Was Ayn Rand a Christian?

Richard Goode's picture
Submitted by Richard Goode on Fri, 2012-05-18 16:24

Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand said

My morality, the morality of reason, is contained in a single axiom: existence exists—and in a single choice: to live.

For those unfamiliar with Randspeak, Rand's "morality, the morality of reason" is Objectivist ethics. The axiom "existence exists" is metaphysical naturalism. Rand denied the existence of the supernatural. But it is not metaphysical naturalism that defines Rand's moral system. Naturalistic moral theories are a dime a dozen. What distinguishes Objectivist ethics from other moral systems, and that which is its very foundation stone, is the choice "to live."

Lindsay Perigo, the southern Pope of Objectivism, explains this (here and elsewhere) very clearly.

Objectivism holds that the choice to live, while it is the basis of morality, is itself pre-moral. If one chooses to live, then morality becomes necessary; if one doesn’t, then, surely, morality has nothing to say about that? How can it have anything to say when it has not yet entered the picture?

If one chooses to live, then the book of morality opens. If one chooses to die, one can just lie down and do it ... one is [then] simply irrelevant to morality and vice versa. The key to this and the fact that it keeps on coming up is that Objectivists, being intrinsicists as they usually are, cannot accept that the basis of morality is an "if"—if one chooses life. Even though Rand herself spells it out repeatedly.

Life is neither good nor bad. It simply *is*. It's the standard of good and bad. If you choose life, then x follows.

The choice to live is pre-moral ... and the basis of "moral." The code of morality that flows from such a choice precludes murder. ...

As far as I know, Perigo never does explain how the commandment, "Thou shalt not kill," flows from choosing something that "is neither good nor bad," but "simply *is*." But it's not, in fact, hard to explain.

Consider the following remark by impolite, badly flawed Objectivist Tom Burroughes.

Tara Smith's focus on the issue of human flourishing ... is an absolutely vital aspect of Tara Smith's book. It is, if you will, the punchline.

When people mock the Objectivist focus on life as the reward and standard of value, they seem to ignore that "life" is not just about dodging a morgue or just dragging oneself through the day at a miserable, but not-dead, level. It is about trying to reach the maximum one can in life, in all aspects, over the course of a life. And to do that requires, inter alia, that one cultivates the virtues, and as a consequence, treats others justly and rationally. It is, in fact, a pretty demanding way to live ...

Burroughes does not describe something that "simply is" "neither good nor bad." His is a rich description of the good life, a life that requires that one cultivate certain moral virtues ... whereby, one treats others justly and rationally. His is, in fact, a description of Christian living (which is, notoriously, "a pretty demanding way to live").

Was Ayn Rand a Christian? Yes, she was. She smuggled Christian values into her concept of "life," at the ground level. She then chose that life, one suffused with Christian virtue. Objectivist ethics is an edifice built on the sure foundation of Christian ethics.

It's no wonder that good Objectivists and good Christians are both proponents of a broadly libertarian political ideology, such being the only basis of a just system of government.

[Cross-posted from Eternal Vigilance.]


( categories: )

"Free will is a comforting

Leonid's picture

"Free will is a comforting illusion for the feeble-minded."

In your case I'm fully agree. But, please, speak only for yourself.

Muggeridge vs Python

Sam Pierson's picture

That was a debate. Thanks for posting Linz.

Libertarian free will

Richard Goode's picture

The Objectivist notion of free will is not the compatibilist notion of free will. It is the libertarian notion of free will. Objectivists believe that, when faced with apparent alternatives, the one they in fact choose is not the only one they could have chosen. An Objectivist, after the fact, believes he could have done otherwise.

" Free Will" ... It's a fact easily observed by means of introspection.

What you observe by introspection are apparent alternatives. You never observe real alternatives. There are no recorded cases of people doing other than they actually did. Free will is a comforting illusion for the feeble-minded.

Angela

Richard Goode's picture

Belief systems that operate on the premise of free will don't belong to epistemology at all because people are free to believe anything they like.

Objectivism is a belief system that operates on the premise of free will.

Ah!

Richard Goode's picture

Imo it is mpossible that you did not realize your mistake.

Ah! I now realise what Linz was getting at. I thought he was merely repeating my words, but substituting "troll" (or "goblin") for God, as is his custom. But this time, he actually means a troll (or goblin)! OK, then ... that's much better.

Of course, Linz is not making the claim that a troll (or goblin) created the Universe ... the claim he does make (I think) is that the Universe "just is."

What we're dealing with here is something called inference to the best explanation. It's the centrepiece of the scientific method. We have some phenomenon or phenomena (in this case, the known Universe) which stands in need of explanation. I.e., we ask the question, where did the Universe come from?

My explanation is, God created the Universe.

Linz's explanation is, the Universe "just is."

Which is the better explanation? Mine, clearly. My explanation explains the existence of the Universe, and also predicts the existence of the Universe.

(Explanation and prediction really amount to the same thing. Take the meteorite example. If I know of the meteorite pictured below before I propose my extraterrestrial origin theory, then my theory explains the meteorite. If I discover the meteorite after I propose my extraterrestrial origin theory, then the discovery of the meteorite confirms my theory, since my theory predicts the existence of such objects. Regardless of whether discovered before or after I propose my theory, the existence of meteorites is evidence that lumps of rock from outer space impact the earth.)

Not an epistemological issue

Xray's picture

Submitted by Richard Goode on Sun, 2012-06-17 15:19.

"All belief systems that operate on premises like, e. g., "free will" can be rejected as epistemologically fallacious because the content of a mere belief is presented as if it were objective fact." (end quote)

Belief systems that operate on the premise of free will don't belong to epistemology at all because people are free to believe anything they like. For example, you can choose by your own free will to believe that your table is a god.

Epistemology only would kick in if you claimed this to be a fact. Big smile

Free Will

Leonid's picture

"All belief systems that operate on premises like, e. g., "free will" can be rejected as epistemologically fallacious because the content of a mere belief is presented as if it were objective fact."

It would be true if a premise of " Free Will" were a mere belief. But it's not. It's a fact easily observed by means of introspection. Well, I can talk only for myself. Maybe you have been preprogrammed by some near fatal mutation to write all the rubbish you've posted so far.

Let's stay precise

Xray's picture

Submitted by Richard Goode on Sun, 2012-06-17 15:39.
"If I demand of you that you do "God's will," have I thereby made you believe in "the epistemological fallacy of presenting the content of a mere belief as if it were fact"? No. Therefore, making people believe in a fallacy does NOT happen every time it is demanded of them that they do "God's will." (end quote)

I did not say that it happens every time, but the many cases where this been successfully attempted are evidence that it can happen.

The Euthyphro dilemma

Leonid's picture

"This objection fails. Has been refuted times and again"

Really? Can you refute it?

