. Most criticisms of Rand can be effectively rebutted by showing their inconsistency with her fiction. No real need to get into her essays or The Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology.
Absolute Authority

Ah, but you see, I was arguing at the technical level, not on the "it's good to call it this" level.

I believe that absolute certainty is required. Not in all, and probably not even in most things. But absolute certainty has to be possible, because without it, I must give technical possibility to self-contradicting statements like this one:

"God exists, he is omniscient, infallible, and he can make a boulder that he cannot lift."

Can you tell me that all the pieces of that statement are technically possible?

P.S. I don't think I commit the ... (read more)

-1bigjeff510yYou screwed that up, there is no contradiction there. God must too be omnipotent to make the argument you are looking for. And really, it's not a contradiction any way. If he is all powerful, then certainly he has the ability to make a rock that he cannot lift if he so chooses. But, since he is all powerful, he can just as easily make that rock liftable again. When you are given an absurd premise, absurd outcomes are logical. Deductive conclusions are only absolute certainties relative to their premises. That is, the conclusion can never be more certain than the premise In fact, it will be at least as uncertain as the uncertainty of both premises combined. Since the premises can never be certain, the result of deductive reasoning is never certain either, only valid or invalid.
Absolute Authority

I cannot accept that Probability must be applied to everything. Which of course indirectly states that there are no absolutes, since probability has no 0 or 1.

If you discard absolutes, you must be willing to accept mysticism and contradictions.

I can create a long list of false or contradictory statements, and anyone who lives by probabilities must obediently tell me that every one of them is possible.

  • "Does God exist?" "Probably not, but it's possible."

  • "Can he create a boulder that he cannot lift?" "Probably not, but i

... (read more)
-2[anonymous]12yLeave the math alone, redefine 'possible' to match your preferred meaning if you must.
2Vladimir_Nesov12yNot quite so. There is a lot of nearly-impossible things, and you are good to call them "impossible", even if technically they aren't. Likewise, some things are so certain that you are good to call them "absolutely certain" even if technically they aren't. See possibility [http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Possibility], antiprediction [http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Antiprediction], fallacy of gray [http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Fallacy_of_gray], technical explanation [http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Technical_explanation], absolute certainty [http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Absolute_certainty].
4Hul-Gil10yAaand sometimes this results in extinction. I don't see how any of this relates to your first sentence. Also note that "valuable" traits are defined by reproductive success, making the ultimate player in this game the allele, as Eliezer said. This doesn't contradict your view of evolution as being caused by individual competition: differences in allele frequency are caused by the interaction of allele-bearing organisms. This was never suggested or implied. It was specifically noted individuals can't acquire new genes themselves, IIRC. No, they won't. They could just as easily have no more mutations and die out first. That's totally correct - if lack of females becomes a problem, birthing only females could be a good idea. But there's nothing guaranteeing such an event will occur.
Whining-Based Communities

Where do you think social systems get their power? People give it to them, then the population becomes ignorant and/or apathetic and allows it to run amok with no attempts to strip it of the power they gave it.

The idea isn't that you just expose the evil. You have to deny it power over you.

2DanielLC8yIf each individual denies it power, it will have no power. If half of them give it power, it will have a lot of power, whether or not you're one of the people giving power. You're just one person. You don't give it much power. But if you learn the system, and figure out how to meddle in it, you could weaken it, make it lean more towards doing good, or harness it for your own gain.
Whining-Based Communities

It's those looters who don't approve of excellence who are keeping you down. Surely you would be rich and famous and high-status like you deserve if not for them, those unappreciative bastards and their conspiracy of mediocrity.

Any Objectivists who believe this have missed half of Ayn Rand's message and are doing Objectivism completely wrong.

Not only did they miss one of the main points of John Galt's three hour long speech in Atlas Shrugged, but people who level this accusation against Objectivism as a whole missed it as well.

The point I'm referring t... (read more)

4Jay_Schweikert10yI agree that the "it's not my fault, it's everyone else keeping me down" sentiment is entirely antithetical to Objectivism. Indeed, one of the clearest distinctions between the good guys and bad guys in Atlas Shrugged is that the good guys are focused on getting things done, no matter what, regardless of whatever obstacles are thrown in their path by the villains, while the bad guys are always making excuses and looking to blame others. However, I think it probably is correct to say that many individual members of the Objectivist movement did exhibit this kind of behavior, at least some of the time. Sadly, Rand in her later life and many of her closest followers were often decidedly poor exemplars of their purported ideas, and it's valid to criticize Rand as such. But that doesn't necessarily mean that the philosophy itself is naturally prone to this vice.
Can Humanism Match Religion's Output?

Your article is based on the premise that it is important for us to help complete strangers who don't mean anything to us. That sacrifice is a constant of righteousness regardless of a person's beliefs or lack thereof.

From an objective viewpoint, sacrifice is wrong. Why should we have to give value in return for lesser value, or no value at all? We should help people because they have value to us, not because they are unable to be valuable at all.

"The man with guilt is the man who will do whatever you tell him to." The reason religious people do ... (read more)

1Amaroq11yI feel I must reply to my own post to update a bit as what I believe has changed a little. By the nature of humans, every individual human is potentially valuable to you unless they prove themselves otherwise. Humans are capable of reason, productivity, trade, etc. Just don't go sacrificing the actual (yourself) to the potential (the usefulness of a stranger). If you can aid someone in an emergency without risking yourself, there is a selfish justification for doing so.