Book 2 – Page 73

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Re: Book 2 – Page 73

Postby Dr Pepper » Fri Oct 07, 2011 2:16 am

Calm down, Kreistor, you are not the enemy here.
Read, like there won't be a movie
Game, like the die rolls don't matter
Filk, like everyone is tone deaf anyway

10 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
. . . . . . Dr Pepper
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . .4
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Re: Book 2 – Page 73

Postby Kreistor » Fri Oct 07, 2011 3:01 am

Dr Pepper wrote:Calm down, Kreistor, you are not the enemy here.


But I"m the big bad Troll monster! Woooo! Fear me!
http://www.erfworld.com/wiki/index.php/TBFGK_1 Here you can find all comic pages written as text for convenient quoting.

http://www.erfworld.com/wiki/index.php/Erfworld_Mechanics The starting page for accessing all known Erfworld "rules".
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Re: Book 2 – Page 73

Postby goodmorning » Fri Oct 07, 2011 5:38 am

Kreistor, I was really rooting for you there. Demanding evidence, while a bit extreme for a webcomic forum, is fair enough given the quality of debaters we have here. But when BLAND actually provided a well fleshed-out, well articulated, and well referenced (although no page numbers, but come on, that's just annoying to do) you not only didn't engage with it, you replied to a different post which you COULD argue with easily, and only responded to the parts of BLAND's post that were irrelevant to the actual debate.

Ok, maybe you're busy and will get to it later. maybe you're writing it right now. Please prove me wrong.

If nothing else, this is FASCINATING. I really wish I could remember a thing I read in that Godel Escher Bach book. Read it years ago. Oh well.



I can't really post this without providing my own opinions. Otherwise I'm just a spectator (and we have none of those here....) so here we go:

You seem to have started this somewhere around the free will argument and the concept of a soul. Even if earlier in the forum your statement might have been different, Kreistor, you recently said:

I have stated from the start that Lo0yalty, Duty, and Obedience are *NOT* Stats, which denies ANY agreement with the above statement. I have stated that Erfworlders view it from a Stats perspective, because Stats are a part of their world, but as a theoretical stat, with no identifiable mechanism that uses Loyalty to influence a Unit's choice to Turn. With no evidence of randomness in non-magically influenced Turning, there is no Game Mechanic for a Loyalty stat to be used as an input to. That means that Turning is a matter of Free Will, not game mechanics.


I almost agree with you.
http://www.erfworld.com/book-1-archive/?px=%2F084a.jpg
Loyalty can be magically modified by magic. Therefore it can be more or less, and can thus be (to a degree) quantified as a stat. I get that there doesn't seem to be a dice mechanic with it, but it can be quantified, in the same way that our own loyalty could, in theory, be quantified as a stat.

How many cases of non-magically influenced Turning have there been? Any cases that we might have seen, can we not see it all in terms of a Loyalty stat vs Circumstance modifiers. Wanda was x loyal to Banhammer. She was presented with her Fate, with a y modifier. Given that it was such a monumental Fate, to be a Tool of the Titans, and given that Banhammer hardly seemed the type to give any kind of circumstance bonus to x, I would not be surprised that y > x. Ergo, she turned to Fate, not Banhammer. There could have been other factors, such as Jillian, Jack and the knowledge of Stanley, but it resulted that y > x.

In our world, if two people are fighting, chance plays a role (at least as far as we can perceive. yes it can all just be circumstances and inevitable reactions, but as far as we can see, it appears random). A weak man can beat a strong man if he gets a critical hit, such as hitting the throat or the groin. However, our loyalty to one person/organisation or another seems much less random. If someone can offer a better deal or inspire more loyalty than our current focus of loyalty, then we switch. Intuitively, we can see that there is far less randomness involved. Circumstances or personality (our propensity for guilt, for example, which one could view as a multiplier for our loyalty stat) certainly affect the outcome, but these are definite things. Very difficult to actually quantify, but we can say easily that our guilt/conscience is more potent than the bribe being offered, for example. There is no dice roll, but there is a stat-based conflict.

So, I've managed to make an argument that appears to refute Free Will. That's a shame. I really believe in Free Will. But I think this argument makes sense. Bother.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 73

Postby Oberon » Fri Oct 07, 2011 10:48 am

MarbitChow wrote:
Revenant wrote:
Kaed wrote:I think you all might be looking at this the wrong way. All this talk about Loyalty Buffs and Checks and such is a neat, but have you considered that perhaps it is simply psychology that caused Ossomer's turn, not some magic statistical attribute?

You talk like there is a meaningful difference.

There is, if the stat is externally enforced. We think of stats as an abstract representation of an attribute or ability, but Erfworld stats may be actively controlled by outside forces. Move is the most obvious example, but loyalty checks may be a common form of mind control designed to continue conflict in the "game".
There isn't, because of the word "enforced." I'll sum up. No, would not be thorough. Let me 'splain. Luckily, you've provided the exact two examples I need.

Movement is externally enforced by game mechanics, but it is rigid. To move across a hex of X terrain type costs Y movement. This is valid even if there is no difference in Erfworld movement costs, Y would simply be a constant.

