Steam and Religion

Rick Giles's picture
Submitted by Rick Giles on Thu, 2006-04-13 11:41

Rev Watergrave
As a spin-off from talking about The Root of All Evil, Richard Dawkins' new television documentary, the Julian Pistorius blog has called me out on my views on religion.

My respect for religion is like my admiration for a well-made steam engine. It's great what it can do, we're more powerful with it than with nothing in its place BUT it has been supplanted and the new way is better. But Julian comes back with...

The Necessity of Destroying Iran

jtgagnon's picture
Submitted by jtgagnon on Thu, 2006-04-13 03:27

Whatever one's views on the use of anticipatory self-defense against Iran, it is becoming increasingly clear (but apparently not to all) that action MUST be taken. President Bush once referred to Ahmadinejad as an "odd guy." That is an understatement on every level. Ensconced on the throne of Islam's shining star, Ahmadinejad's rhetoric is not merely inflammatory - he's backing it up with actions. He is, simply put, a fanatacist - a member of an obscure Shi'ite sect that eagerly awaits Armageddon and the appearance of the 12th Imam. Fueled by such irrational beliefs, this "odd guy" will employ whatever methods necessary to legitimize his utterly absurd beliefs.

Recent Comments:
Not a clue... — by jtgagnon on Wed, 2006-04-19 05:28
I've just realised that this — by Duncan Bayne on Wed, 2006-04-19 04:29
Kenny, if you were to apply — by Duncan Bayne on Tue, 2006-04-18 23:52

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Review of Robert Campbell's JARS Essay

Dan Edge's picture
Submitted by Dan Edge on Wed, 2006-04-12 21:08

This blog entry is a review of Robert Campbell's essay Ayn Rand and the Cognitive Revolution in Psychology. Mr. Campbell provided a link to this essay in another thread, encouraging review.

Recent Comments:
Tell Them to Come Back — by Kyrel Zantonavitch on Tue, 2017-11-14 02:12
Kyrel — by Neil Parille on Sun, 2017-11-12 18:38
Dan Edge... — by Olivia on Sun, 2017-11-12 06:59

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Muslims get tits in a tangle

Peter Cresswell's picture
Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Wed, 2006-04-12 20:30

A new Muslim-sensitive edition of Playboy has appeared in the world's most populous Muslim nation that should please all the local and international idiots who favour wowserish puritanism for Muslim women -- the just-launched Indonesian edition lifts the burqah on "midriffs, thighs and cleavage," but contains no nudity. None at all. I swear I am not making this up.

Recent Comments:
Who ripped the pics out, dammit? — by Rowlf on Fri, 2006-04-14 06:15
Grizzlies — by Rick Giles on Thu, 2006-04-13 10:11
*I'm* not grizzling about — by Ross Elliot on Thu, 2006-04-13 02:35

A movie about the mind, apparently

Peter Cresswell's picture
Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Wed, 2006-04-12 20:28

Let me introduce you to a film in which the contradictions are apparently all worth it.

A teen-flick that celebrates intelligence.
A film in which Kim Basinger wins out by the use of her mind.
A thriller in which cellphones and technology star, and in which the mind comes out victorious over muscle.

Thrilling stuff, huh? Sounds like it to me too, and I know nothing more about it than what I've read here, and that it's called Cellular.

LINK: The digital divide: It's not the money stupid - Owen McShane, NBR

Recent Comments:
Life is 'cellular' nowadays...dude — by Rowlf on Sat, 2006-04-15 04:46

Celebrating those charming Easter rituals

Peter Cresswell's picture
Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Wed, 2006-04-12 20:26

Every year at Easter we celebrate sacrifice with time-honoured rituals that go to the heart of who we are as a society. This year will be no exception.

Recent Comments:
mmmm...sacrilicious.... — by JoeM on Sun, 2006-04-16 14:32
Closed — by Kenny on Sun, 2006-04-16 13:44
Shop Trading Restrictions are a Human Rights Issue — by Sandi on Fri, 2006-04-14 01:11

Is it true that the government that governs best, governs least?

Peter Cresswell's picture
Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Wed, 2006-04-12 20:18

'The Government that Governs Best, Governs Least.' That's true, but it's not the whole truth -- which just shows you how reliable bumper-sticker philosophy can be. What's missing from that analysis is what gets too many libertarians confused.

Recent Comments:
Size is important — by Kenny on Thu, 2006-04-13 13:48

Meeting Nathaniel Branden

William E. Perry's picture
Submitted by William E. Perry on Wed, 2006-04-12 16:03

The first time I met Nathaniel Branden was at the 1998 Summer Seminar of what was then called the Institute for Objectivist Studies. IOS later became The Objectivist Center. George H. Smith took me to an area of the common room in which Branden was talking to a few people. He introduced me to him.

