The Malicious Titans Theory

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The Malicious Titans Theory

Postby MarbitChow » Fri Nov 18, 2011 9:52 am

Based on a discussion in another thread, I've come to the conclusion that the Titans are what we would define as "evil". Lawful evil, in fact, if we're classifying by D&D terms.

There are a few fundamental assumptions that, for purposes of this discussion are not open to debate:

1) The Titans created Erfworld and defined the mechanics of everything except Free Will (which, if it exists, is assumed to a fundamental property of any sentient being) and the conjuration aspect of the magic system.

I'm excluding the conjuration aspects of the magic system because allowing the conjuration aspect to exist independent of the Titans allows us to assume that mechanism is how they created Erfworld, and also explain how Parson was summoned without requiring that the Titans have power over our universe.

2) Any "immoral" actions that occur as a result of a mechanism of Erfworld will be counted as one of the Titan's actions.

If you give a gun to a 3 year old and the child kills someone, it's the fault of the person who handed over the gun.

3) Any actions made by someone operating completely under free will instead of coercion will be counted as their actions.

4) "Standard" Judeo-Christian morality will be used to determine whether an act is good or evil.

If you are using another basis for morality decisions, please identify the source.

---

I think that's it for unquestioned assumptions for the purposes of this thread. Any additional assumptions that people want to introduce are fair game, but are open to be challenged.

So... evidence of the Titan's evilness:

* The world appears designed to encourage warfare for no reason other than the sake of war.
'Though shall not kill' is a fundamental commandment, but every man, woman, and creature that is created in the world is designed primarily to kill. They are created with instinctive knowledge on how to do so.

* Killing is rewarded (with experience)
Moral killing is done in self defense. Immoral killing is done for personal gain. Every unit in Erfworld is created such that they receive direct personal enhancement with each kill. Killing others is a much faster method of self-improvement than training is.

* Creatures exist primarily to kill or be killed
Pigs pop for a few days, then immediately pop into bacon. Cows, on the other hand, have not been described as popping milk each turn. Sustainable resources don't appear to be a priority.

* Leaderless units that enter a hex with other creatures must kill until one side or the other is destroyed
This appears to be a compulsion built into the world.

* 'Defending' cannot ever retreat
Physical barriers prevent them from leaving an attack if it is not their turn. This guarantees maximum casualties.

* All units appear to be able to function at full strength right up until they die
Horrific wounds that would otherwise incapacitate are shrugged off, allowing the unit to continue killing until they are stopped

* Rape cannot be resisted
Charlie's Archons, for example, can be ordered to pleasure an overlord, and can even be ordered to appear to enjoy it.

* Words are censored
Yeah, I totally grant that this is a personal definition of evil, but censorship is wrong

-----

Well, that's a start. Discuss.
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Re: The Malicious Titans Theory

Postby gobe » Fri Nov 18, 2011 4:15 pm

I think I have to generally disagree with you, from a philosophical standpoint. In part because I dislike your definition of good and evil, though I stick with your chosen moral system, for the most part.

4) "Standard" Judeo-Christian morality will be used to determine whether an act is good or evil.


First, I don't adhere to Judeo-Christian morality, or whatever you mean by it. Second, standard for whom? Our societies have moralities that are very different from it, and so how can it be considered standard? Not to mention that 3) JC morality is an extraordinarily ill-defined concept, and subject to much, much interpretation, on so many levels. I find it difficult to group together all the Judeo-Christian religions under one moral system. I wouldn't use this vague formulation to orient a moral debate. But I can look past that.

* Leaderless units that enter a hex with other creatures must kill until one side or the other is destroyed
This appears to be a compulsion built into the world.


Of all your points, this is by far the best example of a world that seems built for the purpose of warfare and that we must therefore consider the titans evil, so this is the one I will attack first, but I do disagree to some extent with all your examples, and my arguments apply to the others as well. I will also attempt to keep the discussion within your chosen moral system.

