Objectivism is a religion!

Richard Goode's picture
Submitted by Richard Goode on Thu, 2011-12-22 16:11

Atheism is not a religion. The term 'religion' can properly be applied only to belief systems which include a belief in a god or gods. The term 'religion' can properly be applied only to belief systems which include a belief in the supernatural.

Objectivism is explicitly atheistic ... but wait! Implicitly, Objectivists believe in a supernatural realm! It's a cornerstone of the Objectivist philosophy! Surprise, surprise! Objectivism is not, after all, a naturalistic worldview.

Rand wrote an essay called The Metaphysical Versus the Man-Made. In it, she says

Any natural phenomenon, i.e., any event which occurs without human participation, is the metaphysically given, and could not have occurred differently or failed to occur; any phenomenon involving human action is the man-made, and could have been different.

In other words, phenomena involving human action are not natural phenomena. They're supernatural phenomena! Why? Because Man is a supernatural being! Why is Man a supernatural being? Because He has a supernatural power! And what is Man's supernatural power? It is the ability to exercise something called libertarian free will.

Unfortunately, Objectivists are at a complete loss to explain how this works, to explain how it is even possible, or to explain how the notion of free will even makes sense according to the atheistic, materialistic worldview to which they profess to subscribe. Nonetheless, Objectivists are adamant that Man possesses free will.

Libertarian free will is a supernatural capacity. One who exercises it is a supernatural being.

Objectivism is a religion, but Objectivists worship Man, not God.

[Cross-posted from Eternal Vigilance.]


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Ding

Jules Troy's picture

Have you seen this fellow?

http://discovermagazine.com/20...

 

Eh..

ding_an_sich's picture

"Theists routinely lamely claim that science -- and even Objectivism -- is a form of religion. It's their highest insult. Well, they should know!"

Theists are right in a way. Hell, I am an atheist and I find that any philosophy or subject can be held dogmatically. I have encountered a few acolytes to the discipline known as "scientism".

"Why, look at that low, dumb, absurd, pathetic...GOD-believer!"

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

Theists routinely lamely claim that science -- and even Objectivism -- is a form of religion. It's their highest insult. Well, they should know! Sticking out tongue

(No subject)

gregster's picture

"What's dark matter then,

ding_an_sich's picture

"What's dark matter then, Ding?

"I'm suggesting that cosmologists need natural philosophy to guide them away from dead ends.

It's all electric. Have you read all that Electric Universe stuff yet?"

Firstly, you are not only suggesting that cosmologists need natural philosophy; you are suggesting that they need a specific kind of natural philosophy. What philosophy is that, you say? Objectivism, of course.

Secondly, the only thing I know about dark matter, as far as what scientists make of it, is that it is indirectly measured by gravity waves, or something like that. It is a concept used in physics to explain certain effects such as the expansion of the universe and whatnot.

Lastly, it's bad enough that I am still in school learning about physics. But to read about theories that run contrary to what I am taught makes it kind of annoying. So I will simply read the articles anyway while minding the annoying factor.

Also, do you have any sources to journal articles on electric universe theory? I really don't care to read about summaries and overviews; instead, I want articles that demonstrate the evidence in favor of these theories . I did find Immanuel Velikovsky's article "Cosmos Without Gravitation", so I will be reading that some time soon.

I want to point out that I am not in any way for or against any theory at this point, as I lack the understanding requisite to argue for or against. I am open to them, nay, more than open to them. But all this stuff takes time.

Note: nevermind the question about articles. I found a plethora of them. Yay! Big smile

What's dark matter then, Ding?

gregster's picture

But if that's the case, then they would still be trying to fit their form of "aether" into physics. But hey! they aren't

I'm suggesting that cosmologists need natural philosophy to guide them away from dead ends.

It's all electric. Have you read all that Electric Universe stuff yet?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?N...

