Best world scenario

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Best world scenario

Post Number:#1  Postby Rafal » November 25th, 2016, 11:07 pm

Hi All,

I was recently wondering about hypothetical best world scenario that could maximise overall happiness. To make it true, most people would need to accept new order. Otherwise, it's utopia.

In summary, I would suggest existence of three entities, i.e. committee of experts, committee of ethicists and auxiliary forum.

Experts should be appointed by the universities and submit laws. Committee of ethics would be responsible for approving them according to basic moral rules. And auxiliary forum would make the whole process more efficient and transparent.

(These three entities should ensure optimal functioning of laws. The best qualified professionals are guarantors that rules are not contradictory to scientific knowledge. Ethicists make sure that new regulations contribute to the general well-being. Auxiliary forum should involve all members of the society that want to contribute to constructive discussion so that system has chance to be accepted).

I have many other ideas but I'd like to know your opinion about general concept. What would be your best world scenario? :)
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Re: Best world scenario

Post Number:#2  Postby LuckyR » November 26th, 2016, 4:56 pm

Rafal wrote:Hi All,

I was recently wondering about hypothetical best world scenario that could maximise overall happiness. To make it true, most people would need to accept new order. Otherwise, it's utopia.

In summary, I would suggest existence of three entities, i.e. committee of experts, committee of ethicists and auxiliary forum.

Experts should be appointed by the universities and submit laws. Committee of ethics would be responsible for approving them according to basic moral rules. And auxiliary forum would make the whole process more efficient and transparent.

(These three entities should ensure optimal functioning of laws. The best qualified professionals are guarantors that rules are not contradictory to scientific knowledge. Ethicists make sure that new regulations contribute to the general well-being. Auxiliary forum should involve all members of the society that want to contribute to constructive discussion so that system has chance to be accepted).

I have many other ideas but I'd like to know your opinion about general concept. What would be your best world scenario? :)


You may have noticed that in Real Life folks don't like to be told to change what they are doing. Of course we all understand that there are problems with what we are currently doing, but to change from what we know to an unknown there has to be a >>50% chance that it is going to lead to a better outcome. Assuming that this is not inherently obvious (since such changes would likely have already happened spontaneously) then folks are going to have to be told to change in ways that are not obviously (to them) going to be better. Again, people don't take to that very well.
"As usual... it depends."
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Re: Best world scenario

Post Number:#3  Postby EvaHawk » December 11th, 2016, 10:55 am

Hi,

While your system does seem to focus on the passing of ethical laws and the protection of the people and their rights- both things which I agree with- I think that the universities appointing the Committee of experts would vie with one another for power in order to create laws that are more favorable to that certain school of thought or just for the sake of power itself. So basically my issue is with the fact that people must be appointed to these committees.

I think that it is a very noble idea to put science at the forefront of human leadership, but, science must have some sort of physical power over the people as well as intellectual chiefly because in my experience people resent those who are more intelligent and flock to a leader that is powerful with physical strength. These people often have a hard time understanding how the scientific and ethical law will help him, and only desire raw power and violence.

So if there was a reliable (i.e. able to follow the standards of the ethics committee) army type of force associated with it able to enforce the laws, and if a system of succession and appointment could be found which managed to avoid the problems of human greed and keep to the purity of science, then I could see your system working correctly.

Although I have to say that I personally wouldn't put the focus so much on creating ethical/scientific laws just for the simple reason that I don't believe there would be an undue number of those; rather, a scientific and ethical (and auxiliary) court system or rehabilitation system would probably end up being more important than the committees who actually make the laws themselves. Coming up with a best world is hard because we only have this terrible one to work with! But if science could ever be the forefront of the government (or leadership or general consensus) then I think a best world with all the stipulations I mentioned and probably many more would fall into place.
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Re: Best world scenario

Post Number:#4  Postby Albert88 » December 31st, 2016, 7:05 am

I suggest that we move discussion here: [Sorry but link to Google Docs could not be created due to forum rules]

Thanks :-),
Rafal
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Re: Best world scenario

Post Number:#5  Postby Albert88 » December 31st, 2016, 7:12 am

Google Docs: /d/1FYZieQA2I_oB9A_zrFS8KQcEKoIC1v_CQgyJpmB4q6I/edit?usp=sharing
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Re: Best world scenario

Post Number:#6  Postby Rafal » June 5th, 2017, 4:32 pm

Thank you for your replies.

LuckyR: I have recently discussed this idea with people I know and I think the chance is greater than 50%. Also, auxiliary forum would make it possible for people to agree about the laws because that would be easier for them to discuss important things than it is now (currently people just choose their leaders but those without power have low chance to directly contribute to the discussion; auxiliary forum would help to remove this obstacle). Moreover, cannot we assume that such changes can happen spontaneously right now?

