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Author Topic: The purpose of life and the goal of a perfect society  (Read 6544 times)
myrkul
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August 08, 2012, 03:47:02 AM
 #41

And tying it back into aliens, not choosing peace might be beneficial for our society, though not the alien one.

But would it be more beneficial than choosing peace?

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August 08, 2012, 03:52:44 AM
 #42

That would vary by the situation, I suppose. Especially if they choose war, we might be better off choosing war as well to avoid being taken by surprise in a preemptive strike. Sounds like a classic prisoner's dilemma to me.

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August 08, 2012, 03:56:33 AM
Last edit: August 08, 2012, 04:40:18 AM by myrkul
 #43

That would vary by the situation, I suppose. Especially if they choose war, we might be better off choosing war as well to avoid being taken by surprise in a preemptive strike. Sounds like a classic prisoner's dilemma to me.

Perhaps. But remember that should we choose peace, and they choose war, we can (and will) retaliate.

In fact, there is a specific type of iterative Prisoner's dilemma called the "Peace-war Game", in which it shows that the "provokable nice guy" (ie, Porcupine pacifism) is the winning strategy.

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August 08, 2012, 04:17:58 AM
 #44

War is never a "net positive".

Most of my time on that board is used to argue against myrkul, but on that one, I completely agree with him  Wink

The great depression ended not because of the WW2, but mainly because the government started to (finally) spend money. Yeah, he spent money for the war, but if he would have spend the money earlier, I'm pretty sure the depression would have been shorter than that. The WW2 was just what forced the government to simply inject money into the economy.

Governments are not a business, and must not be managed like one. In time of depression, the government should spend money into the economy, until it recover. If that mean borrow money, it should do it. When the economy is booming, at that moment, you should stop the spending and pay back the debts. When the economy is going fine, citizens are less dependent of social services, since it's easy to make money and pay for your things. When the economy is hit hard, you can't find a job and make money easily, so you need strong social services to keep the quality of life at a adequate level. You also need to keep the projects of your citizens going. Preventing new projects because of a lack of money is the worse thing that can happen to a country.

During WW2, people were working with government spending. They made new projects, new businesses, new discoveries. The war ended, but all this new energy created by the government spending continued and the economy recovered easily after that. It was easy for North America to recover, since the war wasn't on their territory. Europe took a little more time, and not every country in Europe recovered well.

War doesn't save any economy. Where's the economic boom from the Afghanistan war? And the Irak war? It's simply because, in a time of depression, the government have a duty to spend.
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August 08, 2012, 08:58:55 AM
 #45

2. Empathy means that when others are happy, I am happy. This drives donations to charities, consoling people, and not knifing people for their pocket change which I can spend on donuts.

eliminating empathy entirely is probably not possible.

Quote from: Hermann Goering
Naturally the common people don't want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

WWII was a net positive for America.

3. The goal of any society, whether communist, capitalist, anarchist, statist, or surrealist, should be to promote the best total happiness.

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August 08, 2012, 09:03:36 AM
 #46

Amazing how much you can say without typing a single word yourself. Wink

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August 08, 2012, 04:23:12 PM
 #47

OK guys, you got me Wink
That was a push-buttons argument from my side. Of course, I don't support war except in self-defense, just as I don't support knifing people for their pocket change (shooting the knifer in self-defense might be OK though). As myrkul pointed out, that would be fairly sick and twisted.

In debate terms, I'd recommend avoiding drops. An experienced debater would take your drops and make them into an argument. For example, it took from here
to here
To address the point. A lack of refutation, combined with a strong impact (the point isn't supererogatory) is implicit agreement.

I'll leave you gentlemen with a hypothetical before I have lunch, but please keep in mind that I'm not emotionally vested in its conclusion.
1. Imagine that the alien society is like 18th century China -- it refuses to interact with the outside
2. The alien society is much weaker militarily than ours, to the point where an attack would take little capital and no human lives
3. If we attack it, we can take its resources; these resources will more than cover the cost of the attack
4. If we don't attack it, we cannot take its resources, engage in trade, or otherwise profit from its discovery
5. Therefore, the best course of action in this case is to attack the alien society.