Um...

ding_an_sich's picture

"Taken together this means that conventional physics is inventing its own epicycles. Instead of discounting a theory whenever observational evidence contradicts its predictions, the theory is modified to explain the observations away. This is how dark matter was invented. It was needed to explain the supposed post-Big Bang expansion of 'space.' This was also posited by the inferences from the observed red shift. If Einstein's relativity and current conventional understanding of gravity are taken to be correct, then something needed to be propelling the expansion, and for these modern Platonists, dark matter it is. The expansion theory is so incorrect that they needed an extra 99% of matter, by their calculations, and they're still looking for it. They won't find it."

"This annotated artist’s impression shows the Milky Way galaxy. The blue halo of material surrounding the galaxy indicates the expected distribution of the mysterious dark matter. New measurements based on the movements of stars show that the amount of dark matter in this region around the Sun is far smaller than predicted and have indicated that there is no significant dark matter at all in our neighbourhood."

You do realize that something along these lines happened a little over a century ago? It had something to do with the inadequacies of Newton's laws in accordance with waves (particularly light). So what did scientists do? They posited aether, a physical substance or medium through which waves were propagated. However, after many attempts through rigorous testing to discover such a medium (such as the Michelson-Morley experiment), it turned out that positing aether only made things more difficult. So what ended up happening? Scientists scrapped the concept altogether. And from discarding the aether we obtained Einstein's theory of relativity.

So perhaps dark matter will be scrapped as well and maybe someone (or some group of people) will discover what is really going on. So, if it is the case that the analogy holds, then really scientists were "Platonists" well over a century ago as well. But if that's the case, then they would still be trying to fit their form of "aether" into physics. But hey! they aren't. They were going off of what worked at the time. It's pragmatic, but eventually scientists were able to get a better grip on what was going on after the fact. I wouldn't be surprised if the same is going on right now with dark matter. It works, so let use it. Oh it doesn't work anymore according to our observations? Well then let's find something else that does work.

Hardly Platonic!

Serious Blow to Dark Matter Theories?

gregster's picture

Short answer: YES

New Study Finds Mysterious Lack of Dark Matter in Sun's Neighborhood

This annotated artist’s impression shows the Milky Way galaxy. The blue halo of material surrounding the galaxy indicates the expected distribution of the mysterious dark matter. New measurements based on the movements of stars show that the amount of dark matter in this region around the Sun is far smaller than predicted and have indicated that there is no significant dark matter at all in our neighbourhood.

Time to put the Big Bang theory to bed. And to re-allocate the capital and resources in the Hadron collider. It would make a good skateboard park, or apartments for Europe's exploding muslim horde.

Ellis

gregster's picture

""Following Kant and Einstein, modern physics is also dead!"- An incredibly bold statement.."

"Hell, even the physicists I know don't find philosophy particularly useful for much of anything."

Taken together this means that conventional physics is inventing its own epicycles. Instead of discounting a theory whenever observational evidence contradicts its predictions, the theory is modified to explain the observations away. This is how dark matter was invented. It was needed to explain the supposed post-Big Bang expansion of 'space.' This was also posited by the inferences from the observed red shift. If Einstein's relativity and current conventional understanding of gravity are taken to be correct, then something needed to be propelling the expansion, and for these modern Platonists, dark matter it is. The expansion theory is so incorrect that they needed an extra 99% of matter, by their calculations, and they're still looking for it. They won't find it.

Philosophy has always had a bad wrap.

Well I agree, it could look shinier, sexier. Perhaps with ribbons.

Ugh...

ding_an_sich's picture

I checked out the link presented by Gregster; as always I harbor immense skepticism towards claims against accepted theories, but nevertheless entertain them in order to ascertain their truth. I did however, find the below claims to be absolutely false.

1) "He's right!- ever since Kant claimed that the world we observe is all in the mind." - This is simply false if you ever read CPR. The writer here fails to distinguish between the cognitive apparatus which Kant claims we have, and experience which is given to us from the world. It is outside of us (not in the sense that Kant uses the word "outside", which refers to the intuition of space). I'm not saying that Kant is right, but the writer here is simply wrong, at least as far as the present wording is concerned.