EvaHawk: I think we can start with this philosophy forum, as it is "an internet oasis of open discussion without personal attacks". That would require creating new category "Best World Scenario" with three subcategories for each of the committees. Initial group of ethicists can consist of current moderators of Online Philosophy Club. Then they would have the right to appoint new members of the committee of ethics, as well as invite scientists from the universities to contribute to the discussion. Auxiliary forum can have pinpointed post with metadiscussion, i.e. discussion about further development of "Best World Scenario" category.

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1. THE NEED FOR NEW PARADIGM

Have you ever thought about hypothetical best world scenario that could maximise overall happiness? (Happiness may be defined as in Seligman’s theory). There were many attempts to create better societies, which resulted in various forms of government. These forms of government have some inherent flaws that become even more evident with rapid changes of contemporary world.

Representative democracies result in promoting politicians that care more about their own benefit than public good. Direct democracies are not sufficient by themselves and can be considered only as a part of more complete systems if they are expected to flourish. Monarchy risks that new ruler will not be as good as the previous one. Negative impact of communism can be observed in the economical and mental challenges of post-communist countries.

Serious difficulties can be found even in the way how technology relates to economy because it needs to introduce workarounds like planned obsolescence etc.

2. THE NEW PARADIGM

The basic law is freedom driven by good will and reason, as well as compassion, loving kindness, empathetic joy and equanimity.

In summary, I would suggest existence of three entities, i.e. committee of experts, committee of ethicists and auxiliary forum.

Experts should be appointed by the universities and submit laws. Committee of ethics would be responsible for approving them according to basic moral rules. And auxiliary forum would make the whole process more efficient and transparent.

(These three entities should ensure optimal functioning of laws. The best qualified professionals are guarantors that rules are not in contradiction with scientific knowledge. Ethicists make sure that new regulations contribute to the general well-being. Auxiliary forum should involve all members of the society that want to contribute to constructive discussion so that system has chance to be accepted).

Good will is defined as wishing good to oneself and to the others. Bad will is wishing suffering or unhappiness. There are in-between states too (some of them helpful). Only good ones can be members of the committee of ethics. Formal proof that bad will was behind decisions or discussion should be enough to exclude member of the aforementioned committee.

All these entities should be self-organising units.

2.1. Social experiment

The whole proposal may start as social experiment. It does not have extensive requirements. They mostly involve informing all those who may be interested in the project and qualified by the initial requirements. The second requirement is creation of the technological mean (e.g. web application) and its initial maintenance. The system may be first applied e.g. for so-called micronations.

Further development of the system naturally stops when the conditions required for its growth are no longer present, i.e. when there is too little good will or too much bad will.

2.2. Committee of experts

As initially sufficient condition all people who “finished their own psychotherapy” (i.e. understood and explained their own theory of mind) and have PhD or higher degree should be considered experts. Alternatively, they can have relevant experience. Experts need to be chosen from variety of different backgrounds and worldviews. It should be considered whether requirement to explain theory of mind should be present for appointment of all experts or only experts in ethics. Later, committees may extend rules to confirm expertise of others or to make rules more strict, e.g. to require specific experience.

Projects should be discussed by relevant experts. It should be decided which scientific disciplines are expected to be mostly involved in discussing new thread, e.g. by adding list of scientific disciplines related to the thread under discussion.

There can be auxiliary discussions in the other thread, linked to the original one and intended to clarify areas of competence. Other experts can also participate in the discussion as experts but it should be made clear that it was not expected that their expertise is relevant to the topic.

There can be auxiliary areas of expertise, e.g. experienced judges may be considered experts in the law and help to make the law properly defined.

It is expected that all experts follow widely accepted high standards in scientific methodology. They should present their laws together with relevant justifications and references (like bibliography). Making laws more concise may be better done by interactions with auxiliary experts.

2.3. Committee of ethics

Initially, all philosophers with PhD, equivalent or higher level should be considered as experts in ethics but it is one of the first duties of the committee of ethics to reconsider these rules. Philosopher is defined as a person whose main focus of studies was related to metaphysics, epistemology or other branches of philosophy.

It may be considered whether access to the document describing theory of mind behind members of the committee of ethics should be available to everyone, or only to all members of the committee of ethics. Nomination of new member of committee of ethics should be initiated by already working member. The lineage should be available and the person nominating should review theory of mind written by the nominee, to eliminate from it those elements like self-praising and criticizing others or invasions of privacy.

2.4. Basic laws

2.4.1. Freedom

Ethicists should apply good motivation to make their judgements. Applying scientific method and good motivation results in the creation of rational and moral laws. Ethicists should make their own judgements regarding the priority of basic rules, provided that good will is behind their choices.

2.4.2. Applying the laws

In some cases there may be moral dilemmas resulting from different ways of applying the rules. One way of dealing with them is to recognise the difference between private and public sphere. It may be preferred to allow more rights in the private sphere then in the public one. The right to freedom also allows limiting its own freedom, based on free decision and on transparent rules.

It may be preferred to define some laws in general way, describing how specific countries should apply those rules, by providing objective criteria that should be met to follow specific paths in the general law.

In order to accept new law or change existing law, the committee of ethics needs to write a formal justification.