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August 08, 2012, 04:29:43 PM
 #48

I like Siddhartha's definition. The purpose of life is to be joyful and bring joy to others.

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August 08, 2012, 08:16:32 PM
 #49

I'll leave you gentlemen with a hypothetical before I have lunch, but please keep in mind that I'm not emotionally vested in its conclusion.
1. Imagine that the alien society is like 18th century China -- it refuses to interact with the outside
2. The alien society is much weaker militarily than ours, to the point where an attack would take little capital and no human lives
3. If we attack it, we can take its resources; these resources will more than cover the cost of the attack
4. If we don't attack it, we cannot take its resources, engage in trade, or otherwise profit from its discovery
5. Therefore, the best course of action in this case is to attack the alien society.

If there was no empathy for the alien species. If there was no compassion for wiping out an entire sentient race. If Humanity were all ass-holes.

Remember this, too: Technology can be stolen, and potential genocide is a great incentive to technological advancement.

The Dutch eventually got China to trade. Patience (and perhaps similar tomfoolery) would pay off in this instance as well.

Seriously, go watch Avatar.

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August 08, 2012, 08:26:42 PM
 #50

I'll leave you gentlemen with a hypothetical before I have lunch, but please keep in mind that I'm not emotionally vested in its conclusion.
1. Imagine that the alien society is like 18th century China -- it refuses to interact with the outside
2. The alien society is much weaker militarily than ours, to the point where an attack would take little capital and no human lives
3. If we attack it, we can take its resources; these resources will more than cover the cost of the attack
4. If we don't attack it, we cannot take its resources, engage in trade, or otherwise profit from its discovery
5. Therefore, the best course of action in this case is to attack the alien society.

If there was no empathy for the alien species. If there was no compassion for wiping out an entire sentient race. If Humanity were all ass-holes.

Remember this, too: Technology can be stolen, and potential genocide is a great incentive to technological advancement.

The Dutch eventually got China to trade. Patience (and perhaps similar tomfoolery) would pay off in this instance as well.

Seriously, go watch Avatar.
Lol I saw that movie. It was great and 3-d and all until they attacked the tree or whatever. Then there was this totally unrealistic battle in which the humans decided to destroy a sentient race using helicopters which buckled under the weight of moon-dragons and machine guns that couldn't mow down trees (explosive rounds are yesterday, today. Avatar was tomorrow. Pathetic.), instead of dropping larger bombs which surely couldn't have hurt the "unobtanium" very much. The fight scene, however epic, ruined my suspension of disbelief, because no deer with cranium-sync hair is a match for a robotic AA-12 with grenade rounds firing at 300/minute. And we have that now.

Your example "The Dutch eventually got China to trade" goes against the first assumption of the argument, and is therefore not a valid argument against the entire conditional.

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myrkul
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August 08, 2012, 08:37:34 PM
 #51

I'll leave you gentlemen with a hypothetical before I have lunch, but please keep in mind that I'm not emotionally vested in its conclusion.
1. Imagine that the alien society is like 18th century China -- it refuses to interact with the outside
2. The alien society is much weaker militarily than ours, to the point where an attack would take little capital and no human lives
3. If we attack it, we can take its resources; these resources will more than cover the cost of the attack
4. If we don't attack it, we cannot take its resources, engage in trade, or otherwise profit from its discovery
5. Therefore, the best course of action in this case is to attack the alien society.

If there was no empathy for the alien species. If there was no compassion for wiping out an entire sentient race. If Humanity were all ass-holes.

Remember this, too: Technology can be stolen, and potential genocide is a great incentive to technological advancement.

The Dutch eventually got China to trade. Patience (and perhaps similar tomfoolery) would pay off in this instance as well.

