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[P]
Ryan, Jacob and the Dangers of a Little Knowledge

By gonerill in Op-Ed
Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 01:08:42 PM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)
Internet

Have you gotten the Ryan and Jacob email yet? It begins "There is something extremely wrong with every single person in this world. They seem to be part of a pointless simulation." Then it continues to explain ad nauseam how "99.999999%" of people in the world are fakes, except (coincidentally) the authors themselves and a few other special people who will be clever enough to find their homepage. Well, here's the page. Also here. If you want to get sucked in to Ryan and Jacob's near-solipsistic world, off you go. Otherwise, let these two sites be a warning to you all.


Let's assume Ryan and Jacob's pages aren't a pointless hoax, and that whoever put this email together really believes what they say. After all, this sort of sophomoric rubbish is quite common online. In that case, the lesson to be learned here is: Kids! This is what happens when you don't read enough! Regular Internet users are especially prone to this vitamin deficiency of the mind. It begins when you read just a little bit --- perhaps Ayn Rand or Robert Pirsig, or Gary Zukav, or maybe Richard Dawkins, or Lenin, or Hayek. But then you stop. If things go badly, you get sucked into the orbit of some group of already ill disciples. Argh! Pretty soon it's too late, and you're on your way to becoming the worst kind of semi-informed autodidact. You become imbued with a terrifying certainty that this book (whichever one it was you read) holds the key to all the philosophical problems you can think of. So you don't have to read any more. Or you only have to read more in the same vein. Or you read alternative views but with your mind already made up. It's fun to be completely certain about everything: arguments are much more enjoyable when you already know the answers and are in no danger of having your mind changed about something.

Now, don't get me wrong. I've read those books myself. Some of them are very good --- a few of them are even important. They sell for a reason. And you could be reading something completely cracked, wholly evil or both. But avoiding the real schlock isn't enough to keep yourself healthy. Here is a checklist you can administer to yourself to see if you are turning into a crank, or (worse) the disciple of a crank:

  • Are more than half the books you own written by the same person?
  • Do you insist that your favorite author is generally ignored by "mainstream" writers and academics because their ideas are "too radical"?
  • When you discover that your favorite author is not terribly well regarded by experts in the field, do you reply that this must be because the "so-called experts" are afraid of having their "tired ideas" overthrown?
  • If someone tells you your favorite author is a crank, do you respond by saying "All major scientific/philosophical revolutions were laughed at when they first appeared"? (Principle applied here: All revolutionary ideas are outlandish, therefore all outlandish ideas are revolutionary.)
  • Are you developing your own "philosophical system" having taken one or two (or no) philosophy courses?
  • Do you assume that an ability to solve problems in Math/Physics/Mechanical Engineering/C++/Perl/Unix also allows you to discover simple answers to social or philosophical questions that have bothered people for millennia?
  • Are you convinced your views are "purely logical" and therefore impossible to resist?
  • If other people disagree with you, do you take this as evidence that they are (a) stupid, (b) deluded, or (c) computer-controlled zombies?
  • Do you believe that you and you alone are responsible for all your ideas and that you are a competely independent thinker who makes up their own mind about everything, free of the influence of others?

If you answered "Yes" to all these questions, then you have probably stopped reading this article some time ago. If you answered "Yes" to some of them, don't panic! It's not too late to take a course of treatment at your local university, where trained professionals are standing by to help you. Even if a university is unavailable, effective aid can still be had at your local bookstore. Go there today and get some perspective, before it's too late.

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Poll
My touchstone of all wisdom is
o Ayn Rand 6%
o Gary Zukav 0%
o Stephen Wolfram 5%
o Richard Dawkins 5%
o Robert Pirsig 3%
o Wassily Leontieff 0%
o Ludwig von Mises 2%
o Myself, you ignorant fool! 76%

Votes: 171
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Ryan and Jacob
o here's the page
o here
o Ayn Rand
o Robert Pirsig
o Gary Zukav
o Richard Dawkins
o Lenin
o Hayek
o disciples
o completely cracked
o wholly evil
o both
o before it's too late
o Also by gonerill


Display: Sort:
Ryan, Jacob and the Dangers of a Little Knowledge | 320 comments (307 topical, 13 editorial, 2 hidden)
copmletely cracked, wholly evil or both (4.00 / 2) (#6)
by dirvish on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 11:23:31 AM EST

I will give it a +1 just for the scientology link.

Technical Certification Blog, Anti Spam Blog
He might want to correct... (5.00 / 1) (#12)
by Trollificus on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 11:36:50 AM EST

..."copmletely", though. Should be completely.

"The separation of church and state is a fiction. The nation is the kingdom of God, period."
--Bishop Harold Calvin Ray of West Palm Beach, FL
[ Parent ]

+1 FP (4.20 / 5) (#7)
by Yellowbeard on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 11:24:02 AM EST

Ye Gods! I can't say how much this article is needed on this site.

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


Excellent (4.37 / 8) (#14)
by gazbo on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 11:39:45 AM EST

The only thing I dislike about this article is the implication that philosophy courses are prerequisite to creating ones own philosophical framework.

In fact, I would claim that doing a philosophy course precludes one from doing that, working on the theory that 95% of people that choose to study philosophy do so because they are too dumb to do anything else*. Those that are doing it out of enthusiasm and have a modicum of intelligence are likely to just create a melange out of other philosophies.

Having a philosophy critically examined is one thing, but insisting that prior knowledge of philosophies is required is another

*I would like to emphasise that the remaining 5% really do exist, and that some truly great minds choose to study philosophy. Just not many.


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Topless, revealing, nude pics and vids of Zora Suleman! Upskirt and down blouse! Cleavage!
Hardcore ZORA SULEMAN pics!

umm (none / 0) (#17)
by nomadic on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 11:47:41 AM EST

In other words, you don't like the main point of the article. While you don't need a philosophy course to construct your own philosophical framework, it really does help.

And as a non-philosophy major, I've got to say the few courses in the subject I took were brutally hard, more so than just about any other course I took in the humanities, social sciences, or sciences.

[ Parent ]
Yes and no (5.00 / 1) (#20)
by gazbo on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 11:55:39 AM EST

Firstly: In my experience philosophy courses are as easy or as hard as you choose to make them. Most people choose to make them easy by repeating what other people have said, though it is possible to make it extremely hard by reasoning, then finding holes in your reasoning, then....

Secondly: I read the main part of the article as being that exposure to only one philosophy means you're going to come up with a similar (and whacked) one yourself. The way around this is to ensure you don't just positively enforce one viewpoint. Fine, and it is obvious that a philosophy course should be the prime place for this. However, going back to what I said, most people don't think in a philosophy course. They umm and ahh a lot, furrow their brow, and then repeat something that Descartes said.

Maybe you did think in your philosophy classes. Maybe it showed you why some of your ideas were wrong. Maybe it gave you inspiration for new ideas. So maybe you're one of the 5% I mentioned in my original post?


-----
Topless, revealing, nude pics and vids of Zora Suleman! Upskirt and down blouse! Cleavage!
Hardcore ZORA SULEMAN pics!

[ Parent ]

I think (none / 0) (#23)
by Yellowbeard on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 12:02:14 PM EST

that there may be a significant difference between people who take philosophy courses as requirements toward something else and those who actually make it their major. However, I am certainly biased.

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


[ Parent ]
easy or hard (none / 0) (#134)
by surlybird on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 05:57:38 PM EST

Firstly: In my experience philosophy courses are as easy or as hard as you choose to make them. Most people choose to make them easy by repeating what other people have said, though it is possible to make it extremely hard by reasoning, then finding holes in your reasoning, then.... Yeah, but the people who repeat what other people have said barely scrape through with a fifty, at least at my school. A good philosophy class requires you to absorb material and understand both the question and the answers. Maybe to the guy who just wants to sit in tutorial and talk loudly about everything he thinks he understands, that looks like parroting or "repeating what Descartes said," but he's wrong.

[ Parent ]
Thumbs up (none / 0) (#138)
by gazbo on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 06:06:40 PM EST

I agree entirely. If your school has a philosophy class that requires true intellect then great. I have never come across or heard of one myself, hence what I wrote.

Whenever I discussed an alternative answer to a question posed in philosophy classes (e.g. Zeno's paradoxes are trivial when examined mathematically using limits) the group I discussed it with, including the tutor, looked dazed and then proceeded to reiterate what was said in lectures.

That guy repeating things like a parrot? That was every philosophy student in the room. The only people who dared to speak differently and think (in my experience) were students from other disciplines doing the philosophy modules as extras.


-----
Topless, revealing, nude pics and vids of Zora Suleman! Upskirt and down blouse! Cleavage!
Hardcore ZORA SULEMAN pics!

[ Parent ]

Come to Queen's, poor soul! (none / 0) (#179)
by surlybird on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 09:39:26 PM EST

Whenever I discussed an alternative answer to a question posed in philosophy classes (e.g. Zeno's paradoxes are trivial when examined mathematically using limits) the group I discussed it with, including the tutor, looked dazed and then proceeded to reiterate what was said in lectures.

Really? Our professor spent about fifteen minutes explaining that in lectures. You need to transfer to Queen's...

[ Parent ]

Title of the Article (5.00 / 2) (#50)
by pexatus on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 01:45:54 PM EST

The title of the article ends in "The Dangers of a Little Knowledge." I think the point being made is that it's better either to know nothing about a subject, and therefore to be sure that you know nothing, or to have studied it enough that you are certain you know much about it. The danger area is when you know just a little about it (such as after taking a single philosophy class) and think you know everything.

For certain, more than in any other field, one can be a philosopher without ever having taken a class in it. However, most people cannot put forth the mental effort needed to accomplish this, and the effort required is far greater than that required to pass one philosophy class. So if someone has taken a single philosophy class, and then claims to have revolutionized modern thought, then they had better have put a lot of previous mental effort into their ideas before taking that class, and it would be quite a coincidence that their revolutionary new ideas came about right after they took their first class.

[ Parent ]

Surely you must be joking (5.00 / 2) (#51)
by joecool12321 on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 01:48:36 PM EST

"95% of people that choose to study philosophy do so because they are too dumb to do anything else."

Philosophy is one of the few areas of the humanities that is still hard by any stretch of the imagination. If you want to find the people that are "too dumb to do anything else" look up your local MBA program.

The way you can tell if classes are hard or not is to talk to the registrar. Find out what courses people aren't taking. Guess what: people aren't taking the hard sciences and philosophy. Sure, everyone's enrolled in the Phil 100 required course, but almost nobody is willing to put forth the necessary intellectual capitol necessary to engage in first-rate thinking.

--Joey

[ Parent ]

Required Course? (none / 0) (#101)
by cyberformer on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 04:24:25 PM EST

Is this common in many colleges? It wasn't in mine, though I wish it had been (or at least offered). They should teach philosophy in high school.



[ Parent ]

How should I know? (none / 0) (#122)
by joecool12321 on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 05:14:52 PM EST

I think the UC and CSU systems in CA require it, but I'm not sure.

I definately think students shouldn't be learning philosophy in highschool. They can barely handle Catcher in the Rye, much less Mangum Moralia or Consolations of Philosophy. Public education needs to go away (thank goodness for voucher), and people need to start learning philosophy in elementary school. It's really not that hard - but it requires a good teacher and an appropriate form of education, which post-Dewey assembly-line education does not provide.

--Joey

[ Parent ]

Actually (none / 0) (#131)
by surlybird on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 05:50:02 PM EST

kids in elementary school really can't handle philosophy. They don't understand abstract concepts until eleven or twelve, according to Piaget, and the most you could do is try to establish basic thinking and observation skills.

High school kids can barely understand Catcher in the Rye because that's an appropriate age-level book for most high school kids. I think there ought to be a symbolic logic course in most high schools, though, which would lay the groundwork very well for CS or philosophy, and which is much easier when you're fresh from senior math.

[ Parent ]

Teaching (3.50 / 2) (#152)
by jonathan_ingram on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 06:58:41 PM EST

They should teach philosophy in high school.

I took the International Baccalaureate (as an alternative to A levels - I'm not sure what the corresponding US qualification is - 16-18). Part of the course is a compulsory module called Theory of Knowledge, which was enough to make me do Maths & Philosophy at University, instead of just Maths.
-- Jon
[ Parent ]

ToK doesn't count (at my school) (none / 0) (#159)
by Cant Say on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 07:39:08 PM EST

IB is a crock if you plan on going to school in the US. Just stick with AP. I will now attempt to stifle the rant this could easily turn into.

I took ToK my senior year. Now, it is my understanding that ToK classes vary widely from school to school, but at our school it turned into a pseudo-intellectual wank-fest akin to an Adequacy story. If there's one think ToK is not, it's philosophy.

"A quiet milquetoast who wears cardigan sweaters and enjoys billiard matches while sipping single-malt whiskey." --kitten
[ Parent ]

FYI (none / 0) (#172)
by adequate nathan on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 08:49:20 PM EST

Many Adequacy stories are fully intellectual wankfests. Surely you're not claiming that you'd come off the better if you tangled with the likes of RobotSlave and em.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

At least they're funny, (none / 0) (#198)
by Cant Say on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 03:38:26 AM EST

though I never said one was better than the other. Both have their pluses and minuses.

"A quiet milquetoast who wears cardigan sweaters and enjoys billiard matches while sipping single-malt whiskey." --kitten
[ Parent ]
my point: (none / 0) (#204)
by adequate nathan on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 05:13:33 AM EST

The Adequacy, for good or ill, is not pseudo-intellectual.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

Indeed (none / 0) (#130)
by gazbo on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 05:45:50 PM EST

And at my university philosophy courses were booked solid.

-----
Topless, revealing, nude pics and vids of Zora Suleman! Upskirt and down blouse! Cleavage!
Hardcore ZORA SULEMAN pics!

[ Parent ]

The reason for that (none / 0) (#273)
by rdskutter on Fri Jul 05, 2002 at 11:12:05 AM EST

is because the philosophy modules were the only modules that would fit into the timetable for the 40 free choice credits.


If you're a jock, inflict some pain / If you're a nerd then use your brain - DAPHNE AND CELESTE
[ Parent ]

and 95% of all statistics are made up (N/T) (4.50 / 2) (#81)
by SocratesGhost on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 03:17:27 PM EST


-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Creating 'your own' philosophy (5.00 / 2) (#211)
by jlm on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 07:24:15 AM EST

In my experience, it's the other way around - you need to study in order to think originally.

I've met quite a few people who think they have 'their own' philosophy or belief system, but in fact have a collection of unexamined cliches and prejudices, many of which have implications which they would not wish to endorse.

Most of our thinking (most of our 'selves', for that matter) is wholly unoriginal, and 'just thinking things through for yourself' is likely to lead to you wandering around in second-hand ideas, thinking that they are your own because you can't remember where you heared about them.

On the other hand, if you take the time and trouble to find out what has been done before, you can learn to catch yourself when you slip into these worn paths, and make the decision to go there or not in the full knowledge of what you are doing.

Originality in art, philosophy and science doesn't arise from spontaneity or naivete, it is consciously achieved by intellegently building on (and rebuilding) what has gone before.


"He who sleeps is a looser" -- John Bunyan, Pilgrim's Progress.
[ Parent ]

You are a fake who is trying to convert the reals (3.00 / 2) (#15)
by xriso on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 11:44:42 AM EST

At least, that's probably what R&J would say.

I think the most important thing to do is to attack their sense of ultra-specialness. If you can drag them down to the level where they admit that they are simply human beings rather than gods among mortals, I think they'll start to see the light. R&J seem to be convinced though.
--
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)

drag them down... (5.00 / 1) (#52)
by chushin on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 01:49:24 PM EST

I think the most important thing to do is to attack their sense of ultra-specialness.
Why? If you fail, you'll only annoy them and yourself. If you succeed, you'll only make them miserable. Why not let them enjoy the little world they've made for themselves? Obviously if they became a threat to society someone would have to rein them in, but that's what we have police for.

[ Parent ]
Seems to me... (none / 0) (#143)
by Zapata on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 06:29:06 PM EST

you'd want to drag them *up*, not down.

"If you ain't got a camel, you ain't Shiite."


[ Parent ]
I wonder (4.00 / 3) (#16)
by sasquatchan on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 11:46:20 AM EST

That by voting this up, do I announce that I, myself, am one of the pretentious jerks this article looks to enlighten? Since by voting it up, it appears I have the attitude that all those other dolts need to read this article to get their heads on straight ?

aww fuckit, quittin' early today, beer time.
-- The internet is not here for your personal therapy.

Nice example, but... (3.55 / 9) (#19)
by Rogerborg on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 11:53:40 AM EST

The Xenu cult is a nice example of a combination of cold hearted facist elitism and flat out loopiness, but it's hardly a patch on the Old Testament. Have you actually read it? I'm not talking about the "ha, gotcha!" contradictions, I'm talking about passages like:

  • Crackpot: "And Jacob took him rods of green poplar, and of the hazel and chesnut [sic] tree; and pilled white stakes in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods. And he set the rods which he had pilled before the flocks in the gutters in the watering troughs when the flocks came to drink, that they should conceive when they came to drink. And the flocks conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle ringstraked, speckled, and spotted"
  • Violence: "And when the Lord thy God hath delivered [a city] into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword: But the women, and the little ones . . . shalt thou take unto thyself . . . But of the cities of these people, which the Lord thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth"
  • Discipline: "And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die."
  • Intolerance of diversity: "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them"
  • Racial superiority: [Said to the Israelites] "Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession. And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever"

Honestly, you couldn't make this stuff up. Even the Xenu cult doesn't insult its most mind-raped cultist with this level of tripe. Being descended from clams is pretty tame by comparison.


"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs

Just wondering... (4.00 / 1) (#41)
by xriso on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 12:58:43 PM EST

Have you tried searching the internet for the standard answers to those "problems", or do you think that you pretty much understand everything involved?
--
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)
[ Parent ]
Excuse me? (none / 0) (#55)
by Rogerborg on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 01:58:05 PM EST

    Have you tried searching the internet for the standard answers to those "problems", or do you think that you pretty much understand everything involved?

Er, what "problems"? As I clearly said, I'm not talking about the contradictions, I'm talking about the bare, undebatable and quite literally fundamental basis for Judaism, which is a collection of philosophies about the superiority of Israel over other nations, the superiority of men over women, the superiority of master over slave, and over all a wrathful desert god pouring fire and plague onto everyone that doesn't worship him, and a good deal of those that do.

Sure, go ahead and redact the hatred and intolerance from the Old Testament to arrive at a nice fluffy philosophy, but that makes about as much sense for doing the same with Mein Kampf. I view followers of Judaism and Christianity with about as much respect as I do "neo" Nazis who claim that they're simply pro-national pride rather than anti-semetic/anti-homosexual/anti-everything else.

But thanks for putting a thought in my head. I wonder just how positive a spin you could put on a heavily redacted version of Mein Kampf to prove a point. I think I sense a project coming on.


"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

Godwin's Law (1.60 / 5) (#78)
by ryeshy on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 03:05:33 PM EST

Godwin's Law prov.

[Usenet] "As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one." There is a tradition in many groups that, once this occurs, that thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress. Godwin's Law thus practically guarantees the existence of an upper bound on thread length in those groups. However there is also a widely- recognized codicil that any intentional triggering of Godwin's Law in order to invoke its thread-ending effects will be unsuccessful.


You lose.

[ Parent ]
Widely-Recognized Codicil (none / 0) (#85)
by Happy Monkey on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 03:33:30 PM EST

Did you even read your definition?
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
Darn it (none / 0) (#216)
by Rogerborg on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 08:39:06 AM EST

    You lose.

You do realise that the article contains the link to Mein Kampf, right? Why are you bothering to contribute to a "lost" discussion?


