Sunday, March 30, 2008

I'm Famous!!

[EDIT: This post responded to a rather unflattering review I received in a podcast by Freedomain Radio's Stefan Molyneux titled The FOO Infection, which I felt was unfair and impolite. Because I honestly don't want to look at it anymore, and because I think its purpose has been fulfilled, I'm removing it from my blog. This shell of a post will remain to acknowledge what happened, but I'd just as soon forget about it and move on.]

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Stef was the one who found and announced your project on FDR. Perhaps if--as he hoped--you could have found a few niggling errors and then proclaimed its brilliance, things would have gone differently.

The fact is, despite the fact that one can become a Philosopher King on Stef's site for $500, you are the first actual trained philosopher to pay any attention to his work, which you are finding to be flawed in argument, logic, and fundamental levels.

It's possible that Stef meant his podcast for the world, in which case you are famous, but I think the podcast was primarily targeted to the FDR rank and file, to keep them from harbouring any ugly doubts about his abilities.

I've been following your work with great interest, however.

Danny Shahar said...

Thank you for your interest in my work, but I can only say that I hope you're wrong about that. It seems plausible to me that Stefan just finds me irritating on some level, which I can't possibly take exception to, and said so in what he apparently took to be an acceptable way. Hopefully that's all it was.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully. However...

I think the strength of your analysis is that it is based entirely without emotion on philosopical enquiry and that you assume nothing but the best intentions.

Those of us standing outside the conversation must decide for ourselves if Stef is taking exception in an entirely acceptable way.

I don't think he is. The only acceptable response for him is to effectively refute your arguments. I have not seen him do this. Instead, he seems to be choosing the path of dismissing them based on the opinion that you are a "whippersnapper."

Sorry. You may BE a whippersnapper, but his response is not acceptable to me. :-)

Danny Shahar said...

To be fair to Stefan, I don't think he was necessarily referring to my comments here. It seems more likely that he was referring to a conversation we had regarding determinism on his website, where I admit I wasn't at my best, and I think he was justified in objecting to the way I spoke to him. What happened was that I unfortunately decided to engage in a philosophical debate on St. Patrick's day, after a long night of drinking (it was Spring break, after all). I thought I was making good points, but I was also nowhere near as polite as I should have been. Stefan was right to object, and I apologized.

I do feel that Stefan was unfair in what he said, given that he made general claims about my character and didn't simply say that "There was one time that Danny was a jerk, and he didn't get to me." And I feel that he was especially unfair to broadcast those claims around the world. But I won't say that I'm innocent here; I understand where he's coming from.

Anonymous said...

Danny I read your dissappointment in Stephan's disapproval. Also his misinterpretation of your motive. You have been treated unfairly. I don't think you should have to kiss his ass in a discussion between intellectuals. I think you should be able to express your view points as you deem necessary (short of cursing etc).
The comments made by stephan speak more to me about him and his shortcomings rather than yours.

Danny Shahar said...

Thanks for the vote of confidence. But I don't think I'm kissing his ass. What he said was that he feels like I'm trying to belittle him, and I feel badly for making him feel that way. I'm confident enough in my abilities to shrug off anything bad he has to say about my capacity for effective argumentation, but I don't want people to feel like I'm going after them.

Anonymous said...

fair enough. However you are not responsible for his feelings and how he reacts. He is responsible for his feelings further, had you of called him something derogatory or showed cruel intent that would be another issue. You did not. He said himself in that post that it did not bother him. He more or less stated he would not be condescended to by some whipper snapper.(like a snobby old lady's "well I never" or a rockstars cry of supremacy) It was more of an I am the all knowing brilliant Stephan (he equates himself with the greats) how dare he inquire or question. You see Danny Stef is just a man who will not be challenged. You debated him fairly and were consistent and polite in clarifying your stance. These inflammatory statements in a podcast is his only recourse and path to save face. Sorry to beat it to a pulp I only hope you can see that.(he is unreachable, paranoid and incapable of apology or remorse) Again, Stef is not hurt he is simply being a snob.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure how you relate to Stef and his foo or to the woman's foo problems. He threw that in out of no where. Your examination of his theories must be waring on him. He was just being an opportunistic dud.

Danny Shahar said...

Again, I just have to hope you guys are wrong on that evaluation. But thanks for the support, and thanks for reading my work!

mcmikemn said...

I wasn't able to read your post before you removed it, but I have some experience with Stef and I agree with Anonymous. Despite all of your arguments being based in reason and logic and almost all of your posts being emotion-free, your conclusion counters Stef's.