2) "Following Kant and Einstein, modern physics is also dead!"- An incredibly bold statement especially since Einstein refutes Kants claims of space as being completely subjective; read Relativity some time. Space and time, according to the Minkowski spacetime, are a part of the universe. In fact, they are not mere intuitions into which objects are given, they are a part of the objects themselves. Is the writer here trying to immitate Nietzsche? "Modern Physics is dead! Kant and Einstein killed it!"

And science already has natural philosophers goddamnit. You have philosophers all around the globe working with scientists and making sure that scientists are not up to any sort of shenanigans; z.B., Quentin Smith has worked with numerous scientists including Hawking on big bang cosmology. Plus, you have a whole department at Pitt devoted to the philosophy of science. So there is a hell of a lot more going on, especially when multiple disciplines are involved.

And, I am not done yet; one of the reasons philosophy gets such a bad wrap, and will always get a bad wrap, is due to its difficulty, rigor, and copious amounts of time spent thinking! Another reason comes from the individuals in philosophy who make it seem like it is such a profound exercise, when all that is really being done is utter tom foolery. I like to call these individuals the charlatans of philosophy. Such wonderful intellectuals include Hegel, Marx, Schiller, Heidegger (although I do hold some reservations on Heidegger), Derrida, Gadamer, etc. They like to spin fanciful metaphysical webs in the air, strewn together by golden threads whose presumptuous air consists of nothing more than verbiose baggage, doing away with logic and equating being with nothing, or stating that we are time, or any other sort of god awful blithering phenomenological sentiments.

But none of this is new; PHILOSOPHY HAS ALWAYS HAD A BAD WRAP. Read Gargantua and Pantagruel; Rabelais does a mighty fine job of poking fun at philosophers (and he lived during the 16th century, two whole centuries before Kant "the world destroyer") in books 1 and 2. Jeez, even Aristophanes pokes fun at philosophers.

And there is nothing 'soft' about philosophy, at least good philosophy; the kind that requires extensive understanding of logic, mathematics, and physics, along with a whole plethora of other disciplines. People merely reject it out of an already premeditated disposition that has been around for thousands of years. Hell, even the physicists I know don't find philosophy particularly useful for much of anything. But, alas, this is nothing new.

Well, that was a nice tirade. I will return to this electric universe theory at some point, but I need to finish reading Human Action and a whole other list of books. Aufwiedersehen!

Janet my issue would be - what is "on"

gregster's picture

The question never made sense. If an angel is inanimate, it couldn't be on anything and we wouldn't see it dancing.

Now come on Janet.

Mark Hubbard's picture

hey hubbard don't knock Foucault

Hey, don't shoot the messenger. I'm just just reading Foucault through Seymourblogger, Janet Eye

free will is not a problem at all

seymourblogger's picture

Rand was just playing fucking mind games only she didn't know it and thought she was being a serious philosopher. Gah!

Her fiction now is miraculous. But this crap came under the influence of the Brandens.

How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

seymourblogger's picture

That's what this stupid post and all the comments that take it seriously remind me of.

hey hubbard don't knock Foucault

seymourblogger's picture

until you really know something about his work except sound-bites and ready-mades. The above post is so full of sloppy thinking I don't even want to say more. I would get caught in the cotton candy of his mind. Foucault is not theoretical. He has just taken history and reordered it into genealogical thinking. As soon as you do this about any concept at all the meaning of it leaks out and takes your breath away. Obviously you still want to continue breathing as if you are under water taking your oxygen through a small straw.

Richard Goode

Leonid's picture

' Nonetheless, Objectivists are adamant that Man possesses free will."-And religionists apparently not. They believe that their thought and actions are predetermined by the will of deity. Only he possesses such a quality as will. What you obviously choose to evade is the fact that in Objectivism is no such a thing as supernatural. Nothing transcends existence, nothing can exist outside of it. For any sensible man such an extra-existential existence is contradiction in terms. But not for the true believers. They readily accommodate any contradiction as long as it fits their unquestionable faith.
However as you are, they are struggling to differentiate between man-made ( ipod) and metaphysically given ( stars, rivers etc...). They don't understand that Law of identity doesn't allow contingent nature but free man mind allows contingency of the man-made. They have difficulty to grasp the idea that nature is driven by antecedent causes but man as any other living creature, by self-causation. Why it so difficult?-Because for them man is driven as a puppet on the string by the incredible alleged being with arbitrary contradictory qualities which they call god.