2.4.3. Responsibility

There are two layers of analysis. The first one is motivation. When motivation is good, act is also good. There may be cases when good will still leads to bad results. It may happen for various reasons. Will may be too weak or there may be ignorance. Ignorance can be moral fault of the person being ignorant if that was reasonable to expect that this person should have specific knowledge or skills but due to lack of good will does not.

2.4.4. Truth

Words should be used with their real meaning. Real meaning is defined as meaning that corresponds to the objective qualities. Whenever there is doubt that requires clarification, widely accepted experts in the given language should help to explain them. Changing the real meaning of words may result in worse quality of discussion.

2.4.5. Privacy

The right for privacy can be deducted from freedom. Freedom may be executed up to different degree, depending on whether behaviour belongs to the private or public area. In some cases, there should be separation between private and public domains.

Whenever there is breach of privacy, it may be best not to use doctrine of the poisoned fruit, but rather to accept responsibility of both parties, breaching the privacy and breaking the law. Any of these actions should be considered in the context of motivation.

2.4.6. Public laws

Deciding how public freedom should be limited is best suited for direct democracy. In some cases it may be better to let local governments or other authorities widely accepted in the given society to take care of the implementation details.

2.4.7. Person

Person should be defined as sentient being. There are differences in the way beings perceive the reality, which should be taken into account. The term ‘reality’ remains undefined for the purposes of initial implementation of this system but may be defined later. Cruelty against animals is result of bad will. Whenever reasonable, wider definition of person should be applied.

2.4.8. Members

There can be active and passive members of the new system. Active members contribute to the process. Passive members are either unwilling or unable to contribute. Inability may result from lack of necessary mental capabilities.

2.4.9. Purpose

The system should help its members to become happier and more virtuous, at the same time respecting their freedom. Good system should promote making will good, strong and becoming wiser.

2.4.10. Helpful ideas

The following ideas should be helpful in making moral decisions:

    Categorical imperative
    Utilitarianism
    Pragmatism
    Ockham’s razor
    Environmental protection

Some of the ideas can be concluded from the others. Committee of ethicists, as self-organising unit, can reconsider list of moral rules.

2.4.11. Self-improvement

At the same time committee of ethics should take great care that its members represent high qualities that are expected from them. Ways of ensuring that include request for clarification whenever there is uncertainty about interpretation of their input to the discussion, analysis of content added to the discussion or correlation between different inputs. It may include other elements like regular retrospective meetings.

2.4.12. Consistency check

It is reasonable to expect that the system can work. After all, users need to provide a lot of input to the system. There is enough content from the given user, when it is possible to analyse correlations between inputs. In complex scenarios different reasoning may be applied in similar situations. In those cases request for clarification can help unhide motivation behind reasoning and clarify rules.

Whenever contradiction in reasoning is proved, expert can respond in constructive way or not. Good motivation can be proved if mistakes are used as opportunity to make improvements. Not making improvements can conclude lack of strong will, which should be another quality expected from expert.

Laws should be consistent with each other. Whenever further improvement in scientific knowledge or wisdom of experts requires redefining some laws, they need to be modified and justification has to provided.

There may be cases when the only just law would be general one and specific implementations should be decided at lower level.

2.5. Auxiliary forum

2.5.1. Forms of participation

Forum should be conducted in the most convenient way to all the parties involved, which includes members of the committee of ethics and experts, as well as other participants who are not members of any committee. There may be meetings which should result in a formal document summarising all the conclusions and important points (e.g. in the form of TED Talk video and related article) and also informal meetings.

There should be convenient way to make the process efficient and transparent by using currently available technological means.

2.5.2. Technological requirements

The rule of pragmatism requires that all inconveniences that may be initially experiences should not prevent the parties involved from successfully participating in interactions. That requires good planning and development, with focus on security, privacy, reliability, stability, extensibility, scalability, testability and user experience. Functionalities may be implemented in phases whenever it is justified.

2.5.3. Data flow

Inputs in the system are all the data submitted by participants. The actors include: experts, including experts in ethics and participants who are not experts. The process involves discussions between experts and other users. There should be also interactions in the experts’ area. Outputs in the system are laws accepted by the ethicists.

Members of the committee of experts submit projects of laws. Those projects are discussed on the forum which involves interaction with all the other members of the forum.

2.5.4. Lower level initiatives

It should be promoted that users who are not experts can also suggest improvements in the state of laws. Groups of users can request review of their drafts or points made. List of requests should be prioritised by number of participants who consider topic important. Similar requests should be grouped together and votes should be considered on them as a whole. All requests that have not been addressed by any expert should be publicly available in convenient way, sorted by topics and number of votes.

2.5.5. Experts’ area

Areas for interactions where only experts can provide input should have important exception. This exclusion means that any content posted by expert in such area could be marked by any user pointing to the related discussion in the open area of the forum. Next comments on the content should relate to the same related discussion as started by the first user commenting on the specific content.

