Although I disagree with alot of her ideas & philosophies, ayn rand has good concepts concerning the nature & necessity of ethics.

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Allan, I didn't know about 

"Within groups selfish individuals beat altruistic individuals, but groups of altruists beat groups of selfish individuals."

~ E. O. Wilson, The Meaning of Human Existence

That idea should give us, atheists, a bit of optimism. We can act as a group, even though our tendency is to act as individuals. 

There are many who do not accept group selection at all—Richard Dawkins  among them—so that Wilson's view is controversial with some. Wilson was attacked by Stephen Jay Gould and the two became bitter enemies.

One of the longterm puzzles in evolutionary theory has been the question of how altruism could evolve and persist in a population since by definition it makes the individual less fit. (That is the technical definition of altruism which makes it different from our everyday use of the term.)

A man named George Price showed mathematically that it could persist at a given level if the degree of altruism were uniform throughout the population. Price's equation also has applications in economics.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Price_equation

From the viewpoint of someone not well versed in the field, Wilson's ideas seem to me appealing and probably right, but there is stil controversy over them.

Oh dear! "how altruism could evolve and persist in a population since by definition it makes the individual less fit".   Some people can follow the math to understanding. I'm stuck back in the pack with math wannabes and don't interpret it well. The explanation will become clearer for us, even as the explanation becomes clearer to the math people. 

I'll be watching for your posts on this subject. 

Even the Price equation is controversial these days and probably a majority of evolutionary theorists do not accept group selection.

It turns out that natural selection is more complex than you might think at first. A phenomenon called antagonistic pleiotropy can also explain why some deleterious traits persist. A gene may control more than one trait and it can happen that one trait is beneficial and another harmful. For example the gene that causes sickle cell anaemia also provides protection against malaria. Aging may have evolved because it is linked to enhanced reproduction at earlier ages. It could be that if homosexuality is genetic, that it is linked with a gene that promotes some benefit.

The whole subject is fascinating and the mathematics in it is a developing subfield called biomathematics. Some universities have departments of biomathematics and offer degrees in the subject.

Natural selection and selection of ideas and beliefs is a field of dreams in which a benefit is conferred on an individual enhancing survival and odds of reproducing and pooping the benefit, on the latter a raison d'etre is invented or constructed to further  existence of progenitor.

Which is why one might say truth serves nobody so nobody serves the truth. I would prefer to have libertarians call themselves what they are. Selfish pricks, elite assholes who have number one in mind and to fuck with those who are not reflected in the mirror upon their admiring gaze or at least in their sphere of influence

Do you have anything of substance to add to this discussion or is your only contribution bald assertions and sideline snipes?

As an attorney i know ensconsment is not a word. I also know better than to be drawn in by such base sophistry and hypocrisy. Further I know that the gefilte fish are biting Luke...

Part 2 

I knew spanking was getting me no where, the usual punishments did not work. The beatings he took from his father only made things worse. When the three children were ten years old, I broke the patterns and began a new way of parenting. It was rocky at first, but I told the kids I would never hit them again and we were going to learn a new way to be a family. This is the process I used. It worked. They are all three in their 50s now and fine citizens. I had twenty years of tough going with Cary with his alcoholism and his violent temper. Using these principles and techniques, he has blossomed into a fine man. He has brain damage because of the alcohol and the injuries he sustained when he rebelled against all authority. He has physical limitations with neurological damage, but his motivation for behavior is to be part of our family team. 

PARENTING SKILLS

Beliefs and Feelings
You cannot change anyone else, only yourself. Improving your child's behavior comes from changing the way you respond. Your children have beliefs about how they belong and from these beliefs come emotions and actions. You also have feelings and beliefs. Becoming aware of your feelings and beliefs and making changes can make the difference in influencing your child's positive behavior.

Encouragement
Everyone wants and needs encouragement. The important distinction here is understanding the difference between praise and encouragement. Praise is often mistaken for encouragement. So children learn from praise that their actions must please others and that their worth is dependent on being able to perform. Encouragement on the other hand, is freely given for no other purpose than acknowledgment. It is given for participation not winning, for effort not results. Even parents need encouragement and in the classes I facilitate, I am there to encourage your efforts as you learn how to be a better parent.

Listening and talking
Learning how to really listen not only works with your children but with anyone. When someone is "heard" it can change how they feel and act. It is a skill that few people have. Often when someone is speaking to us, we are thinking about the grocery list or what we are going to say next. Listening skills build better relationships with your children and can help you discover what your child is feeling. Talking to your children about your feelings begins with speaking to them with respect. Using "you messages" is a blaming, judging communication style. Using "I-messages" shows that you own your feelings, and you are telling your children how you feel without blame or put downs.

Owning the problem
This is a great way to work on training your children to handle their own problems. You must first have a system to determine who the problem belongs to. That determines the course of action to take. It gives children freedom with responsibility and allows parents to take a back seat to issues that do not directly impact them.

Beware of natural and logical consequences focus on solutions
"Punishment should fit the crime." How often I heard parents say, "Johnny didn't do his homework so he can't ride his bike for 2 weeks". What does riding your bike have to do with homework? How much more would Johnny learn if his parents talked to him about finding out why Johnny isn't doing his homework and work together to find a solution. One of which might be to let him handle this with his teacher without mom and dad's intervention.

A better way to describe a natural consequence is to decide what you the parent will do in a situation to help a child learn responsibility. Not all situations lend themselves to natural consequences. Sometimes you the parent have to devise a logical consequence. However, it is important to follow some criteria to ensure that the logical consequence is not really punishment.

Family meetings
Putting family meetings on the agenda is one of the most supportive things you can do. Everyone meets at a predetermined time to discuss problems, concerns, and plans for fun...together. Everyone is heard. Choices are made in a democratic way. Many problems are solved this way by a group effort.

STEP and Positive Discipline Series Democratic, respectful & pr...

 

Joan somehow I missed this until just now. Thank you so much for sharing! I had those books on my list but upon your recommendation I have moved them to the top of the list. I find it absolutely amazing and valuable that it appears that they arrived psychologically to the same conclusion that I got to via philosophy and political theory. This seems a strong endorsement that the principle is accurate.

Mequa, very nicely done..

Wonderful critique. 

It's ironic to me how often I have recently come to the defense of Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism despite not identifying myself as an adherent (indeed I oppose it in many fundamental ways). But if a philosophy is to be damned, at least let it be damned on its merits, not on misunderstandings or on sensationalism.

You make great talk of parasites and welfare and explode what you present as her ideas. Answer this truly - what is her position on charity? She supported it in both her literary works and in her private life. Perhaps best example is that is Atlas Shrugged Hank Rearden contributes a huge sum to a charity despite the insult of being denied the credit for doing so. He did charity because it satisfied his own selfish interest. I think that interest is shared by most if not all people: helping people makes us feel good.

So obviously there is a distinction to be made here. Parasites weren't just some welfare recipients. In her books they are all people who are capable of being creative or productive but instead chose to be impotent and lazy. 

There is also a theme of deception that is never explicitly stated. Parasites as she describes them are quite willing to lie, cheat, steal, indeed anything so long as it is done covertly. James Taggart buys secret political favors and lies constantly. Peter Keating lies, coerces, steals, murders. These two are the quintessential parasites and both are written as millionaires. 

Her position regarding parasites was that of a moral condemnation. It wasn't against the people who are poor, disabled, downtrodden. It was against the elite who self identify as rulers: the Ellsworth Tooey's and the Wesley Mouch's of the world.

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