The Malicious Titans Theory

Speculation, discoveries, complaints, accusations, praise, and all other Erfworld discussion.

Re: The Malicious Titans Theory

Postby ParsonIsOP » Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:14 pm

Housellama wrote:
ParsonIsOP wrote:
Balerion wrote:If you give me power and free will, you have no influence on how I decide to use that power. If I can fly, you can't stop me from flying on Tuesdays. If I can talk to an individual, I can insult that individual. When beings are granted the power to communicate with one another, they also have the power to ostracize, the power to belittle, etc. The two are linked, so long as I have free will. You could claim my tongue freezes when I try to insult; but that would override my free will, wouldn't it, if i lose my power when i have decided to use it in a particular way?

Does that even make sense when you read that aloud?

Humans override the will of other humans all the time. If I manage to get a law passed to keep you from flying on Tuesday, then I've achieved a measure of control over your power. Assuming that there are necessary components to make you able to fly, then dismantling that mechanism directly will also keep you from flying, especially if you lack the power to reassemble it (i.e. clipping the wings of a bird).

And I can exercise a measure of control over other people's wills themselves, either by use of soft or hard force. You may have heard of this lobotomy thing.

One of the greatest human projects in any society is education and indoctrination precisely because we know we can try and at least manufacture good character and good manners.

Also, having communication doesn't mean you have the power to harm me. For one thing, I may simply have more power, such that your ability to communicate is irrelevant. For another, while you might say unkind things about me, I might just not care what you think to even be hurt by your opinion. You're trying to establish a general principle that isn't true.


Okay, I wasn't going to get involved in the great Free Will debate, but this is one of my serious philosophical pet peeves.

There is a big difference between coercion and the actual removal of free will. A freaking HUGE difference. Especially when you start talking in terms of higher powers.

Let me define my terms here.

Free will is the ability of an agent to make decisions about his or her actions and the ability to initiate those actions. This does not mean that they have to be successful in the goal of their actions or that the consequences of their actions are not harsh, but the ability to decide and then act on that decision.

Anything that applies to the consequence of an action does not limit free will. The agent still has the free will to decide to take that action, even with the severe consequences. Someone can choose to break a law. Someone can choose to face the consequences. Someone being restrained can struggle. Their options have been limited by their situation, but they still have the free will to act as they may within that situation. Humans have a very hard time actually limiting the free will of another human. We can remove choices and set very high consequences, but actually removing free will is difficult. Now there are arguments to be made about deception and manipulation in regards to free will, but that's an entirely different ball of wax and not relevant to this particular topic. (Hit me up privately if you want to discuss that. I'd really love to actually.)

That's humans on each other. When you bring a higher power into the picture, it gets more complicated. If a higher power sets a system in motion where everyone plays under the same rules and an agents ability to choose is limited only by the situation, then free will exists. A higher power can make non-desirable outcomes impossible to achieve by simply making the rules so they don't occur. The 'physics' of that particular universe do not allow for that choice to be made. Free will is not limited because every agent still has the right to choose for themselves, there is simply less choice.

Now, if a higher power makes an outcome possible for an agent within the system, but removes the agent's ability to choose it, then we have an issue. Agents are physically able to wear blue coats, but are unable to choose to wear blue coats. If a circumstance happened where an agent happened to find his coat blue, he would be able to wear it, but if he took it off, he would not be able to put it back on because agents aren't able to choose to wear blue coats. That's a violation of free will by the higher power because there is a possible outcome that is denied to our agents.

In terms of Erfworld, I believe that what happened is that the Titans set a system in motion where the rules are consistent across the board. Units have free will. They have the ability to do anything they choose within the rules that are set. Everyone plays by the same set of rules. There are no exceptions. Parson's 'hacks' are perfectly legal, if completely unorthodox. Erfworld's physics are as solid as ours. They can't violate them even if they wanted to. I believe that the Titans did not set up a system where there is a point where agents have a valid choice under the rules and are arbitrarily unable to make it. I haven't seen anything like that.

I know the first thing that's going to come up is led vs unled units. When dealing with free will, you have to deal with each individual. Which means each Stabber individually. Take Wrigley, the one unled unit we know of that has died in combat. From our point of view, the rule is that unled units must fight to the death. Must. We view that as no choice. That free will has been violated because the unit has no other choices. Well. Choice is defined by situation. I cannot fly by flapping my arms. Does that mean that God or Allah or insert deity of choice has violated my free will? No. It means that the laws of physics in that situation dictate that I don't have the lift to fly. I can flap my arms all I want, but I won't get the lift needed to counter my own weight. I have the choice to flap my arms. I don't have the choice to fly. Wrigley didn't have the choice not to fight because his unit did not have anyone with the Leadership special. Without that, they had no other orders. Their choices were limited. The laws of Erfworld dictated that they had but one choice, which was to fight.

But Wrigley did indeed see it as a choice. One he, and all of those with him in the unit, made willingly. To fight for Gobwin Knob. They chose to stride forward and meet their end, and did so with their hearts and heads high. I don't say that free will was removed, because they chose to fight. Now you can get into a chicken and egg debate, but in the end, Wrigley and his unit chose to die, rules or no rules. They walked to their deaths willingly and gladly. Free will man. You just can't beat it.

