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Author Topic: Any pro-NAP and anti-NAP members want to try a debate... with a difference?  (Read 4456 times)
niemivh
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July 10, 2012, 07:42:59 PM
 #21

...attempting to go to the next step (debate) prior to definition will never address this problem.

I have found a solid, logical, and internally consistent definition of the NAP. would you like a link to it?

Yes please!  How have we been using the flawed and worthless version of NAP all this time?!

Here you go: The Non-Aggression Principle (NAP)

Steven Molyneux?!

Jessuz, I thought we could do better than that.

I'll keep my politics out of your economics if you keep your economics out of my politics.

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niemivh
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July 10, 2012, 07:45:36 PM
 #22

All we need now are our debaters who are willing to swap sides.  Is there enough interest in this?

It's been tried, and Hawker switched sides rather admirably... but nobody picked up the "Government is good for the environment" side of things. I can't speak for anyone else, But for me, it was because I am unwilling to present arguments I know are flawed, and FirstAscent has been unable to elucidate his points without lapsing into trolling or shouting at us that we should go buy a book. I think he works for a publishing house.

In which thread was it tried?  Can you link please?


No thanks.  I can't step inside what I know the truth not to be and argue topics as character actor as if the results of such beliefs are as irrelevant as a high-school debate class.  These ideas drastically influence the world we live in and will pass on to the next generation and therefore should be regarded a little more seriously.  Moreover, if the person holding something to be true hasn't considered the oppositions proposition true then they shouldn't be debating anything - so perhaps those that realize this applies to them should take up such a challenge!

The point of switching side is more than just an academic exercise - it's definitely more relevant than a high school debate, but that the origin.  If you, an anti-NAPster, try to debate pro-NAP, then you will have to conduct a lot of research to see why and where the anti-NAP argument fails.  Likewise a pro-NAPster will have to dig into the details of why the proNAP argument fails because he is debating anti-NAP.

It's like Hawker says - it gets you out of your comfort zone.  It's too easy to reject other people's challenges to your beliefs and opinions, but when you yourself make the challenge, it's not so easy.

Does the burden of proof no longer rely on someone trying to prove something?  Then why would the person have to disprove what their conception of NAP was prior to the person who was promoting NAP could even prove it was a non-contradictory, definable axiom?

I'll keep my politics out of your economics if you keep your economics out of my politics.

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July 10, 2012, 07:48:31 PM
 #23

But survival is dependent on situation. You believe in NAP, but you are in Rwanda  and in order to survive you have to take part in genocide. So you take part in genocide. NAP is ideology that ignores context.

What you have there is a "lifeboat scenario." The vast majority of life is not lived in a lifeboat. I would argue, as well, that you've presented a false dichotomy. There are more options than "take part in genocide" and "die." For instance, just off the top of my head, there is "attempt to prevent genocide" or "leave Rwanda", both of which would be in line with NAP.

It would be great if human psychology worked that way, but there is no evidence - the Abu Ghraib prison guards were all shown to be decent normal people previously.
Philip Zimbardo's Standford prison experiment showed that if you place people in this kind of situation they will inevitably behave in this kind of way irrespective of their previous ideals or morality.
Every single decent person would proclaim that they couldn't possibly do that sort of thing, but evidence shows that people placed in unusual or extreme situations will inevitably behave in this way.
It would take a particularly heroic individual to stand up against such a situation.
NPA is a fine ideal (as is 'love thy neighbour') - but it doesn't fit the reality of human nature.
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July 10, 2012, 07:52:52 PM
 #24

Steven Molyneux?!

Jessuz, I thought we could do better than that.

Yes, that was the libertarian equivalent of a rick-roll. But did you read that book, or just dismiss it out of hand? I know you read books you disagree with, if only so you can post diatribes about them on amazon. So, if you haven't read it, please do, and post your review in the "book club" thread. I'd love to hear it.

