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Is it right to override a government after disasters?





jeffryjon
Lets say a major disaster has occurred such as an earthquake or major flood. The government of that country say they need no help and have everything in hand, though the evidence points to the opposite. People are suffering unnecessarily and a proud, yet inadequate government is digging its heels in.

Going into that country and helping without permission could be considered an invasion, could cause a major international dispute and could have serious security issues, though none of the above is a sure thing.

Should you follow your conscience and use your group to go and assist the victims or should you stick with international protocols about rights of sovereignty?
SonLight
The short answer has to be NO, whether you are acting as a government or an individual. Attempting to impose your will on another country, using force if necessary, would quickly lead to a world where "wild west shoot-em-up free for all" becomes the standard of international behavior, and that kind of result can never be justified.

On the other hand, I don't think you have to stand idly by. As an individual, you could choose to enter the country and provide some assistance, as long as you do not explicitly confront the government, and you realize the consequences could be severe -- depending on the country, they might convict you of espionage when they find you.

As a government, you could prepare aid and take it to the border. You could also try to get international support for the idea of helping. You could encourage the country to take advantage of your assistance, but avoid imposing it or giving the appearance of pressure.

Declaring that the government is not in control and attempting to restore order from outside is a very serious step which should very rarely be taken, although humanitarian considerations could conceivably cause it to be considered if the government is incompetent or cruel enough.
Indi
i'd say this is a much trickier question than it first appears.

To answer it, you have to realize what a government is. A government is just the people's tool to administrate themselves. If the will of the government is not the same as the will of the people, the government is broken, and it needs to be fixed... but it needs to be fixed by the people themselves, or it won't be their government.

So let's use a real world example to put this in perspective. When Katrina broke the levees in New Orleans, the Canadian government not only offered help to the Americans, they actually geared up and loaded the planes under the assumption that that help would be welcome. The Americans refused to allow the Canadians to help. History records the result.

Now i deliberately pick this example because America is not some third world country run by some despot (well, that depends on your opinion, i guess), and it's not quite as easy for people to say "****** that government, you're in the right" when "that government" is the US government.

Should Canadians have just said "****** that government, the people there need help"? Certainly if they had, they would have saved many, many lives.

But we couldn't have done that. The American government, whatever you may have thought of it at the time, was the American government. It was the body put together by the people to administrate them. They put together a body of idiots? Well, that's their problem. They chose them, we Canadians had to respect that. In other words, whatever the American government told us, it was - for all purposes - as if the American people themselves had told it to us.

There is a caveat here, though. What if the government really isn't there by the will of the people? The answer to that is: it has to be. No government can exist without the support of the people. That includes tacit support. Even a military dictatorship is only a government if the people tolerate it. If the people really didn't want them there, they would have found some way to get them out, whether it is by an uprising done internally, or whether it is by asking the international community for support.

The New Orleans people who died in those floods chose to be part of the union that is the United States. The union chose to put the people in charge that they did. They chose poorly, in my opinion, but who knows? Maybe if we'd had a chance to ask them, they would have told us that their elected government acted exactly the way they wanted them to. Or, maybe not - but in that case, they made their bed, so they have to lie in it.
Bikerman
Yes, I started to answer this and then got myself into a hole and had to back out and rethink. It is most certainly non-trivial.
I came to the same conclusion, reluctantly - that a duly elected Government must be taken, by non-nationals, as representing the wishes of the people - even when it is apparent that they are not representing one section either well, or even at all.
But then I thought to myself - what about a non-democratic state? Does a non national have the right, or even a duty, to interfere when such a state refuses help which is clearly needed by the citizens and would be asked for if they could do so?
This is a real poser, and I can make good arguments for either side.
Certainly one should not feel constrained by tyranny, so to respect the wishes of the government concerned is not indicated just because it is the government. But wait a moment - no country, democratic or not, is likely to have a government that represents the majority of the electorate. Obama had a big win - he got just under 70 million votes - around 53% of the votes cast. But there are about 210 million people eligable to vote in the US - so that represents only 33.33% of the actual electorate.
So, the question then becomes, if the population accept a particular electoral system (or at least don't try too hard to overthrow or replace it) then does it represent the will of the people? And if it does, then that rules out intervention by non-nationals in ALL cases where the population is not actively rebelling against their government in sufficient numbers to be clear that more people want change than status-quo. Now, you say that no government can survive without at least the tacit support of the population. Hmm, I'm not sure about that. What about Burma? And if we consider subjugated countries then what about East Timor? Would it be right for a non-Burmese to intervene in Burma, despite the wishes of the Junta? The Junta is, after all, Burmese.
What about east Timor - can we ethically justify intervention despite the wishes of Indonesia?

You have probably guessed where this goes now...If the answer to that last is yes, then the Al-Queda and Mujahideen fighters from Pakistan, Saudi, the UK and other countries currently fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan are surely able to make the same case for their actions..?
liljp617
Would the answer depend on what ethical theory you subscribe to (or rather which one is correct)? What's been said so far seems in line with some of the main criticisms of ethical relativism: Leave other "groups" to themselves and let them figure out how to deal with their own issues regardless of the situation, how do you decide what constitutes the majority, etc.

From a non-relativist view, though, what would the answer be?


*Correct me if I'm wrong. I'm in my third week of the first formal philosophy course I've ever taken, so forgive the noobie Razz
Bikerman
Don't need to apologise - I'm flying by the seat of my pants here as well.....

You could take a moral absolutist stance. God=Good&Supreme. Therefore Government is secondary and the rights of the state are secondard to the will of God. Since 'I know the will of God through my moral code', then 'I should ignore the state' - even if it represents the majority.

The old-fashioned word for this is missionary work. Normally it involves some 'payback'. The recipient of aid is often put under some moral obligation or, at least, duress to behave in a certain way. In older times Africans had to say verses from the bible, renounce their tribal gods/spirits and pledge to be good Christians. Nowadays it is a bit more subtle, but the pressure still exists.
http://www.awid.org/eng/Issues-and-Analysis/Library/Part-4-Exporting-Faith-Healing-the-body-to-reach-the-soul-Evangelicals-add-converts-through-medical-trips
http://www.hvk.org/articles/0199/0015.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proselytism
Indi
No, i am not using a relative metric. i am not saying that other nations should not be messed with because we don't have the right to judge them, (that would be relativist) i am saying that no government can exist without the approval of the people, even if that is only tacit approval (i am saying that is a universal fact, so i am using a universalist metric).

In practical terms, Obama was technically not elected by a majority, but that's not the point. The point is that if he really didn't represent the majority, he wouldn't be in charge. Those 66% who didn't vote forfeited their right to do so... that is the same as an "i don't care" vote. They put the decision about their governance into the hands of the other 33%. Whatever that 33% choses, the rest agree to live with. Apathy is an unfortunate fact, but you can't just ignore it. Those 66% were apathetic, to their loss, but it's their right to chose to be that way. You can't just decide for them that the government is not what they want, simply because they didn't bother to voice their own decision.

What about "subjugated" countries? Again, subjugation is not possible without consent. 10% of the people (and that's a generous estimate - in most of these regimes you're talking about less than 1%) cannot control the other 90% if that 90% doesn't allow themselves to be controlled. It's just logistically impossible. The situation gets even worse if that 90% asks the international community to help them get rid of the thugs pretending to be their government. It just can't last if they really don't want it to.

So to answer your questions directly, Bikerman: does the government always represent the will of all the people, even if only a minority opted to vote for them? Yes. Because if the government didn't represent the will of the majority of people, they would find some way to impeach or overthrow them. Does that rule out ALL intervention by other nations (note: not non-nationals! be careful with your terms!!!)? Yes. No nation can assume the sovereign right to overrule the will of another group of people on how they want to govern themselves. And if they're not trying to take their government down, then they either want it there, or - at the very least - can live with it. The specific cases of Burma or East Timor? No, you cannot justify intervention. It's their government. It's a shitty one, but if they really wanted it gone, they could get rid of it.

Unless you can prove that a people is really not being represented by their government, you cannot take action in contravention of that government, even when you think you would be acting in the people's best interest.

So what do you do? Sit on your ass while an evil government exploits its people? No, what you do is send the message to the people being exploited: if you rise up, we will be there. Our job as free and moral people is to make sure that every person in the world knows the maxim that people should not be afraid of their government, government should be afraid of the people. And not just that they know it, we have to make sure they really believe it. We have to make sure that everyone is aware of their personal political power. Our job is not to think for them, it is to educate them. Then, if they choose to be ruled by a savage dictatorship... we have to respect that choice.
jeffryjon
Jeffryjon wrote:

Lets say a major disaster has occurred such as an earthquake or major flood. The government of that country say they need no help and have everything in hand, though the evidence points to the opposite. People are suffering unnecessarily and a proud, yet inadequate government is digging its heels in.

Going into that country and helping without permission could be considered an invasion, could cause a major international dispute and could have serious security issues, though none of the above is a sure thing.

Should you follow your conscience and use your group to go and assist the victims or should you stick with international protocols about rights of sovereignty?


In such a situation, we have already assessed that the people need help. Presuming consent of the people of that nation would seem rather cruel. They've had their infrastructure destroyed and only a fool would turn away the needed help for their families and themselves. Governments are normally better protected in terms of B and C plans when nature threatens them, though that doesn't always ring true for the general populace. Further to this, injured, homeless and starving people have far less means to change or even overthrow their governments, so would a temporary intervention be justified?

SonLight wrote:
The short answer has to be NO, whether you are acting as a government or an individual. Attempting to impose your will on another country, using force if necessary, would quickly lead to a world where "wild west shoot-em-up free for all" becomes the standard of international behavior, and that kind of result can never be justified.

On the other hand, I don't think you have to stand idly by. As an individual, you could choose to enter the country and provide some assistance, as long as you do not explicitly confront the government, and you realize the consequences could be severe -- depending on the country, they might convict you of espionage when they find you.

As a government, you could prepare aid and take it to the border. You could also try to get international support for the idea of helping. You could encourage the country to take advantage of your assistance, but avoid imposing it or giving the appearance of pressure.


According to WHO the first 72 hours after a disastrous event are critical in getting aid and assistance to victims. Bureaucracy takes time - often weeks and months.

Bikerman wrote:
You could take a moral absolutist stance. God=Good&Supreme. Therefore Government is secondary and the rights of the state are secondard to the will of God. Since 'I know the will of God through my moral code', then 'I should ignore the state' - even if it represents the majority.

The old-fashioned word for this is missionary work. Normally it involves some 'payback'. The recipient of aid is often put under some moral obligation or, at least, duress to behave in a certain way. In older times Africans had to say verses from the bible, renounce their tribal gods/spirits and pledge to be good Christians. Nowadays it is a bit more subtle, but the pressure still exists.


In the sense that it would involve a mission then of course it would be missionary work, though we're not talking here of converting people to a new religion or anything like that. We're simply talking about a mass need for humanitarian assistance.

Indi wrote:
What about "subjugated" countries? Again, subjugation is not possible without consent. 10% of the people (and that's a generous estimate - in most of these regimes you're talking about less than 1%) cannot control the other 90% if that 90% doesn't allow themselves to be controlled. It's just logistically impossible. The situation gets even worse if that 90% asks the international community to help them get rid of the thugs pretending to be their government. It just can't last if they really don't want it to.


I would disagree with the above on the grounds of means. Governments who are in control of key infrastructure can and often do control the majority. It may be that the populace chose to conform as the outside world seemed to offer them little or no assistance against an oppressive regime, but that could mean that those same people choose to be subservient through fear rather than actively agreeing with the status quo. Asking for outside help doesn't always result in it being delivered. It's often hard to assess the real support for a campaign in a country which has blanket media coverage, restricts movements of its citizens and blocks internet and telephone access of anyone who opposes the government. So we're back to the original question and work with the presumption that we have assessed the need for help and are sure we're right.
Bikerman
Quote:
In the sense that it would involve a mission then of course it would be missionary work, though we're not talking here of converting people to a new religion or anything like that. We're simply talking about a mass need for humanitarian assistance
It is rarely so straightforward. Most Church charities are definitely in the business of prostelytising their brand of Christianity and even in emergency relief efforts they will normally find time for a bit of evangelising.

As regards the rest - a government will ask for help if it needs it - like Pakistan at present. Therefore the aid teams entering are welcome and there with the consent of the Government.
Individuals sometimes also like to go and 'do their bit'. I am actually opposed to that in the main because they often have misguided notions of what they can acheive, may work against other professional organisations and quite often get themselves into so much trouble they need rescuing themselves....
Indi
jeffryjon wrote:
I would disagree with the above on the grounds of means. Governments who are in control of key infrastructure can and often do control the majority.

There is a world of difference between "can" and "do". Yes, groups have maintained control over populations, and sometimes still do, by controlling resources and infrastructure. But they can't do it for long. Not if the population really doesn't want to be controlled.

It is simply logistically impossible to maintain control over a population that really doesn't want to be controlled, when that population is far larger than the group doing the controlling.

jeffryjon wrote:
It may be that the populace chose to conform as the outside world seemed to offer them little or no assistance against an oppressive regime, but that could mean that those same people choose to be subservient through fear rather than actively agreeing with the status quo.

That shows you what our responsibilities, as outsiders, are. It is our responsibility to make sure that everyone... everywhere... knows that the outside world can and will offer help if they really want it. And, it is our responsibility to make sure that if help is asked for, it is delivered. It's as simple as that.

These things should be done before there is a disaster, of course, not during or after. We should always try to make sure that the message gets out to everyone on the planet that there is always another option.

The fact that sometimes these things don't happen perfectly does not give you the right to simply assume sovereign rights over another group of people, and decide what they want for them.

jeffryjon wrote:
Asking for outside help doesn't always result in it being delivered. It's often hard to assess the real support for a campaign in a country which has blanket media coverage, restricts movements of its citizens and blocks internet and telephone access of anyone who opposes the government.

Again, that shows you where your responsibilities lie. If you don't know whether a government is really what the population wants, the right thing to do is - obviously, i would think - find out. It is not right to simply assume they don't want their government, and invade - even if you think you're doing them a favour, and even if you don't call it "invasion" but rather something more positive.

jeffryjon wrote:
So we're back to the original question and work with the presumption that we have assessed the need for help and are sure we're right.

No, we're not back to the original question, and your "presumptions" are nothing more than hand-waving away the human rights of the people you presume to be helping.

The fact that it is often hard to determine whether a government is really supported by it's people is irrelevant. Many things in life are hard. That doesn't mean you just shrug off your responsibilities with respect to human rights, and go ahead and take the easy path.

The same goes for the fact that sometimes illegitimate governments do hold power because the people don't realize they have another option. You can't just assume that the people don't want their government, just because you think they're not fully informed about their options. The right thing to do is make sure they are informed.

If you have assessed the needs of the people and are sure you're right, that means a sum total of nothing. i know that the people of Saudi Arabia need to ditch their medieval aristocracy and start building schools and infrastructure, and i'm damn sure i'm right about that. Nevertheless, they are choosing to keep things the way they've always been (goodness knows they've had more than enough opportunity to change things). i think they're wrong, and i think that i am quite right that they need to advance, but they've made the choice, and as long as it affects only them, i have to respect it the same way i respect any choice made by a free person that affects only them.
ocalhoun
Indi wrote:
Yes, groups have maintained control over populations, and sometimes still do, by controlling resources and infrastructure. But they can't do it for long. Not if the population really doesn't want to be controlled.

So, what if the disaster happens during the (relatively) short time when they are controlled quite against their will?

I would also say that, yes, no government can last forever against the will of the majority of its people, but they can sometimes exist for quite some time that way, especially if the unloved government has international support from a stronger government.
SonLight
I don't see how you can establish a fixed rule about intervening when there are conflicting moral principles at stake. On the one hand, we ought to save lives if we can, even if we think the people whose lives are in jeopardy are fully responsible for their plight. On the other hand, we ought to be very reluctant to violate a country's sovereignty, even if we think they are a horrible government.

We don't always have to choose between doing nothing and rushing in by stealth or with guns blazing though. Consider the Katrina situation. Suppose Canada had prepared a rescue fleet and posted it offshore near New Orleans. The right kind of negotiations at that point might have led to the conclusion that because they were already there and could meet the need, they should be allowed in. Presumably it would be done so as to save face for the US, as though Canada had "accidentally" put themselves in a position where it was more "convenient" for them to meet the need than for the US to. It would be clear to the US, though, that if they still refused to let Canadian forces act, there would be a disaster and it would be obvious to all that the US government's inaction had caused it.

The biggest downside to such tactics is that incompetence by the US government would be covered up, and people might therefore suffer more in the future because they wouldn't see the need to "throw the rascals out" when objectively they should.
ocalhoun
SonLight wrote:
I don't see how you can establish a fixed rule about intervening when there are conflicting moral principles at stake. On the one hand, we ought to save lives if we can, even if we think the people whose lives are in jeopardy are fully responsible for their plight. On the other hand, we ought to be very reluctant to violate a country's sovereignty, even if we think they are a horrible government.


My best guess for a universal principle would be that you should try to discern the will of the people involved in the disaster.
If they want help from you, help them. If they don't want help, don't help... Which would hold true regardless of what the local government wants.

(Of course, if the local government is willing to use force to keep you out, it becomes more complicated, and you must take into account your ability to defy that government as well as the possibility that the government may take its frustrations out on the people you try to help, making them worse off then when you started.)
jeffryjon
SonLight wrote:
I don't see how you can establish a fixed rule about intervening when there are conflicting moral principles at stake. On the one hand, we ought to save lives if we can, even if we think the people whose lives are in jeopardy are fully responsible for their plight. On the other hand, we ought to be very reluctant to violate a country's sovereignty, even if we think they are a horrible government.


I'm not trying to establish a fixed rule for intervening, though the thread is successful in that it's helping to bring out the aspects that require consideration. Difficult situations often force difficult decisions and what's right one day may be wrong the next or vice versa.

Ocalhoun wrote:
My best guess for a universal principle would be that you should try to discern the will of the people involved in the disaster.
If they want help from you, help them. If they don't want help, don't help... Which would hold true regardless of what the local government wants.

(Of course, if the local government is willing to use force to keep you out, it becomes more complicated, and you must take into account your ability to defy that government as well as the possibility that the government may take its frustrations out on the people you try to help, making them worse off then when you started.)


One of the difficulties in these situations is governments etc will often shy away from anything that creates increased international pressure on them and allow some aid to be delivered and administered. It may seem unfortunate that this isn't always the case, though even when invited problems can arise. Another government, even with its resources may back away from intervening offering statements of respecting sovereignty, though in my eyes it's more likely their afraid that the people will rise up against their government once they're reminded of what they're missing out on. Offers from aid agencies, as such are more likely though not guaranteed to work.

Here's the real difficulty that prompted the original question. When we interfere in another's life we change it. Waiting for a request of help formal or otherwise doesn't necessarily hold any water for me - I used to be in Fire and Rescue and we never waited - the equation was simple - we were alerted to a possible need for assistance and went to check it out carrying all we believed necessary to handle the situation if it turned out to be true. In my mind at least the only major difference between a house fire/car accident and a major disaster is scale. Did people always want help - surprisingly no, though we had a social responsibility to give it whether the recipient wanted it or not. However, there is another difference, that deserves some deep thought.

Presuming I'm an organisation set up for the purpose of helping others after a major disaster and that I'm capable of providing assistance to a set of people in need, the question of whether to help or not is already answered. If the local government are unwilling to accept help for their own people who may need it, the only way we can find out for sure is to go and have a look. Such a move may cause an International incident. As food for thought, though the situation has different parameters, when I worked in Fire and Rescue, the attitude would be as follows:

We've been alerted to a house fire with persons reported on housing estate X (country). Housing estate X is known to be governed by gang-leaders who are likely from past experience to arrange brick-throwers and petrol-bombers, thieves to try and steal our goods and other general nuisances to attack our staff and especially in a case like this because the people who's house is on fire is an ethnic minority disliked by the gang-leaders.

1) Do we attend the fire? - hell yes
2) Do we attend with anticipation that the situation could blow out of control? - yes
3) Do we attend and alert the police/army/other fire stations that things could get rough and disturb their tea-breaks? - still yes
4) Does all-hell break out and 10 times the number of attendees and skill-sets are forced into a situation where they have to attend an incident that they would otherwise have not? - very possibly
5) Would firefighters have entered a situation where they knew they would operate outside of the manual in order to help the people in the fire? - many a bedtime story would confirm the same
6) Do the firefighters give a hoot? - with a hint of sensibility (and only a hint) - mostly no
7) Would the other services dragged into the situation because of the actions of the firefighters raise objections? In most cases no - they would generally come forward and make unofficial plans to deal with the situation better next time it occurred (as it undoubtedly would)
8 ) Would things get worse on the estate and result in refugees leaving through fear of reprisals and the need to rehouse them? Well yes, the situation has changed from a perceived threat to life to a real and proven threat to life - refugees are inevitable.
8a) Do you need to put a space after the number 8 when numbering in this format to prevent getting a smilie? - oh yes
9) Did intervening cause other agencies to be left with the clean-up bill? - well it wouldn't be so much fun if we had to do everything - right???
10) Is the attitude too gun-ho? As much as we all hate wars Shame on you when they happen? The very people with the gun-ho attitude are required to fight them and whether delivered by nature or people - major disasters are a a war against death and should be treated as such.

It's so easy to say wait, assess debate etc when we're not the ones suffering. I've found the thread very useful so far in bringing points to the surface. Now I'd like to make it a little more personal. The disaster's just happened in your own back yard. Your government says everything is in hand and tells those offering aid to keep their noses out. You, on the other hand (as a victim) know things are not in hand - not by far. You only know what the government has said because you were lucky enough to have a radio set still functioning. Can you, your family, friend and neighbours inform the aid agencies? Sorry - your phonelines, internet, cellphones are all down. None of you are rich enough to own a SATPHONE and your road systems have been rendered too dangerous for you to leave.

To make things a little more personal - your mother has a broken leg and 3 fractured ribs (all curable given the means), none of you have eaten or drank anything in the last 24 hours and the government shows no signs of alleviating that situation. Your asthmatic child is wheezing like crazy because the inhaler is lost and your father is sifting through the rubble of your house looking for your wife and other child in the vain hope they've survived.

Do YOU want someone to intervene and deliver help with or without permission from you or your government?
liljp617
ocalhoun wrote:
SonLight wrote:
I don't see how you can establish a fixed rule about intervening when there are conflicting moral principles at stake. On the one hand, we ought to save lives if we can, even if we think the people whose lives are in jeopardy are fully responsible for their plight. On the other hand, we ought to be very reluctant to violate a country's sovereignty, even if we think they are a horrible government.


My best guess for a universal principle would be that you should try to discern the will of the people involved in the disaster.
If they want help from you, help them. If they don't want help, don't help... Which would hold true regardless of what the local government wants.

(Of course, if the local government is willing to use force to keep you out, it becomes more complicated, and you must take into account your ability to defy that government as well as the possibility that the government may take its frustrations out on the people you try to help, making them worse off then when you started.)


Is the "will of the people" directly determined by the majority? What happens if a minority of people want the help, but the majority say everything is fine?
deanhills
This is a different scenario, but maybe with similar considerations, when the UN was not allowed to help the refugees during the Rwanda genocide. The world just stood on the sidelines, initially denying that there was a problem, and then by the time countries like Belgium worked on getting some of the survivors out, a mass genocide had taken place. The UN may not have been able to do anything, but with the information it provided to the world, there should have been an international expeditionary force with a brief to protect the refugees.
jeffryjon
deanhills wrote:
This is a different scenario, but maybe with similar considerations, when the UN was not allowed to help the refugees during the Rwanda genocide. The world just stood on the sidelines, initially denying that there was a problem, and then by the time countries like Belgium worked on getting some of the survivors out, a mass genocide had taken place. The UN may not have been able to do anything, but with the information it provided to the world, there should have been an international expeditionary force with a brief to protect the refugees.


This could indeed be termed a major disaster - there is no necessity for it to be caused by nature. So the question is whether the UN and the rest of the world were right to stand by and watch.
Bikerman
jeffryjon wrote:
It's so easy to say wait, assess debate etc when we're not the ones suffering. I've found the thread very useful so far in bringing points to the surface. Now I'd like to make it a little more personal. The disaster's just happened in your own back yard. Your government says everything is in hand and tells those offering aid to keep their noses out. You, on the other hand (as a victim) know things are not in hand - not by far. You only know what the government has said because you were lucky enough to have a radio set still functioning. Can you, your family, friend and neighbours inform the aid agencies? Sorry - your phonelines, internet, cellphones are all down. None of you are rich enough to own a SATPHONE and your road systems have been rendered too dangerous for you to leave.
But as a citizen of that country then you have the right to do what you see fit - even if that includes going against 'authority'. If my government instructed me to do something (or not do something) which I felt was wrong then I can choose to do it anyway. Part of that decision is accepting the consequences, of course.
ocalhoun
liljp617 wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
SonLight wrote:
I don't see how you can establish a fixed rule about intervening when there are conflicting moral principles at stake. On the one hand, we ought to save lives if we can, even if we think the people whose lives are in jeopardy are fully responsible for their plight. On the other hand, we ought to be very reluctant to violate a country's sovereignty, even if we think they are a horrible government.


My best guess for a universal principle would be that you should try to discern the will of the people involved in the disaster.
If they want help from you, help them. If they don't want help, don't help... Which would hold true regardless of what the local government wants.

(Of course, if the local government is willing to use force to keep you out, it becomes more complicated, and you must take into account your ability to defy that government as well as the possibility that the government may take its frustrations out on the people you try to help, making them worse off then when you started.)


Is the "will of the people" directly determined by the majority? What happens if a minority of people want the help, but the majority say everything is fine?


Well, it would be the majority of the people affected by the disaster.
If a large country was ignoring the plight of one city, you'd try to find the opinion of people in that city, not the whole nation.

Of course, you still have to deal with that majority, which might try to enforce its will... But that falls more into the question "can I help?" rather than "should I help?".
jeffryjon
2 good points Ocalhoun.

In Sri Lanka after the Tsunami, much aid intended for the northern areas (mainly Hindu Tamil) was looted by police / army (mainly Buddhist). A friend of mine raised a lot of money for that and took truckloads of aid. Unfortunately against other advice, she decided to trust that aid would automatically be welcomed with open arms and assistance would be given to get it there. What actually happened in this case, is the police and army helped them out of the city and then helped themselves, taking all the best items.
Indi
ocalhoun wrote:
So, what if the disaster happens during the (relatively) short time when they are controlled quite against their will?

The rule is very simple. If you know the government is not legitimate, then you don't need to respect what it says. Since it's not legitimate, it's not the will of the people. If you don't know the government is illegitimate, you have to assume that it is legitimate. If you're mistaken, your "sin" is not being omniscient, which is no sin at all. If you're not mistaken, then you did the right thing.

It's too bad Frihost doesn't do tables, because this kind of thing is perfect for a table, but there are four possibilities:
  1. The government is legitimate, you assume it's legitimate.
  2. The government is illegitimate, you assume it's illegitimate.
  3. The government is legitimate, you assume it's illegitimate.
  4. The government is illegitimate, you assume it's legitimate.

These are the results in each case:
  1. No problems.
  2. No problems.
  3. You have violated the freedoms and rights of the people.
  4. You made a mistake (didn't help when you should have) because you didn't know better.
It is not immoral to assume that someone who could ask for help but doesn't, doesn't really want help. It is immoral to assume that someone who could ask for help but doesn't, does. Wanting to help people in need is a good thing. Deciding for them when they need your help is not.

ocalhoun wrote:
I would also say that, yes, no government can last forever against the will of the majority of its people, but they can sometimes exist for quite some time that way, especially if the unloved government has international support from a stronger government.

Okay, now here's the issue. Assuming that it's true, which it almost certainly is, what do you think is the best course of action for you to take? Should you:
  1. Go after the innocents; assume sovereignty over the people without their consent - basically doing exactly the same thing as the illegitimate government - and "liberate" them, hoping that you're doing them a favour? Or,
  2. Go after the ones who are being immoral; take action against the nations supporting the illegitimate government, and help the people being subjugated by the illegitimate government by educating them about their options and giving them support if they want it?
Our duties are moral people are clear: we have to fight the immoral actions of the immoral people... we don't think for the moral people because we think we know better.

This does not apply solely to governments. It is a universal rule. i, like most ethical humanists, believe that Christian homosexuals suffer horribly at the hands of their religion and its leaders. We hear horror story after horror story about forced "counselling", religious punishments and being turned into a pariah by the congregation. Furthermore, most of us believe that people in those religions are not there by choice - they are there because they have been emotionally manipulated and psychologically tortured (yes, i am using that term in the scientific sense) into believing they need the religion and can't leave. So, what should i do? Round up any homosexual Christians, yank them out of the church and take them for real counselling until they are emotionally and psychologically stable human beings?

Of course not. While i may strongly believe that they are not there of their own free will I CANNOT BE SURE unless they give me a clear sign that this is so, so i cannot act against what may be their will. They might have chosen to be in that church of their own free will... certainly they have plenty of opportunity to leave if they don't want to be there. And if they want to stay there, knowing that they will suffer for it, i have to respect that, much as it pains me.

It's not always easy to be moral.

SonLight wrote:
I don't see how you can establish a fixed rule about intervening when there are conflicting moral principles at stake.

The point that i've been trying to get across is that there are NOT conflicting principles in play. There is only a single moral principle: help anyone who appears to be suffering, unless they tell you they don't want you to. Sure it is based on two underlying principles (helping others, and respecting their freedom), but they're not in conflict.