Loyalty, if it is indeed a stat, is also enforced by game mechanics, but it is not rigid. Either a unit gains and loses loyalty, and at X loyalty it automatically turns, or there is a chance for a unit to turn which is variable based upon its loyalty and potentially other, situational factors. Or possibly both. We do know, after all, that turned units typically have lower loyalty, and yet Wanda and Jack appear to be very loyal to Stanley. So perhaps their loyalty has gone up over time. This variability is more similar to combat. An X Attack unit isn't guaranteed to beat an X-1 Attack unit. There is some degree of variability. Dice may be thrown by the "players" to determine which unit wins. Since Loyalty is unknown and either fluctuates based upon unknown circumstances or has a variable element to it, it is similar to combat, except with the added abstraction due to loyalty being an unknown stat.

This added abstraction makes loyalty as a psychological effect indistinguishable from loyalty as a game mechanic (e.g. "some magic statistical attribute"). This is essentially just a paraphrasing of Clarke's third law.

Kreistor wrote:And that's what we're talking about here. If Loyalty is a number, and a random chance decides if you switch sides, then how can anyone fault another for Turning? The game rolled that they should switch. How can that be a Unit's fault?

And that's the inconsistency in how Loyalty is discussed and how it is treated in Erfworld. If it is a random die roll, then the Unit has no control over the choice. But it is treated as if the Unit chose, in which case it's not random.
You're incorrect, because you've taken the context out of the picture and are asking the readers to judge the turning unit without that context. The setting is the context. Is it Stanley's fault that he popped non-royal? The reader can hardly fault him for that. Yet Slately has no issue faulting Stanley for it, looking down on a non-royal overlord simply for the uncontrollable circumstances of his popping/birth, and forming a coalition of royals to go assassinate Stanley and eradicate his Side. Thus it's perfectly valid, in context, for one Erf resident to fault another for turning or not turning.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 73

Postby MarbitChow » Fri Oct 07, 2011 11:10 am

Oberon wrote:This added abstraction makes loyalty as a psychological effect indistinguishable from loyalty as a game mechanic (e.g. "some magic statistical attribute"). This is essentially just a paraphrasing of Clarke's third law.

Indistinguishable, except to the person experiencing the loyalty "check".

To my mind, there are a small number of possible options:

1) There is no loyalty "stat", and Erfworlders use the known 'stat' model to explain it
2) There is a loyalty stat, and it subtly influences a unit's behavior
3) There is a loyalty stat, and it controls/enforces a unit's behavior

If there is a loyalty stat, there are two additional sub-options

A) The stat is part of the natural world of Erfworld - it's "just the way things are".
B) The stat is "unnaturally" imposed upon the inhabitants of Erfworld for the amusement of a greater power ("Erfworld itself", as Parson addresses at the end of Book 1).

So, we have option 1, Option 2A, Option 2B, Option 3A, and Option 3B.

Note that while option 1 would be the most preferred to live in, and option 2A is understandable based on our understanding of Erfworld physics, options 2B, 3A, and 3B could be considered actively evil.

I personally lean towards Option 2B as what the true nature of Erfworld is, but this is clearly opinion and conjecture created by connecting very sparse data points. 2B, or not 2B... that is the question.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 73

Postby Oberon » Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:08 pm

MarbitChow wrote:
Oberon wrote:This added abstraction makes loyalty as a psychological effect indistinguishable from loyalty as a game mechanic (e.g. "some magic statistical attribute"). This is essentially just a paraphrasing of Clarke's third law.

Indistinguishable, except to the person experiencing the loyalty "check".
Why would you think that? The Erf resident who "fails a loyalty check" acts to any observer (including themselves) in the exact manner that an Erf resident who "decides to turn." This is what "indistinguishable" means, after all.

I will await with interest any comment by Ossomer as to why he turned, and what it felt like.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 73

Postby Kreistor » Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:33 pm

goodmorning wrote:Kreistor, I was really rooting for you there. Demanding evidence, while a bit extreme for a webcomic forum, is fair enough given the quality of debaters we have here. But when BLAND actually provided a well fleshed-out, well articulated, and well referenced (although no page numbers, but come on, that's just annoying to do) you not only didn't engage with it, you replied to a different post which you COULD argue with easily, and only responded to the parts of BLAND's post that were irrelevant to the actual debate.


Of coures I didn't debate it. Do you have any clue how enormous the issue of the mind is? We could follow his mention of Penrose, but he's just a computer scientist. This isn't about whether a computer can simulate a mind, but how the human mind itself works. Even if we could make a computer self-aware, that doesn't mena our own self-awareness is based on the same mechanisms. that's just a distraction to take it out of the realm of psychology and philosophy, and into the realm of computer science, which is actually irrelevant to his original point.

So, how about Steven Pinker. Never heard of him, so let's hit Wiki... and he's a pstchologist. Cool, on point for once. The quote can't be traced, since it's not referenced. Fine. What does Pinker do? Studies the mind. Good. Writes books. What are the books about. He's got several. Save you some time, many are about language. "How the Mind Works" sounds on point, so... "He also advocates the computational theory of mind." Alright, follow that link and we get...

"In philosophy, the computational theory of mind is the view that the human mind is an information processing system and that thinking is a form of computing."

Okay, that's good. Now, that's one guy. What does everyone else say about it?

