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Subject: The best anti-atheism argument I've seen so far: rss

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Ed Bradley
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Ayn Rand and her odious "philosophy".

The rise of Paul Ryan has led to a bit of examination over here of this author. Oh dear oh dear oh dear.

That you, in the US, have serious politicians and figures like Greenspan taking this hack seriously, REALLY SERIOUSLY, is both alarming and illuminating.

It seems to me that objectivism is basically the diametric opposite of communism. Yet the axis of symmetry is around a shared contempt for certain strata of society and a desire for totalitarian solutions. A serious implementation of this amoral philosophy would be pretty much my definition of hell on earth: A return to feudal serfdom for the masses is the best it can surely offer.
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Boaty McBoatface
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I also note that she still wanted what she did for a living protected. The old bullshit of I want to do unto others what I don't want them to be able to do to me.

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chaendlmaier wrote:
I agree that Rand's "philosophy" and the elevation of selfishness as a virtue are practically the definition of evil. Its fans are usually quick to point out its positive side effects, but these only serve as selling points to fool the easily impressed.

However, while for Rand, objectivism and religion are mutually exclusive, this usually isn't the case for fans of the philosophy in the USA, one of the by its own declaration most religious countries in the world. For example, Ron Paul answered the question of whether he would let a patient unable to pay for medical treatment die with "no ... the churches will take care of him".


Thus also meaning that people will have to turn to churches in time of need. Thus being I would have thought the antithisis of what Rand woud want.
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Objectivism, the pro-ana movement for sociopaths.
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Phil Standen
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Much like religion has a number of different points of view, I don't think all atheists agree that objectivism is a universal truth.

Therefore, I don't think it is a good anti-atheism argument.

Unless you would also allow The WBC to be considered as a good anti-theism argument?

Might be a good, "don't be an arsehole" argument though.
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Ed Bradley
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phil_standen wrote:
Much like religion has a number of different points of view, I don't think all atheists agree that objectivism is a universal truth.


Well, yes, obviously

phil_standen wrote:
Therefore, I don't think it is a good anti-atheism argument.


I didn't say it was a good argument. I said it was the best one I'd yet seen. Subtle difference

phil_standen wrote:
Unless you would also allow The WBC to be considered as a good anti-theism argument?

Might be a good, "don't be an arsehole" argument though.


I have no opinion on the World Boardgame Championship either way. . .
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Fwing wrote:

phil_standen wrote:
Therefore, I don't think it is a good anti-atheism argument.


I didn't say it was a good argument. I said it was the best one I'd yet seen. Subtle difference


Well there are some good arguments, so I used the magic of strict order. :-p
 
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Eric Knauer
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chaendlmaier wrote:
I agree that Rand's "philosophy" and the elevation of selfishness as a virtue are practically the definition of evil. Its fans are usually quick to point out its positive side effects, but these only serve as selling points to fool the easily impressed.


Although I disagree with some of her ideas especially on government, I consider myself a fan.

On "selfishness", Rand said:

In popular usage, the word “selfishness” is a synonym of evil; the image it conjures is of a murderous brute who tramples over piles of corpses to achieve his own ends, who cares for no living being and pursues nothing but the gratification of the mindless whims of any immediate moment.

Yet the exact meaning and dictionary definition of the word “selfishness” is: concern with one’s own interests.

This concept does not include a moral evaluation; it does not tell us whether concern with one’s own interests is good or evil; nor does it tell us what constitutes man’s actual interests. It is the task of ethics to answer such questions.


Assuming you haven't sold off or given away all of your possessions to give to the poor who surely need it more than you, would you say you are concerned with your own interests from time to time?

Quote:
However, while for Rand, objectivism and religion are mutually exclusive, this usually isn't the case for fans of the philosophy in the USA, one of the by its own declaration most religious countries in the world. For example, Ron Paul answered the question of whether he would let a patient unable to pay for medical treatment die with "no ... the churches will take care of him".


On one hand, Paul may be making an argument that the poor would have better health care in a private system and some economists such as Milton Friedman have argued that same, my hunch is that Paul was influenced by Rand's concept of rights that rest of the alleged totalitarian idea of voluntary consent found in the Declaration of Independence.
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Ed Bradley
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eknauer wrote:


Although I disagree with some of her ideas especially on government, I consider myself a fan.



She only seems to have one view of government though: that of the totalitarian tyranny as was visited upon her family in the Russian revolution.
And her prescription seems to be the exact same totalitarian tyranny, just with the victims and perpetrators reversed.
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Eric Knauer
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Fwing wrote:
eknauer wrote:


Although I disagree with some of her ideas especially on government, I consider myself a fan.