The only sticking points here are that people:
  1. Don't understand that a legitimate government speaks for the people, so if it says it doesn't want your help, that means the people don't want your help. And,
  2. Can't figure out how to deal with the situation of potentially illegitimate governments.
In the latter case, if the government is clearly illegitimate, then you can just ignore whatever it says; it's illegitimate, after all. The problem is how do you know that a government is illegitimate if the people aren't opposing it? The answer is: you don't, and you can't just assume that it is.

SonLight wrote:
We don't always have to choose between doing nothing and rushing in by stealth or with guns blazing though. Consider the Katrina situation. Suppose Canada had prepared a rescue fleet and posted it offshore near New Orleans. The right kind of negotiations at that point might have led to the conclusion that because they were already there and could meet the need, they should be allowed in. Presumably it would be done so as to save face for the US, as though Canada had "accidentally" put themselves in a position where it was more "convenient" for them to meet the need than for the US to. It would be clear to the US, though, that if they still refused to let Canadian forces act, there would be a disaster and it would be obvious to all that the US government's inaction had caused it.

The biggest downside to such tactics is that incompetence by the US government would be covered up, and people might therefore suffer more in the future because they wouldn't see the need to "throw the rascals out" when objectively they should.

But that is exactly what happened. Literally exactly. (With one minor detail: we don't deliver aid by boat anymore. ^_^; This is the 21st century; we use planes. The planes were all loaded and sitting on the tarmac ready to go. They were "already there" - as close as they could get.) Yet they refused, people died, and it's obvious to anyone who looks into that the government mismanaged the situation.

We did our part, morally speaking. We offered help. It was refused. And as much as we hated the administration at the time (and wanted to believe that they weren't legitimate), we did the right thing: we respected what we had no reason to doubt was the will of the people.

Doing the moral thing doesn't always result in less harm than being immoral - unless you're a utilitarian, but i don't find that path particularly appealing. Sometimes, being moral causes more harm... but only if someone else is acting immorally. (Another relevant example from another thread: speaking out for the sake of free speech may result in extremists murdering people. i act morally - defending freedom - but they act immorally - murdering. My moral act causes harm, but i have to do it anyway, because it's the moral thing to do.)
jeffryjon
Indi wrote:
It's too bad Frihost doesn't do tables, because this kind of thing is perfect for a table, but there are four possibilities:
  1. The government is legitimate, you assume it's legitimate.
  2. The government is illegitimate, you assume it's illegitimate.
  3. The government is legitimate, you assume it's illegitimate.
  4. The government is illegitimate, you assume it's legitimate.

These are the results in each case:
  1. No problems.
  2. No problems.
  3. You have violated the freedoms and rights of the people.
  4. You made a mistake (didn't help when you should have) because you didn't know better.
It is not immoral to assume that someone who could ask for help but doesn't, doesn't really want help. It is immoral to assume that someone who could ask for help but doesn't, does. Wanting to help people in need is a good thing. Deciding for them when they need your help is not.


there's a flaw in your model for the table. Try making a table out of this scenario which in my mind is pretty much the same and varies only in scale.

In the early hours of 1 Sunday morning the fire Brigade are alerted to a house fire and as expected decide to attend. On arrival they find a man at the front door of the house holding a crowbar (army of weapons to defend his sovereign rights). He, the Daddy (government of his own little kingdom), states he's got everything under control (or words to the effect) and tells us (external assistance organization) to keep our noses out (or similar). We know (due to external intel, not from the citizens of the minor kingdom) that other people are or indeed are reported to be affected and take matter into our own hands. The man is removed from the front door (much to his disapproval) and the man's wife and children are saved as a result. The man is later prosecuted as he would have been anyway and it turned out that the wife and kids were sleeping when the fire occurred (actually was set by the father, though arson is very difficult to prove in a court of law). All the neighbours (surrounding nations) disagreed with his stance and the police turned a blind-eye to the fact he's been injured in the scuffle to remove him temporarily from power. Later the wife forgave him and returned to the marriage (strange but true) and the children were taken into social care (as refugees).
Bikerman
That is trivial to deal with.
a) It is not his kingdom
b) He has no rights over his wife and limited rights over his children and in all cases the safety of the children over-ride those rights.

Therefore the government is illigitimate, you assume it is illigitimate and you act correctly
jeffryjon
Trivial - only to those not directly affected - the likelihood is they would have died on that fateful night. The point above still stands, though more in the case of a major disaster, could it not be stated that a government stating the're able to cope and simultaneously not letting others have access to the situation to make an independent assessment could and possibly should be treated as if they're illegitimate at that precise moment in time until evidence proves to the contrary. The more lives at stake, the greater the need to be sure.
Bikerman
I didn't mean it was a trivial action, I meant that it is a trivial problem, philosophically.

So, if you think that goverments can be treated that way then I have to ask what makes you so sure?
As Indi said, unless you know the government is illigitimate then the presumption is otherwise - that it is legitimate. Unlike the man in your example, a government DOES have the right to tell you to bug-off, and if you ignore it you are deciding that you know best and you have no authority to do so.
jeffryjon
Still stands - why not check things out? If the government of that nation is indeed telling the truth then nothing is lost. Why should we take an attitude of accepting something as true until proven otherwise with disasters and simultaneously say we should not accept something as true unless it can be proven with matters regarding God? Surely the same should be true in both cases.
Bikerman
jeffryjon wrote:
Still stands - why not check things out? If the government of that nation is indeed telling the truth then nothing is lost. Why should we take an attitude of accepting something as true until proven otherwise with disasters and simultaneously say we should not accept something as true unless it can be proven with matters regarding God? Surely the same should be true in both cases.
Huh? The government of another nation has no need or reason to answer to you. Why should they? I don't understand what the reference to God has got to do with anything.
jeffryjon
So we're back to the question of honouring supposed sovereign rights. In the mind of many, it's not okay for people to lie, cheat,, mislead a people in matters of God which may affect their lifestyle dramatically, though it seems you're saying it is okay to do the same under some supposed sovereign right to do the same in matters of life and death. Just wondering, because to me that seems a contradiction.

If someone should not be allowed to propagate lies at the expense of the people affected by such lies, shouldn't that same rule apply across all subjects?
Bikerman
jeffryjon wrote:
So we're back to the question of honouring supposed sovereign rights. In the mind of many, it's not okay for people to lie, cheat,, mislead a people in matters of God which may affect their lifestyle dramatically, though it seems you're saying it is okay to do the same under some supposed sovereign right to do the same in matters of life and death. Just wondering, because to me that seems a contradiction.
I really don't know what you are talking about. The people are sovereign. If someone is lying to them then they can do something about it - it is their government. Why is that your business? And what has God got to do with any of this? Who has said that people cannot preach religion?
This is a straw-man argument.
jeffryjon
amazing that you're unable to see. A major disaster is by no means a general occurrence. The game-plan is suddenly and dramatically changed in a given area. People outside of that area are unlikely to have any understanding of the reality within the area. Additionally, the people in the area and directly affected may have no means of communicating what they want to the outside world fast enough to make the difference they could desperately need. How could it even be possible to ascertain what the people in that area want and/or need without being permitted to travel to that area and make an assessment? When calamities happen, especially in scale it's absolutely necessary to make such assessments to be sure that the government of that country has things in hand - at least if the lives of other human beings hold any reasonable value.

The comparison to matters regarding God, is because I find it a mystery how someone who believes that God doesn't exist and that those who propose He does have no right to interfere with the minds of others takes an opposing stance with matters of the body. If there is no God then the whole idea of God is simply a projection or fantasy of the mind and that being the case, the mind cannot exist unhindered or indeed hindered by ideas of God if the body is destroyed or damaged beyond repair. I'm also somewhat surprised that someone who dislikes people being misled / brainwashed or however it may be termed in matters of belief in God, would support the possibility of people being misled or possibly brainwashed in matters regarding human life itself and in rather large numbers. After all, in these so modern and safest of times, is it not true that much of that safety has occurred as we've developed the ability to communicate the truth across the globe in just a few moments. In a situation depicted in the start of this thread, time wasted means live lost unnecessarily. Lives which could and arguably should be saved. So what do we say to any surviving members of such communities? "Well, you know, we had everything in place but your government said there was no need for us and after all, when things were going well, it was you who voted for them or allowed them to dominate you - tough cookies my friend - life's a bummer and here's your proof."
Bikerman
The fact is that I'm afraid you are wrong.
No aid agency that I am aware of would set foot in a country without the permission of the government.
The people best placed to make any assessment are the people on the ground, not some well-wisher thousands of miles away. Generally if a government needs help they ask. If they specifically say they don't need help then unless you have some reason to believe they are not a legitimate government then you have no right to interfere.
How do you think the US would have reacted if a load of brit do-gooders decided that the response to Hurricane Katrina was shambolic, and, despite being told by the government that they were not wanted or needed, they set out for the US to rescue people? They wouldn't get past immigration control, and if they did they would probably be attacked by outraged Americans for being patronising interfering gits - and I would have no sympathy whatsoever.
How the hell would you know what the Government plans were, what resources they were deploying and why? You could end up making things a hell of a lot worse.
Even if not, then helping someone who does not ask for, or want, your help is not a moral action in my code of ethics - rather the reverse, since you are being arrogant enough to assume that you somehow know better than them.

I don't know why you find this confusing and I certainly don't understand why you think there is some inconsistency with my position on God botherers. I do not wish them (god botherers) to interfere in my life and my choices. I do them the same courtesy so I expect no less.
If they do interfere, uninvited, by knocking on my door (despite the note saying specifically that they are not welcome), then they are out of order. It doesn't matter whether they think they are saving my immortal soul or whatever codswallop they believe - I have not asked for their interference and if they still insist on interfering then they deserve a smack in the gob, which I would probably be too civilised to deliver...most days...

....in exactly the same way as you would be completely out of order if you interfered in a country which did not wish it and had not asked for it.

My position is absolutely consistent and coherent.

Now, if a specific citizen of a country asked me specifically for help then that would give me some pause for thought, but I would seek to deliver that help using the official channels.
jeffryjon
There seems to be a reluctance to accept the points as stated above - presuming that people not coming to the outside world and asking for help means they don't want it, when we already know the communication links are down would to me seem as ridiculous as presuming a man lost in the desert, 100 miles from anywhere without food, water or fuel for his vehicle wouldn't want to be rescued.

If we knew the man was missing and had failed to report as expected, we would send a search party to look for him and verify the situation.

It seems that there's a presumption that a country's government speaks for its populace, whereas my take on that is that it only holds true when a sufficient number of its populace made enough noise for the government to realise they'd better toe the line and let the general populace have their own way.

In this particular situation, as specified at the start of the thread, there's a strong likelihood that the populace will have no voice - at least until after its too late. If this turned out to be the case, would it make sense to have an International Organisation, approved by the majority of countries to send assessment teams to an area of major disaster and verify the extent of the situation? Let's pretend for a moment that this organization (internationally approved by most governments of the world) already exists and the original post still applies (quoted below).

jeffryjon wrote:
Lets say a major disaster has occurred such as an earthquake or major flood. The government of that country say they need no help and have everything in hand, though the evidence points to the opposite. People are suffering unnecessarily and a proud, yet inadequate government is digging its heels in.

Going into that country and helping without permission could be considered an invasion, could cause a major international dispute and could have serious security issues, though none of the above is a sure thing.

Should you follow your conscience and use your group to go and assist the victims or should you stick with international protocols about rights of sovereignty?
Bikerman
jeffryjon wrote:
There seems to be a reluctance to accept the points as stated above - presuming that people not coming to the outside world and asking for help means they don't want it, when we already know the communication links are down would to me seem as ridiculous as presuming a man lost in the desert, 100 miles from anywhere without food, water or fuel for his vehicle wouldn't want to be rescued.
The fact that 'communication links' are down means that the only people who know what is going on are those involved - certainly not YOU sitting hundreds or thousands of miles away. The analogy with the man lost in the desert works, but only to a limited point - the people responsible for rescuing that man would be the emergency services OF THAT COUNTRY. If there was a US citizen lost in the Sahara desert then it would not be US workers looking for him, it would be Morrocan/Algerians. IF they wanted help they would ask.
Quote:
If we knew the man was missing and had failed to report as expected, we would send a search party to look for him and verify the situation.
Not without asking the government of Morrocco/Tangiers you wouldn't. Now, to be a closer analogy the man lost would have to be Moroccan, not American. In those circumstances do you really suggest that the Americans would look for him uninvited? Of course they wouldn't.
Quote:
It seems that there's a presumption that a country's government speaks for its populace, whereas my take on that is that it only holds true when a sufficient number of its populace made enough noise for the government to realise they'd better toe the line and let the general populace have their own way.
That is a very odd definition of accountability. By that definition no country in the world has a representative government. It is a recipe for disaster because it means that any sufficiently vocal group would be considered legitimate. In any case, what gives YOU the right to tell this government that they are not legitimate?
Quote:
In this particular situation, as specified at the start of the thread, there's a strong likelihood that the populace will have no voice - at least until after its too late. If this turned out to be the case, would it make sense to have an International Organisation, approved by the majority of countries to send assessment teams to an area of major disaster and verify the extent of the situation? Let's pretend for a moment that this organization (internationally approved by most governments of the world) already exists and the original post still applies (quoted below).
The only organisation that could do that would be the United Nations and they would NOT do so without agreement from the government.
deanhills
Bikerman wrote:
The only organisation that could do that would be the United Nations and they would NOT do so without agreement from the government.
What if the Government is out of control however, and there is a civil war? Like there was in Rwanda? And that Government is in the process of committing mass murders?
Bikerman
If there is no legitimate government the UN can step in. In Rwanda the government was legitimate by the terms of the constitution, despite the slaughter....
deanhills
Bikerman wrote:
If there is no legitimate government the UN can step in. In Rwanda the government was legitimate by the terms of the constitution, despite the slaughter....
I did not say the Government was illegitimate. I said it was out of control and committing mass slaughter. There was certainly reason enough to act on it.
jeffryjon
deanhills wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
If there is no legitimate government the UN can step in. In Rwanda the government was legitimate by the terms of the constitution, despite the slaughter....
I did not say the Government was illegitimate. I said it was out of control and committing mass slaughter. There was certainly reason enough to act on it.


You get my full support on this one
Bikerman
So, at what point does the killing become enough to intervene? 1000? 10,000? 1 million ?
How do you decide that? What if, like in Rwanda, the majority of the population actually AGREE with the killings? By what right do you impose your will on them, and what are the criteria? I will be very interested to know...
truespeed
Also what if it wasn't Rwanda,what if it was China or Russia,do you still go in uninvited?
jeffryjon
I would have thought the question for a philosophy should be 'If you are a recognized authority, should you, rather than do you'. There are many factors involved obviously, but unfortunately the main one that seems to be taken into account by most governments who one way or another also pass or reject any NATO rulings is 'what's in it for us?' or at least 'what threat does it pose to us?', though states who believe they can do whatever they want without limitations are a genuine potential threat to all other states.

I know here are arguments for a war being a disaster and those arguments are strong, though to me the ethics involved would run as follows. The world did intervene in Yugoslavia and as a result we now have several countries in the same area of land. Had we not intervened, we can only guess what would have occurred. Wherever there are ethnic or religiously based clashes, there is a potential for the situation to spread into something far worse. If we even passively support any type of human cleansing, we're potentially seen as allies to the crime by other members of the same or other minority groups in other parts of the world and the potential consequences are vast. There's a quote which really hit a note with me whether used in the religious or humanitarian sense that all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. There are probably those who think I'm taking this too far, though nonetheless, I believe the same is true in humanitarian disasters or all kinds. As mass emigration has proven across the globe, countries left to their own problems sooner or later begin exporting those problems.

Personally, I don't want to go too deeply into the war subject on this thread or ethnic cleansing, though I would say it's safe to assume that 1,000, 10,000 or whatever number of people on the receiving end of a bullet don't wish to be wiped out and we can often assume those same people don't have an open arena to air their views to the public. Somewhere, when things get out of hand, a line must be drawn by others about what's right and wrong.
Bikerman
Yugoslavia is an interesting case. I actually do not share the common consensus on that particular action and I think an awful lot of misinformation is now accepted as fact by many.

It is generally accepted that the US bombed Kosova in response to ongoing genocide. That is baloney.
In the year leading up to the bombings (1999) there were about 2000 killings in total. Most of those killings were carried out by the KLA (Kosova Liberation Army) who were supplied by the CIA. They were trying to provoke the Serbs into action that would justify US direct involvement - and it worked. The majority of the ethnic killing happened AFTER the bombings, not before.

Now, you might say - well, 2000 people is surely justification enough, and you might have a point.
EXCEPT that at exactly the same time, next door in Turkey, tens of thousands of Kurds were being killed, millions were driven from their homes and over 3500 villages were completely obliterated. The US/UK response to this was to provide MORE arms to the Turks. The media response was to keep quiet...well, did YOU know it was going on?

So we now get Western leaders patting each other on the back and congratulating themselves for their altruistic efforts in Kosova/Albania. Not a word from them about the Kurds in Turkey, because Turkey is a member of NATO. Sheer hypocrisy.
deanhills
Bikerman wrote:
So, at what point does the killing become enough to intervene? 1000? 10,000? 1 million ?
How do you decide that? What if, like in Rwanda, the majority of the population actually AGREE with the killings? By what right do you impose your will on them, and what are the criteria? I will be very interested to know...
Wouldn't it have been a question of saving those that are being slaughtered, more than whether to get permission to enter at all? A similar situation was happening right at the beginning before WWII when Hitler moved into Poland. Did anybody help Poland? Is it ever really a question of getting permission from the Government, or more a case of not wanting to get involved?
jeffryjon
Bikerman wrote:
Yugoslavia is an interesting case. I actually do not share the common consensus on that particular action and I think an awful lot of misinformation is now accepted as fact by many.

It is generally accepted that the US bombed Kosova in response to ongoing genocide. That is baloney.
In the year leading up to the bombings (1999) there were about 2000 killings in total. Most of those killings were carried out by the KLA (Kosova Liberation Army) who were supplied by the CIA. They were trying to provoke the Serbs into action that would justify US direct involvement - and it worked. The majority of the ethnic killing happened AFTER the bombings, not before.

Now, you might say - well, 2000 people is surely justification enough, and you might have a point.
EXCEPT that at exactly the same time, next door in Turkey, tens of thousands of Kurds were being killed, millions were driven from their homes and over 3500 villages were completely obliterated. The US/UK response to this was to provide MORE arms to the Turks. The media response was to keep quiet...well, did YOU know it was going on?

So we now get Western leaders patting each other on the back and congratulating themselves for their altruistic efforts in Kosova/Albania. Not a word from them about the Kurds in Turkey, because Turkey is a member of NATO. Sheer hypocrisy.


Agreed completely that it is sheer hypocrisy. Not at all sure how someone else's hypocrisy invalidates the point though.

jeffryjon wrote:
I would have thought the question for a philosophy should be 'If you are a recognized authority, should you, rather than do you'. There are many factors involved obviously, but unfortunately the main one that seems to be taken into account by most governments who one way or another also pass or reject any NATO rulings is 'what's in it for us?' or at least 'what threat does it pose to us?', though states who believe they can do whatever they want without limitations are a genuine potential threat to all other states.
ocalhoun
Indi wrote:

Of course not. While i may strongly believe that they are not there of their own free will I CANNOT BE SURE unless they give me a clear sign that this is so, so i cannot act against what may be their will.

But in the larger scale situation of a government and a disaster, you CAN BE SURE... You need only ask the people affected by it.

(If they've been so psychologically twisted that they want to suffer rather than accept your help... Let them; it's what they want, and above all, people should be able to make their own decisions whenever possible.)
Bikerman
jeffryjon wrote:
Agreed completely that it is sheer hypocrisy. Not at all sure how someone else's hypocrisy invalidates the point though.

jeffryjon wrote:
I would have thought the question for a philosophy should be 'If you are a recognized authority, should you, rather than do you'. There are many factors involved obviously, but unfortunately the main one that seems to be taken into account by most governments who one way or another also pass or reject any NATO rulings is 'what's in it for us?' or at least 'what threat does it pose to us?', though states who believe they can do whatever they want without limitations are a genuine potential threat to all other states.


It doesn't invalidate your point - it just makes the counter-point that the example of Yugoslavia is a bad one. The motivation was self interest not altruism.
The truth is that national governments will AND SHOULD behave selfishly. You may think that is an odd thing for me to say, but consider - the role of the government is to represent the people. That means that the Government is duty bound to put the interests of its own citizens before the interests of others. Governments are not altruistic organisations, their only legitimate function is to represent the will of the people.
jeffryjon
Bikerman wrote:
The truth is that national governments will AND SHOULD behave selfishly. You may think that is an odd thing for me to say, but consider - the role of the government is to represent the people. That means that the Government is duty bound to put the interests of its own citizens before the interests of others. Governments are not altruistic organisations, their only legitimate function is to represent the will of the people.


So we hit an interesting factual point here. Governments are selfish and arguably should be (except in cases where the will of the people is expressed strongly to that same government that they want it to behave otherwise in a particular situation).

We could argue that governments are meant to be selfish for the reasons given above. This would mean also that multi-governmental organizations are set up by selfish organizations (single governments) when they have a common interest to pursue (UN, NATO and a multitude of others). As such, to a great degree, multi-governmental organizations must also be selfish in nature and almost exclusively to aid the governments (countries) that set them up.

We could possibly conclude here, though not necessarily, that multi-governmental organizations with a high degree of respect amongst their member states have more chance of solving a disaster within their member states and that they can do so without outside interference.

1) What about the non-member states? Yes I know, same arguments as before.

but

2) Taking into account that political organizations are made up of politicians (yep, worked that out myself) - and politicians are very aware of the vulnerability of their position - is it possible that these same politicians would fail to act in a way that overrides one of their members/sponsoring governments even when they're absolutely sure that the member state is in the wrong and causing or increasing unnecessary suffering of its own people?
Indi
ocalhoun wrote:
Indi wrote:

Of course not. While i may strongly believe that they are not there of their own free will I CANNOT BE SURE unless they give me a clear sign that this is so, so i cannot act against what may be their will.

But in the larger scale situation of a government and a disaster, you CAN BE SURE... You need only ask the people affected by it.

(If they've been so psychologically twisted that they want to suffer rather than accept your help... Let them; it's what they want, and above all, people should be able to make their own decisions whenever possible.)

That's not a reasonable way to handle the problem, because what people say during a disaster isn't necessarily what they really want. If they - when they were of clear minds and had time to think over the question - decide that they won't want outside help when a disaster strikes, then you can't just forget that when disaster does strike and the people panic.

If the people chose this government to represent them when there was no disaster, then we have to assume that they wanted them when there was a disaster... because any sane person knows that disasters might happen, so you have to assume the people knew it, too, and selected that government to be their government with the knowledge that they might be their government in a disaster. (And if they only wanted the government to be the government in good times, but not in a disaster, then they would have set it up that way. They could have selected an emergency government to take over from the normal government in disasters, or even just sent a note to some other country, "Hey guys, if there's a disaster, our government is no longer valid, so please come help us.".)

The point of selecting a government is that if there is a crisis - major or minor - the government will take charge and do what is best for the people. That's what governments are for, and that's why they exist. The people give them the responsibility, and the authority, to do what must be done for the greater good... even if the people, in the short term and without careful, rational thought, don't want it. Take taxes as an example. No one wants to pay taxes. But the people chose a government with the mandate to give them roads and hospitals, and the money has to come from somewhere, so the government has a (minor) financial crisis. They handle the crisis by making the people pay taxes, against their will. The people don't want to pay taxes, but they told their government to give them things, so they have to accept it. (If they refuse to accept it, they will replace the government with one that won't tax them, but will get the money some other way.)

If we did things the way you suggest, then we could assume the American government is invalid, because if you ask the people, they want no taxes, yet the government is forcing them to put up with them. This is no different from them wanting aid, but the government forcing them to live without.
jeffryjon
Indi wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
Indi wrote:

Of course not. While i may strongly believe that they are not there of their own free will I CANNOT BE SURE unless they give me a clear sign that this is so, so i cannot act against what may be their will.

But in the larger scale situation of a government and a disaster, you CAN BE SURE... You need only ask the people affected by it.

(If they've been so psychologically twisted that they want to suffer rather than accept your help... Let them; it's what they want, and above all, people should be able to make their own decisions whenever possible.)

That's not a reasonable way to handle the problem, because what people say during a disaster isn't necessarily what they really want. If they - when they were of clear minds and had time to think over the question - decide that they won't want outside help when a disaster strikes, then you can't just forget that when disaster does strike and the people panic.


A big presumption. What appears to be stated here is that the people cannot change their will based on new evidence that comes to light. Such an approach would render even this forum a totally pointless exercise, as it wouldn't allow for a philosophy to evolve.

Quote:
If the people chose this government to represent them when there was no disaster, then we have to assume that they wanted them when there was a disaster... because any sane person knows that disasters might happen, so you have to assume the people knew it, too, and selected that government to be their government with the knowledge that they might be their government in a disaster. (And if they only wanted the government to be the government in good times, but not in a disaster, then they would have set it up that way. They could have selected an emergency government to take over from the normal government in disasters, or even just sent a note to some other country, "Hey guys, if there's a disaster, our government is no longer valid, so please come help us.".)


Can I assume from the statement that you never made a mistake and reversed a decision based on new evidence that evolved in a few seconds or minutes. Can I also assume that in a situation such a mass disaster, you would rather die than have a organization step in to assist until things settle down to a normal situation similar to the one when the original decision was made. This would after all allow you or anyone else the opportunity to reassess the previous decision in the light of new evidence.



Quote:
The point of selecting a government is that if there is a crisis - major or minor - the government will take charge and do what is best for the people. That's what governments are for, and that's why they exist. The people give them the responsibility, and the authority, to do what must be done for the greater good... even if the people, in the short term and without careful, rational thought, don't want it. Take taxes as an example. No one wants to pay taxes. But the people chose a government with the mandate to give them roads and hospitals, and the money has to come from somewhere, so the government has a (minor) financial crisis. They handle the crisis by making the people pay taxes, against their will. The people don't want to pay taxes, but they told their government to give them things, so they have to accept it. (If they refuse to accept it, they will replace the government with one that won't tax them, but will get the money some other way.)

If we did things the way you suggest, then we could assume the American government is invalid, because if you ask the people, they want no taxes, yet the government is forcing them to put up with them. This is no different from them wanting aid, but the government forcing them to live without.


What if they promised to cover such situations as major disasters and the details of the promise were know internationally and then they failed to deliver on the promise?
ocalhoun
Indi wrote:
because what people say during a disaster isn't necessarily what they really want.

Call me simplistic and idealistic... But when dealing with mentally competent adults, I'll assume what they say they want is what they really want (for all practical purposes).

If you tell me you want something, then change your mind when the situation changes, am I at fault for giving you what you asked for? Or is it your own fault for asking for the wrong thing?
I suppose this answer might depend on your particular core philosophies, but I believe people should always be given the freedom of choice (when possible), and that people should be accountable for their own actions (unless mentally deficient by no choice of their own).
Indi
jeffryjon wrote:
A big presumption. What appears to be stated here is that the people cannot change their will based on new evidence that comes to light. Such an approach would render even this forum a totally pointless exercise, as it wouldn't allow for a philosophy to evolve.

You keep writing about what "appears to be stated" by my words, or what i "seem to be saying". How about just looking at the actual words i used. Because what i actually said was quite clear. People don't think clearly during a disaster, and if their opinion during a disaster is radically different from what it was when they had time to think things over, then you can be pretty damn sure that it's just the panic talking, and it's not what they really believe.

What's so bizarre about that? Everyone knows it's true that people change radically during times of panic or other extreme emotional stress. It's even written right into the goddamn legal code as "temporary insanity" or "irresistable impulse" - we don't assume that when someone goes bonkers under stress and kills or harms someone that they rationally changed their mind because they "reassessed the new evidence" of what was going on around them, then committed the crime, then rationally changed their mind back to the state it was in before by "reassessing new evidence" again. Come on.

jeffryjon wrote:
Can I assume from the statement that you never made a mistake and reversed a decision based on new evidence that evolved in a few seconds or minutes.

No, you can't. What you can try is actually reading the words i wrote in my post, and then trying another response, because none of you're talking about has anything to do with what i wrote. i was clearly talking about people becoming irrational during times of stress, which is far more likely than that they've stopped in the middle of a disaster, carefully reassessed their position in the light of some new evidence (what new evidence, that shit happens? are you implying they weren't aware of that before the disaster? seriously, what new evidence would they have now, during the disaster, that they didn't have before it?), and rationally changed their opinion.

jeffryjon wrote:
Can I also assume that in a situation such a mass disaster, you would rather die than have a organization step in to assist until things settle down to a normal situation similar to the one when the original decision was made. This would after all allow you or anyone else the opportunity to reassess the previous decision in the light of new evidence.

No, you can assume that when there is no disaster, i will - according to my adult responsibility - carefully consider the pros and cons of having an outside organization step in to assist, and make my decision calmly and rationally then. When the disaster strikes, if i panic and change my tune, i would rather you respect the decision i made when i was sane than heeding whatever irrational, panicky requests i might make in the heat of the situation. When the crisis passes, if you did ignore what i'd asked you to do before just because i panicked and asked for something else in the heat of the moment, i'd be damn pissed.