The reason behind is ensuring the best quality of conversation which is not deteriorated by input from participants ignorant in the topic. At the same time allowing users to comment on experts’ input ensures freedom of discussion.

2.5.6. Transparency

One of the basic ways the whole project could fail is lack of trust and transparency. Trust is defined as justified belief in the lack of malicious intentions of the other party involved. Transparency requires that high level design of this technological mean is easy to understand to non-technical person. That also involves understanding of the way it serves security, privacy and content moderation.

Transparency also requires that all projects have properly constructed summaries. The reasoning behind is simple, i.e. ages when one person could comprehend most of the human scientific knowledge are bygone era.

2.5.7. Content priority

Simple technological mean can improve transparency by allowing people to vote on topics which are important to them. Whenever there are any votes or polls, they should be carefully audited. That means users need to have trust that the results are not manipulated.

2.5.8. Moderation

Moderation should be the least obtrusive it can reasonably be. Content published by the users should never be removed without good justification. Whenever content removal is really required, it is advisable to leave information that it was removed, providing the reason of deletion and opportunity to discuss the incident. Content should be still available in the historical data, easy to retrieve. This point requires careful consideration regarding data protection.

Whenever reasonable to apply, content violating rules should be removed selectively, leaving other part of the content without modification.

2.5.9. Competences confirmation

It is reasonable to expect that experts should provide basic information about their area of expertise, scientific title, name of university or universities of study or work, ranking of those places in internationally respected lists related to scientific research and publications, topics of important work etc.

2.5.10. Governing authorities

Utilitarianism requires that it is better to have working system rather than system which is fragile and can be closed by the authorities. For that reason local laws should be obeyed. Whenever there is risk that significant deviations from the original intentions may arise due to external factors like laws to follow, it should be considered whether change in legal or other status (e.g. physical location of servers) could improve the system.

It should be preferred to promote high standards and freedom of speech so that governing laws and laws proposed by this system are in line.

2.5.11. Extension points

There are potential extension points of the whole system. Once there are many laws submitted by experts, discussed by forum members and accepted by ethicists, complete system of laws may arise that would be applicable as real life law.

This influence can happen in various ways. Examples of good laws may influence real life decisions. Alternatively, the system may be accepted as a whole.

Moreover, users should take care of the auxiliary forum as the public good.

2.5.12. Licenses

System should promote spreading knowledge and skills. That means it should be allowed to quote any content provided that quotation does not change the meaning and required context is also available, if needed. Whenever possible, it is required to provide hyperlink to the original forum content in the place where quotation is used.

If violation of this forum rule is found, it is expected to request either removing the quotation or to provide hyperlink to the original content. There should be reasonable effort to make these improvements. The reasoning behind is that it is easy to misrepresent original intentions of the author if the quotation is used outside context.

Free software should be preferred because that constructively redefines type of external dependency of the system. At the same time reliable and high quality solutions should be used which may or may not involve free software, as long as agreement with companies does not endanger success of the project. System scalability should be a factor in the decision making.

Basic law is the license for this text and results of its implementation.

2.5.13. Content quality

It may happen that some contents would violate various standards. This topic requires careful consideration because participants’ rights should be protected. That involves freedom of speech but also promoting high quality discussion. Ad personam arguments cannot be used of the forum. The exclusion from this rule is discussion about expert’s status but that should be subject to additional rules.

2.5.14. User profiles

Technological mean needs to secure freedom of speech and transparency. Most discussions should be conducted with real name displayed with each message. In cases where any party involved is afraid that using their freedom of speech may lead to some of their rights being violated, it should be possible to post a message anonymously, either by creating anonymous account or by adding message without account. Any solutions need to consider pragmatic aspects like protecting system from noise pretending to be real data, e.g. submitted by bots.

2.5.15. Sections

There should be regional sections of the forum, making it possible to benefit from the effectiveness of international discussion. Variety of backgrounds helps to open to new ideas. It should be possible to create version by specifying geographical region and language, where region could be as large as whole civilisation or as small as any geographically meaningful place.

Geographical places should be verified for their existence. Users should be able to specify any location. Those may be very specific locations like single properties or as general as capital cities. Users should not be delayed with approval of their choice but they should also be responsible for the data they provide. If they will be unable to prove existence of the given place, it should be added as publicly visible annotation in their forum profile. It should be discussed whether or when annotation could be removed.

There can be other criteria and combinations. For example users may want to discuss specific topics which are important to larger group of participants. Those discussions may be combined with place or language too.

2.5.16. Equality

When you look at Earth from space, it is clear that the world is divided. You can even see some of the political boundaries there. It shows there may be differences in the system of values between people from those countries. Properly implemented sections should help to find those differences and address them in constructive way.

2.5.17. Search engine

Search should include useful features, e.g. fuzzy search. The reasoning behind is the way cognition works, i.e. by interrelating topics, applying heuristic thinking or making simple mistakes (e.g. typos).

2.5.18. Practical guidelines

One of the first steps should involve graphically representing all the ideas. The reasoning behind is the application of pragmatism. Human brain is efficient at perceiving visual data.