Richard Goode

Leonid's picture

I took a good look and saw a meteorite. My senses tell me that meteorites exist. It doesn't tell me how they created, what is their origin, did they always exist or have been created ex nihilo. It definitely doesn't prove the existence of creator.

The Clanger

Xray's picture

Submitted by Richard Goode on Sat, 2012-06-16 14:50.

[quoting himself]: "If I make the claim that God created the Universe, what would constitute evidence of the truth of this claim? The existence of the Universe. Which is precisely what we find. Take a look around ..." [/quote]

"Where are the advocates of reason? If the above is so obviously an "embarrassing clanger," perhaps one would care to tell us why." (end quote)

Was LP's reply not a clear enough demonstration of the blunder you have made in your argumentation?

[LP]: "If I make the claim that a troll [or goblin] created the universe, what would constitute evidence of the truth of this claim? The existence of the universe. Which is precisely what we find. Take a look around." Jeezy! (end quote)

What more do you need, Richard? Imo it is mpossible that you did not realize your mistake.

Angela

Richard Goode's picture

All religion that operates on premises like e. g. "God's will" can be rejected as epistemologically fallacious because the content of a mere belief is presented as if it were objective fact.

This is begging a question circular non-sequitur argument.

All belief systems that operate on premises like, e. g., "free will" can be rejected as epistemologically fallacious because the content of a mere belief is presented as if it were objective fact.

Angela

Richard Goode's picture

Making people believe in a fallacy happens every time it is demanded of them that they do "God's will".

If I demand of you that you do "God's will," have I thereby made you believe in "the epistemological fallacy of presenting the content of a mere belief as if it were fact"? No. Therefore, making people believe in a fallacy does NOT happen every time it is demanded of them that they do "God's will."

Submitted by Richard Goode on

Xray's picture

Submitted by Richard Goode on Sat, 2012-06-16 11:13.

"(By the way, I think you mean 'gouge', not 'gauge'.)" (end quote)

I made a typo, yes. But I had already edited my post after having found the official English translation which is:

''Whoever wants to be a Christian should tear the eyes out of his reason." (Martin Luther)

How do you make others believe in a fallacy? How can I force you to believe in something? Not by grounding morality in religion, that's for sure.
Making people believe in a fallacy happens every time it is demanded of them that they e. g. do "God's will".
Keep in mind that most people have been born into a religion, which means they were exposed to it without their explicit consent and without possessing the mental maturity to analyze what is going on.

All religion that operates on premises like e. g. "God's will" can be rejected as epistemologically fallacious because the content of a mere belief is presented as if it were objective fact.
And since many don't abandon their belief even after having reached the adult stage where their brain would possess the necessary analytical capacity, one can conclude that making people believe in a fallacy is obviously still possible.

"(By the way, I think you mean 'falsehood', not 'fallacy'.)" (end quote)

No, I meant fallacy. The epistemological fallacy of presenting the content of a mere belief as if it were fact.

The Euthyphro dilemma

Richard Goode's picture

is what is morally good commanded by God because it is morally good, or is it morally good because it is commanded by God?

What is morally good is so because it is commanded by God.

However if "X" is morally good because it is commanded by God, then there is no place to any moral choice whatsoever- everything goes, including the killing of one own son, if commanded by God.

This objection fails. Has been refuted times and again. Have you been living under a meteorite?

Leonids

Richard Goode's picture

If I make the claim that lumps of rock from outer space impact the earth, what would constitute evidence of the truth of this claim? Lumps of rock from outer space. Which is precisely what we find. Take a look below.

This is begging a question circular non-sequitur argument. Has been refuted times and again.

Do you deny the existence of meteorites? Do you deny their extraterrestrial origin?

Meteorite

Richard Goode

Leonid's picture

"Imo any justification of a moral code by grounding it in religion is an attempt at stifling independent thinking"

You claim that this argument is arbitrary, that is-has no evidence to support it. But such an argument had been presented long time ago by Plato.. ""Is the pious (τὸ ὅσιον) loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?" (The Euthyphro dilemma).
In other words-is what is morally good commanded by God because it is morally good, or is it morally good because it is commanded by God? Both positive and negative answers would undermine the meaning of the concept of morality as a code of values to guide man’s choices and actions—the choices and actions that determine the purpose and the course of hi thes life. For if morally good commanded by God because it is morally good, then what is good? This is pure tautology. However if "X" is morally good because it is commanded by God, then there is no place to any moral choice whatsoever- everything goes, including the killing of one own son, if commanded by God. Religion therefore is incompatible with morality.

"If I make the claim that God

Leonid's picture

"If I make the claim that God created the Universe, what would constitute evidence of the truth of this claim? The existence of the Universe. Which is precisely what we find. Take a look around"

This is begging a question circular non-sequitur argument. Has been refuted times and again.

Where are the advocates of reason?

Richard Goode's picture

If I make the claim that God created the Universe, what would constitute evidence of the truth of this claim? The existence of the Universe. Which is precisely what we find. Take a look around ...

Where are the advocates of reason? If the above is so obviously an "embarrassing clanger," perhaps one would care to tell us why. (Not much use my being "the perfect foil," otherwise.)

Dear Gobby, Baade!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

If I make the claim that God created the Universe, what would constitute evidence of the truth of this claim? The existence of the Universe. Which is precisely what we find. Take a look around

Dear Gobby, Baade, you've surpassed yourself with this one. "If I make the claim that a troll [or goblin] created the universe, what would constitute evidence of the truth of this claim? The existence of the universe. Which is precisely what we find. Take a look around." Jeezy!

I keep being asked why I put up with you. I say, "Because that's what SOLO does," and, "Because he's the perfect foil for advocates of reason, and the perfect poster-boy for anti-reason. We couldn't make him up." Ladies and gentlemen, I submit the above claim from Baade as Exhibit A for my second reason. Better yet than his assertions that there's no free will and the future has already happened.

As it happens, I spent some time this afternoon googling one of my boyhood idols (and inspirations for my television career), Malcolm Muggeridge. I have been fretting for some time over the contemporary absence of robust television debates where, in spite of the robustness, people don't talk over each other (over-talking and under-listening being a signal curse of our age) and time is allowed for protagonists to make their points. I came across this utter gem. I make no partisan comment, since none is necessary. I do say, however, that seeing this I understood anew what I saw in Muggeridge, even though I disagreed with him (his anti-pomowankerism led him to Goblianity, tragically—a false alternative). Baade, if you want to be effective for Goblianity, take a leaf out of his book, rather than emitting embarrassing clangers like the above.

I'd urge everyone to overcome her modern-day attention deficit disorder and watch all four parts:

Angela

Richard Goode's picture

"Wer ... ein Christ sein will, der ... steche seiner Vernunft die Augen aus." (M. Luther)
('Who wants to be a Christian ... has to gauge his reason's eyes out.')