I had recently read Judgment Day. At that point his revised version was about to be released as My Years with Ayn Rand. I asked Branden why he had to revise the book. He told me that he had made mistakes as to details, and that others had corrected him. He felt the need to make those corrections. I found out later that many of the corrections had come from Barbara Branden.

Recent Comments:
Correction: Authors of emails not known — by 0 on Mon, 2008-01-14 10:56
'masks', Disorders...and gossip — by Rowlf on Fri, 2006-04-21 08:02
Sub-personalities — by eg on Thu, 2006-04-20 23:49

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If you love cars you are up against a global conspiracy to destroy your spirit. You must rebel.

Marcus's picture
Submitted by Marcus on Wed, 2006-04-12 13:13

Jeremy Clarkson, host of "Top Gear", socks it to the current culture of enviro-"mentalism".

Recent Comments:
Top Gear's Top Man — by Kenny on Thu, 2006-04-13 22:49
I adore Clarkeson — by Sandi on Thu, 2006-04-13 02:41
Thanks Tim — by Marcus on Wed, 2006-04-12 22:15

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Greetings All

Sandi's picture
Submitted by Sandi on Wed, 2006-04-12 03:07

I apologise for posting prior to saying "Hello".

This wonderful site is just so full of great stuff, and it is taking me some time to learn how to navigate around it all.

Anyhow, here is me, from New Zealand and I really look forward to some wonderful discussions, debate and indeed to be able to poke a bit of fun into the orrifice of the great global village - now and then.


Recent Comments:
Yes, I am of good Scots — by Ross Elliot on Mon, 2006-04-17 04:37
Sorry Ross — by Kenny on Sun, 2006-04-16 12:42
Kenny, directly above my — by Ross Elliot on Sat, 2006-04-15 23:19

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Self-Love as a Prime Mover

Dan Edge's picture
Submitted by Dan Edge on Wed, 2006-04-12 00:25


I love my life. And I don't just mean life in general, but my life in particular. I love my name, the particulars of my body, my voice, I love the fact that I'm a man, my taste in music, my hometown, my local football team, pretty much everything that makes me distinctly who I am. I would not want to trade my face with anyone, even someone better looking than me. I love my consciousness, and my body's particular physical manifestation in reality.

All of these distinguishing characteristics are morally neutral. It is no more ethical to be male or female, to root for the Panthers or the Redskins, to have green eyes or brown eyes, to be from Greenville, SC or somewhere else. One may ask: On what basis can one value his particular distinguishing characteristics more highly than any other possible combination? There are no absolute standards of judgment in this morally optional realm. My simple answer: Self-love is a prime mover.

Recent Comments:
Football — by Kenny on Thu, 2006-04-13 20:50
Washington Capitals for me — by Lanza Morio on Wed, 2006-04-12 07:28

Evil and Evil-doers

Rick Giles's picture
Submitted by Rick Giles on Tue, 2006-04-11 14:15

I believe in evil, you should too, here's why.

All our actions are goal-directed actions. Open the window because you want some fresh air. Go to work to earn some money. But what goal does fresh air and money achieve? Is there some final goal that all the little actions and little goals are a means to? Yes there is, and that's living. Living is an end in itself for us.

Recent Comments:
For sure — by Rick Giles on Wed, 2006-04-12 07:43
I, personally, am very much — by Andrew Bissell on Wed, 2006-04-12 07:20

Immigration Plus Welfare State Equal Police State

George Reisman's picture
Submitted by George Reisman on Tue, 2006-04-11 12:20

Illegal immigrants are overwhelming the resources of the Welfare State: government–funded hospital emergency rooms are filled with them; public schools are filled with their children. On the basis of such complaints, many people are angry and want to close the border to new illegal immigrants and deport those who are already here.

They want to keep new illegal immigrants out with fences along the border. It is not clear whether the fences would contain intermittent watchtowers with searchlights and machine guns. The illegal immigrants who are already here would be ferreted out by threatening anyone who employed them with severe penalties and making it a criminal offense not to report them.

Recent Comments:
I agree — by Kenny on Thu, 2006-04-13 21:02

Come on, TOCians! :-)

Lindsay Perigo's picture
Submitted by Lindsay Perigo on Tue, 2006-04-11 05:30

Getting KASS commentary out of you may be blood-out-of-stone territory, but at least LEARN TO SPELL!