All the requirements should be summarised and architecture decided to make implementation of the future functionalities possible. Regular feedback from users should be used to improve their experience. Users should be able to vote on feature requests. Source code should be open.

Users can decide to treat forum as public good which means they may make voluntary financial contributions required to support existence of the forum infrastructure. Expenses should be explained in transparent way.

Committees should first consider laws regarding basic human needs like access to food, clean water, accommodation and basic health services. Then we need to think about those jobs that can be automated and how to deal with people losing their jobs. It should be considered whether next step is free access to the internet so that laws can be discussed and developed together in transparent way.

Forum should also enable open discussion of topics of taboo, including all interested in participating in the discussion. It may be worth allowing members of auxiliary forum to submit their propositions of laws.

One of the first tasks of the committees may be writing formal proof that currently existing systems of laws are imperfect and how new paradigm may fix them.

Thanks,
Rafal
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Re: Best world scenario

Post Number:#7  Postby Eduk » June 7th, 2017, 4:43 am

Sorry that was a super long last post, I only skim read it.
The issues I can see are.
1. There is no way to remove corruption from the system. Eventually each separate body (even if they started perfectly) would become corrupt.
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Re: Best world scenario

Post Number:#8  Postby Judaka » June 7th, 2017, 9:08 am

Your view is exceptionally technocratic and pretty much every part of your argument relies on experts, I found the idea that language experts shall inform the university appointed experts about proper word usage to be particularly amusing and emphasising just how technocratic your view is. Admittedly I didn't read the whole thing word for word but I read most of it and I think another interesting or telling thing is that you didn't point out how the committees will arrive at their decisions and for me this showed that you felt all scientifically minded experts would unilaterally agree upon all matters just as with real scientific theories that are proven, well at least let's assume that everyone agrees on proven scientific theories for a moment. We are surely talking about a new government structure that will decide on wide ranging matters and concerning many unique aspects of society but for you these extremely intelligent, self-aware, educated and scientifically minded people will surely come up with the same response to every problem? We are to have people with a "variety of different backgrounds and worldviews" but for you this translates into meaningless differences which science and logic transcend? You evaluate the differences between "good" and "bad" as though they are what is at stake with the disagreements between peoples in society or politics when in reality most people want what is good for themselves and for others (or at least others like them). You mistakenly believe that science solves all problems, provides an answer for all solutions like our friend Eduk here, however you go beyond that and claim that all experts shall be like minded in all issues! Unified by the scientific method and truth? The objectivity science has rests upon their pursuit upon claims which contain objective truth and the problems a government faces are not so simple that there can even be a "right answer". I would suggest that you need a way to decide what views to implement and which ones to ignore and how this is decided. Shall it be majority decision? Shall there be a person or yet another committee that decides which opinion is the most scientific and which arguments are most likely to be valid? Whatever your choice, politics will now enter your system that is supposedly technocratic and the result will be no different from what we have now.

Technocratic governance for me only make sense if we are talking about something like economics where an objective truth does exist but is obscured by difficulties. However even there, who would decide what the appropriate distribution of wealth is? What qualifies any expert to have an opinion of this and act upon it irrespective of public opinion? Subjective thought cannot be ignored just because it is inconvenient and while experts should have their place and that could be move involved in politics than it is now, it is folly to think they shall transcend the differences that exist between men.
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Re: Best world scenario

Post Number:#9  Postby Eduk » June 7th, 2017, 9:54 am

Apologies Judaka I'm not sure if you are saying that I think science solves all problems? Or that I was pointing out a problem which science can't solve?
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Re: Best world scenario

Post Number:#10  Postby Judaka » June 7th, 2017, 11:39 am

Did you not say that ultimately reality trumps all even in the context of values? This is pertinent to this particular technocratic view because the implication behind a unilateral agreement by highly intelligent men of science is that there is always one path in any situation that science will lead to - a perspective of reality that transcends the differences between peoples and their ideas or values.
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Re: Best world scenario

Post Number:#11  Postby Eduk » June 7th, 2017, 11:55 am

It feels like we are talking cross purposes here?
If you believe you can fly and I believe that I can't. And you then attempt to fly from a cliff and I don't. Then I am sure we both agree that reality will win out over beliefs? And only a belief that we can't fly will survive into the future.
I am not sure where you draw the line though? Where reality starts mattering less than belief? If that is indeed what you are saying?
Also I was arguing that even if you started with a team of experts (assuming that were possible, which I don't believe it is to be clear) then how do you insure they remain a team of experts? I know of no such system, this is not arguing against philosopher Kings as such, more an argument about how would we know they were philosopher King's and how would we keep them philosopher Kings.
In my opinion the best possible government would also be the worst possible government (a dictatorship). In reality it had thus far only been a position held by some of the worst possible people, presumably because the best possible people would never want it.
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Re: Best world scenario

Post Number:#12  Postby LuckyR » June 7th, 2017, 3:38 pm

Rafal wrote:Thank you for your replies.