She only seems to have one view of government though: that of the totalitarian tyranny as was visited upon her family in the Russian revolution.
And her prescription seems to be the exact same totalitarian tyranny, just with the victims and perpetrators reversed.


Her prescription is the protection of rights:

The source of the government’s authority is “the consent of the governed.” This means that the government is not the ruler, but the servant or agent of the citizens; it means that the government as such has no rights except the rights delegated to it by the citizens for a specific purpose....

...The only proper purpose of a government is to protect man’s rights, which means: to protect him from physical violence. A proper government is only a policeman, acting as an agent of man’s self-defense, and, as such, may resort to force only against those who start the use of force. The only proper functions of a government are: the police, to protect you from criminals; the army, to protect you from foreign invaders; and the courts, to protect your property and contracts from breach or fraud by others...




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Are some of you people saying that self-interest is evil? Or is it evil only when Ayn Rand speaks of it and not when Richard Dawkins speaks of it? I'm not sure why Rand keeps coming up as an object of derision among Europeans.

Maybe ya'll need to use a dictionary when you read her books.
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Ed Bradley
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eknauer wrote:
Fwing wrote:
eknauer wrote:


Although I disagree with some of her ideas especially on government, I consider myself a fan.



She only seems to have one view of government though: that of the totalitarian tyranny as was visited upon her family in the Russian revolution.
And her prescription seems to be the exact same totalitarian tyranny, just with the victims and perpetrators reversed.


Her prescription is the protection of rights:

The source of the government’s authority is “the consent of the governed.” This means that the government is not the ruler, but the servant or agent of the citizens; it means that the government as such has no rights except the rights delegated to it by the citizens for a specific purpose....

...The only proper purpose of a government is to protect man’s rights, which means: to protect him from physical violence. A proper government is only a policeman, acting as an agent of man’s self-defense, and, as such, may resort to force only against those who start the use of force. The only proper functions of a government are: the police, to protect you from criminals; the army, to protect you from foreign invaders; and the courts, to protect your property and contracts from breach or fraud by others...






The standard libertarian stance then. I realise Rand is more or less the basis for that.

It's too reductive for me. And it's the views of someone who saw mob rule, the modern day Terror, and decided all governments work that way. Unfortunately that mob WAS acting with the consent of the governed. At least the majority of them.
Much as the communist revolution in Russia was a radical phenomenon brought about by an extreme situation, Rand's reductiveness is too radical a response for my tastes.

A properly run government should act like a union of the people to my mind. As far as I can tell, Rand doesn't believe a government can be properly controlled so it must be emasculated to the point of being non-threatening to anyone, ever.
Much like laissez-faire or Austrian-style economics, deciding something is too difficult/impossible (controlling the government or economy) therefore we shouldn't even bother trying seems like defeatism to me. Perhaps it was true a century ago. I think it's less true now.
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DWTripp wrote:
Are some of you people saying that self-interest is evil? Or is it evil only when Ayn Rand speaks of it and not when Richard Dawkins speaks of it? I'm not sure why Rand keeps coming up as an object of derision among Europeans.

Maybe ya'll need to use a dictionary when you read her books.


Or look in mirror when making "selfish" decisions.
 
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Ed Bradley
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DWTripp wrote:
Are some of you people saying that self-interest is evil? Or is it evil only when Ayn Rand speaks of it and not when Richard Dawkins speaks of it? I'm not sure why Rand keeps coming up as an object of derision among Europeans.

Maybe ya'll need to use a dictionary when you read her books.


Well nobody is saying it so you can relax.
Where does Dawkins espouse anything like Rand's objectivism?

She comes up as an object of derision for her:
- morally bankrupt philosophy.
- laughable hypocrisy.
- shitty books.

Happy to help.
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Eric Knauer
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Fwing wrote:
eknauer wrote:
Fwing wrote:
eknauer wrote:


Although I disagree with some of her ideas especially on government, I consider myself a fan.



She only seems to have one view of government though: that of the totalitarian tyranny as was visited upon her family in the Russian revolution.
And her prescription seems to be the exact same totalitarian tyranny, just with the victims and perpetrators reversed.


Her prescription is the protection of rights:

The source of the government’s authority is “the consent of the governed.” This means that the government is not the ruler, but the servant or agent of the citizens; it means that the government as such has no rights except the rights delegated to it by the citizens for a specific purpose....

