Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dr Andrew Bernstein speaks on UNC Campus (cont.)

In a previous post I featured the first video from the Q & A session from Dr Andrew Bernstein's lecture, "Religion vs Morality" on Dec. 2, on the UNC Chapel Hill campus.
Featured here are videos 2, 3 and 4 from the Q & A session. Dr Bernstein's responses to each of the questions are brilliant.
One of the questions posed is from Dr Richard Salsman: To what extent is religion based on a fear of death? And if so, then what is the rational response to that?
Dr Bernstein finished the Q & A session memorably with the Bernstein wager in the final three minutes or so of Part 4.

Dr Andrew Bernstein, UNC, Dec. 2 Q & A Part 2

Dr Andrew Bernstein, UNC, Dec. 2 Q & A Part 3

Dr Andrew Bernstein, UNC, Dec. 2 Q & A Part 4


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

CO2 Education: Watch Excellent Short Videos

I received an important email this morning alerting me to an excellent website with a treasure of important videos on the science and politics behind CO2. Here is the important information contained in the email:

Dear Friends:
As representatives of the nations of the world meet in Copenhagen to attempt to restrict the use of energy produced from coal, gas and oil in the guise of fighting global warming, many scientists and scholars are expressing grave concerns about what they are trying to do. Recognizing these concerns, we have posted a series of YouTube video vignettes in which such scientists and scholars present the reasons behind them.
We invite you to view the videos and do all you can to inform the public about their presence. Each of the videos can be accessed from the CO2 Science Website; from the CO2Science YouTube channel; and other locations across the Internet, such as A categorized-list of the videos we have posted is presented below.
Wise decisions are made only when all pertinent aspects of an issue are examined. It is our sincere hope that the information presented in these videos will elucidate important truths that are presently ignored.
With kind regards,
Craig Idso, Ph.D.
Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change

A quick click on the link to the above CO2 Science Website will take you to the categorized list of videos that Dr Idso mentions above. I did not post the entire list here to economize on space.

I will be viewing the videos over the course of the next few days. The few that I did view all had excellent content. I made a beeline for the section that was of the most interest to me - morality. I perhaps wanted to judge the underlying fundamental ethical and philosophical premises of the videos and the website, before I decided to delve any further, and not set myself up for disappointment later. I did not expect the videos to espouse Objectivist ethics -and the understanding of what morality means is confused here, but I will take general benevolence towards one's fellow beings that comes from a rational man and life loving, sense of life.

I feature here Dr Robert Lindzen, scientist and professor at MIT, on one of the three videos from the Morality section, all three of which I found to be excellent. Check out the website and find out for yourself.

CO2 Regulation: The Essence of Immorality: Climate alarmists turn morality on its head by coming down on the wrong side of truth.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Dr Andrew Bernstein speaks on UNC Campus

On the evening of December 2, last week, I took the 45 minute drive to the UNC Chapel Hill campus in pouring, blinding rain. Dr Andrew Bernstein's lecture on "Religion versus Morality" was well worth venturing out in that nasty weather. The friend I dragged along, who had never heard an Objectivist speaker before, hopefully thinks it was worthwhile as well, and of course I got her introduced to the only rational philosophy for living on earth!
I had the honor of giving Dr Bernstein a ride back to his hotel after the lecture. In the conversation (that incidentally covered "biblical rains"{it was literally pouring that hard!}), Dr Bernstein said that he was visiting two local public schools and talking to high school kids there. If I had known earlier I might have tried to get permission to attend one of those events to see first hand the bright, curious, interested, eyes & faces of local high school kids hungry for ideas!

The campus Objectivist club organizer was kind enough to get me permission from ARI to upload the videos online. So far I have attempted to only upload the Q & A session at the end of the talk, divided in four videos to comply with youtube requirements.
I am posting Part 1 today that has two questions from the audience. I have transcribed the question as summarized by Dr Bernstein and highlighted what I thought to be illuminating from Dr Bernstein's reply. Any errors in transcription are strictly mine.