I argue that regular units (those without Leadership) are in many ways related to animals in our world. Their death is irrelevant to an assessment of good and evil (up to a certain point), because they do not seem to have free will in its fullest form. They are undeniably inferior beings in terms of capabilities (even if sentient, though in a limited way), created for the purpose of serving higher entities: leaders. This is very similar to how animals are depicted in the old testament. Animals dying is a perfectly normal and more or less desirable thing. The whole point of the animals' existence is to be of service to humans, to die to feed humans, etc. Does this mean that units feed leaders experience? Anyway.

On the other hand, it seems that I do not account for the possibility that a regular pikeman becomes a warlord, and possibly even an overlord. Well, this is akin to an ape that would be engineered to attain the same level of reasoning, perception, empathy, etc. of a human being. I believe that theologians would have difficulty determining if this being should be considered as a human's equal. I don't believe that being human is related strictly to our body and DNA, but much more to our sentience, rationality, free will, and fear of god. It seems to be consistent with a Judeo-Christian view, though I'll admit this is arguable.

Finally, since most of your points are only relevant for regular units, who have no control over their destiny, I believe that this leaves room for a 'morality of the warlords', if you will, from the Titans' point of view. Leaders have the possibility to remain good, within the JC morality and in accordance with the titan's creation. I argue that titans might see the world in a much more hierarchical way, perhaps, than the JC god, with more than one level of sentience, if you will, but it is still compatible with allowing those on top to choose either a good or an evil path. Perhaps the 'challenge' is higher, since there is a lot that drives leaders to conquest and domination, but it is not unavoidable. In particular, it is quite possible to choose never to kill fellow leaders, never to subdue them, to disband them, etc. And we've already discussed that regular units are only there to serve the leaders, to be killed at their will, etc. And it's not like our own RL existence, supposedly brought about by the JC god, doesn't have its own cruel aspects to it, I would argue. We are born with a desire to commit all sorts of "sins", up to the point where we intrinsically cannot purge ourselves of sin, according to at least the most common Christian interpretations. In conclusion, I argue that titans are no more "evil" than the JC god.
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Re: The Malicious Titans Theory

Postby MarbitChow » Fri Nov 18, 2011 4:57 pm

Good points. I'm attempting to use what I believe to be western norms of morality as a basis for judgment, simply because I want to avoid the argument "killing is not evil in my moral code".
I don't want to get too bogged down with what evil actually means, but there are a few standards I think we can typically agree on:

* Slavery of sentient beings is evil.
* Killing for personal gain (as opposed to defense or survival) is evil.

Now, regarding your points, regular units have been shown to be fully sentient. Wrigley's text updates pre- and post-decryption will serve as proof of that, I trust.
They don't have free will due to compulsion, but I'd argue that a universe created with an enforced compulsion to kill makes the 'common units' slaves, and serves as evidence of evil in terms of both slavery and killing.

Your 'morality of the warlords' point is covered under the assumption (#3) that free-willed individuals who perform good deeds do so on their own, so their positive actions cannot reflect positively on the Titans. Free Will is assumed to be an element of Sentience, so while environmental issues that eliminate free will act as a form of slavery (and count against the Titans in this regard), the Titans don't get 'credit' for creating free-willed creatures who do good, nor are they punished for free-willed individuals who choose to do evil on their own.
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Re: The Malicious Titans Theory

Postby gobe » Fri Nov 18, 2011 5:04 pm

Sorry to use your own words against you, but let's at least try to avoid contradictions before going on.

MarbitChow wrote:Now, regarding your points, regular units have been shown to be fully sentient.

MarbitChow wrote:They don't have free will due to compulsion,

MarbitChow wrote:Free Will is assumed to be an element of Sentience,


Please clarify your position.
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Re: The Malicious Titans Theory

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Fri Nov 18, 2011 5:31 pm

gobe wrote:First, I don't adhere to Judeo-Christian morality, or whatever you mean by it.


I doubt it. In common parlance, SJCM refers to "do unto others as you'd like done unto you", not specific aspects of JCM as seen in the Bible (various stonings, treatment of slaves etc). "Do unto others {etc}" is such a basic ethical principle and definition of justice that it is unfair to call it Judeo-Christian. It's much more universal, and I doubt you disrespect consequences of it like "don't kill" or "don't steal".

