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What essentially is Good and Evil?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Justme, May 6, 2012.

  1. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    95% likelihood is not at all unreasonable given the science behind it. You should do some reading on what can be done with modern data mining techniques. And I don't know what you think I don't understand about what those numbers mean - I've taken more than enough statistics and market research and data mining courses to understand 95%. Can we talk SQL, K-means clustering, neural networks and genetic algorithms? Or just stick to the basic linear regression and normalization formulas?


    Two things.

    1) A drunk driver in one sense is no more culpable after an accident then before, the act is the same, which is to take a needless risk on killing someone by driving drunk.
    2) Remember what I said before about making a good faith effort? None of what you've said addresses the obvious moral question. If it saves lives, and kills nobody, why can't I do it?

    I don't understand why you need to avoid the obvious question behind the hypothetical, so maybe I should just keep it simple: Can you articulate a moral position that would justify a utilitarian approach to morality without being used to justify vigilantism and other clearly undesirable consequences?
     
  2. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

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    I will be the first to admit that I do not know very much about statisitcs, but I remain doubtful that you could achieve the accuracy you claim due to the fact that if such accuracy was possible then the use of it would be a lot more prominent. Explain to me how that accuracy is possible in a way I can understand and I will accept it. Otherwise no.

    I'm not talking about blame, I'm talking about the fact that simply just because you drive drunk doesn't mean you'll get into an accident. Sure, it's more likely then driving not drunk, but it's not a sure thing.

    I HAVE BEEN adressing the point of the hypothetical! You shouldn't do it because of the reasons I described! Your assessment isn't accurate enough to justify it, just because they drive drunk doesn't mean they'll get into an accident, and finally cutting their tendons does not mean they won't drive again and might drive them to drink more! So basically you're causing undue suffering without insurance that you're reducing suffering more then you're causing it.

    As for the last word, I have one word for you; Quarantine.
     
  3. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    A lot more prominent than . . . what? Something that's used all the time? Those rewards cards in your wallet weren't given to you for your loyalty. They want to track your purchases, what you've bought and when, and how those purchases have changed over time. They then run that information through a data-mining process called K-Means Clustering, which arranges the data into groups of purchases which appear over and over again. Sometimes it reflects items which are purchased all at once - ketchup, hotdogs, hamburgers, they like to barbeque so let's send them coupons for a new grill. But those patterns also develop over time, and that's where things get interesting. Target is known, for instance, to predict with pinpoint accuracy when a woman is pregnant - and her expected birth month - based solely on the purchase of saltine crackers and coconut oil lotion three months apart. The determination comes with a percentage which reaches 90 percentiles by the time there's 3-4 items from the group, and the margin of error was only people who shop for others. They were sending out "Congratulations" cards until they realized it creeped people out. Now they send a coupon packet with lawnmowers and diapers side by side to hide how much they know.

    With the right data, the same process can be used to identify drunk drivers. A sociodemographic profile of the typical drunk driver will tell you what to look for - and can distinguish them from typical drivers who drink - based, for instance, on the time of night that a person typically buys alcohol, whether they buy it at a store far from home, or if they buy quantities large enough to suggest a party. Cross reference that information with car-related purchases to show they own a car, plus something like sunglasses and leather jackets which people buy to show off. Add to it the purchase of stimulants like Red Bull. 95%? Yes, you can get that high for a subset of the data, easily.

    Why do I go through this? It came up in a thread elsewhere, and if it comes up again now some people might know what I'm talking about.


    Y'know, when I typed it, I was going to say "cut off their foot," but I thought that sounded too barbaric. Regardless, I've asked the question several times outside of the hypothetical, so if you're going to refuse to answer it, well.... okay. I'll take you up on that last word thing.

    Quarantine. Whatever that means.
     
  4. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

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    you... don't know what being in Quarantine means? Wo~~~~w.

    I still doubt all the information you'd gathered would be that useful to track potential drunk drivers though!

    Also, what have I refused to answer? I've answered everything I've been asked and given reason for that information!
     
  5. Ankari

    Ankari Hero Breaker Moderator

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    I....must......look.....away.....
     
  6. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I just gave you a clear layman's articulation of a scientific process you know nothing about, and all you can say is you have "doubts"? Come on. You just don't want to admit you got lawyered.

    Also I asked:


     
  7. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

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    and I answered both of those.

    EDIT: It simply seems to me that the things you mentioned wouldn't neccesarily conclusively point to a drunk driver with the accuracy you claim. There's a large number of things you can buy all that for without being a drunk driver.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2012
  8. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    Did anyone ever answer the original question?
     
  9. ascanius

    ascanius Inkling

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    What timezone are you guys on? I'm not going to write another maxed out page trying to explain things again, I cannot keep up with this, Seven pages in one day?
    ? I don't get what you mean by this. Don't answer if you don't want to back track, I understand.