Daniel Dennett proposed the Multiple Drafts Model, in which consciousness seems linear but is actually blurry and gappy, distributed over space and time in the brain. Consciousness is the computation, there is no extra step or "Cartesian Theater" in which you become conscious of the computation.
Jerry Fodor argues that mental states, such as beliefs and desires, are relations between individuals and mental representations. He maintains that these representations can only be correctly explained in terms of a language of thought (LOT) in the mind. Further, this language of thought itself is codified in the brain, not just a useful explanatory tool. Fodor adheres to a species of functionalism, maintaining that thinking and other mental processes consist primarily of computations operating on the syntax of the representations that make up the language of thought.
David Marr proposed that cognitive processes have three levels of description: the computational level (which describes that computational problem (i.e., input/output mapping) computed by the cognitive process); the algorithmic level (which presents the algorithm used for computing the problem postulated at the computational level); and the implementational level (which describes the physical implementation of the algorithm postulated at the algorithmic level in biological matter, e.g. the brain). (Marr 1981)
Ulric Neisser coined the term 'cognitive psychology' in his book published in 1967 (Cognitive Psychology), wherein Neisser characterizes people as dynamic information-processing systems whose mental operations might be described in computational terms.
Steven Pinker described a "language instinct," an evolved, built-in capacity to learn speech (if not writing).
Hilary Putnam proposed functionalism (philosophy of mind) to describe consciousness, asserting that it is the computation that equates to consciousness, regardless of whether the computation is operating in a brain, in a computer, or in a "brain in a vat."
Bruno Marchal, professor at the Free University of Brussels, claims in a Ph.D thesis (University of Lille, France, 1998, Calculabilité, physique et cognition[8]) that physical supervenience is not compatible with computational theory, using arguments like Universal Dovetailer Argument or Movie Graph Argument.
Georges Rey, professor at the University of Maryland, builds on Jerry Fodor's representational theory of mind to produce his own version of a Computational/Representational Theory of Thought.


Uhm... yeah... That doesn't look like there's a quorum to me. It looks like we're getting into a highly contested subject in which anyone that makes a claim like Bland did, that one model is real and accepted, is simply favoritism.

And that raw complexity of the subject is why I flat rejected it in the beginning. You can find someone that claims anything you want, so you can cite everything about anything, which makes the subject useless at this time. Maybe someday, we'll make some breakthroughs that will settle some of these contentious issues, but right now... it's just a swamp of festering ideas that lack adequate science to claim or refute anything.

Ok, maybe you're busy and will get to it later. maybe you're writing it right now. Please prove me wrong.


Sure. Done. Frankly, I didn't think anyone would take his presentation seriously. I hoped the snow job would have been less successful.

If nothing else, this is FASCINATING. I really wish I could remember a thing I read in that Godel Escher Bach book. Read it years ago. Oh well.


Re-read it a few years ago, after reading it in Highschool. First time I was too young, and lost him in the last couple chapters.

I can't really post this without providing my own opinions. Otherwise I'm just a spectator (and we have none of those here....) so here we go:


For every poster, there are 10 lurkers. People rarely consider that when posting.

You seem to have started this somewhere around the free will argument and the concept of a soul. Even if earlier in the forum your statement might have been different, Kreistor, you recently said:

I have stated from the start that Lo0yalty, Duty, and Obedience are *NOT* Stats, which denies ANY agreement with the above statement. I have stated that Erfworlders view it from a Stats perspective, because Stats are a part of their world, but as a theoretical stat, with no identifiable mechanism that uses Loyalty to influence a Unit's choice to Turn. With no evidence of randomness in non-magically influenced Turning, there is no Game Mechanic for a Loyalty stat to be used as an input to. That means that Turning is a matter of Free Will, not game mechanics.


I got more specific here, but it's not inconsistent with previous statements. I wasn't as direct earlier.

I almost agree with you.
http://www.erfworld.com/book-1-archive/?px=%2F084a.jpg
Loyalty can be magically modified by magic. Therefore it can be more or less, and can thus be (to a degree) quantified as a stat. I get that there doesn't seem to be a dice mechanic with it, but it can be quantified, in the same way that our own loyalty could, in theory, be quantified as a stat.


Again, remember that Erfworlders will explain things based on what they know. They know Attack can be modified by Leadership, etc., so they naturally think "unknowable" stats can be modeified int he same way. Remember Parson's difficulty in getting Archons to understand the concept of "volunteer". Free Will concepts are foreign to many of them, with Obedience forcing their actions. When it comes to Loyalty, they litearlly have no point of reference ot understand the concept of Free Will, so even if they have it, they don't understand that they have it.

How many cases of non-magically influenced Turning have there been? Any cases that we might have seen, can we not see it all in terms of a Loyalty stat vs Circumstance modifiers.


Let's imagine that there is a Loyalty mechanic, similar to the Attack mechanic. We have the concepts of crits and automatic misses. Same would parallel. So there's a chance at any point in time, that if you try to make someone Turn, that they would, no matter how rarely. And what do we have? No one asking others to Turn randomly. Vast amounts of combat, with no attempts to Turn. So that mechanic doesn't exist, merely because no one is trying it.

Attempts to make others Turn always have a justification attached. Jillian asking Jack to Turn and join her, now that FAQ is back. Charlie asking Parson, when he is viewed as being in a no-win situation. trivialities need not apply.

