Monday, October 29, 2007

The Passion of "Ayn Rand Contra Human Nature"'s Critics

Discovered dissing "Ayn Rand Contra Human Nature" over at at Richard Dawkins' site (registration required), James Valliant, author of "The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics", offers to personally critique Nyquist's dread tome. But then sadly he changes his mind.

(some scrolling may be required)

Update: Post retitled due to the excellent suggestion of Anon in comments. The exchange is particularly valuable as a verbatim example of what Objectivists such as Valliant pass off as "empirical" support for their views. As I wrote, Valliant simply has "persistent difficulty differentiating an imaginative conjecture from an empirical reality. Something of a problem." This problem is of course perfectly consistent with the marvellous combination of sophistry, sycophancy, and fantasy that is "The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics", the miscellaneous weirdnesses of which the ARCHNblog has outlined here, here, and here.

It's probably just as well as he didn't mention Rand's views on evolution there...

8 comments:

ken stauffer said...

hee hee. Excellent job Daniel. I especially liked your point about all of physics and all of chemistry provide the empirical case for determinism.

By the way, RichardDawkins.net is a great website/forum. I like the videos of talks from great thinkers available there.

Why did Valliant begin this whole spree of posts over there?

Daniel Barnes said...

Ken:
>By the way, RichardDawkins.net is a great website/forum. I like the videos of talks from great thinkers available there.

Yes, I was also impressed.

>Why did Valliant begin this whole spree of posts over there?

On the page just before a fellow links to ARCHNblog, referring to how the book details Objectivism's "congenitally fallacious logic, equivocation, verbalism, and anti-empiricism."

Valliant tries to take issue with it from there.

Anonymous said...

Another book idea hatches: PARCHNC

ken stauffer said...

On p. 321 of PAR, there is mention of Sidney Hook's review of "For the New Intellectual". Barbara quotes him, "Despite the great play with the word 'reason', one is struck by the absence of any serious argument in this unique combination of tautology and extravagant absurdity".

NBI took out an advertisement to respond to his review.

(Then in the footnote Barbara admits to liking the fellow and respecting him as an honest thinker. BTW, Sidney Hook was teacher to both Peikoff and Barbara, and probably other objectivists)

I would like to see both the review and reply.

Also, I am struck by how amazing the world has changed. When taking out an ad in a newspaper to intellectually debate someone was ones only outlet. Today, such debates can be done for free and instantaneously, and reach millions of people globally.

I wonder if Greg is aware of these documents. I also suspect that Sidney was onto Rand's verbalistic method.

Daniel Barnes said...

Ken:
>I wonder if Greg is aware of these documents.

Extremely interesting, Ken. I will see if these can be dug up.

gregnyquist said...

Ken: "Then in the footnote Barbara admits to liking the fellow and respecting him as an honest thinker. BTW, Sidney Hook was teacher to both Peikoff and Barbara, and probably other objectivists"

Peikoff also respected Hook, because without Hook, Peikoff would have never gotten his doctorate. Hook believed Peikoff's beliefs were wrong, but wasn't philosophically bigoted like (allegedly) so many other professors.

"I wonder if Greg is aware of these documents. I also suspect that Sidney was onto Rand's verbalistic method."

Yes, I read the review many years ago but don't remember much about it, except that it's very critical and somewhat generalized (as a short review must be). Hook was, along with Whitaker Chambers, Gore Vidal, and John Chamberlin, the only "big name" intellectual to review one of Rand's books that I can recall.

KingBushwicktheToityToid said...

Ya know,last spring,both"Atlas Shrugged"and 20th Century Fox's"Rio"premeired on the same weekend and guess what??
"Rio"cleaned"Atlas Shrugged"at the Box Office BFT!!

Oh sure,the Randian types probably went to see it,but they musta been mighty lonely sitting in a dark monkeyplex auditouriam while in the next one people were enjoying"Rio"!!

Then again,Randianites idea of fun lies somewhere between watching paint dry and watching"The Outer Limits"!!

Of course,99%of them seem like they belong in'The Outer Limits'!!

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