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  1. #1
    gazing from the shadows
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    Is there virtue in selfishness?

    Considering it is "corpse on a stick" day, I thought I would throw some "altruism is evil" fues on the fire:

    "... altruism, the view that self-sacrifice is the moral ideal. She argues that the ultimate moral value, for each human individual, is his or her own well-being. Since selfishness (as she understands it) is serious, rational, principled concern with one's own well-being, it turns out to be a prerequisite for the attainment of the ultimate moral value. For this reason, .... selfishness is a virtue."

    link

    So, happy corpse on a stick day!
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  2. #2
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    Wink

    I just hope we the living on this board can shrug off your anthem of this being corpse on a stick day and that whatever fountainhead we choose to follow, may we relive this moment on the night of january 16th.
    In the time of battle you don't rise to the occasion you resort to the level of your conditioning...

  3. #3
    AM999's Liberal Facist
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    Quote Originally Posted by thatsmybush
    I just hope we the living on this board can shrug off your anthem of this being corpse on a stick day and that whatever fountainhead we choose to follow, may we relive this moment on the night of january 16th.
    A little bored there TMB?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Room 1201
    A little bored there TMB?
    How often do you get a chance to put every Ayn Rand book you have read into a single (fairly cogent) sentence?

    Besides the philosphy behind it baffles me currently so rather than trying to add something substantive, I went to fall back mode and went flippant instead.
    In the time of battle you don't rise to the occasion you resort to the level of your conditioning...

  5. #5
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    I immediately recognized this, as I've read most of Rand's work. I used to be a devout (irony duly noted) objectivist, but you might say I've strayed from the path a bit and discovered that it just doesn't work. Earlier last week I wrote about a New Scientist article that sees a natural trend in humanity toward altruism. I quote:

    These findings suggest that true altruism, far from being a maladaptation, may be the key to our species’ success by providing the social glue that allowed our ancestors to form strong, resilient groups. It is still crucial for social cohesion in today’s very different world. “Something like it had to evolve,” Gintis says.

    To answer the question, there is not virtue in selfishness, but selfish people try their best to make it seem as such. Incidentally, I find the "corpse on a stick" reference a) not funny, b) offensive and c) not compassionate, considering that this is a day of remembering the horrific execution of Jesus. Apologies if that creates thread drift, but I would be remiss not to respond to it, even if it was meant tongue-in-cheek.
    Last edited by Duane Gran; 03-25-2005 at 04:46 AM. Reason: formatting

  6. #6
    gazing from the shadows
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    I am horrified by corpses on sticks. I never claimed to be a "compassionate" guy, but I can at least say that.

    Seriously, it creeps me out. Loaves and fishes would be better. Carved 20 feet tall, nice bread loaves and some fish. Would that not be a better image? Or heck, the resurection! That's what it was all about. But no, the xians choose the most horrific images possible.

    As for altruism, it depends on definitions. Rand defined altruism as doing good for someone AT THE EXPENSE of one's self. If you do not consider the altruistic action as sacrifice, then it is not altruism. One could even, theoretically, value the collective (family, neighborhood, etc.).

    I am tempted to go into my "Rand and Marx had a lot in common philosophically" speech right about now.

    But I won't.
    .
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  7. #7
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    reminds me of this 80's gem:



    The point is, ladies and gentleman, is that greed -- for lack of a better word -- is good.

    Greed is right.

    Greed works.

    Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.

    Greed, in all of its forms -- greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge -- has marked the upward surge of mankind.

    And greed -- you mark my words -- will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA.

    Thank you very much.
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  8. #8
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    Can't you just feel...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bocephus Jones II
    reminds me of this 80's gem:



    The point is, ladies and gentleman, is that greed -- for lack of a better word -- is good.

    Greed is right.

    Greed works.

    Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.

    Greed, in all of its forms -- greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge -- has marked the upward surge of mankind.

    And greed -- you mark my words -- will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA.

    Thank you very much.
    ...the grease dripping off those words.
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  9. #9
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    I think the Christian imagery of crucifixion in the present day is a hold over from middle ages pre-occupation with death, but I could be wrong.

    I agree with you point on altruism and sacrifice. I always thought Rand's definition was circular. I've known enough people who switch between marxism to objectivism that it wouldn't surprise me if they were compatible. Either that, or some people are disposed to utopian plans for society.

    Personally, I find marxists to be most annoying. They tend to intellectualize the struggle ad nauseam, but are unlikely to actually lift up a pitch fork in rebellion.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by dr hoo
    "... altruism, the view that self-sacrifice is the moral ideal. She argues that the ultimate moral value, for each human individual, is his or her own well-being. Since selfishness (as she understands it) is serious, rational, principled concern with one's own well-being, it turns out to be a prerequisite for the attainment of the ultimate moral value. For this reason, .... selfishness is a virtue."
    As she defines the terms, yes I could somewhat agree, but as the terms are commonly used no.
    I guess that was partially her point though.
    Our species would not have been so successful were it not for self sacrifice as DG alluded to.
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  11. #11
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    Another passage from the link:

    Rand believes that the elements of human self-interest are objective. All human beings have objective biological and psychological needs, and one's actual interests are identified by reference to these needs. Mere whim-fulfillment is therefore not constitutive of human well-being because one's whims might be at odds with one's actual needs. Moreover, the character traits of the "selfish" brute are not compatible with any human being's actual, rational interests. Humans live in a social world; in order to maximize the value of their interactions with others, they should cultivate a firm commitment to the virtues of rationality, justice, productiveness, and benevolence. A commitment to these virtues naturally precludes such brutish behavior.
    .
    Stout beers under trees, please.