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July 10, 2012, 07:58:31 PM
 #25

It would be great if human psychology worked that way, but there is no evidence - the Abu Ghraib prison guards were all shown to be decent normal people previously.
Philip Zimbardo's Standford prison experiment showed that if you place people in this kind of situation they will inevitably behave in this kind of way irrespective of their previous ideals or morality.
Every single decent person would proclaim that they couldn't possibly do that sort of thing, but evidence shows that people placed in unusual or extreme situation will inevitably behave in this way.
It would take a particularly heroic individual to stand up against such a situation.
NAP is a fine ideal (as is 'love thy neighbour') - but it doesn't fit the reality of human nature.

If you hadn't brought up the prison experiment, I was about to. There's a really simple answer to that: Don't put yourself in that situation. If you are put into that situation, leave. Because if you stay, you will act in a way that will make you hate yourself.

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July 10, 2012, 08:19:38 PM
 #26

It's been tried, and Hawker switched sides rather admirably... but nobody picked up the "Government is good for the environment" side of things. I can't speak for anyone else, But for me, it was because I am unwilling to present arguments I know are flawed, and FirstAscent has been unable to elucidate his points without lapsing into trolling or shouting at us that we should go buy a book. I think he works for a publishing house.
In which thread was it tried?  Can you link please?
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=92238.0
Well, I sure as hell missed that thread. You're right - good try Hawker. Shame the NAPsters weren't willing to challenge their own point of view. Suggests a certain degree of insecurity, or at least a stubborn refusal to acknowledge the validity of other people's opinions.  I don't mean the validity of their arguments, just the fact that people are fully within their rights to have a different opinion than yours.

Myrkul, why did you bother posting in that thread at all?  Just to spoil the debate?
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July 10, 2012, 08:20:13 PM
 #27

Does the burden of proof no longer rely on someone trying to prove something?  Then why would the person have to disprove what their conception of NAP was prior to the person who was promoting NAP could even prove it was a non-contradictory, definable axiom?
Ok then, treat it as just an academic exercise - mental training if you like. See if you can debate the pro-NAP position better than the NAPsters can. At least, afterwards, you won't know less than you already know.

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July 10, 2012, 08:28:42 PM
 #28

Myrkul, why did you bother posting in that thread at all?  Just to spoil the debate?

My reasons were clear. To make sure that Hawker had his position straight. Specifically, I was attempting to hammer out a specification of the rights that were established. He specified both a respect of property rights, and "no fixed rights," so I was attempting to get that cleared up.

Had FA been able to clearly explain his concerns to me without directing me to read books I have neither the desire nor the expendable income to pick up, I would have championed them. I was not about to throw soft pitches to Hawker, and all the environmental arguments I know are easily defeated.

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July 11, 2012, 08:12:10 PM
 #29

Does the burden of proof no longer rely on someone trying to prove something?  Then why would the person have to disprove what their conception of NAP was prior to the person who was promoting NAP could even prove it was a non-contradictory, definable axiom?
Ok then, treat it as just an academic exercise - mental training if you like. See if you can debate the pro-NAP position better than the NAPsters can. At least, afterwards, you won't know less than you already know.



Again, the problem of definition and which version of the NAP is to be debated is a roadblock to doing so.

I'll keep my politics out of your economics if you keep your economics out of my politics.

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niemivh
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July 11, 2012, 11:34:32 PM
 #30

Steven Molyneux?!

Jessuz, I thought we could do better than that.

Yes, that was the libertarian equivalent of a rick-roll. But did you read that book, or just dismiss it out of hand? I know you read books you disagree with, if only so you can post diatribes about them on amazon. So, if you haven't read it, please do, and post your review in the "book club" thread. I'd love to hear it.

Oh my.  I've been Molyneux-rolled.

 Cheesy


At least, when I read this I won't have to see Steven Molyneux's smirking, stupid face or his annoying, patronizing voice.  I'll read it, but it might be next week before I can get around to it.

I'll keep my politics out of your economics if you keep your economics out of my politics.

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July 11, 2012, 11:49:00 PM
 #31

Steven Molyneux?!

Jessuz, I thought we could do better than that.

Yes, that was the libertarian equivalent of a rick-roll. But did you read that book, or just dismiss it out of hand? I know you read books you disagree with, if only so you can post diatribes about them on amazon. So, if you haven't read it, please do, and post your review in the "book club" thread. I'd love to hear it.

Is this the sample you'd like me to read, or is it this entire book/essay that S.M. posted on his blog?

