Best world scenario

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Re: Best world scenario

Post Number:#31  Postby Judaka » June 17th, 2017, 2:51 am

Like I said it's a trend, it's not instant. We won't instantly die out the second we make one mistake. Fortuitous circumstances could lead to some mistake actually being beneficial, but this is cherry picking. Taking all the data over all the time then being closer to the truth is beneficial and preferential.


Cherry picking is literally what I am advocating, I am not arguing for a culture of ignorance or to choose ignorance irrespective of context. I am talking about a case by case analysis and measuring the pros/cons of the truth rather than adhering to truth irrespective of circumstance. A useful lie is not all lies, useful ignorance is not all ignorance and all I am doing is providing examples where picking the lie is beneficial. As for the slippery slope argument - what can I say? I would argue that if you are dealing with things on a case by case basis then the slippery slope argument shouldn't apply but maybe you disagree. If we are talking all data of knowledge/understanding versus ignorance then yeah knowledge/understand far superior but do you really not recognise the difference between what I am saying and advocating ignorance? I would say that so far I am talking about reality and you are talking about "if"s and "could"s? I am just pointing out this - if you have a goal other than adherence to the truth and a lie gets you closer to that goal then the lie is more beneficial than the truth. It is a valid argument and your only objection is MAYBE that would lead to a culture of ignorance where we don't care about asteroids or gravity? I really don't understand your argument here, I apologise if I am incorrectly paraphrasing it.
Neither have I. Is it true that someone is ugly though?


Perhaps not but it is could be true that my opinion was that she was ugly and that would be sufficient. I am talking about lies that preserve the dignity and self-esteem of those we speak to, lies that maintain civility and lies based in courtesy and once again you are entitled to your opinion about potential harmful consequences but I think the causality between such lies and pleasant outcomes are observable and worthwhile.

But you would presumably need empirical evidence that this was the case? Or do you simply take people's word for it?


There is a youtube series called Fresh Out: Life after the Penitentiary which I think is really interesting and you do get a lot of ex-cons saying that religion brought their rage to heel. They go on living normal lives and accredit their success to religion and I have no reason to doubt their honesty or judgement. Again it's case by case and while an ex-con accrediting his success to religion sounds viable to me, I wouldn't say the same of someone who was just living a normal life saying "Christianity saved me". I am generally sceptical and I feel that there aren't many situations where I don't require some context before giving my judgement.

We can both agree it is useful to lie to others. But how often is it useful to lie to yourself? And how often is it useful to yourself if someone else lies to you?


I think that lies that are useful to me usually lie in motivation, self-confidence, self-esteem and friendship to list just some benefits of lies by others to me. For example I am a mediocre tennis player by my own standards but when someone tells me that I am amazing of course it makes me feel good. Are there thousands of people in my city alone who would whoop my ass? Am I actually just an average player? Yeah but telling me this will have a different result than telling me I am amazing. I also don't think every time someone tells me the truth that it is an eye opening truth that shreds me of my ignorance, in fact that it rarely the case. I hope that people around me can recognise the difference and offer me constructive criticism knowing that I will take it well but without having to tell me every opinion of theirs fully knowing that it will only cause grief or annoyance.

I have thought extensively about creating lies to yourself that also acknowledge reality while avoiding the negative consequences of your unrealistic view without having to accept the negative consequences of a realistic view. For example one may view himself as tough and take pleasure and pride in it but he creates an unrealistic view of himself and ends up getting hurt as a consequence. This is the essence of your argument as I see it. My view is that if you want to view yourself as tough you need to also create strategies to avoid having to test whether you are tough but without committing yourself to situations in a negative way. People already do this with kindness, they view themselves as "good" and "nice" people without really challenging these ideas or testing them - just the mere thought is sufficient for their conscience. So for example you may come across a group of guys at night time and cross the street, praise yourself for being street smart but also indulge in the idea that you would have been able to put up a fight if you wanted to.

I am trying to be realistic here and not indulge in idealism - humans are fated to be flawed by birth and all we can do is our best. So my ideology isn't that people should become intelligent, worldly and mature - although I would like to promote a culture where these things are celebrated rather than Justin Beiber and reality television. However since creating my preferred master race of people doesn't seem feasible, all I can do is create a way of thinking that allows anyone - regardless of their preferences and values to achieve their goals. If their goals are things I don't like then I hope either the law or social justice will make that kind of behaviour less attractive. Once you adopt a nihilistic perspective you need to justify things in such a way that consequences matter and that to me is one of its best features. Compared to adherence to truth or any other value where consequences are secondary - that in my view is dangerous and stupid.

Again not all goals are equal. And how do we know that not all goals are equal?


That is a great question, why don't you try answering it for me? Show me it how this constitutes as objective evidence.

Objectively I would argue that it is unknown if life is good or not. Subjectively of course life is good (which is good enough for me). Whether life is good or not objectively makes no difference as only life which believes that life is good will likely continue to be life.

So you (somewhat) accept that 'life is good' is just a subjective belief and you also deny that the universe cares which only leaves living creatures left to do the caring. The only thing stopping you from accepting that there is no objective way of judging the actions of others is not all things are known - my view is that if you don't require proven positive claims and you belief proving a negative is necessary to discredit a position then Christianity is an entirely reasonable position and it is at odds with what you say to them. It is hypocrisy.

Rafal your suggestion basically amounts to an autocracy of intellectual elites where politics would destroy the concept of experts giving their honest and impartial opinions. I would much rather have elected negotiators and have a say in the politics than have a ruling elite that dictate to me their opinions attained through majority opinion that may or may not have been acquired by bargaining, bribery and concessions. If the "best" argument always won the day then all intellectuals would agree with each other and this is absolutely false - politicians already are advised by experts.
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Re: Best world scenario



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Re: Best world scenario

Post Number:#32  Postby Eduk » June 17th, 2017, 5:05 am

Cherry picking is literally what I am advocating, I am not arguing for a culture of ignorance or to choose ignorance irrespective of context. I am talking about a case by case analysis and measuring the pros/cons of the truth rather than adhering to truth irrespective of circumstance.

