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Poll: Election by lottery is a better method of appointing a leader than election by vote.

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  1. #21
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    Re: Election by Lottery

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Right, and as long as you turn to the only body on the planet with the monopoly on force, that is a possibility. If Glaxo invents a cure for an amazing disease, they can't force me to take it, I will only take it if I feel the benefit/risk ratio is justified. The same is not true with a government program.
    Glaxo wouldn't even ask you. They would just disperse the disease into the air to maximize their customer base. You either buy their cure or puke up your lungs. A government could regulate Glaxo and force them to not do evil things or it could join the dark side. Kind of like the US government and GMO. Government isn't the only thing that attracts evil men. Power attracts evil men and there is lots of power in the private sector.

    I'm not sure why I would stipulate this. Great power was not required for many of the amazing things we have today. No great power was required for the discovery of Penicillin. In fact, it has been the reduction in great power, or perhaps, the return of aggregated power to the individual, that has produced the stunning decrease in poverty we've seen in the world in the last fifty years.
    I am not entirely familiar with the methods required to invent Penicillin so I will just name one great power necessary for its invention, language. Also, I am not up to date with the most recent events but aren't we in a depression? Doesn't that mean that poverty is increasing?

    If I want to create interstellar space travel (kind of like on Star Trek) I require many powerful 'weapons'. The main one being the ability for millions of people to work together on the same goal. This takes the form of language, farms, inspiration, energy... Non of these things were designed to be a weapon but a clever evil man can twist them into forces of destruction and hate.

    By removing a source of power we just add one more obstacle for evil people to overcome. But there are many more sources of power out there and we cannot remove all sources of power without seriously hindering ourselves.
    abc

  2. #22
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    Re: Election by Lottery

    Quote Originally Posted by MyXenocide View Post
    Glaxo wouldn't even ask you. They would just disperse the disease into the air to maximize their customer base.
    Appealing to an anarchic state isn't a valid rebuttal since that isn't my position. However, if we were in some kind of anarchic state and Glaxo did release the disease, we could just go on in an take the cure right?

    I'm not arguing that government has no role, clearly the prevention of theft, murder and assault are valid government activities. But those are activities based on a demonstration of a clear infringement of rights. Which makes them different from a social benefit regulation which is about a supposed benefit versus an undemonstratable counterfactual.

    The government could punish Glaxo for its clear assault on us by seizing the cure and fining or shutting down the company and imprisoning those who made that decision. That action is a clear response to their decision to infringe upon our rights. That is different than them ordering Glaxo to produce a drug because a group of politicians think it will be "good."


    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    Government isn't the only thing that attracts evil men. Power attracts evil men and there is lots of power in the private sector.
    Perhaps, but let's return again to the idea of voluntary association. Absent an anarchic state (in which case we still win because there are more of us), a private sector company can only accumulate wealth via voluntary exchange right? They only get rich if I think what they have is worth more to me than the next best alternative I could buy with that money.

    Can a company break the law? Sure, but then there are legal remedies and those tend to be extremely expensive for the company and hurt its ability to make money in the future.

    Can a government break the law? Not really, because any action it wishes to take can simply become the law if it wishes it.


    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    I am not entirely familiar with the methods required to invent Penicillin so I will just name one great power necessary for its invention, language.
    This is a great example that I would like to pursue further to highlight some points if you will allow me.

    Penicillin was invented by Alexander Flemming in 1928. He did so as part of a laboratory at a private university, St. Mary's. There was no great legislative power or government dictate that gave him the resources necessary to invent the drug, it was private research of a personal interest.

    You mention language as well. Language is certainly not a a great power gifted to us by the government either. It is the formation of an emergent system through spontaneous order. IE language arises through individual interactions on a massive scale, not because the a government invented it.

    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    Also, I am not up to date with the most recent events but aren't we in a depression? Doesn't that mean that poverty is increasing?
    Technically we are not, no. Though our recovery has been uncharacteristically slow, the question is why? I think anyone arguing, a la Paul Krugman, that it is because of too little government intervention is talking counter to the evidence. The largest government interventions in the economy (2007 and 1929) both led to slow and prolonged recoveries. Lighter interventions (such as 1919, where the government cut spending) resulted in far quicker recoveries and prolonged economic growth.

    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    If I want to create interstellar space travel (kind of like on Star Trek) I require many powerful 'weapons'. The main one being the ability for millions of people to work together on the same goal. This takes the form of language, farms, inspiration, energy... Non of these things were designed to be a weapon but a clever evil man can twist them into forces of destruction and hate.
    You are right that that is possible. But the cooperation that millions would give, is it voluntary or involuntary? Given that I think we both agree it is the former, but when a government legislates cooperation it is the latter, which has the greater power?

    Convincing people requires that they agree with you for some prolonged period, and that they can withdraw that consent and cooperation at any time. Legislating requires no such thing. Lets use a slightly different example.

    Lets say that someone wanted to eliminate homosexuals within a culture. He could manipulate millions of people through clever arguments and language, but that would only get him so far. Homosexuals themselves would likely be unconvinced and even if they were the repercussions are somewhat limited, social shaming perhaps, maybe even some form of isolation.

    Compare that to someone who is a politician with the same goal. Bill passed, law changed, thousands of government agents round up homosexuals and put them into camps. Perhaps they are hung from construction cranes in the capital (a la Tehran).

    The clear difference in scope between someone who requires voluntary association through trickery and someone who can mandate association through force is pretty stark. Neither are good outcomes above, but one has the capacity to be much worse and is far easier to resort to.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


  3. #23
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    Re: Election by Lottery

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    This is a great example that I would like to pursue further to highlight some points if you will allow me.
    Go right ahead.

    You mention language as well. Language is certainly not a a great power gifted to us by the government either. It is the formation of an emergent system through spontaneous order. IE language arises through individual interactions on a massive scale, not because the a government invented it.
    I didn't mean that government invented language, just that it could be used as a weapon.

    You are right that that is possible. But the cooperation that millions would give, is it voluntary or involuntary? Given that I think we both agree it is the former, but when a government legislates cooperation it is the latter, which has the greater power?
    Voluntary has the greater power but voluntary isn't always what is needed. If an alien species threatened to cause the extinction of humanity it would be right to force people into trying to stop this from happening in some way, like joining the army. A willing soldier is a better soldier but a forced soldier is better than no soldier. Involuntary should only be used as a very last resort, like murder.

    Lets say that someone wanted to eliminate homosexuals within a culture. He could manipulate millions of people through clever arguments and language, but that would only get him so far. Homosexuals themselves would likely be unconvinced and even if they were the repercussions are somewhat limited, social shaming perhaps, maybe even some form of isolation.
    It is extremely difficult to talk someone out of having sex irregardless of their sexual orientation. So I agree, but only because of the example. In most situations propaganda is extremely effective. WWII proved that fairly well.

    The clear difference in scope between someone who requires voluntary association through trickery and someone who can mandate association through force is pretty stark. Neither are good outcomes above, but one has the capacity to be much worse and is far easier to resort to.
    History has clearly proven that violence doesn't work. Not in the long run at least. Propaganda on the other hand does work in the long run. Propaganda isn't even a bad thing if used for good. If I tell people that eating fast food is unhealthy that is propaganda. I do not force them to stop eating fast food I just make them aware of the consequences if they do.

    Based on what I know I am willing to do X. What I know can be changed and thus X can change. The person who is doing the changing is in a way forcing me to do what they want. Since free will does't exist, I would say their is no such thing as voluntary. We are all forced voluntary. Forced not by violence but by our past, present and future environment. If I am the leader of a country and I decide to spend 1 billion dollars on X, have I forced people to do X? I am offering several salaries in exchange for the performing of a task. That task may not be something that a person wants to do but since it is a job that is available and the person needs money they do the task. I did not force them to take the job but I did allocate a large amount of money so that someone, freely or out of necessity, would do it.
    abc

  4. #24
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    Re: Election by Lottery

    Quote Originally Posted by MyXenocide View Post
    I didn't mean that government invented language, just that it could be used as a weapon.
    This seems to be blurring the concept of "weapon" a bit. There is a moral gulf between convincing someone of something bad and forcing someone to do something bad with the threat of violence right?