Q.1. Is the purpose of Objectivist ethics to increase the number of human beings and maximize their number?
Dr Bernstein: No, definitely not. The purpose of the Objectivist ethics is for any human being, alive at any given time, to maximize his fulfillment and happiness -is the ultimate goal.
Q.2. How does egoism reconcile with the fact that we live in a universe of finite resources?
Dr Bernstein: The ultimate resource is the human mind, operating in a capitalist system, operating on the conditions of individual rights, political and economic freedom.

Dr Andrew Bernstein, UNC, Dec. 2 Q & A Part 1

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Summer Internship Opportunity at Ayn Rand Institute

Voices For Reason posted the following important announcement yesterday. This is an excellent opportunity for students to study and learn about Ayn Rand's works and her philosophical system of Objectivism while working at this paid internship position in Irvine, California. I highly recommned interested and serious students to pursue this incredible opportunity. There are several other informative links in the posting for students to take advantage of other opportunities to get familiar with Ayn Rand's ideas.
2010 Summer Internship Program at ARI
December 4, 2009 by Debi Ghate
Here’s an item of potential interest for college students who’d like to study Ayn Rand’s corpus and philosophical system. The Ayn Rand Institute is accepting applications for its 2010 Summer Internship Program. The program runs in June and July 2010 in Irvine, CA. This is a paid internship for bright students planning on an intellectual career and who are interested in studying the philosophical foundations of liberty, among other topics. The internship is one among several programs for college students including essay contests, a comprehensive educational program in Objectivism, and campus club support.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

"Protection & Advocacy of Individual Rights"?!

I enjoy getting my hands on budgets and accounting books and pulling them apart to glean important and revealing information. This evening I went on the Department of Education (ED) website and was browsing the budget file for the State Tables by Program for the U.S. Department of Education compiled and posted by the Budget Service on November 5, 2009.

Most of us may not know that ED has a program titled "Protection and Advocacy of Individual Rights" (check page 38 of the PDF file) which had a federal budget for the various states of $17.1 million in 2009 and has a similar amount allocated for 2010. The existence of such a program is like adding insult to injury -after denying any rights to an individual and taxing him to oblivion, the government chooses to spend this loot money on a program with a name such as that!

Readers will find other interesting and ironical (but not surprising) bits of information in this particular entitlement like the fact that California, the highest recipient in 2009-10 from the "Protection and Advocacy of Individual Rights" program at 1.716 million, not surprisingly is the state that after taxing and chaining with regulations the individuals living there, is bankrupt and in the hole billions of dollars -obviously the program has not helped anyone in that state understand the moral and political concept of individual rights!

Lest anyone think this is a new program just started -no that is not the case and it has actually been around for several years at least. I next plan to figure out what the difference in the budget for the states and the President's budget is. If anyone has any knowledge please leave a comment.

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Rand Occasion

Front Page with Allen Barton at pjtv talks with Yaron Brook of The Ayn Rand Center and Terry Jones of Investors Business Daily about Thanksgiving as it might be seen from the perspectives of Ayn Rand, the Pilgrims, and today's consumers.

A Rand Occasion: On Thanksgiving & Black Friday, Be Thankful For the Producers is a power packed 12 minute video from PJTV, that is enlighterning and educating in the discussion of a) The meaning of thanksgiving, b) Should Selfishness be celebrated c)Black Friday.

As you become "consumers"(!) and shop till you drop this Black Friday,

I highly recommend that you spare a few minutes over this weekend to watch this video.

I have taken the liberty of copying a comment posted at PJTV, capturing quite well the message to take away from the discussion.

It's so refreshing to have reinforced the idea that consumer choice is a bounty and blessing we should enjoy and celebrate with participation, as our budgets allow. Is everything in the market place necessary and terrific? Gosh no, but having the choice to decide what is right for us is what the free market is all about.

The telling of the real story of the first Thanksgiving needs to be told and heard a bunch more-Bottom Line: capitalism saved them from their socialist ways and death. Proving the point that responsible selfishness is a positive force.(bold added)