    Don't you see that your doing the same thing as the whole false dichotomy thing again. Your arguing the validity of the evidence and not the logic, like you argued the validity of the definition of words. FYI, words are meaningless if people decide they mean whatever they want them to. Language works because of a standard definition of a word. So rationalize and Justify, mean exactly what they mean, and are not semantics. Stick to the argument. Dude you need to step back and calm down a bit, I know what it's like being on the defensive, it's a witch hunt and your the target. Don't take it personal, and sorry if I helped give you that feeling.

    edit: Not to disrupt the train of thought here but Queshire could you explain what exactly you think regarding this topic and why? I don't think you gave your opinions on the topic?
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2012
  10. Fnord

    Fnord Troubadour

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    This has become heavy. In the interest of levity, and because this thread continues to remind me of this, I'm just going to post it:

    [​IMG]


    We should consider that a lot of public policy revolves around variations of this argument, so I think it's useful. Separating the logical from the emotional is what we all want to do when looking at the bigger picture, but when you're the one pulling the trigger on the little girl's head, it suddenly becomes a lot more complicated.

    Let's move it from the realm of a hypothetical to something that's actually a moral dilemma: If terrorists have hijacked an airplane, and it is known they will fly it into a large building full of people, are we morally obligated to shoot the plane down? There's been some "tinfoil hat" speculation that such a thing is what happened to Flight 93 that crashed in rural PA on 9/11 (and maybe because it was practically in my backyard at the time, perhaps I heard way more about these theories than most). Either way, it brings up a variation on this sort of situation and there aren't a lot of "third options" in this instance either.

    While I don't think that's actually what happened, if it did were they justified in doing it? Lots of people seemed genuinely upset at the thought that we'd shoot down a plane of our own people in order to prevent it from killing other people. And this wasn't even an either/or scenario: in both instances the people on the plane die. If we shoot it down, only the people on the plane die; if we let it go the people on the plane die AND the people in the building die. And yet, even with this choice, it makes people uncomfortable even though the math clearly states the better option. So the choice is less about the mathematics (many people dying vs. many MORE people dying); the choice is really between passive action and willful action.

    And the fact that it's NOT easy really muddies the black/white, good/evil argument. Clearly this is a subjective judgment, and a very uncomfortable one.
     
  11. Caliburn

    Caliburn New Member

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    "What essentially is Good and Evil?"

    As far as fantasy fiction is concerned, they are whatever you want them to be.
     
  12. shangrila

    shangrila Inkling

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    According to bad writers (Goodkind and Paolini), good is your main character and bad is anyone who opposes them, no matter how logical they might be or how morally bad the main character's actions are. The world is what you're told it is, not how it's shown to be.
     
  13. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    LOL. No kidding :)

    Devor, Ascanius...I think you guys are wasting your breath at this point. I initially thought Queshire was just being obtuse for the sake of doing so...you know, internet forums and all. Now, I think he really doesn't grasp what any other than himself are saying, or where he's going wrong in his thought process. Maybe try him again in a few years. We can shift this thread in a number of directions.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2012
  14. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    Oh I've given up. No mistake about that.
     
  15. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    I think so, at least with respect to the second part of it (i.e. that "good" is essentially the utilitarian approach in any situation; which I don't agree with). As to the OP's definition of evil...I don't know...I agree that things that fit into the definition given tend to be bad, but I don't know if I'd go with it as a definition of evil.
     
  16. *sigh* It seems to me this argument is going in circles and gradually getting more personal. Isn't the disagreement itself evidence enough that people have varying personal opinions of what constitutes good and evil to gauge and base their own actions on? Because at the base of nature we command only ourselves.

    Now, who would like some of these homemade cakes I've made:smile:?

    :grouphug:
     
  17. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Aidan:

    Yes, I think it is clear people have differing views. But people also have differing views on things that are objectively true or false. I'm not saying good and evil fall into that category, I'm just saying there is no real way to tell whether they do or not. People who view it in more absolute terms may be correct, or not. I don't think we can know that.

    What kind of cakes are they?
     
  18. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    This is a much more difficult scenario, of course, and probably bears a lot more thinking about. On the one hand, you could cast it as more of a wartime collateral damage scenario, because the immediate object and target of your attach is arguably the terrorist wielding the plane as a weapon. On the other hand, the "collateral damage" is clear, quantifiable, and unavoidable, whereas when bombing a terrorist target on the ground in some distant area I suppose you could frame the collateral damage as unintentional (though that becomes specious on some level).

    I think, from a practical standpoint, we are all left with subjective judgments as to how to comport ourselves. It remains an interesting question, though, whether some people may be objectively "right" in their view point. I don't think we can get to that answer.
     
  19. *I withdraw from the argument*

    These are chocolate, these are coconut:).
     
  20. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Any chance of combining those? If you can, I'll have two! :D
     
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