And so would you. If you were, for example, very passionate about never eating animals, and - when you were calm and had time to think things through - said to me that even if you were starving i should never give you meat because you would rather die than eat an animal... then a disaster strikes and you are starving, and in your stress and fear you beg me to ignore your earlier request and give you some of the meat i have, and i did... you would not be pleased either with me, or with yourself, once the disaster had passed.

jeffryjon wrote:
What if they promised to cover such situations as major disasters and the details of the promise were know internationally and then they failed to deliver on the promise?

You mean what if the people told their government to allow foreign aid in, and the international community knows it, but they refuse to do it when the disaster comes? Then they're no longer representing the will of the people, and they're not a legitimate government anymore... and we know it. What you think we should do? Obviously we should act.

ocalhoun wrote:
Call me simplistic and idealistic... But when dealing with mentally competent adults, I'll assume what they say they want is what they really want (for all practical purposes).

In peaceful times, sure. In disasters, not so much. Or would you assume that people who kill each other in food riots during a famine really wanted to murder their neighbours?

ocalhoun wrote:
If you tell me you want something, then change your mind when the situation changes, am I at fault for giving you what you asked for? Or is it your own fault for asking for the wrong thing?

You are at fault. i could not be faulted for panicking - that's beyond my control, it's part of my animal nature. You are certainly aware that when people panic, they often say and do things that are completely out of line with their real beliefs. You would be acting dishonestly if you pretended that you thought my panicked change of tune was an actual, rational change in my beliefs, and treated them as such, when you know they're most probably not.

ocalhoun wrote:
I suppose this answer might depend on your particular core philosophies, but I believe people should always be given the freedom of choice (when possible), and that people should be accountable for their own actions (unless mentally deficient by no choice of their own).

Both of those things are true: people should always be given the freedom to choose, and should be held accountable to their choices. That's the whole point. The people chose not to have foreign aid, and that choice should be respected.

Ah, but then there are those caveats in brackets - the "when possible" and "unless mentally deficient by no choice of their own". Those matter, too. The fact is, when people are terrified or otherwise under lots of stress, they are "mentally deficient by no choice of their own". They are unable to think clearly. The key word there is underlined. When you are really scared or under lots of stress you CANNOT think clearly. That's why, unless you're a fool or just irrational, when you are NOT under stress or terrified, you lay out the parameters for just in case you ever are. What you are basically saying is that you will completely disregard the sane and rational decisions made by people when they had time to think things through, in favour of decisions they're making when they are INCAPABLE of making proper decisions.

That's just wrong. That's exactly the same situation as if i told you that i never wanted to get a tattoo, then i accidently ate a tainted fish that made me loopy, and in my delusion i asked you for a tattoo... and you give me one. That would be totally wrong, and yes, you would be at fault - and i would not. Do you think i'd thank you for it? Unlikely.

The whole issue here seems to be that you can't grok that sane people would ever refuse outside help, and so if someone says they did they must be lying. Think about that for a second. That's really the whole problem here. But if you think about it, there are a number of reasons why people - when they are calm and sane - might decide that they would rather risk death than allow an outsider to help them, and many of those reasons are quite valid. Perhaps the aid organizations - even though they'll help in the crisis - will exact a high toll for their help later. Or maybe once you let them in, they'll take advantage of the "in" and then never leave. Or maybe by allowing them to help you will be granting credibility to an organization you just find absolutely disgusting - and would rather die than give good press to. When the disaster strikes and you're up to your chin in flood water, or feeling your belly button touching your spine due to the famine, you may be so scared and stressed that those very good reasons slip your mind... or more likely you just don't care about anyone or anything in the world because you can't think beyond your concave belly or wet chin... so you ask for help. But if you'd decided when you were sane and rational that those reasons were more important, your choice should be respected, because it is your choice - your real choice. Sure, you can change your mind when you're calm and rational again. And sure it's possible that even though you're in a crisis you've made a sane and rational choice to change your mind - but is it likely? No, not really. It's far more likely that you're just panicky and irrational, and when your mind is clear again you will thank everyone who remembered what you really believe, and respected it.
jeffryjon
Indi wrote:
jeffryjon wrote:
A big presumption. What appears to be stated here is that the people cannot change their will based on new evidence that comes to light. Such an approach would render even this forum a totally pointless exercise, as it wouldn't allow for a philosophy to evolve.

You keep writing about what "appears to be stated" by my words, or what i "seem to be saying". How about just looking at the actual words i used. Because what i actually said was quite clear. People don't think clearly during a disaster, and if their opinion during a disaster is radically different from what it was when they had time to think things over, then you can be pretty damn sure that it's just the panic talking, and it's not what they really believe.

What's so bizarre about that? Everyone knows it's true that people change radically during times of panic or other extreme emotional stress. It's even written right into the goddamn legal code as "temporary insanity" or "irresistable impulse" - we don't assume that when someone goes bonkers under stress and kills or harms someone that they rationally changed their mind because they "reassessed the new evidence" of what was going on around them, then committed the crime, then rationally changed their mind back to the state it was in before by "reassessing new evidence" again. Come on.

jeffryjon wrote:
Can I assume from the statement that you never made a mistake and reversed a decision based on new evidence that evolved in a few seconds or minutes.

No, you can't. What you can try is actually reading the words i wrote in my post, and then trying another response, because none of you're talking about has anything to do with what i wrote. i was clearly talking about people becoming irrational during times of stress, which is far more likely than that they've stopped in the middle of a disaster, carefully reassessed their position in the light of some new evidence (what new evidence, that shit happens? are you implying they weren't aware of that before the disaster? seriously, what new evidence would they have now, during the disaster, that they didn't have before it?), and rationally changed their opinion.


So I should just read the words as you wrote them in your case as you request - still an assumption would have to be made that you wrote what you wrote in an emotionally stable state; that you read and reread what you wrote several times to ensure you wrote exactly what you meant. When there's any ambiguity in a statement, there's a need to verify and in some cases that means giving examples. Forums have no body-language, no tone of voice and no facial expressions (at least real ones) and without writing a book for every paragraph, there's often a need to establish what we're talking about and with context.

Back to disasters - as stated before I used to work in emergency services - I regularly encountered people who'd just experienced a disaster and just as in this case arrived sometime after the event in most cases. Pretty quickly for sure, yet still after the panic-stricken stage rather than during it in most cases. The majority of the time, the panic has been replaced by a very sensible chain of thinking and thinking that supersedes anything the victims have thought before. This 'in the moment' thinking takes priority and in most cases the new thinking replaces the old for a very long time.

As stated in another thread.

Indi wrote:
All true, but it actually goes a step further.

It's not merely a matter of us preferring to act emotionally rather than rationally, or even just naturally defaulting to emotional thinking rather than rational. What we're finding now in bleeding edge research is that we emotionalize first and then unconsciously rationalize what we wanted to do emotionally. So even when we think we're acting rationally, we may just be acting emotionally then deluding ourselves into thinking we made the decision rationally.

Take me for example: i chose 1 in both scenarios. i gave a rational reason for my choice, but the reality is my rationalization was probably more or less bullshit. i chose what i chose emotionally and my brain generated a rationalization that satisfied me. All that was done unconsciously, of course.

That doesn't mean that my choice wasn't really rational (given the parameters i gave). It just means that i probably didn't make it rationally - i made it emotionally then the rationalization came to me after.

What you think should be more important than how you feel, but what you think may be a result of how you feel and your brain may be tricking you into thinking it's not. You have to be VERY careful - double-checking everything you think you know - in order not to be fooled.


Sidenote: I'm not sure that I'm supposed to introduce quotes directly from other threads, though this post seems so useful that I emotionally wanted it to appear here also. Could a moderator please verify whether I've broken the rules.

The point I'm making is most people don't want to think deeply about every issue that may affect them - they want to get on with the life that is happening - in a new environment (especially one which is suddenly thrown upon someone) the thinking changes rapidly and leaves a lasting impression on the individual. To ignore someone (or a large group of someones) on the basis of they didn't think things through enough seems a very tough stance to take. I'll assume (once again) that you're not a parent of someone who's now in their late teens.

Now considering that you've already admitted something of great value in that you probably make decisions emotionally and then find a way to rationalize the decision (most people I know would never admit this - well done) then it's fair to assume that sometimes evidence comes to light that allowed you to see that this process got in the way of the 'higher good' (for want of a better phrase). Should I treat you any different to the next person if you find yourself in need of help?

Here's what would happen with the me and you thing.

Let's say that we had a discussion (in person) that led you to decide that you never again wanted me within a 100m of you. You're sure about that and I choose to respect it as long as it doesn't interfere with my movements for reasons other than interacting with you. On the whole, your request is fulfilled and based purely on your request, we become un-amigos (enemies).

One day, you get yourself in a situation where you realise too late that you WILL die or you WILL suffer permanent disability UNLESS you get help. Would you ask me for help - maybe not - maybe you can-not.

Would I come to your aid if I believed I could help you sufficiently to get you out of your hole without undue sacrifice to myself? - hell yes.

Would you be pissed at me? I don't care - at least you're still alive to be pissed at me.

Would you change your attitude toward me based on the fact that I helped you? No way of knowing until after it's done.

Would you object when I turned up uninvited? Maybe.

Would that affect my decision to come to your aid? Depends of many factors of which you are just one - though possibly.

Presuming I continued to help you (successfully) and you're now alive and well and are still pissed at me (possibly more-so). Have I lost anything? - Beyond the time, effort and resources used in helping you - no - you already made me your enemy - I forgave you when the original decision was made.

Can we ever become friends (even with the fact that you now know that you're alive today because of my actions)? You decided to un-amigo-ate me so the decision is still yours.

Do I regret helping you? There's a slight possibility that could happen, though since the only action action you took in the past was to alienate me from your life, the probability is no.

Of course this thread was for the discussion about overriding a government and strictly in the sense of disaster situations so I'd like to request for it to be kept in context. That said, I'm sure whether it's right to override the will of an individual will make an excellent thread if anybody wants to start it.
ocalhoun
Indi wrote:
The fact is, when people are terrified or otherwise under lots of stress, they are "mentally deficient by no choice of their own".

It all comes down to that now, doesn't it?

I just think it takes more than being scared and stressed out to make a person mentally deficient.

So if the people have two versions of what they want:
1) When they're calm.
2) When they're stressed.
Might not the stressed condition actually be revealing what they really want, rather than obscuring it?

Take the New Orleans after Katrina example... If the Canadians asked around, polling the people suffering, and they got an overwhelming answer of "Yes, help us!"...
Would they be forced to assume that they were only panicked, and didn't really want help?
jeffryjon
ocalhoun wrote:
So if the people have two versions of what they want:
1) When they're calm.
2) When they're stressed.
Might not the stressed condition actually be revealing what they really want, rather than obscuring it?

Take the New Orleans after Katrina example... If the Canadians asked around, polling the people suffering, and they got an overwhelming answer of "Yes, help us!"...
Would they be forced to assume that they were only panicked, and didn't really want help?


Exactly my point Ocalhoun. There's a big difference between stepping in for a while when people are out of their depth and taking over the country/area permanently. We could have an International law that allows for theses situations. Initially it could allow for for 2 weeks to a month and could be invoked really quickly, which would give the parties concerned (especially the government of that country) the opportunity to show they're getting on top of things. As the end of the initial period approaches, the international community would have a much clearer picture, allowing them to extend the period for another 2 weeks to a month if necessary. Obviously, this would have to exclude individuals/smaller organizations from outside of the country who've failed to prove their mettle (they could be required to approach the recognized organizations to see if they can provide some kind of support assistance in their home countries. At least until they're considered well-organized enough to go it alone).
Bikerman
I think not.
I would vote against it in an instant. The thought of giving carte-blanche to a load of evqangelising do-gooders to enter my country at will is enough to give me the creeps. If we need help we will ask.

In the example of Katrina, just what do you think the Canadians could have done? There was a chain of command from the local government through the federal government. Just where do you think the Canadians would have fitted into the command-control structure? It is one thing to say that the government response was inadequate but it is quite another to suggest that a foreign company could work independantly of the existing structures and chains of command.

What about the case of prisoners on Death Row who are clearly innocent. Should the Canadians have the power to go in and rescue them as well? What is the moral difference? If you say that the difference is due process then you shoot your own argument. If you say the difference is one of scale then I can shift the question to one where a large number of people are in trouble - Tibet anyone?

You cannot have inernational law that violates the sovereignty of a nation state in this way for two very good reasons:
a) You would have to rip-up most existing international law.
b) Nobody would vote for it in the UN and it would be immediately vetoed by every member of the Security Council.

It is a recipe for WW3.
jeffryjon
The world already has procedures in place to deal with situations such as those in Iraq, Tibet, Afganisthan etc. We don't all agree with them, or even the way intelligence data is used / misused to sway a decision, but we do live with them. I'm sure whatever procedures could be set in place for disasters would lead to issues sooner or later (and command structure would certainly come up as a biggie), though doing nothing could lead to situations even worse. It's easy to see the consequences to very large groups when the media moves on as a disaster becomes old news and people lose track of the reality on the ground.

It seems in matters of war, the international committees have structures in place to draw a line in the sand and say enough is enough, (not always used properly, granted), but why not have something similar to deal with situations without war?
Bikerman
jeffryjon wrote:
The world already has procedures in place to deal with situations such as those in Iraq, Tibet, Afganisthan etc.
Actually it doesn't. Iraq and Afghanistan are the first in a new breed of warefare under the Bush Doctrine - pre-emptive warfare. There is no international law to cover it - which is one reason the US ended up with the obscentity of Gitmo Bay. By all normal international law both of these are illegal.
Quote:
We don't all agree with them, or even the way intelligence data is used / misused to sway a decision, but we do live with them.
No I don't want to live with them. I can do nothing to change them but I would if I could.
Quote:
I'm sure whatever procedures could be set in place for disasters would lead to issues sooner or later (and command structure would certainly come up as a biggie), though doing nothing could lead to situations even worse. It's easy to see the consequences to very large groups when the media moves on as a disaster becomes old news and people lose track of the reality on the ground.
Well, I'll be on the other side of the fence throwing anything I can get my hands on when you come to call - petrol bombs, grenades, mortars...you name it. There are many many of my compatriots who will be alongside me. If you want to setup some international police force with powers over national soveriegnty then I will fight it with everything in my power. I did not vote for you to take those powers so as far as I am concerned you would be an invading enemy.*
Quote:
It seems in matters of war, the international committees have structures in place to draw a line in the sand and say enough is enough, (not always used properly, granted), but why not have something similar to deal with situations without war?
They don't. The UN are the only body with the power to do such things and neither Iraq nor Afrghanistan were explicitly authorised by the UN. The US made a great point of saying they did not want nor need UN approval...that is the Bush doctrine. I repeat - I don't WANT your help. Most people don't WANT your help. IF we want it we will ask through our government. Until then, stay out.

*PS I'm actually dead serious - I really WOULD be actively resisting. I live in a representative democracy. If we vote (which we won't) to allow non-national bodies the power to over-ride democratically accountable institutions then I will go along with it reluctantly. Until that time any such 'help' would, and should be considered a hostile act and forcibly resisted. China went into Tibet to 'help' after a natural disaster. The USSR went into Afghanistan with the same excuse. Before that they were just helping the people in Czechoslovakia and Poland. Why the hell would I trust a bunch of self-appointed action men with delusions of adequacy to push me around in my own country? Not damn likely.
jeffryjon
Bikerman wrote:
*PS I'm actually dead serious - I really WOULD be actively resisting. I live in a representative democracy. If we vote (which we won't) to allow non-national bodies the power to over-ride democratically accountable institutions then I will go along with it reluctantly. Until that time any such 'help' would, and should be considered a hostile act and forcibly resisted. China went into Tibet to 'help' after a natural disaster. The USSR went into Afghanistan with the same excuse. Before that they were just helping the people in Czechoslovakia and Poland. Why the hell would I trust a bunch of self-appointed action men with delusions of adequacy to push me around in my own country? Not damn likely.


Brilliant. Now we move from could and should to 'would'. A hard and fast stance has been taken. We can start to take things seriously now. They're getting real.

Scenario: We'll use UK since the toughest argument has risen there.

Normal communications channels are down - fact.

Entry has somehow been achieved through an airport near to London and the aid agency has managed to successfully negotiate all obstacles so far and set up camp in a large park in London. (I know it can be argued they wouldn't get that far, but let's say they have).

Word has got out and so far 10,000 or so victims have made their way into the camp. They're being treated in the field hospital along with being fed and watered. Another larger sector of London's populace are actively making their way to the camp and are at various distances, mostly travelling on foot as the inner roads are blocked by debris. As it happens, in this example, among the victims are likely to be a number of your group's family members and friends. There's no way to tell before your attack but it seems likely that since the agency is providing a substantial service and is ready at-hand. The earthquake that hit has injured most of the survivors to varying degrees.

The camp has been deliberately set up so it's impossible to attack the 'invaders' without simultaneously attacking the much larger victim group (at least until after the camp begins shutdown procedures just prior to withdrawal). As each hour passes 1,000 or so more victims arrive in the vicinity and are intent on entering the camp and that's likely to continue until/unless the UK government gets its act together. What next?
Bikerman
It is inconceivable that in any disaster large enough to take out complete government response plans that ANY 'aid' organisation could organise and set up such a camp. The fact that they have done so means that they must have planned in advance to bypass the authorities, make an illegal entry into the country, and defend their position against due authority. If they refused to submit to civilian authority when our politicians arrived on the scene then they would have revealed that they were indeed hostile invaders.

Clearly I am not going to start killing my countrymen to get at the invaders, we have a pretty effective military for doing that sort of thing. I would want to satisfy myself that things were as I understood them to be and then I would want to confirm with the political authorities that these people had indeed invaded as a hostile force (ie refusing to submit to proper democratically elected officials).
If that were indeed the case I would wish to know when I could expect the first army helicopters to land in the park and start rounding up the invaders and putting them where they belong - in prison.
Given that we have a standing military presence of several thousand troops then I would expect a fairly quick and easy operation with power and control being taken back and the misguided fools behind the invasion quickly neuralised and removed from circulation.
jeffryjon
I like that better Very Happy At least now the proper procedures take place and the bullet has my name on it (presumably in triplicate).
Bikerman
jeffryjon wrote:
I like that better Very Happy At least now the proper procedures take place and the bullet has my name on it (presumably in triplicate).

Oh it is never going to happen. The entire proposal is a non-starter for reasons already outlined. The notion of granting some 'aid' body supreme power to over-ride sovereign state authority is a nightmarish scenario. People often tend to make the mistake of extrapolating their own altruism to their proposed model, forgetting to look at the downside.
I still don't actually see what problem you are trying to fix. It is extremely rare for governments to refuse useful help from outside - in fact I cannot think of a single example. There are numerous examples of governments refusing aid from fly-by-night micky-mouse organisations, and with good reason, but bona-fide organisations like the Red-Cross, Medicine Sans Frontiere et al seem to have little problem getting access, properly, to most disaster scenes and we frequently hear that specialist teams are being flown to this earthquake zone or that flood zone....
jeffryjon
Bikerman wrote:
I still don't actually see what problem you are trying to fix.


Whoever said I was trying to FIX anything? Certainly not me. What I'm seeking to derive is a definitive answer for MYSELF to the original question.

Quote:
Is it right to override a government after disasters?

Lets say a major disaster has occurred such as an earthquake or major flood. The government of that country say they need no help and have everything in hand, though the evidence points to the opposite. People are suffering unnecessarily and a proud, yet inadequate government is digging its heels in.

Going into that country and helping without permission could be considered an invasion, could cause a major international dispute and could have serious security issues, though none of the above is a sure thing.

Should you follow your conscience and use your group to go and assist the victims or should you stick with international protocols about rights of sovereignty?


I presume, there are others who read and participate in these threads looking to derive THEIR OWN definitive answers to the topic of that thread. In this case so far, I've seen some thought-provoking ideas, though nothing to convince me in absolute terms that refusing to go in and help people is the best option. If I wasn't open to the difficulties presented in this thread, I would never have posted it. Recent posts by yourself have simply confirmed what I already knew, as you can read above.
Indi
jeffryjon wrote:
Back to disasters - as stated before I used to work in emergency services - I regularly encountered people who'd just experienced a disaster and just as in this case arrived sometime after the event in most cases. Pretty quickly for sure, yet still after the panic-stricken stage rather than during it in most cases. The majority of the time, the panic has been replaced by a very sensible chain of thinking and thinking that supersedes anything the victims have thought before. This 'in the moment' thinking takes priority and in most cases the new thinking replaces the old for a very long time.

Yeah, and i was in the (Canadian) military and saw first hand the "panic-stricken phase". It isn't pretty, but i don't think that any of them were actually bad people. Panic just makes people crazy, and when they're calm they often feel really bad about they way they acted when they were in distress.

jeffryjon wrote:
The point I'm making is most people don't want to think deeply about every issue that may affect them - they want to get on with the life that is happening - in a new environment (especially one which is suddenly thrown upon someone) the thinking changes rapidly and leaves a lasting impression on the individual. To ignore someone (or a large group of someones) on the basis of they didn't think things through enough seems a very tough stance to take.

Every mature adult capable of rational thinking is responsible for their own choices, and must face the foreseeable consequences of their choices, good or bad. If their choice is to not make choices - to let someone else do the thinking for them - then they have to face the consequences of that choice, good or bad.

If they didn't choose not to make choices - if they just didn't have time to think things through because the situation changed too rapidly (like in a disaster) - then we have to go with the choices they made beforehand... we can't make choices for them. If they chose beforehand that they didn't want anyone to help them in an emergency, you have to respect that, and they have to face the consequences of that choice.

jeffryjon wrote:
I'll assume (once again) that you're not a parent of someone who's now in their late teens.

Seriously, what does that have to do with anything. -_- Do you really think i'm not aware that a lot of people - especially young people - don't think things through properly? Do you think anyone here is not aware of that? i mean, duh.

Yes, duh, not everyone thinks things through properly, but that doesn't excuse them from the responsibility of having to do so. If you choose not to think things through, then you accept the responsibility of that choice. Period.

As for teens specifically, there's a reason we don't let them decide the fate of the country (ie, vote), and that's it: generally they are not intellectually mature enough to think things through properly, especially on scales of that size. Again, duh. i don't know what point you think you're getting at repeating this parent of a teen thing.

jeffryjon wrote:
Now considering that you've already admitted something of great value in that you probably make decisions emotionally and then find a way to rationalize the decision (most people I know would never admit this - well done) then it's fair to assume that sometimes evidence comes to light that allowed you to see that this process got in the way of the 'higher good' (for want of a better phrase).

Yes, that evidence that came to light was neuroscience, and that was not a "personal admission", it was a statement of current scientific knowledge about the way human cognition works. It doesn't really have any relevance here, either. The fact that people emote first and reason later when they think is irrelevant. The point is that if they decide something that they've reasoned through, that's their decision. If they freak out and panic later, and decide something different without being able to reason, that is not their decision, it is the panic talking. If you try to pretend that that's their actual decision, you are lying, and are just deciding for them because you think you know better.

jeffryjon wrote:
Here's what would happen with the me and you thing. ...

So you believe you have the right to override my sovereign will when you know i might not be thinking clearly, hm? i assume that means you think i have the same right: that when i know you're probably mentally incapacitated, i can decide what's best for you, even if it contradicts what you said when you were fully competent?

Very well. But i'd seriously advise not to get drunk, tired, or emotionally upset around me. ^_^;

From your example, it also appears that i don't even need to be mentally incapacitated (at least you say "Would you ask me for help - maybe not - maybe you can-not." which implies to me by the first part that even if i could decide or not to ask for help, it doesn't matter). All that needs to happen is that i need to be in a situation that you decide i need to be helped out of, and you can ignore the wishes i made before the incident, and during the incident, to do what you feel needs to be done.

Naturally, i assume that you believe i have the same right: if i think you're in a situation that i believe you need to be helped out of, i can do it even if it contradicts your wishes before and during the incident.

So, if i thought you were in a relationship that was harming you psychologically, or a job that was ruining your future career potential, or a religion that was stunting you intellectually... i can ruin your relationship, get you fired from your job and take you out and "de-program" you from your religion even though those things violate your wishes, before and during my action. All that needs to happen is i... not you, i... need to decide that you're in a situation that will harm you, and that you need to be "saved" from.

You wanna think that through again?

ocalhoun wrote:
Indi wrote:
The fact is, when people are terrified or otherwise under lots of stress, they are "mentally deficient by no choice of their own".

It all comes down to that now, doesn't it?

I just think it takes more than being scared and stressed out to make a person mentally deficient.

Yes, it does all come down to that, and the facts contradict what you think. There are mountains of evidence that fear and stress distort thinking - Stockholm syndrome, combat stress reaction, etc., and the simple logical fact that if fear and stress didn't distort your thinking, then brainwashing wouldn't work... but it does.

ocalhoun wrote:
Might not the stressed condition actually be revealing what they really want, rather than obscuring it?

This is obviously wrong. Even ignoring the neurophysiological facts - if it were true that what people really wanted was what they demonstrated during times of stress, then why wouldn't they be taking steps to get those things when they are calm and capable? For instance, people kill their neighbours in food riots: if that meant they really wanted to kill their neighbours, why wouldn't they have done it far more effectively before the disaster? Or if a parent in a panic sacrifices their child because they think that sacrifice will please the gods and save them all... do you really think the parent wanted to murder the child? No, that's just absurd.

ocalhoun wrote:
Take the New Orleans after Katrina example... If the Canadians asked around, polling the people suffering, and they got an overwhelming answer of "Yes, help us!"...
Would they be forced to assume that they were only panicked, and didn't really want help?

This has already been covered by the tax example; we're going around in circles. If we asked Americans at tax time if they wanted to be taxed, i think it's a safe bet they would overwhelmingly say no. Do we then assume their government is invalid because they're taxing them anyway, and "free" them from it? If not, then why do you assume the government is invalid just because the people say they want help while the government says they don't? Once again, it's their government, chosen by them to enact their will, chosen by them when they were sane and calm... if they chose poorly, they have to accept the consequences of that choice. It's a tragedy, but it's a tragedy of their own making. On the other hand, if the refusal of aid WAS really what they want, then they're getting exactly what they asked for, and good for them. We may think it's silly, but it's their choice, and if we respect their freedom to make choices, we have to respect that.
ocalhoun
So people can only rationally decide if they want help in an emergency when there's no emergency?

*doubt*
In fact, their thinking during non-emergency times may be ... distorted ... by an irrational assumption of 'these things always happen to somebody else, not me'.

There's a difference between 'distorted thinking' and 'mentally deficient'.
(That being their thinking can be distorted without being irrational, and it can mainly be attributed to a new set of priorities.)

If you MUST assume that a bit of fear and stress obliterate all rational thought, give the people a simple academic test before asking them if they want help or not. If they fail the test, discount their opinion.

Panic is only caused when two factors are present: 1- Perceived imminent danger. 2- Apparently no hope of escaping that danger (feeling trapped). In any emergency without both of those factors, panic is extremely rare, with people usually behaving calmly and usually even altruistically.
Bikerman
Hmm...so we can test that hypothesis.
Hypothesis : panic only occurs when there is a feeling of no escape and imminent danger.
(I think that is a fair paraphrase..)
Test: look for examples where one or both appears not to hold...
Examples:
Panic caused by phobias - such as agorophobia.
Panic cause by panic. It is not uncommon for people to panic because others are, despite having no indication of danger and plenty of possible escapes.
I think the hypothesis is very shaky...
In fact I think you have it backwards. I think that panic invokes the flight/fight response which means people try to flee, rather than people panicking because they are not free to flee. Certainly you can invoke panic by removing peoples options to get away, but that is only one example rather than a general case methinks....
ocalhoun
Okay, let me clarify, the panic rule only applies in disaster situations...
(Sorry, that was the framework my mind was in at the time.)

A careful study of real-world disaster behavior will show a surprising lack of panic, except in situations that meet those two criteria.
Bikerman
I question that. There are plenty of examples of people dying needlessly in fires because they panicked before they evaluated where to exit. Again the panic seems to come first and then the flight response..
jeffryjon
Bikerman wrote:
I question that. There are plenty of examples of people dying needlessly in fires because they panicked before they evaluated where to exit. Again the panic seems to come first and then the flight response..


I'm sure there are plenty of examples as for most things. There's also training which is capable of kicking in and pre-empting any desire to rationalize. Sometimes that 'training' happens in a split second. It's saved my life on several occasions. Having reviewed those situations several times, I realised there was no panic - zero - an altered state of reality -yes - but not panic. Fight or flight is a survival mechanism which may or may not be invoked by panic and generally results in an attitude (rather than chain of thinking) something along the lines of "I'm getting out of or through this - not buts".

Now as for asking permission, here's one of many examples I've directly experienced.

A biker had an accident which resulted in his motorbike falling. The weight of the bike broke his leg. A policewoman asked if he was hurting to which she received an aggressive response (we could say quite rightfully so). It may be wrong to suppose in the case of the individual, but he was a member of a biker-gang known as Satan's Slaves and this particular group were well known for disliking the police, even in situations where a crime had taken place. The police were considered as outsiders/foreigners to their kingdom. I used to drink with these guys so knew plenty about them even though I was not a member.

Now for the next question from the police officer (taking into account the attitude of the group that the police should keep their noses out of their business - completely out - a decision made pre-disaster). She asked whether he wanted her to help and call him an ambulance. His aggression increased - dramatically and his response indicated that it should be perfectly obvious he needed help and why the heck was she wasting time.