LuckyR: I have recently discussed this idea with people I know and I think the chance is greater than 50%. Also, auxiliary forum would make it possible for people to agree about the laws because that would be easier for them to discuss important things than it is now (currently people just choose their leaders but those without power have low chance to directly contribute to the discussion; auxiliary forum would help to remove this obstacle). Moreover, cannot we assume that such changes can happen spontaneously right now?


From my perspective your post, and all of the other ones in the "wouldn't it be nice if..." category, is not what you are proposing, rather in the: How do we get there from here? issue. Wouldn't it be nice if the US had 2% of the guns in circulation right now? Yeah, that would make violence crime a much smaller issue and even if the goal was to increase the number of guns, I am sure that we could come up with a better way of doing it than what happened in reality. But there is no way to get from where we are now to 2% of the guns currently in circulation. End of discussion.
"As usual... it depends."
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Re: Best world scenario

Post Number:#13  Postby Judaka » June 9th, 2017, 6:03 am

Eduk wrote:It feels like we are talking cross purposes here?
If you believe you can fly and I believe that I can't. And you then attempt to fly from a cliff and I don't. Then I am sure we both agree that reality will win out over beliefs? And only a belief that we can't fly will survive into the future.
I am not sure where you draw the line though? Where reality starts mattering less than belief? If that is indeed what you are saying?
Also I was arguing that even if you started with a team of experts (assuming that were possible, which I don't believe it is to be clear) then how do you insure they remain a team of experts? I know of no such system, this is not arguing against philosopher Kings as such, more an argument about how would we know they were philosopher King's and how would we keep them philosopher Kings.
In my opinion the best possible government would also be the worst possible government (a dictatorship). In reality it had thus far only been a position held by some of the worst possible people, presumably because the best possible people would never want it.


Your example is simplistic and redundant and completely misunderstands what is at stake with belief but yes there are two different kinds of belief, the first is a belief in an objective truth that cannot be proven and the second is a belief in a subjective truth like believing that "brown hair is more attractive than blonde hair". To be clear I have always been talking about this latter belief and that is of values, the subject that you made the statement that reality trumps all in reference to that and that was all you had to say about it. Your only criticism of a group of experts is corruption, if you agree with me then I will revoke my statement but so far you have ignored the hard questions I asked in your atheism thread and after stating reality shall trump all in a conversation about culture and values, so it seems to me you similarly think like OP that scientific thought leaves no problem unanswered. However I have a bone to pick with "reality trumps all" even in the context of belief in objective truth.

In the case of belief of objective truth, here are some things to consider.
1. Conditions- I may believe that I could run 100m in 13 seconds but perhaps I am only able to do this on certain days depending upon my condition. Also I may have a strategy to deal with something which is hypothetically correct but the execution may not be there. The world is too vast and complex to put it in a test lab and just predict everything down to the last action.

2. Pure Chance - entirely arbitrary luck, I can believe that a die will roll 5 when thrown and this is entirely possible, I am not wrong for thinking it will land on 5 and my belief could be entirely in line with what will happen in reality. You may counter with "well with lots of testing we could.." ok but not everything can be tested like a die roll. Even in the die example, if we are to limit to a single toss of the die then it could obviously both land on 5 or not, it is not a matter of reality trumping my belief

3. Capriciousness - In the realm of conscious beings causality is inconstant and in the same vein as chance I can have expectations surrounding the causality of a conscious being and have them be betrayed by capricious behaviour.

4. Choice - Indeed in the conscious mind it goes beyond mere capriciousness, we can have expectations and anticipate causality but it does not abide by some constant universal law, would you not call expectations a belief? It is a prediction that may or may not align with reality and unless you reject free will how can you say that causality is chief instigator behind all movement in the universe?

5. Relativity - Reality is constantly changing and it is not a matter of reality constantly trumping belief until there is no more belief left and just pure reality, the scenario is always changing and belief is about predictions and interpretations. For example I play a game called DotA 2 perhaps you've heard of it, everyone has their own ideas about how to best play the game, characters and what strategies and items are key, it is called "meta-game". Yet as patch notes come and the game changes, we must once again figure out the objective best way of doing things. Even in games such as chess and tennis, we will see people having to respond to what their opponents are doing and this means belief will never catch up to some objective best way of playing. It is like a game of rock paper scissors.

6. Interpretation - How you interpret information means a lot when it comes to understanding reality, for example does the fact that our body can digest meat mean that we are omnivores? To some people the answer is yes to some the answer is no. The reason interpretation transcends reality as you think of it is because we have words, terms, categories and meanings for things that are not in the physical world. The term omnivore denotes a reality but it is not part of reality, the reality of the situation is that we can digest meat. The idea of omnivore has parameters set by people and their interpretations, it is not written into the fabric of the universe, people will always believe differently to each other about such matters and no part of reality shall silence that debate.