That said, applying specific, Bible-inspired, Judeo-Christian norms, as you do in your arguments, is the best way to approach this thread. It's very difficult to argue that the Titans don't go against "do unto others ..." by creating a world which is all about pain, suffering and death.

No, claiming that the Titans would enjoy their own pain and suffering is not an argument. The inhabitants of Erfworld do not enjoy their own pain and suffering (except for consensual scenarios, which is different), and an equivalent sensation would be one that the Titans do not enjoy and would seek to avoid.
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Re: The Malicious Titans Theory

Postby gobe » Fri Nov 18, 2011 5:46 pm

BLANDCorporatio wrote:That said, applying specific, Bible-inspired, Judeo-Christian norms, as you do in your arguments, is the best way to approach this thread. It's very difficult to argue that the Titans don't go against "do unto others ..." by creating a world which is all about pain, suffering and death.


Hmm, but I do argue that, yes. Many units, even those I consider of lower order, can show great levels of happiness, regardless of eventual pain, suffering, death, just like us. The pain and suffering also is in no way constant. For those units with free will, it is also avoidable to large degree. I'd argue it's more avoidable than in our world even, since there is no aging. Our own world is full of pain, suffering and death, so I take it that your distinction between our world and Erf is just a matter of intensity, and even that is arguable. Thus, I don't believe this goes against my conclusion that the titans are no more evil than a JC god would be for ours.

BLANDCorporatio wrote:No, claiming that the Titans would enjoy their own pain and suffering is not an argument. The inhabitants of Erfworld do not enjoy their own pain and suffering (except for consensual scenarios, which is different), and an equivalent sensation would be one that the Titans do not enjoy and would seek to avoid.


Ok, I never argued that titans enjoy their own pain, and it's not my intention, nor is it in any way needed for my argumentation. I argue that the arguments for the evilness of the titans, since it is based purely on the world they've created, also apply to Parson's (our) world.
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Re: The Malicious Titans Theory

Postby MarbitChow » Fri Nov 18, 2011 7:34 pm

gobe wrote:Sorry to use your own words against you, but let's at least try to avoid contradictions before going on.
MarbitChow wrote:Now, regarding your points, regular units have been shown to be fully sentient.
They don't have free will due to compulsion,
Free Will is assumed to be an element of Sentience,

Please clarify your position.

The 2nd line should read "they are unable to exercise their free will due to compulsion".

gobe wrote:Hmm, but I do argue that, yes. Many units, even those I consider of lower order, can show great levels of happiness, regardless of eventual pain, suffering, death, just like us. The pain and suffering also is in no way constant. For those units with free will, it is also avoidable to large degree. I'd argue it's more avoidable than in our world even, since there is no aging. Our own world is full of pain, suffering and death, so I take it that your distinction between our world and Erf is just a matter of intensity, and even that is arguable.

'Natural suffering' - the suffering caused by basic biology - isn't in itself evil, because it's not inflicted upon you with intent. And the fact that those units with unrestricted free will can experience happiness doesn't count in the Titan's favor, since they are a small minority of the total population.

gobe wrote:Thus, I don't believe this goes against my conclusion that the titans are no more evil than a JC god would be for ours.

gobe wrote:I argue that the arguments for the evilness of the titans, since it is based purely on the world they've created, also apply to Parson's (our) world.


In order to keep this discussion civil, abstract, and focused on Erfworld, I'd like to avoid any comparisons to Earth religions.
Religion and morality are distinct entities (you can, for example, agree with J/C morality without following a J/C religion) and I'd prefer to avoid comparisons or conclusions that some people may find offensive.
The existence or non-existence of a sentient creator for Parson's world is beyond the bounds of this discussion, unless you're referring to Rob specifically. If you are, then I've got no issues with classifying Rob as evil. :D
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Re: The Malicious Titans Theory

Postby Kreistor » Fri Nov 18, 2011 8:08 pm

dictionary.com wrote:mal·ice
   [mal-is] noun
1.desire to inflict injury, harm, or suffering on another, either because of a hostile impulse or out of deep-seated meanness


Okay, so if the assumption is correct, we will find malice in every aspect of Erfworld.