Summation. Coercion does not remove free will. Laws do not remove free will. Exercising your will over another human does not remove free will. The other agent is still free to choose whatever they wish within their situation. Gods can remove free will, but I don't believe the Titans did. This says nothing about their malevolence or lack thereof, but I hate it when people confuse consequence with ability.

Yes, yes, yes. Whatever. I'm well aware of the difference between intent and consequence and I see the miscommunication now. But that isn't entirely what Balerion was talking about. He also specifically said that it's impossible to exert control over either his actions or his will.

Having both power and intent does not prevent me from altering one or both conditions. Nor are actions necessarily a product of will, but simply sometimes of power by itself. If you had read my latter point, it was also that the will itself can be influenced. And clearly, intervening in another person's power is also possible.

This is tangential to the original conversation though. Having one power does not necessarily mean that there is some equal potential in that power for both harm and good, it's necessarily case-specific. What is irrational, is the idea that all our actions have some sorted of equal and pleasing symmetry in them.
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Re: The Malicious Titans Theory

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:11 pm

ParsonIsOP wrote:I understand the idea of a common historical ancestry. I just think it's stupid.


:roll: Daring iconoclasm, lets see what supports it.

ParsonIsOP wrote:Jews and Christians don't even interpret the OT the same way or approach it under the same cosmological assumptions. And most of either don't even understand that Yahweh and El Elyon were separate gods, much less that Yahweh was a petty war god.


Consensus needed on "Yahweh and El Elyon were separate gods", for it is now lacking. And following the logic of "don't interpret the OT the same way {etc}" would mean Eastern Ortodox and Catholics are not sects of Christianity, that either Shia or Sunni are muslims but not both etc. Not a particularly useful stance to take, as it prevents any synthesis of cultures into groups and genealogies.

ParsonIsOP wrote:Marbit Chow actually hasn't. If you had read those posts, he basically told me that determinism *does* determine choice. I agree on that point. He also made clear that this doesn't make those determinant factors predictable. Again, I agree. He then claims that the concept of free will is at least useful for some reason I don't recall. Something about it reminding us about the power of choice? I wasn't impressed and don't agree.


Both MarbitChow and now drachefly have provided definitions of free will to which you've made no "it's gibberish" argument. You claim to agree with MarbitChow's assumptions, and all you do is stick to a linguistic pet peeve.

ParsonIsOP wrote:The difference between free will and justice is that it's not universally assumed that laws are a necessary component of justice.


Just like it's not universally assumed that indeterminism is a necessary component of free will, for example.

ParsonIsOP wrote:Some people might think so and you might have a hard time getting them to agree, but it isn't anywhere near as culturally ingrained. You can at least sensibly point out that unjust regimes make unjust laws. And many people have morals that have no force of law. It's a rather clear and straightforward dialogue there.


Agreed, and it closely mirrors the one on free will. "Justice" is also a fuzzy, but useful, notion. You have an easy/quick/"professional" definition (the law for "justice", some variant a-la drachefly's for "free will"), you have various "colloquial" interpretations of either notions, and you also have "professional" reinterpretations for both (in the form of legal or philosophical debates).
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Re: The Malicious Titans Theory

Postby Housellama » Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:18 pm

ParsonIsOP wrote:Yes, yes, yes. Whatever.


Nice. I really appreciate the respect given from one rational agent to another. Pro tip. If you want to be taken seriously, a little politeness goes a long way.

ParsonIsOP wrote:I'm well aware of the difference between intent and consequence and I see the miscommunication now. But that isn't entirely what Balerion was talking about. He also specifically said that it's impossible to exert control over either his actions or his will.


No, he said that if a higher power gives an agent true free will, then it's impossible for that higher power to influence how that agent uses that will. He neither said nor implied anything about one agent influencing another. He was always speaking in terms of a higher power dealing with a created agent.

ParsonIsOP wrote:Having both power and intent does not prevent me from altering one or both conditions. Nor are actions necessarily a product of will, but simply sometimes of power by itself. If you had read my latter point, it was also that the will itself can be influenced. And clearly, intervening in another person's power is also possible.


Yes. One agent can influence another. Influence. Not remove their free will. That's tangential to Balerion's point, as he never mentioned one agent dealing with another. If you want to argue how much influence one agent has over another with me in private, I'd be more than willing to do so, long as you are willing to be more polite.

ParsonIsOP wrote:This is tangential to the original conversation though. Having one power does not necessarily mean that there is some equal potential in that power for both harm and good, it's necessarily case-specific. What is irrational, is the idea that all our actions have some sorted of equal and pleasing symmetry in them.


No, that's not what he's saying. He is arguing that the ability to choose (which for this purpose we will call free will) provides overall utility because it allows for multiple choices. He never says that the equation is balanced. He simply states that an agent can make choices that are 'good' (increase utility or decrease disutility) and choices that are 'evil' (decrease utility or increase disutility) and that some choices can have both effects. In fact, most choices have both effects in a complex system.