    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    Voluntary has the greater power but voluntary isn't always what is needed.
    I'm not sure why you argue here that "voluntary has the greater power..." I can withdraw my voluntary consent to do something at any time. I can't when the action is involuntary. So in what sense does having someone's voluntary consent give me "greater power" over them?

    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    If an alien species threatened to cause the extinction of humanity it would be right to force people into trying to stop this from happening in some way, like joining the army.
    Let's explore this a bit. Under what moral justification is it right to force someone to fight?

    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    In most situations propaganda is extremely effective. WWII proved that fairly well.
    Did it? Propaganda got Hitler elected (and that is being somewhat charitable), it didn't make him a dictator. The Brown Shirts did that through violence and legal protection. Hitler's success in bending Germany to his will certainly had a propaganda aspect to it, but that only goes so far (which is why the final solution was relatively secretive), it was his ability to set up groups with legal authorization to use force that kept the population in line. It was fear of the legally protected Gestapo that ensured compliance, not support for the master race.

    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    History has clearly proven that violence doesn't work. Not in the long run at least. Propaganda on the other hand does work in the long run.
    Can you name an example of propaganda working to influence a group away from a moral action that worked longer than the force imposed by, say the Soviet Union for 75 years? Or Cuba for nearly that long? I think your analysis of history is incorrect here. Ideological indoctrination is not only incredibly difficult (because of the ease of finding countering information, even in low information periods like the middle ages), but not particularly lasting in focusing a group to act against it's own best interests. Force has worked for generations though as witnessed by the Islamic control of Spain for several generations despite the native population's unrest or the Roman empire's control of the Mediterranean for so long.

    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    Propaganda isn't even a bad thing if used for good. If I tell people that eating fast food is unhealthy that is propaganda. I do not force them to stop eating fast food I just make them aware of the consequences if they do.
    And in this example, you have to convince them right? They have to take the action freely and if they choose to ignore your propaganda, there is nothing you can do about it right?

    The same isn't true when it is a government institution. It doesn't have to convince people that X is bad, it simply bans X from production. Take the example of butter. For a long time the FDA considered the fats within butter to be extremely harmful, efforts were made to ban natural butter in favor of margarine. But later research found the exact opposite, the transfats in margarine were far, far more unhealthy than the fats in butter, which promoted heart health.


    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    The person who is doing the changing is in a way forcing me to do what they want. Since free will does't exist, I would say their is no such thing as voluntary.
    You just breezed over some relatively massive concepts here.

    I'll start with the latter since the former seems be based on it.

    Lets presume for the sake of argument that free will does not exist. Then in what sense is the action taken by the men you describe in your OP, "evil?"

    If there is no such thing as free will, why is the politician who votes himself more money at the expense of the poor, evil? After all he had no choice.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


  5. #25
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    Re: Election by Lottery

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    This seems to be blurring the concept of "weapon" a bit. There is a moral gulf between convincing someone of something bad and forcing someone to do something bad with the threat of violence right?
    The terrorists that flew into the world trait centers were brainwashed into doing so. Does it make a difference if someone used violence instead of words to accomplish this goal? I would say violence is worse simply because it is easier and quicker.

    I'm not sure why you argue here that "voluntary has the greater power..." I can withdraw my voluntary consent to do something at any time. I can't when the action is involuntary. So in what sense does having someone's voluntary consent give me "greater power" over them?
    What I meant was that a person who does something willingly will do a better job than someone who is forced. If I use words to convince you to do something you will try harder to do a good job than if I put a gun to your head. But since I have brainwashed you through propaganda I am in essence forcing you. Rather than hitting you in the face with my fist and giving you a black eye, I am hitting you in the brain with my words and giving you a "black brain".

    Let's explore this a bit. Under what moral justification is it right to force someone to fight?
    When they are to stupid to come to this realization themselves. Lets say the aliens glassed (like in Halo) half the Earth, all attempts at communication have failed and people are still refusing to fight because they want a peaceful solution.

    Did it? Propaganda got Hitler elected (and that is being somewhat charitable), it didn't make him a dictator. The Brown Shirts did that through violence and legal protection. Hitler's success in bending Germany to his will certainly had a propaganda aspect to it, but that only goes so far (which is why the final solution was relatively secretive), it was his ability to set up groups with legal authorization to use force that kept the population in line. It was fear of the legally protected Gestapo that ensured compliance, not support for the master race.
    Hitler wasn't the only one who used Propaganda. Actually Hitler believed that the lack of propaganda was one of the main reasons why Germany lost WWI.

    Can you name an example of propaganda working to influence a group away from a moral action that worked longer than the force imposed by, say the Soviet Union for 75 years? Or Cuba for nearly that long? I think your analysis of history is incorrect here. Ideological indoctrination is not only incredibly difficult (because of the ease of finding countering information, even in low information periods like the middle ages), but not particularly lasting in focusing a group to act against it's own best interests. Force has worked for generations though as witnessed by the Islamic control of Spain for several generations despite the native population's unrest or the Roman empire's control of the Mediterranean for so long.
    I cannot. However, the use of violence to get people to do what they want is declining. The use of propaganda is increasing. Perhaps it is to early in the use of propaganda to say that it is more effective than violence in the long run.

    And in this example, you have to convince them right? They have to take the action freely and if they choose to ignore your propaganda, there is nothing you can do about it right?
    True they can ignore it. But if the message is everywhere then you would have to live in a hole in the ground to not be exposed to it. For example, television is everywhere these days and where there is television there are commercials (an extremely effective method for spreading propaganda).

    The same isn't true when it is a government institution. It doesn't have to convince people that X is bad, it simply bans X from production. Take the example of butter. For a long time the FDA considered the fats within butter to be extremely harmful, efforts were made to ban natural butter in favor of margarine. But later research found the exact opposite, the transfats in margarine were far, far more unhealthy than the fats in butter, which promoted heart health.
    True. But how do you define banning? Is it violence or propaganda? Or is it law which results in both violence (some people are forced to go to jail) and propaganda (commercials on TV telling people that the ban is a good thing)?

    Lets presume for the sake of argument that free will does not exist. Then in what sense is the action taken by the men you describe in your OP, "evil?"
    There is no such thing as good or evil just consequence (cause and effect). Humans (whether they realize it or not) define good as the reduction in suffering. So an action is good if the overall effect is a reduction in suffering. Since we are not all knowing it is extremely difficult to know whether or not your actions are good. Evil men go into government to reduce their own suffering at the expense of causing others to suffer. A good man goes into government to reduce the suffering (improve the lives) of the population irregardless of how his actions impact himself.
    abc

  6. #26
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    Re: Election by Lottery

    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    There is no such thing as good or evil just consequence (cause and effect). Humans (whether they realize it or not) define good as the reduction in suffering. So an action is good if the overall effect is a reduction in suffering. Since we are not all knowing it is extremely difficult to know whether or not your actions are good. Evil men go into government to reduce their own suffering at the expense of causing others to suffer. A good man goes into government to reduce the suffering (improve the lives) of the population irregardless of how his actions impact himself.
    I moved this response to the top because it seems to be a fundamental underlying assumption to your OP. It would seem to me that its resolution removes any justification for the debate itself as there is no point in discussing changing systems if all the actors in that system are automatons. Indeed the debate here is pointless, we will just end where ever the chemical reactions that make us end up.

    But if that politician does not have free will, how can you say that he goes into government in order to reduce their own suffering? In what sense can he have that intent, if intent is impossible?

    Quote Originally Posted by MyXenocide View Post
    The terrorists that flew into the world trait centers were brainwashed into doing so. Does it make a difference if someone used violence instead of words to accomplish this goal? I would say violence is worse simply because it is easier and quicker.
    I think that it does yes. If they had been coerced into that action we would have a double tragedy, not only the 3000 lives lost due to the attacks, but also the tragedy of 19 people being coerced into committing such an atrocity.

    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    When they are to stupid to come to this realization themselves. Lets say the aliens glassed (like in Halo) half the Earth, all attempts at communication have failed and people are still refusing to fight because they want a peaceful solution.
    So in essence, your opinion on the correct course of action trumps their's? If so, why? Why is your opinion objectively correct and their's is not?