=================  Excerpt Below =======================================


The Non-Aggression Principle (NAP)

A moral rule is often proposed called the non-aggression principle, or NAP. It is also called being a “porcupine pacifist,” insofar as a porcupine only uses “force” in self-defense. The NAP is basically the proposition that “the initiation of the use of force is morally wrong.” Or, to put it more in the terms of our conversation: “The non-initiation of force is universally preferable.”

When we analyze a principle such as the NAP, there are really only seven possibilities: three in the negative, three in the positive, and one neutral:


The initiation of the use of force is always morally wrong.


The initiation of the use of force is sometimes morally wrong.


The initiation of the use of force is never morally wrong.


The initiation of the use of force has no moral content.


The initiation of the use of force is never morally right.


The initiation of the use of force is sometimes morally right.


The initiation of the use of force is always morally right.

As we have seen above, however, UPB is an “all or nothing” framework. If an action is universally preferable, then it cannot be limited by individual, geography, time etc. If it is wrong to murder in Algiers, then it is also wrong to murder in Belgium, the United States, at the North Pole and on the moon. If it is wrong to murder yesterday, then it cannot be right to murder tomorrow. If it is wrong for Bob to murder, then it must also be wrong for Doug to murder.

Uniting the NAP with UPB, thus allows us to whittle these seven statements down to three:


It is universally preferable to initiate the use of force.


It is universally preferable to not initiate the use of force.


The initiation of the use of force is not subject to universal preferences.

This is the natural result of applying the requirement of rational consistency to ethical propositions. A rational theory cannot validly propose that opposite results can occur from the same circumstances. A scientific theory cannot argue that one rock must fall down, but another rock must fall up. Einstein did not argue that E=MC2 on a Thursday, but that E=MC3 on a Friday, or on Mars, or during a blue moon. The law of conservation – that matter can be neither created nor destroyed – does not hold true only when you really, really want it to, or if you pay a guy to make it so, or when a black cat crosses your path. The laws of physics are not subject to time, geography, opinion or acts of Congress.

This consistency must also be required for systems of ethics, or UPB, and we will subject generally accepted moral theories to this rigour in Part 2, in a few pages.

However, since we are dealing with the question of consistency, it is well worth taking the time to deal with our capacity for inconsistency.


Lifeboat Scenarios


The fact that UPB only validates logically consistent moral theories does not mean that there can be no conceivable circumstances under which we may choose to act against the tenets of such a theory.

For instance, if we accept the universal validity of property rights, smashing a window and jumping into someone’s apartment without permission would be a violation of his property rights. However, if we were hanging off a flagpole outside an apartment window, and about to fall to our deaths, few of us would decline to kick in the window and jump to safety for the sake of obeying an abstract principle.

In the real world, it would take a staggeringly callous person to press charges against a man who destroyed a window in order to save his life – just as it would take a staggeringly irresponsible man to refuse to pay restitution for said window. The principle of “avoidability” is central here – a man hanging off a flagpole has little choice about kicking in a window. A man breaking into your house to steal things clearly has the capacity to avoid invading your property – he is not cornered, but is rather the initiator of the aggression. This is similar to the difference between the woman whose man cheats on her, versus the woman whose man locks her in the basement.

This is not to say that breaking the window to save your life is not wrong. It is, but it is a wrong that almost all of us would choose to commit rather than die. If I were on the verge of starving to death, I would steal an apple. This does not mean that it is right for me to steal the apple – it just means that I would do it – and must justly accept the consequences of my theft. (Of course, if I were such an incompetent or confused human being that I ended up on the verge of starvation, incarceration might be an improvement to my situation.)
Gray Areas

The fact that certain “gray areas” exist in the realm of ethics has often been used as a justification for rank relativism. Since on occasion some things remain unclear (e.g. who initiated the use of violence), and since it is impossible to define objective and exact rules for every conceivable situation, the conclusion is often drawn that nothing can ever be known for certain, and that no objective rules exist for any situation.

This is false.

All reasonable people recognize that biology is a valid science, despite the fact that some animals are born with “one-off” mutations. The fact that a dog can be born with five legs does not mean that “canine” becomes a completely subjective category. The fact that certain species of insects are challenging to differentiate does not mean that there is no difference between a beetle and a whale.