What you are either not getting or, heh, choosing to ignore is this: the ability to choose necessarily includes the ability to choose how to view a situation. Suppose an agent is put into a situation that will require a thousand dollar loss and a significant amount of pain for a year to potentially gain five thousand dollars and a significant amount of happiness at the end. Some agents will choose to view this as an opportunity and will 'rise to the challenge'. Some agents will choose to view this as an obstacle and do everything they can to find another route to avoid the pain and loss inherent in the situation. It is the same situation. The situation is value neutral. What gives it utility or disutility is how the agent views it.

That is the ultimate power of choice (or free will as it were); the power of an agent to change his or her internal mindset about a situation. To choose how they think and act toward the environment they find themselves in at that moment. That is the power that so many religions tap into. That is the mechanism that a lot of very successful psychological therapy techniques use. Change the thought, change the feeling, change the behavior.

Now, if you wish to argue about the ability of one agent to unwillingly influence another agent's thoughts or ability to choose, that is a different argument. But isn't what Balerion is arguing. He's arguing that the ability to choose, even though it necessarily allows the possibility of increasing disutility, increases utility by a much greater margin overall.
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Re: The Malicious Titans Theory

Postby mortissimus » Sun Dec 18, 2011 6:39 pm

For those that wants to indulge their curiosity when it comes to OT and God, I recommend God: A Biography

Amazon blurb:
What sort of "person" is God? Is it possible to approach him not as an object of religious reverence, but as the protagonist of the world's greatest book--as a character who possesses all the depths, contradictions, and abiguities of a Hamlet? In this "brilliant, audacious book" (Chicago Tribune), a former Jesuit marshalls a vast array of learning and knowledge of the Hebrew Bible to illuminate God--and man--with a sense of discovery and wonder.


He both charts the development of the character God as well as how this characther-development can also be seen as the fusion over time of several different gods from polytheistic pantheons at the time. Theological characther-development side by side with history of religions. I enjoyed it a lot.
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Re: The Malicious Titans Theory

Postby AnubianDragon » Sun Jan 08, 2012 2:18 am

MarbitChow wrote: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:

[excised for brevity]

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

By your own defined terms, the Titans fall into the same position that God does in Judeo-Christianity. Which therefore renders them immune to any kind of motivation judgment. After all, as the deity they are unknowable. They work in mysterious ways.

So you can't assign "Good" and "Evil" to the Titans of Erf, because they're above such classification.
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Re: The Malicious Titans Theory

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Mon Jan 09, 2012 4:55 pm

AnubianDragon wrote:By your own defined terms, the Titans fall into the same position that God does in Judeo-Christianity. Which therefore renders them immune to any kind of motivation judgment. After all, as the deity they are unknowable. They work in mysterious ways.

So you can't assign "Good" and "Evil" to the Titans of Erf, because they're above such classification.


Strictly speaking, you are correct. There's even a passage in the Bible that addresses this; forgot where, it's about how the pot is not worthy to judge the potmaker, how this is similar to the way God's creation is in relation to God, and how if God builds one for salvation and one for damnation, that's God's business and no human mind is apt to judge.

I think you are "in the spirit of the thread" wrong however. JC morality was meant as the "do unto others as you would like to be done unto you" principle, rather than in reference to Jewish or Christian traditions.
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Re: The Malicious Titans Theory

Postby MarbitChow » Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:14 pm

AnubianDragon wrote:
MarbitChow wrote: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:

[excised for brevity]

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

By your own defined terms, the Titans fall into the same position that God does in Judeo-Christianity. Which therefore renders them immune to any kind of motivation judgment. After all, as the deity they are unknowable. They work in mysterious ways.

So you can't assign "Good" and "Evil" to the Titans of Erf, because they're above such classification.

Actually, if you want to be technical, according to Judeo-Christian morality they cannot be acknowledged as gods at all. ("Though shalt have no other god before me", or something like that.) So, the Titans cannot claim the same immunity as Jehovah, since they cannot be placed into the same category. But as BLANDCorporatio pointed out, we're looking at the the ability to judge them good or evil based on 'standard' Western Civilization morality, which is predominantly Judeo-Christian, as opposed to judging them from a Buddhist perspective, for example.
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Re: The Malicious Titans Theory

Postby Glynth » Mon Jan 23, 2012 6:45 am

I don't want to "necro" the thread, but it's still on the first page so I don't know that the rule applies, and no one's addressed these points, so...

ParsonIsOP wrote:
Glynth wrote:The "no True Scotsman" fallacy doesn't apply to subjective things like what makes someone a proper adherent of a religion. The real fallacy going on here is trying to conflate an objective, unchangeable status (like where you're born and what your ancestry is) with a subjective status that can change over time (one's religion and how one lives up to the moral standards of one's professed religion).

Wikipedia wrote:No true Scotsman is an informal logical fallacy, an ad hoc attempt to retain an unreasoned assertion.[1] When faced with a counterexample to a universal claim, rather than denying the counterexample or rejecting the original universal claim, this fallacy modifies the subject of the assertion to exclude the specific case or others like it by rhetoric, without reference to any specific objective rule.