    Out of curiosity, have you read Ender's Game?

    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    Hitler wasn't the only one who used Propaganda. Actually Hitler believed that the lack of propaganda was one of the main reasons why Germany lost WWI.
    True, but none of that really responds to my point. The reason the German leadership was able to engage in the atrocities it did was not because it used propaganda to convince people to acquiesce, it is because it had a secret police that prevented people from dissenting.


    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    I cannot. However, the use of violence to get people to do what they want is declining. The use of propaganda is increasing. Perhaps it is to early in the use of propaganda to say that it is more effective than violence in the long run.
    I'm not sure what data you used to come to this conclusion. The fact is that governments have become far more authoritative and so it would seem that the threat of force is on the rise. If I didn't sell raw milk fifty years ago it was because I was convinced it was a problem. If I don't do it today it is because an FDA tactical team (amazing these actually exist) will raid my house and seize my property. The fact that the governments all over the world have increased, rather than decreased their ability to legislate people's lives would seem to belie your assertion.

    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    True they can ignore it. But if the message is everywhere then you would have to live in a hole in the ground to not be exposed to it. For example, television is everywhere these days and where there is television there are commercials (an extremely effective method for spreading propaganda).
    Exposure =/= acceptance however. It is that difference that marks a large segment of the moral gulf between convincing and force. I can be exposed to a message and choose to not accept it. I can't really be exposed to a threat and not accept the reality of the threat.

    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    True. But how do you define banning?
    In the relatively commonly accepted way, a legal restriction on an activity or product. That legal restriction is a coercive threat, not propaganda. I have no choice to accept that the product or action has been banned. That threat might accompany propaganda, propaganda might be used to disguise the threat, but that is no different from a mugger using an argument for economic distribution while he points the gun at you.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


  7. #27
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    Re: Election by Lottery

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    I moved this response to the top because it seems to be a fundamental underlying assumption to your OP. It would seem to me that its resolution removes any justification for the debate itself as there is no point in discussing changing systems if all the actors in that system are automatons. Indeed the debate here is pointless, we will just end where ever the chemical reactions that make us end up.

    But if that politician does not have free will, how can you say that he goes into government in order to reduce their own suffering? In what sense can he have that intent, if intent is impossible?
    Intent is possible. Think of intent as an algorithm inside a computer system. This computer system would have the ability to use the intent program to do things intentionally. Doing something intentionally is really just planning ahead. Which in a deterministic universe is like seeing the future. I intend to accomplish X. I will do so by doing 1, 2, 3 ... X in that order and thereby accomplish my goal.

    So the politician is doing what all 'normal/healthy' humans want to do which is reduce their suffering. But since what causes suffering is like 90% universal we all do the same things to reduce suffering. Extreme ideas cause people to do extreme things to reduce suffering. Both Hitler and the 9/11 terrorist did everything they did because they honestly believed that they were reducing suffering in the long run. Of course if your dumb or crazy your conclusions will be wrong with regard to what actions will actually reduce suffering.

    But if we are automatons within a massive system (the universe), what is our function? This is actually a question that has fascinated me for a long time. So I would be glad to hear any ideas you might have on the subject. The only idea I have is that if the universe is a living being (large scale images of the universe seem to suggest this is possible) then we are either cancer/virus or a white-blood-cell/anti-body. Which either way means war. Also, if all living things are universes that means I am a universe with perhaps intelligent life inside me.

    So in essence, your opinion on the correct course of action trumps their's? If so, why? Why is your opinion objectively correct and their's is not?
    Because I have a better future telling device between my ears. The only way that I can come up with a solution worse then someone else is if that person has vital information relevant to the situation which I do not (or is smarter than me). Otherwise since my brain is better at thinking than theirs it will come up with a better answer/solution. This isn't the case in 100% of situations (because the brain is incredibly detailed) but around 85% which is still better than the alternative.

    Out of curiosity, have you read Ender's Game?
    Yes. I have also read the one from Bean's perspective and recently I saw the movie. The ending made the book for me. Other than that it was a little bit boring. It seemed like it was just building to a second book when he actually fights the war.


    True, but none of that really responds to my point. The reason the German leadership was able to engage in the atrocities it did was not because it used propaganda to convince people to acquiesce, it is because it had a secret police that prevented people from dissenting.
    Have you read Mein Kampf? Hitler got his secret police by convincing the people of Germany to vote for him. This is propaganda and one of the steps needed on the way to accomplishing goal X. Given the conditions in Germany after WWI this wasn't particularly difficult. When I read the book I disagreed with two of his major conclusions. He defined evil/corrupt as Jewish and while some evil/corrupt people happened to be Jewish this was just coincidence not causation. Also, he used force to try and rid the world of evil/corruption.


    I'm not sure what data you used to come to this conclusion. The fact is that governments have become far more authoritative and so it would seem that the threat of force is on the rise. If I didn't sell raw milk fifty years ago it was because I was convinced it was a problem. If I don't do it today it is because an FDA tactical team (amazing these actually exist) will raid my house and seize my property. The fact that the governments all over the world have increased, rather than decreased their ability to legislate people's lives would seem to belie your assertion.
    I was thinking about there no longer being the possibility of a world war. However, I agree with your point.

    Exposure =/= acceptance however. It is that difference that marks a large segment of the moral gulf between convincing and force. I can be exposed to a message and choose to not accept it. I can't really be exposed to a threat and not accept the reality of the threat.
    You can, but can everyone? What if your education system has failed you and turned the majority of your population into people not smart enough to see the lies in propaganda? Since majority rules in a Democracy you have essentially just taken control over the country. All you had to do was get control over the education system and the media. Also, the threat of pollution to all of us is very real yet the majority of people just ignore it. If your not smart enough to know that you are being threatened then you can't respond to that threat.

    In the relatively commonly accepted way, a legal restriction on an activity or product. That legal restriction is a coercive threat, not propaganda. I have no choice to accept that the product or action has been banned. That threat might accompany propaganda, propaganda might be used to disguise the threat, but that is no different from a mugger using an argument for economic distribution while he points the gun at you.
    I agree but forget why it is relevant to our debate.
    Last edited by MyXenocide; February 22nd, 2014 at 05:48 PM.
    abc

  8. #28
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    Re: Election by Lottery

    Quote Originally Posted by MyXenocide View Post
    Intent is possible. Think of intent as an algorithm inside a computer system. This computer system would have the ability to use the intent program to do things intentionally.
    I think you are conflating the word "intent" here with the word "goal." The algorithm can have a goal to do something, but the reason that that goal is chosen, above others, is intent. But even then we are speaking in euphemisms that largely assume free will. That an algorithm has a goal is the function of it having a designer who has intent, not a function of its internal structure. This is a valid deduction because the algorithm might well fail to achieve the goal set out, but that failure does not mean that the failure itself was in fact the goal. "|X+1|" can have a goal of returning a negative number. In actuality, it won't, but that doesn't mean the goal of the function wasn't to return a negative number, only that I was a bad designer.

    I'll use your example a bit.

    You intend to accomplish X (wash your clothes).

    You will do so by doing 1,2 and 3.

    1) Insert your clothes into the washer.

    2) Add the soap.

    3) Push "start."

    Now the fact that this will not get your clothes washed (as this happens to be a paid washing machine) does not mean that the goal of your process was not to wash your clothes. Hence it is possible for the process to have a goal which is different than the intent (desired outcome) of the process' designer.

    Intent in a deterministic universe is solely an illusion. As Nietzsche said, a lie our brains tell us. So if we lack free will, there is no such thing as "evil" intent in any sense of the word. There is a chemical process we mistake for intent perhaps, but it isn't really intent in the full sense of that word.

    So given that the politician's actions are simply the result of a myriad of chemical interactions, in what sense does he have "evil intent" any more than a rock that happens to fall and kill a family? Does the rock have evil intent?

    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    But if we are automatons within a massive system (the universe), what is our function? This is actually a question that has fascinated me for a long time. So I would be glad to hear any ideas you might have on the subject. The only idea I have is that if the universe is a living being
    Which is of course a thread here on ODN, so I won't detract us into that here. Sufficed to say I reject the automoton vision and would reject the living universe hypothesis by pointing out the manifest difference between a human or a planet and a molecule or an atom. There are more criteria than just size to help us reject the idea that human:universe::atom:human.