These are the reasonings that might work on Earth, where we believe in Free Will. Whether their understanding of Turning is based on a belief in a Stat or not, they way they treat it is the same as us. Attempt it when there is a good reason for the other person to change sides, and vilify the disloyal for their choice.

Wanda was x loyal to Banhammer. She was presented with her Fate, with a y modifier. Given that it was such a monumental Fate, to be a Tool of the Titans, and given that Banhammer hardly seemed the type to give any kind of circumstance bonus to x, I would not be surprised that y > x. Ergo, she turned to Fate, not Banhammer. There could have been other factors, such as Jillian, Jack and the knowledge of Stanley, but it resulted that y > x.


Earthlings go through the same thought processes. They have higher loyalty to a faith (not limited to religious faith, but also political or philosophical) than a nation, and they'll switch to help those that aid their faith and betray their nation.

In our world, if two people are fighting, chance plays a role (at least as far as we can perceive. yes it can all just be circumstances and inevitable reactions, but as far as we can see, it appears random). A weak man can beat a strong man if he gets a critical hit, such as hitting the throat or the groin.


There's no death more random than one from an artillery shell.

However, our loyalty to one person/organisation or another seems much less random. If someone can offer a better deal or inspire more loyalty than our current focus of loyalty, then we switch. Intuitively, we can see that there is far less randomness involved. Circumstances or personality (our propensity for guilt, for example, which one could view as a multiplier for our loyalty stat) certainly affect the outcome, but these are definite things. Very difficult to actually quantify, but we can say easily that our guilt/conscience is more potent than the bribe being offered, for example. There is no dice roll, but there is a stat-based conflict.


Not so. Those that attempt to subvert loyalty look for a weakness of character -- greed, lust, depression, desire, etc. -- that will do the job for them. The weakness is one that is there before pressure is applied. And that is what breaks down the Loyalty stat concept. Against 100 different attempts, the person remains loyal to the core, but to that one attempt using the correct leverage, it is as if Loyalty does not exist at all.

So, I've managed to make an argument that appears to refute Free Will. That's a shame. I really believe in Free Will. But I think this argument makes sense. Bother.
[/quote]

I don't think you were as successful as you think.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 73

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:53 pm

goodmorning wrote:Kreistor, I was really rooting for you there. {snip} Ok, maybe you're busy and will get to it later. maybe you're writing it right now. Please prove me wrong.


Hi, goodmorning.

But I'll repeat what I said to Ptharien's Flame, you're wasting your time. Because I don't think your interlocutor has a proper command of English.

It's forgivable to mistake Roger Penrose for a Computer Scientist.

It's almost forgiveable to read what I wrote "Dennett, who said 'we have a soul; it's made of tiny robots", and interpret it as me attributing it to Steven Pinker.

But to cite this-

Daniel Dennett proposed the Multiple Drafts Model, in which consciousness seems linear but is actually blurry and gappy, distributed over space and time in the brain. Consciousness is the computation, there is no extra step or "Cartesian Theater" in which you become conscious of the computation.
Jerry Fodor argues that mental states, such as beliefs and desires, are relations between individuals and mental representations. He maintains that these representations can only be correctly explained in terms of a language of thought (LOT) in the mind. Further, this language of thought itself is codified in the brain, not just a useful explanatory tool. Fodor adheres to a species of functionalism, maintaining that thinking and other mental processes consist primarily of computations operating on the syntax of the representations that make up the language of thought.
David Marr proposed that cognitive processes have three levels of description: the computational level (which describes that computational problem (i.e., input/output mapping) computed by the cognitive process); the algorithmic level (which presents the algorithm used for computing the problem postulated at the computational level); and the implementational level (which describes the physical implementation of the algorithm postulated at the algorithmic level in biological matter, e.g. the brain). (Marr 1981)
Ulric Neisser coined the term 'cognitive psychology' in his book published in 1967 (Cognitive Psychology), wherein Neisser characterizes people as dynamic information-processing systems whose mental operations might be described in computational terms.
Steven Pinker described a "language instinct," an evolved, built-in capacity to learn speech (if not writing).
Hilary Putnam proposed functionalism (philosophy of mind) to describe consciousness, asserting that it is the computation that equates to consciousness, regardless of whether the computation is operating in a brain, in a computer, or in a "brain in a vat."
Bruno Marchal, professor at the Free University of Brussels, claims in a Ph.D thesis (University of Lille, France, 1998, Calculabilité, physique et cognition[8]) that physical supervenience is not compatible with computational theory, using arguments like Universal Dovetailer Argument or Movie Graph Argument.
Georges Rey, professor at the University of Maryland, builds on Jerry Fodor's representational theory of mind to produce his own version of a Computational/Representational Theory of Thought.


as evidence that most scientists would not agree that the mind is the result of interactions between simpler systems is in-your-face absurd. Not ONE of the persons listed would disagree that the mind is in fact the result of many tiny simple interactions.

It's not like he couldn't find thinkers to support his view. Rupert Sheldrake I think would fit the bill, and based on the first half, that I read, of "Quantum Enigma: where Physics encounters consciousness", whoever wrote that would, too.

But see, I need to go look for references for him because he doesn't understand what he uses as references!