Which is exactly is what is happening when one Christian accuses another of not being a True Christian.


I'm more than familiar with the Wikipedia entry. I'm also quite familiar with how people like you continually put your NPOV "no true Christian" pseudo-example on the page and how the community (and before you ask, no, not me: I never did so personally) removes it each time. Objective (Scotsman: concrete definition, immutable fact of birth) vs subjective (Christian: multiple definitions, unknowable/unprovable belief/state-of-mind). What's so hard to understand?

ParsonIsOP wrote:There is no objective rule in effect defining what a True Christian is.

EXACTLY.
ParsonIsOP wrote:My guess? The person made the rule up "ad hoc." This is often the case since most Christians aren't even aware of what's in their Bible or that The Law isn't just the Ten Commandments.

Your "guess" could be anything you want. It holds no weight. No surprise that it's the "guess" of a bitter man trying to malign those who dare believe something he doesn't.

ParsonIsOP wrote:Being Scottish *is* subjective, given that national identity mutates and evolves with the culture.

NO, IT ISN'T. Hence the fact that this is a fallacy and not a difference of opinion!

ParsonIsOP wrote:For practical purposes, the subjectivity or objectivity of the designation is irrelevant. It's enough that the criteria of exclusion a person might use are arbitrary and irrational

Nonsense. Fallacies are based in FACT, not OPINION. If it's just a difference of OPINION over whether someone's a Scotsman, then there IS NO FALLACY TO BEGIN WITH.

ParsonIsOP wrote:
Second:
ParsonIsOP wrote:Are you serious? Most of the founding fathers were diests.


Utter and total nonsense. Who told you that? I certainly hope it wasn't a history teacher; one who'd spout such lies should be fired. Not only were the majority of the Founders unquestionably Christian (a fact that history revisionists want to expunge from the record, for reasons I won't go into here, but they're certainly not benevolent), but famous "deists" like Jefferson aren't even deists by today's standards. That you act as though you are in disbelief shows just how well the revisionists' lies, indoctrination, and echo chambers are working; you're aghast that someone dares utter the facts, and that those facts don't fit into the narrative you've been spoonfed. Need I go on to quote the various Founders and their statements about religion and its indispensable support to a moral and fair government? How about Washington's Farewell Address, for a start?

Yes, they regard religion as a good thing in general. But my claim was never that they thought it was a bad thing, but that they were Diests. [emphasis added]

Which I completely disproved using the HISTORICAL FACTS. Did you even follow my links? Some, like Jefferson, called themselves deists in a sense used at the time which does not match its usage today. More importantly: Most didn't call themselves deists and were not, in fact, deists of any description. You wrote, and I quote, "Are you serious? Most of the founding fathers were diests" (your emphasis). I don't care if you find one or two exceptions; you said "most"! Unless, perhaps, you meant something other then "deists" when you typed "diests," you were therefore uncontestably and factually WRONG.

ParsonIsOP wrote:George Washington's personal beliefs were never particularly clear, but I'll grant that he was a Christian in some generic non-denominational sense for the sake of argument.


You'll "grant" that he was Christian? As if there's something to contest there, with the man who regularly attended and was a member of an Episcopal congregation?

"You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are."
- George Washington


What point do you think you're making, anyway? You go off on this ridiculous tangent, all because I point out the fact that you're completely wrong about "most" Founders being deist and that you're using relatively modern "interpretation" (a much-abused term, as it's really intentional distortion) of the First Amendment, as proven by historical documents and the original meaning of the words (the only intellectually honest way to interpret any law).

"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice ? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

"It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?"

- George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796

"It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor."
- George Washington - October 3, 1789


Now, it's not me saying you can't be a patriot here, given your attitude... but George Washington. All your straw men (as you attempt to attack some ridiculous Christians-only theocracy or whatever that no one seriously argues that the Founders wanted) add up to nothing in the face of that.


ParsonIsOP wrote:none of them could claim to be authoritative or even particularly well-implemented moral philosophies


None of the Founders could claim that any religion had "particularly well-implemented moral philosophies"? In what sense - in that MEN are its preachers and are thus imperfect? Because almost anything else you might be trying to say there requires significant evidence, which you do not have.

ParsonIsOP wrote:He did however identify with "Christian moral philosophy," whatever that means (nothing actually).

Your blatant disdain continues to show. Bitter, bitter, bitter. You've got serious issues.

Flatly: Yes, most of them were diests and believed in a non-interventionist and impersonal diety

How many Founders do you think there are? You're incredibly ignorant if you think you've covered even a third of them. Continuing to ignore the facts I've presented doesn't make your argument any less asinine.

George Washington would seem to qualify, given his non-ritualistic tendencies and general non-denominational views.

Because non-denominational Christian = deist?? Even ignoring that Washington was a member of the Episcopalian church and regularly attended their meetings, you're stretching this to the most absurd lengths, all to "prove" a lie you were told by some agenda-pushing history revisionists is not a lie.