I've already conceded their are circumstances where being further from the truth could be better than being closer to the truth. My point though is that overall and over time (extreme time) this is not generally the case. When I say cherry picking I mean one or two examples of being further from the truth being of benefit don't prove that generally this is not the case.
measuring the pros/cons of the truth

That is exactly what I am doing. So far on the side of believing things which aren't true I presented things like the holocaust and many many horrors in this world. A lot of the horrors in this world are supported by being far from the truth. The best counter you can provide is maybe I feel better playing tennis if people lie to me? For starters that is not at all a given. It goes back to the happy pig v unhappy man. If you go through your life in blissful ignorance are you happy? I believe this is very debatable, whereas things like the holocaust I believe are clearly of low welfare (to say the least).
As I previously said the best you can do is the best, if that is a lie it is still the best. I just don't think this is often the case. I don't think this needs to be the case apart from our own flaws. As in if we weren't flawed then lies would have no purpose (given we are heavily flawed). Plus on top of that I don't know of a methodology for working out when a lie is good and when it isn't? Sure sometimes when lying to others it's pretty clearly the best option, but like I said this is because they are already operating under a lie. IE during the holocaust it would be good to lie about being Jewish but only because of the horrendous lie that the Jewish deserve death.

Again not all goals are equal. And how do we know that not all goals are equal?


That is a great question, why don't you try answering it for me? Show me it how this constitutes as objective evidence.

You are the one who says you measure against outcomes of goals. Ok that's a way to measure outcomes. Now how do you measure goals? You are the one saying it's just subjective opinion, so in this case why is one subjective opinion preferable to another?

Now regarding objectivity. We all agree there is a reality. Although how this can be determined if there is no objectivity then I don't know?
We learn how to walk. To do this we need to balance our muscles and bones etc against the forces of gravity. We know we are successful because we achieve our goal of movement while avoiding our goal of falling and hurting ourselves. I believe there an element of objective reality to this. However we also know we stumble. We know we don't have a perfect understanding of reality. So we know we are flawed. We are self aware enough to know our subjective experience is close to reality but not the same as reality. Obviously we can be further or nearer reality, the further from reality the worse our walking will be and the nearer the better.
So I argue that our subjective experience can be closer or further from reality. I do not believe a subjective experience of reality would exist without an objective reality.
So how do we judge between your subjective experience and my subjective experience. We both know neither is perfect. We both know one is likely closer to reality than the other. What we do is we use facts and the scientific method.
You believe Albino are magical and should be harvested for their organs? I say prove it. This is counter to all human knowledge. If you can't prove I can safely not believe it. I get to live in a better world where I use my energy more productively. I get a higher welfare life out of the bargain.
I believe human's don't react well to solitary confinement. You say prove it. I say well look at the evidence, people go insane.
Going back to the pain from falling over example. I know I feel pain. This is subjective fact. I through empathy and logic believe that other people also feel pain. If everyone else in the world acted liked they didn't feel pain and there was no word for pain and everyone said there was no such thing as pain I would begin to wonder if my subjective experience was real. I may study it, or be studied. Things like brain waves may be looked at. It might show a picture where my brain was firing in a different pattern to normal brains. So ok we can say there is something there, but what is that something. Is pain closer to reality than not pain? Of course in this reality people would be seriously injuring themselves and each other all the time, whereas I would demonstrate a system for avoiding injury to myself and others. Over time my genes would be much more beneficial for survival. Pain of course is not a physical property of the universe, it could be said that pain is not real. But injury is real. A broken bone is a broken bone. Burnt skin is burnt skin. So pain somewhat accurately tells us when we are being damaged. Of course it's not perfect. It is not a one to one relationship with damage. But there is still objective reality there.
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Re: Best world scenario

Post Number:#33  Postby Judaka » June 17th, 2017, 7:54 am

I've already conceded their are circumstances where being further from the truth could be better than being closer to the truth. My point though is that overall and over time (extreme time) this is not generally the case. When I say cherry picking I mean one or two examples of being further from the truth being of benefit don't prove that generally this is not the case.


I absolutely agree and generally being closer to the truth is better, you said earlier
I'm sorry either it's important to be in touch with reality or it isn't. You can't have it both ways.


but it is not my position that it isn't important to be in touch with reality. My position is that it is circumstantial and in the vast majority of cases knowing the truth is better but when it isn't you should be able to recognise that and utilise it. So yes my argument doesn't rely on cherry picking, the argument is cherry picking (case by case) the best opportunities for a useful lie and only then using it. As for a method I believe you absolutely can't make the distinction between a useful and harmful truth before you understand the parameters and potential outcomes of the truth. It is only when you have a situation (like my grandfather example) where you've identified the outcomes and hypothesised your preference and you want to protect your assumption. I think we agree that lying to others is the easiest lie to know the parameters for because of how much control you have. Having others lie to you is not your choice and lying to yourself is the most dangerous kind of lie and the one you need to most careful about. My own personal policy is if you are dealing with something important or where you don't know enough to make an informed decision then you would be a fool to start considering creating a lie for yourself and I do think some self-awareness about the fact that you are lying to yourself is necessary. You might ask how that is possible - I would say that it relies on something like uncertainty or probability "I strongly believe I would save myself if I saw someone being raped but I have never been in that situation so I don't know for sure" or "I think there is a good chance that if I wanted to become a doctor then I could do so easily, I am just too lazy to put the work in". When your lie becomes so blinding that you can't know for sure whether you actually know the truth or not then you are in a bad situation imo. I would ask for caution and self-awareness from anyone who wants to indulge in lying to themselves and to always think of things causally - don't lie to yourself about the truth when you know opportunities may be missed or dangers beckoned.

You are the one who says you measure against outcomes of goals. Ok that's a way to measure outcomes. Now how do you measure goals? You are the one saying it's just subjective opinion, so in this case why is one subjective opinion preferable to another?


Your example is pertinent to our earlier discussion about the nature of objectivity and subjectivity - a conversation very important to the notion of nihilism (the rejection of objective morality or meaning) which I believe is the core of our disagreement. Firstly none of what I am about to say is necessary if you just compare a subjective opinion about something less weighty - like what film is the best? Or what food is tastier? Then we can easily see that well there are a bunch of reasons why we disagree but it isn't evidence of some people being idiots and others understanding reality. It is personal preference and that's it.