He is a person who will not admit being wrong, will not change his mind, and will resort to hypocritical ad-hominems, attacks, and evasive maneuvers. For example, I believe Stef complained that you were condescending and insulting to him, and thus he called you a whippersnapper and essentially said that your arguments were worthless because you were a student of philosophy and not an already established great thinker. He said you were insulting, and so he was insulting. Also, even if you were insulting (and even if you are a student), it doesn't negate the content of your arguments, but Stef merely ignores the content - possibly so he can prove his curiosity about why you were condescending (I mean this sarcastically: Stef always raves about curiosity, which he himself only expresses when it's convenient for him to do so, and he doesn't do it now) or practice his Real Time Relationship technique (again, sarcasm: this is a technique he devised to switch any debate where he is "losing" the argument to one about emotions among the debaters instead of the original topic, and although Stef raves about this technique he doesn't use it when it's not convenient for him, like now).

Anyway, I don't see why you'd bother finishing his book or blogging about it at this point, but if you do I am looking forward to a summary and your conclusion. Having read the posts so far, I'm fairly certain I know what your conclusion would be, but I'd enjoy reading it in your words, especially if you used the same tone and style you have so far.

Danny Shahar said...

I guess I'm not in a position to know whether Stefan is as you say; the isolated actions in question don't seem to me as obviously indicative of a poor character, as you all seem to think. All I can say is I hope you're wrong.

In any case, I'm not sure what I want to do about the rest of this project. I'm reasonably sure that Stefan won't end up succeeding, just given the way things have gone so far, which makes it difficult to want to go on. If I have some time on my hands, I might read the rest of the book and post some final thoughts, but I certainly won't be able to continue the way I started. We'll see. I'm really honored by everyone's support, but I can't make any guarantees. I know you understand.

Growing Freedom said...

I know I understand. You put a lot of time into your reading and analysis. It may all be moot in the end, but it was a good process to observe for those of us in the peanut gallery

Danny Shahar said...

Glad I could be of service!

Gregory said...

Hi Danny,
I just read your final thread on FDR and had to chuckle. I find it very telling that after making all sorts of outrageous claims about UPB Stef writes an essay implying that it is morally wrong (withholding cancer cure analogy) to look too closely into lifeboat situations. Often when reading Stef's work I am reminded of an Ayn Rand quote (paraphrase) "If someone's argument is so complicated as to be incomprehensible you should wonder as to the motives of the author." Really, Stef's argument could easily be boiled down to: "An ethical theory must be universally consistent, a system of strict property rights is the only option that is universally consistent, therefore this is the only possible true(?) ethical theory." Unfortunately, "property rights" can be very ambiguous and the above statement doesn't say anything about enforcement, reciprocity, etc, which is where are the gray areas come in.

I greatly appreciate you taking the time and effort to reach the endgame with Stef in such a patient way.

Danny Shahar said...

To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure what to think about Stefan's theory. I certainly don't understand how it's supposed to work, and it doesn't appear that Stefan will be providing any more clarification on the many questions that have troubled me in my reading of the book. I suppose the most I can say is that I see no compelling reason to think about it any more than I have.

Of course, that doesn't mean I won't think about it, but just that it just doesn't seem like I'm going to get anywhere by continuing to analyze it. Take that for what it's worth, I guess.

Gregory said...

Yes, of course we will continue to think about it, and drop by FDR occassionally, because we are all tempted by the argument from success, and Stef was been very successful in developing a following. The explanation though is in the type of people that join his following: uncritical and looking for something to believe in. One of the most difficult realizations of my early adult life has been that for someone to agree with me is not enough, they have to agree for the right reasons. Groups like Stef's at one point seemed so promising because I so much wanted to find people I agreed with, but unfortunately (for the most part) people on FDR believe and follow just as blindly as everyone else. Those that do try to inject a little objectivity into the conversation are quickly driven away, just as you were.

Bennet said...

I haven't had time to look at everything you've said too closely, so maybe I will leave a more substantive response/comment later at some point, but if Stefan is lecturing about universal morality and being impolite at the same time, something is wrong! I don't think you should take anything he says too personally because if he's not going to be polite, it's proof that he's full of it! You should repost whatever it was that you posted originally and you should not let impolite people get under your skin!

Danny Shahar said...

Haha that's an interesting way of looking at it!

Actually, when I removed the original post, it was lost forever. So even if I wanted to put it back up (which I don't), I wouldn't be able to. Sorry!

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