    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    Because I have a better future telling device between my ears. The only way that I can come up with a solution worse then someone else is if that person has vital information relevant to the situation which I do not (or is smarter than me).
    Aside from the fact that you have no empirical evidence for this assertion, that doesn't answer the moral question I asked. Why does you having a better future telling device, give you moral permission to force your will upon others?

    After all, one could argue that slave owners in the American South had a better "future telling device" and realized that blacks would be better off in the long run in the US than they would in Africa. Does that mean that they were morally permitted to enslave those blacks?


    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    Yes. I have also read the one from Bean's perspective and recently I saw the movie. The ending made the book for me. Other than that it was a little bit boring. It seemed like it was just building to a second book when he actually fights the war.
    I'm pretty sure that the war is over after the first book. I asked because Orson Scott Card offers a very similar scenario. We go on to eradicate another species that had attacked us because we thought they would come back and exterminate us. We were wrong, they had realized that we were intelligent and were later trying to communicate. Their superior technical and social progress is lost because we reacted out of fear, similar to how you proposed to in your hypothetical.

    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    Have you read Mein Kampf? Hitler got his secret police by convincing the people of Germany to vote for him.
    I have, I thought it a poorly written book and quite boring to be honest. Hitler needed a much better editor.

    Historically, you are putting the cart before the horse however. Hitler convinced the brownshirts to follow him before he was elected to anything.

    Hitler wasn't first elected to the Chancellery, he was only elected to the Riechstag. He became Chancellor not by election, but because he coerced the sitting Chancellor into appointing him through targeted violence from his brownshirts and the SA.

    Hitler first started using the brownshirts as secret police long, long before he ever got elected to office.

    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    I was thinking about there no longer being the possibility of a world war. However, I agree with your point.
    I'm not sure that is not a possibility either, but I'll leave it for now.

    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    You can, but can everyone?
    If free will is a valid concept (our debate above to some extent) then yes. But that capability to make a choice does not mean they will make a good one. But their propensity to make choices we would not agree with does not invalidate them of the right to make those choices. Homosexual lifestyles are more likely to lead to STDs, people would be healthier if they were forbidden from engaging in homosexual sex. But that fact does not mean we have the moral right to constrain their personal sexual choices.

    Why?

    Because, as Thomas Sowell said, "there are no solutions, only trade-offs." By gaining a healthy lifestyle the homosexual is losing a personal sexual relationship with someone. That may be a net gain or a net loss, but the individual weights are up to that person right?

    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    Since majority rules in a Democracy you have essentially just taken control over the country.
    Who says I'm a fan of Democracy? There is a reason I prefer a Republic, in which laws limit the whims of the majority.

    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    I agree but forget why it is relevant to our debate.

    It is about scope of damage. Propaganda's scope is limited to the percentage of the population that accepts the message, IE that is convinced by it. Coercion through legal means' scope is the entire population. Hence the latter has the potential to be fare more dangerous.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


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    Re: Election by Lottery

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    I think you are conflating the word "intent" here with the word "goal." The algorithm can have a goal to do something, but the reason that that goal is chosen, above others, is intent.
    No, it is another goal. It could be said that it is the intention of a system to accomplish its top goal. But that top goal can be programmed in. Like the laws of robotics. I forget what they are exactly but the number one goal is to not harm humans. This is the 'intention' of the system. This intention results in good or evil behavior. Good and evil being defined by a majority vote of a species. There is no universal definition for good and evil. It is evil to drown a human in water but it is good to 'drown' a fish in water.

    That an algorithm has a goal is the function of it having a designer who has intent, not a function of its internal structure.
    If there is a designer that designer does not have to have intention, just an ultimate goal.

    So given that the politician's actions are simply the result of a myriad of chemical interactions, in what sense does he have "evil intent" any more than a rock that happens to fall and kill a family? Does the rock have evil intent?
    Since the rock cannot act on its own (technically neither can the politician) I would say that whatever caused the rock to fall is what has an evil goal. Unless of course the family that was killed was Hitler's family. Than perhaps the goal of whatever caused the rock to fall is actually good. Perhaps it was an earthquake that caused the rock to fall. But what caused the earthquake? And what caused that? and that.....? Evil is just that which is detrimental to the goals of the human race. Since our goals are extremely similar we in large part agree what is detrimental and what is not. Also, our goals are programmed into us. I want to live not because I like working 18 hours in a sweatshop but because ... no idea really, I just fear death. But why do I fear death? I was dead before I was born so why should I fear that which I have done before?

    Which is of course a thread here on ODN, so I won't detract us into that here. Sufficed to say I reject the automoton vision and would reject the living universe hypothesis by pointing out the manifest difference between a human or a planet and a molecule or an atom. There are more criteria than just size to help us reject the idea that human:universe::atom:human.
    What obvious difference? I see virtually no difference between a person and a planet.

    Aside from the fact that you have no empirical evidence for this assertion, that doesn't answer the moral question I asked. Why does you having a better future telling device, give you moral permission to force your will upon others?
    Because of the definition of good.

    After all, one could argue that slave owners in the American South had a better "future telling device" and realized that blacks would be better off in the long run in the US than they would in Africa. Does that mean that they were morally permitted to enslave those blacks?
    So the ultimate goal of the slave owners was to give their slaves a better life in the long run and not make themselves stinking rich?

    I'm pretty sure that the war is over after the first book. I asked because Orson Scott Card offers a very similar scenario. We go on to eradicate another species that had attacked us because we thought they would come back and exterminate us. We were wrong, they had realized that we were intelligent and were later trying to communicate. Their superior technical and social progress is lost because we reacted out of fear, similar to how you proposed to in your hypothetical.
    The fear of humanity going extinct because of corruption in government is a very good reason to make large changes to our current systems. These changes should be made with extreme caution because we do not yet know what their final effect might be. Like attacking another species before you determine if they are intelligent or not is a very moronic thing to do. Some dude once said "know your enemy" and if you don't even know something as fundamental as level of intelligence then you know virtually nothing and attacking them is just moronic. A species that did something like that would not be superior to humans with regard to technology and society. I cannot speak for the rest of humanity but I would call myself a certified moron (moron isn't a strong enough adjective to describe the level of stupidity present in such an action) if I took such an action before verifying that I will win the war.

    I have, I thought it a poorly written book and quite boring to be honest. Hitler needed a much better editor.

    Historically, you are putting the cart before the horse however. Hitler convinced the brownshirts to follow him before he was elected to anything.

    Hitler wasn't first elected to the Chancellery, he was only elected to the Riechstag. He became Chancellor not by election, but because he coerced the sitting Chancellor into appointing him through targeted violence from his brownshirts and the SA.

    Hitler first started using the brownshirts as secret police long, long before he ever got elected to office.
    How did he get control of the brownshirts? If he used words/language then he used propaganda. Propaganda which encouraged violence.

    I'm not sure that is not a possibility either, but I'll leave it for now.
    I'm not sure either. It just seems unlikely due to the amount of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons present today (also the ones we could easily create).

    But their propensity to make choices we would not agree with does not invalidate them of the right to make those choices.
    Yes, as long as their choice does not harm others.

    Because, as Thomas Sowell said, "there are no solutions, only trade-offs." By gaining a healthy lifestyle the homosexual is losing a personal sexual relationship with someone. That may be a net gain or a net loss, but the individual weights are up to that person right?
    I would say losing a personal sexual relationship is far worse than getting an STD. STDs can be treated, also condoms exist. A gay politician who chooses to express his sexuality is not harming others. However, an evil politician who chooses to express their evil is harming others and therefore should be stopped before they do irreversible damage to our systems.

    Who says I'm a fan of Democracy? There is a reason I prefer a Republic, in which laws limit the whims of the majority.
    Why is it harder to corrupt a Republic than a Democracy? Seems to me that taking control of a Republic just takes different actions in comparison to taking control of a Democracy.

