Me: Hey Ayn, what’s that?
Ayn: Zat is a screwdriver.
Me: Define a screwdriver.
Ayn: It eez a tool vich drives in and pulls out screws.
Me: Well, that describes what it does. What is it?
Ayn: It eez a tool.
Me: Again, Ayn, ‘tool’ describes the object’s functionality. What is it?
Ayn: It eez a piece of metal vith a rubber grip.
Me: Ah ah ah, Ayn. ‘Grip’ also defines its functionality. If objects exist independent of the subject, you should be able to define this object independent of its usage.
Ayn: Ok ok, it is a piece of metal surrounded by a piece of rubber.
Me: Okay, now define metal and rubber.
Ayn: Zey are substances vith certain properties, such as hard, soft, rigid, maleable, etc.
Me: Now aren’t you again describing these substances in relation to a subject?
Ayn: No, zey retain zese properties independent of consciousness.
Me: But the terms hard and soft are only applicable to my interaction with the substances. They have varying degrees of resistance to force, but hard and soft implies this degree in relation to a subject, doesn’t it?
Ayn: Zen how shall I put it? Zey are substances made up of a specific set of atoms vich gives zem specific properties.
Me: So objectively, this screwdriver is merely a collection of atoms.
Me: Now is this definition of the object useful to me?
Ayn: Yes, it allows you to know its true nature.
Me: But if I’m trying to build a dresser from Ikea, which definition is more useful to me?
Ayn: Vhat eez Ikea?
Me: Nevermind. If I’m trying to build something, is it more useful for me to know that the screwdriver is a collection of specific atoms, or that it drives in and pulls out screws?
Ayn: Of course the latter is more useful to you, but the object still retains its true nature.
Me: That’s true, but you claim that objective reality exists independently, and that consciousness and reason are the means by which we understand that reality.
Me: But without a high-powered microscope, as well as mountains of other research, no amount of awareness and reason could lead me to the conclusion that this screwdriver is merely a collection of specific atoms.
Screwdriver: Hey, do I get any say in this?
Ayn: Shut up screwdriver. Zis is all irrelevant. You are a modern man vith knowledge zat all zings around you are made up of atoms. And even if you veren’t, ze zeory of atomism was arrived at by philosophers using pure reason razer zan experiments and technology.
Me: This is true, but until this theory was proven, there were conflicting schools of thought about it, and each was logically valid until one was proven right by experimentation.
Me: So consciousness and reason are not our only means to understand reality. They must be validated by experimentation.
Ayn: Yes, and experimentation is a product of our reasoning.
Me: But this means it takes a conscious observer interacting with objects to validate their properties, and hence, their existence.
Ayn: It does, but only to validate it to our consciousness. The objects retain zese properties vhezer ve validate zem or not.
Me: Subatomic particles don’t. They behave differently when they are being observed.
Ayn: Zis is a fringe field of very complicated science zat is not yet fully understood.
Me: I agree, and I don’t think that this is indicative of the nature of all reality, yet you must admit that if objects retain their properties independent of consciousness, then these phenomena should not occur.
Ayn: Ve are just beginning to understand ze nature of zese particles, and laymen’s speculation about zem is hardly progressive.
Me: But Ayn, these particles are supposed to be the foundation of the objective reality that you claim exists, and if their properties are subject to consciousness, how can you say that all of reality is not?
Ayn: Ze same vay I make all of my claims: By simply asserting zat zey are true while providing no reason to believe zem and no argument to the opposing viewpoint.
Me: That’s what I thought. Alright, until we meet again, Auf Wiedersehen.
Ayn: Zat is German, I am Russian.
Me: Whatever. Peace.