Desire to Inflict Injury:

I think this is the easiest to find false. No injury is inflicted by the Titans on any Erfworlder, as far as I can identify. All injuries are inflicted by Erfworlders on Erfworlders. That is inconsistent with Malice, which is the desire to inflict injury, not see others inflict injury.

Delighting in the misfortune of others is not itself maliciousness. Nor is it sadism. Both require the person to commit the acts of injury themselves. I can find a German loan word for the act of enjoying seeing others suffer pain, but nothing in common modern English fits that I could find.

Ironically, if you denied Free Will and made all actions by all Erfworlders the result of Titan manipulation, then the Erfworlders are only Tools that can suffer, in which case the Erfworlders would not be responsible for what they do, and the Titans would be directly responsible and malicious.

Desire to Inflict Harm

Again, same complaint. The Titans aren't committing harm directly, but by proxy which invalidates the use of the word.

But, again, the harm is extremely temporary. In this case, though, there is some support for your case. Something that heals quickly can be harmed over and over, but never permanently. But I think i can dispel that while facing 3, since the same example covers both cases, so moving on...

Desire to Inflict Suffering

dictionary.com wrote:suf·fer [suhf-er] verb (used without object)
1.to undergo or feel pain or distress: The patient is still suffering.
2.to sustain injury, disadvantage, or loss: One's health suffers from overwork. The business suffers from lack of capital.
3.to undergo a penalty, as of death: The traitor was made to suffer on the gallows.
4.to endure pain, disability, death, etc., patiently or willingly.


2 is already covered above in the injury discussion (synonymous). 3 is not consistent with mailce, since it involves immediate death, commonly viewed as merciful rather than malicious. (Disbanding eliminates the need for messy, bloody, cruel execution, which contraindicates suffering in death on Erfworld.) 4 doesn't happen in Erfworld except for death which I just mentioned since no one endures more than 24 hours and this is more akin to those that suffer for months, years, or lifetimes. "Patient and willing" suffering isn't enjoyable for even the most twisted mind, anyway. That leaves definition 1. To undergo or feel pain or distress. I'm pretty certain you're not claiming the Titans enjoy only "distress".

Do Erfworlders feel pain? If they don't, then no evidence of the results of malice are evidenced in Erfworld. And can I prove it doesn't? I can at least cast serious doubt.

http://www.erfworld.com/book-2-archive/?px=%2F2011-01-17.jpg

Here we see Duke Antium. He has lost half an arm. He has a hole blasted in his side. He should be suffering incredible pain. He should be suffering from massive blood loss and shock. He should be addled. He shouldn't even be able to stand with that much muscle mass blasted out of his side, much less swing a weapon. Is he any of these things? No. He is fully cognizant and seeking out the highest value target in the region. He is weapon capable and strikes the illusion accurately with what should have been a death blow. He is, for all intents and purposes, fully functional despite the loss of his arm and the fact he lacks the mechanical capacity to stand under Earth's laws. He shows no signs of feeling the debilitating pain he would on Earth with those wounds, nor the physical limitations these "wounds" should inflict.

That begs the question: is he really injured? Is losing "hitsies" actual injury, or just a number to indicate how close one is to dying? Antium is evidence that something is significantly different about injury on Erfworld vs. Earth, and we shouldn't be looking at damage in the same way. No matter how bad the injury, Erfworlders remain functional and combat capable until they die, which denies pain, and anything except the superficiality of the appearance of injury. Injuries, in coputer parlance, are a skin on the character, and not true damage causing true pain.

MarbitChow, you introduced the idea of D&D. I'll extend that. Let's talk hit points (up to V3.5, since I am not familiar with V4,0). As a D&D character is struck, he loses hit points. As he loses HP, does he suffer any ill effects from the pain of that wound? No, he is fully functional right until the moment he hits or is reduced below 0 HP (and what happens then depends on the version). He is fully functional, and thus can be feeling no pain. There are systems that provided pain with a mechanic, but many simply didn't deal with the messiness of it.

Since Antium can wield his spear, I can make the case that he isn't really injured, either. He has an appearance of injury and he lacks a second hand making some tasks impossible for less than 24 hours, but his function is unaffected. He has lost unnecessary bits only, and from that perspective has not lost anything, just been inconvenienced.