    It is about scope of damage. Propaganda's scope is limited to the percentage of the population that accepts the message, IE that is convinced by it. Coercion through legal means' scope is the entire population. Hence the latter has the potential to be fare more dangerous.
    Agreed. But since 'all' humans value 'mostly' the same thing (if they are smart enough) wouldn't they agree with the right answer?

    To some degree this is already true. The vast majority of humans are smart enough to understand that raping babies is a bad thing. Lets assume that we live in a world where evil people rule us and therefore baby rape is legal. I spread propaganda (logical arguments) as to why baby rape is bad and that we shouldn't do it. Everyone is smart enough to understand my arguments and smart enough to see through the lies of the evil men who are claiming that I am wrong and that baby rape is a good thing. Thus the evil men are removed from government and I get to make my don't rape babies law.

    The problem is that the majority of people are not smart enough to understand why X is evil and why we shouldn't do it. I wont force them not to do X, but I will 'force' their children to be educated in such a way that they are smarter than their parents and can understand and agree that we should no longer do X.
    Last edited by MyXenocide; February 25th, 2014 at 02:57 AM.
    abc

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    Re: Election by Lottery

    Quote Originally Posted by MyXenocide View Post
    No, it is another goal.
    So a rock that falls on a family, does it have an "intent?"

    Intent is usually defined as the preference for one outcome over another. But in what sense do non-sentient beings (and in a deterministic universe, there is no such thing as sentience) have "preference?"

    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    Since the rock cannot act on its own (technically neither can the politician) I would say that whatever caused the rock to fall is what has an evil goal.

    But in your deterministic universe nothing can act on its own right? So no cause, no matter how far you go back in the causal chain acts of its own volition. Therefore none of those causes can have an evil goal, they are simply deterministically responding to the stimuli they exist in.

    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    What obvious difference? I see virtually no difference between a person and a planet.
    Again, I'm not trying to detract from this thread, but sufficed to say a person is a set of interdependent cells that communicate with each other in an emergent way. Planets are a set of a physical materials that do not interact in an emergent way. It is the difference between a bundle of wires in a warehouse and a bundle of wires assembled to produce the internet.

    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    Because of the definition of good.
    So you subscribe to the utilitarian view point that any act is morally permissible as long as the eventual outcome is "good?" IE that individuals have no individual rights, but only a collective right to reduce suffering?

    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    So the ultimate goal of the slave owners was to give their slaves a better life in the long run and not make themselves stinking rich?
    Perhaps they did, perhaps not, it doesn't matter either way right? Your definition of good didn't include a "noble intention" concept, and if it did it would be incoherent. Certainly an action that is intended to reduce suffering, but causes massive suffering cannot be considered "good" right?

    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    How did he get control of the brownshirts? If he used words/language then he used propaganda. Propaganda which encouraged violence.
    Yep and as long as he was confined to his control of those brownshirts that agreed with him he was a relatively limited figure. His ability to influence department stores, for example, failed because they could hire thugs to defend themselves. It wasn't until he was able to monopolize the use of force via the government and enable the brownshirts to arrest and detain people that he became an extremely powerful figure.

    When it was Mr. Hitler vs other groups he used his brownshirts for violence and others used their equivalent against him. Neither group could force third parties to join their side. When it was Chancellor Hitler that all stopped. No one could exist outside the Nazi party, no one could defend themselves from his thugs. Do you see the difference here?

    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    Yes, as long as their choice does not harm others.
    This seems to disagree with your statement above. In the scenario of an invasion you said they had no right to decline to participate right? That you could force them not to make that choice, but to conform to your will. So which is it? Do they have a choice to make bad decisions or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    I would say losing a personal sexual relationship is far worse than getting an STD.
    You would say that, others would disagree. Surely you are not asserting there is an objective preference here are you?

    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    Why is it harder to corrupt a Republic than a Democracy? Seems to me that taking control of a Republic just takes different actions in comparison to taking control of a Democracy.
    I think that is because you misunderstand the classic definition of a Republic. In a Democracy, if I convince a majority of the people to vote to enslave a portion of the minority, that is within the scope of that government's powers.

    In a Republic there are laws that trump majority rule. The method of representation, the scope of individual rights, the limits of permissible power of the state for example. All of those, in a Republic are laws that cannot be altered by majority decree. The US is a quasi-Republic in that we do have laws that trump majority will, but that we have allowed for the super majority to suppress those laws.

    Regardless, in a Republic is it is either very difficult (like in our quasi republic) or impossible (in a classic republic) to use the majority to suppress the minority via the government.

    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    Agreed. But since 'all' humans value 'mostly' the same thing (if they are smart enough) wouldn't they agree with the right answer?
    I see no reason to accept that. If you place two people of similar intelligence and background on a street and they witness a car crash they will almost always have different interpretations of the event. Given that a car crash is a relatively simple situation, and we can't agree there, why would I suspect that we would agree on much more complex and qualitative judgements?


    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    To some degree this is already true. The vast majority of humans are smart enough to understand that raping babies is a bad thing.
    This gets to a slightly different point. Is it a "bad thing" universally? Or is it only a bad thing because you have arbitrarily defined it as a bad thing because it produces the suffering of the baby?

    I would image the rapist would argue that good and bad are not defined as what causes others' suffering, but only what he/she defines as suffering. What ground do you have to argue that he/she is wrong?
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


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    Re: Election by Lottery

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    So a rock that falls on a family, does it have an "intent?"
    Yes. The rocks intent is to fulfill the laws of physics by falling. If it didn't fall then it would not be completing its top goal of obeying the laws of physics. All things in our universe share the same top goal which is to obey and act out the laws of physics as set in motion by the big bang.

    But in your deterministic universe nothing can act on its own right? So no cause, no matter how far you go back in the causal chain acts of its own volition. Therefore none of those causes can have an evil goal, they are simply deterministically responding to the stimuli they exist in.
    True.

    Again, I'm not trying to detract from this thread, but sufficed to say a person is a set of interdependent cells that communicate with each other in an emergent way. Planets are a set of a physical materials that do not interact in an emergent way. It is the difference between a bundle of wires in a warehouse and a bundle of wires assembled to produce the internet.
    Ah, but if you believe in evolution (which I do) then that difference is moot.

    So you subscribe to the utilitarian view point that any act is morally permissible as long as the eventual outcome is "good?" IE that individuals have no individual rights, but only a collective right to reduce suffering?
    Yes. Sort of. Losing your individual rights causes suffering. Therefore, a better way to reduce suffering is to give people individual rights but at the same time ensure that the individual rights that they want are the same as the ones everyone else wants. We have an individual right to reduce suffering but if we all agree on what causes suffering then the individual right becomes identical to the collective right.

    Perhaps they did, perhaps not, it doesn't matter either way right? Your definition of good didn't include a "noble intention" concept, and if it did it would be incoherent. Certainly an action that is intended to reduce suffering, but causes massive suffering cannot be considered "good" right?
    Humans are automatons who have built into them by the processes of evolution a concept called honor. There is also love, hate, anger, happiness, caution, bravery, betrayal, curiosity and many more. What is defined as good and evil is based upon the majority vote of a species. Humans would vote the action of submerging a human baby underwater for 10 minutes as evil. Fish would vote the action of submerging a fish baby underwater for 10 minutes as good. So if a fish drowns a human baby we should not call him evil, just ignorant of human physiology.

    Yep and as long as he was confined to his control of those brownshirts that agreed with him he was a relatively limited figure. His ability to influence department stores, for example, failed because they could hire thugs to defend themselves. It wasn't until he was able to monopolize the use of force via the government and enable the brownshirts to arrest and detain people that he became an extremely powerful figure.

    When it was Mr. Hitler vs other groups he used his brownshirts for violence and others used their equivalent against him. Neither group could force third parties to join their side. When it was Chancellor Hitler that all stopped. No one could exist outside the Nazi party, no one could defend themselves from his thugs. Do you see the difference here?
    Between that and commercials, yes.