A few days later, I'm drinking with them again and the consensus of the group was much the same as the reaction of the victim. The police officer should have KNOWN. She should not have wasted time debating, doubting or asking his permission. The consequences of her waiting to be asked, only served to increase the bad feelings of the target group toward the outside organization. It's impossible to prove, but I would guess that if she had acted immediately, either the group feeling toward the outside organization would have softened OR it would have remained much the same. I could think of many more occasions where the permission/no permission issue came up in life-threatening/very painful situations and in every case, the same type of result.

My conclusion (to date) is this:

Remembering that the original post said:

Quote:
Lets say a major disaster has occurred such as an earthquake or major flood. The government of that country say they need no help and have everything in hand, though the evidence points to the opposite. People are suffering unnecessarily and a proud, yet inadequate government is digging its heels in.


For these cases there are 2 types of scenario:

Situations which are tolerable which carry one set of rules.

Situations which are intolerable which carry another set of rules.

Once someone comes to offer help - at the exact location where the help is needed - those who are suffering (and in my opinion ONLY those who are suffering) are quite entitled to tell that someone to go away. If a victim tells the rescuers to get lost AND the consensus of the other victims is the same then so be it. The difficulty is it's almost impossible to get a fair appraisal of a situation when we're 1,000's of miles away. The argument for intervention/non-intervention is still unresolved and relies on 2nd/3rd hand information which may or may not be fact. Further to this, if the 2nd/3rd hand information is not from a reputable source there's a greater possibility of error.

Another aspect to consider. If the surviving victims are restricted from knowing there was additional help available - even after the event, they're not holding sufficient evidence to allow them to make the best possible choice with regard to future events. For as long as the public are kept in the dark and fed loads of manure, the 'mushroom mentality' will remain.

Add to this the fact that most people don't choose to commit suicide, we can presume that they are more likely to want to live than die (and in most cases this would be true regardless of which country they live in). Even with the arguments so far, I still struggle to see how we can presume someone would prefer death and suffering over life. Any issues such as potential for the rescuers converting those people politically or religiously (which I believe is a wrong thing to do) can be dealt with once the situation stabilizes.
Indi
ocalhoun wrote:
In fact, their thinking during non-emergency times may be ... distorted ... by an irrational assumption of 'these things always happen to somebody else, not me'.

It may be, but as an adult you are responsible for making sure that your opinions are not irrational (or accepting the consequences if you refuse to do that). That's why you should always be checking your assumptions against reality. Freedom and responsibility come hand in hand: if you want the freedom of self-determination, you have the responsibility to make sure your choices are the best possible.

The assumption that "these things always happen to someone else" is so trivially easy to identify as irrational and refute, that it's not reasonable to assume that an average adult shouldn't have thought of that. Or to put it another way, you'd have to assume that i'm a complete, ****** drooling idiot, in order to assume that i considered emergency planning while seriously believing "these things always happen to someone else". And that's not a reasonable assumption.

ocalhoun wrote:
There's a difference between 'distorted thinking' and 'mentally deficient'.
(That being their thinking can be distorted without being irrational, and it can mainly be attributed to a new set of priorities.)

There is a difference between distorted thinking and mental deficiency, but it is not what you say it is, and it doesn't matter here. Mentally deficient means you can't think rationally - distorted thinking means that either you are not thinking rationally (for example, due to a temporary mental deficiency), or your thinking is not functioning according to its nominal patters. It may be rational, as you say, given a certain set of priorities, but it's not you... and that's what's important. You made a choice. Until we can determine that you - fully functioning mentally - are making a new choice, we have to assume your choice (the choice you made when we know you were you) stands.

ocalhoun wrote:
If you MUST assume that a bit of fear and stress obliterate all rational thought, give the people a simple academic test before asking them if they want help or not. If they fail the test, discount their opinion.

That's just ridiculous. First of all, an academic test cannot measure distorted thinking. A victim of Stockholm Syndrome (for example) would be just as likely to pass a general knowledge test before as they are after the psychological damage of their ordeal. The distortion in thinking is not an affect on intelligence (what you know)... it is an effect on psychology (how you think). To even make this idea plausible you would have to do detailed psychological assessments on the person before the incident... then do another battery during the incident, and check for disparities.

Secondly, that violates the entire idea of the problem. The problem is that you think the people need help, but their government is not letting you help them. What, you think they're going to let you go into the disaster area and perform a battery of psychological tests if they won't even let you in to give them rice?

No, the problem is simple: these people, before there was a disaster, when they had time to think things through, chose to put into power a group that is now doing something that does not seem to be in their best interest. So do we ignore their choice and go with what we think is in their best interest without being able to confirm it with them, or not?

To me, the answer to that has been clear from the start. We respect their choice, no matter how stupid we think it is.

ocalhoun wrote:
Panic is only caused when two factors are present: 1- Perceived imminent danger. 2- Apparently no hope of escaping that danger (feeling trapped). In any emergency without both of those factors, panic is extremely rare, with people usually behaving calmly and usually even altruistically.

No, that's not correct. Panic is caused by dozens of things associated with distress and emergencies. Confusion causes panic. Disruption of normal expectations causes panic.

Furthermore, panic is most certainly not rare, and in fact probably occurs in 100% of cases. The only thing that varies from case to case is the severity of the panic. If i sneak up behind you and go "boo", you panic. The panic is relatively mild, and passes quite quickly, but you panic.

ocalhoun wrote:
A careful study of real-world disaster behavior will show a surprising lack of panic, except in situations that meet those two criteria.

No, that's not true. A study of real-world disasters will show panic always happens. What you're talking about is not panic, but chaos. Panic does not always result in chaos - for example, in combat stress reaction, people behave very calmly, and don't even seem the least bit excited. In fact, they seem abnormally calm, given the situation.

You just have a narrow view of panic as running around screaming, pulling your hair out and behaving chaotically. Panic is much more complicated and subtle. People can go into panicked fugue, or into a kind of hysterical calm (like the people who, upon seeing their home completely destroyed with their entire family dead inside, are more worried about how much time it will take to straighten up the lawn). You can't just look at someone and tell they're panicking - they may look quite calm.

In point of fact, when there is a major disaster, there is rarely much running around or screaming once the actual storm has passed. In fact, people often behave quite civilly - they organize, and help each other out, and so forth. But, when you look more carefully, you will find they are in a sort of "hysterical calm". That's panic.

jeffryjon wrote:
Fight or flight is a survival mechanism which may or may not be invoked by panic and generally results in an attitude (rather than chain of thinking) something along the lines of "I'm getting out of or through this - not buts".

Sorry, but psychologically speaking, you don't know a word of what you're talking about.

The fight or flight response is never "invoked by panic", and does not result in any thinking. Panic is invoked by the flight or fight response (possibly - either panic or aggression), and the whole point of the fight or flight response is that there is no thinking involved. It is your "lizard brain" taking over, shutting down your forebrain and instead allocating resources to muscles and and so in preparation for taking action.

jeffryjon wrote:
A biker had an accident which resulted in his motorbike falling. ...

i fail to see the point of this whole story. So the bikers hate the police. Big whoop. Did they ever tell the police that if they were injured and in need of assistance, that the police should not help them? If not, the standard social expectation is that it's the police's job to render aid in an emergency. In which case, the biker was right to call the cop a ****** idiot.

jeffryjon wrote:
Add to this the fact that most people don't choose to commit suicide ...

Here's another problem. Yes, most people don't choose to commit suicide, but some do. There are tons of reasons for it, anything from ending suffering, to making a political statement, to sacrificing oneself for the good of others.

If someone tells you beforehand - when they are calm and rational - that they want to die, and if you find them suffering, you should leave them to die... then you should respect that request. You don't decide "well, most people wouldn't ask that, so, to hell with what you asked me before, i'm going to decide what's best for you now".
jeffryjon
Indi wrote:
jeffryjon wrote:
Fight or flight is a survival mechanism which may or may not be invoked by panic and generally results in an attitude (rather than chain of thinking) something along the lines of "I'm getting out of or through this - not buts".

Sorry, but psychologically speaking, you don't know a word of what you're talking about.

The fight or flight response is never "invoked by panic", and does not result in any thinking. Panic is invoked by the flight or fight response (possibly - either panic or aggression), and the whole point of the fight or flight response is that there is no thinking involved. It is your "lizard brain" taking over, shutting down your forebrain and instead allocating resources to muscles and and so in preparation for taking action.


I'm happy to discuss this further if you start a new thread

Indi wrote:
jeffryjon wrote:
A biker had an accident which resulted in his motorbike falling. ...

i fail to see the point of this whole story. So the bikers hate the police. Big whoop. Did they ever tell the police that if they were injured and in need of assistance, that the police should not help them? If not, the standard social expectation is that it's the police's job to render aid in an emergency. In which case, the biker was right to call the cop a ****** idiot.


Every situation is unique, so we could argue the toss for ever and a day. What would have been the best option in any situation - but it would be just that - an argument about what should have happened, rather than what should happen in the future. Fact is, we rely on assessments of situations with similarities to make decisions about future events.

Based on your question as to whether the biker made a direct statement saying that he never wanted help from the police - no matter what. I challenge you to produce documentation directly produced by ANY government that states they and their people never want help in any situation - no matter what - enjoy the search.

Indi wrote:
jeffryjon wrote:
Add to this the fact that most people don't choose to commit suicide ...

Here's another problem. Yes, most people don't choose to commit suicide, but some do. There are tons of reasons for it, anything from ending suffering, to making a political statement, to sacrificing oneself for the good of others.

If someone tells you beforehand - when they are calm and rational - that they want to die, and if you find them suffering, you should leave them to die... then you should respect that request. You don't decide "well, most people wouldn't ask that, so, to hell with what you asked me before, i'm going to decide what's best for you now".


Refer to the above comments in this post.
Indi
jeffryjon wrote:
Indi wrote:
jeffryjon wrote:
Fight or flight is a survival mechanism which may or may not be invoked by panic and generally results in an attitude (rather than chain of thinking) something along the lines of "I'm getting out of or through this - not buts".

Sorry, but psychologically speaking, you don't know a word of what you're talking about.

The fight or flight response is never "invoked by panic", and does not result in any thinking. Panic is invoked by the flight or fight response (possibly - either panic or aggression), and the whole point of the fight or flight response is that there is no thinking involved. It is your "lizard brain" taking over, shutting down your forebrain and instead allocating resources to muscles and and so in preparation for taking action.


I'm happy to discuss this further if you start a new thread

It would have to be a thread in the science forums, because it is a scientific issue (i would say the "life" forum, because that seems to be the best place for human psychology). But personally, i'm not interested, because from where i'm sitting, i can only see it taking one of two forms. Either you will be making false and unscientific assertions about psychology, which i or someone else versed in psychology will have to correct... or i or someone else versed in psychology will have to try and give you a crash course cognition or group psychology, both of which are enormous fields. Neither of those options appeal to me.

If you have a specific question about psychology, go ahead and ask it in the science forums. If no one else answers it first, i will, if i can.

If you want to learn about psychology in general or some sub-field in psychology, take a course, or start getting some introductory textbooks and dive in.

jeffryjon wrote:
Indi wrote:
jeffryjon wrote:
A biker had an accident which resulted in his motorbike falling. ...

i fail to see the point of this whole story. So the bikers hate the police. Big whoop. Did they ever tell the police that if they were injured and in need of assistance, that the police should not help them? If not, the standard social expectation is that it's the police's job to render aid in an emergency. In which case, the biker was right to call the cop a ****** idiot.


Every situation is unique, so we could argue the toss for ever and a day. What would have been the best option in any situation - but it would be just that - an argument about what should have happened, rather than what should happen in the future. Fact is, we rely on assessments of situations with similarities to make decisions about future events.

Wow, i was wondering where you were going with your last few posts... now i'm seeing that you don't even know. ^_^;

Of course, every situation is different - that's one of those "duh" observations. But the moral principles that underlie them are universal. (Unless you believe that morality changes from situation to situation, which no one - now or historically - believes.)

The purpose of the discussion is to identify the moral principles involved, and how the salient moral features of the situation apply in determining what the right thing to do is. We're not here to talk about just one situation, or even a bunch of situations; we're here to determine the universal moral principles that exist, and test them by seeing how they apply in hypothetical situations, to see if they're valid.

The universal moral principle i've been applying throughout is this:
Always respect the choices freely made by people about their own self-determination, unless those choices restrict the freedoms of others.

The salient moral points of the original example are:
  • A valid government is chosen by the people (actively, through election or revolution, or passively, through not revolting) to enact their will.
  • In a time of stress or panic, people can no longer choose freely (their thinking is distorted).
  • Without confirmation of a new choice freely made, you have to respect the last choice they freely made.
Thus the moral conclusion: even if the people ask for help during a crisis, we must respect the last choice they made that we can confirm was freely given... which was that this government represents their will. If we can show that the government is not valid, then we can ignore it, at which point, without further information about what the people freely chose, we have to assume they made "the standard choice" - that is, they would want to be saved, regardless by who.

The salient moral points of the example of you and me are:
  • When i was able to choose freely, i made my desires clearly known.
  • No matter what i say in the crisis - because you cannot be sure that my thinking is clear - you know what i want you to do.
Thus the moral conclusion: you are wrong to help me. You are knowingly using the crisis as an excuse to impart your own will on the way you think i should be choosing to live my life.

The salient moral points of the biker example are:
  • Anyone is morally obligated to help someone in distress if they can (provided that person has not freely refused their help)... but the policeperson is especially obligated, because the biker - by means of society - is explicitly paying him to render assistance in emergencies, even if it is too dangerous for the average person.
  • If the biker did not freely choose to waive any assistance, than anyone... but especially the policeperson... is obligated to help.
Thus the moral conclusion: the policeperson was an idiot. Their job is to help people in distress, no matter who they are - biker gang member or not. Unless the person has explicitly instructed not to be helped when they were able to freely choose, the policeperson was an idiot for even hesitating, let alone asking.

If you disagree with those conclusions, then you have two options. Either:
  1. Show a flaw in my logic:

    Show that either my moral maxim is invalid (by showing how it fails in some hypothetical example), or show that i have made an error in applying it.

  2. Come up with a better answer:

    Show your own moral maxim: The one that allows you the right to decide what's best for me when i am unable to fight back and stop you from taking control of my life against my will. Or the one that allows you the right to ignore the will of the people expresses through their government because you don't think it makes sense according to your own personal metric. Or the one that allows the policeperson - the professional emergency assistance officer of the population - to not do their job right away because the particular person in distress happens to be someone from a group that his group show general antipathy about.

    Show your own moral maxim, and then defend it. Show why it's superior to my moral maxim.

  3. Both of the above:

    You could try for the slam dunk and both discredit my solution... and prove your own at the same time.
That's philosophy. Specifically, that's moral philosophy.

Now as to your specific question:

jeffryjon wrote:
Based on your question as to whether the biker made a direct statement saying that he never wanted help from the police - no matter what. I challenge you to produce documentation directly produced by ANY government that states they and their people never want help in any situation - no matter what - enjoy the search.

i don't think you've been paying attention here, because your request is a complete non sequitur. Which is a nice way of saying it's completely stupid. Not only does it not make sense rationally, it doesn't even make much sense grammatically (the previous sentence is dangling).

No government needs to produce "documentation" that what they say is what the people want. They are the "documentation". The fact that they're in power is the proof that they have the blessing of the people to make decisions for them. If the people didn't want them to be the ones who represent their will to the world, then they wouldn't have chosen them (or they would revolt and change them). When you choose a government, you say: "i nominate this body to enact my will, both internally on a national scale (or whatever scale the particular government is), and externally to other nations (if it is a national government)." That's what a government is, and that's why you should be damn serious, and damn careful, about who you put in charge, because whoever you do put in charge... you accept the consequences of that choice. That was covered way back in the thread, like right near the beginning. Try to keep up.
jeffryjon
Any response I have to make is already covered in a thread in which we are holding parallel conversation. The link is here. http://www.frihost.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=985557#985557
ocalhoun
Indi wrote:

It may be, but as an adult you are responsible for making sure that your opinions are not irrational (or accepting the consequences if you refuse to do that). That's why you should always be checking your assumptions against reality. Freedom and responsibility come hand in hand: if you want the freedom of self-determination, you have the responsibility to make sure your choices are the best possible.

So, just extend that to during an emergency.
Quote:

It may be rational, as you say, given a certain set of priorities, but it's not you... and that's what's important. You made a choice. Until we can determine that you - fully functioning mentally - are making a new choice, we have to assume your choice (the choice you made when we know you were you) stands.

Now that's just ridiculous...
One's identity does not change with one's mental state- you're always you.
Quote:

ocalhoun wrote:
If you MUST assume that a bit of fear and stress obliterate all rational thought, give the people a simple academic test before asking them if they want help or not. If they fail the test, discount their opinion.

That's just ridiculous.

Quite ridiculous. But if you insist on saying people are not able to make rational decisions during an emergency, psychological tests would be necessary before helping anyone who hadn't made the request in advance, preferably in writing.
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To me, the answer to that has been clear from the start. We respect their choice, no matter how stupid we think it is.

...
I agree; that's what I've been saying the whole time.
Just respect their current choice, no mater how stupid we think it is.
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You just have a narrow view of panic as running around screaming, pulling your hair out and behaving chaotically. Panic is much more complicated and subtle. People can go into panicked fugue, or into a kind of hysterical calm (like the people who, upon seeing their home completely destroyed with their entire family dead inside, are more worried about how much time it will take to straighten up the lawn). You can't just look at someone and tell they're panicking - they may look quite calm.

In point of fact, when there is a major disaster, there is rarely much running around or screaming once the actual storm has passed. In fact, people often behave quite civilly - they organize, and help each other out, and so forth. But, when you look more carefully, you will find they are in a sort of "hysterical calm". That's panic.

Ah, I see that's the problem, we are using widely different definitions of panic.
Definition from dictionary.com:
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1. a sudden overwhelming fear, with or without cause, that produces hysterical or irrational behavior, and that often spreads quickly through a group of persons or animals.

Now, compared to that, my definition is probably too narrow, but yours is too wide, as many personal disaster stories do not mention any 'overwhelming fear'; more often, a surprising lack of fear.

There is shock, however, which probably fits what you're talking about better. Because shock occurs any time one's circumstances change drastically, rapidly, and unexpectedly -- it does happen in nearly all disasters, but it is usually short-lived, a matter of hours at most. It can lead to panic, though the most common reaction is one of these: 1) freezing, unable to move or react, or more mildly, just doing everything very slowly, or 2) 'milling' where people walk around, somewhat dazed, they may stop to gather meaningless possessions, or they may single-mindedly seek out other people to help them decide what to do.

In the type of situations we're talking about, the initial shock should have subsided by the time we're able to ask people if they want help or not.


Now, you mentioned Stockholm syndrome.
That's a different aspect entirely, I'd call it more of a psychological condition caused by living in a warped environment for a long time... A result of 'training', you might say.
(I'd call it similar to a deprived child who hides scraps of food, even when moved to an environment where they certainly don't need to anymore.)
I think psychological quirks like these take a considerable time to develop, so that should leave a well-sized window (after the shock wears off, before psychological oddities develop) where we have rational people to question.


And, yes, people can change their minds without being irrational; it's just a matter of changing priorities.
Before a disaster they might put national pride ahead of help in a crisis.
After a disaster happens, they might reevaluate those priorities and decide that help in a crisis is more important than national pride.
Such a change does not necessarily mean either position was irrational; a change in circumstances can bring a (rational) change in priorities.
Indi
ocalhoun wrote:
So, just extend that to during an emergency.

Yeah, sure, let's just treat an emergency like any other situation. Why don't we do that and see what happens?

If a group of US citizens asked a Chinese aid group to enter the country - even though the US government refused to allow them to enter - when there is no emergency... let's say they want them to help build a community centre... is it okay for this aid group to ignore the government and enter?

And, if not, and if you think we can treat emergency situations the same as other situations, doesn't that mean they also can't enter in an emergency? Hm?

ocalhoun wrote:
Now that's just ridiculous...
One's identity does not change with one's mental state- you're always you.

Oh really? ^_^; Do you really believe that? You mean that if i drugged you - against your will, mind you - and in the drug-induced psychotic mental state you killed someone... that you - you the individual - are morally responsible for the killing?

It gets worse. Because if you slip a girl a drug that distorts her reasoning - let's say, making her easily susceptible to suggestion (one of the effects of stress, incidentally) - then get her "consent" - under those conditions - to have sex with her... then by your reasoning you haven't raped the girl. Because, according to you, mental states don't matter: she consented when her mental state was what i would call unable to consent, but if mental states don't matter to you, then that she consented is all that matters. Well? Is that true? Do you believe that if you drug a girl and then get her "consent" while drugged, you haven't raped her because she consented?

Or, maybe it's really not so ridiculous that when your mental state is distorted, it's really not you talking, hm?

ocalhoun wrote:
Quite ridiculous. But if you insist on saying people are not able to make rational decisions during an emergency, psychological tests would be necessary before helping anyone who hadn't made the request in advance, preferably in writing.

Hang on here. First of all, obviously some people can make rational decisions during an emergency (emergency services people obviously do). That is NOT what i've been saying. What i have been saying is that OFTEN in a crisis, people's thinking gets distorted by stress. Because of that, when someone makes a decision in a crisis, it may be rational, but you CANNOT BE SURE, and the likelihood is that it is not - especially if it radically contradicts their thinking from before the emergency. (Read back up: that's what i've been saying all along.) UNLESS YOU ARE SURE that they are rationally changing their mind while in a non-distorted mental state - because this (an emergency) is a situation where that is not the norm - you have to respect the decisions they made before the crisis.

Secondly, you're ignoring the point of the hypothetical scenario. Sure, you know what? It would great if during a time of crisis, when the government was refusing to allow outsiders to go in and offer aid, we could go in with a army of psychologists, ask the victims of the disaster to take a moment in the middle of their suffering to do some tests, compare their results to the tests they fortuitously took before the disaster, and then make our decision from there. But if you think you're making a reasonable suggestion in the face of the scenario, to suggest that we do this.... And you call what i'm saying ridiculous? ^_^;

Let's just think for a second here. If it is true that the people actually did ask the government not to allow foreigners in, you would be violating their will just as much by insisting on going in to do tests as insisting on going in to do aid. On the other hand, if the people really didn't ask not to have foreigners in to help, do you really think the government is going to acquiesce to you going in to run tests that have the potential to have them marked as illegitimate? i mean... really. ^_^; And even if you did get permission to run these tests - despite not being allowed to render aid (i mean, really?) - do you really think that it's practical to conduct psychological tests on people in the middle of a damn disaster?

Seriously, psychological tests? You think that's a reasonable solution to this dilemma?

ocalhoun wrote:
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To me, the answer to that has been clear from the start. We respect their choice, no matter how stupid we think it is.

...
I agree; that's what I've been saying the whole time.
Just respect their current choice, no mater how stupid we think it is.

And what i've been trying to say to you is that when you make a choice when your mental processes are so distorted, it's not a real choice. Otherwise, as i explained above, you would be okay with rape drugs, which i don't think you are.

And if you think that someone's mental processes might be distorted, the right thing to do is to respect the choices they made when you know their mental processes were most likely normal. Want an example? Alright, consider this: you're at a party and you run into a girl who just turned you down earlier that day when you asked to go out with her. She comes up to you and asks you to go upstairs and have sex, but you can smell alcohol strong on her breath. What do you do? Do you respect her current choice, when you know her mental state is probably distorted (and remember! you said mental states don't matter!)? Or, do you respect the last choice she made when you know she was in full control?

ocalhoun wrote:
Now, compared to that, my definition is probably too narrow, but yours is too wide, as many personal disaster stories do not mention any 'overwhelming fear'; more often, a surprising lack of fear.

That's what's called "hysterical calm". In technical terms, what is happening is that your higher congnitive processes are impaired, and you are no longer able to do more complex cognitive tasks like prioritizing (which is why people in a stressful situation often get so caught up in seemingly trivial problems).

In a crisis you should have a certain amount of fear. A lack of it is an indication of problems.

ocalhoun wrote:
There is shock, however, which probably fits what you're talking about better. Because shock occurs any time one's circumstances change drastically, rapidly, and unexpectedly -- it does happen in nearly all disasters, but it is usually short-lived, a matter of hours at most. It can lead to panic, though the most common reaction is one of these: 1) freezing, unable to move or react, or more mildly, just doing everything very slowly, or 2) 'milling' where people walk around, somewhat dazed, they may stop to gather meaningless possessions, or they may single-mindedly seek out other people to help them decide what to do.

A matter of hours?!? You are talking about only an acute reaction. The acute phase starts pretty much right after the stressful event, and lasts for a couple of hours (although, for some people it can last for a couple days). After the acute phase passes you get in to the regular stress reaction... impaired judgement, withdrawal and detachment, misdirected anxiety, all that jazz. That phase can continue for weeks or months - basically until they get "used" to the stress. And some people never fully get over it (this is post-traumatic stress disorder).

The impaired judgement is the important part here.

ocalhoun wrote:
In the type of situations we're talking about, the initial shock should have subsided by the time we're able to ask people if they want help or not.

That's not even close to true - their need for your aid would probably subside before their stress does, unless you're talking about a really long-term disaster (but even then, you can't be sure their judgement is not still impaired by stress). The acute reaction would have subsided, but you are confusing the acute reaction for the general stress reaction.

ocalhoun wrote:
Now, you mentioned Stockholm syndrome.
That's a different aspect entirely, I'd call it more of a psychological condition caused by living in a warped environment for a long time... A result of 'training', you might say.
(I'd call it similar to a deprived child who hides scraps of food, even when moved to an environment where they certainly don't need to anymore.)
I think psychological quirks like these take a considerable time to develop, so that should leave a well-sized window (after the shock wears off, before psychological oddities develop) where we have rational people to question.

No, you're wrong. Stockholm Syndrome is not conditioning. First of all, it happens far, far too fast, and second, there are no conditioning mechanisms (there is no reward for sympathizing with a hostage taker, for example - there may be a reward for faking it, but you can fake liking a terrible boss for years without ever really believing it, so why can't you fake sympathizing with a kidnapper for hours without falling for the delusion).

Also, Stockholm Syndrome does not always take a long time to develop. It can happen in a matter of hours or days (like two or three)... not months or years. You cannot explain this effect by normal cognitive functioning (like by attributing it to conditioning). It is caused by the stress reaction - it is similar to brainwashing in that it requires the cognitive impairement that comes with stress in order to work.

ocalhoun wrote:
And, yes, people can change their minds without being irrational; it's just a matter of changing priorities.
Before a disaster they might put national pride ahead of help in a crisis.
After a disaster happens, they might reevaluate those priorities and decide that help in a crisis is more important than national pride.
Such a change does not necessarily mean either position was irrational; a change in circumstances can bring a (rational) change in priorities.

But to assume that would happen would require assuming that the people are really freaking stupid - because it would take a really stupid person to have time to rationally weigh the options of what should be done in a disaster, yet still say "don't ever help me when i'm in dire need" just because they're too proud, while not taking into account the fact that, oh, i don't know, gee, this choice could cause me to die. And then, in the stress of the crisis, rather than being psychologically impaired by the stress as most people would be, their thinking is so clear that they can rationally reevaluate their position, and change it. Now that is a possible scenario... but is it a likely one?

Compare that to the likelihood that they are of average intelligence, and made a request based on their beliefs, then in the crisis, suffer from stress reaction that causes their thinking to become distorted - which happens in almost all cases of extreme stress?

To me it seems obvious that the latter case is far more likely.
ocalhoun
Indi wrote:

If a group of US citizens asked a Chinese aid group to enter the country - even though the US government refused to allow them to enter - when there is no emergency... let's say they want them to help build a community centre... is it okay for this aid group to ignore the government and enter?

You insist that a government is the will of the people made manifest, but in your example, the will of the people and the will of the government are quite opposite...

And in such a situation, I would use the will of the people for guidance, not the will of the government. (Libertarian that I am...)

(This is, of course, ignoring the possibility that one country ignoring the other's will might lead to escalating conflict, even war. In a situation like this, that possibility would weigh much more heavily than what the people do or do not want.)
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It gets worse. Because if you slip a girl a drug that distorts her reasoning - let's say, making her easily susceptible to suggestion (one of the effects of stress, incidentally) - then get her "consent" - under those conditions - to have sex with her... then by your reasoning you haven't raped the girl. Because, according to you, mental states don't matter: she consented when her mental state was what i would call unable to consent, but if mental states don't matter to you, then that she consented is all that matters. Well? Is that true? Do you believe that if you drug a girl and then get her "consent" while drugged, you haven't raped her because she consented?

No problem! Since she was somebody else at the time, somebody else got raped, not her. ^.^
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Or, maybe it's really not so ridiculous that when your mental state is distorted, it's really not you talking, hm?

Oh, it's still you, it's a distorted you, but it doesn't magically become someone else.
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Seriously, psychological tests? You think that's a reasonable solution to this dilemma?

Not at all reasonable. Which is why I can support moving in without the psychological tests, as it would be an unreasonable demand of surety.
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ocalhoun wrote:
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To me, the answer to that has been clear from the start. We respect their choice, no matter how stupid we think it is.

...
I agree; that's what I've been saying the whole time.
Just respect their current choice, no mater how stupid we think it is.

And what i've been trying to say to you is that when you make a choice when your mental processes are so distorted, it's not a real choice. Otherwise, as i explained above, you would be okay with rape drugs, which i don't think you are.