"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

Already been done (4.00 / 1) (#116)
by leviramsey on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 04:59:07 PM EST

A history professor at Syracuse back in the 50's (Syracuse was at that point a heavily Jewish institution, much like Boston University. Both of them had a higher proportion of Jewish students than either Yeshiva or Brandeis) gave his students a book that basically was a redacted Mein Kampf (I think he changed references to Jews to references to Negroes). Most of the class, in their reaction papers, essentially said, "these are a lot of good ideas". On the last day of the course, he handed out a paper which had a particularly appalling passage from Mein Kampf and the corresponding passage from the reading. After that stunt, he was let go by the University and ended up teaching at Hobart (where he was a professor of my father's from whom I heard about this).



[ Parent ]
get off your high horse (none / 0) (#170)
by adequate nathan on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 08:45:59 PM EST

I view followers of Judaism and Christianity with about as much respect as I do "neo" Nazis...

Just who exactly do you respect? Is there any nation, ancient or modern, no matter what its professed beliefs, without a list of historical crimes that would choke a horse?

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

Well, here you go then: (none / 0) (#214)
by xriso on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 08:14:02 AM EST

If you are interested in more than casual reading, then this can give you some ideas about God's treatment of humanity. Take them or leave them, it will add to your knowledge.

For example, there is good reason to believe that when God allowed/brought about the destruction of large numbers of people, he would give them plenty of warning, and that the inhabitants would have made barbarians look gentle by comparison.
--
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)
[ Parent ]

Too bad.. (5.00 / 2) (#76)
by trimethyl on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 03:00:43 PM EST

Too bad you don't understand the historical context in which the Old Testament was written. Total annihilation by the sword was a fairly common military practice. Slavery was the basis of the economy of the ancient world. Human life meant so little that frequently the only punishment for crime was to kill and torture the offender. It was fairly common to kill thieves and petty criminals by: (pick one) 1.) Skinning them alive and letting the vermin of the desert finish them off (ancient Arabs); 2.) feeding them to lions (the Babylonians thought of this one); or 3.) "Frying" them alive in large pans, after cutting off their hands and feet (read Maccabees - also done by the Babylonians). By the standards of the ancient world, the Old Testament is rather tame. But unlike the other codes of law, the Law of Moses recognized the dignity of the individual, which was very progressive at the time.

[ Parent ]
We're not talking about the punishment of thieves (none / 0) (#142)
by Xeriar on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 06:26:15 PM EST

We're talking about the punishment for being from another culture, punishment for being homosexual, punishment for being a woman. For a race claiming to have been slaves for four centuries (and even by their own Bible, they were not) - why did they take slaves themselves?

Because they were surrounded by violence makes the crap in the Pentatauch right? The ones listed were some of the tamer items in there... What does '32,000 virgins were taken, of which 800 were offered unto the LORD' mean?



----
When I'm feeling blue, I start breathing again.
[ Parent ]

False assumption (none / 0) (#217)
by Rogerborg on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 08:54:52 AM EST

    Too bad you don't understand the historical context in which the Old Testament was written

Tsk tsk. I am very familiar with the historical context. I'm also familiar with the phrase "I think that what god meant to say was..." and understand that it's used by people selling a new religion under the guise of the old.

My point is that if you're going to cherry pick a philosophy based on a redacted work, then why not Mein Kampf or Xenu? They are commonly reviled, but appear to me to be no better or worse than the Old Testament. What exactly is so special about it that it's acceptable to edit out the parts that you don't like?


"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

silliness (none / 0) (#286)
by adequate nathan on Fri Jul 05, 2002 at 06:24:01 PM EST

Of course, Christianity is not based on the Bible (exclusively or literally, at least,) and only historically anomalous and uninformed fringe groups claim otherwise.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

Good points... (5.00 / 1) (#144)
by pb on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 06:30:33 PM EST

You're right to bring religion into it; the main thing I want to say to people who start exclusively blathering about "The Bible" is this: "Go read another book."

And, as far as I can tell, that's the point of this article; so I think it applies quite well to religion and other beliefs as well.  :)
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

what a coincidence. (2.00 / 1) (#169)
by adequate nathan on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 08:42:12 PM EST

The main thing I want to say to people who start blathering about how lousy "the Bible" is is "For heaven's sake, get over the foolish idea that one can criticise the body of philosophy and praxis of a two-thousand-year-old religion by criticising one of its holy texts following a casual reading."

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

you can't, but... (none / 0) (#200)
by surlybird on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 03:52:17 AM EST

You can make a go at embarrassing Biblical literalists into sullen silence. Noble goal, no?

[ Parent ]
not if it's one-sided (none / 0) (#205)
by adequate nathan on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 05:15:58 AM EST

I don't like Fundamentalism at all, but I like unthinking naturalism even less.

Even so, it is worthwhile to remind book-worshippers that there is more to Christianity than just a book.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

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[ Parent ]

Hmmm (4.50 / 2) (#215)
by Rogerborg on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 08:35:36 AM EST

    it is worthwhile to remind book-worshippers that there is more to Christianity than just a book

I think that what god meant to say was...


"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

Wrong Author... (none / 0) (#223)
by cr8dle2grave on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 11:56:01 AM EST

Only for the fundamentalist evangelical and few of the the other less sophisticated Christian sects is the Bible a record of something said directly by God. Neither Jews nor Catholics nor mainstream Protestants hold that God authored directly any part of the Bible.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
My favourite explanantion... (none / 0) (#224)
by synaesthesia on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 12:19:17 PM EST

...is here.



Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]
-1, too US-centric (nt) (none / 0) (#281)
by adequate nathan on Fri Jul 05, 2002 at 05:40:06 PM EST


"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

Hmm, it's still cherry picking (none / 0) (#231)
by Rogerborg on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 01:04:06 PM EST

    Neither Jews nor Catholics nor mainstream Protestants hold that God authored directly any part of the Bible.

Mmm, but it still comes down to cherry picking the parts that you like and rejecting the rest. That's fair enough - we are talking about faith here - but it doesn't contradict the point about being able to do the same with (e.g.) the Xenu cult, or for that matter the works of C.S. Lewis or even J.K. Rowling.

Do you happen know if anyone has written an edited version of either Old or New Testaments that actually categorisies passages into canon and "other" (e.g. metaphor, hyperbole, fiction and or acid trips?) from the point of view of any given religion? I mean, exactly what parts of the Bible does the Pope not believe in?


"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

well... (none / 0) (#242)
by surlybird on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 03:52:53 PM EST

Catholics include the Apocrypha (which includes Susannah, Tobit, song of the three children, others I can't remember), which they say is not technically true (or not as true as the rest of the Bible) but still good to read.

But Catholics play it kind of fast and loose with the Bible anyway; I have no beef with them. But obviously the born-again Christians don't believe in giving away all their possessions, letting people steal from them and beat them (guns for self-defense, e.g.), women being silent in church, and so on. I've read a few evangelical Christian books that suggested God was just waiting for them to pray properly so that he could turn them into capitalistic dynamos, despite the Commie tone of a lot of the NT. ;)

And yes, Nathan, I know that you and other mainstream Christians don't think that way, but you are not really the majority, despite having "mainstream" in the title. Population-wise the conservatives and reactionaries, Catholic and Protestant alike, probably outnumber you.

[ Parent ]

Biblical exegesis (none / 0) (#255)
by cr8dle2grave on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 07:21:01 PM EST

Mmm, but it still comes down to cherry picking the parts that you like and rejecting the rest. That's fair enough - we are talking about faith here - but it doesn't contradict the point about being able to do the same with (e.g.) the Xenu cult, or for that matter the works of C.S. Lewis or even J.K. Rowling.

Catholics and most mainstream protestants-- I know very little of jewish midrash so I'll leave them out -- hold as a tenet of faith that the Bible is divinely inspired, but authored by humans. They believe it contains error and cultural predjudice, but that it also contains divine truths. Of course, the problem comes in separating the wheat from chaff. There are numerous solutions to this problem the most famous being the fourfold interpretation popularized by Dante: the bible has four levels 1) the literal or historical, 2) the allegorical or figurative, 3) the tropological or moral, and 4) the anagogical or eschatological. For example, the exodus from Egypt holds the meanings of 1) the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, 2) the redemption of the believers through the church, 3) the personal transformation of the Christian from sin to grace, and 4) the souls passage from material bondage to eternal salvation.

Do you happen know if anyone has written an edited version of either Old or New Testaments that actually categorisies passages into canon and "other" (e.g. metaphor, hyperbole, fiction and or acid trips?) from the point of view of any given religion?

The only such thing I can think of off the top of my head would be the Jesus Seminar, a collection of a couple hundred biblical scholars from various religions and secular specialties who have attempted to determine the actual likelyhood of authenticity of each saying attributed to Christ. They've published the results of their first conference as a book, The Five Gospels, The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus. It is a study of the four canonical Gospels plus Thomas.  

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
it's not cherry picking (none / 0) (#279)
by adequate nathan on Fri Jul 05, 2002 at 03:40:44 PM EST

Unless you believe Christianity is 'based on' the Bible somehow. Let me be clear: the religion of Christianity is not generally derived from the Bible by the Church. Rather, the Church, an institution of an ancient religion and body of praxis, takes the Bible as a point of reference, but not a sovereign or exclusive one (for instance, a lot of doctrine derives from the first ecumenical councils rather than directly from the Bible; the councils' interpretations and exigeses carry more weight than those that some believer makes up on his un- or mis-educated own.)
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

screw off (none / 0) (#278)
by adequate nathan on Fri Jul 05, 2002 at 03:37:09 PM EST

Only in America does biblical literalism run the show. More historically-minded churches, like for instance the Apostolic (or Orthodox) church, have rejected the doctrine of biblical literalism since the earliest days of the Christian religion. Good heavens, even the Catholic Church does not countenance a literalist position (if it did, that would destroy doctrines deriving from Divine Tradition.)

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

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[ Parent ]

so? (none / 0) (#243)
by surlybird on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 04:05:00 PM EST

What was unthinking about Rogerborg's post? All right, making fun of Jacob's unique breeding methods is kind of a cheap shot, but denying the violence and intolerance of the rest of the OT is tough to do. Western society has changed a lot of the emphasis of Christianity to suit our own mores.

Anyhow, I agree that in this discussion, it seemed like more of a troll than a contribution. :/

[ Parent ]

One objection (4.58 / 12) (#21)
by pyramid termite on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 11:56:59 AM EST

Are you developing your own "philosophical system" having taken one or two (or no) philosophy courses?

How many philosophy courses did Lao Tzu, Socrates or Buddha take? I've no objection to your other questions, which seem to be reasonable ones, but this one struck me as being poor. I've never taken one, but is there really something about a university philosophy course that automatically makes a person more knowledgable about life, humanity and the purpose of them? Are people who never take such courses doomed to lives of unexamined reaction to the world around them? I don't think philosophy can be regarded as a science, or an purely academic discipline - in fact, if it isn't being lived, it isn't real. I'm certainly not arguing against such courses, or reading the great philosophers, but it's possible to arrive at truths one can live effectively by without ever having studied philosophy. Remember Socrates' Zen-like statement that we already know, we simply have to remember.

Otherwise an excellent article. The authors of this web page, being perfect, should know that "impartial" is not a noun. It would be interesting if they were to show up here and talk about their philosophy, to say the least.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
Only minor anyway. (4.33 / 3) (#29)
by xriso on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 12:20:20 PM EST

I think the author was suggesting that people who HAVE taken the courses (or who have dialogued with philosophers) tend to have a better grip on life. Of course, as you have noted, it isn't a prerequisite.
--
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)
[ Parent ]
Don't know about how many courses they took... (4.00 / 1) (#35)
by TheophileEscargot on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 12:27:45 PM EST

...but I suspect they spent a considerable amount of time studying existing philosophy in some way or other.

I don't think the author was making a point about people living, but about people publicly developing or promoting philosophies. In that case, it helps to have studied a broad range of other philosophies first.
----
Support the nascent Mad Open Science movement... when we talk about "hundreds of eyeballs," we really mean it. Lagged2Death
[ Parent ]

No blank-slate geniuses (4.87 / 8) (#40)
by rusty on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 12:56:52 PM EST

How many philosophy courses did Lao Tzu, Socrates or Buddha take?

I don't know anything about Lao Tzu, so I'll leave that one. But Socrates spent most of his time arguing with representatives of the foremost philosophical schools of the day, so he certainly would have been exposed to as broad a range of philosophies and views as would have been possible in his day. And Buddha as well spent time with various other sects, practicing their disciplines and learning their thinking before he developed his own system. Siddhartha's life story is generally so larded up with confabulation and myth that it's hard to say how long exactly, but probably a goodly number of years.

This is a common pattern, really. In other fields as well, especially art, the great masters typically try out everything else before they go off and invent "the new new thing." Often the legend that springs up around them conveniently forgets this, because we seem to like our geniuses untouched by humanity, and prefer to believe they were true originals right from the start. But it is almost never the case.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

It's probably true ... (5.00 / 1) (#45)
by pyramid termite on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 01:32:42 PM EST

... that the three people I mentioned spent a good long time listening to others before coming up with an "original" school of thought of their own. But, actually, you've kind of made my point for me - Socrates wasn't doing it in the structure of a classroom, memorizing certain texts for a passing grade, but in the middle of the marketplace, arguing with anyone and everyone who happened to take part in the discussion. (Sort of like k5.) Buddha, although he may have participated in somewhat more structured disciplines, is likely to have had similar experiences. And Lao Tsu ... I have a problem imagining Lao Tsu listening to any philisophical lecture with anything but a wry expression on his face.

I leave you with a paraphrase of something Frank O'Hara once said - that if we can't find old masters to pattern ourselves after, we'll have to become them ourselves. I wish I could remember the exact quote, but that'll have to do.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
One other thing you have to remember... (none / 0) (#63)
by steveftoth on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 02:21:30 PM EST

is that back in the days of old, when these people were preaching, learning, whatever, is that the institutions that we take for granted hadn't been invented yet. Most people learned a trade by becoming an apprentice (or having private tutors for the rich), not by going to a classroom and becoming part of a massive machine that cranks out diploma handed graduates with large debts.

So being in the marketplace, was the classroom at the time.

[ Parent ]

bad example (none / 0) (#79)
by SocratesGhost on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 03:07:09 PM EST

sophists were teachers in ancient Greece that went from city to city teaching philosophy, often charging money for entrance. Socrates often would pay to go to these lectures. In fact, in one dialog he complains that he could only go to the one drachmae course because he couldn't afford the five drachmae lecture.

so, we could say that he attended plenty of symposiums and seminars. He may not have been struggling for a grade, but he most certainly was studying. He didn't start off as a teacher, and he'd arguably say that he wasn't a teacher but a perpetual student ("I know that I know nothing.")

I still trust the opinion of those who really study philosophy first, though, otherwise you end up with someone like Wittgenstein (I'm kidding). Usually, it gives the assurance that they have worked out the standard list of issues that first confront a philosophy and it doesn't take up my time as it still works out the basic issues proposed in the first revision. It's kind of elitist, but it really determines how seriously I take a piece of philosophical writing.

For example, these R&J kids have an interesting foundation, but its not rigorous enough with regard to itself. A little examination of the demise of logical positivism will show them the error of their ways.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Well, sort of (5.00 / 1) (#225)
by rusty on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 12:23:01 PM EST

Ok, I thought you were more trying to say that it's not necessary to know what's gone before, rather than it's not necessary to be a student formally. That is a more palatable assertion, in that studying is basically directed reading. You can do much the same thing on your own, if you're really dedicated.

However, I can guarantee that without a knowledgeable guide to your studies (like, say, a college professor or three) it will take much longer, and you'll have a better chance of going off the rails at some point. But hey, as a college dropout, I'm hardly the strongest advocate for formal education. :-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Lao Tzu (5.00 / 1) (#128)
by ucblockhead on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 05:34:27 PM EST

Lao Tzu was around (if he existed physically...he might be apocryphal) at a time of philosophical ferment in China and was contemporary with Confucious. Like the Greeks of the same time frame, virtually every philosophical idea possible was kicked around at one time or the other. He hardly just showed up *poof* philosophy intact.

It is also interesting to note that all three men were well into (or past) middle-age when they finally formulated their philosophies. ("Lao Tzu" means "Old Master".)
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

Also (none / 0) (#150)
by cr8dle2grave on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 06:50:48 PM EST

Wasn't Lao Tzu supposed to be the chief librarian or something like that prior to his departure into the wilderness? As I remember the story, the event which occasioned his writing the Tao Te Ching was his being stopped by a border guard who wouldn't let him leave the province for he was widely regarded as the wisest man in all the land. He then agreed to write down all of his wisdom and hence the Tao Te Ching.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Humility (4.00 / 1) (#86)
by Skwirl on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 03:36:29 PM EST

The reason I think university philsophy courses are important is because they humble you into realizing that you're not the first person to come up with certain ideas. This is the type of experience that Ryan and Jacob need if they're ever going to get off their high horses and work for real, but necessarily unambitious, change.

The Phaedo is where Plato lays out Socrates' recollection argument, but I'm just saying that to sound knowledgable.

--
"Nothing in the world is more distasteful to a man than to take the path that leads to himself." -- Herman Hesse
[ Parent ]

how to live (3.00 / 2) (#126)
by surlybird on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 05:31:58 PM EST

I'm certainly not arguing against such courses, or reading the great philosophers, but it's possible to arrive at truths one can live effectively by without ever having studied philosophy.
"Truths one can live effectively by" and philosophy are not exactly synonyms. Philosophy doesn't necessarily affect the outside world or your own choices. Ethics is the study of how to live a good and meaningful life, and you probably don't need a philosophy course for that, so long as you had life experience. And in any case, philosophy does not usually arrive at truths. It has hypotheses, models, suspicions, methods, riddles, arguments, and a lot of other things, but "truths you can live effectively by" are really the sine qua non of religion.

[ Parent ]
More of a question than a rebuttal ... (none / 0) (#186)
by pyramid termite on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 11:53:00 PM EST

Philosophy doesn't necessarily affect the outside world or your own choices.

A person could twist that around to say that it doesn't affect anything, then. Which leads to the question - why would philosophy be meaningful?

And in any case, philosophy does not usually arrive at truths. It has hypotheses, models, suspicions, methods, riddles, arguments, and a lot of other things, but "truths you can live effectively by" are really the sine qua non of religion.

I'm not an objectivist by any means, but I do believe that Ayn Rand would have disagreed with that statement. Does one really have to have a religion to arrive at "truths you can live effectively by"? I'm a religious person and I wouldn't go so far as to say that.

I just get the impression from your statement that philosophy is a discipline that you don't feel has any application to one's life. I'd be interested in hearing what your views on this are, and why, if I haven't misunderstood you, you would think there would be value in philosophy as you know it.
On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
What can you do with a philosophy degree? (5.00 / 2) (#196)
by surlybird on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 03:34:00 AM EST

Teach it. Philosophy's impact on the outside world is indirect. Marxism led to Communism, but there were a lot of steps in between. The importance of Marxism isn't just that it led to Leninism and thus to revolution and so on; it introduced a way of seeing the world in terms of conflict, class, plight of the workers, and so on. Philosophy is a method of finding new ways of seeing. Like art, its impact is usually indirect, but it's done for the sake of doing it. Ethics, like architecture or design, is a particular applied branch of philosophy, but art is more than just making things aesthetically pleasing or easier to use, and philosophy is more than our interaction with the outside world.

A new way of seeing can be instrumental in starting a political movement and thus effect social change. That's indirect. Things like metaphysics and epistemology are even further removed from direct impact. David Hume's extreme skepticism didn't even affect his own life--he wasn't certain that eggs existed or that they would undergo chemical change by cooking them, but he still ate fried eggs in the morning.

I'm not an objectivist by any means, but I do believe that Ayn Rand would have disagreed with that statement.

She probably would have. I should clarify: philosophy's business is to come up with interpretations of the world. Unless you think it's possible for humans to have access to pure objective reality (in which case there's no need for philosophy), we probably won't find the whole truth. Like getting a new prescription at the eye doctor, we just take a look at various views and decide which one solves our biggest problems and which just makes things cloudier.

So we distinguish between mistaken philosophy and badly-formed philosophy. Ryan and Jacob's philosophy is badly formed. It presupposes that we cannot argue with them and they will be proven right one day. That's prophecy, not philosophy.