    This seems to disagree with your statement above. In the scenario of an invasion you said they had no right to decline to participate right? That you could force them not to make that choice, but to conform to your will. So which is it? Do they have a choice to make bad decisions or not?
    Yes but only as long as their actions do not harm others. In this particular situation their decision not to fight is causing the abortion of all future humans. This is trillions upon trillions of lives. In this scenario their actions are harming a lot of other humans. Therefore I will stop them with force in the same way we currently stop murderers. All humans that would have existed from now till the end of time will die if we do not band together and fight. There is not enough time to convince people that they must fight. There is only enough time to say do this now or die. By my hand or our enemies cause if you don't we will go extinct anyways.

    You would say that, others would disagree. Surely you are not asserting there is an objective preference here are you?
    I am not. But this action does not harm others. If they were smart enough to do the math they would agree with the right answer (that could be my answer or not, I didn't actually do the math just a brief estimation).

    I think that is because you misunderstand the classic definition of a Republic. In a Democracy, if I convince a majority of the people to vote to enslave a portion of the minority, that is within the scope of that government's powers.

    In a Republic there are laws that trump majority rule. The method of representation, the scope of individual rights, the limits of permissible power of the state for example. All of those, in a Republic are laws that cannot be altered by majority decree. The US is a quasi-Republic in that we do have laws that trump majority will, but that we have allowed for the super majority to suppress those laws.

    Regardless, in a Republic is it is either very difficult (like in our quasi republic) or impossible (in a classic republic) to use the majority to suppress the minority via the government.
    These laws that cannot be changed by a majority vote, can they be changed at all? If not those laws would be a very powerful thing which could be used for good or evil. I would assume the people that originally wrote those laws intended to do good. But they are not all knowing. There might come a time far in the future when it is evil to keep those laws the same. Also an evil person might be able to twist the laws into doing evil.

    I agree that laws like that are a good way to permanently prevent evil from creeping back into government. But extreme caution must be taken because of the massive power these laws contain.

    I see no reason to accept that. If you place two people of similar intelligence and background on a street and they witness a car crash they will almost always have different interpretations of the event. Given that a car crash is a relatively simple situation, and we can't agree there, why would I suspect that we would agree on much more complex and qualitative judgements?
    This is a poor example. The two people disagree because they do not share the same information. If we showed them both a video in which a stopped car at a red light stepped on the gas and ran over a pedestrian who had a green light everyone would agree on that.

    Two people of the same intelligence and data will come up with the same right answer irregardless of their personal life experiences. As long as those experiences resulted in the same level of intelligence needed for solving the problem.

    If you put the same thing into two identical computers they will spit out the same thing. Either the right answer or an error message.

    This gets to a slightly different point. Is it a "bad thing" universally? Or is it only a bad thing because you have arbitrarily defined it as a bad thing because it produces the suffering of the baby?

    I would image the rapist would argue that good and bad are not defined as what causes others' suffering, but only what he/she defines as suffering. What ground do you have to argue that he/she is wrong?
    Quote Originally Posted by MyXenocide View Post
    What is defined as good and evil is based upon the majority vote of a species. Humans would vote the action of submerging a human baby underwater for 10 minutes as evil. Fish would vote the action of submerging a fish baby underwater for 10 minutes as good. So if a fish drowns a human baby we should not call him evil, just ignorant of human physiology.
    abc

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    Re: Election by Lottery

    Quote Originally Posted by MyXenocide View Post
    Yes. The rocks intent is to fulfill the laws of physics by falling.
    You seem to be using the word "intent" in a manner not associated with that word. Volition is required to possess intent and in no sense of the word does a rock have volition.

    Rather, what I think you mean to say is that it is a property of all rocks that they act in accordance with the laws of physics. That is a very, very different claim than to say that the rock "intends" to obey the laws of physics.

    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    Yes. Sort of. Losing your individual rights causes suffering.
    But you would agree with the statement, "it is morally permissible to suspend an individual's rights to implement a collective reduction in suffering" right?

    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    What is defined as good and evil is based upon the majority vote of a species.
    Two questions.

    1) So then you would agree that in 1500AD, slavery was not evil right?

    2) Why is the majority of the species the determining factor? This seems like an arbitrary condition applied to the moral law. Why not a plurality? A super majority? Individual opinion? Why is the will of the majority objectively the right answer here?

    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    Yes but only as long as their actions do not harm others. In this particular situation their decision not to fight is causing the abortion of all future humans.
    So harm, in your take, can be also visited upon others by our inactions then as well. So would it then be ethical to enslave a small portion of the population in order to feed the remainder?

    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    I am not. But this action does not harm others. If they were smart enough to do the math they would agree with the right answer (that could be my answer or not, I didn't actually do the math just a brief estimation).
    And what math would that be? What equation would be offered that would lead every one who is "smart enough" to the same moral conclusion concerning the utility of an STD vs sexual partner? Please be specific.


    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    These laws that cannot be changed by a majority vote, can they be changed at all?
    In a true republic no. The only mechanism for change would be the dissolution of that state.

    Your point is on target as well, you are approaching the political thought progression of the Late Roman Empire in the timeline. What thinkers there realized, and others later built upon, was the realization that laws within a Republic could only be good if they limited government action. Laws that required action would be subject to the morality of the circumstance. But laws that prevent government action would not be. The reason for this difference is because these laws would not prevent citizens from mutually agreeing to an action that was in their benefit, but the prohibition would prevent that decision from being forced upon others who did not agree.

    I would propose a thought experiment. Can you think of a situation where a law preventing exercise of government power would be "evil?"

    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    This is a poor example. The two people disagree because they do not share the same information. If we showed them both a video in which a stopped car at a red light stepped on the gas and ran over a pedestrian who had a green light everyone would agree on that.
    Are you sure? Most psychologists would disagree with you. In the example they do share the same information, they witnessed the same event.

    Study after study finds that human beings, even when confronted with the same information and with similar backgrounds come to different conclusions about events. The same process of solidifying a memory (retelling it) also leads to error introduction for most witnesses. Normal cognitive biases like confirmation bias, movement bias, Functional fixedness, focusing effect, subjective validation and a dozen others all serve to focus a person's interpretation of facts through a set of complex lenses. The APA suggests that stricter guidelines be placed on witness testimony similar to trace evidence including collecting testimony from similar people who are not witnesses to the activity with similar backgrounds or collecting testimony concerning other activities not related to the event to filter for cognitive processes. Interestingly, this is somewhat similar to the witness requirements of many traditional cultures, including biblical requirements on multiple, independent witnesses. The vast majority of findings show that biases and skewed perception occurs not only with subjective facts like "was it justified?" but with objective facts like "what color was the car?" This is especially true in scenarios where stress is involved, and unexpectedly, where the person is preparing to witness something rather than witnessing it randomly.


    A simple video can reveal that your expectations here are unfounded.



    Count the number of times the ball is passed in this video.

    Now:

    Did you see the guy in the gorilla suit? http://theinvisiblegorilla.com/gorilla_experiment.html

    When conducted as a controlled experiment, more than half of people didn't see him. And that is independent of age, education, training, or background.



    So here we have a scenario exactly like what you suggest, a video of an event. And yet, people come to different conclusions about the event.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


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    Re: Election by Lottery

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    You seem to be using the word "intent" in a manner not associated with that word. Volition is required to possess intent and in no sense of the word does a rock have volition.
    Volition: the state of mind with which an act is done. At the most basic level what is a mind state? Intention is a concept that humans made up but don't really posses anymore than a rock.

    But you would agree with the statement, "it is morally permissible to suspend an individual's rights to implement a collective reduction in suffering" right?
    In certain scenarios yes.

    Two questions.

    1) So then you would agree that in 1500AD, slavery was not evil right?

    2) Why is the majority of the species the determining factor? This seems like an arbitrary condition applied to the moral law. Why not a plurality? A super majority? Individual opinion? Why is the will of the majority objectively the right answer here?
    The majority is not objectively the right answer. Good is a word and if most people say good means X then it does. This is why objectively slavery is evil but this evil was defined by the majority as good back then. What is objectively moral is impossible to know unless you know the outcome of every possible action throughout all time. So from a practical standpoint objective morality fails big time.

    So harm, in your take, can be also visited upon others by our inactions then as well. So would it then be ethical to enslave a small portion of the population in order to feed the remainder?
    Yes inaction can be evil as well. In very specific situations enslaving a small group of people to help a large group of people is good.