I would differentiate between 'slightly distorted' and 'completely incompetent' though.
Most people in the middle of a medium-to-long-term disaster would fall into the 'slightly distorted' category, while the drugged girl is probably in the 'completely incompetent' category.
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And if you think that someone's mental processes might be distorted, the right thing to do is to respect the choices they made when you know their mental processes were most likely normal. Want an example? Alright, consider this: you're at a party and you run into a girl who just turned you down earlier that day when you asked to go out with her. She comes up to you and asks you to go upstairs and have sex, but you can smell alcohol strong on her breath. What do you do? Do you respect her current choice, when you know her mental state is probably distorted (and remember! you said mental states don't matter!)? Or, do you respect the last choice she made when you know she was in full control?

One major difference in this analogy is that the girl probably doesn't have any rational reason to reverse her decision, while a disaster victim likely does.
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After the acute phase passes you get in to the regular stress reaction... impaired judgement, withdrawal and detachment, misdirected anxiety, all that jazz. That phase can continue for weeks or months - basically until they get "used" to the stress. And some people never fully get over it (this is post-traumatic stress disorder).

And during that phase, I figure people are able to make decisions as simple as 'do you want help from us or not?'
Or are PTSD-affected people unable to make decisions for the rest of their lives?
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The impaired judgement is the important part here.

But how impaired is it? And why should it be impaired in any particular (non-rational) direction?
-If we ask a large number of people, why should more of them be impaired towards one answer rather than another unless there is a reason behind it?
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But to assume that would happen would require assuming that the people are really freaking stupid

Wait...

Do you mean they're not really freaking stupid?
Most of the people I encounter are.
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- because it would take a really stupid person to have time to rationally weigh the options of what should be done in a disaster, yet still say "don't ever help me when i'm in dire need" just because they're too proud, while not taking into account the fact that, oh, i don't know, gee, this choice could cause me to die. And then, in the stress of the crisis, rather than being psychologically impaired by the stress as most people would be, their thinking is so clear that they can rationally reevaluate their position, and change it. Now that is a possible scenario... but is it a likely one?

Compare that to the likelihood that they are of average intelligence, and made a request based on their beliefs, then in the crisis, suffer from stress reaction that causes their thinking to become distorted - which happens in almost all cases of extreme stress?

To me it seems obvious that the latter case is far more likely.

You're downplaying the likelihood of the first scenario overmuch.

Before disaster: National pride is much more important than help in an emergency (that probably won't happen anyway). Besides, my own country can help me just fine... 'cause it's so great.
After disaster: Oh noes! The disaster happened and happened to me... and my country isn't helping (enough). What will I do to survive? Oh, this other country wants to help? Of course I want them to, what good is being proud if you're dead?

Is that calm and rational? Not entirely... But it is enough, and I doubt they would regret the decision later.
Indi
ocalhoun wrote:
You insist that a government is the will of the people made manifest, but in your example, the will of the people and the will of the government are quite opposite...

No, the will of that group is different from the will of the people.

ocalhoun wrote:
And in such a situation, I would use the will of the people for guidance, not the will of the government. (Libertarian that I am...)

And if you go by that logic, then (for example) any group of criminals who want cocaine to be legal so they can sell it with impunity would negate the will of the general population (which is the will of the government).

The will of "the people" (as a group) isn't necessarily the same as the will of each person combined. This goes back again to the tax example: no individual wants to pay taxes, but when the entire body of people are forced to collectively make a decision on how to pay for things, their group decision overrides what the individuals want.

That shouldn't be surprising to you, or even difficult to understand. Just look at the US. Lots of people are complaining about the government and their policies... are we to assume that the government is therefore invalid and rush in to save them from tyranny? Of course not. Because as much as they bitch about their government and say it needs to be replaced they are still working within their governmental system - they intend to replace them by election, not revolution. That means that their government is still working, in their point of view, it just needs to be tweaked.

"The will of the people" doesn't mean "the whim of every individual person or group". It doesn't even mean the sum of the wills of every individual. "The people" is a body that determines what is in the best interest of itself - "the people" - which may or may not be in the best interest of any given individual. It may, in fact, not be in the best interest of any individuals. "The people" - the singlular body - may decide that all individuals have to suffer a little for the good of "the people", and they often do (again, the taxes example).

ocalhoun wrote:
No problem! Since she was somebody else at the time, somebody else got raped, not her. ^.^

Nice try. ^_^; But even if someone else was driving, it was still her body that you violated, and you knew the person at the wheel was not the real owner of the vehicle. Rape is a violation of the body without consent of the body's owner, so, yeah, you still raped her.

ocalhoun wrote:
Oh, it's still you, it's a distorted you, but it doesn't magically become someone else.

Whoa, who said it becomes someone else? It may be like someone else, but it's not like another entity takes over. It's just not you.

If you want an analogy, your personality - you - is the pilot, and your body is the plane. If the pilot gets knocked unconscious, the plane (assuming it's dynamically stable, as most civilian planes are) will still fly. In fact, it will continue to fly until it runs out of fuel. It can also still respond to automated signals like GPS, ILS and such, so it can even react to external stimuli - it will turn and follow a course. But you're not flying it anymore.

Nor is anyone else. No other pilot is "magically" beamed into the pilot seat - the machine is just running on its own "cognizance"... doing whatever it "wants" to do without pilot input.

Now, let's say that i was flying the plane taking off from New York City, and before i took off, i told you i was going to Paris, and you knew from previous discussions that i refuse to ever fly to Johannesburg, even if the plane were on fire and going down if i didn't make an emergency landing. Assume there is no radio in the plane (or that some anomalous weather conditions, like solar flares, makes radio contact impossible), and no way to look inside from the outside to see what's going on inside. i take off normally, and start heading toward Paris. Then, your radar shows i hit a really nasty patch of turbulence. Suddenly i veer off and i'm now heading toward Johannesburg. You realize that i might have been knocked unconscious in the turbulence, and now the plane is just following whatever is strongest VOR signal or whatever. Or, maybe i'm still okay, and just - for whatever reason - decided to change course to Johannesburg. Which do you think is more likely?

Obviously (i would think), it's more likely that i've been incapacitated and the plane is just doing whatever happens to be the easiest course of action for it to take, than it is that i've suddenly changed my mind in the middle of a crisis to something i've clearly stated that i will not do even in a crisis.

ocalhoun wrote:
Not at all reasonable. Which is why I can support moving in without the psychological tests, as it would be an unreasonable demand of surety.

^_^; So let me get this straight. There are two possibilities: a) that the people are traumatized by the disaster and not thinking clearly, or b) that despite the disaster, they are thinking calmly and rationally, that they have reevaluated their previous beliefs, and come to a new conclusion. (a) is clearly far, far, far more likely than (b). You can't do the test to determine which of (a) or (b) has actually happened... ... ... so you assume (b).

Let's try using your same reasoning in another scenario. The contractor working in your basement has left a message saying that he's going out to buy a gun. There are two possibilities: a) that he's going to the hardware store to get a staple gun, or a caulking gun, or something like that, or b) that he's going out to get a weapon for killing someone. (a) is clearly far, far, far more likely that (b). You can't call him to determien which of (a) or (b) he actually meant (you don't have his cell number)... ... ... so you assume (b) and phone the cops telling them that your contractor is about to go postal.

Good job with the induction there. ^_^;

ocalhoun wrote:
I would differentiate between 'slightly distorted' and 'completely incompetent' though.
Most people in the middle of a medium-to-long-term disaster would fall into the 'slightly distorted' category, while the drugged girl is probably in the 'completely incompetent' category.

First of all, the differentiation is splitting hairs. Slightly distorted or really distorted - the magnitude of the distortion doesn't matter, the fact that the distortion exists does.

Second, you're just arbitrarily assigning one as worse than the other, when reality doesn't match your ranking, and even if it did, this is a hypothetical to test your principles, so rather than dodging the question by making up these arbitrary distinctions, you should just assume the girl is 'slightly distorted' rather than making her 'completely incompetent' to weasel out of the problem.

Now, as for the reality, a rape drug doesn't need to make someone 'completely incompetent' for it to be effective. All it would need to do is mess up the person's higher cognitive ability - for example, to prioritize and weigh consequences. And, of course, what are the effects of stress trauma...? Same thing. Now, in the 'medium-to-long term', the severity of these effects on a disaster victim may be about the same as for a lightly doped person... but what about the short term?

ocalhoun wrote:
One major difference in this analogy is that the girl probably doesn't have any rational reason to reverse her decision, while a disaster victim likely does.

Why would you say that? Haven't you ever just had a hankering to get laid? A party is a very rational place to go about getting that done. And if you're familiar and have expressed interest in sleeping with her before (which is when she refused), you're a perfectly rational target to approach.

You're making arbitrary assumptions about the scenarios to avoid the challenges they present to your principles.

ocalhoun wrote:
And during that phase, I figure people are able to make decisions as simple as 'do you want help from us or not?'
Or are PTSD-affected people unable to make decisions for the rest of their lives?

Actually, PTSD sufferers are unable to make decisions for the rest of their lives... when they are having a stress attack. In other words, when they are reliving the stress of the incident, yeah, they're not making rational decisions during that time.

No, people under stress are not able to make decisions as simple as whether they want help or not. You are trivializing the situation, because they've already considered the question rationally and - for whatever reason - decided they don't. In order to reappraise that choice, they have to go back over all of the reasoning they went over when they made the first decision, and decide whether it no longer applies (if they don't do that, then they're not thinking rationally, they're just reacting in panic). It's not a trivial decision to make, it's quite complicated.

ocalhoun wrote:
But how impaired is it? And why should it be impaired in any particular (non-rational) direction?
-If we ask a large number of people, why should more of them be impaired towards one answer rather than another unless there is a reason behind it?

The severity differs from person to person, but it doesn't take all that much impairment to affect your judgement. And it can quite easily cause opinions to all sway in the same direction. You know that happens already. When people's minds are impaired by stress, they cannot make higher-level judgements, so they make "animal judgements". "i'm in trouble so help me" is an animal judgement - you don't need to do a whole lot of cognitive processing to go from "i'm in danger" to "help me". Other "animal judgements" include "the outsiders are the problem, kill the outsiders", and so on. You know that these things happen in crises, and that the same patterns of irrationality get repeated from crisis to crisis.

If they used complex reasoning to decide that they didn't want help (which you have been assuming they didn't - you have been assuming that they were just stupid and proud - check your assumptions!), then obviously if they can't use complex reasoning, they won't make that decision again, and will instead fall back on the "easy answer" - to ask for help.

ocalhoun wrote:
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But to assume that would happen would require assuming that the people are really freaking stupid

Wait...

Do you mean they're not really freaking stupid?
Most of the people I encounter are.

i'm starting to get the sense that you think you're a lot smarter than most people, and that you think most people are pretty stupid.

Try this instead: assume you're of rougly average intelligence. Statistically speaking, i probably am, too. Certainly there are conditions where i would refuse aid... but for pride? Seriously?

Put it this way, if it's too stupid for you... it's probably too stupid for most people.

ocalhoun wrote:
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- because it would take a really stupid person to have time to rationally weigh the options of what should be done in a disaster, yet still say "don't ever help me when i'm in dire need" just because they're too proud, while not taking into account the fact that, oh, i don't know, gee, this choice could cause me to die. And then, in the stress of the crisis, rather than being psychologically impaired by the stress as most people would be, their thinking is so clear that they can rationally reevaluate their position, and change it. Now that is a possible scenario... but is it a likely one?

Compare that to the likelihood that they are of average intelligence, and made a request based on their beliefs, then in the crisis, suffer from stress reaction that causes their thinking to become distorted - which happens in almost all cases of extreme stress?

To me it seems obvious that the latter case is far more likely.

You're downplaying the likelihood of the first scenario overmuch.

Before disaster: National pride is much more important than help in an emergency (that probably won't happen anyway). Besides, my own country can help me just fine... 'cause it's so great.
After disaster: Oh noes! The disaster happened and happened to me... and my country isn't helping (enough). What will I do to survive? Oh, this other country wants to help? Of course I want them to, what good is being proud if you're dead?

Is that calm and rational? Not entirely... But it is enough, and I doubt they would regret the decision later.

i would say that you're way overestimating the stupidity of people. Would you be so stupid as to believe that there will never be a disaster that your nation couldn't handle on its own? Probably not.

So like i said, in your scenario these people would:
  • Have to be really freaking stupid before the disaster. Like... incredibly stupid. Not just "we prefer to handle it alone", but "we refuse your help in advance, because either we'll never need it (which is really stupid), or because we'd rather die than surrender our 'pride' (which is also really stupid)".
  • During the disaster, reevaluate everything they believed before (which, admittedly, really wasn't much because they were so freaking stupid) in the middle of all the stress, and think rationally, and come to a conclusion
It could happen, sure... but it's much, much, much more likely that they considered things at least semi-intelligently beforehand (that they're of average intelligence), but during the stress of the incident, are unable to properly weigh the same considerations.
jeffryjon
@ Indi.

Your argument holds true in the methodology that it uses but it's not completely true in that it pushes aside other factors.

Let's say I live in a country where voting is compulsory for all adults who are considered to be sane.

The country operates in an alleged democratic fashion and has several political parties. The number of people in the country far exceeds the number of people in all the political parties. Each political party has a leader and as such, the leader has a greater degree of influence over the decisions made by the party. It may be that each political party has a democratic structure, but the following argument in case will still apply to some lesser degree.

Let's say the country is composed of 100 million people and is split into 100 constituencies. Each constituency has a democratically elected leader who is a member of one of the political parties. We now have 1 person who takes forward any ideas he deems fit for a million people. In turn, this localised leader becomes one voice in a hundred putting forward the ideas he sees fit for a million of his constituents. As such, each group (million) has become one (leader/representative of million). Each leader can be ousted, though for as long as he retains his seat in the governing house, that is the fact.

The ruling party voted by majority in this case holds 65% of the hundred seats. It has 65% power - or does it? That would depend whether the country has a decision making process that allows all 100 seat-holders an equal vote, which is not guaranteed. Let's use the case of a country that doesn't. Now 65 people hold the vote on anything to be decided for 100million people. This situation, or similar, remains in place until the government is removed from power AND the governmental system is changed.

This particular country saw fit to set a safety mechanism in place and created a non-elected 'upper' house of government who are composed of members based on something that was decided by arbitration and is therefore non-democratic in nature. The upper house can veto anything the lower house puts forward, though it is limited in that it can't put forward any ideas of its own - it either approves or rejects whatever the lower house proposes. Now we have a system and short of revolution, the system remains in play.

In this country, children are subjected to TV/radio etc as approved by government from birth. The only other influence over the child is from parents and peers. The parents and peers were also subjected to the same process in their childhoods. Outside TV/radio and other media channels are blocked as a 'safety' mechanism against those ‘bad interfering outsiders’. As the child grows, it's subjected to compulsory schooling, which is again approved by government. Each child is required to attend one of the schools using a compulsory curriculum as set by the government under the same approval/rejection mechanism in place in the upper house.

On attaining the age of 18 years, the 'child' (now full-fledged citizen) is required by law to vote in political elections.

Who does the citizen vote for? (We'll presume here that the citizen has chosen not to refuse to vote because prison/punishment seems counterproductive). I can answer the question by saying the citizen votes for a representative of one of the parties in the election - and by doing so, the citizen votes for the party that the representative is a member of - and by doing so votes for the leader of that party to be the leading representative of the country.

The leading representative does not in this case, get to decide anything for the country. His powers are limited to continuing the status quo in place when he entered power plus putting ideas forward for approval/rejection by the upper house. The people have a voice and only one voice for as long as they accept the status quo sufficiently enough for it to continue.

We now have a situation where the voice of 100 million is filtered through 100. The 100 in turn is reduced to 65 because the other 35 are not members of the ruling party. Of the 65, the leader has the greatest voice because as long as he's in power, he can reshuffle anyone who doesn't toe the line to greatly reduce their effectiveness in opposing his proposals. In this case, we know that - it's a fact – so in effect, we can say that this supposedly democratic country has ONE voice of representation which is the voice of the leader. One voice now represents 100million voices and that's democracy at work in this country. Yes, the citizens can vote the party out by election, but they're still stuck with the same situation which is:

"I, the one great voice and filterer of all other voices will decide on your behalf, what will be discussed in common government to decide upon what will be taken forward for approval/rejection by the one great voice above me (upper house).”

Now, I know there are many factors in place in almost every country to give the impression of safeguarding against the above picture. For now at least, I'm going to say all those safeguards are just window-dressing and the reason for that is it's not my case of argument. Rather it's just setting the scene to justify the following:

As a citizen of that country,

My choices are limited to those things I’m aware of.

My awareness is limited to those things I’ve been told.

Even with those things I’m aware of, my ability to change the status quo is limited to either voting in elections or trying to gain enough support from my peers to overthrow the government by means other than election (revolution).

If I choose to try and overthrow the government (including the upper house), I will have to stand out on my own and begin as a minority of one. As such, it’s rational to assume that my attempts may be opposed by the system in play, which represents a group of 100 million including myself until such time as I succeed. To say the least, the odds appear to be against me and I have to accept at least, that I may be put in prison as an attempt to silence me -possibly worse.

There’s a possibility, however small that all of the other members in my society who are not members of political parties feel the same way as me, though I’ve no way of assessing the fact without standing out as a minority of one. Even if I attempt to speak with small groups in an enclosed environment, I have no way of knowing whether one or more members of that group will report me to the authorities, thus changing my minority status from 1 in small group to 1 in 100 million.

Day to day operations within my country seem to be tolerable and my decision to allow the status quo to remain is based purely on what seems to be the best chance of surviving in my status as a 'free' citizen for as long as the situation is tolerable. Publicly, I continue to passively support the system, though privately, I really want things to change and am just waiting for the opportunity. My government under the control of the upper house, rather than me, has a system in place that states there will be no outside intervention – no matter what – end of story.

It'a safe to say that in this situation my decision about the best thing to do is made without access to all the facts and will have to be made as a 'best guess'. Is my decision to not oppose the system rational or is it distorted by a combination of a limited awareness of possible choices and the fear of opposition?
ocalhoun
Indi wrote:

"The will of the people" doesn't mean "the whim of every individual person or group". It doesn't even mean the sum of the wills of every individual. "The people" is a body that determines what is in the best interest of itself - "the people" - which may or may not be in the best interest of any given individual. It may, in fact, not be in the best interest of any individuals. "The people" - the singlular body - may decide that all individuals have to suffer a little for the good of "the people", and they often do (again, the taxes example).

Which, as you may already be aware, I think is very wrong.
The group should exist for the benefit of the individuals in it, not vice versa.

(Sorry about this, Jews, but this is for the good of our wonderful group, which we call Germany.)
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ocalhoun wrote:
Oh, it's still you, it's a distorted you, but it doesn't magically become someone else.

Whoa, who said it becomes someone else? It may be like someone else, but it's not like another entity takes over. It's just not you.

Ah, so it must be nobody at all, then... Even less of a crime.
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It can also still respond to automated signals like GPS, ILS and such, so it can even react to external stimuli - it will turn and follow a course. But you're not flying it anymore.

ILS doesn't control planes... it just gives information to pilots.
(No big difference in the argument, just couldn't help pointing that out.)
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Obviously (i would think), it's more likely that i've been incapacitated and the plane is just doing whatever happens to be the easiest course of action for it to take, than it is that i've suddenly changed my mind in the middle of a crisis to something i've clearly stated that i will not do even in a crisis.

So, the Johannesburg airport shouldn't allow you to land?
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ocalhoun wrote:
Not at all reasonable. Which is why I can support moving in without the psychological tests, as it would be an unreasonable demand of surety.

^_^; So let me get this straight. There are two possibilities: a) that the people are traumatized by the disaster and not thinking clearly, or b) that despite the disaster, they are thinking calmly and rationally, that they have reevaluated their previous beliefs, and come to a new conclusion. (a) is clearly far, far, far more likely than (b). You can't do the test to determine which of (a) or (b) has actually happened... ... ... so you assume (b).

False dichotomy, anyone?

Surely there is a continuum between 'traumatized and not thinking clearly' and 'calm and rational'.
My stance is that for a large part of that continuum, people can make their own choices.
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First of all, the differentiation is splitting hairs. Slightly distorted or really distorted - the magnitude of the distortion doesn't matter, the fact that the distortion exists does.

Second, you're just arbitrarily assigning one as worse than the other, when reality doesn't match your ranking, and even if it did, this is a hypothetical to test your principles, so rather than dodging the question by making up these arbitrary distinctions, you should just assume the girl is 'slightly distorted' rather than making her 'completely incompetent' to weasel out of the problem.

So, how much stress does it take to make decisions irrational?
If even the slightest bit makes decisions untrustworthy, how are we to trust the decisions they made beforehand? Since they can be made irrational so easily, how are we to know they were rational in the beginning?
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but what about the short term?

Most of the time, one wouldn't be able to respond to a disaster quickly enough to be concerned with the short term. By the time help could arrive, it would have to be medium to long term help.
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ocalhoun wrote:
One major difference in this analogy is that the girl probably doesn't have any rational reason to reverse her decision, while a disaster victim likely does.

Why would you say that? Haven't you ever just had a hankering to get laid? A party is a very rational place to go about getting that done. And if you're familiar and have expressed interest in sleeping with her before (which is when she refused), you're a perfectly rational target to approach.

You're making arbitrary assumptions about the scenarios to avoid the challenges they present to your principles.

And where did she get this sudden urge from? Can't be from the drink, because that would be irrational, not rational.
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Actually, PTSD sufferers are unable to make decisions for the rest of their lives... when they are having a stress attack. In other words, when they are reliving the stress of the incident, yeah, they're not making rational decisions during that time.

And during the other times?
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No, people under stress are not able to make decisions as simple as whether they want help or not. You are trivializing the situation, because they've already considered the question rationally and - for whatever reason - decided they don't. In order to reappraise that choice, they have to go back over all of the reasoning they went over when they made the first decision, and decide whether it no longer applies (if they don't do that, then they're not thinking rationally, they're just reacting in panic). It's not a trivial decision to make, it's quite complicated.

Do they really have to go through all of their original thinking, when some of the (likely) assumptions of that thinking are proven false?
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If they used complex reasoning to decide that they didn't want help (which you have been assuming they didn't - you have been assuming that they were just stupid and proud - check your assumptions!),

And what other reasons are there?
There's the fear of reprisal from their government, but that falls under the question of 'can we help' rather than 'should we help'.
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then obviously if they can't use complex reasoning, they won't make that decision again, and will instead fall back on the "easy answer" - to ask for help.

So, if they were capable of complex reasoning, they'd still decide that no help is better than help?
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i'm starting to get the sense that you think you're a lot smarter than most people, and that you think most people are pretty stupid.

Guilty as charged, though that's a theory with a good bit of evidence behind it.
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Try this instead: assume you're of rougly average intelligence. Statistically speaking, i probably am, too.

I doubt it, unless I've been unfairly plagued by stupid people...
The average person on the street seems intelligent enough in familiar situations... but that's more training and practice than actual intelligence.
Put them in an unfamiliar situation, or engage them in a deep discussion, and the truth shows.
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Certainly there are conditions where i would refuse aid... but for pride? Seriously?

Put it this way, if it's too stupid for you... it's probably too stupid for most people.

The 'it won't happen to me' assumption is very common, and yes, I have even used it before.
(And probably still am using it in a variety of contexts.)
Also, do you really need to be extremely stupid to believe that your own government would adequately help you in an emergency?
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i would say that you're way overestimating the stupidity of people. Would you be so stupid as to believe that there will never be a disaster that your nation couldn't handle on its own? Probably not.

I could easily be stupid enough to believe my government would ask for and welcome outside help when needed, though.
In fact, before learning of the Katrina example, I did believe that.
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So like i said, in your scenario these people would:
  • Have to be really freaking stupid before the disaster. Like... incredibly stupid. Not just "we prefer to handle it alone", but "we refuse your help in advance, because either we'll never need it (which is really stupid), or because we'd rather die than surrender our 'pride' (which is also really stupid)".
  • During the disaster, reevaluate everything they believed before (which, admittedly, really wasn't much because they were so freaking stupid) in the middle of all the stress, and think rationally, and come to a conclusion
It could happen, sure... but it's much, much, much more likely that they considered things at least semi-intelligently beforehand (that they're of average intelligence), but during the stress of the incident, are unable to properly weigh the same considerations.

They don't have to be all that stupid... They can be lied to, they can make common (irrational) assumptions, and they can have more faith in their government than is warranted.

Reevaluating everything they believed before isn't needed. Simply reevaluating one belief would be perfectly sufficient. One like 'we don't need help', for example. It doesn't take complex reasoning to determine if that belief is true or not when the need strikes.

(And as jeffryjon just thoroughly pointed out, the will of the government is not always the will of the people affected by the disaster... Sometimes it can be quite the opposite, especially for groups of people who are poorly represented in the government, either by design or accident.
Suppose we have a hypothetical country, comprised of two islands, called Graland. The Northern island, North Graland, is much larger and the devout followers of Graism mostly live on that island. Since that island has more population, the Northerners have nearly complete control over the government. Now, the volcano at the center of South Graland explodes, making most of that island uninhabitable. The Graists in charge of the Graland government don't like the heathen Non-Graists in the South, so they don't help, and they prohibit other governments from helping -- they see it as an opportunity to finally take complete control. If you are in charge of another country, and able to help, do you respect the Graland government's decision not to help the South Gralanders, or do you override their government and help them?)
Indi
jeffryjon wrote:
Let's say I live in a country where voting is compulsory for all adults who are considered to be sane.

(etc.)

All of this was already covered waaaaay back in the conversation. Our moral responsibility, when we see a government trying to control their population by keeping them ignorant/starving/whatever, is to get the message through to the people of what is really going on outside their borders. This should be done before any disaster - it should always be done. If the people, after hearing the truth about the outside world, still want to keep their government... then that's their choice.

Or to put it another way, if you have any doubt that the government represents the people, you have a moral obligation to find that out for sure so long as it is possible to do so. It is not possible during a disaster, so if a disaster happens before you were able to find out the truth, you have to go with the safe, default assumption (that the government does represent them).

ocalhoun wrote:
The group should exist for the benefit of the individuals in it, not vice versa.

It does.

There is a reason that herding, flocking, and other social structures like those observed in apes evolved: because they work. Because more individuals survive when they work together in groups than when they don't. There's a reason that we humans evolved creating societies and morality: because more individuals that did survived than those that didn't.

But the group is not going to work for you unless you work for the group. It's quid pro quo all the way. You have to give to get. In the tax example, you pay taxes even though you don't wan to, to get the social benefits (roads, emergency services, etc.). In the group that wants Chinese contractors to come build their community centre example, you give up your freedom to decide who can and can't enter the country, to get the safety and economic stability that comes for restricted borders.

ocalhoun wrote:
(Sorry about this, Jews, but this is for the good of our wonderful group, which we call Germany.)

This is a truly stupid example. It's so stupid, i'm not even going to bother pointing out why it's stupid. A moment's reflection should clear that up for anyone.

ocalhoun wrote:
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Whoa, who said it becomes someone else? It may be like someone else, but it's not like another entity takes over. It's just not you.
Ah, so it must be nobody at all, then... Even less of a crime.

i don't think you bothered to properly read what i wrote. A lot of your responses are just knee-jerk responses to the sentence quoted right above, completely ignoring the surrounding context and the entire rest of the conversation. Many of them make no sense at all in context, or are just pointless asides or redefinitions of the problem that don't do anything but create more confusion. Some of them are incredibly stupid.

This is not a race - there is no hurry to respond. This is a philosophy forum, so depth of thought matters here, not speed. If you have to take a week, or two weeks, or a month, to put together a decent response, that's fine. Much better to take a month to carefully craft a good response than to quickly fire off a really stupid one.

Now, as for this particular response... it's just stupid. i very clearly explained that even if the person's mind - the person themself - was completely disconnected from their current activities, it's still their body, so you're still raping them because you're violating their body without their consent. i explained that quite explicitly. And given that explanation, your response makes no sense at all.

ocalhoun wrote:
ILS doesn't control planes... it just gives information to pilots.
(No big difference in the argument, just couldn't help pointing that out.)

Another pointless response, and factually wrong, too. First of all, i never claimed that ILS controlled the plane. i just said: "It can also still respond to automated signals like GPS, ILS and such....". Planes have been using ILS to autoland since the 60s. It is entirely possible for a plane to fly a course and land using only automated signals like GPS and ILS, with no pilot input, which was the point i was making.

ocalhoun wrote:
So, the Johannesburg airport shouldn't allow you to land?

i can't even figure out how anyone would think this question makes any sense in light of the analogy. Did you even understand it? i told you before taking off that i would never land in Johannesburg, even in an emergency. i took off, and then all radio and visual contact with me inside the plane was lost. i hit turbulence. Suddenly the plane veers off course and starts heading for Johannesburg. Do you assume i changed my mind, or do you assume i have been knocked out and the plane is autoflying toward the strongest signal (which happens to be Johannesburg)?

What in the hell does landing clearance at Johannesburg have to do with that question?

ocalhoun wrote:
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There are two possibilities: a) that the people are traumatized by the disaster and not thinking clearly, or b) that despite the disaster, they are thinking calmly and rationally, that they have reevaluated their previous beliefs, and come to a new conclusion.
False dichotomy, anyone?

Surely there is a continuum between 'traumatized and not thinking clearly' and 'calm and rational'.
My stance is that for a large part of that continuum, people can make their own choices.

Exactly where do you see a false dichotomy? Don't be a smartass and ask rhetorical questions, just spell it out. Either they've rationally changed their mind, or they haven't. Show me a third option.

There is no "continuum" of rationality. Something is either rational, or it's not. Sure it can be all kinds of irrational, but there's only one way it can be rational.