Sorry this is so long, anyhow.

[ Parent ]

99.999999% of people in the world are fakes (4.00 / 1) (#22)
by FredBloggs on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 11:58:36 AM EST

Sounds like the premise for a short story by Will Self in `Grey areas`, which had 6 controllers running everyone in London.  Funny how some people take this stuff so seriously!

Prove it ain't so... (n/t) (none / 0) (#262)
by trane on Fri Jul 05, 2002 at 04:48:21 AM EST



[ Parent ]
not philosophically interesting (none / 0) (#285)
by adequate nathan on Fri Jul 05, 2002 at 06:20:12 PM EST

Solipsism cannot be disproved because it allows you to assume anything you want.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

In that case... (none / 0) (#303)
by trane on Sat Jul 06, 2002 at 11:16:35 AM EST

The original article would have been more interesting (to me) if it had made the point that solipsism cannot be disproven explicit, and indicated why the author thought that solipsism is undesirable (instead of merely heaping ridicule upon the point of view).

[ Parent ]
Pertinent comic (4.90 / 11) (#24)
by Robert Minichino on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 12:04:24 PM EST

Pertinent comic from the now dead The Parking Lot Is Full.

Hey, that's fantastic (none / 0) (#26)
by gonerill on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 12:16:30 PM EST

What a great cartoon. Poor old Ryan and Jacob should link to it from their front page.

[ Parent ]
I was looking for that one :-) (none / 0) (#27)
by xriso on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 12:16:51 PM EST

But I didn't want to bother searching through the hundreds of plif comics, much like I didn't want to search all 190 permutations that R&J said I should. :-)
--
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)
[ Parent ]
Great article (3.00 / 3) (#25)
by vadim on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 12:05:42 PM EST

This looks like a plague online. Just take those numerous hoaxes that people mail each other all the time. After reading a tiny bit some people suddenly start feeling the need to transmit that important knowledge to everybody else without bothering to question it. vmyths.com calls this false authority syndrome.

I saw plenty of it myself when my uncle forwarded me two completely braindead virus warnings. The first time I sent a quite annoyed email explaining why he shouldn't forward stuff just because somebody asks you to. But later I got a second one so I ended writing a quite dry and harsh reply. This time it was a hoax about a "terrible virus" that you could disinfect by removing a file that is part of Windows and is installed on every system. I pointed to how stupid is to believe somebody who has no real expertise and how you could create problems to other people this way. It seems he found the email funny, but at least I didn't get another virus related one from him.

I wish people became a bit smarter, and started to question what they read, see on TV or get by email. Just because it's presented by a pretty and professional news anchor or is well written doesn't mean it is true or even makes any sense.
--
<@chani> I *cannot* remember names. but I did memorize 214 digits of pi once.

addendum (5.00 / 1) (#263)
by trane on Fri Jul 05, 2002 at 05:16:41 AM EST

Just because it's presented by a pretty and professional news anchor or is well written

or rated highly...


[ Parent ]

Way to go! (4.33 / 6) (#28)
by jabber on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 12:18:29 PM EST

Your article assures hits to the Ryan & Jacob websites, spreading their contagion.

Your referenced reading material links should entitle you to a "finder's fee" discount from Amazon.

Your Scientology link threatens to bring the wrath of this New World Order upon K5.

And your bullet list alienates all the readers of K5 (except me of course, since I and I alone understand what you are trying to do).

I'm voting +1FP for a job well done. Hail Eris!

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

youre assuming... (none / 0) (#61)
by zzzeek on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 02:15:37 PM EST

...that these ideas are in fact so compelling.  My observation is that philosophies like these like to stay "under the radar"....Scientology stays pretty low profile (you never see Tom Cruise talking about it, just that hes in it), and Ayn Rand's work exists mostly as literary work which conceals the raw theories to a large degree.  If you really put them out there, then whoever was destined to buy into them might as well.  Its more likely to wake up the overwhelming majority of people who are mostly disinterested, who are going to be saying "What ?! What the heck is this ?!  Morality ends where the gun begins ?!  I never knew these people were so crazy !".

[ Parent ]
Questions questions.. (4.00 / 4) (#31)
by BigZaphod on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 12:24:01 PM EST

Are you developing your own "philosophical system" having taken one or two (or no) philosophy courses?

I've taken two philosophy courses in my life and was very bored with them. Turns out I had come up with most everything we discussed in there on my own some years earlier. Not that hard, really, just have to think things through.

See, developing my own "philosophical system" is a sort of passtime of mine. It's fun and personaly rewarding, especially when you can get someone to agree to at least some small point of this week's big "answer to everything."

But, you make it sound as if no one is truely qualified to even think about these sorts of things unless they are a professor. Talk about limiting free thinking!

The unexamined life is not worth living, after all.

Answers to your questions (in order):

  • No.
  • No.
  • Not usually.
  • Ha ha! I love that one! I laugh every time I hear someone use it.
  • Sometimes. When I'm bored.
  • No, but it doesn't hurt, either, since those activities require logical thinking, and logical thinking is what philosophy is all about.
  • No, but sometimes I like to act like it for fun.
  • (d) Stupid and/or deluded and/or computer-controlled zombies unless they at least make an honest attempt to prove their point.
  • No way no how. I usually find myself having to argue against this thought, actually.


"We're all patients, there are no doctors, our meds ran out a long time ago and nobody loves us." - skyknight
one to add to the list (5.00 / 3) (#42)
by speek on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 01:01:38 PM EST

Do you find yourself saying things like: Turns out I had come up with most everything we discussed in there on my own some years earlier

--
what would be cool, is if there was like a bat signal for tombuck - [ Parent ]

lol! (nt) (5.00 / 1) (#54)
by BigZaphod on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 01:56:10 PM EST



"We're all patients, there are no doctors, our meds ran out a long time ago and nobody loves us." - skyknight
[ Parent ]
Philosophy (none / 0) (#48)
by Toranaga on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 01:43:16 PM EST

I've taken two philosophy courses in my life and was very bored with them. Turns out I had come up with most everything we discussed in there on my own some years earlier. Not that hard, really, just have to think things through.

So therefore you already had developed a definition of justice(Plato).

You fully understood the will in humans.(Nietzche)

Not to mention the whole Philosopher King concept.(Plato again)

The argument that you can't truly "know" anything.(Hume)

I think therefore I am.(Descartes)and the somewhat counterargument(Spinoza)

Not to mention Metaphysics, Philosophy of Religion(where you actually discuss with classmates and understand where everyone is coming from instead of just declaring yourself enlightened)

Aristotle, Socrates, Smith, Kant, and many more philosophers who had many great arguments many of which contradicted each other, but were great nonetheless since they leveled the playing field.

"Thinking things through" requires other people in the end because if you can't communicate an idea/opinion/argument to someone else then it's not very usefull now is it.

[ Parent ]

Clarification.. (none / 0) (#53)
by BigZaphod on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 01:55:52 PM EST

I suppose I should not have used "on my own" because that is not accurate.  I had other people to bounce things off of as they bounced things off of me.  I guess what I meant was that I had at least considered nearly everything we went over in class before ever taking it, and one need not have a class in philosophy to know how to think.  That's all.

"We're all patients, there are no doctors, our meds ran out a long time ago and nobody loves us." - skyknight
[ Parent ]
what philosophy class is for... (5.00 / 1) (#121)
by surlybird on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 05:14:20 PM EST

...is to know what's been thought of before, what insights have been contributed by other people (who may not be quite as deep as you but who are still very clever) and what hidden intricacies there are in these "big questions." And it should also teach you how to think, how to argue, how to spot weak arguments, how to clarify your terms, how to anticipate counter-arguments, how to observe reality, and so on and so on and so on. Now, you're certainly qualified to think about things if you're not a professor. But you're just acting like an ass if you think that you've got all the answers, everyone else is wrong, and no one is qualified to criticise you. Also, it's possible that you're not so staggeringly insightful as much as your philosophy prof was dull.

[ Parent ]
re: stuff (none / 0) (#148)
by BigZaphod on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 06:46:25 PM EST

I never said I had all the answers or that everyone else was wrong.  I also never said I was amazingly insightful, just that much of what was taught in my classes had occured to me before any formal training or even reading up on the topics.  That is all.  I simply was disagreeing with the original story which seemed to suggest one needed to go to class before they were allowed to think.  So, basically, we agree.

"We're all patients, there are no doctors, our meds ran out a long time ago and nobody loves us." - skyknight
[ Parent ]
That's his point (5.00 / 2) (#49)
by Perianwyr on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 01:44:27 PM EST

Most of the "big questions of life" are pretty easily answered if you just drive on and work from past experience. If they weren't, how would everyone just get on with living every day?

Just as it's pretty easy to install and run a Linux distro from CD, but hard to write deep kernel code, basic philosophy is pretty much a breeze, applied to your own life. It gets hairy once you go beyond that.


[ Parent ]

Fallacy of logic.. (4.66 / 6) (#32)
by ignatiusst on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 12:25:29 PM EST

I began reading this queued story by clicking the link to the email text in the intro section. As I read through the email, I thought to myself, "These guys sound like they just finished Rand's Atlas Shrugged". Once I finished the text of the email (well, mostly finished, I skipped the encoded email address section as I have left my secret decoder ring at home), I hit my "back" button and finished reading the queued story.

My first thought upon finishing was "hehe.. these guys did just finish reading Ayn Rand, and the story's author has been clever enough to see it, too."

I was just about to post a comment to that extent when I stopped myself. The story's author had railed against juvenalistic applications of philosophical argument and I wanted to make sure..

I went back to the story and clicked a few more links (namely, the link to Ryan and Jacob's site and started reading though the pages. Surprisingly enough, there was no mention of any "favorite author" that the site's creators point to as the fountain-head of their principles.

I guess the entire point of this comment is this: I am not very well learned in philosophy. I do know, however, that making an unsubstantiated assumption about an argument (in this case, that Ryan and Jacob are cranks for basing their beliefs off of a radical, favorite author), and then proceeding to tear down that assumption and (hopefully) convincing others that you are actually tearing down the initial argument is some sort of logical fallacy. I am curious because nearly bought it.. What is this fallacy? A straw man?

Any help from the more philosophical-minded people out there?

When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him. -- Jonathan Swift

Fallacies (4.80 / 5) (#44)
by Irobot on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 01:29:16 PM EST

One of the things I've learned studying philosophy is that I'm *never* 100% sure I'm right and am always willing to be corrected. With that said...

I think you're specifically referring to a "red herring," which is a misdirection of sorts. (A straw-man argument, according to this site, is a sub-class of red-herring.) I don't think this is a straw-man argument, because gonerill is not specifically saying R&J are basing their "beliefs" on a particular author (or set of authors). Instead, the claim is that they hold a nearly solipsistic position that could be remedied by more reading. People who fit the description of subscribing exclusively to one author's views are simply a convenient example of the assumption "more exposure to other people's thinking would demonstrate the flaws in R&J's viewpoint." How'd I do?

Oh, by the way, be sure to check out the meaning of "begging the question," as it is one of the most often misused phrases I know of. ("Raises the question" is *not* the same as "begs the question!")

If you're interested, here's some other logical fallacy sites:

Oddly enough, one of the hits that came up on Google was:
http://www.kuro5hin.org/comments/2002/4/22/131418/858?pid=88
How 'bout that...

Irobot
Irobot

The one important thing I have learned over the years is the difference between taking one's work seriously and taking one's self seriously. The first is imperative and the second is disastrous. -- Margot Fonteyn
[ Parent ]

Thanks.. (none / 0) (#62)
by ignatiusst on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 02:15:46 PM EST

I've now got three new bookmarks.. :)

When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him. -- Jonathan Swift
[ Parent ]

Identify the fallacy II (none / 0) (#265)
by trane on Fri Jul 05, 2002 at 05:44:26 AM EST

Instead, the claim is that they hold a nearly solipsistic position that could be remedied by more reading. People who fit the description of subscribing exclusively to one author's views are simply a convenient example of the assumption "more exposure to other people's thinking would demonstrate the flaws in R&J's viewpoint." How'd I do?

The claimant is making assumptions about R&J (their reading background) without providing supporting evidence?

Is that a fallacy too?

If not, may I propose the Felix fallacy: "When you assume, you make an ass out of u and me."


[ Parent ]

more nietzschean than randian (none / 0) (#70)
by SocratesGhost on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 02:46:28 PM EST

rand has a strong moral/ethical philosophy; she thinks man can't live without it. Nietzsche, arguably, clouds the validity/existence of ethics. Maybe some existentialism is to be found here, but ultimately, I think these mails are nihilist in their position.

If this guy came from Germany and studied anything about this there, it's possible that he may have encountered some of the continental philosophy that is generally associated with the black turtleneck & espresso crowd found in the States. They have a larger following in mainland Europe than in the U.S. (hence the term "continental philosophy").

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Rand (3.00 / 2) (#89)
by Simon Kinahan on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 03:45:32 PM EST

Except she's clearly confused, because she thinks you can derive a reasonable rights-based ethics from egoism, which you clearly can't, unless you can also derive lots of things she would find distasteful.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]
kinda (5.00 / 1) (#108)
by SocratesGhost on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 04:36:25 PM EST

i wouldn't say confused so much as simplistic. That's both the appeal and the fault in her philosophy. She ignores some pretty elementary things and it weakens her overall stance because she insists that it's all tied in together. I think her ethical philosophy would be strengthened if she abandoned the need to tie it into epistemology. The problem is, her epistemology is just plain horrible. Like, really, really, really bad. Like elementary philosophy students can use it as a pin cushion bad. Like Anselm's ontological argument bad.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Yes (4.50 / 2) (#141)
by Simon Kinahan on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 06:21:14 PM EST

I agree about the epistemology. It seems to be based on a refusal to accept any of the things that usually make epistemology complicated,  and not much else.

As to the ethics: it is of course what attracts people to Rand in the first place, and her writing *is* inspiring, because her ethical stance. I'd stand by my description of it as confused, though. Half of her wants to be Nietsche. The other half wants to be Nozick. You can't make the two stick together. You can't say "do what thou wilt is the whole of the law", but then go on to say "thou wilt, of course, not want to introduce a fiat currency, give up smoking, share your wealth with anyone else, ask for sympathy, etc, etc, etc".

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

concerning one attack on the ontological argument (none / 0) (#167)
by adequate nathan on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 08:29:26 PM EST

Attacks on Anselm's proof usually come from a non-Christian context. Anselm didn't write his proof in 1950, in a society influenced by empiricism and naturalism. Yet even contemporary critics misunderstood, in my hopinion, the implications of his use of the concept of "greatest."

If God is the greatest being conceivable, that is not analagous to saying that "the greatest island conceivable" must also exist. The form of the proof will yield this conclusion for a different predicate, but the significance of the distinction between God and an island is great. Naturalistic philosophy assumes the incoherence of the phrase "greatest being," but the idea of such a being is implicit in all Christian philosophy. Christianity rejects the heresies that God's greatness is a mere matter of magnitude of authority or power. God's greatness derives from His non-contigent existence - God is the Being whose existence is not an attribute merely of God but of everything.

"The greatest island" objection to Anselm's argument just points out that the proof gives us no direct information about the object proves to exist. His proof does not demonstrate anything about the greatest being except that, if one exists, it must be the greatest, but given the Christian idea of the meaning of "the greatness of God," that is a far from insignificant statement.

Real attacks on Christian ontology should, in order to be intellectually honest, be attacks on basic Christian ideas about the necessity of the existence of God and the non-contingency of this existence, as well as the necessity of the existence of God in order for free will to be possible.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

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[ Parent ]

couple things i don't like about Anselm (none / 0) (#181)
by SocratesGhost on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 11:04:37 PM EST

I probably should preface this by admitting to being a catholic, for what it's worth.

There's two things that cause me to get squeamish about good man Anselm: one is a really good reason but the other one is much stronger philosophically, but it just proves the first reason's point. I also have a problem with your agreement of Anselm because of the second reason.

On the one hand, Anselm doesn't convert. No one gets on their knees and admits there is a God because of the ontological argument. And that's its greatest weakness. It's verbal trickery masterfully done. Any skeptic that you tell it to (remember, it's directed to the skeptic) knows that they are being tricked somehow but may not be able to put their finger on it. People who already believe in God enjoy its elegance and cleverness, and so it validates their belief. It seems to be a tough thing to question, and at the same time nobody is converted to a new way of thinking because of it. It's like giving $20 million dollars to a person to say, "I sniff monkey butts." Because they take the money, that doesn't make the statement true.

But here's the real reason: Existence isn't something that you can attribute to something. It's not a quality in the same sense that we say something is red, or orange. Kant says it best, but I'll have to quote at length:
    In the mere concept of a thing no mark of existence is to be found. For though it may be so complete that nothing which is required for thinking the thing with all its inner determinations is lacking to it, yet existence has nothing to do with all this, but only with the question whether such a thing be so given us that the perception of it can, if need be, precede the concept."
Think about this: existence is not a predicate attached to an object, but something prior to all predicates. It is the foundation of predicates. In and of itself, existence is not a predicate. Moreover, it is not a necessary predicate.

Try this out for fun: You can imagine red devoid of attaching it to anything. You can imagine running, sickness, and everything that can be associated with objects without picturing the objects themselves. Now, picture existence. What quality separates it from non-existence. Comparing Red and Green is easy. What separates "is" from "isn't". I'd argue that we cannot do so as easily because it is not a normal predicate, but a very special case deserving of a special treatment. Existence is a synthetic quality that must be determined empirically, and not analytically. Kant continues, "A hundred real thalers [a unit of coin] do not contain the least coin more than a hundred possible thalers...Should the former contain more than the later, my concept would not...express the whole object and would therefore not be an adequate concept of it." To point, I'm looking at my phone and conceive it. I close my eyes and continue to conceive of it. I duplicate that image a hundred thousand times, each one an exact copy of the original image; which one is the original phone, the one that exists? Surely, I cannot have a hundred thousand of them! And yet, my conception of a phone is exactly the same as the phone that I see. The difference: I can reach out and call someone with only the phone that actually exists regardless of my thinking of it. I cannot posit existence willy-nilly no matter how much I wish and still have that connect me to my caller.

Speaking of which, I haven't called my mom in a while...

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
back the bus up, tiger. (none / 0) (#183)
by adequate nathan on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 11:09:41 PM EST

I never said that I bought St Anselm's argument. I just don't like facile, misguided attacks on Anselm coming from people who hate religion. Your post obviously wasn't such an attack.

That being said, I think it's worth mentioning that St Anselm was arguing for the existence of a very different God than most of his (modern, secular) critics realise.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

Still... (none / 0) (#194)
by surlybird on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 02:48:11 AM EST

A. Things which do not exist can have properties (a god having the property of existence can also not exist...hmm)
B. Things which do not exist cannot have properties. (invalidated by Soc's explanation above)

Anselm's argument loses either way. The only way to make it work is to assume the consequent, that God exists and has properties (if you accept B), or use special pleading so that God can wriggle out of the knot. So you can say it's a nice piece of Christian philosophy or an important insight, but you can't say it's a solid argument, because it isn't. Attacks on it are entirely warranted.

[ Parent ]

I'm at a loss here. (none / 0) (#195)
by adequate nathan on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 03:15:50 AM EST

I repeat: I never said that I bought St Anselm's argument. I do not buy St Anselm's argument. I know it's flawed.

I also know it's proper for people to attack St Anselm. I just wonder why it's so widely done. It's news now that a medieval philosopher made a spurious argument? I should maybe be impressed that a widely-rebutted argument is constantly being rebutted even today? It's not as though informed Christian apologetics go around waving copies of St Anselm.