My attention has been drawn to your updated Links. My spelling corrections and other helpful suggestions are in square brackets:


The Cato Institute -- The primier libertarian think tank. [That's "prEmier," darlings!]

Institute for Justice -- An activist group that goes to court to defend individual liberty.

Competitive Enterprise Institute -- Free-market activists who focus on regulations and environmental policy.

The Bidinotto Blog -- Run by The New Individualist editor Robert Bidinotto. [Objectivism's primier guttersnipe-buster! Wheeeee!]

Recent Comments:
SOLO conference suggestion — by Kenny on Thu, 2006-04-13 13:37
Blimey! — by Lindsay Perigo on Wed, 2006-04-12 16:08
Revisions to Links — by James Heaps-Nelson on Wed, 2006-04-12 15:08

Schools of Economics

Rick Giles's picture
Submitted by Rick Giles on Tue, 2006-04-11 03:46

I think most bloggers know there are many schools of politics. These we like to place on "the political spectrum." (recent writings on my reguard for the utility of that here)

Most everybody knows there are different schools of theology, from Buddhism to Christianity to Wicca. Many people know there are different schools of dance, different schools of psychology, of philosophy, of music, of physics. But did you know there were different schools of economics? It is so.

Recent Comments:
Fair call — by Rick Giles on Tue, 2006-04-11 22:56
Yes — by Kenny on Tue, 2006-04-11 18:02
Re-education — by Rick Giles on Tue, 2006-04-11 08:51

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Death to hate speech

Rick Giles's picture
Submitted by Rick Giles on Mon, 2006-04-10 04:27

Perigio makes bedfellows-- Click to enlarge

Recent Comments:
Updated this image from — by Rick Giles on Wed, 2007-06-06 08:30
That's better — by Rick Giles on Fri, 2007-02-23 12:07
The rights of man — by Rick Giles on Sun, 2006-04-23 10:01

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The coming strike on Iran

Pete L's picture
Submitted by Pete L on Mon, 2006-04-10 03:43

For those who follow the rublings of the Pentagon, and the recent public statements of neoconservative officials and pundits, it is well known by now that the critical mass is gathering to carry out a military strike against Iran. The lessons of the American experience in Iraq seem to have to eliminated the scenario of carrying out a full scale ground invasion and subsequent occupation (especially when you consider that Iran is three times the size of Iraq in both size and population). Instead, air strikes on suspected nuke sites and other strategic assetts seems to the modus operandi put forth. Regime change, while desirable, seems more likely to come about by arming dissident groups (similar to what happened in Afghanistan).

Recent Comments:
Pete... — by jtgagnon on Mon, 2006-04-17 04:53
I'm back now... — by Pete L on Mon, 2006-04-17 01:08
Sandi & jtgagnon, I'm — by Pete L on Fri, 2006-04-14 04:04

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A reminder that we're still at war with barbarism

Peter Cresswell's picture
Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Sun, 2006-04-09 20:44

Death to Marxism! Death to Fascism! Death to Islam! Death to all forms of tyranny over the minds of men! And shame on those who would appease or apologise for the evils these disgusting and barbarous ideas represent.

"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for cowards to appease it - and Islam is the locus of evil in the contemporary world." If that statement from The Free Radical's Lindsay Perigo is not true, then the death and destruction of September 11 did not happen; then Theo van Gogh was not murdered; then the Danish cartoonists are not in hiding in fear of their lives; then hordes of stone-age barbarians did not take to the streets in reaction against those cartoons to say "Europe, you will have your own Holocaust soon," "Behead those who would insult Islam" and "God Bless Hitler"; then Bali, Madrid and London were not bombed by maggots who show those threats need to be taken very seriously indeed.

It's still not clear to some people that war was declared in the name of Islam some five years ago by representatives from the dark ages who hate the West for its wealth, for its happiness and for its material success. This post is yet another reminder for those people.

Recent Comments:
I'm all ears — by Rick Giles on Sun, 2006-04-16 04:20
Spoon Feeding, Rick Giles — by Wayne Simmons on Sat, 2006-04-15 18:27
Muslims from your "Muslims" — by Rick Giles on Sat, 2006-04-15 03:10

Perigo smeared

Peter Cresswell's picture
Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Sun, 2006-04-09 20:44

A local blogger has attacked Lindsay Perigo's 'Death to Islam' editorial as "bigotry" and "hate speech."

