There are many far worse systems of metaphysics than Rand’s. Yet the very badness of these systems renders them entirely impotent. They are so bad that no one could ever make practical use of them. They are merely a kind of poetry that tender minded people lisp to themselves. Since much of Rand’s metaphysics supports notions allied to common sense, it has more potential to, by leading people astray, exercise a baleful effect. These bad effects stem from three aspects of the Objectivist metaphysics: (1) its attempt to determine matters of fact through logical and rhetorical constructions; (2) its conviction that reality is “logical” (i.e., “contradictions cannot exist in reality”); and (3) its belief that philosophy has a “veto power” over science.
Consider some consequences of these three principles, starting with Peikoff’s assertions about philosophy’s veto power:
Philosophy certainly has a veto power over any subject if it violates principles established philosophically. So, if Heisenberg says for instance in the principle of uncertainty that causality is a myth or has been overturned on the subatomic level, you can throw out Heisenberg's theory on that grounds alone. And the same is true for the idea of something proceeding out of nothing. In other words, that is something proceeding causelessly, because there was nothing before it and it violates the very meaning of nothing….
Now, if you consult Dave Harriman's course, you will see that quantum mechanics, the theory of everything, string theory, is riddled with contradictions and is arbitrary, 'cause it reflects the corrupt epistemology dominant in the intellectual world.
This Dave Harriman, mentioned by Peikoff, is an amusing enough fellow. His attacks on relativity, quantum mechanics, big bang theory, etc. are filled with clever quips and amusing juxtapositions. Consider what he has to say of space:
I want to start by stating unequivocally, there is no such thing as “space,” whether viewed as the infinite void of the Greek atomists, or the receptacle of Plato, or the absolute cosmic reference plane of Newton, or the acrobatic and curving frame of Einstein, or the final frontier of James P. Kirk. There is no such entity.
These little sallies are accompanied by Harriman’s protestations that he accepts all the facts brought forth to support Einstienian relativity and quantum mechanics, he just questions the "interpretations." However, given how entangled the interpretations are with the facts, this just won’t do. The interpretations of relativity and quantum mechanics are strange because the facts themselves are strange. Consider the famous double-slit experiment:
Let us assume, for argument's sake, that the interpretation offered in this video is wrong. If so, then what would Peikoff or Harriman put in its place? What would constitute a "logical" interpretation of this bizarre phenomenon? Objectivists seem to believe that ordinary perception provides us with a “logical” world, and therefore that all of reality should behave as grosser objects do in perception. Since tennis balls don’t divide in two and reunite when shot through double slits, it is assumed that photons can’t do likewise. But who decided that human perception, interpreted via common sense, is the final arbiter of what’s possible in reality, particularly at the quantum level? Where’s the justification for that? Nature, not the human mind, is the standard of what is possible in nature. The reason quantum reality seems so strange is that our minds have not evolved to understand it. Our ancestors had no experience of it; knowledge of it was not necessary for their survival and reproductive capabilities; so the mind, being innocent of its oddities, is perplexed by them. But nothing is truly perplexing to a mind willing to accept nature on nature’s terms, rather than the mind's terms. Peikoff and Harriman, by allowing the Objectivist metaphysics to lead them astray, are no different than earlier metaphysicians who attempted to impose their sense of things on reality. Plato thought that the orbits of the planets had to be circular because the circle was a "divine" form. Peikoff's conviction that reality must be "logical" is no more credible.