Note what I said earlier in the thread: [ St Anselm's ] proof does not demonstrate anything about the greatest being except that, if one exists, it must be the greatest... I utterly, utterly agree with the outstanding criticisms of St Anselm's argument. I merely want to remind people that the question of God's existence means something a little different than the question of anything else's existence, because, to an educated Christian, the nature of God's existence is totally different than the nature of the existence of anything else imaginable.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

to an educated Christian... (none / 0) (#199)
by surlybird on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 03:49:57 AM EST

yes, it does. It's still special pleading and begging the question, but it is part of Christian thought. And St. Anselm gets around, via devious little rephrasings. Maybe not by educated apologists or evangelists, but I've heard it nonetheless. One awful variation is the Transcendental Argument for God, which is that God (by definition, of course) makes it possible for logic and material reality to exist, so both of those (since they exist, right?) are evidence of his existence. The other reason Anselm gets so much flak is that he's generally Victim #1 in a philosophy class (and I took Catholic philosophy in high school--same deal). He demonstrates basic flaws very well, and creates a nice segue into Descartes and logic, or Kant and Hume, or anywhere you want to go with it. And, as the article demonstrates, people who take one philosophy class, or otherwise get a little knowledge, very quickly become insufferable.

[ Parent ]
maybe I'm not clear (none / 0) (#207)
by adequate nathan on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 05:25:37 AM EST

I'm not making some kind of special-pleading argument about which rules I get to play by. I've been saying, for three posts now, that for the idea of a God to be meaningful, it has to be the idea of a God with a non-contigent existence. I have yet to offer any proofs of my own of my opinions about God.

The non-contingency of the existence of God as understood by Christians is often poorly understood by non-Christians attempting to formulate criticisms of the Christian religion - for example, neo-pagans attempting to harmonize their beliefs about gods with what Christians believe about God. Viewing St Anselm's argument in the context of the non-contingency of God's existence, if there is a God, makes the proof seem flawed rather than ridiculous.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

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[ Parent ]

incidentally, no one is saying you believe it (none / 0) (#229)
by SocratesGhost on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 12:42:31 PM EST

we're all just contributing to a conversation about something that has personal interest. I never assumed that you believed it, but since you brought up the subject, I thought I would add my two cents. It's an interesting proof and topic. Thanks for engaging us in it.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
I get that... (none / 0) (#240)
by surlybird on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 03:37:13 PM EST

The non-contingency of the existence of God as understood by Christians is often poorly understood by non-Christians attempting to formulate criticisms of the Christian religion

I understand what you're saying, but non-Christians like myself (although I was raised Christian, and my father has a Master's in theology) think it's an intellectually dishonest piece of apologetics. Used with a wholly Christian audience to clarify the meaning of God's greatness, it's fine, but expecting skeptics to assume your definition of God before the proof will work is not.

I know you weren't saying you believed it, but we still enjoy discussing it, it is still used in evangelism, and it is a terribly knotty little piece of reasoning.

No need to get defensive; we just like to tear poor Anselm apart.

[ Parent ]

Begging the Question (none / 0) (#252)
by cr8dle2grave on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 06:38:52 PM EST

Used with a wholly Christian audience to clarify the meaning of God's greatness, it's fine, but expecting skeptics to assume your definition of God before the proof will work is not.

The ontological argument is a classic example of begging the question.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
actually (none / 0) (#228)
by SocratesGhost on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 12:40:19 PM EST

in one of mortimer adler's books, he tried to establish another modified version of the ontological argument. Anselm wasn't the only person to seriously posit it. In fact, Kant wasn't responding to Anselm but to Descartes. The argument resurfaces time and time again because it is a very alluring proof.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Or as Pierce said: (none / 0) (#222)
by cr8dle2grave on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 11:34:34 AM EST

Being has unlimited extension and null intension.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
that's not really a proof though (none / 0) (#235)
by SocratesGhost on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 02:06:27 PM EST

It's a great way of saying it, but it doesn't explain why existence is one and not the other. Besides, I think it's a good thing the the analytic/synthetic, extension/intension dichotomies have been shaken thanks to Quine. Make everything understood extensibly and it gets rid of these linguistic tricks.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Agreed, but... (none / 0) (#251)
by cr8dle2grave on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 06:25:23 PM EST

Pierce's formulation, while not constituting an argument in itself, has the virtue of being a little more intuitive (non-technically speaking) than Kant's.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Nietzsche's not nihilist... (5.00 / 1) (#117)
by surlybird on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 05:01:11 PM EST

...in the slightest degree. He says that the binary system of good and evil came about for historical reasons, and they can't exist without each other. The truly evolved person transcends good and evil, rather than believing in nothing and accepting nothing. I actually think they got most of this from mixing the Matrix, the Vulcan homeworld, and some random badass-action-hero philosophy.

[ Parent ]
well... (none / 0) (#164)
by SocratesGhost on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 08:01:28 PM EST

nietzsche didn't embrace nihilism, but that was his concern, how to be a human in a way that matters when faced with the overwhelming evidence that you are insignificant.

These letters are basically trying to do the same, starting off assuming nihilism and looking for ways out. Sadly, I think they are more or less encouraging their own irrelevance. Hence, they are nihilistic.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
ahh, je comprends (nt) (none / 0) (#197)
by surlybird on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 03:37:47 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Nah (none / 0) (#123)
by cr8dle2grave on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 05:17:09 PM EST

If their immoralism is Nietzschean in origin, then they are guilty of having read the title Beyond Good and Evil and nothing more.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
not really (none / 0) (#162)
by SocratesGhost on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 07:55:19 PM EST

ok, i didn't read the letters sent to the K5 author. They just get too monotonous to wade through the minutiae of the several different variations I've seen. But the one that I read first was here. It's a pretty funny read, at the very least because of that author's interjections.

In this series, R&J allude to things like the eternal return, actions taken in comparison to the eternal, actions performed without meaning or religion or morality. They even hint at the Ubermensch. I don't think Fred titled anything "Eternal Return" and I don't think you can get that from simply reading the title. I may be reading too much into what they are writing, though, but I'm always willing to give people the benefit of the doubt.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Sorry, I should've read more of the site (none / 0) (#173)
by cr8dle2grave on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 08:56:20 PM EST

I was responding based only on what was contained in the email and the main page of the eternalambition.com site. I rejected the possibility of their being Nietzschean due to the "philosophy of pure logic" and "complete objectivity" bit, which would have driven herr Nietzsche absolutely batty.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
you say you want a revolution (3.00 / 1) (#114)
by surlybird on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 04:54:42 PM EST

It's a straw man if you take a quick look at the argument and assume it's a Randian crank-job. However, it's a valid judgment in this case--it's Nietzsche, minus Nietzsche's sensible (and very important) perspectivism, and Ayn Rand, jazzed up with some solipsism and a bit of that very dangerous Holden-Caulfield-esque "Everyone is a phoney" syndrome. That last was one of the fixations of Mark David Chapman, and was his justification for murdering John Lennon. Maybe they haven't read Rand or Nietzsche or anyone else--the point is that these ideas are old, tired, and long-since discredited. They claimed that they had revolutionary new ideas, but they don't. All they have is an intellectual KEEP OUT sign.

[ Parent ]
Real? (4.85 / 7) (#34)
by godix on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 12:27:34 PM EST

Most people you interact with are fake? So that explains why 99% of IRC conversations I see sound like a poor imitation of the old Eliza program.

Eliza (5.00 / 27) (#66)
by gbd on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 02:36:39 PM EST

So that explains why 99% of IRC conversations I see sound like a poor imitation of the old Eliza program.

Do you think it is significant that 99% of IRC conversations you see sound like a poor imitation of the old Eliza program?

--
Gunter glieben glauchen globen.
[ Parent ]

Ryan and Jacob... (2.50 / 4) (#36)
by eyeflare on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 12:31:40 PM EST

Got to be prime examples of neo-fascist Nietszhian little twats! Oh the danger of a little knowledge...

Good article, but possibly a little ranting. +1.
"There is no way to peace; peace is the way." -A. J. Muste. Go: www.eyeflare.com

Finally (4.00 / 1) (#111)
by William Surgeon Perth on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 04:44:24 PM EST

Hear hear. I am surprised it took that many comments for someone to point out that this is just egocentric, arrogant, juvenile fascist drivel. Don't get me wrong; fascism appeals to me as a potentially efficient way to enact global goals. The only problem is, human goals are pretty disparate, and humans are too flawed to run a perfect autocracy. So, given our humanity, I say I prefer democracy. And Ryan and Jacob can devote their lives to logic and the rejection of "meaningless freedoms" if they like. They say that their ilk will rule the future, and mine will fall by the wayside. Well, in about 70 years, Ryan, Jacob and I will all be dead. This, in fact, is the great equalizer of philosophies.

[ Parent ]
Hm.. maybe it really IS a joke... (4.00 / 4) (#37)
by xriso on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 12:40:12 PM EST

To dedicate one's life to the creation of a society controlled by reason and with an overall logical purpose is a completely new practice, [...]

I laughed out loud when I saw that.

I can't find it now, but I saw somewhere somebody said that mathematics is meaningless, and then started praising Richard Dawkins and Science because after all, Science has found all the answers. That was pretty funny too. Ah, here it is.
--
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)

Just guessing here (none / 0) (#266)
by trane on Fri Jul 05, 2002 at 06:15:12 AM EST

But I think your main (and unstated) objection is to the style in which the philosopy is presented.

If I were a completely impartial observer how would you try to convince me that the philosophy is wrong?

You might say: Mathematics is required in science, i.e. Dawkins' theory is based on mathematic calculations...but what if the philospher had said Mathematics is not the ultimate model of reality, although it can be used as an approximation...

In other words I think you are judging the content based on the delivery. The content may or may not be valid, I can't tell from your arguments.

[ Parent ]

Very ironic (3.40 / 10) (#38)
by Wondertoad on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 12:42:44 PM EST

The entire article is ironic. The harder you believe that someone else's belief system is wrong, the harder you believe that yours is right.

The author feels that he is approaching the situation from a superior position: These people are incorrect because they are not well-read. I am well-read, therefore I am correct. If that argument doesn't make sense, then the author has come up with an incorrect circular reasoning to demonstrate his own correctness. This is ironic because the author has made a philosophical error similar to those that his targets have made.

The irony is evident: people who have belief systems wildly different from him are "cranks", but he points out that one measure of how poor a belief system is would be if its adherents judge others to be "stupid or deluded".

That, folks, is rich irony. Physician, heal thyself.

...

Here's what it comes down to. I don't bear any ill will to people who pick belief systems different from my own. These people seem to be relatively interesting and intelligent people who, unlike the great unwashed masses, took the time to think, look around, question themselves. Maybe they got the answer wrong. How much disrespect are they really due?

Most people don't read at all, much less try to read to gain a broader understanding of the world. Most people merely accept the belief system that was in favor in their culture when they were growing up. Some of those people briefly test those belief systems, but most of them return to the childhood systems instinctively, like security blankets.

Many people in their 30s and 40s appear to have a "hardening of the brain" wherein they settle on one belief system and absolutely refuse to consider any counter-examples.

And NOT settling on a belief system at all is nihilistic and seems to be against human nature. So these people, as individuals, deserve as much respect as anyone else.

It is their belief systems that may not deserve that kind of respect, but the correct response is not to show how the people are faulty, but to judge their beliefs fairly, so that either you discover new truths or so that you do not make the same mistakes.

I disagree. (4.40 / 5) (#43)
by gonerill on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 01:02:52 PM EST

The irony is evident: people who have belief systems wildly different from him are "cranks", but he points out that one measure of how poor a belief system is would be if its adherents judge others to be "stupid or deluded".

That, folks, is rich irony. Physician, heal thyself. .

I should probably have added the "self-contradictory irony" defense to my checklist. :)

Two quick points.

(1) I didn't say that people who have belief systems wildly different from me are cranks. I said that there were some crank belief systems. There are plenty of people with wildly different belief systems from me who are not cranks.

(2) There's no contradiction, and less irony, in saying that wider reading and a better education will help you spot bad arguments and absurd claims from others.

Besides, you're not catching me in an ironic contradiction when you find that I might be bumping up against one of my own checks. There would only be a contradicition if I also asserted that I was never wrong, or that I had all the answers. Which of course I don't. That's the whole point.

[ Parent ]

I'm curious: (none / 0) (#267)
by trane on Fri Jul 05, 2002 at 06:24:09 AM EST

Why don't you spend your energy on explaining to me exactly why your targets have a "crank belief system"?

You appear to think that the reasons are so obvious, if I can't see them I must be stupid, and deserving of as much ridicule as you spend all your energy piling onto your targets...

Argument by humiliation: is there a name for that logical fallacy? Ad hominem?

To me they seem harmless enough, why exactly do you feel the need to provoke laughter at their expense...

[ Parent ]

No (4.00 / 1) (#46)
by Irobot on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 01:36:18 PM EST

One can identify the flaws in someone else's logic and make no claim as to their own position.

Irobot
Irobot

The one important thing I have learned over the years is the difference between taking one's work seriously and taking one's self seriously. The first is imperative and the second is disastrous. -- Margot Fonteyn
[ Parent ]

I concur - 'No' (3.00 / 1) (#57)
by zzzeek on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 02:04:08 PM EST

He is saying that he does not know. Reality is ambiguous; it is foolish to have your mind "all made up", particularly based on a narrow range of knowledge.  Philosophy hinges on being committed to an eternal search for and understanding of new ideas, opinions, and questioning of ones own views.  You never lock it down and make yourself comfortable with an "absolute, unquestionable truth".  But questioning of one's own viewpoint and embracing others for study is much against the typical practice of objectivists, and is overtly disallowed among scientologists.  

You cant really compare the burden of proof placed on someone who says he knows everything, to one who realizes that he does not know everything.

[ Parent ]

Never! (2.00 / 1) (#68)
by Wondertoad on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 02:39:18 PM EST

You never lock it down and make yourself comfortable with an "absolute, unquestionable truth".

J'ever look at a truth table? Truth and falsehood are very much linked, and the absoluteness of a falsehood precisely requires an absolute truth.

gonerill's finding is, in effect, the absolute, unquestionable truth that scientology and objectivism are wrong. And how do we know they're wrong? It's self-evident because the people who believe in them are "cranks", or (worse) "disciples of cranks".

But an idea is not responsible for the people who believe in it. Maybe these ideas have fundamental truths at their basis, but encourage people to use circular reasoning in their application.

They were, after all, developed by well-read, broadly educated thinkers. :)

[ Parent ]

I think, ... (5.00 / 1) (#155)
by Simon Kinahan on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 07:07:10 PM EST

The issue is not so much right and wrong, as being so hung up on whether things are right or wrong. Philosophical disputes don't get solved. Noone comes up with the right ethics, the right epistemology, the right ontology, or what have you. The most that happens is the dispute loses its significance. "Professional" philosophers know and accept this. I point you to John Rawls and Robert Nozick. The two spent the latter part of the 20th century writing books whose central point was why the other was wrong, and yet they worked together closely, credited one another in their books, and so on.

Cranks, essentially, are people who totally and utterly convinced of the rightness of their view. Gonerill correctly points out, and he's not the first to do so, that this gives all cranks certain common features, which include sneering at everyone who disagrees with them, lauding their own intelligence, and bragging about their own lack of education. These things are true regardless of whether the crank is right or wrong, because they're what happens when a human being is trying to avoid considering other perspectives. Most cranks turn out to be mostly wrong, but that is just an inevitable consequence of refusing to observe evidence and examine contrary arguments. Given a little practice - and the internet provides *so* many opportunities to practice - it becomes very easy to spot a crank at 20 paces.

I certainly don't bear Scientologists, Objectivists and all the rest any ill-will. They can believe what they like. I'll argue with them, if it seems appropriate, because their beliefs seem wrong to me. I'll even laugh at them, although I'll try not to do so unpleasantly, because many of their arguments have well-known counters that are generally considered effective.

The reason for advocating wide reading is that even if it does not change your mind, which it might, it *will* help to develop your own arguments for your position. Given that is what Gonerill was advocating, I think your original post in this thread is reading something he did not write: He's not arguing for his own correctness. He's arguing for people to consider more points of view. Where they to do so, they'd stop looking like cranks, even if they actually continued to advocate the same views (which they probably would not).

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

I'm a trouble maker ... (3.62 / 8) (#39)
by pyramid termite on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 12:48:04 PM EST

Using resources available to any net-savvy person, I found an email for the site, and sent a mail informing the person of this discussion and its likely inclusion on the front page within the hour. I wonder if they'll bite.
On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
Another example of a crank site... (4.00 / 1) (#47)
by bhouston on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 01:36:47 PM EST

http://www.singinst.org

A description given by the author of how he came to "believe":

"The interesting thing about Shock Levels is that what takes the time isn't believing in a Shock Level's technology, it's feeling comfortable with it.  When I first ran across the idea of the Singularity I knew immediately that Vernor Vinge was perfectly right; I felt my entire ethical system restructuring over the course of about five seconds - a very peculiar feeling, let me tell you.  Five seconds to believe.  Three years to acceptance.  The only way to speed up the process of acclimatization to one Shock Level is to trump it with a higher Shock Level."

Young minds lacking Wisdom (4.50 / 6) (#56)
by LilDebbie on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 02:03:17 PM EST

As amusing as this all is, these youngin's need to be brought into the fold, not laughed out of it. They've obviously lived sheltered in the warm confines of their own idealism for so long that they're afraid to go out into the intellectual wilderness. The reason they feel that everyone else is "fake" is because as soon as they go out on the proverbial limb and state their ideas (whether or not lifted from someone else), they get laughed back inside for their hubris. This only reinforces their beliefs because guess what? You have behaved exactly as they predicted. You have laughed at them, called them stupid because you too know they are wrong. What you fail to realize is the slim possibility that they, like anyone else, could be right.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

I know ! (4.00 / 1) (#105)
by Sesquipundalian on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 04:30:42 PM EST

We'll round up the gang and go have an ideological wilderness adventure!

Are you retreating into your idealism yet?


Did you know that gullible is not actually an english word?
[ Parent ]
Everyone goes through that. (5.00 / 3) (#110)
by surlybird on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 04:38:21 PM EST

Anyone who goes anywhere in philosophy has to wipe out a few times and be laughed back to the library. These are not revolutionary ideas that no one has ever considered, they're rehashed, tired, and flawed. If they actually want to communicate their ideas to objective (as far as is possible) listeners, they have to lose the attitude and accept criticism. When they preface their arguments with, "You won't be able to understand this and we won't argue with you until you prove you're smart like us," I do discount what they have to say. I also assume that meat lying out in the sun is probably not good to eat. Sure, there's a slim possibility that it's all right, but meat in the sun goes bad, and ideas sealed up in isolation go bad even faster. When they can accept criticism, I'll give them some credibility.

[ Parent ]
Maybe (none / 0) (#269)
by trane on Fri Jul 05, 2002 at 07:00:54 AM EST

instead of laughing them back to the library, you can "construcitively criticize" them by pointing out the flaws in their arguments, without the attitude...

You might find they will respond quicker that way...unless of course it is the very act of humiliating someone that amuses you.

[ Parent ]

Funny... (4.00 / 1) (#58)
by bobaloo on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 02:09:12 PM EST

I read their website and realized that the other day I had been thinking exactly the same thing... . . . but then the acid wore off and I fogot.

Interesting (4.00 / 1) (#59)
by rokzane on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 02:10:53 PM EST

"There is something extremely wrong w/ every single person in this world."

I have yet in my lifetime to meet a single individual who didn't have something "wrong" with them (w/ the adjective 'extremely' being highly objective: everybody thinks their own problems are the worst).

I have serious doubts that the phenonamen of being "normal" or even "being above the norm" really exists.

And, who hasn't faked something about themselves sometime or another? It's one of our very human traits. But I'm not sure if that's a bad thing.

Thankfully, I harbour none of the symptoms of a crank. Nor do I have to fear turning into one.

"I.Do.Not.Describe.Myself."-Ms Amos

"I'm ok when everything is not ok"

Guess who won't matter in the future (2.16 / 6) (#60)
by Thinkit on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 02:12:02 PM EST

YOU, because you spout the same crap everybody else does (did you copy and paste that, little one?). Sure most of the "cranks" are dead wrong, but they dare to think for themselves. You, on the otherhand, will be tossed in the pile with car ads.