"Rand was right — reason is our only absolute, because Reason is God Himself." (Anne Barnhardt)

(By the way, I think you mean 'gouge', not 'gauge'.)

And making others believe in a fallacy is an attempt at stifling independent thinking.

How do you make others believe in a fallacy? How can I force you to believe in something? Not by grounding morality in religion, that's for sure. (By the way, I think you mean 'falsehood', not 'fallacy'.)

arbitrariness is precisely the epistemological fallacy religion is based on.

Really? If I make the claim that God created the Universe, what would constitute evidence of the truth of this claim? The existence of the Universe. Which is precisely what we find. Take a look around ...

Arbitariness is the fallacy of religion

Xray's picture

Submitted by Richard Goode on Sat, 2012-06-16 09:23.
"Because it's arbitrary.

“Arbitrary” means a claim put forth in the absence of evidence of any sort, perceptual or conceptual; its basis is neither direct observation nor any kind of theoretical argument. [An arbitrary idea is] a sheer assertion with no attempt to validate it or connect it to reality." (end quote)

And arbitrariness is precisely the epistemological fallacy religion is based on.
So wouldn't you too reject as inacceptable the justification of a moral code if the advocates of said code can't provide a smidgen of evidence qualifying as justification for it?
Since religious texts don't constitute evidence of the existence of a deity, grounding "morality" on them can only be fallacious.
And making others believe in a fallacy is an attempt at stifling independent thinking.

It is therefore no surprise that verbatim attacks on reason have been launched by religious leaders, for example by Martin Luther:

"Wer ... ein Christ sein will, der ... steche seiner Vernunft die Augen aus."

('Whoever wants to be a Christian should tear the eyes out of his reason.')

(Martin Luther, Gesamtausgabe in 25 Bänden, herausgegeben von Johann G. Walch, Concordia Publishing House St. Louis 1880-1910, Band V, S. 452)

Angela

Richard Goode's picture

Why do you think it is rubbish?

Because it's arbitrary.

“Arbitrary” means a claim put forth in the absence of evidence of any sort, perceptual or conceptual; its basis is neither direct observation nor any kind of theoretical argument. [An arbitrary idea is] a sheer assertion with no attempt to validate it or connect it to reality.

Richard

Xray's picture

Submitted by Richard Goode on Fri, 2012-06-15 01:59.

[quoting Xray]: >>>"Imo any justification of a moral code by grounding it in religion is an attempt at stifling independent thinking."

"Rubbish." (end quote)

Why do you think it is rubbish?

Free will is compatible with

Leonid's picture

Free will is compatible with prediction, not with predestination. There is no such a thing. Ayn Rand never used the phrase "life qua organism"- such a phrase is totally redundant and sounds very awkwardly. You cannot read my mind. If you could, you wouldn't ask all these questions.

Leonid

Richard Goode's picture

No. The ability of extrapolation and induction doesn't eliminate free will-as long as your knowledge doesn't affect my decisions. Besides, you never would be able to reliable know what I've decided-unless you can read my mind.

Yes. I can read your mind.

So you think that the exercise of free will is compatible with predestination?

"Does Rand ever use the phrase "qua organism"?

It's a simple yes or no question.

Angela

Richard Goode's picture

Imo any justification of a moral code by grounding it in religion is an attempt at stifling independent thinking

Rubbish.

Angela

Richard Goode's picture

It looks like "wall of separation" between state and church as institutionalized religion does not necessarily mean that Jefferson & Co didn't work with the god premise

Jefferson and the Founding Fathers were, for the most part, Christians and/or Deists. This is hardly news.

"Shackles of morality" = coercion

Xray's picture

"[quoting Xray]: "But isn't "shackles of morality" just another expression for coercion?" (end quote Xray)

Coercion by whom?" end quote

Imo any justification of a moral code by grounding it in religion is an attempt at stifling independent thinking, and trying to stifle independent thinking is a form of coercion.

The term "shackles of morality" which you chose fits therefore perfectly.

Jefferson and the god premise

Xray's picture

Submitted by Richard Goode on Wed, 2012-06-13 03:30.

"So much for the so-called "land of the free".

Whatever happened to Jefferson's "wall of separation" between church and state?" (end quote)

It looks like "wall of separation" between state and church as institutionalized religion does not necessarily mean that Jefferson & Co didn't work with the god premise - a god whose "laws" are quoted to justify political goals:

Form the Declaration of Independence:

[Quote]"When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. "[/quote]

Absolutely appalling

Richard Goode's picture

I wonder what Ayn Rand would have said if she had been confronted with the following laws: [bold type mine]

So much for the so-called "land of the free".

Whatever happened to Jefferson's "wall of separation" between church and state?

Angela

Richard Goode's picture

But isn't "shackles of morality" just another expression for coercion?

Coercion by whom?

Submitted by Jmaurone on Thu,

Xray's picture

Submitted by Jmaurone on Thu, 2012-06-07 19:11.

"BTW, here is the original transcription of what I quoted below, as opposed to Mayhew's edited version in AYN RAND ANSWERS.

(Via Betsy Speicher, posted on Noodlefood.)

Here is AYN RAND on religion in America. (I haven't found the original transcript, and Betsy has an ellipse in her quotation, so I don't know if there's something relevant missing in comparison to the AYN RAND ANSWERS version...)

It is from the Q & A of her speech, "The Political Vacuum of Our Age," at the Matrix Table banquet of the National Fraternity for Women in Journalism Columbia Club, Indianapolis, Indiana in 1961. The first paragraph is Ayn Rand repeating the question and setting the context for her answer.

+-------

In other words, you feel that religion is very instrumental in spreading altruism among people, and we cannot fight against altruism without fighting against the power of religion. Is this your question?

[A. Rand]: "Well, I would say this. particularly in America, religion is very non-mystical. Religious teachers predominantly in America, compared to Europe, are good healthy materialists. They would go with common sense. They would not stand in the way, er, if you want my impression of the general run, the majority of religious people in this country, they would not make an issue of mystic faith out of the idea of jumping into a cannibal's pot and giving away your last shirt to the backward people in the world. A great many religious leaders are teaching this today, but it is because their own politics are leftist.

It is not intrinsic to religion, or, rather, there is a great many historical and philosophical connections between the altruist morality and most religions, but that is not the real function of religion in this country, and you would not find too much opposition and, even among some individuals, you will find support (as I was very pleased and astonished to hear today, and the gentlemen knows whom I am acknowledging). There are rational religious people.

