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Bo102010 comments on Recommended reading for new rationalists - Less Wrong

27 Post author: XFrequentist 09 July 2009 07:47PM

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Comment author: Bo102010 14 July 2009 01:28:31AM 1 point [-]

I suppose this is a parody?

The affective death spiral that characterizes most of Objectivist thought is well-documented and discussed, so there's no need to go through all that again...

However, I will say that reading Atlas Shrugged at age 15 did lead me, eventually, to bigger and better topics in rationality. So, I can't in good faith down vote the recommendation

Comment author: righteousreason 14 July 2009 01:56:43AM *  4 points [-]

what the hell?

What does the cultish behavior of followers have to do with the actual content? Affective death spirals can characterize virtually any group. Idiots and crazies are everywhere.

Why is this so down rated??

I realize that you didn't vote it down, but using this logic to vote it down would be something like a reverse affective death spiral- you let the visibly obvious ADS cast a negative halo on the entire philosophy, and thus become irrationally biased against the legitimate value in the center of the ADS that got blown up by the over-zealous crazies and idiots.

Comment author: Z_M_Davis 14 July 2009 06:00:59AM 4 points [-]

I love Atlas Shrugged; it's a beautiful novel that's definitely worth reading, but I downvoted your original comment because it fails to recognize that Rand really was terrible at rationality, compared to what we know now. (ChronoDAS's analogy is perfect.) I agree that Atlas Shrugged is full of inspiring prose praising the ideals of reason and recognition of objective reality---but actually recognizing objective reality requires a certain, well, empiricism that Rand just utterly fails at. I mean---laissez-faire capitalism follows deductively from the law of identity and the choice to live? What? Sorry. "Nobody stays here by faking reality in any manner whatever."

Comment author: Vladimir_Nesov 14 July 2009 02:53:26AM *  1 point [-]

Worthiness of the Cause does not mean you can spend any less effort in resisting the cult attractor. You clearly went overboard with praise, which is a valid warning signal. The book itself is not that great, even if the cultish behavior of some of its followers is even worse.

Comment author: orthonormal 14 July 2009 03:10:47AM *  0 points [-]

On the other hand, we shouldn't necessarily fault enthusiasm around here. We should be able to articulate why it's ridiculous to describe "Atlas Shrugged" in particular as 'the greatest book yet written'.

EDIT: Thanks for adding the last sentence, Vladimir.

Comment author: Bo102010 14 July 2009 03:11:08AM *  0 points [-]

Sorry, I should clarify.

Calling Atlas Shrugged "the greatest book yet written" made it seem like you were promoting the closed-system Objectivism that is so easy to despise. The first two paragraphs of my comment were regarding this.

The last was paragraph about the content of the book itself. Indeed, I am saying "I can't downvote this book because it can help a new rationalist (which is the point of this thread), even though its proponents have been crashingly wrong and annoying (myself included)."

The actual down voters may just not like the book or think that Atlas Shrugged is not that useful for rationalists.