For some perverse reason, intellectuals in particular take great joy in the wanton destruction of ethical, normative and rational standards. This could be because intellectuals have so often been paid by corrupt classes of individuals such as politicians, priests and kings – or it could be that a man often becomes an intellectual in order to create justifications for his own immoral behaviour. Whatever the reason, most modern thinkers have become a species of “anti-thinker,” which is very odd. It would be equivalent to there being an enormous class of “biologists” who spent their entire lives arguing that the science of biology was impossible. If the science of biology is impossible, it scarcely makes sense to become a biologist, any more than an atheist should fight tooth and nail to become a priest.
Shades of Gray

In the realm of “gray areas,” there are really only three possibilities.


There are no such things as gray areas.


Certain gray areas do exist.


All knowledge is a gray area.

Clearly, option one can be easily discarded. Option three is also fairly easy to discard. The statement “all knowledge is a gray area” is a self-detonating proposition, as we have seen above, in the same way that “all statements are lies” also self-detonates.

Thus we must go with option two, which is that certain gray areas do exist, and we know that they are gray relative to the areas that are not gray. Oxygen exists in space, and also underwater, but not in a form or quantity that human beings can consume. The degree of oxygenation is a gray area, i.e. “less versus more”; the question of whether or not human beings can breathe water is surely black and white.

A scientist captured by cannibals may pretend to be a witch-doctor in order to escape – this does not mean that we must dismiss the scientific method as entirely invalid.

Similarly, there can be extreme situations wherein we may choose to commit immoral actions, but such situations do not invalidate the science of morality, any more than occasional mutations invalidate the science of biology. In fact, the science of biology is greatly advanced through the acceptance and examination of mutations – and similarly, the science of ethics is only strengthened through an examination of “lifeboat scenarios,” as long as such an examination is not pursued obsessively.
Universality and Exceptions

Before we start using our framework of Universally Preferable Behaviour to examine some commonly held ethical beliefs, we must deal with the question of “exceptions.”

Using the above “lifeboat scenarios,” the conclusion is often drawn that “the good” is simply that which is “good” for an individual man’s life.

In ethical arguments, if I am asked whether I would steal an apple rather than starve to death – and I say “yes” – the following argument is inevitably made:


Everyone would rather steal an apple than starve to death.


Thus everyone universally prefers stealing apples to death by starvation.


Thus it is universally preferable to steal apples rather than starve to death.


Thus survival is universally preferable to property rights.


Thus what is good for the individual is the ultimate moral standard.

This has been used as the basis for a number of ethical theories and approaches, from Nietzsche to Rand. The preference of each individual for survival is translated into ethical theories that place the survival of the individual at their centre. (Nietzsche’s “will to power” and Rand’s “that which serves man’s life is the good.”)

This kind of “biological hedonism” may be a description of the “drive to survive,” but it is only correct insofar as it describes what people actually do, not what they should do.

It also introduces a completely unscientific subjectivism to the question of morality. For instance, if it is morally permissible to steal food when you are starving, how much food can you steal? How hungry do you have to be? Can you steal food that is not nutritious? How nutritious does the food have to be in order to justify stealing it? How long after stealing one meal are you allowed to steal another meal? Are you allowed to steal meals rather than look for work or appeal to charity?

Also, if I can make more money as a hit man than a shopkeeper, should I not pursue violence as a career? It certainly enhances my survival... and so on and so on.

As we can see, the introduction of “what is good for man in the abstract – or what most people do – is what is universally preferable” destroys the very concept of morality as a logically consistent theory, and substitutes mere biological drives as justifications for behaviour. It is an explanation of behaviour, not a proposed moral theory.
The Purpose – and the Dangers

With your patient indulgence, one final question needs to be addressed before we plunge into a definition and test how various moral propositions fit into the UPB framework. Since the hardest work lies ahead, we should pause for a moment and remind ourselves why we are putting ourselves through all this rigor and difficulty.

In other words, before we plunge on, it is well worth asking the question: “Why bother?”