I would personally say, no, if you wanted to be a full Objectivist you could not reconcile this with religion. But that does not mean that religious people cannot be individualists and cannot fight for freedom. They can, and this country is the best proof of it."
[end quote A. Rand]

I wonder what Ayn Rand would have said if she had been confronted with the following laws: [bold type mine]

Arkansas, Article 19, Section 1:
No person who denies the being of a God shall hold any office in the civil departments of this State, nor be competent to testify as a witness in any Court.

Maryland, Article 37:
That no religious test ought ever to be required as a qualification for any office of profit or trust in this State, other than a declaration of belief in the existence of God; nor shall the Legislature prescribe any other oath of office than the oath prescribed by this Constitution.

Mississippi, Article 14, Section 265:
No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office in this state.

North Carolina, Article 6, Section 8
The following persons shall be disqualified for office: Any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God.

South Carolina, Article 17, Section 4:
No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office under this Constitution.

Tennessee, Article 9, Section 2:
No person who denies the being of God, or a future state of rewards and punishments, shall hold any office in the civil department of this state.

Texas, Article 1, Section 4:
No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, in this State; nor shall any one be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being.

Source:
http://www.americanhumanist.or...

Submitted by Richard Goode on

Xray's picture

Submitted by Richard Goode on Mon, 2012-06-11 14:52.
"I think humanity will become extinct by the end of the century. Extinction will occur with a "singularity"—at the whim of a sentient AI—unless we chain it to the shackles of morality." (end quote)

But isn't "shackles of morality" just another expression for coercion?

"Is it possible for me to

Leonid's picture

"Is it possible for me to know what you have decided to do before you do?—and, if I could, reliably, know what you decide to do before you know what you decide to do, would that mean that your decisions are not free?"

No. The ability of extrapolation and induction doesn't eliminate free will-as long as your knowledge doesn't affect my decisions. Besides, you never would be able to reliable know what I've decided-unless you can read my mind.

Richard Goode

Leonid's picture

"Does Rand ever use the phrase "qua organism"?

And how else organism can survive?

Every organism survives by means and tools which are specific to its nature. Plants exist qua plants, animals qua animals and man qua man.

Rand is very eloquent about this.

"To the extent that a man is guided by his rational judgment, he acts in accordance with the requirements of his nature and, to that extent, succeeds in achieving a human form of survival and well-being; to the extent that he acts irrationally, he acts as his own destroyer."

As for the Christian values and virtues I refer you to the Sermon on Mountain. See how much rationality and virtues you could find there. Jesus excluded mainly not the initiation of force but retaliation, effectively eliminating the virtue of justice.

Angela

Richard Goode's picture

[Dogmatic religions] won't vanish with a "big bang", but become more and more frayed instead ... I think humanity will be entering another "Age of Enlightenment" where all ethics will finally be freed from the shackles of religion.

I think humanity will become extinct by the end of the century. Extinction will occur with a "singularity"—at the whim of a sentient AI—unless we chain it to the shackles of morality.

Your mind's on the trigger, pull it

Richard Goode's picture

What's the trigger for free will, hence the ability to choose?

This is a great question and I don't think that the full substantiated answer exists.

Here's another great question.

Is it possible for me to know what you have decided to do before you do?—and, if I could, reliably, know what you decide to do before you know what you decide to do, would that mean that your decisions are not free?

Leonid

Richard Goode's picture

"Objectivism is founded, and founders, on equivocation. (Of relevance to this thread, Rand equivocates on the meaning of the term 'life'.)"

Equivocates with what? Can you be a bit less obscure and to explain yourself more eloquently?

I must say, I thought "Objectivism is founded, and founders, on equivocation" was pretty eloquent! As for being a bit less obscure, brevity is the soul of wit.

Rand equivocates on the meaning of the term 'life'. Here's Rand in The Objectivist Ethics.

It is only a living organism that faces a constant alternative: the issue of life or death. Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action. If an organism fails in that action, it dies; its chemical elements remain, but its life goes out of existence.

Life can be kept in existence only by a constant process of self-sustaining action. The goal of that action, the ultimate value which, to be kept, must be gained through its every moment, is the organism’s life.

An organism’s life depends on two factors: the material or fuel which it needs from the outside, from its physical background, and the action of its own body, the action of using that fuel properly. What standard determines what is proper in this context? The standard is the organism’s life, or: that which is required for the organism’s survival.

Good, so far. But then Rand equivocates.

The standard of value of the Objectivist ethics—the standard by which one judges what is good or evil—is man’s life, or: that which is required for man’s survival qua man.

She equivocates by adding "qua man". Where did that suddenly come from? Does Rand ever use the phrase "qua organism"? I don't think so. By adding "qua man", Rand slips quietly from life qua survival to something altogether different. In other words, she equivocates.

To choose life, in the Objectivist sense, is not to choose merely to survive. It is to choose a life lived according to the Christian virtues of rationality, honesty, justice, independence, integrity, productiveness, self-esteem, and so on. (BTW, the life of Jesus exemplifies the crown jewel of Objectivist ethics, viz., the non-initiation of force principle.)

"How many philosophers misuse words to such an extent that they feel the need to have an authorised lexicon?"

Almost all of them. To read Kant you need a special dictionary.

Yes, because Kant coined new terms. Rand perniciously redefined existing words and phrases.

Submitted by Richard Goode on

Xray's picture

Submitted by Richard Goode on Thu, 2012-06-07 15:29.
"Heard of Christian atheism?"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C...
(end quote)

Interestig link. But Occam's razor applied, the Christ figure would not be needed anymore at all in that case. Instead this "Christ" has has been transfored into something like a secular guru giving people "how to" advice on life.

This is religion "fraying at the seam", so to speak. Imo this is what's going to happen with all dogmatic religions over time. They won't vanish with a "big bang", but become more and more frayed instead; and if there is anything in their teachings that makes some sense (like e. g. the Golden Rule), it will be absorbed into secular ethics.
I think humanity will be entering another "Age of Enlightenment" where all ethics will finally be freed from the shackles of religion.

What's the trigger for free will, hence the ability to choose?

Leonid's picture

This is a great question and I don't think that the full substantiated answer exists. I can only try to answer it. In my view the first step in the cognitive development of man is a self-awareness. An infant becomes human when he realizes that he exists as a separate entity. Self awareness is an ontological basis of volition. To say or even on the pre-linguistic level to realize that " I want "X" one has first to realize " I". Only then one is able to make choices and thus to operate his mind. The process of development of the self-awareness cannot be volitional since volition is based on it. According to different studies child becomes self-aware in the age of 16-18 months. In the age of 2 to 3 years child is already full aware of his own identity, makes volitional choices and tries to establish and to exercise his independence-the toddlers' rebellion. This is a difficult time for the parents since child's cognitive functions are not fully developed and he cannot make rational choices. But he wants to exercises his volition nevertheless. Of course in the womb or any time before the appearance of self awareness infant doesn't make any choices to strive. He does feel comfort or discomfort but volitionally he cannot do anything about it-he has no volition. He also doesn't have any inherent knowledge of unerring action, that is-instincts, as animal babies do. This is a reason why human infant so helpless and needs the constant care.