There are many more examples but seeing as you ignored me last big post I won't make this any longer. Truthfully this is the problem with many atheists who have become enamoured with science and reality past the point of common sense and logic, you guys worship experts, intelligence and the methodology of science. Accept the messiness of this world, the grander a view is the more nuanced it has to be - a grand view without nuance is almost certainly incorrect.
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Re: Best world scenario

Post Number:#14  Postby Eduk » June 9th, 2017, 7:14 am

the second is a belief in a subjective truth like believing that "brown hair is more attractive than blonde hair". To be clear I have always been talking about this latter belief

You seem to be offering three distinctions?
1. The kinds of beliefs like, my pen will drop, which can be empirically tested.
2. The kinds of beliefs like, my pen will drop, but which can't be tested clearly and easily (currently).
3. The kinds of beliefs like, steak tastes good.

Is that fair? Steak tasting good would normally be considered a subjective belief? The other two objective but one unanswerable (currently)?

First off is it possible that any beliefs exist in a spectrum of objectivity and subjectivity?

Hair colour is interesting. It is trivially true that having higher natural defense against heat and lower defense against cold is better in hot climates and worse in cold. Over time the ability to adapt is what is key however. For most people in developed countries hair colour makes no difference. From the point of view of sexual selection hair colour can make a difference to survival. So for example if you were born in certain situations where high heat defense was beneficial then having a sexual preference for blond hair would be counter to reality and selected against. So in this scenario reality corrects against subjective beliefs.

but so far you have ignored the hard questions I asked in your atheism thread

I apologise, this was not my intention. Would you be so kind as to reiterate.

Your points to consider.
1. I never said the world could fit in a test lab? The conditions that you are performing your running are part of reality?
2. Yes in the short term, or even in quite a long term, luck can beat reality. I never said it couldn't. I just think over time, over species, over galaxies then luck must balance out.
3. I do not understand what you are saying? If someone acts capriciously then are they not in fact acting capriciously?
4. I didn't say any of that. I do believe in free will. I also believe in causality. How causality leads to free will I do not know. Neither do you. Neither does anyone. But unless you are suggesting that there is no reality then I am not sure what you are saying here?
5. If there is no best way to play the game then that is the reality.
6. Believing you can eat meat or not believing you can eat meat matters little if you are starving and only meat is available.

who have become enamoured with science and reality

This is what I mean by cross purposes. When I say reality I mean the normative definition. When you say reality I have no idea what you are talking about? Science did not invent reality?
Accept the messiness of this world, the grander a view is the more nuanced it has to be

I do not remember saying the world was not messy or grand or nuanced? I made one claim, that actual reality is more important than interpretation of reality and that were the interpretation and reality diverged reality would in the long run win.
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Re: Best world scenario

Post Number:#15  Postby Judaka » June 9th, 2017, 11:07 am

Sorry post is so long but it's mostly quotes :oops:
Is that fair? Steak tasting good would normally be considered a subjective belief? The other two objective but one unanswerable (currently)?

First off is it possible that any beliefs exist in a spectrum of objectivity and subjectivity?


There is no such thing as an objective belief, I maintain there are two kinds of belief and the first is belief about things that factually exist and the second has has nothing to do with existing or not - cannot be proven and does not require proof.
Hair colour is interesting. It is trivially true that having higher natural defense against heat and lower defense against cold is better in hot climates and worse in cold. Over time the ability to adapt is what is key however. For most people in developed countries hair colour makes no difference. From the point of view of sexual selection hair colour can make a difference to survival. So for example if you were born in certain situations where high heat defense was beneficial then having a sexual preference for blond hair would be counter to reality and selected against. So in this scenario reality corrects against subjective beliefs.


It is quite difficult to follow this logic, what you are describing is a trend - causality and that is what evolutionary growth is. Reality is not synonymous with causality and once again the way you talk about reality is hard to follow. Reality does not correct, does not create, it does not DO anything - it is literally the state of things as they factually are... THE STATE!! This state changes constantly, reality changes overtime but it is not reality that does that. Causality drives evolution and creates trends which end up deciding the predominant features amongst animals and for qualities significant enough to influence reproduction or survival trends there will be consequences for that in time. Similarly if a quality is categorically insignificant to reproduction or survival then other factors will decide whether it is remains within the species.

I apologise, this was not my intention. Would you be so kind as to reiterate.



Without conscious thought reality has managed to create consciousness and empathy. I am a fan of reality. Sure humans might all kill themselves (accidentally or deliberately) or die from other means, natural or even extra terrestrial. That will not however stop reality. The next conscious life (or other conscious lives elsewhere) will have the chance of doing better. I agree that we are not all heading inexorably in the right direction but if we veer too far from the right direction we die and cease to be an issue. Eventually, somewhere, somehow, chances are life will be more in the right direction and maybe far enough in the right direction to insure the right direction is maintained