So anyway, nice to have you around goodmorning. It's usually not like this around here.
The whole point of this is lost if you keep it a secret.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 73

Postby zuche » Fri Oct 07, 2011 1:00 pm

Yeah, this thread hit terra incognita at some point.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 73

Postby MarbitChow » Fri Oct 07, 2011 1:18 pm

Oberon wrote:Why would you think that? The Erf resident who "fails a loyalty check" acts to any observer (including themselves) in the exact manner that an Erf resident who "decides to turn." This is what "indistinguishable" means, after all.
I will await with interest any comment by Ossomer as to why he turned, and what it felt like.

I think that because of Ansom's musing over his complete 180 from hating Wanda to loving and adoring her. He realizes it's unusual, but doesn't know or care why. I agree that it would be fascinating to see Ossomer's perspective on the switch in a future text update.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 73

Postby effataigus » Fri Oct 07, 2011 1:35 pm

(Eyes the consciousness discussion warily... and, being terrified of prolonged open introspection, retreats back to previous forum topics.)**

Well, they sure aren't behaving like video game units (points to the embracing archers). Also, I get annoyed by units that don't follow orders in those games, but I also get annoyed with units that don't have basic AI... imagine a RTS where the units don't automatically return fire. If he is a videogame unit, then Cubbins' action was evidence of pretty advanced AI. As a disclaimer, I still buy into the theory that it was a good tactical decision for him to send the archers.

On an unrelated note... I think the archons are hosed:

Recall that we've mostly seen archons kick butt when they wildly outnumbered the enemies and when they were led by a high level warlord and fighting heavily wounded dwagons.

This time they might have some leadership between them, but up against them..?

A high level warlord (presumably with a doubled leadership bonus), 4 range-capable units (two archers, Ace, and the King), with a healomancer, some unipegs, a flight of orlies for screening, a dittomancer to double who knows what else, plot armor, and mebbe even a bat. Huge offense and enough fodder and heals to soak up some amount of GK's only advantage... good offense.

Even if they get a lucky decapitation shot on the king (despite the foolamancy and the armor), JS now has Ossomer to possibly step up. I think they'd be better off targeting Ossomer followed by the casters... but unlikely to live in any event!

** As an aside, I tend to avoid thinking about weighty issues of consciousness because I have noticed a pattern in life. Understanding things removes the magic from them. I love to hear that people are exploring this topic, but I'm secretly afraid that they will discover an answer. If this all turns out to be a giant cosmic coincidence that will ultimately erase itself either by returning to the starting point or diluting to unrecognizability, does that not trivialize all of our actions? If all of this turns out to be part of some greater design, does that not trivialize my contributions to this narrative? To the sufficiently informed mind, do the greatest narratives of human exploits merely sound like "remember that time that that radioactive nuclide took WAY longer to decay than statistics suggested it should? That was EPIC." I would love to hear a convincing reason why not. I don't consider this a form of hypocrisy since I try not to prevent people further down on either end of the spectrum from drawing their lines as they see fit... which is the only thing that the deeply religious and the deeply un-religious do that pisses me off. </aside>
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Re: Book 2 – Page 73

Postby goodmorning » Fri Oct 07, 2011 2:41 pm

I can accept that you don't want to debate one way or another with psychology, Kreistor. It is, I know, a very contentious subject. Personally, I feel that we can agree or disagree with particular strands of it because, well, it makes life more interesting in my opinion. In the case of Bland's most recent point about all those theorists and what they agree on I can't agree or disagree with, because that's a factual one which I don't know the facts for. I'll give Bland the benefit of the doubt, but I really don't know.

I only have a few points of contention.

Again, remember that Erfworlders will explain things based on what they know. They know Attack can be modified by Leadership, etc., so they naturally think "unknowable" stats can be modeified int he same way. Remember Parson's difficulty in getting Archons to understand the concept of "volunteer". Free Will concepts are foreign to many of them, with Obedience forcing their actions. When it comes to Loyalty, they litearlly have no point of reference ot understand the concept of Free Will, so even if they have it, they don't understand that they have it.


I understand that. Flatland is one of my favourite books. However, my point was that Loyalty can be altered by magic. There is no disputing this. Loyalty + Magic = Different Loyalty. If it can change, it can be quantified, and therefore can be thought of as a stat. Yes, they think that way because they are predisposed to given their world, just as we DON'T think about it in that way for similar reasons. However, Loyalty is definitely a stat, in one form or another.

Let's imagine that there is a Loyalty mechanic, similar to the Attack mechanic. We have the concepts of crits and automatic misses. Same would parallel. So there's a chance at any point in time, that if you try to make someone Turn, that they would, no matter how rarely. And what do we have? No one asking others to Turn randomly. Vast amounts of combat, with no attempts to Turn. So that mechanic doesn't exist, merely because no one is trying it.


Do we have confirmation of an automatic miss? I don't recall seeing it. Crits, yes. Auto misses or fumbles, no. Also, we've seen critical hits, but have we seen critical successes in other fields, like a Turning attempt? Also, perhaps it WOULD work that very very rarely a unit would turn by chance, but so rarely that it doesn't make a valid strategy. I'm guessing the dice are more than a d20.

Not so. Those that attempt to subvert loyalty look for a weakness of character -- greed, lust, depression, desire, etc. -- that will do the job for them. The weakness is one that is there before pressure is applied. And that is what breaks down the Loyalty stat concept. Against 100 different attempts, the person remains loyal to the core, but to that one attempt using the correct leverage, it is as if Loyalty does not exist at all.