I think Dr Goode's endeavour

Mark Hubbard's picture

I think Dr Goode's endeavour here, from a wellspring I don't understand, has little to do with 'religion' per se, but is more about killing language. And the most likely outcome of that is to end himself in the Foucaultian nightmare mind, vis a vis, read the posts of Seymourblogger.

Merry Xmas Dr Goode, have a good trip this festive season.

It could easily be very

gregster's picture

It could easily be very different, without changing its essence, e.g. the Milky Way could be much smaller, gravity could be much stronger, and there could be 4 large atomic particles instead of 3.

Rand's "and could not have occurred differently or failed to occur;" is perfectly correct to me. What is is, and it has been caused by the actions of material entities. The Milky Way is as it is. There could be smaller versions and larger versions somewhere else, but the Milky Way could not have been different. It was, and is, the action of electromagnetism on matter, very much like the behaviour of charged particles, that has evolved various locations in the universe.

Rand's argument seems useful and generally true -- but not completely. The universe and reality seem to involve more subtlety and nuance -- or at least detail. Rand's claim that the current status of the universe "could not have occurred differently or failed to occur" is suspect.

The Big Bang, dark matter, string theory, the Higgs Boson are suspect.

Look at it like this: collision-free electron orbits are analogous to the solar system planets. Electrical attraction and like against like repulsion is the moderator.

The effect of gravity has been misrepresented by Big Bang theorists and Theory of Relativity-desktop-mathematician extrapolators -- modern Platonists. I'm still reading up on this and haven't learned nearly enough yet. Here's one place I began at, after seeing The Big Bang Never Happened, and reading Harriman's book.

I might add that "proving" free will exists is a basically irritating and exasperating exercise!

You didn't have to write that, you could have chosen the beach. Oh, no, probably not.

A bit of a strange assumption you've made there...

Marcus's picture

According to you any natural process which we don't fully understand has to be supernatural.

Such an assumption is false and definitely not what Rand intended.

You've mixed up your categories of defintion here.

Natural as in: natural vs man-made. (Scientific usage)

And Natural as in: all that is not supernatural. (Religious usage)

Rand is obviously referring to the first case.

Metaphysical Reality and Human Free Will

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

Ayn Rand writes:

"Any natural phenomenon, i.e., any event which occurs without human participation, is the metaphysically given, and could not have occurred differently or failed to occur; any phenomenon involving human action is the man-made, and could have been different. For example, a flood occurring in an uninhabited land, is the metaphysically given; a dam built to contain the flood water, is the man-made..."

This certainly seems rather false on the face of it. The physical universe evidently is the way it is based on a combination of random behavior and self-organizing behavior. It could easily be very different, without changing its essence, e.g. the Milky Way could be much smaller, gravity could be much stronger, and there could be 4 large atomic particles instead of 3.

Humans also impact the environment: a forest cleared by people 1000 years ago could cause a flood today. Animals also seem to exercise free will and change the background environment or our "metaphysically given."

Rand's argument seems useful and generally true -- but not completely. The universe and reality seem to involve more subtlety and nuance -- or at least detail. Rand's claim that the current status of the universe "could not have occurred differently or failed to occur" is suspect.

I might add that "proving" free will exists is a basically irritating and exasperating exercise! Sticking out tongue

You know Goode...

ding_an_sich's picture

I have been thinking about this recently after reading ITOE and OPAR; for all the trouble Rand and Peikoff go through to eliminate unnecessary dichotomies (analytic-synthetic, empirical-logical, necessity-contingency, etc.), I find the metaphysically given-man made dichotomy disconcerting. And I think that part of it comes, as you stated, from the problem of free will.

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