Found 7 comments on HN
arethuza · 2011-09-16 · Original thread
"I'm basically an Ayn Rand cultist"

I'm sure you don't mean that literally, according to Why People Believe Weird Things she is supposed to have run something that was rather close to a personality cult:

http://www.amazon.com/People-Believe-Weird-Things-Pseudoscie...

NB This is not an ad hominem attack on her ideas, just an observation that according to some accounts she was a rather odd individual.

nollidge · 2011-03-06 · Original thread
It wouldn't be the first time a smart, accomplished person has espoused a weird belief. See Why People Believe Weird Things by Michael Shermer: http://www.amazon.com/People-Believe-Weird-Things-Pseudoscie...
arethuza · 2010-06-10 · Original thread
I was quite amused by the description of the cult she "managed" in "Why People Believe Weird Things":

http://www.amazon.com/People-Believe-Weird-Things-Pseudoscie...

tokenadult · 2010-03-29 · Original thread
It's interesting that the book cited in the submitted article

http://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Mental-Math-Mathemagicians-Cal...

(this link is to the United States Amazon site, while the submitted article link was to amazon.co.uk)

is written mostly by a professional mathematician, but with an introduction by an author who is a historian by higher education. Michael Shermer writes a number of interesting books,

http://www.amazon.com/Michael-Shermer/e/B001H6MCNY/

of which my favorite is Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time.

http://www.amazon.com/People-Believe-Weird-Things-Pseudoscie...

tokenadult · 2009-08-25 · Original thread
Michael Shermer, who has a Ph.D. degree in history, does a good job of reviewing historical evidence for the Holocaust, and responding to claims of deniers, in his book Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time

http://www.amazon.com/People-Believe-Weird-Things-Pseudoscie...

which is well worth a read.

You must be a good bit younger than I am if you don't personally know Holocaust survivors, or at least much more socially isolated from Jewish people of European heritage than I am.

DarkShikari · 2009-05-16 · Original thread
Smart people aren't immune to brainwashing.

If anything--they're more susceptible. http://www.amazon.com/People-Believe-Weird-Things-Pseudoscie... is a great book on the topic.

Tangurena · 2009-01-10 · Original thread
Objectivism was still a cult, and one had to agree 100% with Rand, or be excommunicated. Objectivism ultimately became what is called "the unlikiest cult." Disagreeing with Rand was tantamount to heresy - much like disagreeing with L. Ron Hubbard is considered heresy in Scientology.

> The cultic flaw in Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism is not in the use of reason, or in the emphasis on individuality, or in the belief that humans are self motivated, or in the conviction that capitalism is the ideal system. The fallacy in Objectivism is the belief that absolute knowledge and final Truths are attainable through reason, and therefore there can be absolute right and wrong knowledge, and absolute moral and immoral thought and action. For Objectivists, once a principle has been discovered through reason to be True, that is the end of the discussion. If you disagree with the principle, then your reasoning is flawed. If your reasoning is flawed it can be corrected, but if it is not, you remain flawed and do not belong in the group. Excommunication is the final step for such unreformed heretics.

http://www.spiralnature.com/phil/objectivism/unlikelycult.ht...

> Ayn always insisted that her philosophy was an integrated whole, that it was entirely self-consistent, and that one could not reasonably pick elements of her philosophy and discard others. In effect, she declared, "It's all or nothing." Now this is a rather curious view, if you think about it. What she was saying, translated into simple English, is: Everything I have to say in the field of philosophy is true, absolutely true, and therefore any departure necessarily leads you into error. Don't try to mix your irrational fantasies with my immutable truths. This insistence turned Ayn Rand's philosophy, for all practical purposes, into dogmatic religion, and many of her followers chose that path.

http://rous.redbarn.org/objectivism/Writing/NathanielBranden...

Nathaniel Branden was Rand's lover (while Rand was cheating on her husband) and the #2 person in Objectivism, until he got caught cheating on Rand and then excommunicated. Any member of Objectivism that refused to shun Branden (including members of his family) were likewise excommunicated.

The book Why People Believe Weird Things has a chapter on Objectivism that is well worth reading. http://www.amazon.com/People-Believe-Weird-Things-Pseudoscie...

I own and have read almost every book published by Ayn Rand.

Get dozens of book recommendations delivered straight to your inbox every Thursday.