Firstly reality does not create anything, reality refers to the state of things as they factually are and nothing more and reality cannot be "stopped" it is not an existing thing, it is a concept that describes whatever is and something will always be even if it is nothing so I don't understand these kinds of terms and they sound as though you are talking about something else. To digress, you talk about the right path but what I am trying to show you is that there are prerequisites for believing in an objectively right path that are difficult to substantiate within atheism. You are either talking about objective moral order or you are talking about science as something that can tell us, in that previous example of which those ten perspectives are most important. If it is the former then what is your basis for your belief in objective moral order and what evidence do you have of its existence and if it is the latter then show me the evidence to support how science gives us; as you put it "the right direction"


1. I never said the world could fit in a test lab? The conditions that you are performing your running are part of reality?
2. Yes in the short term, or even in quite a long term, luck can beat reality. I never said it couldn't. I just think over time, over species, over galaxies then luck must balance out.
3. I do not understand what you are saying? If someone acts capriciously then are they not in fact acting capriciously?
4. I didn't say any of that. I do believe in free will. I also believe in causality. How causality leads to free will I do not know. Neither do you. Neither does anyone. But unless you are suggesting that there is no reality then I am not sure what you are saying here?
5. If there is no best way to play the game then that is the reality.
6. Believing you can eat meat or not believing you can eat meat matters little if you are starving and only meat is available.


1. I am talking about belief here? This is all about belief. Reality is the state of things as they are and naturally that includes beliefs, probability, capriciousness and so on but belief such as "I believe there is a God" or "I believe I can fly" is about believing that reality is a certain way without empirical proof. Since reality is the state of things as they are - one cannot question reality - if I said that "I can fly" I am not challenging reality only an understanding of what is true. We can test whether I can fly and your view of reality will be proven correct and mine false. What I am saying here is that an objective truth that is conditionally true leaves room open for belief especially when free will is brought into the picture. Were my choice the variable between options, wouldn't your view of what I might do be entirely limited to belief? If under no circumstances can your view be proven objectively true then it is a belief by default.

2. I think what you mean here is that chance can defy probability... Chance cannot beat reality that's for sure.

3. It is the same as with one (though that includes unknown but knowable) except explicitly states that the unknowable thing is free will. An example of an unknowable thing outside of free will would be something which cannot be proven true or false such as God. You can have a view that ones interpretation of reality should be decided by empirical proof but it is a belief and not one others must follow.

4. I should have said "one" instead of "you", I was not trying to put words in your mouth, I could have been clearer on that so my bad. I am contrasting free will and causality here because one can predict outcomes through causality - belief is not inherently necessary but since we cannot show proof for any particular outcome when free will is a significant factor - we can only make educated guesses or predictions - calling this a belief is unfair upon reflection so perhaps my point here is moot.

5. That only addresses half of my point but yes it is part of reality - I am not denying that - what I am saying is that reality is constantly changing and once our views no longer reflect the truth we must re-evaluate them but before we know, we still have to do things right? Wouldn't you do what you believe to be best if you cannot know what is best? That is the same in all things but if it is something that is constantly and eternally changing then belief and interpretation will always be important. Relativity just describes a potential reason for change but it is not the only reason, however it is a big one in our world because of the nature and prevalence of competition.

6. What's that got to do with whether we are omnivores or not, I can consume many things which are not food or are harmful to me. The distinction still matters to people and that is part of reality, you cannot dumb it down to a death scenario and ignore what is in front of you. Also just a completely disingenuous response to an argument by strawmanning my example as though it were my argument.
This is what I mean by cross purposes. When I say reality I mean the normative definition. When you say reality I have no idea what you are talking about? Science did not invent reality?


Science is the study of the physical world aka reality, what you mean by reality is definitely not normal or even correct nor did I ever state science invented reality. What I am saying is that you are enamoured with the idea of objective truth to the point where you talk about it in unscientific terms, like it is a super hero. Luck cannot beat reality!! Reality will defeat belief!! I am referring to how recent scientific advancements are having a cultural impact on the way people think and obviously I cannot be sure to what extent this is where what you are saying is coming from but neither you or your argument sounds very scientific (same as OP) yet your view seems highly technocratic and pro-science.

I made one claim, that actual reality is more important than interpretation of reality and that were the interpretation and reality diverged reality would in the long run win.


Okay but "important" is a subjective qualitative term aka a belief and while I certainly believe an incorrect view is less likely to survive than a correct one, it is slightly more nuanced than this? However mostly I am saying this in reference to your view that "reality trumps belief".
Me - We are in the midsts of a great culture war, where the truth is not as important as the way we interpret it and nothing can be done to those who do not see things as we do except try to bring their views into alignment by either exploiting common ground or things unrelated to the issue, whatever works and I call that a culture war.

Eduk- Personally I believe that, over time, reality trumps belief. Sure in the short term or in very specific cases it might be that belief is more beneficial than reality but eventually reality will correct.


Interpretation of reality as an objective truth and interpretation of reality as a subjective truth are two different kinds of interpretations and what I said here was that the truth (reality) is not as important as we interpret it, I feel that is clearly talking about an interpretation of reality in subjective terms and having nothing to do with the former of the aforementioned types of interpretation. Your view lacks nuance imo because it centres around "reality" whatever that means to you, to far too great of an extent.
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