There are two kinds of subjective opinions, the first is "What is objectively true?". A good example would be that in an unintelligible multiple choice question there are four answers, A B C D and four people answer the question differently. One of them is certainly correct but none of them are making their choice based on evidence - none of them are being objective here. The very notion of an objective opinion is an oxymoron, when we don't know and we make a choice it is an opinion and therefore it is subjective. Now some deny reality as we interpret it but let's forget about those people because they are not relevant to the definitions as we normally use them. Objective reality is dependant upon interactions in the physical world that occur without intelligent life being necessary. Language is inherently subjective, categories are subjective - basically anything not of the physical world is going to be inherently subjective because we interpret their meaning and without intelligent life it won't be there. Tree (the word) only means Tree (the life form) because of interpretation, people argue about whether pluto is a planet and so forth - this is an argument of validity. Validity is separate from objectivity, it basically means that the conclusion of the premise(s) is correct - we could argue about what cartoon character would win based off rules set up by the authors and make valid conclusions but it isn't to do with the physical world and it requires interpretation therefore it is subjective. Objective reality includes probability, it includes interactions and so on but always to do with the physical world and without requiring interpretation. We don't know all the specifics but we try to know and make educated guesses. When I talk about subjectivity this is not the kind I am talking about, I am not discussing with you whether something exists or not, I am talking about this second kind of subjective opinion.

The second kind can be boiled down to "preference". This is completely different from the first kind, in which I am not talking about what I prefer; I am talking about truth in the physical world. Preference is something limited to creatures with free will and it is a distinction based on a great deal of things. Qualifications like good, bad, kind, evil, monstrous, fair and so on are literally about qualifying occurrences in objective reality but not discussing whether something is objectively that way or not. Now some may argue that good and evil literally exist in the world as forces that create change but there is no evidence to support this. These are opinions of things which have no causal relationship with the physical world - they are not of the physical world and therefore an objective truth for them does not exist.

Why am I saying this? You keep switching between the two, for example "The horrendous lie that the Jewish deserve death" is the second example of a subjective opinion. The idea of "deserved" or "unfair" are clearly not interpretations of objective reality but qualifications of it. Your final example "I know I feel pain. This is subjective fact. I through empathy and logic believe that other people also feel pain" is the first kind of subjective opinion - you feel it doesn't constitute as proof but it adds to your hypothesis about the nature of objective reality. The idea that goals are not equal is NOT the first kind of subjective opinion - this view requires your interpretation and would make no sense in the absence of intelligent life. If we disagree about the magical qualities of albinos, one of us will be closer to reality than the other but a disagreement about the relative status of goals is not about "What is objectively true" and neither of us are or can be closer to reality. Subjective opinions of this nature are preferable based on a number of reasons, The gay science by Nietzsche has a lot to say about how our physical dispositions hold implications for our world views - if we have chemicals in our mind that make us depressed then our subjective world view will likely also be depressing. I think that values are substantiated by other values as well, if you value nature above economic prosperity then logically you will disagree with businesses that harm the environment. If you hold this view because you don't want to see living creatures suffering then this may lead you to caring about human rights as well. I believe we all have massive webs of similar notions and this is how we decide whether a goal is good or not. You say life and welfare are your defining values and that this colours your views on a vast number of topics - that may or may not be true but certainly your values, whatever they are - give you the ammunition to make decisions on things like what goals are good or bad. It doesn't matter if your values are given to you by hormones, genes, culture, personality, ideology or whatever kind of source, your opinion will never become objective!

Useful lies apply to both distinctions but there are differences, certainly the first kind of subjective opinion where the goal is pretty much to be correct a useful lie doesn't seem as useful. We've already talked about some of the exceptions so far but with regards to the second kind of subjective opinion - this is where changing your views based on empirical benefit becomes really key but that hasn't really been what we've been talking about. Do you recognise this difference and that we don't really "know" goals are bad but that we know they are against our beliefs? This is what I keep coming back to; alignment! You've said that the universe doesn't care about goals and you've said the opinions of people are subjective, both of which I agree with but how can you believe that and then turn around and say goals have an empirical value that can be measured objectively? You say you require proof for positive claims for belief and reject the idea that claims must be disproven in order to be called incorrect. Nothing you've said in your previous comment demonstrates objectivity in matters of free will at all, all you've done is talk about empirical benefit and how for you all of this comes back to evolution despite the litany of examples of values that do not lead to death. Ironically even if we lived in a time where evolution really was still playing a major role - it wouldn't hurt my argument in the slightest. I said this already but for an atheist to argue against nihilism is really difficult and I honestly don't see what is left for you to argue with me about. I don't see how anything you're saying anymore justifies your opposition to what I am saying, you've agreed with too many prerequisites to disagree with my conclusions. Although there is no reason why you must agree with me about useful lies - this is not a matter of fact and I welcome disagreement here.
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Re: Best world scenario

Post Number:#34  Postby Eduk » June 19th, 2017, 5:07 am

As for a method I believe you absolutely can't make the distinction between a useful and harmful truth before you understand the parameters and potential outcomes of the truth

How can you know the truth that knowing the truth is not desirable, don't you already know the truth at this point? I mean sure that works on others (you can lie to them if you know the truth), but it doesn't work on yourself. I mean don't get me wrong, lots of people know the truth and lie to themselves at the same time, this is common. But I don't see great results on quality of life. Plus now you can just rephrase what I said earlier in that it's almost always better to know the truth so that your lies are better.

like what film is the best? Or what food is tastier? Then we can easily see that well there are a bunch of reasons why we disagree but it isn't evidence of some people being idiots and others understanding reality. It is personal preference and that's it.