    And what math would that be? What equation would be offered that would lead every one who is "smart enough" to the same moral conclusion concerning the utility of an STD vs sexual partner? Please be specific.
    The extreme amount of detail that goes into such a calculation makes it tricky to be specific. We all use basic mathematical concepts to solve problems in our everyday lives. For example, if I do A + B + C then that will equal outcome Y. In this case the outcome we want is the one that causes the least amount of suffering. If we choose option 1 that will result in A, B and C. Each of A, B and C will in turn cause D, E and F. These three things will cause something else and something else... All of A, B, C, D, E and F result in X amount of suffering. Then we add and compare to option 2.

    In a true republic no. The only mechanism for change would be the dissolution of that state.
    That dose sound good. In an extreme unforeseeable future change is possible.

    I would propose a thought experiment. Can you think of a situation where a law preventing exercise of government power would be "evil?"
    No, but only because of: Laws that required action would be subject to the morality of the circumstance.

    I'm not sure I understood this part:

    laws within a Republic could only be good if they limited government action. Laws that required action would be subject to the morality of the circumstance. But laws that prevent government action would not be. The reason for this difference is because these laws would not prevent citizens from mutually agreeing to an action that was in their benefit, but the prohibition would prevent that decision from being forced upon others who did not agree.
    Could you give a practical example?

    Are you sure? Most psychologists would disagree with you. In the example they do share the same information, they witnessed the same event.
    People of different levels of intelligence see different things in the same information.

    Did you see the guy in the gorilla suit?
    Yes, but this isn't the first time I witnessed this event. While I agree with the research being done in this area, high enough intelligence coupled with enough information to come to the objectively correct answer will result in agreement. To give an extremely simple example:

    it is objectively true that 1 + 1 = 2. If you are smart enough to understand the concept of addition and are aware of what the symbols 1, + and = mean then your output to the stimulus 1 + 1 = will be 2.
    abc

  14. #34
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    Re: Election by Lottery

    Quote Originally Posted by MyXenocide View Post
    Volition: the state of mind with which an act is done. At the most basic level what is a mind state? Intention is a concept that humans made up but don't really posses anymore than a rock.
    Setting aside that this is unsupported, I think accepting it undercuts your argument. If a person has no volition, and cannot then be said to make a decision this way or that way

    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    In certain scenarios yes.
    If it is only true is some scenarios, but not in others, then what other guiding principle determines the morality of suspension of rights? I'm asking to better understand the moral viewpoint you are ofereing.

    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    The majority is not objectively the right answer. Good is a word and if most people say good means X then it does. This is why objectively slavery is evil but this evil was defined by the majority as good back then.
    Then what makes slavery objectively evil? Is it the net outcome of suffering? IE slavery is evil/ok based on the final total amount of suffering caused/relieved?

    If so, what makes suffering the correct metric? Why does a majority of people accepting that metric make it the right one?

    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    In very specific situations enslaving a small group of people to help a large group of people is good.
    But you said above that slavery is objectively evil. Which one is it? Is it objectively evil or evil only in certain circumstances?

    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    The extreme amount of detail that goes into such a calculation makes it tricky to be specific.
    And are any of those details person specific? Because if so people would come to different answers, right?


    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    No, but only because of: Laws that required action would be subject to the morality of the circumstance.
    It would seem then that you agree with my point in this thread then. Laws limiting government action cannot be evil.

    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    Could you give a practical example?
    Certainly.

    Lets assume for a moment that we had a scenario where it was discovered (and for the sake of argument, let's say it was conclusively proven) that there was a possible medicine that would eliminate homosexual urges for gays. Lets also presume for the sake of argument that the majority of a population felt that this would be a good drug to develop.

    Now a group of people who thought that was beneficial could come together and fund it's development. They could decide this was for their benefit and fund it's development.

    However, a law that required the government to fund that drug's development would require gays to help pay for a drug they might morally object to.

    Hence, the law obligating government action is subject to the morality of the moral circumstance here, while the law preventing that government action allows individuals to decide for themselves whether they should participate.


    Another way of phrasing this is that there are scenarios when forced association towards a goal is immoral. However, there are no scenarios where not forcing association towards a goal is immoral.

    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    People of different levels of intelligence see different things in the same information.
    True, but more importantly, people with the same level of intelligence see different things in the same information.

    Quote Originally Posted by MyX
    Yes, but this isn't the first time I witnessed this event. While I agree with the research being done in this area, high enough intelligence coupled with enough information to come to the objectively correct answer will result in agreement. To give an extremely simple example:

    it is objectively true that 1 + 1 = 2. If you are smart enough to understand the concept of addition and are aware of what the symbols 1, + and = mean then your output to the stimulus 1 + 1 = will be 2.
    Your example is only valid because it is tautologically true. 1+1=2 is true because 2 is defined as the summation of 1 and 1. You see the circularity there.

    In any area where we don't define the answer as itself, this concept no longer holds. Allow me to offer an example.

    How much should a glass of water cost?

    There is not true, objective answer to that question. Different people have a different desire for that glass of water (based on their preference for water, and the opportunity cost of buying it). If we assume that you and I have all the exact same information and same intelligence levels there is still no reason to believe we would set anything like a similar price on that water glass.

    That was the thrust of my last point. You seem to have indicated on several occasions that people who are sufficiently intelligent and with similar information will come to similar conclusions. I was pointing out to you that the science on the subject is different from your take. It is the case actually that people with similar backgrounds, with similar intelligence levels exposed to the same information come to different conclusions. I cited 3 peer reviewed articles to that effect with an additional two professional articles agreeing. The mental process that forms a conclusion given evidence is far, far more complex than you give it credit for. It isn't like a simple machine where input X means output Y. It is emergent and complex, and cognitive processes interact in ways impossible to predict (definition of emergent).
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


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    Re: Election by Lottery

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Setting aside that this is unsupported, I think accepting it undercuts your argument. If a person has no volition, and cannot then be said to make a decision this way or that way
    It is supported by Physics. A mind state (at its most basic level) is no different from a rock (at its most basic level). Your right, people cannot make decisions. We just have the illusion of decision making.

    If it is only true is some scenarios, but not in others, then what other guiding principle determines the morality of suspension of rights? I'm asking to better understand the moral viewpoint you are ofereing.
    The future, if that can be called a principle.

    Then what makes slavery objectively evil? Is it the net outcome of suffering? IE slavery is evil/ok based on the final total amount of suffering caused/relieved?
    Yes.

    If so, what makes suffering the correct metric? Why does a majority of people accepting that metric make it the right one?
    Because that seems to be one of the fundamental functions of humans. We invented indoor plumbing to reduce suffering. Try and name one event in history, no matter how small, which was not done with the intention of reducing suffering (ignoring if the person was right or not).

    But you said above that slavery is objectively evil. Which one is it? Is it objectively evil or evil only in certain circumstances?
    Both. It is objectively evil. However, if we have no other option (because of a lack of technology or something) then it is moral to take this action. In a perfect universe with a perfect species we would never be forced to choose the objectively evil action of slavery. But we do not live in a perfect universe nor are we a perfect species.

    And are any of those details person specific? Because if so people would come to different answers, right?
    There is an objectively right answer which people of a high enough intelligence and knowledge would arrive at. But since not everyone has that level of intelligence or information they come to different conclusion even though their goals/intentions are the same.

    It would seem then that you agree with my point in this thread then. Laws limiting government action cannot be evil.
    The limitation of power results in a reduction of progress. If the reduction of progress causes more suffering than would be caused if the law limiting government action did not exist, then this law would be evil. This is a nearly impossible calculation for any human to accurately make. If I where to guess, based upon history, I would agree with your above statement.

    Another way of phrasing this is that there are scenarios when forced association towards a goal is immoral.
    Agreed.

    However, there are no scenarios where not forcing association towards a goal is immoral.
    If we change 'no scenario' to 'a very few extreme scenarios' then I would agree. Since within a Republic there is room for handling such extreme scenarios, I would agree that it is an excellent method of government. Perhaps even the best we currently have (I say this without much knowledge of governmental systems).