  12. #12
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    well I have a problem with most Religiously derived

    Altruism. I think some exists, but others IMHO are just self serving. Their either doing it to please their God or to avoid displeasing their God. Either way it can be seen as self serving, just not in this life. When I see an Altruistic Atheist or Agnostic, I see a moral being.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by dr hoo
    Seriously, it creeps me out. Loaves and fishes would be better. Carved 20 feet tall, nice bread loaves and some fish. Would that not be a better image? Or heck, the resurection! That's what it was all about. But no, the xians choose the most horrific images possible.

    Actually, Protestants (non-Catholic) have an empty cross symbolizing a risen Christ and the victory over death.

    Quote Originally Posted by dr hoo
    the xians
    I always wonder why an academic feels a need to write something like that.

  14. #14
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    Maybe if He comes back

    and gets the same treatment in another couple thousand years people will wear little gas chambers, old sparky's or just syringes.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by d'oh_boy
    I always wonder why an academic feels a need to write something like that.
    Why use xians? Cause it annoys people like you. It also has a long history.

    BTW, in case you have not noticed, I feel no need to be "academic" when posting here.
    .
    Stout beers under trees, please.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by atpjunkie
    and gets the same treatment in another couple thousand years people will wear little gas chambers, old sparky's or just syringes.
    I don't think He's coming back the same way He did the first time.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by dr hoo
    Why use xians? Cause it annoys people like you.
    No, it doesn't bother me at all. ;) It just tells me something about you.

    Quote Originally Posted by dr hoo
    BTW, in case you have not noticed, I feel no need to be "academic" when posting here.
    Yes, I've noticed. Which is why I made the comment.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by d'oh_boy
    No, it doesn't bother me at all. ;) It just tells me something about you.
    What, exactly, does it tell you?
    .
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  19. #19
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    When I see people helping others, be it out of duty to God or a secular belief system, I consider it a good thing. I don't see any reason to rank altruism based on its motivating source.

  20. #20
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    Duane, here's something from yesterday's Boston Globe

    http://www.boston.com/news/globe/ide...revolutionary/

    Trivers is an evolutionary biologist. Trivers might argue that "altruism" and selfishness are not that different if you consider that in both cases it helps propogate the DNA of that species. It seems as though he denies that it's important to be "selfish" and propogate one's own DNA as long as your species DNA is propogated.

    I know that it's off topic, but what do you think about that?

    BT
    "If dreams are like movies, then memories are films about ghosts." A. Duritz

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by dr hoo
    What, exactly, does it tell you?
    I think there are two reasons for using "xians". As an epithet meant to demean, dismiss, deny. Not unlike *ags or *igg*rs. Or, there is some phobic action going on. You can't bear to type or see that name.

    Neither one is very flattering.

  22. #22
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    Thanks for the link, and apologies for the late response. Tiver seems like a loose cannon, but admittedly brilliant. If anything, I take away from his research that simple explanations for biology, centered around selfish behavior maximizing gain, aren't sufficient to explain social arrangements among animals. I think it also follows that selfishness doesn't make for good public policy, but then I'll readily admit that forced altruism has a bad record.

  23. #23
    OES
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    Now THIS rises to the nuttiest post ever flung up here!

    Quote Originally Posted by d'oh_boy
    I think there are two reasons for using "xians". As an epithet meant to demean, dismiss, deny. Not unlike *ags or *igg*rs. Or, there is some phobic action going on. You can't bear to type or see that name.

    Neither one is very flattering.
    The use of 'x' for 'Christ' is historical as hell and based in the Greek alphabet. No different in substance from using a damn fish. What's the matter with you? It's just a convenient shorthand, and not derogatory in the least! What, you think hoo wrote 'x' as some people do to avoid a vile word they can't bear to write? Wow, that's surprising know-nothingism even for a politicized supersensitive modern-day American xian!

    It's been a hundred days since Xmas, by the way.
    Last edited by OES; 03-29-2005 at 06:10 AM.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldEdScott
    The use of 'x' for 'Christ' is historical as hell and based in the Greek alphabet. No different in substance from using a damn fish. What's the matter with you? It's just a convenient shorthand, and not derogatory in the least! What, you think hoo wrote 'x' as some people do to avoid a vile word they can't bear to write? Wow, that's surprising know-nothingism even for a politicized supersensitive modern-day American xian!

    It's been a hundred days since Xmas, by the way.
    Gosh. Nuttiest post ever? Considering the competition, that's quite an achievement!

    Seriously Ed, it's too early in the morning to get your blood pressure all riled up.

    The good Dr. even (partially) admitted as much:

    "Why use xians? Cause it annoys people like you. It also has a long history."

    As far as that historical usage, isn't the Greek word XRISTOS? It's hardly the same as X.

    I'm not aware of Christians using 'X' to self identify, but maybe I'll learn something new today.

    Oh, and it's only been 94 days. ;)

  25. #25
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    Neet!

    This fellow is almost as big a winner (whiner, weinner?) as I am.


    Oh, BTW Flaccid & Jibberish!
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