As you point out it's hard to categorize. Are some things more subjective than other things. Are there different types of subjectivity? I would say it was as hard to pinpoint subjectivity as it was to pinpoint consciousness. So I'm not pretending I have all the answers. I do however believe subjectivity is a spectrum and I would argue that there may be different kinds of subjectivity on that spectrum. Now this next bit is messy so I apologise if I'm not being clear. Some people can hear tone, pitch, rhythm, key etc better than other people. Although I think the majority of people have a great deal of untapped potential. For example I can't sing in key at all whereas my wife can (she is a classical pianist). If I listen to a song I might be able to get the rhythm down but I have no idea with the notes, I can hear the notes but was that one higher than the other? to be honest I really don't know. My wife however can. If I listen to my pendulum clock I can't tell if the tick-tock is even or out, but my wife can. These are pretty much facts. Now does this mean my wife has a higher appreciation of music than me? I am not sure, maybe. Does it mean she is a better musician? Technically at playing an instrument (or singing) yeah she's much better but what about at composing or just sheer musicality? Maybe she isn't (she almost certainly is but you get my point).
So can you make an argument that you prefer my playing even though I can't play the piano? That would be a minority view but let's imagine it exists.
Now can you make an argument people have different appreciation for music. I think this is clear.
Can you make an argument that people have better or worse appreciation for music? Is the person that prefers my mashing of hands against the piano better or worse at appreciating music than almost everyone else? Can you make an argument some music is better than others for humans? Can you make an argument beyond popularity? As in the humans who better appreciate music prefer some music over others. Can this 'better' appreciation be more than subjective fact but objective. It's clear that some objective facts like being in pitch, or complexity can be used to judge music. But that doesn't really get at the heart of music. Can musicality be judged. Is it clear that Mozart is more musical than Bieber? I mean it is to me and many others, but many would disagree. You could perhaps argue that if Bieber were the height of musical appreciation then there would likely be less instruments and simpler instruments. Less recognised composers because more people would be able to compose to Bieber's standards. Musical success would be something that was far more by chance than by ability (just like Bieber). But again this is all subjective. Is there any objectivity to this. Is the world better for having concert halls. Is the world better for the dedication required to be a concert pianist (or concert anything). Should skill be recognised, is any of this giving humans a higher quality of life? Sure it's giving it a different quality of life, I more complex quality of life, a harder to achieve quality of life, a more unique quality of life, a more varied quality of life. But is it better? Perhaps if we could define musicality then we would be able to answer more objectively?
I can of course say that a lot of the skills required for great music are also highly valued skills in a general sense. Skills which will aid survival and quality of life. We already said it must be assumed that life is desirable, at least to life. So in this sense you could argue some music is better than others for life. But that doesn't necessarily get at the heart of musicality. A bit like altruism likely helps life but at the same time it doesn't feel like an illusion, it feels genuine. Perhaps musicality is similar to this. It is born from various 'good' attributes but it has transcended them.

Apologies for the rambling post. So in an attempt to summarise.
1. Yes some food is better than others. Yes some music is better than others. And so on.
2. This can be demonstrated to basically aid survival of life at its core and improve quality of life and further more aid survival of a certain kind of life and improve the quality of a certain kind of life.
3. The kind of life may be better or worse at surviving in the long run.
4. It is very difficult to say with precision what kinds of life are better at survival. It is perhaps reasonable to assume that your best effort at your kind of life (given no evidence to the contrary) is the best you can do and then to simply hope for the best. Whether your kind of life survives or not will prove if it was better or not.
5. Some things seem to transcend what would be expected to be possible. For example consciousness. It feels like it is an impossibility given a casual world. But we all experience it and empathy and logic tells us other people do too.
6. It is difficult to even define what things like consciousness are. So talking about them is even harder. We do however experience it. So we can take an altruistic action without being able to describe why.
7. By the way I am not denying all subjective experience. IE you may like a song because it played on your wedding day. Or you may not like peanuts because you are allergic. These are valid subjective differences where a song can be worse than another but better to you and peanuts can taste good but not to you.

comes back to evolution despite the litany of examples of values that do not lead to death.

Couple of things here. First evolution has not stopped, I'm sorry I'm not being pedantic, evolution can't stop (or go backwards). Just google those terms, these are well understood misconceptions and they are important.
Secondly you have taken it for granted our current position. Perhaps you could successfully argue that a better appreciation for flavour is of no biological relevance now but this has not been the case in the past. All those things which aid survival may not currently be aiding survival but in the past they have and in the future they may. So if I say we evolved a certain trait due to it's advantages for preserving life you can't say that's not true right now so it doesn't count, it only has to have been true once for it to have had a part in our evolution.

I said this already but for an atheist to argue against nihilism is really difficult

If there is no God or Gods then surely it is really difficult for anyone to argue against nihilism? I don't understand why you would draw the distinction between atheist or non-atheist.
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Re: Best world scenario

Post Number:#35  Postby Rafal » June 19th, 2017, 8:54 am

Judaka wrote:Rafal your suggestion basically amounts to an autocracy of intellectual elites where politics would destroy the concept of experts giving their honest and impartial opinions. I would much rather have elected negotiators and have a say in the politics than have a ruling elite that dictate to me their opinions attained through majority opinion that may or may not have been acquired by bargaining, bribery and concessions. If the "best" argument always won the day then all intellectuals would agree with each other and this is absolutely false - politicians already are advised by experts.


In this system there are no politicians, unless they are also experts in the given area. The problem with elected negotiators is that it's difficult to enforce their real impact on politics. They would need to have access to politicians and media, which would have similar effect as creating new political party. My suggestion starts with something different, which is easier to implement and start -
it only requires creating electronic forum, appointing first group of ethicists (e.g. all people who contributed to this discussion), then asking ethicists to appoint experts and starting discussions. It doesn't require as much money as creating new political party.

I would like to elaborate a little more on how the forum could work.

Forum would contain two sections (forum and discussion). "Who is who" consists of three subcategories, for each of the committees, and contains basic information about each ethicist and expert (ordinary users may optionally create their resume if they want to). "Who is who" should also include "requests for clarification".

"New law" is the main category and users can create there new topics about the law to be created (e.g. "Death penalty"). "Discussion" contains language specific general conversation, e.g. feedback about forum from users and metadiscussions. Languages are chosen based on user's profile information and can be chosen from long list of all languages.