ParsonIsOP wrote:
You have no idea what "separation of church and state" means or where it comes from, do you? The phrase was coined by Jefferson in a letter to a church, assuring them that the federal government wouldn't intervene in the church's affairs. Clearly the church was concerned about government interference! More history the revisionists want gone! "Separation of church and state" is a good thing, but it does not mean what your ilk says it means. (For crying out loud, the people who wrote and passed the First Amendment held regular Christian Sunday services in the Capitol building; today you can't even have a Nativity scene put up by private citizens in a public space, according to some people.) This separation, when using original meaning instead of activist rewriting of terms, is for the good of both the church and the state, for power corrupts: Political power can corrupt the clergy, and the government (which, let's be honest, hardly needs some clergyman's help to cultivate corruption) should not be able to take up the guise of religion to strengthen its hold on its subjects.

Soooo . . . you agree with me? I don't understand your point. Do you even know what seperation of church/state means?

Soooo . . . you think it's okay for Congress to hold church services in the Capitol building? Which, again, the people who wrote the First Amendment did? Even after the Amendment was passed? (Not that I'm advocating this.) Or did you even READ what I posted? Judging by your continued use of non sequitur, I'm going to say "No."

As I stated initially, I posted here to take down some specific nonsense you were spewing, not get into some giant debate over your "freedom from religion" agenda. I've stated my position to the necessary degree to make my main points and provided backup for it, but there's little reason to throw yet more pearls before swine. The fact is, you misused a fallacy, you repeated a history revisionist lie, and you conjure up "theocracy"-flavored straw men to attack those who disagree with your agenda, and you play word games about the meaning of terms like "free will." That's all there is to it.
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Re: The Malicious Titans Theory

Postby mortissimus » Tue Jan 24, 2012 9:08 am

In the interest of finding out once and for all who the true scotsmen really are, I give you the following:

http://www.scotsman.com/news/cartoon/brian_monteith_true_scots_disenfranchised_by_voting_boundary_1_2072176

True Scots disenfranchised by voting boundary


For what is a Scotsman, is it given by birth, upbringing, place of residence? Well, if the referendum ends with a yes, I guess citizenship in Scotland will be one definition (but not the only one).
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Re: The Malicious Titans Theory

Postby ParsonIsOP » Thu Feb 02, 2012 3:50 am

BLANDCorporatio wrote:
AnubianDragon wrote:By your own defined terms, the Titans fall into the same position that God does in Judeo-Christianity. Which therefore renders them immune to any kind of motivation judgment. After all, as the deity they are unknowable. They work in mysterious ways.

So you can't assign "Good" and "Evil" to the Titans of Erf, because they're above such classification.


Strictly speaking, you are correct. There's even a passage in the Bible that addresses this; forgot where, it's about how the pot is not worthy to judge the potmaker, how this is similar to the way God's creation is in relation to God, and how if God builds one for salvation and one for damnation, that's God's business and no human mind is apt to judge.

I think you are "in the spirit of the thread" wrong however. JC morality was meant as the "do unto others as you would like to be done unto you" principle, rather than in reference to Jewish or Christian traditions.

Strictly speaking, Christianity is not about the Golden Rule. It's about getting in good with the man upstairs by fulfilling superfluous moral requirements so he doesn't send you to hell. Also, you're a miserable sinner and you have no personal power to change this. You're a dependent addict all your life. But hey, it's cool, you have this "free will" thing.

Christianity's formulation of the Golden Rule just happened to slip into the religion as a bit of folksy wisdom because it'd be pretty stupid not to appeal to your base.

Buddhism was originally about spiritual castration, but hey, we're going to slip in that whole compassion and "do unto others" thing while we're at it.
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Re: The Malicious Titans Theory

Postby ParsonIsOP » Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:13 am

Housellama wrote:Nice. I really appreciate the respect given from one rational agent to another. Pro tip. If you want to be taken seriously, a little politeness goes a long way.

Pro tip. Politeness has nothing to do with rationality or respect. And you shouldn't crave either politeness or respect if you genuinely like being rational above all else. Politeness is just a form deception that keeps people from throwing you out the door. It doesn't have a damn thing to do with being honest.

The cool thing about it is that you can judge people by whether they think politeness actually has anything to do with respect. Or whether they think respect is some sort of universal entitlement that follows their personal standard.

ParsonIsOP wrote:INo, he said that if a higher power gives an agent true free will, then it's impossible for that higher power to influence how that agent uses that will. He neither said nor implied anything about one agent influencing another. He was always speaking in terms of a higher power dealing with a created agent.

Anyway, that's not what he's talking about. He's talking about a situation in which the higher being really hasn't surrendered any power at all because it knows the exact fate of the lives its responsible for. That's basically the higher being choosing for somebody else.

I suppose you could then try to make the argument that if he chose to remain ignorant of my fate, that I would then have "true" free will. But no. All that means is that that power over my life devolves to some non-agency. (Where did that idiotic notion come from that only subject agencies are responsible for other subject agencies anyway? Somebody prove this to me)

And yes, he is talking about one agent affecting another. It's also exactly what you're talking about: How a "higher power" deals with its creation. One agent to another.