____________

On the specific case of enforced attacks by un-led troops: again, this is not the Titans committing the action, but the environment forcing their choice. You're finding Allah guilty of malice because someone that is on a bridge that collapses can't just fly to the land and dies due to gravity. A Force, even a mental one, that is set on automatic does not fulfill the mandate of malice or sadism that the accused sufferers commit the acts themselves.

____________

And that is how you attack an assumption. You attack the derived results that should appear because of the assumption. If none of the derived results exist, then the assumption is not true.

So, the Titans are not malicious because:
1) To be malicious, you must inflict the injury yourself, not just enjoy watching others injure people
2) All of the desired results of malice are undone by the environment they created.
3) There is no pain, harm, or injury in Erfworld, only a superficial appearance of injury and non-debilitating inconvenience.
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Re: The Malicious Titans Theory

Postby MarbitChow » Fri Nov 18, 2011 9:38 pm

Kreistor wrote:
dictionary.com wrote:mal·ice
   [mal-is] noun
1.desire to inflict injury, harm, or suffering on another, either because of a hostile impulse or out of deep-seated meanness
Okay, so if the assumption is correct, we will find malice in every aspect of Erfworld.

While I appreciate that the thread was titled 'Malicious Titans', the actual hypothesis was whether they were "evil". Evil is, admittedly, a much less well-defined concept, and as such there is more room for interpretation.

As an aside, it is not necessary for Erfworld to be universally malicious. Even the most evil of people are not evil 100% of the time; it is only necessary to determine whether the worst actions they have committed place them in the "evil" category. Someone who kills once, in a crime of passion, is punished, but might be eventually forgiven. Someone who kills once for enjoyment and feels no remorse is evil. It doesn't matter that they spent the whole of their lives prior to that act nursing sick kittens.

Kreistor wrote:On the specific case of enforced attacks by un-led troops: again, this is not the Titans committing the action, but the environment forcing their choice. You're finding Allah guilty of malice because someone that is on a bridge that collapses can't just fly to the land and dies due to gravity. A Force, even a mental one, that is set on automatic does not fulfill the mandate of malice or sadism that the accused sufferers commit the acts themselves.

The Titans are compelling the action. Compelling someone to perform an evil act is evil. This isn't a case of a collapsing bridge killing indiscriminately. It's more akin to intentionally placing two starving dogs into a pit. The creatures' nature and hunger will compel them to attack each other until one or both are dead, but the creatures themselves are not evil, although I would argue that the individual who orchestrated the situation is.

Kreistor wrote:So, the Titans are not malicious because:
1) To be malicious, you must inflict the injury yourself, not just enjoy watching others injure people

I would argue that this is false. A leader who orders that someone be tortured is malicious. But at any rate, the discussion is on the broader definition of "evil"; maliciousness is a subset of that definition.

Kreistor wrote:2) All of the desired results of malice are undone by the environment they created.

Inflicted harm heals. That doesn't excuse the original act.

Kreistor wrote:3) There is no pain, harm, or injury in Erfworld, only a superficial appearance of injury and non-debilitating inconvenience.

This is false:

Book 2, Text 14 wrote:Slately cried out as a searing migraine struck him like a crossbow bolt. He grabbed his ears and held his crown down as he doubled over in pain. A voice, powerful and deep and decidedly male, boomed out inside his head.

Book 2, Text 15 wrote:Tramennis put his hands on his hips and looked up at Expository Bridge. He took a few steps toward it, and stroked his chin in thought. "The order of the day, Duke, shall be the ending of lives in pain, terror, and confusion!"

I'd argue that we have to take the words of the inhabitants in this regard. They believe that pain and terror exist, and react to it as if it exists, therefore they can experience it.
If anything, the fact that wounds are not debilitating means that they cannot escape the pain at all until the start of their next turn (unless they are incapacitated).
Being able to function through pain is not an indication that the pain does not exist.
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Re: The Malicious Titans Theory

Postby Balerion » Fri Nov 18, 2011 9:39 pm

Keeping with the idea that JC morality essentially boils down to "do unto others", I think a very important question to answer is if you would prefer non-existence to life in erfworld. Part of what the Titans did is give life and sentience to a bunch of beings; those beings then have, from our viewpoint, rather horrible lives before they die in some violent manner. But if I woke up in Erfworld, as a common unit, I would prefer it to waking up to find I never existed... a complicated task ;). I think most of us are willing to concede that existence is a good thing, and giving it to people is a good thing?