"Objectivism is founded, and

Leonid's picture

"Objectivism is founded, and founders, on equivocation. (Of relevance to this thread, Rand equivocates on the meaning of the term 'life'.)"

Equivocates with what? Can you be a bit less obscure and to explain yourself more eloquently?

"How many philosophers misuse words to such an extent that they feel the need to have an authorised lexicon?"

Almost all of them. To read Kant you need a special dictionary. Aristotle simply created new words to convey his ideas. Modern philosophers often give a new meaning to the existent words. Nothing wrong about this.

But I don't talk about

Richard Wiig's picture

But I don't talk about babies.

You should be talking about when the first choice to strive takes place. I suspect this is before it even opens its eyes. It is already aware of comfort and discomfort, perhaps even before it leaves the womb. If you're saying there is no choice, that striving is automatic - in other words, free will is absent - then at what point do you think that free will kicks in? After an hour? A day? A week? A month? A year? What's the trigger for free will, hence the ability to choose?

Equivocation

Richard Goode's picture

equivocation is a logical fallacy.

Objectivism is founded, and founders, on equivocation. (Of relevance to this thread, Rand equivocates on the meaning of the term 'life'.)

How many philosophers misuse words to such an extent that they feel the need to have an authorised lexicon?

"No. Do you also think that

Leonid's picture

"No. Do you also think that 'boiled water' is a contradiction in terms? In this country, deep-fried ice-cream is a delicacy."

It's not the same and equivocation is a logical fallacy.

This is Christianity

Leonid's picture

First " love your neighbor as your self" is not original Jesus' teaching. Jesus simply quotes OT. His original teaching is " Love your enemy" without even to mention "yourself"

Second, did you ever read the Sermon on the Mountain?

if not, let me give you few examples of Jesus "anarcho-capitalism"

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

If this is an epitome of rational self-interest, that ice indeed could be fried.

Not Christianity?

Richard Goode's picture

Not Christianity. Only certain type of Christians who don't take their religion seriously.

Leonid, I think you meant only certain types of Christian who *do* take their religion seriously. Christians who take their religion seriously follow Christ and his teachings. After all, Christ said: 'Love your neighbour as yourself.' So you must love yourself. After that, you can argue about your neighbours.

It's not difficult to divorce Christianity from altruism. Jesus did so explicitly in his second commandment. This is so obvious that I'm surprised it's even worth stating. But not surprised that when I do state the obvious, I'm met with denial from the denialists.

Leonid

Richard Goode's picture

Don't you ever get tired of proving the improvable ?

I get tired of arguing with people who think that reason is their "only absolute," but who don't understand, and whose minds do not operate according to, the very basics of elementary logic. You can lead an Objectivist to reason, but you can't make him think.

Why don't you take a leaf from Richard W's book? When this thread began, both you and he thought that the Objectivist's choice to live is a moral choice. Two very different responses when I pointed out that there is a big problem with that idea.

Richard W: Oh? (Mind opens. Goes away and thinks about it.)

Leonid: No! (Mind snaps shut like a clam. Doesn't go away.)

No? OK, I'll rewrite it: " This is a fried ice" Would it make a statement?

Yes. 'This is fried ice' is a statement. Much better.

Still you don't see a contradiction

No. Do you also think that 'boiled water' is a contradiction in terms? In this country, deep-fried ice-cream is a delicacy. (First page result if you'd bothered to search Google for "fried ice".)

But I don't talk about

Leonid's picture

But I don't talk about babies. I'm talking about grown ups who already integrated these perceptions and on this basis do have concept of value. Infants don't make conscious choice and for sure cannot decide not to live. Only adults could. However, by that time they have at least an implicit knowledge that life, wellbeing is good and sickness or death is bad. This is moral knowledge. By choosing not to live they act against their own implicit morality. Therefore such a choice is immoral.

Exactly so. On this basis

Richard Wiig's picture

Exactly so. On this basis people form concepts of good and bad when they know that whatever promotes life is good and whatever hinders it is bad. Therefore the choice not to live constitutes an evasion of the huge body of personal knowledge. It cannot be pre-moral.

But the knowledge is not moral knowledge. There is only sensation, pleasurable or unpleasurable. In order to gain a moral sense, the choice to act must have first occured. If you tell me that the babies don't have a choice to act, then you've placed them outside the realm of morality. Morality requires free-will.

Richard Goode

Leonid's picture

"Neither is a statement, and neither is a contradiction in terms."

No? OK, I'll rewrite it: " This is a fried ice" Would it make a statement? "Ice"by definition is frozen water. "Fried"-cooked in a pan or on a griddle over direct heat, usually in fat or oil. Still you don't see a contradiction? Don't you ever get tired of proving the improvable ?

"Ayn Rand herself explicitly

Leonid's picture

"Ayn Rand herself explicitly divorces Christ(ianity) from altruism! LOL!"

Not Christianity. Only certain type of Christians who don't take their religion seriously.

"It's the basis of forming it

Leonid's picture

"It's the basis of forming it - and that basis is A is A - but there is no moral sense yet. "

Exactly so. On this basis people form concepts of good and bad when they know that whatever promotes life is good and whatever hinders it is bad. Therefore the choice not to live constitutes an evasion of the huge body of personal knowledge. It cannot be pre-moral.

Yes, you do learn from the

Richard Wiig's picture

Yes, you do learn from the experience via pleasure-pain that everything pro-life is good and anti-life is bad This is your implicit knowledge.

But that is not morality. It is a sensory experience in which the baby prefers one state over another state. That isn't the same as forming the concept of good and bad. It's the basis of forming it - and that basis is A is A - but there is no moral sense yet. It is sensory-experience and it is pre-moral. The choice to live is clearly also pre-moral.

Joe

Richard Goode's picture

From the horse's mouth!

"In America, you would not find it difficult to divorce religion from altruism. After all, Christ said: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' So you must love yourself. After that, you can argue about your neighbors."

Ayn Rand herself explicitly divorces Christ(ianity) from altruism! LOL!

Thank you!

Original transcription of below

Jmaurone's picture

BTW, here is the original transcription of what I quoted below, as opposed to Mayhew's edited version in AYN RAND ANSWERS.

(Via Betsy Speicher, posted on Noodlefood.)

Here is AYN RAND on religion in America. (I haven't found the original transcript, and Betsy has an ellipse in her quotation, so I don't know if there's something relevant missing in comparison to the AYN RAND ANSWERS version...)