Forum
- Who is who
- New law
Discussion
- English
- Spanish

There should be administrator's panel where each ethicist could moderate content based on user's input, i.e. flagging post as violating forum rules by any user. Administrators (ethicists) should be able to send invitation to the new members, i.e. new ethicists and experts, as well as create new categories and subcategories for new laws.

Administrator's panel:
- See reported posts
- Modify categories
- Invite new members

User's panel:
- Edit resume
- Apply for expert or ethicists privileges
- Choose languages

New law
[See ethicists section] [See experts section] [See auxiliary forum]
Topic 1: short summary
Law: Team A: short summary [votes: yes (51), no (10)] [decision: no]
Law: Team B: short summary [votes: yes (12), no (40)] [decision: in progress]
Topic 2: short summary
Law: Team A: short summary [votes: yes (0), no (0)]

Colors should indicate where new law originated (i.e. whether it was proposed by ethicist, expert or ordinary user). Laws should be ordered by total number of votes. Votes are given by experts and decision by ethicists. Law should be automatically submitted for ethicists' discussion and voting when more than 50% of experts give their vote (in this example topic 1, team A has 61 votes so let's assume that there are 100 experts) and there are more 'yes' than 'no'. Even if there are more 'no' than 'yes', ethicists are encouraged to discuss the law proposal in their section (but it's not mandatory).

Who is who
Person 1 [see resume] [see discussion] [see requests for clarification]
Person 2 [see resume] [see discussion] [see requests for clarification]
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Re: Best world scenario

Post Number:#36  Postby Judaka » Today, 1:06 am

How can you know the truth that knowing the truth is not desirable, don't you already know the truth at this point? I mean sure that works on others (you can lie to them if you know the truth), but it doesn't work on yourself. I mean don't get me wrong, lots of people know the truth and lie to themselves at the same time, this is common. But I don't see great results on quality of life. Plus now you can just rephrase what I said earlier in that it's almost always better to know the truth so that your lies are better.


There are many situations where you learn the parameters of the truth before you know the truth itself. I'd even argue that most situations we pursue the truth, we learn the parameters of the truth beforehand but that is irrelevant.
1. Unknowable Things - Do the dead watch over you and protect you? Or perhaps an angel? Will you go to heaven when you die? We can debate the impacts of such things without awareness of their validity and certainly a person can decide to believe in something based on the outcomes of their belief despite not knowing the truth - lies within the spiritual realm.

2. Suspicion - Does your wife have a lover? Is your government spying on you? Perhaps one would decide they would rather not know because they fear the consequences of certainty.

3. Certainty - Are you as smart as you think? Would you be able to handle tough situations? How far would you really go to protect your family if it came to it? Once again I am saying these are conditionally productive things to lie to oneself about. If you can't give yourself the benefit of the doubt in matters which are important to you it could be more stressful and debilitating than worthwhile. Context, context, context.

Just some examples to start you off and what I mean by needing to acquire the truth around these lies is to know the parameters and by that I mean will giving your preferred outcome the benefit of the doubt actually be useful to you? Or are you missing out on an opportunity? Perhaps even setting yourself up for downfall too? If you don't know whether your lie will hurt you then it is probably best to seek to understand more. Once again I am not going to offer any unconditionally productive lies because they aren't any. I am also not advocating lying without understanding the parameters as I just said and for me useful lies, when it comes to physical reality are fairly scarce but they certainly exist. My idea of useful lies is more focused on perspective, values and other subjective truths.

As you point out it's hard to categorize. Are some things more subjective than other things. Are there different types of subjectivity? I would say it was as hard to pinpoint subjectivity as it was to pinpoint consciousness. So I'm not pretending I have all the answers. I do however believe subjectivity is a spectrum and I would argue that there may be different kinds of subjectivity on that spectrum.


I think it is incorrect and dangerous to consider subjectivity a spectrum because for that to be true then objectivity must also be a spectrum and to me that destroys the idea of subjectivity/objectivity altogether. It is very reminiscent of the otherkin or gender fluidity debate where basically subjectivity is viewed as a spectrum and even something that crosses over into objective truth. I believe this is idea just comes from a misunderstanding of the terms and I don't think objectivity vs subjectivity is an impossible thing to understand although it is difficult. The reason in my opinion that it is difficult is due to language and the concept of validity and I feel this is the reason for why you call subjectivity a spectrum and pretty much everything else you've said relates back to that. Well to be fair there are a couple of things here but they all relate back to the complexity of language and validity in language or logic.

It is important to recognise language as subjective, they are founded upon an established understanding from the elementary level to the advanced level of rules and definitions for that language. Physical reality did not impart language upon us and it requires interpretation, it is fundamentally meaningless unless it is understood. There are rules behind whether I can call something a door, a computer, an eye and I have to obey those rules if I want to be understood - however that doesn't mean we can't argue about what a door is, what a computer is or what an eye is. For example, we call the eye of a doll an eye yet it lacks all the capabilities and components of an actual eye but we call it that because of its positioning on the face of the doll or the image. I think it is fair to say that the word eye has been reduced to an image or a function - though there are such terms as "the third eye" which pretty much defies both of these meanings, now it is to do with spiritual awareness. The definition can be stretched and construed in these ways precisely because the word "eye" does not actually relate to anything in a concrete way - contrasting objective truth which cannot be construed or stretched on a basis of being understood.

Music is a category of sound for which the definition hinges upon the biology of some animals. Similarly your estimations about skill in making music or appreciation of music require interpretation and it seems you are willing to accept this to some extent yet you ask "what is better" as though there is a truth to be discovered. You ask "Is it clear that Mozart is more musical than Bieber?" and my answer is no it isn't clear at all - first we must decide what musical means and then which of these individuals matches that definition best. This is an argument of validity, if musical = a b c and Mozart has A and B and beiber only has C then we could make an argument to say that Mozart is more musical. We could score their musicality using a dedicated system and score Mozart a 96/100 and Beiber a 15/100 and say therefore it is fact that Mozart is more musical.