Yes. One agent can influence another. Influence. Not remove their free will. That's tangential to Balerion's point, as he never mentioned one agent dealing with another. If you want to argue how much influence one agent has over another with me in private, I'd be more than willing to do so, long as you are willing to be more polite.

Orson Scott Card and I have our differences. But we agree on this. Influence is power. He's Mormon and perhaps a little more fossilized in his moral sense than I am, but hey, whatever. He says interesting things sometimes.

Anyway, just asserting that that an agent cannot control another is silly. I've already given examples whereupon where will can be altered to a frightening and near-total degree (e.g. indoctrination, lobotomy and so forth). Just because you've never seen examples of more powerful control, doesn't mean that it's not possible.

Our wills are entirely a product of our minds, which are the product of our brains. And sorry to say this, but minor disturbances in our physiology goes a long way in disrupting the other three. And while I'm at it, souls don't exist. That's just a pleasant fairy tale that says our minds are indestructible and eternal (you wish).

Now, if you wish to argue about the ability of one agent to unwillingly influence another agent's thoughts or ability to choose, that is a different argument. But isn't what Balerion is arguing. He's arguing that the ability to choose, even though it necessarily allows the possibility of increasing disutility, increases utility by a much greater margin overall.

There's really nothing more to say at this point other than "No, it doesn't. More precisely, it varies on a case-by-case basis. And it wouldn't justify the decisions of an omnipotent being who could have chosen infinite utility instead."

It's an idiotic rationalization.
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Re: The Malicious Titans Theory

Postby ParsonIsOP » Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:23 am

To Glnyth:

I can save a lot of time and simply say that you didn't look at my links either.

Quite a number actively identified as "deist" on whatever terms they chose or custom-tailored their beliefs. Many clearly believed in a God, but not a Christian one. And I grant that many did identify with a Christian ones.

I do agree that seperation between church and state is a good thing. I never clearly understood what your conception of that actually was. And you haven't bothered to explain. In the absence of such an explanation, I simply assumed you didn't have any clearly articulated understanding of what that was. I inferred this based on your Nativity example, which should be illegal, even by the "original intent" of the Constitution. So I sense somewhere that you didn't do the cognitive math.

I also take umbrage and your generalization of "your ilk." What exactly is "my ilk"? You haven't made this clear. And I don't care to figure it out if you cannot be bothered to make it clear. Do you even know what my beliefs are? Or did you just assume them?

I also have similar complaints about your understanding of the "No True Scotsman" deal. I don't believe you actually know it beyond your ability to write a textbook entry about it. The fallacy lies entirely in trying to exclude properties simply based on arbitrarily-assigned identities.

Being Irish is a geopolitical and linguistic reality certainly, but it also comes with certain assumptions about being Irish which aren't true. If an Irishman assumes that no true Irishman can be capable of murder, than he's wrong. The only factual thing about being Irish is certain linguistic origins and some minor genetic population drift. By example, an Orthodox Jew can claim to be from a different and superior race, but it doesn't make him right. (Good job inventing the race myth you assholes. How did that work out?)

If a Christian claims than an "x" is not a true Christian, than the burden of evidence is on him to minimally demonstrate that. If he can't, than he cannot be taken at his word. And to the best of my knowledge, being a Christian almost has no standards at all. It can be anything you want it to be, which means there's nothing factual about it. It's almost entirely subjective, beyond some silly historical and cultural artifacts. The "Golden Rule" is not unique to Christians, and as I've repeated before, their formulation of it isn't even all that competent. (One example: Do unto others what they would have done unto them. It isn't about what you would want done to you. ---> Only a slightly more competent variation.)

I also don't see what my being bitter, having disdain for things or having problems has to do with pretty much anything.
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Re: The Malicious Titans Theory

Postby drachefly » Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:12 am

ParsonIsOP wrote:And you shouldn't crave either politeness or respect if you genuinely like being rational above all else.


What? If you're rational above all else, then that includes both epistemic rationality - taking effort to believe what is true - and instrumental rationality - acting so as to achieve what you want.

Politeness and respect are definitely tools with applications in the second category.

And that's all that's required for the thing you were quoting - Politeness and respect go a long way. As in, they help you. Craving is not necessary.
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Re: The Malicious Titans Theory

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:41 am

ParsonIsOP wrote:(Where did that idiotic notion come from that only subject agencies are responsible for other subject agencies anyway? Somebody prove this to me)


Because putting the moon on trial would be more idiotic. Your call.

ParsonIsOP wrote:Anyway, just asserting that that an agent cannot control another is silly. I've already given examples whereupon where will can be altered to a frightening and near-total degree (e.g. indoctrination, lobotomy and so forth). Just because you've never seen examples of more powerful control, doesn't mean that it's not possible.


And irelevant. To steal from another poster,

Raza wrote:the concept of free will was invented to describe the sensation of choice we have as we live our lives, to distinguish it from choices we can't make the way we would like to as a result of external coercion.


and from myself (both from another thread)

It also doesn't follow that determinism removes responsibility from "you". Who/what are "you"? Is there some way for "you" to look at the universe and say, "this part is more 'me' than this other part?". Do your choices arise from deliberations that occur in that "more like 'me'" part?