It is from the Q & A of her speech, "The Political Vacuum of Our Age," at the Matrix Table banquet of the National Fraternity for Women in Journalism Columbia Club, Indianapolis, Indiana in 1961. The first paragraph is Ayn Rand repeating the question and setting the context for her answer.

+-------

In other words, you feel that religion is very instrumental in spreading altruism among people, and we cannot fight against altruism without fighting against the power of religion. Is this your question?

Well, I would say this. particularly in America, religion is very non-mystical. Religious teachers predominantly in America, compared to Europe, are good healthy materialists. They would go with common sense. They would not stand in the way, er, if you want my impression of the general run, the majority of religious people in this country, they would not make an issue of mystic faith out of the idea of jumping into a cannibal's pot and giving away your last shirt to the backward people in the world. A great many religious leaders are teaching this today, but it is because their own politics are leftist.

It is not intrinsic to religion, or, rather, there is a great many historical and philosophical connections between the altruist morality and most religions, but that is not the real function of religion in this country, and you would not find too much opposition and, even among some individuals, you will find support (as I was very pleased and astonished to hear today, and the gentlemen knows whom I am acknowledging). There are rational religious people.

I would personally say, no, if you wanted to be a full Objectivist you could not reconcile this with religion. But that does not mean that religious people cannot be individualists and cannot fight for freedom. They can, and this country is the best proof of it.

[I didn't copy this part from Betsy's post, but the ellipse could be telling-Joe]

[...]

But, so long as a country is not under a dictatorship, a trend, an intellectual trend, can be turned peacefully, particularly in a country like the United States, which was fundamentally based on the ideas of freedom. It would be harder in Europe, where they are traditionally statist, where freedom is a kind of exception, where the basic subconscious values are all statist in one form or another. Not here, and I would take the last election as proof of it. Here people bear too much, too innocently and too naively. But I don't think any totalitarian dictatorship would ever hold here. Because under all their errors the American people's basic premise is freedom. That is the unspoken emotion, the emotional sense of life atmosphere in this country. And traditionally, historically, the American people can be pushed just so far, and then they stop it.

[This is a verbatim transcription from an audio recording. An edited portion of this appears on pages 63-64 of _Ayn Rand Answers_ and differs somewhat.]

Rand on Christianity and Objectivism

Jmaurone's picture

Richard G wrote:
"Christians and Objectivists can get along. We have a great deal more in common than Objectivists are wont to suppose. Rand was a libertarian. Christ was an anarcho-capitalist. We are, or ought to be, political allies. It's a match made in heaven."

What Rand said on the subject: "You would not find too much opposition to Objectivism among religious Americans. There are rational religious people. In fact I was pleased and astonished to discover that some religious people support Objectivism. If you want to be a full Objectivist, you cannot reconcile that with religion; but that doesn’t mean religious people cannot be individualists and fight for freedom. They can, and this country is the best proof of it."

From Ayn Rand Answers:
pgs.63-64

(Below, the quote in its full context:)

Q: "If religion is instrumental in spreading altruism, can we fight altruism in America without fighting religion?"

A: "In America, religion is relatively nonmystical. Religious teachers here are predominantly good, healthy materialists. They follow common sense. They would not stand in our way. The majority of religious people in this country do not accept on faith the idea of jumping into a cannibal’s pot and giving away their last shirt to the backward people of the world. Many religious leaders preach this today, because of their own leftist politics; it’s not inherent in being religious. There are many historical and philosophical connections between altruism and religion, but the function of religion in this country is not altruism.You would not find too much opposition to Objectivism among religious Americans. There are rational religious people. In fact I was pleased and astonished to discover that some religious people support Objectivism. If you want to be a full Objectivist, you cannot reconcile that with religion; but that doesn’t mean religious people cannot be individualists and fight for freedom. They can, and this country is the best proof of it."

"Of course, one should not forbid religion. Today's culture is such that the moment you oppose something, people believe you want to forbid it by law. If we did that, we'd return to the dark ages. Leave people the right to be wrong in their own way. So long as they don't force their ideas on you, you cannot forbid religion to anyone. Further, it's not difficult to fight religion when you have a good philosophy.

"In America, you would not find it difficult to divorce religion from altruism. After all, Christ said: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' So you must love yourself. After that, you can argue about your neighbors."

Changes

Richard Goode's picture

I must admit I was totally surprised that some quite fervent theists seem to be posting here, and especailly surprised about you being one of them. I used to think of you as quite a rational, level-headed type, and therefore initially thought you were being ironic when you quoted passages from the Bible; but then it dawned on me that you were obviously serious!

Have you had some 'religious conversion' experience from Objectivist to theist recently? But it is also possible that I had just been blind to you believing in a god because I didn't really expect any theists to be posting on SOLO.

I had a religious conversion experience recently. I have never been an Objectivist, as far as I know. I was an atheist when I first posted on SOLO.

I'm more rational now than I was then. Check your conclusions!

Angela

Richard Goode's picture

"Apparently, you have no problem with 60 = 100." (end quote)

There exists no agreement re the date among the scholars.

There is a general consensus among Bible scholars that the Gospel of John was written before the end of the first century. Wikipedia's article on dating the Bible says 80-95 CE. Wikipedia's article on the Gospel of John says, "Scholars set a range of c. 90–100."

I don't mean to quibble, but the bigger point is that your case against God ought not to require distorting the facts.

Ayn Rand stated that she was an atheist. A. Barnhardt stated "Ayn was a Christian".
These statements cannot both be true.

Heard of Christian atheism?

Leonid

Richard Goode's picture

"Fried ice" is one statement and it is a contradiction in terms. The same applies to the statement " Christian Objectivist".

Neither is a statement, and neither is a contradiction in terms.

Perhaps I should continue with this?

Such a logic

Leonid's picture

"Christians and Objectivists can get along"

On this site already was an Islamist who tried to get along with Objectivism. I've had a long conversation with some Indian "Objectivist" who was convinced that Ayn Rand was a reincarnation of Vishnu. Now we have some non-ortho-post Objectivists who claim that Ayn Rand was a Christian and Christ was an anarcho-capitalist 1800 years before capitalism. Where this is going to stop? Some people just love to live in contradictions.

Oh! I'm sure....

Ross Elliot's picture

"It's the ferocity, regularity and spite with which PC attacks Christianity (his warped view of it) that irks me"

...it does!

Richard, if you suspect, in your alternative universe, that PC and yourself have any philosophical basis for agreement, then tell us how.

Libz has been dead for some time as a *political* force. If that's your point, then I'll happily agree. But that changes not one jot that PC is an atheist and has no truck with your supernatural suppositions.

Libz have never been a grand alliance, they've always been Objectivists-in-waiting. That is to their credit. But, politically, that has no future within NZ politics. Why do you think Lindsay momentarily subscribed to ACT?

Objectivism must die

Richard Goode's picture

Curt, what's your point?