I think my argument agreed with that. Perhaps it wasn't explicit enough. I would just count that as a circumstance bonus/penalty. When you find that critical bonus, you just win. So yes, I would say Loyalty works as a flat comparison of quantities - Loyalty vs Turning, plus or minus circumstances
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Re: Book 2 – Page 73

Postby Balerion » Fri Oct 07, 2011 3:46 pm

Kreistor wrote:Let's imagine that there is a Loyalty mechanic, similar to the Attack mechanic. We have the concepts of crits and automatic misses. Same would parallel. So there's a chance at any point in time, that if you try to make someone Turn, that they would, no matter how rarely. And what do we have? No one asking others to Turn randomly. Vast amounts of combat, with no attempts to Turn. So that mechanic doesn't exist, merely because no one is trying it.


that is hardly the only mechanic by which a loyalty stat could work. don't think of it as deciding if a unit will turn or not; think of it as deciding if a unit is allowed the choice to turn or not.

Slately demands of Ossomer that he turn; Ossomer responds he cannot. Why? his loyalty stat is influenced by Wanda's presence. When the roll is made, he is denied his existing free will. Wanda is gone; loyalty falls low enough that the check fails. he is now allowed free will. THIS DOES NOT MEAN A FAILED LOYALTY CHECK FORCED HIM TO TURN. it means that a failed loyalty check made the decision his own. Which is why people don't order everyone to turn on a battlefield; even if their loyalty check fails, almost all would refuse out of free will. There is no point in trying unless they might decide they want to, and there are limited cases where you know the other person well enough to figure that out.

You will now latch on to that last part to indicate I am creating a mechanic when there is no need to; they wanted to turn anyway, so they turn, why do we need loyalty? And I think that Ossomer saying he can't, not that he won't, is really strong evidence that this is not the case. He wanted to; something was stopping him. That was Loyalty. The rest of the consciousness debate is irrelevant if we think of loyalty as working like this; free will does what it does, its just sometimes you don't switch sides (the game effect) just cause you wanted to (the free will effect).
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Re: Book 2 – Page 73

Postby Oberon » Fri Oct 07, 2011 3:52 pm

MarbitChow wrote:
Oberon wrote:Why would you think that? The Erf resident who "fails a loyalty check" acts to any observer (including themselves) in the exact manner that an Erf resident who "decides to turn." This is what "indistinguishable" means, after all.
I will await with interest any comment by Ossomer as to why he turned, and what it felt like.

I think that because of Ansom's musing over his complete 180 from hating Wanda to loving and adoring her. He realizes it's unusual, but doesn't know or care why. I agree that it would be fascinating to see Ossomer's perspective on the switch in a future text update.
I see this as a different situation entirely. More akin to Jillian, when under the compulsion Wanda cast, needing to justify her decisions to herself while still following the compulsion. The 'pliers are magic, their influence is outside of a discussion on whether there is any meaningful difference between a significantly advanced science and magic, or a unmeasurable stat called Loyalty and personal choice.
effataigus wrote:** As an aside, I tend to avoid thinking about weighty issues of consciousness because I have noticed a pattern in life. Understanding things removes the magic from them. I love to hear that people are exploring this topic, but I'm secretly afraid that they will discover an answer. If this all turns out to be a giant cosmic coincidence that will ultimately erase itself either by returning to the starting point or diluting to unrecognizability, does that not trivialize all of our actions?
Lucky for you, the universe will continue expanding forever, with no return to the point of the Big Bang. Does that not make all of your actions permanently significant? :roll:
How using capslock wins arguments:
Zeroberon wrote:So we know with 100% certainty that THIS IS HOW TRI-LINKS WORK, PERIOD END OF STORY.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 73

Postby Kreistor » Fri Oct 07, 2011 4:27 pm

goodmorning wrote:I can accept that you don't want to debate one way or another with psychology, Kreistor.


It's not that I won't debate it: it's that it's a waste of time. We can't come to a conclusion, because psychologists can't. They're the experts.

In the case of Bland's most recent point about all those theorists and what they agree on I can't agree or disagree with, because that's a factual one which I don't know the facts for. I'll give Bland the benefit of the doubt, but I really don't know.


No, he just put words in my mouth again. Pretending I said "Most scientists" said something or other, for instance. He's arguing with his own construct of what he wants me to say, not with what I actually said. Even if I got one of his quotes mis-attributed, he did say what I needed him to, and that was, "It's not like he couldn't find thinkers to support his view. Rupert Sheldrake I think would fit the bill". I had said already, "You can find someone that claims anything you want, so you can cite everything about anything, which makes the subject useless at this time." So my original presentation that the only correct perspective to approach Bland's contention was derision is held true. And I can ignore him now that he has stated what I needed him to.

I only have a few points of contention.

Kreistor wrote:Again, remember that Erfworlders will explain things based on what they know. They know Attack can be modified by Leadership, etc., so they naturally think "unknowable" stats can be modeified int he same way. Remember Parson's difficulty in getting Archons to understand the concept of "volunteer". Free Will concepts are foreign to many of them, with Obedience forcing their actions. When it comes to Loyalty, they litearlly have no point of reference ot understand the concept of Free Will, so even if they have it, they don't understand that they have it.