I suspect the answer to the first is yes (unless you're trippin', supposedly), and I suspect the second is also yes, but a no here is plausible since many people feel the modern world robs them of agency, and that they are not the choosers of their own destiny. Even a "no" to the second question however arises because of things a philosopher would call contingent. Not necessary effects of fundamental laws of nature/logic, but the result of the environment one happens to be in imposing contingent constraints, which could, in principle, not have been there.


So the fact that external contingencies may exist doesn't remove the fact that an ability to choose was present. A car can drive around on the roadways; not if you removed its engine before it gets the chance of course, but it could have.

ParsonIsOP wrote:Our wills are entirely a product of our minds, which are the product of our brains. And sorry to say this, but minor disturbances in our physiology goes a long way in disrupting the other three. And while I'm at it, souls don't exist. That's just a pleasant fairy tale that says our minds are indestructible and eternal (you wish).


Oh wow, what next, Santa Claus doesn't exist?

That's why it is very easy to make assumptions about your beliefs. Because you've obviously read a little from the Horsemen to absorb their style but not nearly enough to understand their worldview. As in, you attempt to be provocative but nonetheless are essentially incurious, dogmatic.
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Re: The Malicious Titans Theory

Postby Balerion » Thu Feb 02, 2012 3:36 pm

I guess I am a sucker for being pulled back in. But lets see if I can put up with you a bit longer after a month's rest.

First off, protip: Housellama actually understands what i was writing. You did not. If he says i was saying something, you would be wise to listen to him. He actually assumes his opponents might have something reasonable to say, so bothers to read what they write :P

ParsonIsOP wrote:Anyway, that's not what he's talking about. He's talking about a situation in which the higher being really hasn't surrendered any power at all because it knows the exact fate of the lives its responsible for. That's basically the higher being choosing for somebody else.

I suppose you could then try to make the argument that if he chose to remain ignorant of my fate, that I would then have "true" free will. But no. All that means is that that power over my life devolves to some non-agency. (Where did that idiotic notion come from that only subject agencies are responsible for other subject agencies anyway? Somebody prove this to me)


Foreknowledge != influence on events. Knowing that a potato will be turned into fries has no influence on it being turned into fries later. It just means you knew about it. Also, this is a complete tangent to the actual discussion, namely: if there is evil in a world with an omni-omni being, does that inherently make it malicious.

And yes, he is talking about one agent affecting another. It's also exactly what you're talking about: How a "higher power" deals with its creation. One agent to another.


Again, no. While technically true, you are conflating two different types of agents with sufficiently different powers and abilities that they are not conflatable. The conflation makes anything you draw from "agent-agent" comparison useless to the initial contention, because the situations are so radically different.

Orson Scott Card and I have our differences. But we agree on this. Influence is power. He's Mormon and perhaps a little more fossilized in his moral sense than I am, but hey, whatever. He says interesting things sometimes.

Anyway, just asserting that that an agent cannot control another is silly. I've already given examples whereupon where will can be altered to a frightening and near-total degree (e.g. indoctrination, lobotomy and so forth). Just because you've never seen examples of more powerful control, doesn't mean that it's not possible.

Our wills are entirely a product of our minds, which are the product of our brains. And sorry to say this, but minor disturbances in our physiology goes a long way in disrupting the other three. And while I'm at it, souls don't exist. That's just a pleasant fairy tale that says our minds are indestructible and eternal (you wish).


All irrelevant as well. Humans controlling humans does not relate to the initial contention. Yes, humans can put other humans in a situation where their free will is removed. So what? The question is, does free will lead to greater utility on the whole than a lack of free will, despite some disutility costs?

There's really nothing more to say at this point other than "No, it doesn't. More precisely, it varies on a case-by-case basis. And it wouldn't justify the decisions of an omnipotent being who could have chosen infinite utility instead."

It's an idiotic rationalization.


Now we are getting somewhere. See, I have been rejecting the concept of infinite utility all along. Not just rejecting its existence in this world, but its possible existence in any world (you might remember ignoring a bunch of things I said about apriori concepts; that is involved here). Especially since for their to be "infinite utility", there cannot be any disutility. The presence of 1 unit of disutility immediately means a better world is possible under that metric, and we have not hit infinite utility. But you refused to try and show what that world would look like, saying that wasn't your burden. If you think this infinite utility place is possible, give an example. Then i will show you how either 1)it has disutility or 2)it has less utility than other options that include disutility. Either point means you have failed to demonstrate the core contention, that evil+omni being ->malicious, because you have failed to come up with a better world with no evil.

And don't give me the "there isn't murder" crap. Imagine the physical laws that have to be in place to prevent something like that (without making it a restriction on free will, since you are still contending free will doesn't have to lead to evil), and then start looking at the repercussions to those laws. Think through the changes to the system that are required to make that simple little statement happen. If you just give me a one liner, not describing how it is enforced/what changes were made to create that system, it's meaningless.