So is it malicious (or evil) to do someone a net favor (existence), but perhaps not be as kind to them as you could? Or could the Titans have done better? and if they could, how much better? Or do we say that the existence on Erfworld is in general so miserable that existence becomes a negative because of how horrific an existence it is (I would disagree, but its an argument to make)?
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Re: The Malicious Titans Theory

Postby MarbitChow » Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:34 pm

Breeding dogs for fighting is considered wrong. Those dogs may never have existed if someone had not bred them, but the breeders are still considered to be immoral. Breeding slaves is also immoral. I'm certainly willing to entertain other takes on it, but my first instinct is still to argue that, yes, creating sentient creatures for the purpose of killing each other is evil.

The sentient creatures' preferences do not enter into the discussion; most slaves certainly prefer slavery to death, but that doesn't make slavery right.
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Re: The Malicious Titans Theory

Postby Kreistor » Sat Nov 19, 2011 2:48 am

Yep. Precisely what I thought you'd say. Have fun.
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Re: The Malicious Titans Theory

Postby gobe » Sat Nov 19, 2011 12:28 pm

I continue to believe that their world is no worse than our world. And the comparison to slaves is very appropriate. For almost every white european and american years ago, the 'lesser races' were considered of lower status, both socially but also mentally. It's also the thought of much of humanity for most of its history about animals -- animal cruelty being a relatively modern concept (not sure it's even part of JC morality, so I don't like the dog fighting being evil example). And slaves and fight dogs is pretty much what units in erfworld are. Titans have a different set of moral values than the modern western JC morality. Now, good and evil is a VERY subjective matter. Perhaps they only like the best units they create, namely warlords, as I pointed out before. They give those units free will, even much more to side overlords/kings. They even leave the possibility for the lowliest to become an overlord eventually, so they do value opportunity.

Nevertheless, because of the way you state that you want only to use JC morality, and that you need to consider units as sentient and worthy of moral consideration, that I can't even use religion in my argument about titans being of equal evilness as to whoever created our world, then ok, fine, that kills the debate. You're 100% right.
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Re: The Malicious Titans Theory

Postby Balerion » Sat Nov 19, 2011 1:36 pm

MarbitChow wrote:Breeding dogs for fighting is considered wrong. Those dogs may never have existed if someone had not bred them, but the breeders are still considered to be immoral. Breeding slaves is also immoral. I'm certainly willing to entertain other takes on it, but my first instinct is still to argue that, yes, creating sentient creatures for the purpose of killing each other is evil.

The sentient creatures' preferences do not enter into the discussion; most slaves certainly prefer slavery to death, but that doesn't make slavery right.


That is at least partly because we know how to treat dogs much better; we know they suffer in dog fighting, and that we should treat them differently, and we can treat them differently. Also, a lot factoring in there is the intent behind the breeding; they are breeding the animals to suffer, explicitly, for their own enjoyment.

But you assume that the Titans have the power to create a better world. If they can, then depending on how much better they could do they might start to be evil. But if this is the best world they can make, is it better for them to create some kind of existence or none at all? And if they created the world out of a desire to create what good they could, limited as they were, as opposed to watch creatures suffer, that sounds like they aren't evil.
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Re: The Malicious Titans Theory

Postby MarbitChow » Sat Nov 19, 2011 2:10 pm

Balerion wrote:That is at least partly because we know how to treat dogs much better; we know they suffer in dog fighting, and that we should treat them differently, and we can treat them differently. Also, a lot factoring in there is the intent behind the breeding; they are breeding the animals to suffer, explicitly, for their own enjoyment.


Intent is a great point. We cannot know, for certain, what the Titans' intent is. If the intent of Erfworld is that these wars are enacted for the Titan's amusement, would you agree that they would thus be considered evil?