...The only proper purpose of a government is to protect man’s rights, which means: to protect him from physical violence. A proper government is only a policeman, acting as an agent of man’s self-defense, and, as such, may resort to force only against those who start the use of force. The only proper functions of a government are: the police, to protect you from criminals; the army, to protect you from foreign invaders; and the courts, to protect your property and contracts from breach or fraud by others...






The standard libertarian stance then. I realise Rand is more or less the basis for that.

It's too reductive for me. And it's the views of someone who saw mob rule, the modern day Terror, and decided all governments work that way. Unfortunately that mob WAS acting with the consent of the governed. At least the majority of them.
Much as the communist revolution in Russia was a radical phenomenon brought about by an extreme situation, Rand's reductiveness is too radical a response for my tastes.

A properly run government should act like a union of the people to my mind. As far as I can tell, Rand doesn't believe a government can be properly controlled so it must be emasculated to the point of being non-threatening to anyone, ever.
Much like laissez-faire or Austrian-style economics, deciding something is too difficult/impossible (controlling the government or economy) therefore we shouldn't even bother trying seems like defeatism to me. Perhaps it was true a century ago. I think it's less true now.



Rather than reductive, I believe she is just being consistent based on her ethics and how individuals ought to deal with each other:

The basic political principle of the Objectivist ethics is: no man may initiate the use of physical force against others. No man—or group or society or government—has the right to assume the role of a criminal and initiate the use of physical compulsion against any man. Men have the right to use physical force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use. The ethical principle involved is simple and clear-cut: it is the difference between murder and self-defense...

... Men are free to cooperate or not, to deal with one another or not, as their own individual judgments, convictions, and interests dictate. They can deal with one another only in terms of and by means of reason, i.e., by means of discussion, persuasion, and contractual agreement, by voluntary choice to mutual benefit.
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chaendlmaier wrote:
DWTripp wrote:
Are some of you people saying that self-interest is evil?

No, I said "elevation of selfishness as a virtue" is evil. Everyone's concerned about oneself, but to say that it's the only thing that ought to matter is taking things a tiny bit further.


She even went as far as saying that putting others' welfare above your own was evil. Seriously fucked up stuff.
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chaendlmaier wrote:
DWTripp wrote:
Are some of you people saying that self-interest is evil?

No, I said "elevation of selfishness as a virtue" is evil. Everyone's concerned about oneself, but to say that it's the only thing that ought to matter is taking things a tiny bit further.

eknauer wrote:
Assuming you haven't sold off or given away all of your possessions to give to the poor who surely need it more than you, would you say you are concerned with your own interests from time to time?

Funny you should ask that, because just yesterday I've sold off my motorcycle because I'm broke.


A selfish decision of course.
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rshipley wrote:
chaendlmaier wrote:
DWTripp wrote:
Are some of you people saying that self-interest is evil?

No, I said "elevation of selfishness as a virtue" is evil. Everyone's concerned about oneself, but to say that it's the only thing that ought to matter is taking things a tiny bit further.


She even went as far as saying that putting others' welfare above your own was evil. Seriously fucked up stuff.


More misrepresentation:

PLAYBOY: Would it be against the principles of Objectivism for anyone to sacrifice himself by stepping in front of a bullet to protect another person?

RAND: No. It depends on the circumstances. I would step in the way of a bullet if it were aimed at my husband. It is not self-sacrifice to die protecting that which you value: If the value is great enough, you do not care to exist without it. This applies to any alleged sacrifice for those one loves.
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rshipley wrote:
chaendlmaier wrote:
DWTripp wrote:
Are some of you people saying that self-interest is evil?

No, I said "elevation of selfishness as a virtue" is evil. Everyone's concerned about oneself, but to say that it's the only thing that ought to matter is taking things a tiny bit further.


She even went as far as saying that putting others' welfare above your own was evil. Seriously fucked up stuff.


This is what I'm talking about.
Everybody acts in their own self interest. Calling altruism "immoral" is taking it way too far.

I did get a chuckle when I read she insisted her disciples all smoke as "it symbolises man's mastery over fire" and studies linking it to cancer were all communist propaganda. That sounds more like something made up to me though.
 
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eknauer wrote:
rshipley wrote:
chaendlmaier wrote:
DWTripp wrote:
Are some of you people saying that self-interest is evil?

No, I said "elevation of selfishness as a virtue" is evil. Everyone's concerned about oneself, but to say that it's the only thing that ought to matter is taking things a tiny bit further.


She even went as far as saying that putting others' welfare above your own was evil. Seriously fucked up stuff.