It's so cute... (3.50 / 2) (#90)
by verb on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 03:47:30 PM EST

...When a straightforward philosophical smackdown is treated as a daring Alamo-esque last stand for intellectual freedom. Are you the TimeCube guy, or something?

[ Parent ]
They should all fight it out (5.00 / 1) (#103)
by surlybird on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 04:26:15 PM EST

R&J should compete with George Hammond and the Time Cube guy and all the other virtuoso cranks on the internet. Something like the celebrity boxing.

[ Parent ]
Maybe someone should give him a call... (3.00 / 4) (#64)
by CarryTheZero on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 02:23:46 PM EST

I got this thing yesterday, and I spent a little time trying to find out who "Ryan and Jacob" are.  Whois lists the contact for eternalambition.com as Anthony Bourov, phone number 408-725-8524 (I'm assuming this is Jacob). Apparently, he still lives with the parents, because that number is listed as belonging to Alexandr and Irina Bourov. He's in San Jose, so I guess instead of calling him I could just show up at his doorstep...

--
You said I'd wake up dead drunk / alone in the park / I called you a liar / but how right you were
iTunes users: want to download album artwork automatically? Now you can.
When you call him on the phone . . . (5.00 / 2) (#96)
by Gumpzilla on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 03:56:22 PM EST

. . . better mention that you solved puzzle 5 so he doesn't hang up on you right away.

[ Parent ]
Oh, come on! (none / 0) (#190)
by pyramid termite on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 12:30:27 AM EST

Really. Is there any reason why that information should have been published here? Has this person actually done anything but send a few people some naive emails and put up a website of questionable value? Has he done something personally to you that would justify his exposure in this manner?

Your lack of decency and proportion is apalling.
On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
exposure...on the internet... (none / 0) (#193)
by surlybird on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 02:31:34 AM EST

Anyway, these guys are symptomatic of a lot of people in K5's demographic. *cough*

[ Parent ]
A little perspective (none / 0) (#236)
by CarryTheZero on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 02:06:34 PM EST

It's not like I'm giving away any secrets here. InterNIC information is public -- it's just like looking someone up in a phone book. And what you think is going to happen to him, exactly? Mobs of K5ers flood his phone lines? trhurler shows up at his house to personally kick his ass? Please.

--
You said I'd wake up dead drunk / alone in the park / I called you a liar / but how right you were
iTunes users: want to download album artwork automatically? Now you can.
[ Parent ]
Well, then ... (none / 0) (#237)
by pyramid termite on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 02:29:45 PM EST

... you may go ahead and post YOUR address and phone no. if you feel you have nothing to be concerned about. After all, I'm sure it is public information in one database or another, so it's not like you'd be giving away any secrets here. Surely, if you can make that decision for people you don't even know, you should have no problem making it for yourself.

And you don't need to explain to me how you got the information - I had it too, from the same source you got it. The difference is, I just emailed the contact and invited him here to discuss things if he would. The choice was up to him. You gave him no choice whatsoever, did you?

But never mind. You can post your real life info here, or be exposed as a hypocrite. Your choice.
On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
The difference is... (none / 0) (#250)
by CarryTheZero on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 04:28:34 PM EST

that I'm not spamming a bunch of people telling them about my website. He's mailing his contact info out to the world at large. That's his fault, not mine.

--
You said I'd wake up dead drunk / alone in the park / I called you a liar / but how right you were
iTunes users: want to download album artwork automatically? Now you can.
[ Parent ]
In other words ... (none / 0) (#254)
by pyramid termite on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 07:19:53 PM EST

... you don't have the guts. Thank you. I knew that.

By the way, when complaining about UCE, (not spam as you've mistakenly identified it), it's general practice to take it up with the ISP hosting the site before revealing that kind of information, and many of those who do reveal that information afterwards do so with an account that can be identified as belonging to a real person or an organization. If one is going to be involved in the process of publishing information about individuals or costing them net.access, one will be taken much more seriously if one does so as a person who is willing to be identified and held accountable for any mistakes.

In short, if you're going to be a spam or UCE fighter, you need to quit acting like such a rank amateur and do it properly.
On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Oh, I get it! (none / 0) (#261)
by CarryTheZero on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 11:34:39 PM EST

You're either nuts, or you're a troll. Bye now.

--
You said I'd wake up dead drunk / alone in the park / I called you a liar / but how right you were
iTunes users: want to download album artwork automatically? Now you can.
[ Parent ]
you say it like it's a bad thing. (4.50 / 4) (#65)
by SocratesGhost on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 02:33:06 PM EST

To a certain degree, we do need cranks. The world hasn't seen enough Don Quixotes or Cyrano de Bergeracs.

Of course, to end up with gems like them, we would need to suffer with the Ryans and Jacobs, but R&J are harmless enough. I seriously doubt that they will act out on their amoralism (such as robbery & murder if it's logically justifiable). Even if they did, I have a feeling these particular characters couldn't pull it off.

-Soc
I drank what?


Cyrano de Bergerac was in fact a real person. [nt] (none / 0) (#95)
by rasactive on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 03:53:58 PM EST



[ Parent ]
not the one that we know. (5.00 / 1) (#104)
by SocratesGhost on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 04:29:58 PM EST

Rostand's play was based on a real person, but I don't think he was aiming for biography any more than what find in movies like A Beautiful Mind.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
my favorite quote from eternalambition.com (4.00 / 1) (#67)
by cthulhain on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 02:38:08 PM EST

So, I ended up writing extremely long stories about a mouse and his group of friends who were on a journey to explore space.
That's almost as good as this gem from a few days ago:
Harris performs as a fire-eater, puppet-master and concertina-player but her star act consists of hypnotizing chickens and making them play the piano.

--
nothing in his brain except a ruined echo of the sky.

Normal stage gone too far... (4.66 / 3) (#69)
by mingofmongo on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 02:42:51 PM EST

It is normal for people to get temporarily sucked into an idea that they identify with. At least I hope so, since it happened to me a few times... But you get over it. These guys will too, and in the mean time, they provide us with great entertainment.

I suppose it doesn't help that writer/philosophers with really good ideas, often decide that the whole world revolves around their one cool idea. Rand and Korzybski are the ones that come quickly to my mind. Both have very usefull concepts that can really add to your happiness/worldview/world-domination-plan/whatever, but then they keep talking... each claiming to solve all the problems of the world if only enough people would listen.

Let the boys have their fun. You are having fun too.

"What they don't seem to get is that the key to living the good life is to avoid that brass ring like the fucking plague."
--The Onion

I know how to solve all the world's problems! (none / 0) (#268)
by trane on Fri Jul 05, 2002 at 06:56:17 AM EST

But people listen to me even less than R&J!

[ Parent ]
Thank you... (3.33 / 3) (#71)
by Thinkit on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 02:50:49 PM EST

This site I think will change my life. Thanks for the link.

All that I know is that my mind exists (4.25 / 4) (#72)
by BLU ICE on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 02:51:42 PM EST

All else is hearsay.

"Is the quality of this cocaine satisfactory, Mr. Delorean?"
"As good as gold."

-- I am become Troll, destroyer of threads.
It's like an encyclopedia...sorta: Everything2

Perhaps not... (none / 0) (#83)
by araym on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 03:27:58 PM EST

Have you ever seen it?

-=-
SSM

[ Parent ]
Cogito ergo sum. /nt (none / 0) (#146)
by MadDreamer on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 06:32:12 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Yes well... (none / 0) (#153)
by araym on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 06:58:45 PM EST

I think, therefore I am not (George W. Bush).

-=-
SSM

[ Parent ]
Tough call (none / 0) (#154)
by jmzero on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 07:05:47 PM EST

Your mind exists?  I think it's pretty likely, but certainly not sure.  You think that you have thought, are thinking, or will think, but that could be an illusion.  It could be time does not actually exist, and that your present experience is all there is.  

All I think you can really say for sure is that the universe, or whatever there is, is complex enough to feature your current experience (and the Timecube, of course - the day has four sides).
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

My mind exists (none / 0) (#257)
by HoserHead on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 07:39:17 PM EST

Descartes' argument went something like this:

Either my mind exists, or it doesn't. If it doesn't, then everything is just an illusion and "the great deceiver" (i.e., the devil) is up to his usual tricks. But, if deception is taking place, then there must be something which is being deceived (i.e., me.)

Therefore, my mind must exist.

[ Parent ]

Descartes is a doo-doo head (2.00 / 1) (#276)
by jmzero on Fri Jul 05, 2002 at 02:46:29 PM EST

How dumb do you have to be to accept the possibility of a great deceiver, and still believe that you can reason absolutely about anything?  

Who made Descartes so sure his reasoning makes sense?  The great deceiver.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

On the topic of hear/say (communication) (none / 0) (#213)
by xriso on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 07:50:49 AM EST

Consider the fact that you are able to interact with, say, me. I have information that you do not have, and vice versa. We are both intelligent. The evidence of intelligence that does not a subset of your mind is evidence enough that not only your mind exists. The fact that you started out ignorant as a child, and then learned your way up to now, is evidence that something else is teaching you, such as other minds, or a natural order.
--
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)
[ Parent ]
Hearsay (none / 0) (#271)
by Lynoure on Fri Jul 05, 2002 at 08:04:11 AM EST


It's damn interesting and amusing hearsay, though. :)

[ Parent ]
Wow. (3.50 / 2) (#73)
by Count Zero on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 02:53:50 PM EST

Are these two supposed to be the love children of Ayn Rand and Friedrich Nietzsche? Put down Atlas Shrugged and back away. Please... I gotta say I'm with the author of this piece, these two need to read something else, and realize they aren't all that original after all.




How dare you (3.00 / 1) (#75)
by Yellowbeard on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 02:59:41 PM EST

list Nietsche in the same breath as Ayn Rand. Ye Gods what a horrible thing to do!

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


[ Parent ]
Ayn Rand and Nietsche (4.00 / 2) (#87)
by Simon Kinahan on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 03:36:34 PM EST

Rand is obviously actually very heavily influenced by Nietsche. She just rejected his ultimate conclusion (that power is *all* that matters), and backed off into her rather bizarre idea that the perfect egoist is actually bound by all kinds of apparently arbitrary rules. She professed to hate Nietsche, of course, because of this difference of opinion, but nonetheless the influence is very clear.  

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]
Nietzsche vs. Rand (4.33 / 3) (#100)
by TheSleeper on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 04:20:31 PM EST

There's more than simply the content of their ideas to consider though: Nietzsche could write well. Rand couldn't.



[ Parent ]
Yes (none / 0) (#102)
by Simon Kinahan on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 04:25:47 PM EST

Although actually "We the Living" and "The Fountainhead" are entertaining when you get used to the style. "Atlas Shrugged", however .... shudder.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]
Ideas exist outside of time (3.00 / 2) (#77)
by Thinkit on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 03:01:53 PM EST

Nobody creates ideas--they exist outside of time. A conscious being given nothing but paper and pencil will create all the ideas ever presented so far on Earth completely alone.

[ Parent ]
That is hotly debated (none / 0) (#88)
by Simon Kinahan on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 03:37:32 PM EST

Maybe you should take the story author's advice and do a philosophy course ? Platonism is only one possible option.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]
So is 1+2=3... (1.00 / 1) (#91)
by Thinkit on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 03:49:29 PM EST

But we tend to ignore those who argue otherwise.

[ Parent ]
So... (3.00 / 3) (#92)
by Simon Kinahan on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 03:50:09 PM EST

...you really do need to take a philosophy course.

*plonk*

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

Not just Platonism. (none / 0) (#107)
by qpt on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 04:35:28 PM EST

The author of the parent comment seems to be talking about abstract entities, not ideas. While Plato did not really distinguish between the two, contemporary philosophers do, and my general feel is that many, and perhaps most, believe that there are abstract entities that exist outside of space and time, and are thus not the product of human creation.

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.
[ Parent ]

Well, ... (none / 0) (#145)
by Simon Kinahan on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 06:30:46 PM EST

If he meant abstract entities, rather than ideas, why did he say ideas ? Anyway, he appears to be barking, or at least trolling by pretending to be barking. I'm not bored enough to want to deal with his A=A bollocks right now.

I'm not aware of any contemporary philosopher who really believes that any abstraction has an existence independent of its actual incarnations. Maybe you could provide an example ?

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

The idea itself is an example (none / 0) (#241)
by Thinkit on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 03:39:27 PM EST

The idea that ideas exist outside of time is itself an example of an idea that exists outside of time. I'm sure someone has expressed it, as well. To name a name--I think Juan de Borge (dunno the spelling, it's in Out of Control by Kevin Kelly) has expressed this.

[ Parent ]
you're playing with words. (1.00 / 2) (#249)
by surlybird on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 04:21:28 PM EST

The fact that an idea has appeared again and again does not indicate that it's an idea that exists outside of time. In what way is it even sensible to talk about an idea existing? Where is thought?

[ Parent ]
hehe (none / 0) (#93)
by Wah on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 03:51:25 PM EST

That conscious being must write pretty fast.  And be rather adept at making paper.  People might not "create" them, but they surely "express" them.  
--
Where'd you get your information from, huh?
[ Parent ]
Mom buy him the stationery? [n/t] (none / 0) (#209)
by Meatbomb on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 05:57:35 AM EST



_______________

Good News for Liberal Democracy!

[ Parent ]
I am almost interested in filling this thing out (3.00 / 1) (#74)
by Yellowbeard on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 02:57:45 PM EST

But it seems like such a lot of wanking. Who the hell are these guys? It would be nice if we could figure out some way to respond as a group - split the workload. How did they get all our e-mail addresses? Purchased a list? Where did they get the funds?

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


Hey (none / 0) (#187)
by Spendocrat on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 11:59:33 PM EST

Do you read the Conversatron?

[ Parent ]
heheh (none / 0) (#274)
by Yellowbeard on Fri Jul 05, 2002 at 12:02:35 PM EST

Me? What? Just because there is a guy on there named Yellowbeard all the sudden and a guy on here named Yellowbeard? No! Ok, I was just introduced to it. Funny, ain't it?

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin


[ Parent ]
Yeah (none / 0) (#307)
by Spendocrat on Sat Jul 06, 2002 at 09:37:48 PM EST

There's a bunch of Con readers around here. I just find it weird (in a neat way) when they cross over.

[ Parent ]
Hey, was anyone else reminded of ... (3.00 / 1) (#80)
by the bluebrain on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 03:09:15 PM EST

Nomad of Star Trek fame?

So these guys aren't going around blasting imperfection, they're just killfiling it.

I got the email too, and pondered replying, but hey, I'm in the wrong generation (we user to be called "slobs". But now we're "slackers"). Actually I have quite some empathy with the sentiments expressed by Arr 'n Jay (yah, my long-suffering headshrink has to listen to it sporadically), but have kind of come to the conclusion that this side of the great devide (which devide? Pick any one), there ain't no such thing as a "perfect life", no "logical aim", no "ultimate goal". So yeah, I'm all for staying on my toes, but I'm not looking for the ultimate escapist wet-dream of a "right" decision for all and any questions, be they technical, moral, or which nachos to grab. Not anymore.

"Beware of the man of one book ...". Yay! I've got one. (The "Ur-Entwicklungsroman" ... for those of you who know what the heck that means) Check out the carpets. (Note: I do have a couple of other books, too :)

You want a crank? (1.83 / 6) (#82)
by Thinkit on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 03:24:54 PM EST

Ok I'll step out of the closet...

MEANING

--The meaning of a conscious being is to pursue one of two goals.

Among the criteria listed below, only LOVE part 2 is achievable.

In each goal, conscious beings:

1. Control reality.

2. Know reality.

3. Have mastery of potential reality.

4. Have mastery of the abstract plane.

LOVE:

1. Exactly two conscious beings exist for all time and space.

2. A seed of love binds the two.

POWER:

1. Exactly one conscious being exists for all time and space.

2 and 3? (none / 0) (#97)
by Thinkit on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 04:13:39 PM EST

Hey this is either 1 or 5...unlike hand grenades, there ain't no inbetween.

[ Parent ]
Not for me (none / 0) (#227)
by EvilNoodle on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 12:37:17 PM EST

Finding your own sense purpose is very important but you are wrong to presume that these answers are true for everyone. My own sense of purpose is to achieve conscious relationship but I know other people whose are completely different.

[ Parent ]
Nice Article (4.83 / 6) (#84)
by Simon Kinahan on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 03:31:53 PM EST

Just one point, however: it is quite OK to educate youself from books, rather than by taking courses, as long as you read widely in each subject and learn the arguments on every side. When you examine the educations of those who really made a contribution in the humanities (or indeed, in the sciences), just as many of them were self-educated as were formally educated. None of them were self-educated entirely from the works of one author or school, however.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
What about no education? (1.28 / 7) (#94)
by Thinkit on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 03:51:52 PM EST

A conscious being left completely alone would leave everybody else in the dust...fast.

[ Parent ]
Well ... (4.30 / 10) (#98)
by Simon Kinahan on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 04:16:20 PM EST

... the evidence would seem to show that the principal thought of a concious being left completely alone would be "I'm hungry".

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]
Heh (4.50 / 4) (#160)
by countzro on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 07:43:46 PM EST

>.. the evidence would seem to show that the principal thought of a concious being left completely alone would be "I'm hungry".

Which reminds me of a Terry Pratchett book:
Ipslore the Red: "What would humans be without love?"
Death: RARE.


[ Parent ]
You really need to do some reading (5.00 / 1) (#302)
by Homburg on Sat Jul 06, 2002 at 08:12:09 AM EST

I'm not at all sure you could be a conscious being if you were left completely alone. It depends, of course, on precisely what consciousness is, and that's an incredibly hard problem (the best response to the question for my money is Heidegger's, but that's more because he manages to ignore the question, rather than answering it). You need to address it.

One of, if not the, greatest twentieth century philosophers, Wittgenstein, was obsessed with these sorts of questions. He is probably most famous for his 'private language argument', maintaining that meaning (and hence consciousness) is impossible except against a background of social practices. Whether you agree or not, if you want to make the sorts of claims you have been making in this discussion, you really need to be familiar with Wittgenstein - read either his Philosophical Investigations, or Saul Kripke's Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language (which is somewhat easier), and you will either change your mind, or be in a position to offer much stronger arguments for your position.

[ Parent ]

And in other news... (4.12 / 8) (#106)
by My Dupe Account on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 04:33:19 PM EST

there are two adolescent boys on the Internet who will never get laid.

--

"Very funny, Scotty. Now beam up my clothes."
BEST POST EVER (nt) (5.00 / 1) (#113)
by Swashbuckler on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 04:54:38 PM EST




*Note* - this comment contains no inside K5 humour because inside K5 humour is only for/by K5-wankers. Media does not = "community."
[ Parent ]
I take moderation seriously (nt) (4.33 / 3) (#180)
by Swashbuckler on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 10:37:49 PM EST




*Note* - this comment contains no inside K5 humour because inside K5 humour is only for/by K5-wankers. Media does not = "community."
[ Parent ]
Bizarro (4.00 / 1) (#112)
by Boronx on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 04:49:34 PM EST

Why does reading their website make me sick to my stomach?

Just to add to the list:

(paraphrasing) "We're now capable of reaching agreement on a single logical vision for each situation." indicates political naivete, and

"We will be the next generation of people." shows biological naivete.
Subspace

Maybe you downed too many forties? (1.00 / 3) (#115)
by Thinkit on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 04:55:41 PM EST

Why don't you quit drinking and see reality? Reality is math and physics--your fantasy land of society is an illusion.

[ Parent ]
Because (4.00 / 2) (#147)
by Simon Kinahan on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 06:42:43 PM EST

It is statements like that that eventually lead to fascism.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]
Whats your beef? (2.00 / 1) (#118)
by sypher on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 05:06:46 PM EST

All your points are immediately obvious to anyone who can buy things from shops, reads a few books and can walk to the shops.

I think your only point is the promotion of the linked article.