Go read Mill. He wrote a lot on how letting people be able to choose the things that make them happiest is a huge utility gain.
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Re: The Malicious Titans Theory

Postby mortissimus » Fri Feb 03, 2012 9:11 am

Me thinks the answer to the Malicious Titans Theory is that it is not the real Titans that has created the physical Erfworld.

The Titans created an ideal Erfworld which being ideal did not exist, but the Impersonators thinking themselves Titans took it upon themselves to build a crude physical world which being imperfect is evil. The inhabitants recognise this because their immortal soul comes from the Titans realm of perfection.

Or some such.
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Re: The Malicious Titans Theory

Postby Housellama » Mon Feb 06, 2012 6:42 pm

ParsonIsOP wrote:Buddhism was originally about spiritual castration, but hey, we're going to slip in that whole compassion and "do unto others" thing while we're at it.


Do you have any background in Buddhism? How about the history of religions? Have you done anything more than read what the Internet has to say about Buddhism and polish your own narcissistic opinions?

Because you have no idea what you're talking about.

I'm a practicing Zen Buddhist, and have been for the better part of a decade. I'm also currently enrolled in a 400 level college philosophy class specifically concerning the history, practice and philosophy of Zen Buddhism. I've also been in two 300 level or above comparative religion classes dealing with Eastern religions. I've done a lot more than read the internet.

What are your credentials?
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Re: The Malicious Titans Theory

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Mon Feb 06, 2012 6:50 pm

Housellama wrote:What are your credentials?


Alas, that one will be too easy. They're the outsider that can call the Emperor naked. And presumably, one can argue that "Buddhism is about spiritual castration" is about as accurate as one can be about describing Buddhism in 5 words or fewer*, just like Christianity may be similarly summarized as "accept Jesus or burn forever".

I don't really know much about Buddhism, so can't comment on how/when/whether that summary is accurate of it. I feel competent to describe that my summary is accurate of fundamentalist Christian dogma, and arguably traces back to the New Testament itself, but fails to account for the various off-shoots like Quakers, Universalists etc. (to say nothing of the early Christian world, which was much less literalist than that of today, apparently), as well as conveying the intricate mix of religion and politics that made European history what it was, and doesn't address a conflict that really mattered for the various churches, of grace by deeds vs. grace by faith.

So yeah whatever, I dunno. A 5-word description might come with certain limits on its scope of accuracy/informativeness.

EDIT: *: the inner peever in me could not stand the less in there. Gods of Language log I apologize.
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Re: The Malicious Titans Theory

Postby Housellama » Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:11 pm

ParsonIsOP wrote:
Housellama wrote:Nice. I really appreciate the respect given from one rational agent to another. Pro tip. If you want to be taken seriously, a little politeness goes a long way.


<A lot of stuff>

It's an idiotic rationalization.


You know, I was going to write a big point by point breakdown, but I realized it wasn't worth it and here's why.

You're a narcissist. Being one myself, I recognize the symptoms. You don't read what people write. You read what you want to think they wrote. You assume that you're always right and take the position that you must be proven wrong. You ignore evidence. You use contradictory arguments. You treat people who aren't you as lesser.

I learned a long time ago (to my detriment) that overall, narcissism isn't a desirable trait. It's good in some specialized arenas and for specific purposes, but as a general personality trait, it sucks. I consciously worked very hard to deal with my tendency toward narcissism, and still do to this day. That's one of the (many) reasons I came to zen.

So I'm not going to argue with you anymore. I concede that your mind will not be changed. I do not concede that I'm incorrect, nor do I care that you think otherwise. You will (inevitably) take this as a win for you; that's what narcissists do. You are welcome to it.

I do have one parting thought, though. Simply because I can't resist the opening.

ParsonIsOP wrote:And while I'm at it, souls don't exist. That's just a pleasant fairy tale that says our minds are indestructible and eternal (you wish).


To that I answer you with your own words.

ParsonIsOP wrote:Just because you've never seen examples of

A soul
ParsonIsOP wrote:doesn't mean that it's not possible.


Absence of proof is not proof of absence.
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Re: The Malicious Titans Theory

Postby Housellama » Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:26 pm

BLANDCorporatio wrote:
Housellama wrote:What are your credentials?


Alas, that one will be too easy. They're the outsider that can call the Emperor naked. And presumably, one can argue that "Buddhism is about spiritual castration" is about as accurate as one can be about describing Buddhism in 5 words or fewer*, just like Christianity may be similarly summarized as "accept Jesus or burn forever".


BLANDCorporatio wrote:So yeah whatever, I dunno. A 5-word description might come with certain limits on its scope of accuracy/informativeness.


Except to pull that one off, the Emperor actually has to be wearing no clothes. He's not. The problem with that is that "Accept Jesus or burn forever" is at least somewhat accurate, if a bit harsh. "Buddhism is about spiritual castration" isn't true in any possible sense of the phrase.

I can't even come up with a parallel in Christianity because I have absolutely no idea how he could have reached that conclusion in any kind of logical manner. I can't straw man a position I have no ability to comprehend.
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