Seriously, go watch Avatar.
Lol I saw that movie. It was great and 3-d and all until they attacked the tree or whatever. Then there was this totally unrealistic battle in which the humans decided to destroy a sentient race using helicopters which buckled under the weight of moon-dragons and machine guns that couldn't mow down trees (explosive rounds are yesterday, today. Avatar was tomorrow. Pathetic.), instead of dropping larger bombs which surely couldn't have hurt the "unobtanium" very much. The fight scene, however epic, ruined my suspension of disbelief, because no deer with cranium-sync hair is a match for a robotic AA-12 with grenade rounds firing at 300/minute. And we have that now.

Your example "The Dutch eventually got China to trade" goes against the first assumption of the argument, and is therefore not a valid argument against the entire conditional.

The point of the Avatar example is not that the aliens kicked our can. It's that Jake went native. Empathy, remember?

"the alien society is like 18th century China" + "The Dutch eventually got China to trade" = "Someone will eventually get the aliens to trade".
If not, so what? Unrealized profits are not the same as loss. Especially when there are so many other places to get resources from that won't trigger backlash from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Aliens), waste resources killing them (no capital expenditure is still better than a small amount), and risk leaving a small cadre of very pissed off survivors.

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nimda
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August 08, 2012, 08:49:40 PM
 #52

I'll leave you gentlemen with a hypothetical before I have lunch, but please keep in mind that I'm not emotionally vested in its conclusion.
1. Imagine that the alien society is like 18th century China -- it refuses to interact with the outside
2. The alien society is much weaker militarily than ours, to the point where an attack would take little capital and no human lives
3. If we attack it, we can take its resources; these resources will more than cover the cost of the attack
4. If we don't attack it, we cannot take its resources, engage in trade, or otherwise profit from its discovery
5. Therefore, the best course of action in this case is to attack the alien society.

If there was no empathy for the alien species. If there was no compassion for wiping out an entire sentient race. If Humanity were all ass-holes.

Remember this, too: Technology can be stolen, and potential genocide is a great incentive to technological advancement.

The Dutch eventually got China to trade. Patience (and perhaps similar tomfoolery) would pay off in this instance as well.

Seriously, go watch Avatar.
Lol I saw that movie. It was great and 3-d and all until they attacked the tree or whatever. Then there was this totally unrealistic battle in which the humans decided to destroy a sentient race using helicopters which buckled under the weight of moon-dragons and machine guns that couldn't mow down trees (explosive rounds are yesterday, today. Avatar was tomorrow. Pathetic.), instead of dropping larger bombs which surely couldn't have hurt the "unobtanium" very much. The fight scene, however epic, ruined my suspension of disbelief, because no deer with cranium-sync hair is a match for a robotic AA-12 with grenade rounds firing at 300/minute. And we have that now.

Your example "The Dutch eventually got China to trade" goes against the first assumption of the argument, and is therefore not a valid argument against the entire conditional.

The point of the Avatar example is not that the aliens kicked our can. It's that Jake went native. Empathy, remember?

"the alien society is like 18th century China" + "The Dutch eventually got China to trade" = "Someone will eventually get the aliens to trade".
If not, so what? Unrealized profits are not the same as loss. Especially when there are so many other places to get resources from that won't trigger backlash from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Aliens), waste resources killing them (no capital expenditure is still better than a small amount), and risk leaving a small cadre of very pissed off survivors.
Quote
"the alien society is like (like denoting a similar example; it does not need to share every quality) 18th century China -- it refuses to interact with the outside (Don't cut out this part; it's the important part and a non-negotiable assumption as part of the conditional)" + "The Dutch eventually got China to trade" = "Someone will eventually get the aliens to trade".
Quote
Especially when there are so many other places to get resources from that won't trigger backlash from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Aliens) there's only one place to get unobtanium
Quote
waste resources killing them (no capital expenditure is still better than a small amount) 3. resources gained will more than cover the cost of the attack (again, a non-negotiable assumption to the condition)
Quote
and risk leaving a small cadre of very pissed off survivors. (this risk is included in the "cost" of the attack)

On non-negotiable assumptions: a conditional is like "If it rains, the grass will get wet." You're saying "we live in the arctic; it doesn't rain here." This does not make the conditional false. The conditional can only be false in a case where the if-statement is true and the conclusion is false.