Goode Logic

Curt Holmes's picture

Submitted by Richard Goode on Sun, 2011-01-16 08:22

“Objectivism must die. That's my mission objective. I will not be distracted.”

Submitted by Richard Goode on Mon, 2012-06-04 05:06

“Christians and Objectivists can get along. We have a great deal more in common than Objectivists are wont to suppose. Rand was a libertarian. Christ was an anarcho-capitalist. We are, or ought to be, political allies. It's a match made in heaven.”

Goode, goblian logic.

Reed

Leonid's picture

"You need two statements (or ideas) for a contradiction"

Not at all. "Fried ice" is one statement and it is a contradiction in terms. The same applies to the statement " Christian Objectivist". In both cases the second part contradicts the first. Fallacy is a contradictory logical deduction. For example: P1. Objectivism rejects religion. P2. Ayn Rand is an Objectivist. 3. Conclusion-Ayn Rand is a Christian. Could be anything more fallacious than that?

Leonid

reed's picture

It's changed slightly from when I posted my reply - this is what was written A statement " Ayn Rand is a Christian" is therefore false, contradictory and fallacious.

You need two statements (or ideas) for a contradiction and an argument for a fallacy.

[Edit: if anyone could make a fallacious statement you could Smiling ]

Reed

Leonid's picture

And what do you think?

Wow

reed's picture

Shocked

Does anyone think Leonid logic is correct.

Spot the difference

Leonid's picture

Leonid:" My understanding is that all three concepts designate a statement or proposition which doesn't pertain to reality."

Richard Goode :

"1.A statement is false if what it says is not the case.

2.Two statements are contradictory if they cannot both be true.

3. An argument is fallacious if it contains an error in reasoning that renders it invalid."

(1) means that statement doesn't pertain to reality-The correspondence theory of truth

(2) means that two opposites cannot pertain to reality the same time and in the same respect.

(3) stems from the second, it includes a contradictory identification and contradictions don't exist.

A statement " Ayn Rand is a Christian" is therefore false, contradictory and fallacious because it doesn't correspond to and contradict the whole body of knowledge which is Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand. I also like paradoxes, but the cleaver ones.

Do some checking

Xray's picture

Submitted by Richard Goode on Sun, 2012-06-03 12:37.

"Apparently, you have no problem with 60 = 100." (end quote)

There exists no agreement re the date among the scholars.

"In any case, it is self-evidently neither contradictory nor fallacious to claim that Ayn Rand was a Christian. False, perhaps." (end quote)
You wrote:
"Two statements are contradictory if they cannot both be true." (end quote)

Ayn Rand stated that she was an atheist. A. Barnhardt stated "Ayn was a Christian".
These statements cannot both be true.

You wrote:
"An argument is fallacious if it contains an error in reasoning that renders it invalid." (end quote)

A. Barnhardt stated "Ayn was a Christian". Since we have Ayn Rand's own words about her being an atheist, we are dealing with an error in reasoning on AB's part. For there is not a smidgen of evidence that Rand believed in a God and his 'son'.

You wrote:
"A statement is false if what it says is not the case." (end quote)

You yourself conceded that AB's statement about Ayn Rand being a Christian may be false.

I must admit I was totally surprised that some quite fervent theists seem to be posting here, and especailly surprised about you being one of them. I used to think of you as quite a rational, level-headed type, and therefore initially thought you were being ironic when you quoted passages from the Bible; but then it dawned on me that you were obviously serious!

Have you had some 'religious conversion' experience from Objectivist to theist recently? But it is also possible that I had just been blind to you believing in a god because I didn't really expect any theists to be posting on SOLO.

Baade

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Thank God for Stephen Berry, Sean Fitzpatrick and Julian Crawford of the ALCP. If you've been paying attention, you'll have noticed that they're the ones leading the way and putting in most of the hard yards.

I have indeed, and these are two top chaps (Stephen and Sean—I don't know Julian). I'm in frequent contact with both of them.

When Tim W and I exited, Libz lost its academic respectability and its belly fire.

I'll partly grant you the second. Tim has admirable belly-fire. I contend also that Libz lost significant belly-fire when it alienated me. Now I fear it's heading for complete blandification, explicitly eschewing fire in the belly 'cos the horses might take fright.

It's the ferocity, regularity and spite with which PC attacks Christianity (his warped view of it) that irks me. Not so long ago, when I was an atheist, I used to enjoy taking potshots at Christians. But only occasionally, and always in the nicest possible way. Heck, I still do! (Catholics, especially, are fair game. As is the Destiny Church. Don't get me started on Calvinists.)

They're all your fellow-Goblians, dear. If you yourself acknowledge they're fair game, you can't expect Oirishman to hold back!

"We love musicals, and we love Mormons." - Trey Parker

Richard Goode's picture

it looks as though I'll be rooting for a Mormon later this year!

I suspect (but I'm not sure) that you're not much of a fan of South Park? (I think South Park is pure genius.)

Anyway, South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone are working on a Broadway musical called The Book of Mormon. (I expect it to be as legendary as Team America.)

Linz

Richard Goode's picture

There's a whole lot in Libz that needs fixing

Libz doesn't need fixing, it need euthanasing. It's a cold, dead brand. As I said to Stephen Berry, who wants to rebrand, there's nothing wrong with fucking a corpse as long as it's your own. But, personally, I'm against it.

but I imagine there's a hiatus while the whole business of a re-brand/new party/strategic alliance is sorted out.

Thank God for Stephen Berry, Sean Fitzpatrick and Julian Crawford of the ALCP. If you've been paying attention, you'll have noticed that they're the ones leading the way and putting in most of the hard yards. I wish that a few others, such as Stephen Whittington, would also get more involved. (I'll be taking a back seat. I have other plans.)

It's hardly an "exodus" when you and Tim W leave Libz, darling!

Hyperbole. When Tim W and I exited, Libz lost its academic respectability and its belly fire.

Where's the problem?

It's the ferocity, regularity and spite with which PC attacks Christianity (his warped view of it) that irks me. Not so long ago, when I was an atheist, I used to enjoy taking potshots at Christians. But only occasionally, and always in the nicest possible way. Heck, I still do! (Catholics, especially, are fair game. As is the Destiny Church. Don't get me started on Calvinists.)

Baade

Lindsay Perigo's picture

It's hardly an "exodus" when you and Tim W leave Libz, darling!

There's a whole lot in Libz that needs fixing, but I imagine there's a hiatus while the whole business of a re-brand/new party/strategic alliance is sorted out.

As best I can tell, PC is not attacking Goblianity in his capacity as a Libz stalwart but as a promoter of liberty's bedrock, reason. Where's the problem? Goblian libertarians are at liberty to disagree with him and defend their superstition—this shouldn't be a barrier to political collaboration, as I've said many times. Heck, it looks as though I'll be rooting for a Mormon later this year!