To begin with the premise of musicality or judging it is inherently subjective for aforementioned reasons and secondly it is a fact that within the established rules that Mozart is more musical than Bieber but those rules are made by men and the conclusion is as subjective as the premise. This an argument of validity, the argument is valid but it does not create an objective conclusion. So even if you and I have the same view of musicality or piano play or pitch control and we made valid arguments about how this made your wife a better musician it wouldn't bump our opinions up the spectrum of objectivity/subjectivity. Neither one it be if one billion people though so - or if they thought so because of evolution or due to a desire to increase quality of life. Does a rocks chemical properties depend upon our belief? Does the temperature of the sun fluctuate based on how many billions of people decide that the sun is in fact hot? That is what it means to be objectively true - no compromise, no definitions, no categories, no interpretation... It just exists and while it is there to be measured and calculated, the opinion of men will have no bearing on the truth.

Whether the opinion of men is formed by culture or nature, it is of no consequence at all. A nutritious apple is only better than a poisonous berry because mere humans think this is the case? If no humans existed then the apple would not be better than the berry because the humans aren't around to make a judgement? It is entirely subjective and I believe this much is self-evident. I would also point out that I have said life is good to life as an entirely subjective claim of the living and not only that but that other things rank higher than life and this is also subjective. Your reply to my comments of evolution are taken out of context - I am not saying that genetic change in humans has stopped what I am saying is that it is not leading to superior people who don't listen to Justin Bieber or believe in lies or anything like you are claiming that it will. It absolutely absurd to say that evolution is going to dictate future generations tastes in music, there is no evidence for this AT ALL and in fact since you seem to prefer refined music I would say that if anything your side is losing badly! I honestly don't care about whether we believe or do something due to evolution or culture - we cannot objectively evaluate them, it is an oxymoron to objectively evaluate something. You say that because we evolved to think or act a certain way that it is just and I say it isn't - once again it just proves my argument that there is no objective truth in regards to what to do with free will.

If there is no God or Gods then surely it is really difficult for anyone to argue against nihilism? I don't understand why you would draw the distinction between atheist or non-atheist.


I actually don't feel atheists are weaker to nihilistic arguments, I take that back. People who believe only in proven positive claims and refute the notion that claims must have evidence against them to warrant dismissing them are rendered incapable of arguing against nihilism imo. It is just that a religious or spiritual person by definition does not require proof whereas perhaps an atheist feels that he does. I don't think God is an argument against nihilism, I think if you do not believe in objective moral law then you are a nihilist - it just so happens that most theists believe in objective moral law but the idea of a protestant nihilist seems uncontradictory to me.
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Re: Best world scenario

Post Number:#37  Postby Eduk » Today, 4:55 am

Will you go to heaven when you die? We can debate the impacts of such things without awareness of their validity

Yes you can debate for ever, people do. But how close your decisions are to reality are what will define how good your decisions are.

Does your wife have a lover? Is your government spying on you? Perhaps one would decide they would rather not know because they fear the consequences of certainty.

Again hiding your head in the sand is rarely the best option.

How far would you really go to protect your family if it came to it?

Wouldn't this be useful information too? You gave the example earlier of thinking you are a hard man. Maybe you put yourself in situations which test this theory, maybe you are wrong and suffer severe injuries. In my experience people who are genuinely hard and know it because they have tested and trained for it are on the whole not brash and aggressive and rarely start violence. Whereas those who have no training and only have fake bravado are much more likely to find violence. I don't think this is a coincidence.

In all these circumstances it would be generally preferable to know the truth so you could make better decisions.

because for that to be true then objectivity must also be a spectrum

I don't think that that follows.

It is important to recognise language as subjective

Yes exactly. And yet we can achieve things which aren't subjective through the use of language. For example satellite navigation precision relies on relativity. That is fiendishly complex, I can't imagine that we would have satellite navigation through mere chance, and if everyone had a totally contrasting understanding of language and the concepts within language it is likewise impossible to imagine how so many people could work together to create something so complex. Satellite navigation works objectively.
Subjective language can be used to bring about objective results.
As you point out categorisation can be tricky. See debate on whether Pluto is a planet or not. So here language basically fails to provide objective truth in and of itself, because as you say whether something is a planet is not an objective truth. Language is a tool. For the most part what is and what isn't a planet is clearly defined and not open to subjective belief. But there are exceptions where some 'planets' sit on the edge of what is and what isn't a planet and here no one can define which way to go.

I assume where something is objective and can be described by language then you see that it is possible to be more right or more wrong, according to reality. And that subjective language can describe reality better or worse.
I also assume that where language is describing a subjective concept like an eye or an organ or a planet. Some eyes, organs and planets are objectively closer or further from the definition of those words eye, organ and planet.
But I assume where you have issues is where a subjective concept like an organ can't be applied to an objective object like skin. Here what is or isn't true can't be proven one way or the other? I would argue that there may be solutions to these problems.

1. There is no 'truth' as to whether Pluto is a planet or not. Therefore you can't be further from or closer to the truth. I'm not saying this is the case, but it's a possibility.
2. It doesn't matter if Pluto is a planet or not, do your best to categorise it, pick an option, then go with the consensus. That is a subjective truth, but in this case that's as 'true' as you can get.

nutritious apple is only better than a poisonous berry because mere humans think this is the case?

But not many would say that objectively a berry is worse than an apple. But objectively it is worse to consume for humans. There is no contradiction here.

Does a rocks chemical properties depend upon our belief? Does the temperature of the sun fluctuate based on how many billions of people decide that the sun is in fact hot? That is what it means to be objectively true - no compromise, no definitions, no categories, no interpretation... It just exists and while it is there to be measured and calculated, the opinion of men will have no bearing on the truth.

But I thought that this was what you were arguing for? Because while we agree that these things exist objectively our interpretation of them is subjective.
I am not saying that genetic change in humans has stopped what I am saying is that it is not leading to superior people who don't listen to Justin Bieber or believe in lies or anything like you are claiming that it will. It absolutely absurd to say that evolution is going to dictate future generations tastes in music, there is no evidence for this AT ALL and in fact since you seem to prefer refined music I would say that if anything your side is losing badly!