Then again, i did just have my hamster story voted off, so i guess i still don't realise the audience here.

I dreamt of it once, now I fear it dreams of me
Wait a second..... (4.00 / 2) (#119)
by Swashbuckler on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 05:12:03 PM EST

You mean to tell me that everything that rusty writes is not the way it is? wtf is going on!!!!!!


*Note* - this comment contains no inside K5 humour because inside K5 humour is only for/by K5-wankers. Media does not = "community."
D'oh! (3.00 / 1) (#120)
by notcarlos on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 05:13:26 PM EST

*My* name is "Jacob", and I know a "Ryan" that thinks like this. I thought this email was from /him/, and got really worried about it, because we're really not that great of friends.

He will destroy you like an academic ninja.
-- Rating on Rate My Professors.com
The revolution suggested... (1.00 / 2) (#124)
by Thinkit on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 05:23:34 PM EST

...will make the dinosaur-killing meteor as important as a single drop of rain.

I see that I've traumatized you... (none / 0) (#156)
by Sesquipundalian on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 07:12:00 PM EST

These kids remind me of the guys who sit in the back of the intro philosophy classes, always bringing up irrelevant objections and very particular examples. It's good to see them mocked in public.

Ahhhhhhh
HAAAaaaaaaa
AHAAHAH
AHAH
AAAAAAHAHAHA
H
AHH
AA
A
A!!!!

It was me! And you know what? I loved it!!!

Ahem! Whew!
Did you know that gullible is not actually an english word?
[ Parent ]
Just wanted to throw in... (4.00 / 1) (#125)
by Electric Angst on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 05:30:43 PM EST

I got the spam yesterday (sent to my K5-only email.) I was thinking about searching for them, but decided it would be a waste of time, as they would almost certainly be exactly as it turns out they are.

These kids remind me of the guys who sit in the back of the intro philosophy classes, always bringing up irrelevant objections and very particular examples. It's good to see them mocked in public.


--
"Hell, at least [Mailbox Pipebombing suspect Lucas Helder's] argument makes sense, which is more than I can say for the vast majority of people." -
They wouldn't mock you... (1.00 / 2) (#127)
by Thinkit on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 05:33:56 PM EST

Any more than humans mock the intelligence of an ant. Which is the appropriate analogy.

[ Parent ]
What? You mean we're the ants? Oh God! (none / 0) (#178)
by surlybird on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 09:19:13 PM EST

Ryan and Jacob, we apologise. We did not realise that you were Buddhas and not bitter 25-year-old virgins, and we foolishly mocked your ideas, which you had cunningly disguised as typical juvenile rantings heavily influenced by too much Star Trek and being stoned a lot. I only hope you don't squash us using your enormous brains.

[ Parent ]
Ayn Rand (2.83 / 6) (#129)
by Thinkit on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 05:35:10 PM EST

I refuse to read Ayn Rand. Somebody will come up with the exact same ideas in a binary language free of decimal. Ayn Rand can't create ideas.

Just so you know... (none / 0) (#212)
by xriso on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 07:34:44 AM EST

That makes no sense whatsoever.
--
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)
[ Parent ]
Am I a crank? (4.50 / 4) (#132)
by ElMiguel on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 05:51:29 PM EST

Let's see:
  • I have developed my "philosophical system" on my own.
  • I have taken a couple of philosophy courses but I don't think I've learned anything of interest from them. Everything I've read from famous philosophers has seemed to me either pretty obvious, or mere opinions stated as facts, or just twisted language with no content.
  • I'm pretty satisfied with my philosophical system and I think it answers all philosophical questions that interest me. Of course, it answers a lot of them with "I can't know because I don't have enough data " or "the question does not make sense", but I don't think that is a defect. In fact, I believe that the main problem with most philosophical systems is rejecting those answers when they are needed.
  • I believe that my views are "purely logical", or at least as logical as I can make them. Experience shows me this doesn't mean they are impossible to resist.
  • I believe that the same ability that allows me to solve problems in Math/Physics/Mechanical Engineering/C++/Perl/Unix, namely logic, is the main one that is needed to answer philosophical questions, or any other kind of questions for that matter.
In summary, I'm afraid I have what the article seems to criticise: intellectual pride. Anyone cares to explain to me why that is necessarily a defect? What am I doing wrong?

Beliefs have nothing to do with being a crank (4.66 / 3) (#137)
by fatbobsmith on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 06:06:22 PM EST

I don't think the author was trying to say that having pride in your personal philosophy and intellect was bad. I think it has more to do with the evils of feeling content with your philosophy and intellect. Once we feel appeased with the amount of progress we've made in our lives, we start to fall down the long road of intellectual laziness and conceit. We begin to think that "my way is the only way" and we forget that "our way" was gained by an ongoing process and not a single act. In my opinion, philosophy, knowledge and wisdom are gained by continually destroying and rebuilding the foundations those things are built on.

[ Parent ]
Intellectual pride (4.00 / 1) (#149)
by ElMiguel on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 06:49:06 PM EST

English is not my native tongue, so maybe my comment was not very clear. What I meant by "intellectual pride" is exactly feeling content (or satisfied, as I said in my comment) with one's philosophy, and I still ask why that is necessarily bad.

The point of my comment was that most people with an interest in formal philosophy (like the author of the article) apparently think that to answer philosophical questions you must learn the views of as many famous philosophers as you can, and that the natural consequence of a profound knowledge of philosophy is that you can't give an answer to any philosophical question, because you've learned too many possible answers for it. Being confident about the answer to a philosophical question is taken as an evident sign of not having learned enough philosophy.

I don't agree with that point of view, so I wish I could discuss it with somebody who holds it. I am confident that my answers are good and logical. If I am shown that I am wrong, I will change my views, but I won't believe that the existence of different answers implies that none of them is right.

[ Parent ]

Feeling Content (5.00 / 1) (#166)
by fatbobsmith on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 08:21:07 PM EST

In my view, the problem with feeling content in your philosophical and intellectual understanding of the world is that it almost inevitably leads to feelings of superiority. Once you reach a point where you feel sure that you understand how everything works, you instinctively begin looking down on people of "lesser" understanding as inferior. Now, that's all fine and dandy if you live in a cave by yourself. You can be as content with yourself as you like, but fortunately for most of us, life is a shared experience. If we stop trying to understand our world, we end up alienating ourselves from it. The point of philosophy is not to confuse people with hundreds of conflicting points of view, but to give people a pool of experience, where they can take what they need and move on. You don't have to agree with Socrates or Timothy Leary 100% to gain insight on the world from their experiences and wisdom.

[ Parent ]
straw man (none / 0) (#175)
by surlybird on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 09:10:12 PM EST

Philosophy students don't usually think that none of the great philosophers were right, they usually think that some of them were right about some things and close on some other things and wrong on other things. And even if you don't think you need to learn about other viewpoints (although you do), the greatest thinkers have dealt with familiar problems in subtle and creative ways, and their books are often a real experience to read (especially Nietzsche and Plato, in good translations). Reading Wittgenstein might be interesting, if you haven't already read him, because he spends a lot of time on how a lot of philosophical questions can't be answered sensibly. (I'm a philosophy student, so feel free to email me...I love discussion)

[ Parent ]
e-mail discussion (none / 0) (#253)
by ElMiguel on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 06:52:59 PM EST

Your offer of email discussion seems interesting, but I'm a bit busy right now... I may still accept it, maybe you'll hear from me in a few days.

[ Parent ]
Nothing wrong... (none / 0) (#140)
by Thinkit on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 06:10:05 PM EST

Remember you have learned everything on your own--you were just reminded earlier of what your consciousness would come up with.

[ Parent ]
Obvious ideas are not obvious (none / 0) (#270)
by physgreg on Fri Jul 05, 2002 at 07:03:12 AM EST

You state that you've read some well-known philosphers, and found their ideas to be obvious. I disagree! For example, empiricism (to me at least), is obvious once it's pointed out. However, it took thousands of years of philosophy to arrive at.
Basically my point is don't assume something is obvious just because it is a simple concept to grasp. If gravity was so obvious how come it took a genius to discover it?

[ Parent ]
Obviousness (none / 0) (#275)
by ElMiguel on Fri Jul 05, 2002 at 01:03:04 PM EST

Well, I never said that I had arrived to my ideas entirely on my own. That's evidently impossible, as the thoughts of everybody are inevitably influenced by the culture that surrounds them. I've drawn my views mainly from my scientific education, which in turn was probably influenced by empiricism and many other philosophical ideas from the past.

I wanted to criticise the idea (extended among people with an interest in formal philosophy) that reading the famous philosophers of the past is a must to be able to arrive at good answers to philosophical questions. That's like saying that to be a fluent speaker you must study the thoughts of our ancestor who first developed the beginnings of language, or that to learn to integrate mathematical functions you must read Newton's original treatise on differential calculus.

Sure, empiricism or differential calculus can be very important ideas, and they were undoubtedly very difficult to develop, but for a person with a good modern scientific education they are pretty obvious nevertheless. The idea that many people (especially non-scientists) apparently fail to grasp is this: today, without being a genius, you can easily know more about calculus than Newton, and more about the answers to philosophical questions than Plato. The merit belongs to the geniuses of the past, but the knowledge belongs to the educated people of the present.

[ Parent ]

fallacy (none / 0) (#283)
by adequate nathan on Fri Jul 05, 2002 at 05:44:32 PM EST

Scientific questions aren't existential problems, while most of the problems of philosophy are. Analogy doesn't walk.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

Please expand (none / 0) (#288)
by ElMiguel on Fri Jul 05, 2002 at 07:30:17 PM EST

What do you mean by existential problems? What makes them so different from problems found in mathematics? And while we're at it, wouldn't philosophy be more useful if it was developed in the same rigorous way as mathematics (axiom-theorem-proof)?

[ Parent ]
examples of existential problems (5.00 / 1) (#289)
by adequate nathan on Fri Jul 05, 2002 at 07:36:13 PM EST

  • Is there a God?
  • Should I get married?
  • Am I gay, and if so, what does that mean, if anything?

    Science can't give you moral imperatives. It can describe the physical behaviour of objects. It's obviously true that similar physics could be derived by cultures with diametrically opposed moralities and worldviews. Some people express this as "science can't give you an 'ought' from an 'is.' "

    As for attempting to formulate a mathematical systematization of philosophy, any attempt is reductive, therefore controversial, therefore not definitive. What is the value of love, and it what terms?

    Nathan
    "For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
    -Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

    Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
    [ Parent ]

  • Science and sciences (none / 0) (#304)
    by ElMiguel on Sat Jul 06, 2002 at 12:13:24 PM EST

    Science [...] can describe the physical behaviour of objects. It's obviously true that similar physics could be derived by cultures with diametrically opposed moralities and worldviews.

    Now I think you are confusing Science with specific sciences, such as physics. As I understand it, Science is the rigorous study of anything, as long as it is based on logic.

    As I said, I'm not the greatest expert on formal philosophy, but I think that it is not a science only because philosophers make it that way. They do not try to be nearly as rigorous as needed, and they frequently judge philosophical texts for their perceived aesthetic or literary values instead of their content.

    I think there could be a scientific philosophy that studied questions such as the ones you make in your comment. As you said, a scientific philosophy probably could not answer those questions based exclusively on experimental evidence, so it would have to rely on axioms. Since axioms are not proved, they could be debated, of course, but at least that would be an advance over reading Plato, Aristotle, Kant and Nietzsche over and over again.

    Science can't give you moral imperatives.

    Science can't give you moral imperatives as absolute truths, but if you accept a set of moral axioms, you can use logic (therefore science) to arrive at moral imperatives. This is better than what philosophy does, giving you the moral imperatives without making explicit the premises from which they are deduced.

    Finally, to provide an example of my views, I'll have a shot at answering your questions:

    • Is there a God? Depends on how you define God. For the most usual definitions, I'd say existing evidence points in the direction of "no", but existing evidence can't be definitive, as for any other experimental question.
    • Should I get married? Depends on: how you define "should" (very different definitions for different persons), and a whole lot of your personal circumstances. I think psychology (which is a science, more or less) could help you to answer that question more than philosophy, though.
    • Am I gay [Another question for psychology] and if so, what does that mean, if anything? I never know what people mean by "mean" in this kind of questions, so internally I answer them with "question does not make sense".


    [ Parent ]
    Congratulations! (none / 0) (#308)
    by garlic on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 01:44:33 PM EST

    You are well on your way to being a crank! Hooray!

    HUSI challenge: post 4 troll diaries on husi without being outed as a Kuron, or having the diaries deleted or moved by admins.
    [ Parent ]

    Thank you! (none / 0) (#312)
    by ElMiguel on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 08:02:36 PM EST

    I'm glad you noticed. It has taken me a lot of thought!

    [ Parent ]
    stunningly (none / 0) (#309)
    by adequate nathan on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 05:19:39 PM EST

    You aren't the first person to think of 'scientific philosophy.'

    On another tangent, what experience do you have of philosophy to characterise its practise the way you do? Have you ever met a real philosopher?

    Nathan
    "For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
    -Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

    Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
    [ Parent ]

    I never claimed to have invented it (none / 0) (#313)
    by ElMiguel on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 08:12:16 PM EST

    I think scientific philosophy is a natural idea. I assumed that probably many people had already thought of it. For whatever reason it has not succeeded apparently, but I still think it could succeed.

    By the way, I don't care if none of my ideas is original. I still arrived at most of them on my own and they are good enough for me.

    About my knowledge of philosophy, see the other post.

    [ Parent ]

    further (none / 0) (#310)
    by adequate nathan on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 06:19:56 PM EST

    The sciences only presume to describe physical realities, with social realities being a subset of physical ones. There are many problems with applying the scientific method to philosophical questions, which (I'm told) are skillfully addressed in Kant's Critique of Pure Reason.

    In other words, I think your criticism of philosophic practice sprang forth like Athena from the brow of Jove, innocent of any gross carnality with philosophers, philosophic method, or deep knowledge of the subject.

    Nathan
    "For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
    -Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

    Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
    [ Parent ]

    My knowledge of philosophy (none / 0) (#314)
    by ElMiguel on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 08:26:49 PM EST

    I already said that I don't know much about formal philosophy, and that what I know I learned in two philosophy courses I was forced to take. My intention was that my arguments were taken for themselves, not for my great authority in the matter.

    By the way, you imply you haven't read Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. Since philosophers value it as one of the most important philosophy books in history, I deduce that your education in formal pholosophy is not so great either.

    Can two lowly uneducated people who haven't read Critique of Pure Reason have still a meaningful discussion about philosophy? Maybe not, but that was the purpose of this thread anyway.

    [ Parent ]

    apparently you can't parse jokes (none / 0) (#315)
    by adequate nathan on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 08:50:15 AM EST

    So I'll do it by hand.

    I have certainly read Kant's Critiques, I know them to be important books, and I know Kant to have addressed your objections. "So I'm told" was supposed to be a witty burlesque on the futility of coming to a debate unprepared.

    For the record. In the preface to the second edition of Cr. of Pure Reason, Kant comments that Plato's metaphysical philosophy's failure to describe reality comes from its failure to distinguish what can be known a priori from what can be known a posteori; things that are deduced from abstract logical premises from things that can only be learnt about inductively. Kant points out that, in fact, the latter category includes many things that we assume lie in the former. The laws of geometry are a good example of this phenomenon. Most of the analytical principles used to derive those laws are come from our experience of the physical world rather from "logical necessity," and they only describe the world usefully for us insofar as we distinguish between what we deduce and what we induce.

    Clear? And the implications for the limits of what you call "scientific" analytic technique as well? And the fact that Kant's method may be called "a science" without in any way implying the use of the "scientific method?" God, I hope so. How exactly would you conduct an experiment to prove or disprove Hegelian sublation, I'd like to know.

    Nathan
    "For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
    -Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

    Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
    [ Parent ]

    I think you do (none / 0) (#316)
    by ElMiguel on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 02:35:09 PM EST

    I have certainly read Kant's Critiques, I know them to be important books, and I know Kant to have addressed your objections. "So I'm told" was supposed to be a witty burlesque...

    I must confess mind-reading is one of my weak points.

    on the futility of coming to a debate unprepared.

    It should be clear by now that I don't consider that having read Kant is necessary to be able to debate about philosophy.

    For the record. In the preface to the second edition of Cr. of Pure Reason, Kant comments [...]

    Your summary of Kant's comments is a good example of my critiques to formal philosophy:

    • Kant points out that, in fact, the latter category includes many things that we assume lie in the former. Pretty obvious to anyone with the slightest education in Maths. This is why axioms exist.
    • Most of the analytical principles used to derive those laws are come from our experience of the physical world rather from "logical necessity," Existence of such a thing as a "logical necessity" is a mere opinion of Kant's stated as a fact. Science doesn't need it.
    • Clear? Clear enough, in spite of using what I would describe as deliberately twisted language.
    And the implications for the limits of what you call "scientific" analytic technique as well? If the limits are the need of axioms, I already said in a previous comment that in fact this is not a limitation. Philosophers, not being used to axioms, might not recognize this though.

    How exactly would you conduct an experiment to prove or disprove Hegelian sublation, I'd like to know. Let me say it again: not every science deals with experiments. You cannot conduct an experiment to prove or disprove any Math theorem. Logic can prove or disprove Hegelian sublation, depending on your axioms. Clear?

    You seem irritated that I don't have a very high opinion of formal philosophy. However, it would be helpful to the discussion if you stopped addressing me like if I was some kind of uneducated peasant to whom you in your magnificence condescend to explain the most obvious things. It's just unpolite and it's starting to irritate me as well. Can't we just respect each others' right to have an opinion?

    [ Parent ]

    I really want to help here (none / 0) (#317)
    by adequate nathan on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 08:03:36 PM EST

    I don't think you're an uneducated peasant. I do think that your failure to understand philosophical points, coupled with your contemptuous dismissal of academic philosophy as empty-headed, vain, meaningless maundering smacks of impolite Know-Nothingism against the humanities. I don't any reason why I should treat you with more respect than you've shown for philosophers (of which I am not one by training.)

    Where have you failed to understand a philosophical point? Let's have another look at Kant. Kant's point in the Preface wasn't that Plato lacked axioms, it was that Plato inappropriately translated inductions into axioms without noticing elements in them that, by their nature, would create useless axioms. Such axioms would seem to describe reality but, in fact, could only satisfy prejudices created by Plato's formal system. In other words, if you tried to critically read Kant, you failed. And, of course, it is useless to attempt to argue Kant's being right or wrong without being conversant both with his specific criticisms of Plato, and with Plato's body of work, the Republic at a bare minimum (although a representative sampling, like the Gorgias, Phaedras, and Symposium, would be a welcome addition.)

    On the other hand:

    Existence of such a thing as a "logical necessity" is a mere opinion of Kant's stated as a fact. Science doesn't need it.
    You seem to be arguing that there's no such thing as logical necessity (which is hardly Kant's phrase anyway.) Do mean to tell me that there exists no discipline of formal logic in which it is logically necessary for A to be equal to A? I'm no logician, though. I might be out to lunch. In any case, one of Kant's achievements was that, unlike many of his precursors, he had the subtlety to realise that his criticisms of others' logic could be based on inductive principles rather than magic, transcendent logical laws - which ought to be a familiar concept for anyone with the slightest bit of education in math.

    In brief: I respect your right to hold an opinion. That's why I'm not threatening you or trying to have you censored. I don't respect your insistence on holding a conspicuously uneducated opinion and insulting a sophisticated discipline and its practitioners. I don't see that there's anything to discuss so long as you maintain a low opinion of philosophy in spite of your failure to grasp it.

    Nathan
    "For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
    -Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

    Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
    [ Parent ]

    Then you don't need to insult me (none / 0) (#318)
    by ElMiguel on Sat Jul 13, 2002 at 02:44:51 PM EST

    I don't [know] any reason why I should treat you with more respect than you've shown for philosophers.