There is a continuum of mental distortion - your thought processes can be working fine, slightly out of whack, or completely distorted, and everything in between. But wherever you are in the spectrum, you can only make one of two types of choices: rational or irrational. Where you are in the spectrum determines the probability of doing one or the other. If you're only "slightly out of whack", you aren't as likely to be irrational as you are if you are "completely distorted", but you are more likely to be irrational than if your mind is working fine... and that's the point. You are more likely to make irrational decisions even if you're only "slightly" distorted.

And that's the whole point.

When someone makes a decision that is contrary to their past decisions, and you know they're even slightly distorted, you have strong reason to suspect that the new decision is not rational. You've been bending over backwards to avoid that conclusion, but it is the only reasonable conclusion.

And if you have strong reason to suspect that their new decision is irrational, and that decision contradicts a decision that you are sure was rational, then the reasonable thing to do is go with the decision you're sure of.

ocalhoun wrote:
So, how much stress does it take to make decisions irrational?
If even the slightest bit makes decisions untrustworthy, how are we to trust the decisions they made beforehand? Since they can be made irrational so easily, how are we to know they were rational in the beginning?

i don't know exactly, and i really don't bloody care, because driving in traffic is enough stress to make people irrational, and we are talking about freaking DISASTERS here. i think maybe we're just a smidge past the point were this kind of inane nitpicking matters.

ocalhoun wrote:
Most of the time, one wouldn't be able to respond to a disaster quickly enough to be concerned with the short term. By the time help could arrive, it would have to be medium to long term help.

Oh, come on. -_- This is just getting absurd. Your assertions are completely out of touch with the facts. Are you even bothering to get this information from anywhere, or are you just saying whatever pops into your head that sounds like it supports your claims?

Fact: when a disaster happens, my government has a major inter-agency meeting within hours. And the disaster response teams are deployed pretty much the minute that meeting ends. If they're not on the ground helping out in 72 hours - and that's for anywhere in the world - the whole aid operation is considered to have been too slow when they do their post-incident analysis. And that's the government. The private sector is probably easily a factor of two faster.

Good grief, man, the Canadian aid folk were on the ground handing out food before the rains had even stopped in Pakistan... all while the Taliban was threatening to murder them, and lord knows the Pakistan government would provide no security for them.

Just use your head! The aid people are there to hand out aid because the people are sick, starving and dying! They're not there because everything is all under control. Of course the people are still bloody stressed! Come on. -_-

ocalhoun wrote:
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Why would you say that? Haven't you ever just had a hankering to get laid? A party is a very rational place to go about getting that done. And if you're familiar and have expressed interest in sleeping with her before (which is when she refused), you're a perfectly rational target to approach.

You're making arbitrary assumptions about the scenarios to avoid the challenges they present to your principles.

And where did she get this sudden urge from? Can't be from the drink, because that would be irrational, not rational.

... i just bloody told you where she got the "sudden" (sudden? where did that come from? ah... of course, you put it there -_-) urge from. She wanted to get laid, so she went to a party to go about getting that done.

Your problem is that you don't know that. You don't know that she had been planning this all week: to go to the party, seek out someone willing, then get laid. All you know is that she has stated beforehand that she didn't want to have sex with you... and now, reeking of alcohol, she says she wants to.

So there you go: you have a situation where you have strong reason to believe that she can't make rational decisions, and her current decision contradicts decisions she made when you know she was most likely rational. So what do you decide? There's the challenge - the same one as for the disaster relief case. Do you ignore the fact that she's very likely irrational and accept her current choice? Or do you go with her previous choice because of the likelihood that her current choice is irrational?

ocalhoun wrote:
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Actually, PTSD sufferers are unable to make decisions for the rest of their lives... when they are having a stress attack. In other words, when they are reliving the stress of the incident, yeah, they're not making rational decisions during that time.

And during the other times?

Who freaking cares? It has nothing to do with the issues at hand... or anything else for that matter. The question is whether people are irrational during times of stress. The answer, from all of psychology, historical evidence and personal observations, is yes. What the hell else are you looking for here?

ocalhoun wrote:
Do they really have to go through all of their original thinking, when some of the (likely) assumptions of that thinking are proven false?

First of all, no, the assumptions you think they're likely making - the ones that you have to be freaking stupid to make (such as "disasters will never happen to me", or "my country can handle any disaster that can possibly ever happen") - are apparently proven false. There is no reason to assume that in general their assumptions would be that stupid.

Secondly, yes, they do. First they have to decide whether their assumptions really have been proven false, or whether it just seems like it in the chaos of the disaster. Then they have to go all the way through their reasoning to see how it has changed given the new information.

ocalhoun wrote:
And what other reasons are there?
There's the fear of reprisal from their government, but that falls under the question of 'can we help' rather than 'should we help'.

There are dozens of completely rational - and many, many more semi-rational (if you take religious beliefs into account) - reasons why someone would want to refuse help from outsiders, even at risk of their own life. Just off the top of my head, a country that believes in cultural isolation might want to refuse outsiders entry for fear that they would taint the culture, or misunderstand what they see there which might lead to still more problems. That's two reasons right there. Or a society that is considered to be extremely exclusive and desirable may refuse outsiders entry out of fear that they might use the chaos to slip into the country and stay permanently (this may be a reason why the US wouldn't want aid from Mexico, for example). Or they may be afraid of enemies taking advantage of the opportunity to slip through the defences (this might be a reason for the US to refuse aid from Pakistan, for example). Or they may have some special resource or technology that they rely on, and they fear that if outsiders may learn their trade secrets, thus ruining their economic or military edge.

That's five purely rational reasons, right off the top of my head; none of them as stupid as believing they're invulnerable.

But it doesn't really matter what the reasons are - all that matters is that it is possible to have rational reasons, and that, without evidence to the contrary, you have to assume that their reasoning for refusing help was rational.

ocalhoun wrote:
So, if they were capable of complex reasoning, they'd still decide that no help is better than help?

... -_- If they were capable of complex reasoning, they might decide that no help is better than OUTSIDE help. Or to put it another way, they might decide that the long-term damage is probably going to be worse if they allow the outsiders in, than if they just stick it out and try to survive on their own.

ocalhoun wrote:
Also, do you really need to be extremely stupid to believe that your own government would adequately help you in an emergency?

No, you need to be extremely stupid to ABSOLUTELY BELIEVE that your own government would ALWAYS be adequate in EVERY emergency... because that's what you'd have to believe in order to refuse IN ADVANCE all outside help. It is not extremely stupid to believe your government can handle things (unless there's good reason to believe it can't); it is extremely stupid to cut off all possibility of a "just in case" contingency when there is simply no rational reason to. In fact, that's just about the height of stupidity.

ocalhoun wrote:
I could easily be stupid enough to believe my government would ask for and welcome outside help when needed, though.
In fact, before learning of the Katrina example, I did believe that.

The funny thing about that situation is that no one outside of your country was particularly surprised about the way that went down.

You people chose that government, and don't pretend you were "fooled" into choosing them. No one else in the world was (as that famous image makes crystal clear). You are adults, so you have to face the consequences of your stupid decisions. Bottom line: you should have known better.

ocalhoun wrote:
They don't have to be all that stupid... They can be lied to, they can make common (irrational) assumptions, and they can have more faith in their government than is warranted.

If they are being lied to, it is our (the outsiders') moral responsibility to make sure they know the truth.

If they have made the kind of assumptions you're thinking of, they are that stupid.

If they have so much faith in their government that they will in advance refuse all outside help... so much faith that they deny even the remote possibility of failure... so much faith that they won't even just leave the possibility open; they actually take steps to eliminate it... then yes, they are that stupid.

ocalhoun wrote:
Reevaluating everything they believed before isn't needed. Simply reevaluating one belief would be perfectly sufficient. One like 'we don't need help', for example. It doesn't take complex reasoning to determine if that belief is true or not when the need strikes.

First, that is a stupid belief. Like, less intelligent than vegetables kind of stupid. It is not reasonable to assume any real population would ever really believe that to the extent that they would actively take steps to eliminate even the possibility of outside help should it become needed. Even a population with the intellectual equivalence of six year-olds is smarter than that.

Second, it always takes at least as much reasoning to reevaluate a belief as it did to generate the belief in the first place. The reason it doesn't seem like much reasoning in your example is because the original belief is so freaking stupid, it doesn't take much intelligence to match it for the reevaluation.

And that's the problem right there. To reason your way out of a belief, you need to be at least as cogent as you were when you reasoned your way into it. Even if your thinking is only "slightly" distorted by the disaster, it is simply not up to the level that it was when you first reasoned your way into the belief. Period. Now, you might still be able to properly reason your way out of the belief... but the likelihood is low.

ocalhoun wrote:
(And as jeffryjon just thoroughly pointed out, the will of the government is not always the will of the people affected by the disaster... Sometimes it can be quite the opposite, especially for groups of people who are poorly represented in the government, either by design or accident.
Suppose we have a hypothetical country, comprised of two islands, called Graland. The Northern island, North Graland, is much larger and the devout followers of Graism mostly live on that island. Since that island has more population, the Northerners have nearly complete control over the government. Now, the volcano at the center of South Graland explodes, making most of that island uninhabitable. The Graists in charge of the Graland government don't like the heathen Non-Graists in the South, so they don't help, and they prohibit other governments from helping -- they see it as an opportunity to finally take complete control. If you are in charge of another country, and able to help, do you respect the Graland government's decision not to help the South Gralanders, or do you override their government and help them?)

And even though all of this was already covered at the beginning of this thread: if you have reason to believe that a population - or subpopulation - is not really represented by its government, you have an obligation to figure that out BEFORE there is a disaster. Not during.
jeffryjon
Indi wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
ILS doesn't control planes... it just gives information to pilots.
(No big difference in the argument, just couldn't help pointing that out.)

Another pointless response, and factually wrong, too. First of all, i never claimed that ILS controlled the plane. i just said: "It can also still respond to automated signals like GPS, ILS and such....". Planes have been using ILS to autoland since the 60s. It is entirely possible for a plane to fly a course and land using only automated signals like GPS and ILS, with no pilot input, which was the point i was making.

ocalhoun wrote:
So, the Johannesburg airport shouldn't allow you to land?

i can't even figure out how anyone would think this question makes any sense in light of the analogy. Did you even understand it? i told you before taking off that i would never land in Johannesburg, even in an emergency. i took off, and then all radio and visual contact with me inside the plane was lost. i hit turbulence. Suddenly the plane veers off course and starts heading for Johannesburg. Do you assume i changed my mind, or do you assume i have been knocked out and the plane is autoflying toward the strongest signal (which happens to be Johannesburg)?

What in the hell does landing clearance at Johannesburg have to do with that question?


I see Ocalhoun's point. You have already stated that you do not wish to land in JoBerg - no matter what. Therefore, if I respect and honour that decision I should refuse clearance for landing and force your plane to NOT land in JoBerg - no matter what. If your ILS autolanding devices or whatever try to land the plane in JoBerg, I should refuse to allow that - no matter what. By default, you've written a conditional suicide note in that if JoBerg is the ONLY place the plane can land, I should stop it landing - no matter what. Be careful what you wish for.

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There are two possibilities: a) that the people are traumatized by the disaster and not thinking clearly, or b) that despite the disaster, they are thinking calmly and rationally, that they have reevaluated their previous beliefs, and come to a new conclusion.


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False dichotomy, anyone?

Surely there is a continuum between 'traumatized and not thinking clearly' and 'calm and rational'.


What has calm got to do with rational? They are different things. I brainwash you into believing I'm your God and simultaneously remove all evidence that could contradict that. I tell you that anything you want, you come to me and ask and then I will give, much the same way that a child asks the mother. For as long as I deliver, you're calm - and why wouldn't you be calm - rational? - only from an individual perspective that believes in an axiom accepting that I am your God. Once the illusion is shattered - your rational stance is no longer rational.

Indi wrote:
There is no "continuum" of rationality. Something is either rational, or it's not. Sure it can be all kinds of irrational, but there's only one way it can be rational.


Presumption. Incorrect presumption. See above.

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There is a continuum of mental distortion - your thought processes can be working fine, slightly out of whack, or completely distorted, and everything in between. But wherever you are in the spectrum, you can only make one of two types of choices: rational or irrational. Where you are in the spectrum determines the probability of doing one or the other. If you're only "slightly out of whack", you aren't as likely to be irrational as you are if you are "completely distorted", but you are more likely to be irrational than if your mind is working fine... and that's the point. You are more likely to make irrational decisions even if you're only "slightly" distorted.

And that's the whole point.

When someone makes a decision that is contrary to their past decisions, and you know they're even slightly distorted, you have strong reason to suspect that the new decision is not rational. You've been bending over backwards to avoid that conclusion, but it is the only reasonable conclusion.


Once again, see above.

Indi wrote:
And if you have strong reason to suspect that their new decision is irrational, and that decision contradicts a decision that you are sure was rational, then the reasonable thing to do is go with the decision you're sure of.


You can't be sure any decision another person makes is rational. You agree with me because our experiences and perspectives are similar - therefore you're rational. You disagree with me because your experiences and perspectives are dissimilar - therefore you're irrational. Conflict of axioms. Taking the above into account both decisions are rational/irrational even when they contradict.

Jews hate Samaritans. All Jews agree. No Jew talks with any Samaritan - they're bad - etc. Jew suffers injury at the hands of non-Samaritans. Jews don't help. Samaritan infringes on Jew's sovereign rights. Jew becomes a non-Jew, possibly gets Samaritanized. Mmmm, let's think about that.

Indi wrote:
Fact: when a disaster happens, my government has a major inter-agency meeting within hours. And the disaster response teams are deployed pretty much the minute that meeting ends. If they're not on the ground helping out in 72 hours - and that's for anywhere in the world - the whole aid operation is considered to have been too slow when they do their post-incident analysis. And that's the government. The private sector is probably easily a factor of two faster.

Good grief, man, the Canadian aid folk were on the ground handing out food before the rains had even stopped in Pakistan... all while the Taliban was threatening to murder them, and lord knows the Pakistan government would provide no security for them.

Just use your head! The aid people are there to hand out aid because the people are sick, starving and dying! They're not there because everything is all under control. Of course the people are still bloody stressed! Come on. -_-


So it's right to go in and do the right thing????? It's right to not wait for government approval in the disaster area as long as the inter-agency meeting concludes that. Let's go into the disaster area and let them say afterwards that they were in full support, possibly because they were unable to stop us.

ocalhoun wrote:
Why would you say that? Haven't you ever just had a hankering to get laid? A party is a very rational place to go about getting that done. And if you're familiar and have expressed interest in sleeping with her before (which is when she refused), you're a perfectly rational target to approach.

You're making arbitrary assumptions about the scenarios to avoid the challenges they present to your principles.


Yep. Get the beer-goggles on and any port in a storm. I want laid - not by you - I get drunk and still want laid - the goalposts shift to the point where I say "come and get me" - you take advantage - did you rape me? Maybe on sobering up the next day, I wish you did - that would make it a whole lot easier to deal with. Anyway, I like your definition of rape - population problem solved - sorry dad, you're a rapist!!! Smile

Indi wrote:
So there you go: you have a situation where you have strong reason to believe that she can't make rational decisions, and her current decision contradicts decisions she made when you know she was most likely rational. So what do you decide? There's the challenge - the same one as for the disaster relief case. Do you ignore the fact that she's very likely irrational and accept her current choice? Or do you go with her previous choice because of the likelihood that her current choice is irrational?


Errrh! Or maybe, I decide that her semi-drunk state reveals her true feelings, no longer hindered by the factors causing her to be previously irrational, such as I'm from a different social background and my family would never support it etc etc.

Indi wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
Do they really have to go through all of their original thinking, when some of the (likely) assumptions of that thinking are proven false?

First of all, no, the assumptions you think they're likely making - the ones that you have to be freaking stupid to make (such as "disasters will never happen to me", or "my country can handle any disaster that can possibly ever happen") - are apparently proven false. There is no reason to assume that in general their assumptions would be that stupid.

Secondly, yes, they do. First they have to decide whether their assumptions really have been proven false, or whether it just seems like it in the chaos of the disaster. Then they have to go all the way through their reasoning to see how it has changed given the new information.


Must say, whenever I realised I was wrong about some well-constructed idea, the realisation itself took about a split second. You know, the desperately heavy sinking feeling as the 'pack of cards' falls over.

ocalhoun wrote:
And what other reasons are there?
There's the fear of reprisal from their government, but that falls under the question of 'can we help' rather than 'should we help'.

There are dozens of completely rational - and many, many more semi-rational (if you take religious beliefs into account) - reasons why someone would want to refuse help from outsiders, even at risk of their own life. Just off the top of my head, a country that believes in cultural isolation might want to refuse outsiders entry for fear that they would taint the culture, or misunderstand what they see there which might lead to still more problems. That's two reasons right there. Or a society that is considered to be extremely exclusive and desirable may refuse outsiders entry out of fear that they might use the chaos to slip into the country and stay permanently (this may be a reason why the US wouldn't want aid from Mexico, for example). Or they may be afraid of enemies taking advantage of the opportunity to slip through the defences (this might be a reason for the US to refuse aid from Pakistan, for example). Or they may have some special resource or technology that they rely on, and they fear that if outsiders may learn their trade secrets, thus ruining their economic or military edge.

That's five purely rational reasons, right off the top of my head; none of them as stupid as believing they're invulnerable.

But it doesn't really matter what the reasons are - all that matters is that it is possible to have rational reasons, and that, without evidence to the contrary, you have to assume that their reasoning for refusing help was rational.


ocalhoun wrote:
So, if they were capable of complex reasoning, they'd still decide that no help is better than help?


ocalhoun wrote:
I could easily be stupid enough to believe my government would ask for and welcome outside help when needed, though.
In fact, before learning of the Katrina example, I did believe that.


Back to the Jew-Samaritan thing.

Indi wrote:
You people (Americans - my insertion 'Jeffryjon') chose that government, and don't pretend you were "fooled" into choosing them. No one else in the world was (as that famous image makes crystal clear). You are adults, so you have to face the consequences of your stupid decisions. Bottom line: you should have known better.


Yep. Can see you're point. You f***d up - you deal with it - no forgiveness - no help under any circumstances - and by the way - we'll let you rot and die because you made a mistake. Must say Indi, I hope you don't represent the whole Canadian Military.

Indi wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
]They don't have to be all that stupid... They can be lied to, they can make common (irrational) assumptions, and they can have more faith in their government than is warranted.

If they are being lied to, it is our (the outsiders') moral responsibility to make sure they know the truth.

If they have made the kind of assumptions you're thinking of, they are that stupid.


SO stupid people are rational - of course - which is why we should never help them - let's cleanse the world of all stupid people - ok - that means just about everyone at some point in their lives by the way.

Indi wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
]Reevaluating everything they believed before isn't needed. Simply reevaluating one belief would be perfectly sufficient. One like 'we don't need help', for example. It doesn't take complex reasoning to determine if that belief is true or not when the need strikes.


First, that is a stupid belief. Like, less intelligent than vegetables kind of stupid. It is not reasonable to assume any real population would ever really believe that to the extent that they would actively take steps to eliminate even the possibility of outside help should it become needed. Even a population with the intellectual equivalence of six year-olds is smarter than that.

Second, it always takes at least as much reasoning to reevaluate a belief as it did to generate the belief in the first place. The reason it doesn't seem like much reasoning in your example is because the original belief is so freaking stupid, it doesn't take much intelligence to match it for the reevaluation.

And that's the problem right there. To reason your way out of a belief, you need to be at least as cogent as you were when you reasoned your way into it. Even if your thinking is only "slightly" distorted by the disaster, it is simply not up to the level that it was when you first reasoned your way into the belief. Period. Now, you might still be able to properly reason your way out of the belief... but the likelihood is low.


You need ONE reason - the realisation that you were wrong - re-evaluation of what IS right can happen only when you live long enough to figure it out - which may mean, gladly accepting help from one of those bad Samaritans.


I'm bored now - unless someone can raise any 'rational' objections.
ocalhoun
Indi wrote:

ocalhoun wrote:
The group should exist for the benefit of the individuals in it, not vice versa.

It does.

There is a reason that herding, flocking, and other social structures like those observed in apes evolved: because they work. Because more individuals survive when they work together in groups than when they don't. There's a reason that we humans evolved creating societies and morality: because more individuals that did survived than those that didn't.

But the group is not going to work for you unless you work for the group. It's quid pro quo all the way. You have to give to get. In the tax example, you pay taxes even though you don't wan to, to get the social benefits (roads, emergency services, etc.). In the group that wants Chinese contractors to come build their community centre example, you give up your freedom to decide who can and can't enter the country, to get the safety and economic stability that comes for restricted borders.

These are all examples of simply trading harm for good...
What about when the group only harms and doesn't help?
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ocalhoun wrote:
(Sorry about this, Jews, but this is for the good of our wonderful group, which we call Germany.)

This is a truly stupid example. It's so stupid, i'm not even going to bother pointing out why it's stupid. A moment's reflection should clear that up for anyone.

I was just trying to point out that being part of a group doesn't always help the people in the group... sometimes quite the opposite.
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ocalhoun wrote:
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Whoa, who said it becomes someone else? It may be like someone else, but it's not like another entity takes over. It's just not you.
Ah, so it must be nobody at all, then... Even less of a crime.

i don't think you bothered to properly read what i wrote. A lot of your responses are just knee-jerk responses to the sentence quoted right above, completely ignoring the surrounding context and the entire rest of the conversation. Many of them make no sense at all in context, or are just pointless asides or redefinitions of the problem that don't do anything but create more confusion. Some of them are incredibly stupid.

Just being lighthearted there.
As everybody aught to know, drunk sex is technically rape because of the lack of informed consent.
Then again, any time can technically be rape, a sober person can even change their mind and decide they didn't want to after the fact, and successfully prosecute you for rape.
Pretty much only a written, signed, and notarized contract can protect you from the Consent -> Pregnancy -> Daddy/Boyfriend/Husband Finds Out -> 'He raped me, I'm just a victim' cycle.
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What in the hell does landing clearance at Johannesburg have to do with that question?

So, in this example, who am I?
If I'm not the Johannesburg airport, then why do I care if you try to land there or not? And what should I do about it either way?
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When someone makes a decision that is contrary to their past decisions, and you know they're even slightly distorted, you have strong reason to suspect that the new decision is not rational. You've been bending over backwards to avoid that conclusion, but it is the only reasonable conclusion.

But I think it's okay to make relatively simple decisions while slightly distorted.
Quote:


i don't know exactly, and i really don't bloody care, because driving in traffic is enough stress to make people irrational, and we are talking about freaking DISASTERS here. i think maybe we're just a smidge past the point were this kind of inane nitpicking matters.

So...
When they chose their government, either by voting or by force, or whatever, surely they either traveled or fought, inducing stress.
Since their choice of government was therefore made under stress, we cant trust that as an expression of their real will, since there was a possibility that they were not rational.

So, really, we can't trust any decision they make unless we treat them to a relaxing day at the spa first.

That's my point. At some point, they have to be able to make decisions under some degree of stress, because stress is ubiquitous.
If they can make decisions under light stress, can they make decisions under medium stress? Where is the line drawn?
Quote:

ocalhoun wrote:
Most of the time, one wouldn't be able to respond to a disaster quickly enough to be concerned with the short term. By the time help could arrive, it would have to be medium to long term help.

Oh, come on. -_- This is just getting absurd. Your assertions are completely out of touch with the facts. Are you even bothering to get this information from anywhere, or are you just saying whatever pops into your head that sounds like it supports your claims?

I was unaware aid organizations moved so quickly, so yes, that point is completely invalid...
They could arrive before the worst of the stress goes away, so perhaps in such cases, they should wait a while for people to become rational enough to decide.
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... i just bloody told you where she got the "sudden" (sudden? where did that come from? ah... of course, you put it there -_-) urge from. She wanted to get laid, so she went to a party to go about getting that done.

Your problem is that you don't know that. You don't know that she had been planning this all week: to go to the party, seek out someone willing, then get laid. All you know is that she has stated beforehand that she didn't want to have sex with you... and now, reeking of alcohol, she says she wants to.

The discrepancy between this and the topic at hand still remains...
In a disaster, circumstances have drastically changed from when people made their first decision.
In the bar, circumstances haven't really changed since she made her first decision.
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ocalhoun wrote:
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Actually, PTSD sufferers are unable to make decisions for the rest of their lives... when they are having a stress attack. In other words, when they are reliving the stress of the incident, yeah, they're not making rational decisions during that time.

And during the other times?

Who freaking cares? It has nothing to do with the issues at hand... or anything else for that matter. The question is whether people are irrational during times of stress. The answer, from all of psychology, historical evidence and personal observations, is yes. What the hell else are you looking for here?

I'm looking for: "But debilitating stress doesn't last forever."
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ocalhoun wrote:
Also, do you really need to be extremely stupid to believe that your own government would adequately help you in an emergency?

No, you need to be extremely stupid to ABSOLUTELY BELIEVE that your own government would ALWAYS be adequate in EVERY emergency... because that's what you'd have to believe in order to refuse IN ADVANCE all outside help. It is not extremely stupid to believe your government can handle things (unless there's good reason to believe it can't); it is extremely stupid to cut off all possibility of a "just in case" contingency when there is simply no rational reason to. In fact, that's just about the height of stupidity.

But these people generally haven't given explicit advance notice that they don't want help from anybody... At best, they elected or appointed politicians who were more or less against outside help. It would be reasonable enough to assume even the most isolationist politician would make an exception for a dire emergency, however, they might not, and at that point, it's too late to change politicians.
Quote:

ocalhoun wrote:
I could easily be stupid enough to believe my government would ask for and welcome outside help when needed, though.
In fact, before learning of the Katrina example, I did believe that.

The funny thing about that situation is that no one outside of your country was particularly surprised about the way that went down.

Just sayin' that a reasonably smart person (with test scores, awards, and skills to prove it) could (and did) still wrongly believe that his government would accept outside help... And therefore see no need to elect politicians who made accepting outside help a platform position.
Quote:

You people chose that government, and don't pretend you were "fooled" into choosing them. No one else in the world was (as that famous image makes crystal clear). You are adults, so you have to face the consequences of your stupid decisions. Bottom line: you should have known better.

Jews should have known better than to let the Nazis take power... Since it was their own fault for being so stupid, we shouldn't have helped them.
(As obviously, their original, rational, decision was that they wanted concentration camps.)
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If they are being lied to, it is our (the outsiders') moral responsibility to make sure they know the truth.

And how are we to make sure they know the truth, when it's their own will (manifested by their government) to not know it.
Forcing them to know the truth under those circumstances would be just as bad as helping them when they (or their government) don't want help.
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And that's the problem right there. To reason your way out of a belief, you need to be at least as cogent as you were when you reasoned your way into it. Even if your thinking is only "slightly" distorted by the disaster, it is simply not up to the level that it was when you first reasoned your way into the belief. Period. Now, you might still be able to properly reason your way out of the belief... but the likelihood is low.

No, I think it is much easier to think your way out of a belief than to think your way into it, especially if some of the foundational assumptions prove to be wrong.
Quote:

And even though all of this was already covered at the beginning of this thread: if you have reason to believe that a population - or subpopulation - is not really represented by its government, you have an obligation to figure that out BEFORE there is a disaster. Not during.

Well, perhaps, though keeping tabs on the representation of every subpopulation you might want to help is a rather onerous task.
If you are able to determine that he subpopulation is poorly represented during the disaster though, that still clears you to help... The determination needs to be made before aid is sent though.



jeffryjon wrote:

Jews hate Samaritans. All Jews agree. No Jew talks with any Samaritan - they're bad - etc. Jew suffers injury at the hands of non-Samaritans. Jews don't help. Samaritan infringes on Jew's sovereign rights. Jew becomes a non-Jew, possibly gets Samaritanized. Mmmm, let's think about that.


What?
I can't really make much sense of this...
Do you mean Samaritan as a citizen of that ancient country, or as a 'good Samaritan', just someone who helps?
Why does the infringement of sovereign rights make a Jew a non-Jew?
What the heck does 'Samaritanized' mean?
jeffryjon
ocalhoun wrote:
jeffryjon wrote:

Jews hate Samaritans. All Jews agree. No Jew talks with any Samaritan - they're bad - etc. Jew suffers injury at the hands of non-Samaritans. Jews don't help. Samaritan infringes on Jew's sovereign rights. Jew becomes a non-Jew, possibly gets Samaritanized. Mmmm, let's think about that.


What?
I can't really make much sense of this...
Do you mean Samaritan as a citizen of that ancient country, or as a 'good Samaritan', just someone who helps?
Why does the infringement of sovereign rights make a Jew a non-Jew?
What the heck does 'Samaritanized' mean?


Ocalhoun, they're 2 of the same thing. Apologies for assuming everybody knew. Here's a link that tells more - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_samaritan
Indi
ocalhoun wrote:
These are all examples of simply trading harm for good...
What about when the group only harms and doesn't help?

That could never happen. Ever. Not as long as the group is functioning rationally. (And if the group is functioning irrationally... well, i'll get to that in a minute.)

The only way that could possibly seem to happen is if you only pay attention to a subset of the group, and ignore the rest of the group (which people often do) - and if you only focus on the one incident and not the larger picture. For example, if the group decides this person or group must be incarcerated because they're a threat to the rest of the group, and if you're only looking at it from the perspective of that small subset, then it would appear that they are only being harmed by the group. When you take the whole group into perspective, you can see that that view just doesn't hold. The group in general does better if those few are "harmed".