I am partly arguing that it already has. Mozart did exist as a product of evolution. You seem to take all of evolution to this point for granted.
In the future it is not a given. My argument was that if humans get too far from reality then they will die. This will naturally cause humans to be closer to reality. Of course it's not a one way street and there is no promise of progress. We may stay as we are until we go extinct. Although again if we were closer to reality then maybe we would not go extinct.
Although you yourself say there is no way to separate the music of Bieber from Mozart objectively, you still say things like Mozart is more refined. I mean intellectually you say both opinions are equally valid but in practice you don't believe this.

People who believe only in proven positive claims and refute the notion that claims must have evidence against them to warrant dismissing them are rendered incapable of arguing against nihilism imo.

My point is the same. I there is no God it renders their arguments invalid. So therefore they would be nihilists too under your definition.
I have argued that it is better to be closer to the truth than further. This applies to morals too. I would not argue that God says you shouldn't murder. I would argue that empathy and the results of murder on quality of life are detrimental to life so you should not murder. I would argue this was a demonstrable fact. That is not nihilism. I understand you don't agree so you say I have no choice but to accept nihilism but I don't agree. According to your own logic there is no way to separate which one of us is right. So why you are arguing for your way being the right way I am not sure, I would have thought you would be more open to discussion.
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Re: Best world scenario

Post Number:#38  Postby Judaka » Today, 6:42 am

Again hiding your head in the sand is rarely the best option.


I am not arguing that it is often the best option though, I felt I made that clear.

Wouldn't this be useful information too? You gave the example earlier of thinking you are a hard man. Maybe you put yourself in situations which test this theory, maybe you are wrong and suffer severe injuries. In my experience people who are genuinely hard and know it because they have tested and trained for it are on the whole not brash and aggressive and rarely start violence. Whereas those who have no training and only have fake bravado are much more likely to find violence. I don't think this is a coincidence.

In all these circumstances it would be generally preferable to know the truth so you could make better decisions.


I feel that we are going in circles a bit now, I totally agree it is generally preferable to know the truth and have never argued otherwise. This is an argument about whether lies can sometimes be useful or not and my position is that they can be. In GENERAL I think people should be inquisitive, cautious and actively pursue the truth and especially when it could help them such as with someone with an unrealistic view of themselves getting hurt over it. My example before was about a man who wants to be hard finding a way to satisfy that desire without going around knocking peoples heads off or having the same done to him. If you don't understand the consequences of your actions then don't assume anything but if you can understand them then lying to yourself is fine imo. If you can't walk away from a fight unless you tell yourself a lie and you understand that then good and if a lie is going to lead you into bad situations then bad. Good result good action and if you don't understand what is at stake because you don't know enough or it can't be known then I would say you are not in the position to accept the convinient option if only because you don't even know what is the best outcome for yourself.


I don't think that that follows.

How can a spectrum of subjectivity exist when objectivity is a a yes/no? To me that makes absolutely no sense, how can something be let's say anywhere between 1-99% subjective if the other part of that isn't objective? My opinion is more subjective than yours but your opinion isn't anymore objective than mine? What does this even mean...?

Yes exactly. And yet we can achieve things which aren't subjective through the use of language.


I am not arguing against the usefulness of language - what I am saying is that language sometimes becomes more important than reality and this can be the case with debates over subjective categories such as music and intelligence. It isn't that some are closer to the truth than others but more that nobody has the authority to tell me what is music and what isn't because that answer is arrived at through interpretation and opinion. I can only really accept general definitions that allow me to make my own distinctions and I have heard all kinds of things I would consider musical. Birds, insects, even the vibrations of planets, humming, whistling, singing, screaming, all kinds of instruments and etc, music does describe a physical reality to me but I would never say that one kind of music is objectively better than another. Another oxymoron to me, objectively better without context is just an oxymoron.


But I thought that this was what you were arguing for? Because while we agree that these things exist objectively our interpretation of them is subjective.


I don't understand what you are saying here. Yes things exist objectively and yes we have interpretations of those things which are subjective. What I am saying here is that we can't talk about music as though it is an objective truth because it doesn't follow the rules of objective truths which is that they are not defined by our subjective interpretations. Music is indeed defined by subjective interpretation but the same cannot be said of real objective truths like the chemical properties of things or the temperature of the sun. This argument could be applied to a lot of what you are talking about such as quality of life and the supremacy of characteristics derived by nature or evolution.


I am partly arguing that it already has. Mozart did exist as a product of evolution. You seem to take all of evolution to this point for granted.
In the future it is not a given. My argument was that if humans get too far from reality then they will die. This will naturally cause humans to be closer to reality. Of course it's not a one way street and there is no promise of progress. We may stay as we are until we go extinct. Although again if we were closer to reality then maybe we would not go extinct.
Although you yourself say there is no way to separate the music of Bieber from Mozart objectively, you still say things like Mozart is more refined. I mean intellectually you say both opinions are equally valid but in practice you don't believe this.


I am not taking evolution for granted but I don't feel that Mozart was completely defined by his genetics nor do I think that he was closer to reality than others or that his genes are going to be successful over other peoples. Mozart was born into a very musical and affluent family in a time period where the kind of music he produced was popular. I am not aware of the "Mozart gene" that makes people very talented and dedicated musicians. I just don't see how you can have an understanding of evolution yet hold your entire argument. If there was a gene that made that person want to have ten children then that gene would be incredibly successful, if you had a gene that made you the most talented, intelligent, truth-seeking person ever to live but also to never have children then this would be a very unsuccessful gene. What does closeness to reality have to do with evolution? Please explain it so an idiot can understand because I even now don't understand the argument. Also to do with your last comment, I am not arguing for the destruction of language - refined has a meaning and I used it. However once again... it a subjective distinction that can never be objective and that isn't to say down with subjective distinctions!! That isn't my argument at all, I have preferences like anybody else and they define me, I wouldn't have it any other way. I am just saying "objectively better" is not a thing and no matter how much better I think Mozart is than Bieber, no matter how much everyone thinks that - it's still subjective!!