Why bother with defining ethical theories? Surely good people don’t need them, and bad people don’t consult them. People will do what they prefer, and just make up justifications as needed after the fact – why bother lecturing people about morality?

Of course, the danger always exists that an immoral person will attack you for his own hedonistic purposes. It could also be the case that, despite clean and healthy living, you may be struck down by cancer before your time – the former does not make the science of morality irrelevant, any more than the latter makes the sciences of medicine, nutrition and exercise irrelevant. One demonstrable effect of a rational science of morality must be to reduce your chances of suffering immoral actions such as theft, murder and rape – and it is by this criterion that we shall also judge the moral rules proposed in Part 3 of this book

I'll keep my politics out of your economics if you keep your economics out of my politics.

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July 12, 2012, 12:04:02 AM
 #32

Wow... Didn't expect you to copy/paste a whole chapter... The key is in this part:

Quote
Uniting the NAP with UPB, thus allows us to whittle these seven statements down to three:


It is universally preferable to initiate the use of force.


It is universally preferable to not initiate the use of force.


The initiation of the use of force is not subject to universal preferences.

One of those statements is true. The other two are false. I would hold forth that "It is universally preferable to not initiate the use of force." is true, and I would guess that you would hold forth that "The initiation of the use of force is not subject to universal preferences." is the true statement. (or at least, I hope that's the one you are suggesting, if you do not consider mine to be the true one...)

The clear, concise, internally consistent example of NAP is "It is universally preferable to not initiate the use of force." Which is to say, that initiating force is wrong, regardless of race, religion, creed, or costume.

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July 12, 2012, 04:18:48 PM
 #33

Had FA been able to clearly explain his concerns to me without directing me to read books I have neither the desire nor the expendable income to pick up, I would have championed them. I was not about to throw soft pitches to Hawker, and all the environmental arguments I know are easily defeated.

So many issues with the above declaration:

- Obviously I am willing to explain to those willing to listen. Let me know when you are willing to listen.

- The information contained in the books is worth the money, given your general interest in wanting a better world. Don't be penny wise and pound foolish.

- As for your opinion on environmental arguments being easy to defeat, I tend to find that individuals who make such statements haven't actually educated themselves on the finer nuances, facts and data available to them. As an example, an unwillingness to actually, say, read books on the subject. Who might that be?
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July 12, 2012, 04:44:32 PM
 #34

Had FA been able to clearly explain his concerns to me without directing me to read books I have neither the desire nor the expendable income to pick up, I would have championed them. I was not about to throw soft pitches to Hawker, and all the environmental arguments I know are easily defeated.

So many issues with the above declaration:

- Obviously I am willing to explain to those willing to listen. Let me know when you are willing to listen.

- The information contained in the books is worth the money, given your general interest in wanting a better world. Don't be penny wise and pound foolish.

Willingness <> ability. I'm willing to listen, but you are not able to explain.

Let me make it absolutely clear: I do not have the expendable income to purchase those books. Unless you think my landlord will take them as rent?

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July 12, 2012, 04:52:22 PM
 #35

Wow... Didn't expect you to copy/paste a whole chapter... The key is in this part:

Quote
Uniting the NAP with UPB, thus allows us to whittle these seven statements down to three:


It is universally preferable to initiate the use of force.


It is universally preferable to not initiate the use of force.


The initiation of the use of force is not subject to universal preferences.

One of those statements is true. The other two are false. I would hold forth that "It is universally preferable to not initiate the use of force." is true, and I would guess that you would hold forth that "The initiation of the use of force is not subject to universal preferences." is the true statement. (or at least, I hope that's the one you are suggesting, if you do not consider mine to be the true one...)

The clear, concise, internally consistent example of NAP is "It is universally preferable to not initiate the use of force." Which is to say, that initiating force is wrong, regardless of race, religion, creed, or costume.

I don't know how you see "It is universally preferable to not initiate the use of force" as analogous to "that initiating force is wrong, regardless of race, religion, creed, or costume".  These seem rather divergent, that is, SMs version of the NAP is obviously true, reasonable, and worthy of the title of "moral axiom" critically depending on how you define "universally preferable".  It has potential.  But you're version isn't the same, it basically is a reactive approach to morality.  The "Never" is basically implicit in your argument.