I understand that. Flatland is one of my favourite books. However, my point was that Loyalty can be altered by magic. There is no disputing this. Loyalty + Magic = Different Loyalty. If it can change, it can be quantified, and therefore can be thought of as a stat. Yes, they think that way because they are predisposed to given their world, just as we DON'T think about it in that way for similar reasons. However, Loyalty is definitely a stat, in one form or another.


But they can't see Loyalty. It's "unknowable", so their presumption is that it is a stat that can be manipulated, rather than a ability that simply overrides willpower.

Back in the first Gulf War, three SAS Spec Ops got captured by the Iraqis and tortured. They held out for 6 days of torture, before being rescued. The SAS were touting great success in their counter-torture methods for holding out for just 6 days. So, torture in this case would be similar to a Turnamancer's magic... wearing down the SAS soldiers' "Loyalty" stat? Do we have a Loyalty stat, just because someone can wear us down? The SAS teaches torture resistance, so can we practice and raise our Loyalty stat?

What I'm saying is that from the inside, you can't tell if you have a stat. Unless you see the game mechanisms making the choices for you, you can't tell the game mechanism exists.

Kreistor wrote:Let's imagine that there is a Loyalty mechanic, similar to the Attack mechanic. We have the concepts of crits and automatic misses. Same would parallel. So there's a chance at any point in time, that if you try to make someone Turn, that they would, no matter how rarely. And what do we have? No one asking others to Turn randomly. Vast amounts of combat, with no attempts to Turn. So that mechanic doesn't exist, merely because no one is trying it.


Do we have confirmation of an automatic miss?


Doh, no. I screwed up there. I can respin the argument with Crits (which we know exist) in place of auto-miss. Do I need to?

I think my argument agreed with that. Perhaps it wasn't explicit enough. I would just count that as a circumstance bonus/penalty. When you find that critical bonus, you just win. So yes, I would say Loyalty works as a flat comparison of quantities - Loyalty vs Turning, plus or minus circumstances


Sorry, then. I might have mis-read, or skimmed it.

Yes, you can come up with potential rules to model the data. I don't deny that. My point is that if there is any coercion from an environmental element that forces or denies a character from doing or not doing what they want, then there is no Free Will, and thus vilification of the disloyal is misplaced.

Balerion wrote:Slately demands of Ossomer that he turn; Ossomer responds he cannot. Why? his loyalty stat is influenced by Wanda's presence. When the roll is made, he is denied his existing free will. Wanda is gone; loyalty falls low enough that the check fails. he is now allowed free will. THIS DOES NOT MEAN A FAILED LOYALTY CHECK FORCED HIM TO TURN. it means that a failed loyalty check made the decision his own.


{First, note that I do not believe the latest panel at this time, because there is too much chance of Foolamancy. I am awaiting the results in the following panels before committing to what really happened. What follows assumes the panel happens as drawn, with all Foolamancy dispelled.]

Ossomer is magically influenced, and not an example of Free Will. The magic could come from Croakamancy, but that would not permit any Turning. Since Ossomer does Turn, then the enslavement comes from Wanda's capacity for Thinkamancy, not Croakamancy. This has many repercussions for Decryption, but that is a different conversation.

The Earth-world equivalent to Ossomer's conversion would be similar to a Cultist being brought out of a brainwashing situation. Without the constant reinforcement of the cult's perspective, its inconsistencies become obvious, and the former cultist Turns away from their former belief system. Does that give us a Loyalty stat that has sudden modifiers? Or is it our mind escaping influence and reestablishing reason?

That you can present what happened in the format of a game meshanic does nto mean a game mechanic is the only solution. I can do the same in our world, so do we have Stats like Loyalty?
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Re: Book 2 – Page 73

Postby MarbitChow » Fri Oct 07, 2011 4:32 pm

Kreistor wrote:Let's imagine that there is a Loyalty mechanic, similar to the Attack mechanic. We have the concepts of crits and automatic misses. Same would parallel. So there's a chance at any point in time, that if you try to make someone Turn, that they would, no matter how rarely. And what do we have? No one asking others to Turn randomly. Vast amounts of combat, with no attempts to Turn. So that mechanic doesn't exist, merely because no one is trying it.

There may be a number of other criteria before such an attempt is allowed. For example, most verbal requests to turn have occurred when there are no other (non-mount) members of the same side around. It's quite plausible that a turn attempt requires the target to be alone, which would eliminate mass battlefield turn attempts. :D
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Re: Book 2 – Page 73

Postby effataigus » Fri Oct 07, 2011 4:37 pm

Oberon wrote:
effataigus wrote:If this all turns out to be a giant cosmic coincidence that will ultimately erase itself either by returning to the starting point or diluting to unrecognizability, does that not trivialize all of our actions?
Lucky for you, the universe will continue expanding forever, with no return to the point of the Big Bang. Does that not make all of your actions permanently significant? :roll:


That's actually what I meant by "diluting to unrecognizability"... admittedly an odd phrasing. However, I'll believe that vacuum energy will behave in the way scientists think it will when scientists get a bit closer to understanding it. Right now we're still at the "gosh, this sure doesn't make sense with what we currently know unless..." stage.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 73

Postby MarbitChow » Fri Oct 07, 2011 4:40 pm

Kreistor wrote:That you can present what happened in the format of a game meshanic does nto mean a game mechanic is the only solution. I can do the same in our world, so do we have Stats like Loyalty?