I would argue that empathy and the results of murder on quality of life are detrimental to life so you should not murder. I would argue this was a demonstrable fact. That is not nihilism. I understand you don't agree so you say I have no choice but to accept nihilism but I don't agree. According to your own logic there is no way to separate which one of us is right. So why you are arguing for your way being the right way I am not sure, I would have thought you would be more open to discussion.


I would actually give a similar argument against murder yet I am a nihilist. The difference is that I say my opinion is my opinion and you say it is demonstrable fact, "you should not murder" is subjective and maybe to you that that makes it feel weak. I know not your reasons for this contradiction. But if you believe that you need proof to make claims about objective reality and there is no proof that exists for your position then aren't you forced to disavow it? It is by your own logic that your opinion is incorrect, it is not a matter of my way and your way - it is the same way. Now if you want to revoke your claim that claims require proof then you can make a valid argument against nihilism - you can argue that within the unknown exists something that makes murder objectively wrong and there isn't much I can do about it. I don't even consider nihilism to be a "way" it is the rejection of objective moral law - it is the rejection that the universe has a reason for existence and that life has a reason for existence. I do this on the basis that there is no evidence for objective moral law nor objective meaning to life. I am totally open to discussing this but my point is that it is hypocritical of you to ask me to disprove objective moral law when you've said I ought not need to do that. It is hypocritical of you to say that as far as objective reality is concerned - you need proof but the very argument you are making relies on assuming proof exists but having none to show right now.

I have enjoyed this conversation and even if you walk away being unconvinced of my arguments I won't regret talking to you. I don't look down on you or feel non-nihilists are less than me. I do think a lot of what you are saying is completely false and that your position is filled with contradictions and that is mainly the reason I am arguing with you in the first place. If your view was "Objective moral law exists because God made the universe that way and God exists because of reason a b c" then I wouldn't bother arguing with that, what can I say? My argument is that you can only really argue with people who hold similar fundamental views to you and in light of an unresolvable disagreement factors outside of truth or validity will determine whether my view or your view ends up being held by the majority or perhaps they both lose to something else and that is the culture war that goes on everyday. In our case this is probably more recreational than anything else and while I argue to the best of my ability and I would see it as an accomplishment if I were able to provide convincing arguments, perhaps even to have my incorrect views corrected and become wiser as a result, I am here to discuss things and argue as an activity that I enjoy and that's all it comes down to.
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Re: Best world scenario

Post Number:#39  Postby Eduk » Today, 7:45 am

I still think you are missing the wider and longer term point I am attempting to make.
A gene to have ten children might seem on the surface to have more value to life than a gene to have zero children. Ignoring for one second that a gene that specific is highly improbable. But each human is surrounded by other humans. Everyone trying to have ten children might be as destructive to life as everyone having no children. Well probably not as destructive but certainly not a good thing. An individual can live a good life with either gene. Either can contribute to life overall and in the long term. But neither would work out well if everyone had that gene. A better gene would be to look at socio-economic factors and other things like child mortality rates etc. Then have a balanced number of children. Enough to both insure life continues and to insure a quality of life.
Now you can say ok. I get why a well to do couple might have few children, and this is what I see in reality. I get why couples in places with high infant mortality have lots of children. And I also see this in reality. But what about those people who live in developed countries but aren't doing well for themselves, for whatever reason, they seem to often have a lot of children. Those children are disadvantaged by their parents but likely survive thanks to the good work of others. How is that a good thing for life? My answer is that it likely isn't. If everyone was like the cuckoo there would be no cuckoos.
In the long term the cuckoo gene is fragile. If circumstances change then the gene vanishes. Of course the cuckoo can exploit its way to short term success but it's short term.
But having said that one key to survival is being adaptable. Exploiting a situation may under certain conditions be the best option for long term survival. Or more to the point not sticking with the average behaviour may be the best option. It often isn't. But it's again vital to life overall that outliers exist.
In short it's complicated. But given we are conscious beings I personally think evolution has done an outstanding job thus far.

Oh and to reiterate murder is only wrong if life is valued. You do have to start with an axiom. Again show me life which doesn't live to this axiom?

My theory is based off of only using proven evidence. Most of what I have said is trivially true. Proving in a lab that altruism is if benefit to life is tough. Proving altruism exists is trivial. The mere fact that we are alive makes it highly likely that altruism is of benefit. It is trivially true that if altruism were highly negative it would be unlikely to survive. At worst altruism is only a minor negative. But there's no reason not to study if altruism is of benefit? I'm not sure if such studies have been done.

In video games there are good games like dark souls and bad games like farmville. Farmville has made far far more money than dark souls. But if games like dark souls didn't exist then games like farmville wouldn't exist either. Games like dark souls create consoles, they create graphics cards, they contribute to the whole of gaming. It allows games like farmville to come along and make a killing. But if all games were like farmville there would be no games. Farmville is gone now but dark souls will be around in one form or another for some time to come I believe.
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Re: Best world scenario

Post Number:#40  Postby Judaka » 20 minutes ago

I didn't say that a gene to have ten children would have "more value to life", I said it would be more successful and to me this was a trivially true statement within the context of evolution. I still don't understand your argument honestly, I don't get how any of this is pertinent to the discussion at hand. I don't really care about life personally, I only care about quality of life. Other people don't care about life or quality of life of others. I don't consider things "wrong" just undesirable and for murder I abstain from it and desire it to be outlawed on the basis of quality of life, order, progress and mostly self-preservation. I actually despise the idea of altruism, I also reject the notion that empathy is remotely useful but all of these seem like discussions for another time. I bring it up only to say, this is mostly subjective stuff and you aren't bringing up anything to even contest the idea that it is subjective?

Even if all intelligent creatures valued life above all else (they seriously don't) what would that mean exactly? If every human thinks the Earth is flat then it is? Is this a might is right argument? Majority can't be wrong? Maybe I am misunderstanding the argument because to me it feels like biology certainly has its place in how the human brain works and what we think but to me that is just another factor in how we think but doesn't make what we think any less flawed or subjective? People would not go to university or browse forums like this if we already had all the answers from evolution, why even read a book or try to learn anything? You have an objective perspective from evolution so aren't you pretty much set up for success from birth? Man I am really lost as to what you are saying.
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