Here's my system in the most crudest terms possible (for brevities sake): there is established a monopoly of power that has the sole legitimacy of proactive force in the system (excluding immediate self defense).  The people that constitute and enforce that power are selected by those in that system that are capable of making such decisions (capable by the distinguishing factor of adulthood).

That's quite possibly the most boiled-down I could get codify my system.  It is the system of Elected Representation, although I think it could be drastically improved, it is better than the non-system as codified by the strict adherence to the other (perhaps non-Steven Molyneux) flavors of the NAP.

That said, Steven Molyneux is an anarchist and so I'm not holding out much hope for his system either.


I'll keep my politics out of your economics if you keep your economics out of my politics.

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July 12, 2012, 05:09:00 PM
 #36

I don't know how you see "It is universally preferable to not initiate the use of force" as analogous to "that initiating force is wrong, regardless of race, religion, creed, or costume".  These seem rather divergent, that is, SMs version of the NAP is obviously true, reasonable, and worthy of the title of "moral axiom" critically depending on how you define "universally preferable".  It has potential.  But you're version isn't the same, it basically is a reactive approach to morality.  The "Never" is basically implicit in your argument.

So, you agree that of the three, "It is universally preferable to not initiate the use of force" is the true statement? That speaks well of you.

To answer how I got from that to "that initiating force is wrong, regardless of race, religion, creed, or costume" is explained in the section "Preferences":

Quote
In this sense, “preferable” does not mean “sort of better,” but rather “required.” If you want to live, it is universally preferable that you refrain from eating a handful of arsenic. If you wish to determine valid truths about reality, it is universally preferable that your theories be both internally consistent and empirically verifiable. “Universally preferable,” then, translates to “objectively required,” but we will retain the word “preferable” to differentiate between optional human absolutes and non-optional physical absolutes such as gravity.

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July 12, 2012, 05:51:25 PM
 #37

Willingness <> ability. I'm willing to listen, but you are not able to explain.

I am able to explain to others. Perhaps your perception of my ability stems from the fact that my explanations are not tailored effectively for your world view (or, if I wanted to be insulting, such as your above statement, I could say your learning ability).

From here on, I will make a dedicated effort to educate you on the subjects below in which you either admit your deficiency in understanding, or it becomes clear that you lack a clear understanding of.

Which concept(s) below are you having difficulty understanding?

- Steady state economies (SSE)
- Nonrenewable resources
- The dangers of ignorance
- Free market exploitation
- Edge effects
- Checkerboard effect
- The destruction of information
- Trophic cascades
- Habitat loss
- Ecosystem fracturing
- Wilderness corridors
- Brownlash
- Umbrella species
- Natural capital
- Ecosystem productivity
- Deforestation
- Ice albedo feedback loops
- Milankovitch cycles
myrkul
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July 12, 2012, 05:58:37 PM
 #38

Tell you what... Why don't we start with this one: you've dropped these terms, but if you've explained them, I missed it.

- Edge effects
- Checkerboard effect

To avoid cluttering this thread, you should create another about it.

BTC1MYRkuLv4XPBa6bGnYAronz55grPAGcxja
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FirstAscent
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July 12, 2012, 06:02:10 PM
 #39

Tell you what... Why don't we start with this one: you've dropped these terms, but if you've explained them, I missed it.

- Edge effects
- Checkerboard effect

To avoid cluttering this thread, you should create another about it.

I'm hesitant to do so, unless you're interested. Therefore, I'd prefer that you create it and I'll be happy to discuss it.
myrkul
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July 12, 2012, 06:05:53 PM
 #40

Tell you what... Why don't we start with this one: you've dropped these terms, but if you've explained them, I missed it.

- Edge effects
- Checkerboard effect

To avoid cluttering this thread, you should create another about it.

I'm hesitant to do so, unless you're interested. Therefore, I'd prefer that you create it and I'll be happy to discuss it.

Have you read Healing Our World yet?

BTC1MYRkuLv4XPBa6bGnYAronz55grPAGcxja
Need Dispute resolution? Public Key ID: 0x11D341CF
No person has the right to initiate force, threat of force, or fraud against another person or their property. VIM VI REPELLERE LICET
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