    True, but more importantly, people with the same level of intelligence see different things in the same information.
    True. But this is due to a lack of intelligence. If I show two people of the exact same level of intelligence an image which contains two patterns, the two people will either see the same pattern or different patterns. Assuming I only give them enough time to identify one of the patterns they would have to be smarter in order to see the same thing in the image. The same thing being seeing both patterns within the given time frame.

    Your example is only valid because it is tautologically true. 1+1=2 is true because 2 is defined as the summation of 1 and 1. You see the circularity there.
    True. But the underlying concept that a something plus a something equals the combination of those two somethings is objectively true irregardless of the symbols/language used to describe the phenomenon.

    In any area where we don't define the answer as itself, this concept no longer holds. Allow me to offer an example.

    How much should a glass of water cost?

    There is not true, objective answer to that question.
    Yes there is. It is just that unless your God it is impossible to figure out the objectively true answer. All we can do with our limited mental powers is take a guess.

    Different people have a different desire for that glass of water (based on their preference for water, and the opportunity cost of buying it). If we assume that you and I have all the exact same information and same intelligence levels there is still no reason to believe we would set anything like a similar price on that water glass.
    What value would a person who is dying of dehydration place on the glass of water? I say that they would give all they posses for that glass of water given that it is 100% guaranteed that they will die if they do not buy this water. Also, assuming that they value their life above all they posses. Which any sane person would since you lose all your possession upon death.

    That was the thrust of my last point. You seem to have indicated on several occasions that people who are sufficiently intelligent and with similar information will come to similar conclusions. I was pointing out to you that the science on the subject is different from your take. It is the case actually that people with similar backgrounds, with similar intelligence levels exposed to the same information come to different conclusions. I cited 3 peer reviewed articles to that effect with an additional two professional articles agreeing. The mental process that forms a conclusion given evidence is far, far more complex than you give it credit for. It isn't like a simple machine where input X means output Y. It is emergent and complex, and cognitive processes interact in ways impossible to predict (definition of emergent).
    No two humans are alike. Therefore you can never accurately perform this experiment since two people of the same intelligence and information do not exist. Finding two people of the same level of intelligence is already hard enough considering that we have no 100% accurate way of measuring intelligence. What is even harder is finding two people that have the same information. Different life experiences result in different information which is used during decision making. We do not just use the information present in the moment to come to a conclusion but all information that we have ever been exposed to which we deem relevant to the present situation.

    To do the experiment accurately we need:

    1. A problem that requires solving where all life experiences up to the point of entering the experiment is useless with regards to solving the problem.

    2. The participants in the experiment must be of similar intelligence and the intelligence required to solve the problem must be several orders of magnitude lower than the intelligence of the participants.

    Can you think of such a problem? The only thing I can think of are math problems where the participants learn how to do that particular type of math during the experiment. They must have no knowledge of this kind of math prior to the beginning of the experiment and they must be taught how to do the math in the same way.

    So if I teach you that:

    1=a
    2=b
    3=c
    4=d
    5=e
    6=f
    a + b + c = f

    then asked you to solve the following

    a + b =

    What would your answer be? Mine is c.
    abc

  16. #36
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    Re: Election by Lottery

    Quote Originally Posted by MyXenocide View Post
    Intention is a concept that humans made up but don't really posses anymore than a rock.
    Neuroplasticity shows us a different picture.

    Humans are automatons who have built into them by the processes of evolution a concept called honor. There is also love, hate, anger, happiness, caution, bravery, betrayal, curiosity and many more. What is defined as good and evil is based upon the majority vote of a species. Humans would vote the action of submerging a human baby underwater for 10 minutes as evil. Fish would vote the action of submerging a fish baby underwater for 10 minutes as good. So if a fish drowns a human baby we should not call him evil, just ignorant of human physiology.
    And if two fish swim into a concrete wall and one turns to the other and says, 'Dam!' perhaps we should call that fishy.

    Btw, what universe do fish vote?

    vote: 1. a formal indication of a choice between two or more candidates or courses of action, expressed typically through a ballot or a show of hands or by voice.
    "The universe is immaterial-mental and spiritual.” --"The Mental Universe” | Nature
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    Re: Election by Lottery

    Quote Originally Posted by eye4magic View Post
    Neuroplasticity shows us a different picture.
    Explain the connection between Neuroplasticity and intention.

    And if two fish swim into a concrete wall and one turns to the other and says, 'Dam!' perhaps we should call that fishy.
    A joke?

    Btw, what universe do fish vote?
    The one in which they have evolved intelligence high enough to understand the concept of voting. A better example would have been an intelligent alien species but since I know nothing about them that example would have required much more typing.
    abc

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    Re: Election by Lottery

    Quote Originally Posted by MyXenocide View Post
    Explain the connection between Neuroplasticity and intention.
    Intention: the thing that you plan to do or achieve: an aim or purpose
    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/intent

    The discovery of neuroplasticity, that our thoughts can change the structure and function of our brains, even into old age, is the most important breakthrough in our understanding of the brain in four hundred years. The brain is plastic… modifiable, adaptable. The plastic brain is a brain the can change its structure and its functions without drugs, just depending on what you do with your brain and task at hand that you are working on. What you are perceiving can cause you to change the structure of your brain on many levels. And this is the most fantastic part, what you think and imagine [intention] can actually change the structure of your brain down to the very connection of the brain cells, down into the genes .
    http://www.normandoidge.com/normandoidge/MAIN.html
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3TQopnNXBU


    Neuroplasticity describes the ability of the brain to effectively “rewire” itself around areas lost by stroke. By guided effort, therapists can help patients “teach” areas of the brain not ordinarily used for walking and arm movement to take over. Until recently, scientists were largely unaware of this brain capability, but now, it is recognized as the most important aspect of post-stroke rehabilitation.
    For a rehabilitation exercise to support neuroplasticity, it must provide three essential characteristics:

    Intention: The patient must initiate the movement, and actively participate in the exercise. If therapists perform the movement for the patient, there is no neuroplasticity benefit.

    Intensive” The exercise or activity must demand the patient work hard – put in maximum effort to accomplish the task. If patient effort is largely handled by a therapist or robotic machine, the neuroplasticity benefit is minimal.

    Repetition: The patient must repeatedly perform the intention-initiated, intensive exercise. Repetition “bakes in” the education of brain and muscles.
    http://onstroke.org/conventional-str...uroplasticity/

    The one in which they have evolved intelligence high enough to understand the concept of voting.

    A joke?
    Not necessarily a joke in your universe where fish have intelligence to make a conscious intentional (purposeful) vote. Perhaps in your universe fish would know a dam when they hit it.
    "The universe is immaterial-mental and spiritual.” --"The Mental Universe” | Nature
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    Re: Election by Lottery

    Quote Originally Posted by eye4magic View Post
    Intention: the thing that you plan to do or achieve: an aim or purpose.

    what you think and imagine [intention] can actually change the structure of your brain.
    When I intend to eat an apple I do not have to physically alter my brain in order to accomplish this. In order to know what an apple is and what it is used for I need neuroplasticity but not to eat it. How is this relevant?

    Not necessarily a joke in your universe where fish have intelligence to make a conscious intentional (purposeful) vote. Perhaps in your universe fish would know a dam when they hit it.
    Perhaps they would. It depends entirely upon the fish and what it knows. Not every human knows a dam when they hit it. How is this relevant?
    abc

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    Re: Election by Lottery

    Quote Originally Posted by MyXenocide View Post
    When I intend to eat an apple I do not have to physically alter my brain in order to accomplish this. In order to know what an apple is and what it is used for I need neuroplasticity but not to eat it. How is this relevant?
    You asked how intention relates to neuroplasticity. I responded. Your initial comment was: "Intention is a concept that humans made up but don't really posses anymore than a rock." What dimension are you talking about?

    Perhaps they would. It depends entirely upon the fish and what it knows. Not every human knows a dam when they hit it. How is this relevant?
    It's relevant because when you say something like: "Fish would vote the action of submerging a fish baby underwater for 10 minutes as good."

    You've got some assumptions in there:

    1) Can you support that fish consciously, intentionally vote?
    2) Can you support that your average fish have any moral sense of good and evil besides Nemo?
    "The universe is immaterial-mental and spiritual.” --"The Mental Universe” | Nature
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