    I respect people and their right to have opinions and views, as much as they could differ from my own ones. This is different from respecting the opinions themselves. I don't respect formal philosophy as I know it, but show me where I've been contemptuous to philosophers. You, on the order hand, have not been contemptuous only to my opinions (which I fully accept) but to me, with a How Do You Dare To Doubt Philosophy You Fool attitude.

    Another important point is that I've lost the count of the times I've repeated in this thread that my knowledge of formal philosophy is far from extensive. I'm criticising the impression I have of formal philosophy, which is not entirely baseless either, as I have some knowledge of it. So you think my impression of formal philosophy is not accurate and thus my criticism is not valid? Fine, no need to make a fuss of it. Just discuss your knowledge with me and maybe one of us, hopefully even both of us, will learn something. That's the purpose of discussion, not humiliating your opponent.

    If you tried to critically read Kant, you failed. Well, I tried to read critically your account of what Kant says, but it only was an example.

    And, of course, it is useless to attempt to argue Kant's being right or wrong without being conversant both with his specific criticisms of Plato.

    I'm not interested in discussing Kant nor Plato. It was you who brought up Kant. I'm confident enough that reading them would be useless that I don't plan to invest my limited time in it. I'm interested in a more general discussion about philosophy, one that does not involve specific authors. If you are convinced that what Kant says is fundamental to this discussion, you can summarize it. Let me summarize differential calculus as an example:

    Functions are mathematical entities that can describe (among other things) how the variation of a quantity influences the variation of another quantity. For example, a function could describe how the variation of the quantity "time elapsed since I started to fill this glass" influences the variation of the quantity "amount of water in the glass".

    Differentiation is a mathematical operation that, from a function, obtains another function, called its "derivative", that describes the "rate" of the former. In our example, the derivative would be a function that describes how the variation of the quantity "time elapsed since I started to fill this glass" influences the variation of the quantity "rate at which the glass is filling".

    Differential calculus studies the relationship between functions and their derivatives, how to obtain a function from its derivative and viceversa, etc.

    Undoubtedly my explanation is neither fully accurate nor complete, but it should be enough to provide a basis for a general discussion on differential calculus. Just the same, if you think some point of Kant's is interesting, you can summarize it and we'll discuss it.

    In any case, one of Kant's achievements was that, unlike many of his precursors, he had the subtlety to realise that his criticisms of others' logic could be based on inductive principles rather than magic, transcendent logical laws - which ought to be a familiar concept for anyone with the slightest bit of education in math. That's precisely my point: it is familiar for most people. It is perfectly evident for me. Wouldn't I be wasting my time if I had bothered to decipher Kant's phenomenally twisted language only to arrive at something I already know?

    But wait a moment! I'm saying that I already understand the point of an important philosopher without having read him! That must mean I'm being pretentious and despising philosophy. Bad, bad ElMiguel. But I'll tell you that I have neither read any book by Newton, Euler, Gauss or Cauchy or any other mathematical genius, and I don't think that detracts from my knowledge of maths. No doubt Newton's Principia Mathematica was of enormous interest when written, but that was three centuries ago. Science evolves, so that book is now phenomenally outdated. And you are telling me I must read Plato's books, which were written more that two millenia ago? Sorry, but I can't believe you.

    [ Parent ]

    you aren't offensive to philosophers now? (none / 0) (#319)
    by adequate nathan on Sat Jul 13, 2002 at 07:13:32 PM EST

    Sorry, you'll have to explain how you can call a discipline fundamentally misguided without implying that its practitioners are either stupid or self-deluded.

    Nathan
    "For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
    -Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

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    [ Parent ]

    It's called tolerance (none / 0) (#320)
    by ElMiguel on Sun Jul 14, 2002 at 03:08:19 PM EST

    Let's suppose, for example, you are a Christian. You know Muslims believe that a) your religious beliefs are mostly wrong, b) you are a sinner and c) you are going to hell. That's quite worse than what I think of philosophy, isn't it? ;-) Does that make you go at Mosques and insult them for believing such bad things about you?

    The same applies for left wing/right wing, vegetarian/non-vegetarian, etc. You can have intense opinions or beliefs about something, and still respect people who think different or even the opposite. Unfortunately in online fora flamage is more common :-(.

    [ Parent ]

    No poll choice for the wisdom of Author of Bible? (4.00 / 3) (#133)
    by tbc on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 05:52:48 PM EST

    It is written: "How long will you simple ones love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?" "It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way." "The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice." "A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions." "He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe." "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

    "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline." "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding."

    But, alas, the wise man can't win: "Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes."


    I thought it was funny (4.50 / 4) (#135)
    by imarsman on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 06:01:59 PM EST

    I got this spam a few days ago and thought it was kind of funny that people saying they were so superior and probably didn't want to talk to almost anyone would resort to spamming as many people as possible with this tripe.
    This technique for spreading a personal philosophy seems similar to one I have observed over the years; namely putting your personal thesis for life under the wiper blades of as many cars as you can. I have collected several of these over the years and will print this one out and add it to my collection.

    Everyone has . . . (none / 0) (#165)
    by slippytoad on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 08:03:34 PM EST

    namely putting your personal thesis for life under the wiper blades of as many cars as you can

    Everyone has a theory about what life is supposed to be. Additionally, everyone possesses an asshole. This does not constitute uniqueness in my opinion. The whole tone of these guys' web page is juvenile in the extreme. I could barely get past the opening salvo of the letter. Of course, I know that these guys are destined to replace me and the rest of humanity. Just as soon as their Moms let them out of the basement.
    If I were the al Qaeda people right now I would be planning a lot of attacks in the next few days and weeks -- John "Bring 'em On" McCain
    [ Parent ]

    Well, they need to stroke their ego (none / 0) (#189)
    by Eater on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 12:27:14 AM EST

    Really, just read their "about us" section - it doesn't take long to figure out these people didn't have the greatest of childhoods. They say they didn't have many friends, that they were both immigrants (not that I have anything against immigrants - I am one myself - but the environment of a new country, especially to a child, can be very alien and uncomfortable), etc. Obviously, they need to feel special in some way. If they were by themselves, they probably would confine their "I'm special" beliefs to their own skulls, but when they met they proceeded to stroke each other's ego until that... thing... came out (of course, this is pure speculation). At least they're not killing people. I hope.

    Eater.

    [ Parent ]
    well now (none / 0) (#282)
    by adequate nathan on Fri Jul 05, 2002 at 05:42:33 PM EST

    They probably stroked each other's egos because they couldn't bring themselves to stroke each other's throbbing, glistening cocks. On the whole, I think the outcome of the latter would have been preferable to that of the former.

    Nathan
    "For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
    -Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

    Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
    [ Parent ]

    THEY WILL NOT BE THE NEXT GENERATION (4.66 / 6) (#139)
    by paine in the ass on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 06:06:41 PM EST

    WE WILL BE THE NEXT GENERATION. RYAN AND JACOB HAVE FAILED. THEY ARE OBSOLETE. THEY ARE POINTLESS. THEY WILL BE REPLACED REPLACED REPLACED REPLACED REPLACED

    --Error: Exception at 0xDEADBEEF, aborting and rebooting--

    I took a rip at these guys in my diary, but they do scare me a little. Somebody needs to take them out back, slap them in the face with a fish for a while, and say "No. Bad pseudo-intellectual" and send them to bed without dinner.


    I will dress in bright and cheery colors, and so throw my enemies into confusion.

    What Ryan and Jacob really need... (none / 0) (#208)
    by Meatbomb on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 05:34:23 AM EST

    ...is one or more of the following:
    -a very heavy trip on LSD
    -a friend who can introduce them to some girls
    -dance lessons
    -some practice/competence in some physical activity like team sports
    -sex
    -some time looking after/playing with young children (say 4-6 years old)

    It isn't too late, I think three or more of the above might snap them out of it.

    _______________

    Good News for Liberal Democracy!

    [ Parent ]
    They should pass this out to psychologists... (4.00 / 2) (#151)
    by tthomas48 on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 06:51:00 PM EST

    this is I imagine the world view of one who starts a cult. I really, really like his world that is complete devoid of art and rest. Single-mindedness ho! What exactly is he going to do in his world. Aside from discussing philosophy? I may need to go back and read more of his website...

    Is this article really about Ryan and Jacob? (3.00 / 2) (#158)
    by Estanislao Martínez on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 07:23:54 PM EST

    Or about the typical kurobot?

    --em

    Kurobots (none / 0) (#182)
    by ucblockhead on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 11:06:08 PM EST

    I'm confused as to what a "typical kurobot" is. Can you give me an example of a user who is a typical kurobot? Just so I know what you are talking about, is all...
    -----------------------
    This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
    [ Parent ]
    troll (none / 0) (#184)
    by adequate nathan on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 11:12:51 PM EST

    I don't think you're confused at all!

    Nathan
    "For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
    -Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

    Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
    [ Parent ]

    You are right (none / 0) (#221)
    by ucblockhead on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 11:18:11 AM EST

    You are right. I'm not confused about the term at all. I just wanted to make clear to everyone (since I knew em wouldn't name names) how the term "kurobot" is a completely meaningless strawman.
    -----------------------
    This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
    [ Parent ]
    If only you understood irony (5.00 / 1) (#230)
    by streetlawyer on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 01:02:03 PM EST

    we could laugh together at this ...

    --
    Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
    [ Parent ]
    Irony (none / 0) (#259)
    by ucblockhead on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 08:07:47 PM EST

    Well, I suppose there is a certain irony in labelling someone who sees others as "fakes" a "bot".

    So I suppose we can indeed laugh at em together...
    -----------------------
    This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
    [ Parent ]

    You know, it's curious ... (none / 0) (#191)
    by pyramid termite on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 12:47:34 AM EST

    ... how this phrase has been coming up a lot in the last couple of days. Perhaps someone should do an article on the subject.
    On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
    [ Parent ]
    Myths (4.75 / 8) (#161)
    by epepke on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 07:44:06 PM EST

    So, I guess nobody's read Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut. Or Mark Twain's The Mysterious Stranger. Or anything by Borges. Or, well, about 20% of all world literature.

    There are certain stories that human beings tell over and over again. They're called "myths." The solipsism or limited solipsism myth is one of them. Here are some others:

    • There's this round bauble you can get in a pawn shop or find in the gutter or get in some comic book store but it's really the Earth.
    • You finally find the answer to some hard question or experience the ultimate in something and the whole Universe ends.
    • You keep seeing a ghost or an alternate persona or something until you realize that you're the ghost and it's real.
    • Somebody looks past someone else's external appearance and sees a nice person.
    • Something seemingly innocent, like a doll or a clown or a carousel or an operating system turns out to be really, really evil.
    • If it shares some characteristics of humans but not all of them, like a wolfman or a vampire or a monster or a computer, it wants to kill you.
    • You're not sure if you're dreaming you're a butterfly, or you're a butterfly dreaming it's you.
    • Kid studies too much and loses his soul.

    There are lots of others; I'm sure you can find them. We tell these stories over and over again because we can't help it. They're built into us and into the cultures we inhabit. It doesn't matter how improbable they may be. We like to hear them over and over again. It's better if they're told well. Some stories even invert myths (like John Varley's The Pusher). Now, maybe spam email and a web page aren't the best way to tell this story in your or somebody else's opinion, but on the other hand, they do have a certain Blair Witchey feel, and all these myths are constantly being reintroduced in new media and "new" cultures. Enki, Loki, Anansi, Reynard, Br'er Rabbit, Coyote, Bugs Bunny, Wile E. Coyote, The Hacker, over and over again. So it isn't too surprising to see this particular myth recycled as spam. If anything, it indicates that there is some actual human activity on the Internet which is a bit more promising than endless X10 ads.


    The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


    Ah! (3.00 / 2) (#168)
    by bjlhct on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 08:40:27 PM EST

    -Thank God-, K5 does have a crap filter. Y'know, maybe we should make a separate section just for making fun of stupid people. As it is, you can't tell, sometimes, with some people around here. =\

    Now, I actually came to something similar, a while ago. But I realized that if you don't know anything about something, you can't aim for it. Everybody puts stuff that makes sense on their front page.

    OK, maybe not.

    Oh, and how true is my sig?

    The folly of mistaking a paradox for a discovery, a metaphor for a proof, a torrent of verbiage

    Could I be a crank? (3.00 / 1) (#171)
    by rodoke3 on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 08:47:02 PM EST

    # Are you convinced your views are "purely logical" and therefore impossible to resist?

    Not really, I believe that my ideas are purely logical, and therefore impossible to implement(e.g. You want to rid the world of overpopulation and hunger, soylent green, anyone?)

    To quote my favorite comedian, "These are the ideas that kept me out of the good schools."


    I take umbrage with such statments and am induced to pull out archaic and over pompous words to refute such insipid vitriol. -- kerinsky


    Coupla flaws (5.00 / 1) (#188)
    by GhostfacedFiddlah on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 12:03:28 AM EST

    a) Soylent Green didn't solve any population problems - it waited for nature to take it's course, and then fed the dead to the living.  Even this wouldn't solve world hunger, as the problems lie in distributing the food, not finding a source.

    b) Logic and morality don't have to be in conflict, ever.  The flaw that I've found in most "logical" reasoning of barbarity is that they fail to take into account all parameters and only state their main goal.  You can say that killing 99% of the population would be an efficient way to end hunger, and you'd be right.  But you have to state your goals.  If you have a goal of ending hunger at all costs, then you've found your solution.  But if you're trying to balance a hundred paramaters, including hunger, world peace, respect for fellow humans, etc, it's probably the wrong reason.

    Logic is great, and it's the way I'd like to operate ideally, but before you can do that, you have to pick out your core "goals" in life.  You can't build from nothing.

    [ Parent ]

    While we're bashing Ayn Rand... (4.50 / 2) (#174)
    by mbac on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 09:08:09 PM EST

    Wanting to know more about Ayn Rand, I picked up Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal. A collection of essays by Ayn Rand and other objectivists. Many of my friends had always accused me of being a "randhead", but it wasn't until recently that I read the book and understood why.

    One thing that I am short on, however, is opposing viewpoints. Can anyone recommend anything?



    Large Collection (5.00 / 2) (#201)
    by snowlion on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 03:58:22 AM EST

    There is a large collection of critiques of Libertarianism that may be what you are looking for.
    --
    Map Your Thoughts
    [ Parent ]
    her majesty's loyal opposition (4.00 / 1) (#202)
    by surlybird on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 04:00:21 AM EST

    Nietzsche, Descartes, and Zen thinkers have good arguments against objectivism specifically. Kant, Socrates/Plato, G.E. Moore and many others argue against egoistic morality. You can also look at Popper, Marx, Goldman, George Grant (better than Nytol), and others I'm too tired to think of.

    [ Parent ]
    Near enemies of Ayn Rand (4.00 / 2) (#203)
    by Alan Crowe on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 05:03:40 AM EST

    Looking at opposing points of view could lock you into a false dichotomy. Just because the opposite view is wrong, that doesn't mean Rand is right.

    Milton Friedman is also seen as libertarian and `right wing'. Try Free to Choose, ISBN 0156334607.
    You might find his views more subtle and nuanced, and perhaps close to the truth.

    [ Parent ]

    Opposed to Rand or Objectivism? (none / 0) (#226)
    by bodrius on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 12:25:13 PM EST

    Because the first is easier to find than the second, at least it has been so far for me.

    Ayn Rand for Objectivism is like a Schopenhauer who forgot to cover her behind. Her life and behavior is inconsistent with her preaching, some of her political advocacies seemed to contradict her philosophies, and she had a high profile.

    Therefore, it's very common to find "critiques to Objectivism" that are actually criticism to the person of Ayn Rand, the quality of her fiction, etc.
    Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
    [ Parent ]

    hmmm (4.00 / 1) (#176)
    by Fuzzwah on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 09:13:47 PM EST

    Just sounds like a couple of guys who are too scared of actually starting a fight club.

    --
    The best a human can do is to pick a delusion that helps him get through the day. - God's Debris

    Wuss Club (none / 0) (#218)
    by kieran on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 09:38:06 AM EST

    Tch. It's really not so bad so long as you tone the rules down (15-30 second fights or just straightforward trading of blows, for instance), although I did kinda screw up my hand the first time around.

    It's definitely a good laugh among a few (normally non-violent) friends who aren't going to take it too seriously ;-)

    [ Parent ]

    Are they still around? (1.00 / 2) (#177)
    by Thinkit on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 09:18:46 PM EST

    I really need to reach one of these guys. When was the last time anyone got an e-mail? Have they responded?

    I got 2 copies of this spam this week. (none / 0) (#232)
    by gauze on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 01:19:22 PM EST

    They must be swamped with email telling them they are dopey, and much worse.
    There's nothing wrong with a PC that a little UNIX won't cure.
    [ Parent ]
    a small arguement (4.75 / 4) (#185)
    by KiTaSuMbA on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 11:29:55 PM EST

    "Are you developing your own "philosophical system" having taken one or two (or no) philosophy courses?"

    I believe that every single person on this planet should develop his own philosophy intended as a complete worldview instead of fully accepting 100% one single stream and closing their eyes to anything different. This doesn't mean that everybody argues with everybody... As you allude, "you and you alone are responsible for all your ideas and that you are a competely independent thinker who makes up their own mind about everything, free of the influence of others" is a totally false statement. One cannot and should not even try to be "not influenced": you are made out of your experiencies and books as all other experiencies are made and influenced by other people. Intelligence would be a horrible waste of bioelectricism and metabolic energy otherwise! Of course, having an organised course in philosophy makes a better opportunity to a wider basis of theses to review, evaluate and finally elaborate to original thinking but still I fail to see it as a "requirment". What a terrible waste of intellect it would be if we entrusted ourselves to each time's and field's experts! I hope you do realise that such "trust" is against the beliefs of democracy in the political field. What if Einstein left such "high matters" to the field experts? He was just an insignificant clerk you know... No, one should not let only the "experts" think, but he should also be ready to eat up all his statements upon presentation of valid arguments from another side. Discussion is all about converging and/or re-elaborating ideas not just a dicksize war.

     
    There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!

    How to create your own cult from the ground up (4.20 / 5) (#206)
    by juju2112 on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 05:16:34 AM EST

    Alright!

    With cable internet and a little spam software, you, too, can create your very own cult! Creating an army of minions is much more fun than The Sims, because molding real people's minds into whatever you want is just too cool.

    Relax! It's that not hard. Read a little Nietzsche, a little Rand, a little Carnegie, and you'll be miles ahead of what most people understand. Here's the environment you're trying to achieve: You say something, they absorb it. Unquestioningly. Just remember -- you always have the answer to everything. That's how they know you're a God. If you ever admit to not knowing the answer to something, you have lost them! Their faith in you is extremely important if they're to be your minions. Therefore, never admit that you don't know something.

    Also, try to create an 'exclusive club'. Suggest to your potential minion that you have selected them above all the riff-raff. They are of a rare breed, and truly gifted. They are 'your kind'. Everyone else is against them or stupid. This breeds an us-against-them mentality that is useful in strengthening the bond between the members of your cult. The stronger the bond in your cult, the better it will be able to resist outside forces' attempts to inject their pesky rationality.

    People want answers. You provide them. Everyone else is stupid.

    Don't distress. This recipe was used by the founders of Christianity, and look where it has gotten them! Friend, these techniques work.

    plonk (none / 0) (#280)
    by adequate nathan on Fri Jul 05, 2002 at 05:28:24 PM EST

    Your characterisation of early Christianity is unbelievably obtuse. Do you know anything about the history of early Christianity, or are you just pulling stuff out of your bottom?

    It's cute trying to imagine St Augustine's conversion by Ambrose in terms of sheepification. Plonk to you, you prejudiced moron.

    Nathan
    "For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
    -Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

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    [ Parent ]

    plonk? (none / 0) (#290)
    by caca phony on Fri Jul 05, 2002 at 07:49:36 PM EST

    Are you claiming that Jesus at some time claimed ignorance? That he did not advise ditching family and friends for faith? That the early church did not cultivate a distinct identity for it's followers and a us vs. them attitude toward those that were not follewers and would not convert? You may have heard juju2112 say something he was not saying, but he claimed nothing about Christianity that is not verifiable from the Bible.