More misrepresentation:

PLAYBOY: Would it be against the principles of Objectivism for anyone to sacrifice himself by stepping in front of a bullet to protect another person?

RAND: No. It depends on the circumstances. I would step in the way of a bullet if it were aimed at my husband. It is not self-sacrifice to die protecting that which you value: If the value is great enough, you do not care to exist without it. This applies to any alleged sacrifice for those one loves.


Is there a link to a transcript of this interview? If not when did it take place?
 
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Fwing wrote:
DWTripp wrote:
Are some of you people saying that self-interest is evil? Or is it evil only when Ayn Rand speaks of it and not when Richard Dawkins speaks of it? I'm not sure why Rand keeps coming up as an object of derision among Europeans.

Maybe ya'll need to use a dictionary when you read her books.


Well nobody is saying it so you can relax.
Where does Dawkins espouse anything like Rand's objectivism?

She comes up as an object of derision for her:
- morally bankrupt philosophy.
- laughable hypocrisy.
- shitty books.

Happy to help.


Dawkins has often said he thinks any society based on evolutionary principles would be the worst thing he could imagine. Atheism is a matter of what someone thinks is true and has nothing to do with anything else really. Humanism is a common philosophy for atheists though, hardly what Rand is promoting.

In the US the idea a political party is linked to religion is quite unusual in the Western world. In the UK and most of Europe an atheist or theist could have any political belief.
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eknauer wrote:
rshipley wrote:
chaendlmaier wrote:
DWTripp wrote:
Are some of you people saying that self-interest is evil?

No, I said "elevation of selfishness as a virtue" is evil. Everyone's concerned about oneself, but to say that it's the only thing that ought to matter is taking things a tiny bit further.


She even went as far as saying that putting others' welfare above your own was evil. Seriously fucked up stuff.


More misrepresentation:

PLAYBOY: Would it be against the principles of Objectivism for anyone to sacrifice himself by stepping in front of a bullet to protect another person?

RAND: No. It depends on the circumstances. I would step in the way of a bullet if it were aimed at my husband. It is not self-sacrifice to die protecting that which you value: If the value is great enough, you do not care to exist without it. This applies to any alleged sacrifice for those one loves.


Not misrepresentation at all. She only allows for "sacrifice" when it isn't sacrifice at all, but merely selfishness.

According to her, if I see a child I do not know coming to harm, but doing something about it would put myself at risk, I should just let it happen. She espousees cowardice and calls it virtue.
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It's as if the Rand haters have never actually read a book by Rand. Instead, they've read blogs, journals and articles by published Rand haters who ignored 99% of what she postulated and then twisted the 1% they could comprehend into something easier to hate.

I hope none of you have student loans. Because if you do, you got seriously fucked over on the whole education thing.
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rshipley wrote:
eknauer wrote:
rshipley wrote:
chaendlmaier wrote:
DWTripp wrote:
Are some of you people saying that self-interest is evil?

No, I said "elevation of selfishness as a virtue" is evil. Everyone's concerned about oneself, but to say that it's the only thing that ought to matter is taking things a tiny bit further.


She even went as far as saying that putting others' welfare above your own was evil. Seriously fucked up stuff.


More misrepresentation:

PLAYBOY: Would it be against the principles of Objectivism for anyone to sacrifice himself by stepping in front of a bullet to protect another person?

RAND: No. It depends on the circumstances. I would step in the way of a bullet if it were aimed at my husband. It is not self-sacrifice to die protecting that which you value: If the value is great enough, you do not care to exist without it. This applies to any alleged sacrifice for those one loves.


Not misrepresentation at all. She only allows for "sacrifice" when it isn't sacrifice at all, but merely selfishness.

According to her, if I see a child I do not know coming to harm, but doing something about it would put myself at risk, I should just let it happen. She espousees cowardice and calls it virtue.


The human emotion to help others and have empathy is hard wired into us. People who do not have that suffer in society and are considered mentally deficient(Sociopaths)

Our own survival depends on it so it's selfish in that respect. It is a selfish response that appears to give an unselfish decision.
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DWTripp wrote:
It's as if the Rand haters have never actually read a book by Rand. Instead, they've read blogs, journals and articles by published Rand haters who ignored 99% of what she postulated and then twisted the 1% they could comprehend into something easier to hate.

I hope none of you have student loans. Because if you do, you got seriously fucked over on the whole education thing.


Oh look another anti-intellectual screed from Tripp. Was someone with a degree really rude to you one time?

If we're all missing 99% of Rand's postulations it shouldn't take more than a minute or two for one of her fans here to put is all on the right track, right?

Let's hear it.
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