Recent Comments:
Well it's obvious the real — by gregster on Tue, 2007-07-10 04:52
Wow — by Andrew Bissell on Mon, 2006-04-10 01:55
You have at best — by Utility Belt on Mon, 2006-04-10 00:45

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Binswanger on Immigration

AdamReed's picture
Submitted by AdamReed on Sun, 2006-04-09 20:32

Harry Binswanger has posted to his blog a superb clarification of the ethical and legal issues in immigration. In view of the unhealthy reticence with which this issue is treated by many "libertarians" and wanna-be-"Objectivists," here and elsewhere, go read.

Recent Comments:
We already have open immigration... — by atlascott on Mon, 2007-08-13 16:24
A hypothetical question — by Erik Christensen on Mon, 2007-08-13 03:28
Actually, the Atlasphere Isn't an "Affiliate" of Anyone — by Joshua Zader on Thu, 2006-04-13 19:51

Character psychology, stimulus for development

Landon Erp's picture
Submitted by Landon Erp on Sat, 2006-04-08 23:42

I started this topic on Objectivist Living (and later moved it to Rebirth of Reason)


I've been rereading a book I bought quite a while ago lately. It's called "Comic Writers on Scriptwriting" and it has about a dozen or so interviews with a number of writers.

The writers in this book discuss the particular tricks different writers use. Some go out of their way to bounce ideas off people, others purposely hole themselves up like a hermit while in the creative process etc. But one thing that caught my attention was an interview with former Bat-Title writer Devin Grayson.

Since to make a living as a comic writer you have to write several titles at once (it usually averages out to having to write one or two issues a week of various titles) she has a lot of characters operating in her head. Not in the literal sense mind you, but a big part of her writing is just partitioning part of her mind off to BECOME the characters she's writing, they have their favorite spots to write in and more importantly their favorite music. This works in the sense that in order to be fully functioning as Dick Grayson, Selina Kyle, Natasha Romanav (etc...) she has to follow their musical tastes. She specifically listed how Selina (Catwoman) is kind of a suave smooth sophisticated person who just emanates grace, but oddly she has rather loud tastes in music. You see Selina likes music like Garbage, Alanis Morisette and "all those other rock chics."

Recent Comments:
I totally agree. It always — by Landon Erp on Sun, 2006-04-09 05:43
Music just doesn't stimulate — by Ross Elliot on Sun, 2006-04-09 04:57

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The Ghost of Thomas Jefferson (reprised for Thanksgiving)

Ross Elliot's picture
Submitted by Ross Elliot on Sat, 2006-04-08 10:14

[The Ghost of Thomas Jefferson first appeared on SOLOHQ & in The Free Radical.]


President John Thomas Jefferson Smith turned to his uneasy secret service agents and waved for them to go away, outside, back into the night. He wanted to be left alone, in this dimly lit memorial, in this quiet place.

Recent Comments:
Have you ever tried to get — by Duncan Bayne on Wed, 2006-04-12 05:01
Whoa-eth! — by Prima Donna on Wed, 2006-04-12 04:59
Ah! — by Lindsay Perigo on Wed, 2006-04-12 04:26

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The Romantic Manifesto - Chapter 1: The Psycho-Epistemology of Art

JulianP's picture
Submitted by JulianP on Sat, 2006-04-08 05:28

Hi all,

Recent Comments:
99.99% — by Landon Erp on Sat, 2007-09-15 13:19
There you go! :-) — by Lindsay Perigo on Sat, 2007-09-15 03:33
Gotta agree with Marcus here — by Landon Erp on Fri, 2007-09-14 15:59

SOLO Esthetics

JulianP's picture
Submitted by JulianP on Sat, 2006-04-08 05:13

Welcome to this new SOLO forum, dedicated entirely to Objectivist esthetics. It is long overdue, and I look forward to many enlightening, and stimulating discussions here.

Recent Comments:
I'll say — by Landon Erp on Sat, 2006-04-08 22:12

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On Human Origin

Casey's picture
Submitted by Casey on Sat, 2006-04-08 03:02

The following proposition is a bold one for an amateur, but one which I believe may shed light on the special nature of human beings and perhaps demonstrate that there is, indeed, something special about human origin which is not shared by the rest of the animal kingdom. I must preface this essay with the confession that I am not a trained naturalist, anthropologist or biologist but I have studied these fields avidly from my armchair all of my life. And I'm an atheist, too.