PC takes another stab at JC

Richard Goode's picture

Where Jesus goes ...

PC takes another stab at JC. It's just this sort of Christ-hating Objectivist claptrap that led to the exodus of Christian libertarians from the Libertarianz Party and its ensuing disintegration. (Don't believe me? - the Libz website hasn't been updated in over 6 months. It was never thus when I was the webmaster, before I became disenchanted with the Objectivist hegemony.)

Christians and Objectivists can get along. We have a great deal more in common than Objectivists are wont to suppose. Rand was a libertarian. Christ was an anarcho-capitalist. We are, or ought to be, political allies. It's a match made in heaven.

OK

Richard Goode's picture

Why don't you enlighten me to prove your point?

A statement is false if what it says is not the case.

Two statements are contradictory if they cannot both be true.

An argument is fallacious if it contains an error in reasoning that renders it invalid.

"Your ignorance of basic

Leonid's picture

"Your ignorance of basic logic beggars belief."

Yours probably is not. Why don't you enlighten me to prove your point? It should much easier then your scholastic exegesis of Christianity.

Jesus wept

Richard Goode's picture

Exactly was is a difference between "contradictory", "fallacious" and "false"?

Your ignorance of basic logic beggars belief.

Richard Goode

Leonid's picture

Exactly was is a difference between "contradictory", "fallacious" and "false"?

My understanding is that all three concepts designate a statement or proposition which doesn't pertain to reality.

Angela

Richard Goode's picture

Suggesting that she was a Christian is fallacious. It is to claim that A = non-A.

Apparently, you have no problem with 60 = 100. So I'm somewhat surprised you have a problem with A = non-A.

In any case, it is self-evidently neither contradictory nor fallacious to claim that Ayn Rand was a Christian. False, perhaps.

The usual religious mishmash

Xray's picture

Submitted by Richard Goode on Sat, 2012-05-19 03:33.
"My post is from my blog where it is titled Was Ayn Rand a Christian? (Part 2). You might also like to read Was Ayn Rand a Christian? (Part 1).

Neither post establishes that Ayn Rand was a Christian in (what I regard as) the true sense of the word. Together, however, they strongly suggest that Ayn Rand was an exemplary "cultural Christian". The real import of Part 2 (reproduced here) is what it says about the basis of Objectivist ethics. Part 2 shows exactly how Objectivists apparently succeed in getting an "ought" (actually, a whole bunch of them) from an "is". It's done by sleight of logic. Christianity by stealth!" (end quote)

The "slight of logic" is more on Ann Barnhardt's part :
From the site you linked to:

[quote] http://blog.eternalvigilance.m...
(Saturday 2 June 2012 at 9:37 AM)

[Xray quoting Ann Barnhardt]

[A. B.] "This is why Christ identified Himself as “The Truth.”
(end quote)

[Xray]:
"It was not “Christ” who identified himself as “The Truth”; it was the writer of the text passage who had this idea and put it down in writing (about 100 years later)." (end quote)

[A. B. ]:
Rand was right — reason is our only absolute, because Reason is God Himself.” (end quote)

[Xray]: If that is the case, I suppose the first thing ‘Reason’ (aka God in your opinon) would throw into the garbage is the irrational human nonsense about original sin, where eating from the tree of knowledge is regarded as a crime against God’s will. Smiling " (end quote) [/quote]

Any attempt to "marry" Objectivism to the Christian religion is futile, donwright ridiculous. It is to argue with epistemological blinders on, ignoring a fundamental premise:
Ayn Rand was an atheist, plain and simple. This is a known fact. A = A.
Suggesting that she was a Christian is fallacious. It is to claim that A = non-A.

Yes, you do learn from the

Leonid's picture

Yes, you do learn from the experience via pleasure-pain that everything pro-life is good and anti-life is bad This is your implicit knowledge. You don't have to learn explicit philosophy to know that it's better to be rich and healthy than poor and sick. In fact many explicit mainstream ethical systems or religions teach the exact opposite. And there is nothing good in pain of the gangrenous toe. What you mean is that pain could be instrumental.

By the time you're on a

Richard Wiig's picture

By the time you're on a salary, you've well and truly gained the knowledge to know if it is good or not. But that is learned. I don't see any implicit knowledge that something is good or bad. A feeling doesn't tell you. Neither a pleasurable feeling, nor a painful one. The pain of a gangrenous toe coming off is actually good, but the pain imparts nothing. The early experience of comfort/discomfort, pleasure and pain, is a lesson in consequences, a lesson that life is real and alternatives exist. That isn't the same as a sense of right and wrong, good and bad. It's one of like and dislike. Naturally a child is going to like the pleasure and dislike the pain.

I didn't

Leonid's picture

"I see what you did there."

I didn't. It is you who constantly make wrong assertions As a philosopher you should be familiar with the logical fallacy of non sequitur and equivocation of agony and life.

Of course it is

Leonid's picture

"There is no implicit knowledge of right and wrong."

Of course it is. Everybody knows implicitly that toothache is bad but salary increase is good even if he never heard about concept of value or life as its standard. What you mean that intrinsic or innate moral knowledge doesn't exist. As for pleasure-pain mechanism-yes, integrated on the conceptual level it becomes a basis of this implicit knowledge. In Objectivism all concepts pertain to reality and reality itself is a pretty good teacher of philosophy. The problem starts only when these naturally acquired concepts clash with explicit anti-life and anti-man philosophy.

There is no implicit

Richard Wiig's picture

There is no implicit knowledge of right and wrong. The child does not know what a value is until it has learned what a value is. It senses comfort and discomfort, pleasure and pain. It likes one and dislikes the other, but there is no inherent morality in either. It dislikes and recoils from many things that are actually good for it and morally good and vice-versa. That's why children need to be disciplined on a reasonable basis throughout their young lives.

I see what you did there

Richard Goode's picture

I see what you did there

You are pretty good as a clown. Don't you miss your real vocation?

Do you mean my true vocation? As a philosopher, I see what you did there.

"I was probably wrong to

Leonid's picture

"I was probably wrong to conclude that the decision is pre-values. It is definitely pre-moral though"

It sounds like a separation of values from morality. You could be right if by morality you mean an explicit philosophical system. But my understanding of morality is much wider, it includes the implicit knowledge of right and wrong, acquired by integration of perceptual experiences and such a knowledge cannot be separated from values.

"Agony is a process of

Leonid's picture

"Agony is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action."

You are pretty good as a clown. Don't you miss your real vocation?

As I said, Leonid, I was

Richard Wiig's picture

As I said, Leonid, I was probably wrong to conclude that the decision is pre-values. It is definitely pre-moral though. It cannot be any other way.

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