And you also have to look at the larger picture. Those people being incarcerated or otherwise harmed joined the group presumably to get the benefit of the group, and in doing so they tacitly agreed to not harm the group unnecessarily. Then, they did; they broke their side of the contract. Thus, the group turned around and "harmed" them (by incarceration) to protect itself, because it had the right to - the people being incarcerated gave the group the right to do it when they joined the group.

You can try to think up any scenario you want, and so long as the group's action is rational you will see the same pattern. The group will never harm the members of the group unnecessarily; to do so would just be irrational and stupid, because ultimately the group is made up of individuals, so harming individuals unnecessarily makes as much sense as sawing off your leg for no good reason. Furthermore, the group is stronger when the individuals are thoroughly invested in the group, therefore individuals must be given as much benefits as possible by the group, so long as that can be done without harming the group in general.

But in order to see this you have to look at the bigger picture, both in space and time. To understand why a rationally-functioning group would harm some individual or subset of the group without there being any other benefits for that person or sub-group, you have to look at the whole group, and the whole interaction between that individual or sub-group and the group.

ocalhoun wrote:
Quote:

ocalhoun wrote:
(Sorry about this, Jews, but this is for the good of our wonderful group, which we call Germany.)

This is a truly stupid example. It's so stupid, i'm not even going to bother pointing out why it's stupid. A moment's reflection should clear that up for anyone.

I was just trying to point out that being part of a group doesn't always help the people in the group... sometimes quite the opposite.

The reason why this is a stupid observation is - and this actually relevant here, as i'll show in a second - because it is an example of a group acting irrationally (it most certainly wasn't for the good of Germany - the Nazis just said it was, which doesn't make it true). It's as if someone said, "people don't kill their offspring unless there is a crisis", and your response was to point out the case of some schizophrenic that murdered their entire family for no discernible reason. Clearly that's not a reasonable objection: the murderer was nuts, psychotic, and off the rails of rationality. When anyone or any group is in that state, anything can happen for any reason - or no reason at all - so why even bring it up? It's like in a discussion of computers, when someone says, "computers always return the same deterministic results for the same inputs," and you point to an example of a computer with a short in it as a counter-example. It's not a counter-example, it's just a pointless distraction.

The interesting thing about the Nazi case, though, is that it is yet another case graphically illustrating what a little stress can do to a population's reasoning capacity. You've been claiming that a) stress-induced irrationality only happens for a short time after a severe crisis, and b) when you're only a "little bit" stressed you're still mostly rational. Well, the German population was in dire economic straits after WW1 for decades, and it was the stress on the people of this economic hardship that the NSDAP used to seize power with their racist and fascist platform (in fact, you can match pretty much every surge in NSDAP popularity to an economic dip, ranging from France's occupation of the Ruhr to the Great Depression). The economic stress at the time the NSDAP took power had been around for over 15 years, and it was only economic hardship making it hard to find jobs and live comfortably (there was no widespread starvation or anything such) - hardly on par with a natural disaster making it hard to stay alive. Just a little bit of stress over a long time, and next thing the German people knew they were at war with the world and living in a nightmare police state, all by their own hand. Doesn't take much.

Of course, no one realized at the time what was happening, because they were all too busy with their own crises. After the war everyone realized just how off-the-rails the Germans had been - including the Germans - but hindsight is 20/20. At the time fascism was taken seriously as a political philosophy, so it never occurred to anyone that the Germans would be irrational to go down that road. And of course, we all paid heavily for that mistake.

ocalhoun wrote:
As everybody aught to know, drunk sex is technically rape because of the lack of informed consent.

But WHY. That's the key issue. WHY is drunk sex rape? WHY assume the lack of informed consent? You've been drunk before, haven't you? You're still capable of some rational thinking: i once taught a physics lesson while so drunk and stoned that i could barely stand to someone who was failing physics, and she scored a B on her next test. And you'd have to be incredibly drunk to consent to something as stupid as being lit on fire, so clearly you are capable of some level of rational consent. It's certainly possible for someone drunk to make an informed decision about sex.

The answer is the whole point at issue here: it's possible that the consent is informed, but it's also probable that it's not, and the reason it's probably not valid consent is that it is reasonable to assume when someone's been drinking that their reasoning is slightly distorted, which may or may affect judgement, but we have to assume it does. The exact same reasoning is applied to disaster victims: it's possible that their request for help is valid, but it's also probable that it's not due to the likelihood of stress distorting reasoning in that case, which may or may not be affecting their judgement, but we have to assume it does.

ocalhoun wrote:
Then again, any time can technically be rape, a sober person can even change their mind and decide they didn't want to after the fact, and successfully prosecute you for rape.
Pretty much only a written, signed, and notarized contract can protect you from the Consent -> Pregnancy -> Daddy/Boyfriend/Husband Finds Out -> 'He raped me, I'm just a victim' cycle.

Oh that's just ridiculous. If you got proper consent when you did the deed, it doesn't become invalid if the person changes their mind after the fact. The fact that they may lie and get away with it doesn't make it the truth.

ocalhoun wrote:
Quote:

What in the hell does landing clearance at Johannesburg have to do with that question?

So, in this example, who am I?
If I'm not the Johannesburg airport, then why do I care if you try to land there or not? And what should I do about it either way?

You're a person who was asked the question: Which do you think is more likely? (That is, is it more likely that i am injured due to the turbulence and the plane is flying automatically toward the strongest signal, or that i suddenly changed my mind to do exactly what i swore i never would even in an emergency?)

ocalhoun wrote:
But I think it's okay to make relatively simple decisions while slightly distorted.

Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. The point is that you don't know, and when the decision made contradicts their previous stance, you have to suspect something is wrong until you see evidence to the contrary.

ocalhoun wrote:
So...
When they chose their government, either by voting or by force, or whatever, surely they either traveled or fought, inducing stress.
Since their choice of government was therefore made under stress, we cant trust that as an expression of their real will, since there was a possibility that they were not rational.

So, really, we can't trust any decision they make unless we treat them to a relaxing day at the spa first.

That's my point. At some point, they have to be able to make decisions under some degree of stress, because stress is ubiquitous.
If they can make decisions under light stress, can they make decisions under medium stress? Where is the line drawn?

-_- First, just because some people experience enough stress to become irrational and even violent while driving does not mean that all people, or even most people, do. In point of fact, most people don't experience serious stress while driving (and, in fact, some people are relaxed by driving). Second, even if it were true that everyone gets stressed while driving, how does it follow that the stress remains once they've parked... and follows them into the voting booth? That just seems like an absurd assumption, and it ignores the fact that most people made their choice who to vote for long before they even got into the car.

Your point is misguided and ridiculous because it is saying that we should assume that every decision is made while stressed, therefore we either have to accept them all or reject them all or come up with some sort of arbitrary standard to accept some and reject some. But that's just silly because it is NOT a reasonable assumption that every decision is made while stressed. CLEARLY there are some situations where a person is far more likely to be calm and rational than they are to be stressed into irrationality. Now, that DOES NOT GUARANTEE that they are rational... they might still be irrational or stressed or both... but in the general case, without further evidence, it is clearly more reasonable to assume that they are rational than that they are not. And the flip side is true, too: CLEARLY there are some situations were it is far more likely that a person will be stressed into irrationality than calm and rational... they MIGHT be rational, but in the general case, without further evidence, it is clearly more reasonable to assume that they are not rational.

That's exactly what i've been saying all along - repeatedly. A disaster is a situation where we CLEARLY can assume that the people involved are under a great deal of stress, and therefore, irrational (or, at the very least, their thinking is distorted). It's just far more likely that they're stressed than that they're rational; they MIGHT be rational, but without evidence we can't reasonably assume that. And especially when they are making decisions that contradict what they decided when we know they were probably rational, then we have strong reasons to believe that they're thinking is distorted. THEY MIGHT STILL BE RATIONAL, but without any other evidence, we cannot assume that they are in this situation.

ocalhoun wrote:
The discrepancy between this and the topic at hand still remains...
In a disaster, circumstances have drastically changed from when people made their first decision.
In the bar, circumstances haven't really changed since she made her first decision.

This point is a red herring, because the fact that the circumstances have changed doesn't matter in the least. Why not? Because when the people were deciding what to do in case of a disaster, they don't use the actual circumstances at the time of planning to decide what to do... they presume disaster situations. To put it another way, suppose i asked you to devise a disaster plan. Will you look around and say, "well, we have plenty of food and clean water, we have power, we have adequate medical and emergency supplies... we have all of these things right now, so i'll just assume those same conditions will exist in a disaster...," and go from there? Of course not, you will - using your knowledge of other disasters that have occurred - make your plan while presuming circumstances that are the same as disaster circumstances, or at the very least, reasonably close to them.

So the fact that their circumstances have changed is irrelevant. When they were deciding how to handle a disaster, they were thinking in terms of hypothetical disaster circumstances... not their current circumstances.

This is yet another instance when you are assuming these people are monumental idiots. If you planned a disaster response plan, would you really, at the time of an actual disaster, actually be standing there say, "well, shit, i made a disaster plan, but i totally didn't expect there to be disaster conditions in a disaster!" Experiencing a disaster may be far more emotionally traumatizing than you'd expected (that happens to most people), but your estimates of the raw factual circumstances of what will happen will, in most cases, be accurate enough (and, usually, because emergency planners assume the worst, may even be worse than the real circumstances).

(Incidentally, the circumstances in the drunk sex incident had changed. Before, she wasn't interested in sex, now, she is horny. As far as sex is concerned, that's all the change in circumstances you need to go from not wanting it to wanting it.)

ocalhoun wrote:
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ocalhoun wrote:
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Actually, PTSD sufferers are unable to make decisions for the rest of their lives... when they are having a stress attack. In other words, when they are reliving the stress of the incident, yeah, they're not making rational decisions during that time.

And during the other times?

Who freaking cares? It has nothing to do with the issues at hand... or anything else for that matter. The question is whether people are irrational during times of stress. The answer, from all of psychology, historical evidence and personal observations, is yes. What the hell else are you looking for here?

I'm looking for: "But debilitating stress doesn't last forever."

Again, who freaking cares? That has nothing to do with the topic. Stress may pass before the disaster ends, or right after, or years after. It may never pass! Or, in the case of some PTSD sufferers it may pass but keep recurring over and over for the rest of their lives. None of that matters, because the issue is HOW TO RESPOND TO A DISASTER... while it is happening (or, at the very least, immediately after, while the suffering and repercussions from the disaster still exist (which implies the stress is probably still in play, too)). In that situation, it is far more likely that the stress still exists than that it has passed.

ocalhoun wrote:
But these people generally haven't given explicit advance notice that they don't want help from anybody... At best, they elected or appointed politicians who were more or less against outside help. It would be reasonable enough to assume even the most isolationist politician would make an exception for a dire emergency, however, they might not, and at that point, it's too late to change politicians.

If you are an adult, you have to take responsibility for your decisions. If you chose an isolationist politician as your leader, then you have to assume that he will, at least, prefer not to call in outside help, even in a crisis. i mean, that's just plain obvious, it's a rather "duh" point. If you elect someone that says "this country is the greatest, this country can accomplish anything, and we don't need the rest of the world," well, what the hell more warning do you need that they might refuse entry to outside aid?!? If you elect that person, knowing that a reasonable possibility exists that they might refuse outside aid... well, what do you think is the rational thing to do? Obviously, it is to make damn sure that just in case an emergency arises, your population makes it clear that they do want outside help.

Of course, the smart thing to do is not to elect such a person in the first place - isolationism is dangerous for many reasons - but if you really have to have that party as your government, then you have a responsibility keep tight reins on their isolationism. You are responsible for your government both when electing them, and then when they are in power.

ocalhoun wrote:
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ocalhoun wrote:
I could easily be stupid enough to believe my government would ask for and welcome outside help when needed, though.
In fact, before learning of the Katrina example, I did believe that.

The funny thing about that situation is that no one outside of your country was particularly surprised about the way that went down.

Just sayin' that a reasonably smart person (with test scores, awards, and skills to prove it) could (and did) still wrongly believe that his government would accept outside help... And therefore see no need to elect politicians who made accepting outside help a platform position.

Test scores, awards and skills do not a smart person make. ^_^; Like i said, not many people were particularly surprised by the incident. Even the ground crews here ready to launch the planes full of aid volunteers just rolled their eyes and shrugged. Perhaps you might want to reevaluate the evidence that you have about being so much smarter than the average person, hm?

ocalhoun wrote:
Jews should have known better than to let the Nazis take power... Since it was their own fault for being so stupid, we shouldn't have helped them.
(As obviously, their original, rational, decision was that they wanted concentration camps.)

i seriously doubt the Jews put the Nazis in power. But, for the record, what should have happened was that once it became clear that they were not being represented by their government (which we should have been able to determine long before the war, or the Holocaust, had we cared to look), the rest of the world (by means of the League of Nations - today it would be by means of the UN) should have stepped in to put a stop to it, either by giving the Jews their own country (which they did, unfortunately long after the fact) or by forcing the German government to stop violating the human rights of the Jewish population.

ocalhoun wrote:
And how are we to make sure they know the truth, when it's their own will (manifested by their government) to not know it.
Forcing them to know the truth under those circumstances would be just as bad as helping them when they (or their government) don't want help.

We just need to make sure that they can know the truth, if they want to. If they refuse it, then that's their choice, and our moral obligation there is complete.

ocalhoun wrote:
No, I think it is much easier to think your way out of a belief than to think your way into it, especially if some of the foundational assumptions prove to be wrong.

First, once again, it is your assumption that their assumptions are being proven wrong in this case. That doesn't have to be true; it is only true if you assume the population was very, very stupid when they made the choice originally.

Second, it is not easier - not even close. In fact, it is much, MUCH harder. Just ask anyone who was once faithful to their religion and then abandoned it. Even after faced with the blatant facts that their core assumptions are false, it takes a lot of hard thinking to stop finding ways to make the original beliefs still hold without the assumptions, and start accepting the new beliefs that inevitably arise once the original assumptions are gone.

ocalhoun wrote:
Well, perhaps, though keeping tabs on the representation of every subpopulation you might want to help is a rather onerous task.
If you are able to determine that he subpopulation is poorly represented during the disaster though, that still clears you to help... The determination needs to be made before aid is sent though.

Why would you need to keep tabs? All you would need to do is wait until a group asks for help because they are not being represented properly, then we would have to see whether that is true or not. If it's true, then we decide what action to take to remedy the situation. If it's not, then we go back to what we were doing.

If you are able to determine during the disaster that some sub group is not represented by the government, then yes, you could step in. (And in fact, that's what we do.) But it is not easy to make that kind of determination during a disaster... this kind of thing should be done before a disaster happens.
ocalhoun
Indi wrote:

The reason why this is a stupid observation is - and this actually relevant here, as i'll show in a second - because it is an example of a group acting irrationally (it most certainly wasn't for the good of Germany - the Nazis just said it was, which doesn't make it true). It's as if someone said, "people don't kill their offspring unless there is a crisis", and your response was to point out the case of some schizophrenic that murdered their entire family for no discernible reason. Clearly that's not a reasonable objection: the murderer was nuts, psychotic, and off the rails of rationality. When anyone or any group is in that state, anything can happen for any reason - or no reason at all - so why even bring it up? It's like in a discussion of computers, when someone says, "computers always return the same deterministic results for the same inputs," and you point to an example of a computer with a short in it as a counter-example. It's not a counter-example, it's just a pointless distraction.

... You act like groups acting irrationally is a rare thing...
Seems pretty common to me.
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The interesting thing about the Nazi case, though, is that it is yet another case graphically illustrating what a little stress can do to a population's reasoning capacity. You've been claiming that a) stress-induced irrationality only happens for a short time after a severe crisis, and b) when you're only a "little bit" stressed you're still mostly rational. Well, the German population was ...

Hm, could there possibly be something else in play other than stress-induced irrationality though?
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Your point is misguided and ridiculous because it is saying that we should assume that every decision is made while stressed, therefore we either have to accept them all or reject them all or come up with some sort of arbitrary standard to accept some and reject some. But that's just silly because it is NOT a reasonable assumption that every decision is made while stressed.

But every decision might be made while stressed, which is enough, right?
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(Incidentally, the circumstances in the drunk sex incident had changed. Before, she wasn't interested in sex, now, she is horny. As far as sex is concerned, that's all the change in circumstances you need to go from not wanting it to wanting it.)

Wait... Earlier you said she went to the bar in order to get laid, therefore there was no change in circumstances...
Now there is a change?
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If you are an adult, you have to take responsibility for your decisions.

But not when you're stressed, apparently.
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You are responsible for your government both when electing them, and then when they are in power.

Being responsible for something I have precious little control over makes me sad.
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Test scores, awards and skills do not a smart person make. ^_^;

1- What internet-displayable aspect does? I'm just trying to use objective standards.
2- *sigh* Can I at least rate an 'average'?
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Like i said, not many people were particularly surprised by the incident. Even the ground crews here ready to launch the planes full of aid volunteers just rolled their eyes and shrugged.

And such is the benefit of perspective and past examples.
From the inside, with this as the first example I knew of, it was rather surprising.
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i seriously doubt the Jews put the Nazis in power. But, for the record, what should have happened was that once it became clear that they were not being represented by their government (which we should have been able to determine long before the war, or the Holocaust, had we cared to look), the rest of the world (by means of the League of Nations - today it would be by means of the UN) should have stepped in to put a stop to it, either by giving the Jews their own country (which they did, unfortunately long after the fact) or by forcing the German government to stop violating the human rights of the Jewish population.

Quite the idealized situation there...
And what if the meta-government of the time also doesn't care about those individuals and/or has not enough power to force them to be represented?
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Why would you need to keep tabs? All you would need to do is wait until a group asks for help because they are not being represented properly, then we would have to see whether that is true or not. If it's true, then we decide what action to take to remedy the situation. If it's not, then we go back to what we were doing.

If you are able to determine during the disaster that some sub group is not represented by the government, then yes, you could step in. (And in fact, that's what we do.) But it is not easy to make that kind of determination during a disaster... this kind of thing should be done before a disaster happens.

So, which is it?

When I say 'that means you'd have to keep tabs on all of them', you say, 'no, we can just ask during the disaster'... but then you say, 'but that doesn't work well, so you should keep tabs on them'.
Indi
ocalhoun wrote:
... You act like groups acting irrationally is a rare thing...
Seems pretty common to me.

It is less common than individuals acting irrationally, but you're not suggesting we should just ignore decisions people make... so why are you suggesting we should ignore decisions groups make?

ocalhoun wrote:
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The interesting thing about the Nazi case, though, is that it is yet another case graphically illustrating what a little stress can do to a population's reasoning capacity. You've been claiming that a) stress-induced irrationality only happens for a short time after a severe crisis, and b) when you're only a "little bit" stressed you're still mostly rational. Well, the German population was ...

Hm, could there possibly be something else in play other than stress-induced irrationality though?

Well of course. Racism, for example. i never said stress was the only factor, just that it was a factor.

ocalhoun wrote:
But every decision might be made while stressed, which is enough, right?

No, of course not. Everyone who walks into a McDonald's might be a psychotic killer who is just about to pull a weapon out and start slaughtering people. So should we tackle everyone who walks into a McDonald's to the ground until we can ensure they're not a threat?

Don't be ridiculous. You don't operate on possibilities - and especially not wildly improbable ones - you operate on probabilities. It is possible that any given decision made under average circumstances is irrational... but it is not probable. Under normal circumstances, most decisions are rational. Therefore, under normal circumstances, we act on the assumption that every decision is rational, until evidence indicates otherwise. Likewise, it is possible that any given decision made under stress is rational... but it is not probable. Therefore, when the subject is under stress, we act on the assumption that every decision is irrational until evidence indicates otherwise. And likewise still, it is possible that any given decision made under the influence of alcohol is rational... but it is not probable. Therefore, when the subject is under the influence of alcohol, we act on the assumption that every decision is irrational until evidence indicates otherwise.

ocalhoun wrote:
Wait... Earlier you said she went to the bar in order to get laid, therefore there was no change in circumstances...
Now there is a change?

The earlier circumstances i am referring to was when she said she did not want to have sex with you. At that time, she was not horny. When she went to the party she was. Circumstances changed.

ocalhoun wrote:
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If you are an adult, you have to take responsibility for your decisions.

But not when you're stressed, apparently.

Non-sequitur. When you are stress you CANNOT make decisions. (The things that you say that sound like decisions are more likely than not not real decisions. They are misfires of your reasoning cortex.) Therefore, there is nothing to hold you accountable for. If you can't even make a decision, you can't be held responsible for one.

ocalhoun wrote:
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You are responsible for your government both when electing them, and then when they are in power.

Being responsible for something I have precious little control over makes me sad.

It's like driving a race car or flying a fighter plane: you just have to be very careful with what little control you do have. Small mistakes can have big consequences. There's a quote to the effect that representative democracy is the worst system of government that humanity has ever dreamed up, except for every other system.

You also have to know exactly where to push to get things moving the way you want them to. For example, politicians are slaves to the populace, so if you want something done your way, going after the politicians is not as effective as going after the populace. It may work in the short term, but for long-term, deep-impacting effect, you have to move the people, not the politicians. Move the people, and the politicians will follow.

ocalhoun wrote:
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Like i said, not many people were particularly surprised by the incident. Even the ground crews here ready to launch the planes full of aid volunteers just rolled their eyes and shrugged.

And such is the benefit of perspective and past examples.
From the inside, with this as the first example I knew of, it was rather surprising.

The evidence was there, both before and during the administration's run. Even a lot of people inside weren't surprised. i don't know what to tell you, except try to learn from the lesson.

ocalhoun wrote:
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i seriously doubt the Jews put the Nazis in power. But, for the record, what should have happened was that once it became clear that they were not being represented by their government (which we should have been able to determine long before the war, or the Holocaust, had we cared to look), the rest of the world (by means of the League of Nations - today it would be by means of the UN) should have stepped in to put a stop to it, either by giving the Jews their own country (which they did, unfortunately long after the fact) or by forcing the German government to stop violating the human rights of the Jewish population.

Quite the idealized situation there...
And what if the meta-government of the time also doesn't care about those individuals and/or has not enough power to force them to be represented?

Idealized in what way? It's the way we do things now, and - had they system not been broken at the time - it's the way things would have been done then. There's nothing ideal about it. It's a very realistic, and, in fact, non-ideal model.

As for the "what if"... that's what happened. The League of Nations didn't really care about the Jews (antisemitism was rife at the time), and even when they did feel the urge to do something about Germany (for other reasons), they didn't have the power. The result? Disaster.

That's why we created a new body that would have the power. Even then, it's not perfect, and there have been failures. But, we're doing the best we can against incredible odds, and we are improving slowly but surely.

ocalhoun wrote:
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Why would you need to keep tabs? All you would need to do is wait until a group asks for help because they are not being represented properly, then we would have to see whether that is true or not. If it's true, then we decide what action to take to remedy the situation. If it's not, then we go back to what we were doing.

If you are able to determine during the disaster that some sub group is not represented by the government, then yes, you could step in. (And in fact, that's what we do.) But it is not easy to make that kind of determination during a disaster... this kind of thing should be done before a disaster happens.

So, which is it?

When I say 'that means you'd have to keep tabs on all of them', you say, 'no, we can just ask during the disaster'... but then you say, 'but that doesn't work well, so you should keep tabs on them'.

You are mixing up two entirely different conversations and confusing yourself.

The bit you quoted above was my response about how to deal with a government that is oppressing a minority. That has nothing to do with a disaster. So, no, i did not say "no, we can just ask during the disaster", i said exactly the opposite (you even highlighted it); i said we should ask BEFORE a disaster happens.

Of course, things get more complicated in reality. In reality, a minority group may request help when there is no disaster, but for various reasons (usually just inertia), we don't get around to helping them quickly enough. Then, a disaster happens, and we have to do something or the group will be wiped out (or, very near to) - which, if they really are not being represented by their government, would be a tragic miscarriage of justice that we could never correct. So, we have to act fast. We quickly go back over the past evidence to see if it's reasonable to believe that they were not being represented by their government, and if so, we act regardless of the government.

But these are all fringe cases, and special circumstances, which you're just using to confuse yourself.
jeffryjon
Indi wrote:
Non-sequitur. When you are stress you CANNOT make decisions. (The things that you say that sound like decisions are more likely than not not real decisions. They are misfires of your reasoning cortex.) Therefore, there is nothing to hold you accountable for. If you can't even make a decision, you can't be held responsible for one.


My experience when working in environments that many call high / extreme stress is the same thing flipped totally around. The inability to take a decision is what causes mental stress. Not to be confused with pressure (under which people can perform quite rationally). I find it easy to accept that pressure and stress often come hand in hand though to suggest that someone under mental stress CANNOT make a decision seems like saying the symptom creates the cause.
ocalhoun
Indi wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
... You act like groups acting irrationally is a rare thing...
Seems pretty common to me.

It is less common than individuals acting irrationally, but you're not suggesting we should just ignore decisions people make... so why are you suggesting we should ignore decisions groups make?

'Cause I don't like groups, probably.
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Don't be ridiculous. You don't operate on possibilities - and especially not wildly improbable ones - you operate on probabilities. It is possible that any given decision made under average circumstances is irrational... but it is not probable. Under normal circumstances, most decisions are rational. Therefore, under normal circumstances, we act on the assumption that every decision is rational, until evidence indicates otherwise. Likewise, it is possible that any given decision made under stress is rational... but it is not probable. Therefore, when the subject is under stress, we act on the assumption that every decision is irrational until evidence indicates otherwise. And likewise still, it is possible that any given decision made under the influence of alcohol is rational... but it is not probable. Therefore, when the subject is under the influence of alcohol, we act on the assumption that every decision is irrational until evidence indicates otherwise.

Ah, perhaps now we have a spectrum across which we can compromise, or at least agree to disagree.
The probability of irrationality...
We can both agree that it is not good to trust decisions when this probability is very high, and we can both agree that it is okay to trust decisions when this probability is very low.
So, really, perhaps we just disagree about where the cut-off point is between the two extremes.
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ocalhoun wrote:
Wait... Earlier you said she went to the bar in order to get laid, therefore there was no change in circumstances...
Now there is a change?

The earlier circumstances i am referring to was when she said she did not want to have sex with you. At that time, she was not horny. When she went to the party she was. Circumstances changed.

*revelation*
Oh! Now I understand... She said that before going to the party/bar.
I had been assuming that I met her at the bar. It makes sense now.
Indi
jeffryjon wrote:
Indi wrote:
Non-sequitur. When you are stress you CANNOT make decisions. (The things that you say that sound like decisions are more likely than not not real decisions. They are misfires of your reasoning cortex.) Therefore, there is nothing to hold you accountable for. If you can't even make a decision, you can't be held responsible for one.


My experience when working in environments that many call high / extreme stress is the same thing flipped totally around. The inability to take a decision is what causes mental stress. Not to be confused with pressure (under which people can perform quite rationally). I find it easy to accept that pressure and stress often come hand in hand though to suggest that someone under mental stress CANNOT make a decision seems like saying the symptom creates the cause.

The explanation for why this is mistaken is in my post that you have quoted so many times. The rationalization (that you are stressed because you cannot make decisions) follows the emotion (that you are stressed)... not the other way around.

ocalhoun wrote:
Ah, perhaps now we have a spectrum across which we can compromise, or at least agree to disagree.
The probability of irrationality...
We can both agree that it is not good to trust decisions when this probability is very high, and we can both agree that it is okay to trust decisions when this probability is very low.
So, really, perhaps we just disagree about where the cut-off point is between the two extremes.

Perhaps, but how is that relevant here? If there is a spectrum of things that cause irrationality, how is a supra-national-scale DISASTER in the fuzzy area? If that is in the fuzzy area, what isn't - the immediate destruction of the entire world?

ocalhoun wrote:
*revelation*
Oh! Now I understand... She said that before going to the party/bar.
I had been assuming that I met her at the bar. It makes sense now.

Quote:
Want an example? Alright, consider this: you're at a party and you run into a girl who just turned you down earlier that day when you asked to go out with her. She comes up to you and asks you to go upstairs and have sex, but you can smell alcohol strong on her breath. What do you do?

It doesn't even matter whether she said that before going to the party or not. Why is this so complicated? Step 1: when she is plainly sober, she says no way to sex with you. Step 2: when she is probably drunk, she says she wants sex with you. Circumstances in step 1: she's not horny. Circumstances in step 2: she is horny... but she's also probably drunk. Relation to topic: she made her position clear when you had strong reason to believe she was rational, and now has reversed her position but you have strong reason to believe she is not being rational.

Come on, this isn't rocket science.
jeffryjon
Indi wrote:
jeffryjon wrote:
Indi wrote:
Non-sequitur. When you are stress you CANNOT make decisions. (The things that you say that sound like decisions are more likely than not not real decisions. They are misfires of your reasoning cortex.) Therefore, there is nothing to hold you accountable for. If you can't even make a decision, you can't be held responsible for one.


My experience when working in environments that many call high / extreme stress is the same thing flipped totally around. The inability to take a decision is what causes mental stress. Not to be confused with pressure (under which people can perform quite rationally). I find it easy to accept that pressure and stress often come hand in hand though to suggest that someone under mental stress CANNOT make a decision seems like saying the symptom creates the cause.

The explanation for why this is mistaken is in my post that you have quoted so many times. The rationalization (that you are stressed because you cannot make decisions) follows the emotion (that you are stressed)... not the other way around.