Recent Comments:
Scientific reasoning . . . Objectivist style — by 0 on Tue, 2012-02-14 16:05
Re: Julian Jaynes and the movie "Altered States" — by 0 on Tue, 2012-02-14 14:52
WOW! — by Jules Troy on Tue, 2012-02-14 11:50

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Aquinas and Kant on Masturbation

seddon's picture
Submitted by seddon on Sat, 2006-04-08 02:04

A spectre is haunting the philosophy of sex in the writings of Aquinas and Kant. It is curious, very curious, that Aquinas, Rand’s second favorite philosopher, and Kant, Rand’s least favorite philosopher (he was after all the most evil man in the northern part of southeast Koenigsburg) share a position (no, not the missionary)—masturbation. They’re against it. And there arguments are almost identical. Sex is made for procreation and no matter how good you get at wacking off, you’re not going to procreate. That’s the hard truth. Be erect, and take it like a man. Masturbation is a no-no.

Recent Comments:
Gavin — by seddon on Tue, 2008-08-12 14:29
Gilson — by Gaven on Tue, 2008-08-12 13:14
Gavin — by seddon on Mon, 2008-08-11 15:25

Kant on Belief in God

seddon's picture
Submitted by seddon on Sat, 2006-04-08 01:21

On pp.2-3 of Manfred Kuehn's book KANT: A BIOGRAPHY we read,
"Scheffner [an old friend of Kant's] was only too much aware of Kant's belief that there was nothing to be expected after death. Though in his philosophy he had held out hope for eternal life and a future state, in his personal life he had been cold to such ideas. Scheffner had often heard Kant scoff at prayer and other religious practices. Organized religion filled him with ire. It was clear to anyone who knew Kant personally that he had no faith in a personal God. Having postulated God and immortality, he himself did not believe in either. His considered opinion was that such beliefs were just a matter of "individual needs." Kant himself felt no such need."

Recent Comments:
Neil — by seddon on Mon, 2006-04-10 02:17
Fred — by Neil Parille on Sun, 2006-04-09 23:57
Jefferson — by PhilipC on Sun, 2006-04-09 21:35

Machan's Musings—Teaching versus Preaching

removed's picture
Submitted by removed on Sat, 2006-04-08 01:08

After having taught college for nearly forty years, I can report that a great many teachers use their class rooms to preach, not to teach. (The same is reportedly the case in secondary schooling but I am not qualified to speak to that.)

In the tradition of liberal education, which is what is supposed to guide the profession of teaching, when professors enter the classroom, they are supposed to present to their students facts about the subject matter and, where appropriate, the variety of viewpoints that have gained prominence concerning it. The former approach is mainly associated with the natural sciences, the latter with the humanities and social sciences. Of course, facts are involved in both and even where there are different viewpoints afoot, it doesn’t mean they are all equally sound. But because they have all gained respectability, the professor is not supposed to take sides. He or she is supposed to familiarize students with these prominent perspectives and leave it to the students to decide which position is the most reasonable.

Miniskirts: The Fashion of Freedom takes on Progressive Education

Marnee's picture
Submitted by Marnee on Sat, 2006-04-08 00:40

What does the fashionable and freedom loving girl wear to a protest? Well, take a lesson from 10 year old Zoe Hinkle of Pittsburgh.

This little Dagny Taggart is making a bold fashion statement about her freedom to make choices. But the oh so Progressive School Board says no!

Recent Comments:
Im not advocating young — by Richard Wiig on Sat, 2006-04-08 07:58
Progressives & My Hyperbole — by Marnee on Sat, 2006-04-08 06:02
I know Gene. It was a great — by Jody Gomez on Sat, 2006-04-08 04:53

Open vs. Closed System Theory

Dan Edge's picture
Submitted by Dan Edge on Fri, 2006-04-07 20:32

Open vs Closed System

I am an advocate of Objectivism as a "closed system" of philosophical thought. I've considered this issue from many different angles and degrees of complexity over the years, but now the answer seems surprisingly clear to me. Several years ago, I asked myself the questions: "If I view Objectivism as an open system of thought, then how exactly do I define the term 'Objectivism?' What are the referents of 'Objectivism' in reality?" Based on the open system theory, I found these questions to be unanswerable.

One must have epistemological precision with his concepts, particularly in the study of philosophy. I have found that one of the best ways to deepen my understanding of a subject is to go back and more precisely define concepts relating to that subject. The closed system perspective makes this possible with respect to Objectivism. Assuming a closed system, I can define exactly what Objectivism is, and what its referents are in reality. Objectivism is the philosophy of Ayn Rand.

Recent Comments:
Mike_M said: Imagine that, — by ValueCritic on Sun, 2010-04-11 17:11
'names', Proper-names, and concepts — by Rowlf on Sun, 2006-04-16 05:51
ok then! — by Mike_M on Wed, 2006-04-12 05:06

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