Re: virus: Re: The saga continues!

Tim Rhodes (
Sun, 14 Sep 1997 23:21:53 -0700 (PDT)

On Sat, 13 Sep 1997, Nathaniel Hall wrote:

> Prof. Tim wrote:
> > Ahhh... not so, grasshopper! See our first axiom: "the universe in
> > non-objective." If a contradiction is *NOT* found, it must therefore
> > have
> > an explination other than that the universe is objective.
> Why must it be so? Do you keep the axiom regardless of the evidence to
> the contrary?

You do if you're an Objectivist! :-)

But really... in an axiomatic system the axioms are not open to question.
Thus A=A cannot be held up to scrutiny with the axiomatic system of
Objectivism. (And the point of my counter-example.) And that is my
primary disagreement with Objectivism. It overlooks whole realms of
understanding, sacrificing them at the alter of its axioms. These realms
my seem of little interest to you, but I'm sure the implications of a
rounded planet were of little interest to the Flat-Earthers as well.

> An axiom is something which one takes as a given. Something which does
> not need to be proved. However the universe does not care what you
> choose to think of as an axiom. It has some kind of axiom that one must
> figure out.

The universe doesn't give #@%$ about axioms, Nateman, it has much better
things to do with its time. Axioms are human creations, nothing more.
And they retain many of the same failing of all human creations.

> You have two choices :do contradictions exist or do
> contradictions not exist.

There are always more than two choices. You may be denied access to some
of them by your own choice of words, however.

> If one assumes contradictions do exist as in
> the thought experiment one needs go no further. Reason , logic argument
> is all pointless. One doesn't have to make sense. Anything goes.

This is a VERY IMPORTANT POINT! And you have failed to make it
convincingly, Nateman!!!

Why? If one assumes contradictions can exist, /why/ is reason pointless?
(Ever heard of fuzzy logic?) Why doesn't one have to make sense? Why
does anything go?

These are non-sequiters and they employ the same thinking that Christians
use when they say, "If there's no God, one needs go no further. Reason,
logic, hope, it's all pointless! One doesn't need to have ethics. If
there is no God anything goes!"

Why does the objectivity or non-objectivity of the universe imply these
conclusions any more than the presence (or not) of a "God"?

> However if one takes the axiom that contradictions can't exist you have
> some work ahead of you.

Indeed, especially since the real world is full of contradictions (at
least the world I live in, I can't speak for yours).

> > Where is your proof that this axiomatic system is non-contradictory?
> But it is contradictory. By its very nature.

Again, that is not a proof. I say "A=A is contradictory by its very
nature". Does that make it so? Why do you get to pull axioms out of your
ass and I can't mine? ;-)

> > Not that I don't want you to find it, mind you. If you prove that
> > my anti-thesis is non-contradictory I've won.
> Then you lose. It's contradictory from the beginning.

Not *internally*. And that's all an axiomatic system is ever good for,
internal consistency. Nothing more. Whether that internal consistency
jives with the rest of the universe is always (you guessed it) subjective.

> > The first axiom is, "the
> > universe is non-objective" and if that is non-contradictory then why
> > are
> > you an Objectivist, hmmm?
> Where do you get this idea that I claim a non-objective universe is
> non-contradictory? Did I screw up somewhere and not notice it?

Axiomatic systems theory again. Sorry if I went into an area you weren't
familiar with. I assumed (wrongly) that most Objectivists are experts in
axioms and the proofs derived from them. That was my experience last time
I argued with an Objectivist (you know who you are!). I'm sorry if I
jumped ahead on an assumption. I'll go slower...

Your axiom: "A = A"

My axiom: "A may or may not = A"

As you point out above, "an axiom is something one takes as given". Why
should we take *your* given over mine?

> let me state my axioms to make my view clear:1)The universe is Objective
> 2)Scientists perform experiments which are meaningful.

I have no doubt that these are your axioms. And I give them *exactly* the
same weight as a Christians axioms: 1) God exists. 2) God works in
peoples lives.

Now, just because you have this nifty set of axioms, why should I think
yours are any more valid than the Christians?

> > I knew a fellow that had a dream about a snake eating its own tail...
> > I
> > wonder what ever became of that fellow?
> He came up with the Idea of the Benzene ring. Funny you should mention
> that. I thought of that fellow as I was typing that out. He did not
> perform a valid experiment in his dream though did he? Just came up with
> a decent Idea to explain the results of some experiments.

Such is the stuff of dreams--coming up with decent ideas to explain the
results of experiments. So of us call that dream Scientific Theories,

> > And just because you assume A=A does not make it so! (Look out,
> > Nateman,
> > the hill starts to get slippery around these parts.)
> This is so. But it is true regardless. It's axiomatic. Truly axiomatic
> and not just something that I claim to be so.


Ahem,... really, Nateman. You don't say?

> If you think that 2 + 2 =
> 5 in your heart of hearts I'm at a loss as how to show you the error of
> your ways but I know you'd be wrong!

Same's true of A=A. But I love you regardless of your faults. :-)

> Define what you mean by Non-Objective and I'll tell you. My definition
> of Non-Objective is that Contradictions can exist. Perhaps this is where
> the confusion between us is coming from.

I'm not sure I understand, why does objective mean "without
contradiction"? Please explain.

And Nateman, read the following and imagine I said it to *you* about the
Objectivist's axioms I was trying to deny:

> This is a clever trick. By taking your foundation as an undeniable idea
> (axiom) I'm supposed to show the idea (axiom) is deniable. Of course I
> can't show it given those conditions. But the axiom is wrong in the
> first place and I don't need to work within it! If you cannot believe
> that seeing is believing nothing I say is going to convince you
> anyway.By making me work within your axiom you make me accept the very
> idea I do not accept. I'm on to you now. You can only trick me for so
> long!

See the rub?

How long are you going to let yourself be tricked?

Prof. Tim