If, on the other hand, Erfworld was created as a proving ground, in which the free-willed units are expected to rise above the environment and achieve a higher moral standard in spite of the environment, does that justify the Titan's actions?
Balerion wrote:But you assume that the Titans have the power to create a better world. If they can, then depending on how much better they could do they might start to be evil. But if this is the best world they can make, is it better for them to create some kind of existence or none at all? And if they created the world out of a desire to create what good they could, limited as they were, as opposed to watch creatures suffer, that sounds like they aren't evil.


That raises the question then of how much are the Titans responsible for. Were the hexes already there, and they were only allowed to choose the terrain? If that is the case, then the Titans certainly cannot be held responsible for the 'rules' of the world, but then they are not really the ultimate divine creators that we assumed them to be. That means that, if we assume that the Erfworld universe was created with intent, there must exist a higher-powered creator above the Titans, who does have the power to choose. If that is the case, we can absolve the Titans, but then the discussion of the creator's argument falls upon this new entity.

If we assume that the Titans are the ultimate creators, and we also assume that this world was created (almost) exactly as they wanted it to be (give or take a random gem here or there), what conclusion do we draw?

gobe wrote:Nevertheless, because of the way you state that you want only to use JC morality, and that you need to consider units as sentient and worthy of moral consideration, that I can't even use religion in my argument about titans being of equal evilness as to whoever created our world, then ok, fine, that kills the debate. You're 100% right.

What I'd like to avoid is saying "The titans are like our god, and our god is not evil, therefore the titans are not evil," primarily because I don't want to introduce evaluations of whether the Christian God is evil into the thread, since that starts intruding into a person's real belief.

I'd also like to avoid introducing arguments such as "some people in Erfworld are sub-sentient", since that logic has been used in the past in our own world to justify slavery. There are definitely units in Erfworld that are sub-sentient: non-talking beasts that can be harvest fit this description, as well as constructs. But I'd like to assume that any unit that can speak should be considered sentient, and while we have evidence of thousands of speaking units, we see only a few units that are allowed to exercise their free will to any real degree.

Having said that, any 'proof' of the Christian God's goodness should, in theory, be able to be applied directly to the Titans without requiring an equivalence between the two.

Would it help clarify things if I said "common Western Civilization's morality" instead of J/C? I'd still like to require a basis for judgment, since if we allow for pure moral relativism, there's nothing to discuss.
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Re: The Malicious Titans Theory

Postby Balerion » Sat Nov 19, 2011 7:04 pm

MarbitChow wrote:
Intent is a great point. We cannot know, for certain, what the Titans' intent is. If the intent of Erfworld is that these wars are enacted for the Titan's amusement, would you agree that they would thus be considered evil?


If Erfworld was made in constant war for the sake of amusing the Titans, I will agree that they are evil.

MarbitChow wrote:If, on the other hand, Erfworld was created as a proving ground, in which the free-willed units are expected to rise above the environment and achieve a higher moral standard in spite of the environment, does that justify the Titan's actions?

It would depend in my mind on how much more humane the proving ground might have been made. And if there is a reward at some point for passing; if Erfworld heaven exists, it does do a lot to offset erfworld.

MarbitChow wrote:That raises the question then of how much are the Titans responsible for. Were the hexes already there, and they were only allowed to choose the terrain? If that is the case, then the Titans certainly cannot be held responsible for the 'rules' of the world, but then they are not really the ultimate divine creators that we assumed them to be. That means that, if we assume that the Erfworld universe was created with intent, there must exist a higher-powered creator above the Titans, who does have the power to choose. If that is the case, we can absolve the Titans, but then the discussion of the creator's argument falls upon this new entity.

If we assume that the Titans are the ultimate creators, and we also assume that this world was created (almost) exactly as they wanted it to be (give or take a random gem here or there), what conclusion do we draw?


I was thinking more that the Titans created Erf in its entirety (didn't stumble upon existing hexes), but that they couldn't have gone far enough to create earth. For instance, one constant time for the entire planet is more than they can handle; creating real fall physics is too difficult, etc etc. So they have to cut corners; break things into hexes, mess with time, and the result is a world that looks a lot like a game.