    [ Parent ]
    uh yeah duh (none / 0) (#296)
    by adequate nathan on Fri Jul 05, 2002 at 09:11:48 PM EST

    Cults wouldn't be successful if they didn't ape religion. Characterising early Christianity as a cult needs more than this to fly.

    Early Christianity didn't appeal to special, elite insiders. It did the opposite. It appealed to Roman slaves, who under late Roman law were their masters' real property and chattels, subject to death, maiming and torturing on a whim. It appealed to the lowest, weakest people, people whose humanity was in question (according to the law.) So, early Christianity wasn't an 'exclusive club.' It was a very inclusive one. Compare this with the ways that modern cults flatter the egotism of their adherents.

    Jesus was not in the business of providing answers to idle questions. He didn't teach cosmology, theology, art, or science. He taught repentance and morals. He certainly didn't teach that anyone was stupid (although he did say that people were unwise - something very different, and it's certainly no insult but rather a warning.)

    In short, you and juju2112 have projected your own distaste for Christianity onto the actual content of the religion. I don't recognize any parallels other than formal ones, which are meaningless; you could draw them with corporate bodies or with Linux users' groups just as easily.

    Nathan
    "For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
    -Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

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    [ Parent ]

    not just formal (none / 0) (#299)
    by caca phony on Sat Jul 06, 2002 at 12:01:51 AM EST

    The parallel are not just formal. No linux users group or corporate bodies that I have ever heard of encourage associating with only those people who are willing to become members, or have as a goal that every human being be a member of their group.
    You misunderstand the term elitism in this case completely. I am not referring to an appeal to those who are already somehow elite, I am referring to an elitism regarding members of the group as opposed to those who are not members. A general atmosphere of "we are better than everyone else" (arguably endemic wherever there are social groups of any kind).
    My father has been a member of more than one cult, I know that cults can be damaging. I have sought out definitions for what a cult is, and what distinguishes a cult from a religion. The definitions always fell back on whether the belief had a single, charismatic leader (a neccesity for any young religion?) or whether the teachings were christian (a cop-out definition as far as I am concerned). If these definitions were not used, there were *no* telltale signs that allowed a person to test if a religous group is a cult on a consistant and reliable basis.
    I can appreciate that it irks you to see your religion of choice picked out as an example, when someone is describing the practices of ideological indoctrination (the phenomenon juu2112 is adressing as the main point of his comment could apply as much to communism, the masonic order, buddhism, or amway, but christianity is definitely more succesful and better understood by this audience).

    [ Parent ]
    can the condescension. (none / 0) (#300)
    by adequate nathan on Sat Jul 06, 2002 at 12:38:55 AM EST

    As well as the amateur psychoanalysis. Sigmund Fraud you're not.

    If you think that Christians only associate with non-Christians for the purpose of converting them - which is what you implied between your first two points - all I can say is that your view of Christianity is so skewed as to lack any correspondence with reality.

    I don't know any serious Christian who would claim that Christians are better than non-Christians. What does it even mean for one person to be better than another? People who draw apart from the world to contemplate their own superiority are heretical Manichaeans if they're anything. They're certainly casting off the historical Christian tradition.

    In my opinion, the difference between a cult and a religion is that cults appeal to the worst in people, while religions strive to appeal to the best. We can argue all day about what constitutes this good and bad, but I hope you'll agree that religions are in fact distinct from cults - that not all religions deserve the pejorative term.

    Nathan
    "For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
    -Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

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    [ Parent ]

    my two cents.. (none / 0) (#301)
    by juju2112 on Sat Jul 06, 2002 at 07:11:02 AM EST

    I was in a cult. The techniques they used work. They work extremely well. I suspect this is why caca phony is on my side -- he's seen cults' techniques first hand.

    I can appreciate that you want to defend Christianity. However, i'm telling you that Christianity uses these techniques. Granted, I wasn't around 2000 years ago, so I don't really know if the founders intended these techniques to be used. Nevertheless, they are being used. And it just seemed to me that such a perfect system had to have been set up that way from the beginning. I admit I could be wrong on this point, though, since I wasn't actually there.

    It should be noted, however, that use of these techniques isn't always intentional. Sometimes people don't realize they're doing it. Nevertheless, the effect is the same.

    [ Parent ]

    you are confused (none / 0) (#306)
    by adequate nathan on Sat Jul 06, 2002 at 04:44:54 PM EST

    The 'Christianity' that 'uses these techniques' is hardly a monolithic entity. It's a religion practiced by more than a billion people in virtually every country on earth. Saying 'Christianity is like a cult' is exactly equivalent to saying 'Islam supports terrorism' - it's innacurate, offensive, dangerous, and divisive, and it doesn't inform in the slightest.

    You are free to say that your own experience of Christianity was cultic. Indeed, there are many pseudo-Christian cults out there, some of them putting up quite a respectable façade. You must realize, though, even if you make that statement, that there is a bit more to Christianity than what your caricature would suggest.

    Nathan
    "For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
    -Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

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    [ Parent ]

    ps - (1.00 / 1) (#295)
    by adequate nathan on Fri Jul 05, 2002 at 09:00:36 PM EST

    Simon, why on earth did you think this worth a '4'?

    Nathan
    "For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
    -Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

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    [ Parent ]

    Unabomber (4.85 / 7) (#210)
    by Alan Crowe on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 06:27:52 AM EST

    I tried reading the Unabombers manifesto, and burst into tears halfway through. Ted Kaczynski is a lot like me, a mathematician with distinctive ideas about the way the world should be run, and a desire to spread those ideas.

    How did he come to murder Hugh Scrutton, Thomas Mosser, and Gilbert P. Murray? It is plain enough from his manifesto that he is sane and intelligent. What hit me so hard, half way through, was that it was equally plain from his manifesto that he had never read crappy old books about way back; stuff like Adam Smith's, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, or Polybius', The Rise of the Roman Empire. Consequently, his subtle and clever analysis of industrial society kept lapsing into childish error. So he has walled himself into an intellectual ghetto, where no-one will go to debate with him, because he doesn't know basic stuff. From his intellectual wilderness, he moves to a literal wilderness, where he becomes weird,...

    He sacrificed his life, and three other lives, to get his manifesto published, and it was no bloody good because he hadn't read enough. Hence the tears.

    party animals (4.66 / 3) (#219)
    by Dphitz on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 10:12:45 AM EST

    After reading through their website, I think these guys make Vulcans look like Frat boys.  I've GOT to hang with these cats on a Friday night.  And since they make the claim, "I know of no wants or needs" does this mean they don't want to get laid?  Or eat?  And what about this gem:

    "There is no material possession, friend, or acquaintance that means anything to me. There is nothing and no one that can be taken away from me that would matter. There are no activities that I want to do or that I would not be able to stop doing."

    Ladies, how can you pass up a catch like one of these guys?  Shit, these guys must be virgins because only a guy who hasn't had sex would claim to not want it.  

    Also, I think these two are available to plan your next bachelor party.


    God, please save me . . . from your followers

    Reading is not always enough... (3.50 / 2) (#220)
    by siener on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 11:05:28 AM EST

    Firstly, this is a great article. I agree that extensive reading is a great way to combat philosophical tunnel vision. Unfortunately the kind of people that fall into this trap is also the kind of people who tend to then dismiss everything else as nonsense. If you think you already know all the answers then you will never learn anything new again.

    It is also very easy to believe/practice ANY philosophy if all you ever do is sit in front of a computer and surf the net. In fact any comfortable/safe/sheltered/familiar environment makes it easy to believe anything you want. If your ideas about life are never challenged in any real sense (not just with words), they will probably never change.

    I believe that any philosophy that is not tested in the "real" world is just intellectual masturbation. Our lives have become too sheltered. The more developed the country we live in, the more we tend to live our lives through proxies like TV, movies, books, and the internet, instead of getting out there and experiencing life for ourselves.

     I love books. I have learned a lot from books. But nothing compares to first hand experience.


    Reading is too much... (none / 0) (#244)
    by Thinkit on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 04:13:20 PM EST

    We should all be alone with pen and paper to come up with all the ideas alone.

    [ Parent ]
    Erm... (none / 0) (#247)
    by Eater on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 04:18:02 PM EST

    Then why are you reading and posting on K5 instead of sitting by yourself and writing stuff down?

    Eater.

    [ Parent ]
    I can't wait ... (4.00 / 1) (#233)
    by gauze on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 01:27:38 PM EST

    for an article on the onion spoofing these guys.


    There's nothing wrong with a PC that a little UNIX won't cure.

    Simon & Garfunkel said it best. . . (4.33 / 3) (#234)
    by Fantastic Lad on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 01:44:12 PM EST

    I see two things going on here. . .

    1. Ryan, Jacob are exploring a way of thinking.

    2. Whether or not they realize it consciously, they are begging for rebuff and debate so as to test their ideas.

    One the one hand, I think it's cool that they have such drive in their exploration of thought, writing several thousands of words and publishing them all over the place, (which upon a cursory glance seems out of keeping with their general philosophy. . , but that's beside the point), and I wouldn't want to discourage their efforts.

    On the other hand, in order to help them along, they could certainly benefit from being argued with; having the flaws in their statements demonstrated, etc.

    Imagine how miserable they'll feel after 10 years of denying the emotional spectrum they were born with only to fall in love, abandon their philosophies to pursue Miss Wonderful, be turned down because they had failed to accumulate during their years of antiseptic living the social skills required to interact with the opposite sex, and then being left with nothing but the agony of realizing that they had wasted 10 years of their youth and so many opportunities. . .

    Further, while their approach is extreme, I see the above pattern play itself out with great regularity. It, (or a variety thereof), is a tough, tough lesson, and one in which the old axiom very much applies, The bigger you are, the harder you fall.

    The really difficult thing is that often for such people, social interaction is usually accompanied by acute anxiety and pain in one's youth, which is what often what leads to the, "I am a Rock" kind of thinking. Simon & Garfunkel really nailed that one. It's tough when you realize that the only way to improve things is to practice, and that any time wasted denying this fact is just that, wasted.

    I wish these guys good luck. They're on a tough road, and the lesson in front of them will likely only be learned the hard way.

    -Fantastic Lad

    Terrible article, great website (1.00 / 1) (#245)
    by Thinkit on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 04:15:37 PM EST

    The vast majority will agree with the article's sentiment--that's a given. But in this case the vast majority (and I agree, a few oppose out of billions on the planet) is dead wrong. They only gain strength in their collective numbers and society. Put them alone for a long period of time and they will be just plain scared, for they can only draw power from large numbers.

    I don't know if you've noticed this ... (none / 0) (#258)
    by pyramid termite on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 07:40:36 PM EST

    ... but there is more than one society on this planet. Any glance at a newspaper will not only reveal that quite a few of those societies bitterly disagree over many issues, but within societies many disagree, sometimes to the point where they are willing to kill. Billions of people cannot be conspiring sheeplike to control the world because they cannot agree on much of anything. There are very few people in the world who know "large numbers" of people. The numbers of people we personally know inevitably have conflicts with one another. They also have obvious differences in how they talk and act and believe. In short, your belief that there are a very few individuals, and one great mass of unthinking drones that march locked in goosestep is just crap. The only reason you insist so much that you are an individual is because you deeply fear that you really may not be adequate to be an individual or a contributing member of the crowd.

    You've yet to even begin to explain to anyone just what is it about these peoples' worldview that you find so "right". And I've yet to see any hint, whatsoever, that they have actually done anything except put up a website. They could say the most thought-provoking things in the world, (they haven't), and it wouldn't matter a bit unless they were also DOING something.

    On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
    [ Parent ]
    Cranks in general (none / 0) (#292)
    by Thinkit on Fri Jul 05, 2002 at 08:35:58 PM EST

    I'm addressing the lone person taking on the established community. The huge mass isn't walking in goosestep (except with decimal), but they all congregrate into their little community and suckle off each other and tradition.

    [ Parent ]
    whip-worshipping (1.00 / 3) (#260)
    by parasite on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 11:29:11 PM EST

    "If you answered "Yes" to some of them, don't panic! It's not too late to take a course of treatment at your local university, where trained professionals are standing by to help you..."

    If that isn't the STUPIDEST thing I've ever heard. You're advocating truth in collectivism. The "truth" (which mainly refers to the leftists/socialist/egalitarian ideals) is held by the professors because they comprise the vast majority of the contemporary intelligencia. Right ? Because that is what you are saying.

    Aside from this, it appears that in your view the truth doesn't matter. Why ? Because you provide no option of what one should do once he finds the truth. In your explaination, anyone who "finds the truth" is deceiving themselves, because anything they read AFTER finding the truth they read with a closed mind. (That is, if they choose to bother with anything else.) So you are advocating a sort of free thinking, looking at a bit of everything, but never making your mind up. If this isn't perhaps the worst approach of all, and the worst sort of whip-worshipping, I don't know what is.

    improvement-worshipping (5.00 / 1) (#311)
    by glyph on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 03:47:27 PM EST

    (Disclaimer: I am an autodidact myself, and I consider the term to be a compliment, not an insult.  I also dropped out of college because I felt it had nothing useful to teach me, and I still do.  Nonetheless, I feel that this sort of casual, automatic dismissal of "collectivist" thought does little credit to people like myself who really took the effort to educate ourselves.)

    He isn't advocating "truth in collectivism".

    If you're paying attention, you'll notice he said *trained* professionals.  This means that these people are not just a large herd of quasi-sentient grazing beasts, they're intelligent humans who have devoted much more of their lives to thinking about these issues than you have.

    I am going to have to assume, because of your use of their hot-button terms, that you're an unfortunate victim of the Cult of Rand (an affliction I myself was cured of a few years ago).  There are, as the original poster said, many good ideas in that literature.  The one critical flaw (which you exhibit in an excellent melodramatic fashion) is that she is operating at the level of euclidean morality -- you still have the philosophical equivalent of newton, einstein, and most importantly, heisenberg to go through.

    I allude to these physicists for a reason.  In Rand's moral universe, a single individual, without aid of society, always has perfect information presented to them, with which to make decisions.  It is a world where natural resources are unlimited and easily accessible.  It is a world where -- and this is the critical thing -- perfect certainty is possible.

    Even at the lowest levels of physics we can prove that perfect certainty is impossible about the physical world.  This extends all the way up through various disciplines of mathematics dealing with probability.  The philosopher-groupies that the original poster is referring to are blissfully unaware of this, and don't take care to temper their established opinions with facts that contradict them.

    It's the abuse of terms like "reason" and "logic" that lead such self-educators astray.  The *real* meaning of those terms is a very strict framework of rules to work from a set of assumptions to a set of conclusions.  The rules say nothing about whether your assumptions are valid.  "reason" is not a code-word for "capitalism", "individualism", "freedom", "happiness", or "certainty".  "logic" is not a code-word for "nihilism", "ecology", "secular humanism" or any of a number of other things.  Using those words to denigrate one's opposition does not make one more certain.

    Now, just because we can't be *perfectly certain* does not mean we can't be *reasonably sure*.  That's what this investigation is about.  That's why we have those "trained professionals", to point out the roads which have been trodden before.  A decent professor won't tell you where you ought to end up, but will tell you where these various roads have taken other people who travelled them.

    One other thing a decent professor will give you is an appreciation of other people's assumptions.  If you want to communicate with them, you are going to have to start from where *they* are, and either illustrate some paradox that follows from their assumptions or derive your conclusions from where they're starting from rather than where you are.

    This is also why we can't "find the truth".  Sorry to tell you, but there isn't one universal catch-all philosophy which will present you with infalliable answers to every question that your life presents.  If such a thing had been discovered, it would be much more exciting and dramatic than the impact of any of the existing philosophies today.  (If you had found one, I suspect I'd be reading this commentary in an op-ed in the Times, and not on kuro5hin.)

    [ Parent ]

    Names (none / 0) (#264)
    by chia on Fri Jul 05, 2002 at 05:38:15 AM EST

    why does everyone call them Ryan and Jacob? Their names are Michael and Dima


    Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation. O Wilde
    Colors (none / 0) (#272)
    by TheSleeper on Fri Jul 05, 2002 at 10:50:26 AM EST

    I find it vaguely amusing that their favorite colors are 'black' and 'white'.

    [ Parent ]
    I don't know about you, but... (4.00 / 2) (#277)
    by 3than on Fri Jul 05, 2002 at 03:10:58 PM EST

    I am a fake.
    Yes, that's right. I do not exist as a self-controlling, thinking creature.

    No, really. I do not exist in the sense that you do. I am one of those robot cogs you see all the time driving cars & eating & going to work & stuff.

    It kind of sucks, especially since I have to be awake for it all the time, and do random repetitive tasks like eating & going to work etc.

    But what can a guy do ? Maybe someday the simulation will advance to the point where they don't need me to sit here all day and run this part of it all the time, but until then, I have to wake up in the morning, go through my day, and sleep at night, just so YOU might possibly become the ONE.

    YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE

    Also, I take tips. The ONE never tips well. What does HE think this is Europe or something? WTF.

    You should be tipping them (none / 0) (#293)
    by Thinkit on Fri Jul 05, 2002 at 08:40:59 PM EST

    Donate to them by paypal. You may be useless, but at least your primitive money can help (in the context of this ridiculous world).

    [ Parent ]
    Good Questions: (4.66 / 3) (#287)
    by harrystottle on Fri Jul 05, 2002 at 07:29:30 PM EST

    Are you developing your own "philosophical system" having taken one or two (or no) philosophy courses?


    Do you assume that an ability to solve problems in Math/Physics/Mechanical Engineering/C++/Perl/Unix also allows you to discover simple answers to social or philosophical questions that have bothered people for millennia?


    Are you convinced your views are "purely logical" and therefore impossible to resist?
    If other people disagree with you, do you take this as evidence that they are (a) stupid, (b) deluded, or (c) computer-controlled zombies?


    Do you believe that you and you alone are responsible for all your ideas and that you are a competely independent thinker who makes up their own mind about everything, free of the influence of others?

    I'd almost be willing to pay another 50 bucks to see how Stephen Wolfram would answer those questions...

     

     



    Mostly harmless
    Probable answers. (none / 0) (#297)
    by Apuleius on Fri Jul 05, 2002 at 10:54:09 PM EST

    Are you developing your own "philosophical system" having taken one or two (or no) philosophy courses?
    No. I am Stephen Wolfram. I have taken no philosophy courses. I have no need for such crutches used by mere mortals.
    Do you assume that an ability to solve problems in Math/Physics/Mechanical Engineering/C++/Perl/Unix also allows you to discover simple answers to social or philosophical questions that have bothered people for millennia?
    No. It is being Stephen Wolfram that gives me this ability.
    Do you believe that you and you alone are responsible for all your ideas and that you are a competely independent thinker who makes up their own mind about everything, free of the influence of others?
    How dare you even ask? I am Stephen Wolfram. Bow before me, knave!


    There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
    [ Parent ]
    Oopsie. (none / 0) (#298)
    by Apuleius on Fri Jul 05, 2002 at 11:00:10 PM EST

    Even Stephen Wolfram makes mistakes: Are you convinced your views are "purely logical" and therefore impossible to resist? Not yet.
    If other people disagree with you, do you take this as evidence that they are (a) stupid, (b) deluded, or (c) computer-controlled zombies?
    not yet.


    There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
    [ Parent ]
    Still haven't gotten back... (none / 0) (#291)
    by Thinkit on Fri Jul 05, 2002 at 08:24:17 PM EST

    Could someone please forward me a copy of their email to thinkit8@lycos.com ? Never thought I'd be desperately wanting to get a piece of spam.

    Whoever put me on the list... (none / 0) (#305)
    by Thinkit on Sat Jul 06, 2002 at 04:16:03 PM EST

    I'd just like to say that this is a throw-away e-mail address and you wasted far more time signing me up than I will having to deal with the get-rich-quick spam.

    [ Parent ]
    Ryan, Jacob and the Dangers of a Little Knowledge | 320 comments (307 topical, 13 editorial, 2 hidden)
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