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August 08, 2012, 08:58:42 PM
 #53

You still haven't even addressed the key salient fact: Empathy for the aliens will either ruin your attack (Jake goes local, steals a gunship, blows the shit out of your troops), or ruin the perception of your actions back at home (People for the Ethical Treatment of Aliens).

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August 08, 2012, 09:12:30 PM
 #54

You still haven't even addressed the key salient fact
I apologize; I thought I'd gotten everything
Quote
Empathy for the aliens will either ruin your attack (Jake goes local, steals a gunship, blows the shit out of your troops)
It's the future and we don't use large troops anymore. The attack will be done by machines incapable of empathy, who are guided by a select few with large promised rewards. Additionally, empathy for the aliens will be less than empathy for humans, because they are not human. Even if they are, we can pretend they aren't. (Mass brutal slavery, anyone?)
Quote
ruin the perception of your actions back at home (People for the Ethical Treatment of Aliens).
We'll figure something out. Here are some possibilities:
Step 1: empathy is malleable. Term the aliens mindless savage beasts.
Step 2: massive profit potential
-- This has worked in the past. Enslavement of Africans, encomienda forced on Native Americans, etc.
- How about religious methods? Find some passage in the bible. The Aztecs practiced human sacrifice on an astounding scale.
- Maybe we'll use our capital gains to sway politicians. Sue PETA for libel. Etc.
- Maybe we can keep the worst of our actions hidden. Maybe not.
- Let's get the government behind us before we go, using promised capital gains.
- Hell, maybe PETA will accept unobtanium to shut up. That could backfire, but it's a possibility.

As you can see, empathy hasn't always "ruined the perceptions of actions;" especially not in the case of encomienda, slavery, human sacrifice and under the influence of money, government, religion, and physical force. The argument that "they're not human" would strengthen this considerably. Compare them, however sentient, to chickens (which we genetically modify to the point where they can't stand up, before killing them and taking their unfertilized eggs) or insects (which we sell poison for by the metric ton).

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August 08, 2012, 09:19:53 PM
 #55

But does that make it the "clearly better" choice?

Do we just fly around, raping other civilizations for their wealth and propagandizing back home?

Are we, then, to just keep going until some civilization manages to fly an F-14 up our tailpipe?

Or do we take the advice of the Peace/war game, and offer friendship first?

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August 08, 2012, 09:38:10 PM
 #56

But does that make it the "clearly better" choice?
The conditional is correct.

Quote
Do we just fly around, raping other civilizations for their wealth and propagandizing back home?
Only if those civilizations refuse to interact with us, as was one of the assumptions

Quote
Are we, then, to just keep going until some civilization manages to fly an F-14 up our tailpipe?
That won't happen, given that the civilization meets the assumptions

Quote
Or do we take the advice of the Peace/war game, and offer friendship first?
Sure, we offer friendship first. When they refuse, we rape them, take their wealth, and propagandize back home.

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August 08, 2012, 09:46:29 PM
 #57

Quote
Or do we take the advice of the Peace/war game, and offer friendship first?
Sure, we offer friendship first. When they refuse, we rape them, take their wealth, and propagandize back home.

OK, let's bring this back home. If your neighbor doesn't want to talk to you, does that make it OK to shoot him and take his house? Even if you say to your other neighbors, "He was mean, he didn't want to talk to me!"?

Don't forget, that we may not be the baddest asses on the block. If we make friends with a few other civs, then destroy one because it wouldn't trade, how is that going to look to the others?

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August 08, 2012, 10:08:06 PM
 #58

Hey, maybe they open their doors to trade before we completely destroy them. Matthew Perry?

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August 08, 2012, 10:11:22 PM
 #59

Hey, maybe they open their doors to trade before we completely destroy them. Matthew Perry?

Well, that was a non sequitur.

Fine, I'll modify my question:

If we make friends with a few other civs, then destroy attack one because it wouldn't trade, how is that going to look to the others?

For that matter, what if that's the first one we meet, how will that look on our track record to the next one?

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August 09, 2012, 12:26:59 AM
 #60

It'll look like they better open their goddamn doors Grin

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