Whenever we talk of Game Mechanics (on Earth), we are necessarily talking about an abstraction; a modelling of a behavior that is more complex than we can easily determine during a 'game'. When Game Mechanics in Erfworld, we assume that these are actual laws of physics.

We know that the mind in Erfworld is manipulated through the normal Erfworld laws of physics. The Thinkamancers can see the G-Strings. The Erfworld model of consciousness is not the same as our own - it can't be. Consciousness is created fully-formed, not organically grown. Knowledge influences decision-making, as does experience.

The question isn't whether Erfworld controls behavior, but how much ongoing influence it has once a unit is popped, and if so, whether that influence is done by an intelligence.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 73

Postby Kreistor » Fri Oct 07, 2011 5:16 pm

MarbitChow wrote:Whenever we talk of Game Mechanics (on Earth), we are necessarily talking about an abstraction; a modelling of a behavior that is more complex than we can easily determine during a 'game'. When Game Mechanics in Erfworld, we assume that these are actual laws of physics.


Which is why I call them "environmental." Laws of Physics are a part of the environment.

Am I responsible for the light that reflects off of my skin? No, it's physics and I can't change that light reflects or is absorbed by me. Am I responsible for my feet touching the ground when I choose to stand? No, the Law of Gravity forces them to there to hold me up. Now, I can choose for my feet to be on the grass despite the "Stayt off the Grass" sign, and that would be a result of my choice of which ground to put my feet on, but I cannot choose to have no part of my body touching the something that ultimately contacts the ground. because the Law of Gravity demands that I cannot hover.

If someone poisons me with hallucinogenics, and guides me onto that Grass, am I responsible for being there? The police would be unlikely to believe that I was poisoned, instead believing that I took the drugs by choice, but they're wrong, aren't they? What we can prove and what really happened are often different.

But in this case, you're contending that every time someone steps on the grass, there is a Law of Physics helping put them there. It's as if everyone that is on the Grass is known to be under the influence of a hallucinogenic, but they're being held responsible for light reflecting off of their bodies. That's the double-think in this situation.

We know that the mind in Erfworld is manipulated through the normal Erfworld laws of physics. The Thinkamancers can see the G-Strings. The Erfworld model of consciousness is not the same as our own - it can't be. Consciousness is created fully-formed, not organically grown. Knowledge influences decision-making, as does experience.


Which demonstrates that Erfworders have very limited or non-existent senses of Free Will. If everything they do is dictated by teh Laws of Erfworld, then they are no more responsible for Turning than they are for Light reflecting off them.

The question isn't whether Erfworld controls behavior, but how much ongoing influence it has once a unit is popped, and if so, whether that influence is done by an intelligence.


I really need to get my treatise finished and posted. Once again, an excellent lead in right to that work... as controversial as it would be.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 73

Postby Balerion » Fri Oct 07, 2011 6:22 pm

Kreistor wrote:Ossomer is magically influenced, and not an example of Free Will. The magic could come from Croakamancy, but that would not permit any Turning. Since Ossomer does Turn, then the enslavement comes from Wanda's capacity for Thinkamancy, not Croakamancy. This has many repercussions for Decryption, but that is a different conversation.


Who cares what school it comes from? Magic in Erfworld still is taking effect by physical manifestations of some kind. So regardless of the school, its effecting the loyalty stat would be my claim. And since that requires a lot less invention of new ways of magic working (ie how to make someone loyal to you and not turn), I think its a good assumption. And the first part of that statement? exactly what we are arguing about. My contention is that free will and magical influence (which is basically what the hidden stats are anyway) can coexist just fine. One is in control or the other; either the loyalty stat means you can't turn no matter how much you want to, or you get to make the choice. Which is in control fluctuates, and can be altered; and when the magic dominates, free will doesn't exist. But which rules is dependent on die rolls.

And that is why those that turn can be looked down on; they did not turn because they failed a roll. They turned because when they were given a moment of true free will, when the loyalty check failed, they used it to betray their side.

Kreistor wrote:The Earth-world equivalent to Ossomer's conversion would be similar to a Cultist being brought out of a brainwashing situation. Without the constant reinforcement of the cult's perspective, its inconsistencies become obvious, and the former cultist Turns away from their former belief system. Does that give us a Loyalty stat that has sudden modifiers? Or is it our mind escaping influence and reestablishing reason?

That you can present what happened in the format of a game meshanic does nto mean a game mechanic is the only solution. I can do the same in our world, so do we have Stats like Loyalty?


That cultist example is a really poor analogy. Ossomer was not slowly brought out of brainwashing. He, in the space of seconds, went from "I can't turn" to turned. Because a person vanished from his hex. There is no comparison between the situations. I am going to keep pounding that line "I can't" as indicative of what his will wanted; something inhibited him from acting on what his will had decided.

I actually challenge you to find a real world example that functions the way i have described the loyalty stat. I don't think you will be able to. There is nothing I can think of that will, when i have made a choice, put a mental block that keeps me from moving my arm and forbid it. That is the difference here; physics can tell me I can't read comics at work cause it decided i was too loyal to my boss if it was Erfworld physics. I don't get a chance to make a choice unless I fail that loyalty check; then free will is all mine, and I can read all the comics I want, if that is the decision I make.
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