We are also making a huge assumption here: that Erfworld started out violent.Imagine this: The Titans make a world, limited compared to ours because they are not powerful enough to create a full fledged physics system. In this world, there are cities and mines and farms to support the inhabitants. So long as you don't build more units than you have naturally provided upkeep for, there is never a need to raid another side. The inhabitants can then have friendly contests against one another, with their wounds healing the next day, and death an unfortunate accident in the contests.

But then, one side is angry. They have been losing contests for hundreds of turns, and they are sick of it. So they go and attack another side. Or a famine occurs, and its disband or attack. Or their leader dies in a tourney accident, and they don't believe it was an accident. For whatever reason, that first war starts, and people realized that a violent side cannot be stopped with just city upkeep levels of units. Now that the world isn't safe, you have to go above that threshold if you want to protect your people; which in turn forces you to start becoming violent yourself to sustain it. After a thousand turns of that, the world wouldn't even have anyone alive who remembered the Eden state. There is only war and more war.

only rulers/warlords having free will would support that initial stage; one of the biggest issues in JC morality is why god created a universe with evil in it; the answer is usually something along the lines of "you can't have free will unless people are free to commit evil". The free will is worth the evil. But the Titans decided a different balance was better; they created the Royals, units that are better than all the others, to be the ones who would lead, who would be the morally pure beings who could handle free will and hold the lesser units in check. Royals are essentially supposed to be the Titan's angels.

By grouping units into sides, your average unit can never hurt their day to day acquaintances without disbanding; and by making only the leaders have complete free will, they can never start a war on their own. Assuming the Royals are pure beings, they would hardly ever be forced to infringe on the free will of their subjects and could mostly let them do as they wanted. But once the world falls from its Eden state, the powers Royals have become abused, and we end up in a crapsack world, where all that is remembered of the original is that Royals were left behind to rule by the Titans. Maybe bringing all the Arkentools together will be the equivalent of Noah's flood, trying to restore the world to only the pure, or destroy it as too terrible to allow to continue

I feel that is at least a bit plausible, and that other variations on it could be more plausible, and could explain the current state of Erfworld without requiring evil Titans.
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Re: The Malicious Titans Theory

Postby ftl » Wed Nov 23, 2011 6:46 pm

I think the maliciousness of the titans comes down to their intent and their abilities in creating Erf. While I would lean to agree that Erfworld is quite the messed up place, making the leap to guessing about the Titans' motivations is a bit of a stretch.

If they created the world INTENDING for it to be a place of horror and death for all eternity, then yeah, they're evil. On the other hand, maybe they created a world with only one side, and didn't expect rebellions to immediately break it up into countlessly many.

Because at the end of the day, we don't really know anything about how well the Titans understand their own creation. We know that they created Erfworld, but we don't have any particular reason to believe that they're omniscient.

I'd lean towards Lawful Neutral rather than Lawful Evil.
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Re: The Malicious Titans Theory

Postby MarbitChow » Thu Nov 24, 2011 12:16 am

Does anyone have an non-evil explanation for why non-allied units in the same hex MUST attack each other until only one side remains? Defenders with zero move cannot leave the hex, but why can't the attackers retreat if they are not lead?
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Re: The Malicious Titans Theory

Postby raphfrk » Fri Nov 25, 2011 9:04 pm

MarbitChow wrote:Does anyone have an non-evil explanation for why non-allied units in the same hex MUST attack each other until only one side remains? Defenders with zero move cannot leave the hex, but why can't the attackers retreat if they are not lead?


It might be possible to order them out of the hex mid fight. Units wouldn't be able to leave the hex anyway without orders.

The benefit of the warlord is that you can target specific units (or not target) and you get the bonus.
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Re: The Malicious Titans Theory

Postby Balerion » Sat Nov 26, 2011 2:42 pm

MarbitChow wrote:Does anyone have an non-evil explanation for why non-allied units in the same hex MUST attack each other until only one side remains? Defenders with zero move cannot leave the hex, but why can't the attackers retreat if they are not lead?


I like my "moral authority with the warlords" explanation for here too. In a peaceful Erf, why would unled units ever be in the same hex as another group of unled units? It serves as a disincentive for units to wander around behind their warlord's backs, certainly, as if they encounter another side, they are forced to murder, and potentially die themselves.
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