Yes Indi, and you refer to it many times and I do like that post, however I argue that stress is not an emotion, however there can be an emotional reaction to it. So you say stress is an emotion. What about pressure and tension - Are they emotions too? According to your theory, what causes the stress that causes the inability to make a decision? I can induce emotions at will as I'm sure is true of many people who've gained a degree of emotional control, however I cannot induce mental stress at will.

We used to deliberately create training exercises to induce mental stress in trainees and the way we did it was to manipulate situations where they could make one of multiple decisions - each of which would result in a loss of life (obviously not real lives as it was training - but we made things realistic enough to freak people out). Invariably the trainees would suffer stress until they made a choice and the pressure of 'no-decision making matters worse' would increase the stress until a decision was made. After a decision was made, the trainee would have to deal with the resultant pressure/tension until an outcome was achieved. This was deliberately planned and on multiple occassions (100's in fact) so that trainees could appreciate that failing to make a decision was worse than making any one of the choices.
Indi
jeffryjon wrote:
Yes Indi, and you refer to it many times and I do like that post, however I argue that stress is not an emotion, however there can be an emotional reaction to it. So you say stress is an emotion. What about pressure and tension - Are they emotions too?

You're trying to create confusion by equivocating between the different types of stress - physical stress, muscular stress, emotional stress, and so on. i have neither the time nor interest to play that game. Instead, i'm going to do a Google search for the words "emotional stress", and quote you the very first paragraphs from the very first link:
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One very difficult form of stress to cope with and manage is emotional stress. After all, it is often self-created, it can come out of nowhere and the stress caused by it only heightens the emotions felt. Thus, as the emotional stress increases, the emotions get worse, heightening the emotional stress. Thus, the problem recreates the cause and the problem only gets worse.

Emotional stress is often triggered by a dramatic event that puts a person's nervous system under severe strain. This could be an event such as losing a loved one, seeing someone die, or being put into a life-threatening situation.
And that's all the time i have to waste on that. If you want to argue the point more, take it up with the doctors whose pages appear in that Google search.

jeffryjon wrote:
I can induce emotions at will as I'm sure is true of many people who've gained a degree of emotional control, however I cannot induce mental stress at will.

Fascinating information, i'm sure. However, most people (as the quote above notes) can induce emotional stress by themselves. High strung people in particular do it all the time.

jeffryjon wrote:
We used to deliberately create training exercises to induce mental stress in trainees and the way we did it was to manipulate situations where they could make one of multiple decisions - each of which would result in a loss of life (obviously not real lives as it was training - but we made things realistic enough to freak people out). Invariably the trainees would suffer stress until they made a choice and the pressure of 'no-decision making matters worse' would increase the stress until a decision was made. After a decision was made, the trainee would have to deal with the resultant pressure/tension until an outcome was achieved. This was deliberately planned and on multiple occassions (100's in fact) so that trainees could appreciate that failing to make a decision was worse than making any one of the choices.

Again, fascinating anecdote, but the medical facts don't change just because your opinion of what you think was happening in those exercises doesn't agree with them.

In point of fact, your interpretation of the events is easy to prove wrong, because if it was simply a matter of not being able to make a decision then you could run a test by putting the recruits in a simulated life-threatening situation where they don't have to make any decisions... and they'll still freak out. For example, you could tell the recruits that when an alarm goes off they have thirty seconds to operate a series of controls in sequence or they "die". There is nothing to decide there, all they have to do is push the pre-taught sequence of buttons. You can have them practice that sequence a thousand times without the alarm and time constraint... but i guarantee you that the first time you have them do the same thing in a simulated emergency with that time constraint or all the simulated chaos around them, they will freak. They will probably get the sequence right, if they've practised enough, but their performance time will be poor compared to non-emergency runs, and if you check things like their heart rate and hormone levels, they will be in a state of panic.

What the repetitions of these kinds of drills is actually doing (if you're curious) is a very simple form of classical conditioning. It is, in effect, biological training, not mental training (because if you're too stupid to mentally grasp what you're supposed to do in an emergency the first time, you've got much bigger problems than just the stress; you should know what you're supposed to do before even the first drill, the drills are just to condition your biology to allow you to do whatever you're supposed to do). It is training your body to take longer to release less chemicals and stuff that get in the way of clear thinking and acting.

That's the whole reason they try to make training simulations as realistic as possible. It is not to train you to make decisions - you can learn the decision-making part in a quiet classroom any time. It is to condition your biological responses to not be triggered as easily - building up an emotional callous, if you like - so that you are able to do the decision-making in a crisis without your emotional response getting in the way.
jeffryjon
Indi wrote:
You're trying to create confusion by equivocating between the different types of stress - physical stress, muscular stress, emotional stress, and so on. i have neither the time nor interest to play that game. Instead, i'm going to do a Google search for the words "emotional stress", and quote you the very first paragraphs from the very first link:


I'm not trying to create confusion at all. The point I'm making is NOT about conditioning people such as in your examples to handle what they already have been trained for. It's very simple - you said that someone CANNOT make decisions because they are stressed - I'm saying they can and ask anyone who's regularly exposed to making very tough decisions and they'll confirm the same. The quotation you gave from google are key areas where some people struggle to make a decision -losing a loved one and failing to decide to accept the fact and move on - seeing someone die and failing to decide to accept the fact and deal with it accordingly - being put into a life-threatening situation and failing to decide what to do to get out of that situation - the quote simply verifies what I already said.
Indi
jeffryjon wrote:
I'm not trying to create confusion at all.

Yes, you are. For example:

jeffryjon wrote:
... you said that someone CANNOT make decisions because they are stressed...

i have been explicitly clear, repeating over and over, that while it is not IMPOSSIBLE to make a decision while under stress, IT IS SO UNLIKELY THAT WE MUST ASSUME ANY DECISION MADE UNDER STRESS IS NOT THOUGHT OUT PROPERLY UNLESS WE HAVE EVIDENCE OTHERWISE. i don't how i can make that any clearer. A bigger font? Some colour? i could make an animated image out of it.

And don't even pretend that i didn't make that clear to you. From the very first time i mentioned stress - to you, incidentally - i said that people are, quote, "FAR MORE LIKELY" to be made irrational when they are under stress than they are to stay rational. i have repeated that theme over and over, including making an example using a girl who was behaving out of character and smelling of alcohol, who might still be acting rationally, but is far more likely to have been made irrational by alcohol. That has been my recurring theme, that i have explained, justified and repeated ad nauseum. Look, here's another quote: "First of all, obviously some people can make rational decisions during an emergency (emergency services people obviously do). That is NOT what i've been saying. What i have been saying is that OFTEN in a crisis, people's thinking gets distorted by stress. Because of that, when someone makes a decision in a crisis, it may be rational, but you CANNOT BE SURE, and the likelihood is that it is not - especially if it radically contradicts their thinking from before the emergency."

To claim that i've been saying that you CANNOT ever make decisions when you are stressed is just creating confusion, because my point has been quite clear. (i've even clarified it more than once.) What next, cherry-picking a quote out of context where it seems like i might be saying that it's always impossible, just to sow more confusion?

jeffryjon wrote:
... I'm saying they can and ask anyone who's regularly exposed to making very tough decisions and they'll confirm the same.

And as i've been trying to explain to you, the fact that they have been regularly exposed to stressful situations is why they are more able to make decisions despite the stress. It's the same reason you are able to handle your liquor better if you drink more often than if you don't: you build up a tolerance to the neurochemicals. In the case of stress, if you are regularly put through stressful situations while training, eventually you grow a tolerance to the neurotransmitter rush you get from the stress, and it doesn't effect you as much. A rookie firefighter knows just about as much about the mechanics of his job as a seasoned firefighter, and has to make the same decisions at the same times under the same circumstances. The only difference between the two is that the seasoned firefighter has been chemically conditioned against the stress reaction - they've built up a callous, if you like to think of it that way - so that in a stressful situation they are calmer and can think more clearly than the rookie.

The idea that stress is caused by the inability to make a decision is pure nonsense. If that were true, then people would freak out in line at a fast food place if they couldn't decide what to order. They don't - they may hem and haw for several minutes, but they never get stressed. (In fact, in some cases, people can stand around trying to make a decision for a long time while people in line behind them get more and more annoyed. Yet they still don't get stressed.)

Yet, if you subjected someone to stress, you would see they would be unable to think clearly for quite a while after the incident. Victims of an armed robbery, for example, often are confused and disoriented after the incident, and have a hard time deciding how to respond - should they go after the assailant, call the police from where they are and wait, or run to a safe place? Different people will select different options, depending on whether they are more angry or afraid, but in general the decision will not be made properly.

The evidence is clear: stress causes inability to decide, not vice versa... and that's without even considering the neurological evidence from fMRI and PET scan studies.

jeffryjon wrote:
The quotation you gave from google are key areas where some people struggle to make a decision -losing a loved one and failing to decide to accept the fact and move on - seeing someone die and failing to decide to accept the fact and deal with it accordingly - being put into a life-threatening situation and failing to decide what to do to get out of that situation - the quote simply verifies what I already said.

Really? ^_^; That's funny, because the quote actually doesn't say anything about what you said. The bit i quoted was in response to your statements that stress wasn't an emotion, and that people can't induced it themselves. That's why the only things the quote only addresses those things. It doesn't mention anything about cognitive effects - you're seeing things that aren't there - and while it does happen to list a couple situations where stress is induced, not only does it say nothing about decision-making in the process, it actually explicitly contradicts your hypothesis by saying what really causes the stress ("... triggered by a dramatic event that puts a person's nervous system under severe strain", which implies that the stress comes from the strain on the nervous system, not because they can't make decisions).

If you really cared about the truth enough to out looking for it, instead of trying to squirrel your opinions in to quotes that don't really support it, you would see that there is no debate on this matter. Stress causes cognitive difficulties, not the other way around. To prove the point, once again, this is from the same source as the bit i quoted before - the very first link on a Google search for "emotional stress" - continuing right on from where i cut it off, with emphasis and notes added by me:
Quote:
Emotional stress is often triggered by a dramatic event that puts a person's nervous system under severe strain. This could be an event such as losing a loved one, seeing someone die, or being put into a life-threatening situation. An event such as this can put severe strain on a person's mind and nerves and the incredible strain can cause changes in the way that the brain works.

However, emotional stress does not arise from a sudden shock. It can also arise from a total emotional strain that adds up to an overwhelming strain that prevents a person from thinking about anything other than the problems that seem to have no solution. (In other words, the stress makes you unable to make decisions. - Indi)

...

Either method can be very effective for dealing with emotional stress, as they give the brain a chance to relax. Then, once it is relaxed, it will be able to shed the emotional stress and get back to the business of thinking clearly. (Which implies that the stress was causing problems thinking. If it were the other way around, then the sentence would say "... be able to think clearly and get back to the business of shedding the emotional stress". - Indi)
Why are you here arguing this with me? If you don't believe me, do what i said and take it up with the doctors that come up in the Google search. Did you even bother to do the search? Did you make any effort at all to discover the truth on your own? Or are you just disagreeing with me for the hell of it, regardless of reality?
jeffryjon
Indi wrote:
Why are you here arguing this with me? If you don't believe me, do what i said and take it up with the doctors that come up in the Google search. Did you even bother to do the search? Did you make any effort at all to discover the truth on your own? Or are you just disagreeing with me for the hell of it, regardless of reality?


Indi, this is exactly the problem I have debating with you - far too may presumptions - firstly it's not a case of believing and/or disbelieving you have found certain quotes (which is completely different to believing the contents of any quotes). it's okay to agree/disagree with anything a postee digs up to back an argument (provided of course it's a genuine disagreement).

Why ask if I bother to search - if I have then it's still okay to disagree and has no bearing on the disagreement. When I disagree with anything, you can be absolutely assured I have a genuine reason for doing so. If any point I make is proved invalid then so-be-it and I'm thankful for learning something. Referring to someone else may or may not be valid as doctors are proved wrong and change their minds just as much as anyone else.

Did I make any effort to discover the truth on my own? - why else would I take part in this forum? - it's easy to see that I have made considerable effort to observe and learn from situations and mostly through personal interaction and reflection rather than something somebody else wrote or said. It's for this very reason that most of my posts are in this forum rather than areas where I have insufficient experience to take part - tell me anything about many subjects and you're unlikley to receive a response because writing "I haven't got a clue" all the time would be of no value unless you ran a poll.

You can be sure that reality or finding it is the only thing I'm interested in when taking part in this forum - and in this tread in particular. The only reason I started the thread was to see whether any value could be added to weight either side of the argument.
Indi
jeffryjon wrote:
Indi, this is exactly the problem I have debating with you - far too may presumptions - firstly it's not a case of believing and/or disbelieving you have found certain quotes (which is completely different to believing the contents of any quotes).

Speaking of presumptions. ^_^; i don't think you "believe and/or disbelieve that i've found quotes"... i think you don't believe the contents of the quotes, which is (as you say) completely different, and the real problem. Incidentally, that's exactly what i've been saying, so i don't know why you would presume that i think you don't believe i've found the quotes. i know you know i have the quotes, which is why i've been telling you to go look at them.

jeffryjon wrote:
it's okay to agree/disagree with anything a postee digs up to back an argument (provided of course it's a genuine disagreement).

Oh, aye, absolutely. But this is not a genuine disagreement. This is a case of me providing both learned experience and hard evidence of something by experts in the field... something that you have no formal training in... and you responding with "well, i just don't believe it". That's not genuine disagreement, that's an ignorant fool (and i use those words in the dictionary sense, not as an insult, before you get your back up -_-) standing in front of a professor of a certain subject who is showing evidence of the subject, but the fool is sticking their fingers in their ears and saying "i'm not hearing you!"

You're not presenting any counter-arguments. You're not even answering any of the arguments i'm presenting - except to occasionally bizarrely claim that it supports your uneducated intuition when, in fact, it usually says the exact opposite. You're just sticking to your ignorant original assumption in the face of everything: my experience, the citations i have provided, the reasoning i have drawn out.

If you think this is a "genuine disagreement", then "is not!" "is too!" "is not!" "is too!" is a genuine debate in your estimation.

jeffryjon wrote:
Why ask if I bother to search...

Because if you care about the truth, searching is the way to find it. Sitting on your ass "reflecting" to find the truth went out of style in the Renaissance (before then, actually).

jeffryjon wrote:
When I disagree with anything, you can be absolutely assured I have a genuine reason for doing so. If any point I make is proved invalid then so-be-it and I'm thankful for learning something.

See, the thing is, your point has been proved invalid, in multiple ways, but you are not thankful and you are not learning. i've showed you that being unable to make a decision does not cause stress - which contradicts your entire thesis. i've showed you that the alternate hypothesis, that stress causes the inability to make decision:
  1. Fits your observations better. (When a family member dies, you are obviously stressed by that before it comes time to make any decisions... you are stressed the moment you hear the news, decisions come later.)
  2. Does not suffer from the same problems as your hypothesis. (It doesn't fail from the fact that people who can't make decisions aren't stressed.)
  3. Makes other predictions that get borne out. (It predicts that even in cases when people under stress don't have to make decisions - for example, they just have to follow a procedure in an emergency - they will still be stressed.)
  4. Agrees with existing psychological theory.
  5. Has been observed to be true in fMRI and PET scan studies.
  6. Is confirmed by multiple doctors and experts in a simple Google search.
  7. etc....
See, your shallow pretension at being reasonable... doesn't hold up. You're not being reasonable, you're being ridiculous. i simply don't believe that you seriously believe that your personal observations and reflections trump the massive amount of hard science done on the subject. i think you're just saying that so that you can justify sticking to your ignorant claims even in the face of clearly contradictory evidence.

jeffryjon wrote:
Referring to someone else may or may not be valid as doctors are proved wrong and change their minds just as much as anyone else.

^_^; Sure the doctors may be proven wrong or change their minds, but which do you think is more likely... that they are going to be proven wrong and change their minds... or that you are?

jeffryjon wrote:
... it's easy to see that I have made considerable effort to observe and learn from situations and mostly through personal interaction and reflection rather than something somebody else wrote or said.

Yeah? Tell me then, what has your personal interaction and reflection - rather than reading what somebody else wrote or said - told you about the temperature of the Sun? It feels... what... 50°C? 100°C, maybe? Oh, let's be generous and say 150°C, eh, because it can get pretty hot some days!

Your personal interactions and reflections are useless. This phenomenon (both the temperature of the Sun and the existence and effects of stress) has been deeply studied by people in controlled experimentation, with the results compared among multiple studies and experimenters, and discussed to find a consensus among learned experts in the field. Do you really think your "personal interactions and reflections" are better than that evidence? i mean, really? -_-

jeffryjon wrote:
It's for this very reason that most of my posts are in this forum rather than areas where I have insufficient experience to take part - tell me anything about many subjects and you're unlikley to receive a response because writing "I haven't got a clue" all the time would be of no value unless you ran a poll.

It's commendable that you're taking part in discussions on subjects you don't understand, but just because you're taking part doesn't mean your input is valid. If you're in a topic you don't know much about, and an expert in the field says A and you argue it with "well, i believe differently, even though my belief only comes from personal experience and reflection", you're not participating in meaningful discussion, you're just being a contrary jerk who is holding up the discussion from people who actually do want to learn something. Someone who wants to learn says "i don't understand, please explain", they don't say "no, you're wrong and i'm right"... especially to the expert they are supposed to be learning from. Therefore the evidence is that, despite your claim, you don't really want to learn anything.
jeffryjon
Indi - let's just remind you of what you're so fond of reminding others - Why am I arguing this with you? - could it be because that's what people do in this forum - end of story.

Why should I not argue a case when I have different results/opinions/experiences to you?

Why should I presume that because Mr A,B,C or whoever, has already studied and got the 'right' answers that I should just accept that blindly and unchallenged - oh yes of course - philosophy is finished - just read the book.

Why does your case prove my case wrong? Doesn't - it proves you have a different viewpoint from different information sources providing different opinions and results.

I could go on forever, yet once again we're going off-track and the thread is deteriorating. In my experience, which I trust more than a book/course/whatever (here I'm speaking strictly about subjects such as what life is really about and how it works), there are more than academics who are capable of noticing the way things really are. Further to this, I say with 100% confidence that the best way to learn about life and the best philosophy to living it - is to live it. Your case being widely accepted doesn't make it any more or less valid than another case - if it's real it's real. If you wish to debate the other points you made in your previous post, I'll happily show you the other side of the coin and help you put them into perspective in an appropriate thread. Just PM me when it's ready.
Bikerman
Quote:
Further to this, I say with 100% confidence that the best way to learn about life and the best philosophy to living it - is to live it.
This is a meaningless statement.
Everyone 'lives' their life - that tells you nothing about HOW they live their life. Some people live in ignorance - to argue that this is the best way to learn about life and the best philosophy to live it seems to me to be perverse.
Indi
jeffryjon wrote:
Indi - let's just remind you of what you're so fond of reminding others - Why am I arguing this with you? - could it be because that's what people do in this forum - end of story.

i don't need a reminder, thank you: what people do on this forum is discuss and debate. That means all of the following things:
  1. Raising points.
  2. Handling objections to your points.
  3. Providing support or objections for other people's points.
You are only doing number 1. That is not discussion, or debate. That is simply making noise.

jeffryjon wrote:
Why should I not argue a case when I have different results/opinions/experiences to you?

You did argue the case, and i tore it to shreds. Repeatedly. i showed that it doesn't fit basic observations, i showed that it contradicts the relevant scientific evidence, i showed that experts in the field have come to a different conclusion, and i showed that your methodology is logically flawed. You did argue the case, and your argument was destroyed.

What you haven't done is respond to even one single objection to your case (let alone all of them). You just keep reasserting your belief over and over, even though it's been completely dismantled. You're not arguing a case anymore, you're just shouting "i don't care what anyone else thinks" as loudly as you can.

jeffryjon wrote:
Why should I presume that because Mr A,B,C or whoever, has already studied and got the 'right' answers that I should just accept that blindly and unchallenged - oh yes of course - philosophy is finished - just read the book.

You should not presume that, and i never said you should. You should rationally consider whether it is more reasonable that you, a lay person, with no training in cognition or psychology, having done no controlled experiments on the topic, might know more than the people who have been studying it carefully, methodically and scientifically with tools and methods way beyond your disposal for the last 30 or 40 years, or more.

There is nothing "blind" about that, and you are supposed to "challenge" the idea that these people have a better handle on the answer than you do... right up until the moment that the overwhelming evidence indicates that they do. At that point, any further challenging is just stupid. We're well past that point.

Philosophy is hardly "finished", but on this particular point, you have nothing left to argue. Every claim you've made has been shot down, and several more besides, in just about every way that it's possible to shoot down a claim, and you haven't mustered a single defense in response that hasn't been taken care of, too.

We don't need to know what the "right" answers are to know that yours are wrong. They don't match observation, they don't match reason, and those who have studied the field have come up with the opposite results.

jeffryjon wrote:
Why does your case prove my case wrong?

That is covered repeatedly in the previous posts - you've just never answered any of the objections - so read back and find out.

jeffryjon wrote:
Doesn't - it proves you have a different viewpoint from different information sources providing different opinions and results.

Yes, i have a different viewpoint and different information, giving different results, but so what? i showed that your viewpoint was wrong in three different ways, and then went on to show that your information and results were also wrong. You haven't responded to any of that. And you haven't done a thing toward challenging my viewpoint, if you even can.

What do you think the purpose of this forum is? To just say whatever the hell you want and not have someone else challenge it, and if it's wrong, to show that? You made a point, i challenged it, and i used a ton of evidence (plus plain old reason) to show that it was wrong. So, again i ask, why are you still arguing this?

jeffryjon wrote:
I could go on forever, yet once again we're going off-track and the thread is deteriorating.

That's because you're not engaging in debate and you're not being reasonable. You're not answering any of the points raised or raising any new ones. You're just insisting that i can't call your claim wrong.

What if i were to do the same thing? You've said cognitive difficulties cause emotional stress, and that you "know" that's true in defiance of all external evidence and reason. Okay, so i'll say that it's the other way around, and i know this because i know it, and no external argument you could provide will sway me. Now where do we go? We're stuck. We're not going anywhere. As you put it, "philosophy is finished".

You want the discussion to get back on track, and the discussion to stop deteriorating? Then start discussing, and stop saying that what you believe can't be discussed. You claimed that cognitive difficulties cause emotional stress, i showed that claim is wrong at least a half-dozen different ways, so now it's your turn; continue the discussion: either show that my objections are false, raise new objections to my claims, provide new evidence for your claims, or just give up and admit your point has been defeated. That's what i'm waiting for.

jeffryjon wrote:
In my experience, which I trust more than a book/course/whatever (here I'm speaking strictly about subjects such as what life is really about and how it works), there are more than academics who are capable of noticing the way things really are.

Well, first of all, this discussion is not "strictly about subjects such as what life is really about and how it works". The discussion, in point of fact, is about whether emotional stress causes cognitive impairment or whether cognitive impairment causes emotional stress - which is an important part of my original argument about what the right thing to do in a disaster is, and why.

Secondly, of course "academics" aren't the only people who can notice the way life is, but we're not talking about "academics"... we're talking about people who have specifically studied the phenomenon in question, with tools and methods far superior to anything you have. Given that fact, you can't reasonably argue that your perspective is equal to theirs. You probably never even considered the problem before this discussion; they have dedicated careers to studying it, and had to defend their results against powerful argumentation and dissension before it became consensus. Your perspective is not equal to theirs, and it is ridiculous to claim that it is.

jeffryjon wrote:
Further to this, I say with 100% confidence that the best way to learn about life and the best philosophy to living it - is to live it.

Fascinating i'm sure, but the topic is whether or not it is right to override a government in a disaster... not "life", whatever you may mean by that. And the specific question being debated - which relates to the topic - is whether emotional stress causes cognitive impairment or whether cognitive impairment causes emotional stress... again, not "life".

Now you may be "100% confident" in your beliefs and the fact that your beliefs are infallible, regardless of external evidence, but if i may offer an objection: if it is true that merely living your life is the "best" way to learn about the philosophy of life, then it would be true that any random 60 year-old in the world should be a better philosopher than a 40 year-old - even if that 40 year-old is a professional philosopher - simply because the older person has lived more life. And if you really believed that, then you should be very concerned about my age relative to yours, before you go asserting that i don't know what i'm talking about. ^_^;

jeffryjon wrote:
Your case being widely accepted doesn't make it any more or less valid than another case - if it's real it's real.

i have not been saying that my case has merit merely because it is widely accepted, i have been saying that it has merit because it is widely accepted by experts... people who have studied the topic in depth using tools and methods far beyond what you or i could use, and defended their conclusions against hostile opposition just as well versed in the field as they are. (On top of that, it has merit because it is more logically coherent than your case, but that's another issue.) If you go out and study the topic in as much detail as they have, and present your findings to people who are well-versed in the field, and convince them to accept your findings, then so will i. Unlike you, i don't believe my knowledge is perfect, and i since i don't have the time to do fMRI studies on my own, i rely on the findings of people who have done far more research on the topic than i have. If you can convince them that they're work in the field is wrong, please do so. It will help everyone, because you will be advancing science.

jeffryjon wrote:
If you wish to debate the other points you made in your previous post, I'll happily show you the other side of the coin and help you put them into perspective in an appropriate thread. Just PM me when it's ready.

i would love to debate the points i have made, and have been waiting for three or four posts now for you to do it. But what is the need for PMs? i don't read PMs from strangers, and i don't expect anyone else to read PMs i send them. This is a discussion forum; if you have something to discuss, then discuss it here. There is no need to hide.
jeffryjon
Indi wrote:
jeffryjon wrote:
Indi - let's just remind you of what you're so fond of reminding others - Why am I arguing this with you? - could it be because that's what people do in this forum - end of story.

i don't need a reminder, thank you: what people do on this forum is discuss and debate. That means all of the following things:
  1. Raising points.
  2. Handling objections to your points.
  3. Providing support or objections for other people's points.
You are only doing number 1. That is not discussion, or debate. That is simply making noise.

jeffryjon wrote:
Why should I not argue a case when I have different results/opinions/experiences to you?

You did argue the case, and i tore it to shreds. Repeatedly. i showed that it doesn't fit basic observations, i showed that it contradicts the relevant scientific evidence, i showed that experts in the field have come to a different conclusion, and i showed that your methodology is logically flawed. You did argue the case, and your argument was destroyed.


I did make observations - along with many others - as I said to you, we developed training courses that had the very effect we spoke of - not just me - do you think a fire brigade in a leading country just let's a lone-wolf do what he likes. Psychologists/psychiatrists are often seen in poor light in disciplines that involve tough decisions - and that's not just a British thing - these days workers are even coerced into seeing a shrink under threat of suspension and often for the most trivial of things. There is a place for psychology/psychiatry and much of what they've discovered is right, but even among them there are different schools of thought in many areas which is a good thing. Leaders in the field tend to be much more open to studying other mechanisms.

Quote:
What you haven't done is respond to even one single objection to your case (let alone all of them). You just keep reasserting your belief over and over, even though it's been completely dismantled. You're not arguing a case anymore, you're just shouting "i don't care what anyone else thinks" as loudly as you can.


I don't care any more or less about what a so called expert thinks than your so-called layman. The layman makes up the vast majority of the population and to suggest in such a subject as the workings of the human mind, that learning from something other than real life is superior is frankly ridiculous. We get a whole bunch of mental health workers here from all over the world - and most of them admit freely that they haven't got anymore answers than anyone else - although worldwide it's a small sample of a couple of thousand who tend to come here, my observations are they're seeking answers just as much and often more than anyone else - these people ARE from your so-called expert pool - and yes I've helped quite a few of them and they've become long-term friends. The main problem they express to me is being afraid to try anything back in their home countries which is not officially stamped - as such the asians tend to do better with it as the restrictions are nowhere near as tight.

indi wrote:
jeffryjon wrote:
Why should I presume that because Mr A,B,C or whoever, has already studied and got the 'right' answers that I should just accept that blindly and unchallenged - oh yes of course - philosophy is finished - just read the book.

You should not presume that, and i never said you should. You should rationally consider whether it is more reasonable that you, a lay person, with no training in cognition or psychology, having done no controlled experiments on the topic, might know more than the people who have been studying it carefully, methodically and scientifically with tools and methods way beyond your disposal for the last 30 or 40 years, or more.


See there you go again with this accusations about my qualifications and/or experience in the field. Presumption - you don't know and I deliberately haven't told you about much of my past experience - why should that have any bearing to you or me. I really don't know anything about you either, beyond what you chose to tell me. One of those things was that me learning psychology would make me nuts - now I wonder where that would come from - and more importantly, as it would in your opinion make me nuts, then I may be better to find techniques that would do other than make me nuts. See how you perceive I'm attacking you by raising points just for the fun of it - here's the rea;l deal - if I speculate, I say I'm speculating - if I say something is a fact, it has been observed directly and tested - if I say something is according to someone else then I put it forward as such and am quite happy for you to tear it to shreds as you say.

Quote:
There is nothing "blind" about that, and you are supposed to "challenge" the idea that these people have a better handle on the answer than you do... right up until the moment that the overwhelming evidence indicates that they do. At that point, any further challenging is just stupid. We're well past that point.


A very dangerous presumption.

Quote:
Philosophy is hardly "finished", but on this particular point, you have nothing left to argue. Every claim you've made has been shot down, and several more besides, in just about every way that it's possible to shoot down a claim, and you haven't mustered a single defense in response that hasn't been taken care of, too.

We don't need to know what the "right" answers are to know that yours are wrong. They don't match observation, they don't match reason, and those who have studied the field have come up with the opposite results.


Fact is you either don't know what I'm saying is wrong or you have chosen not to present the evidence - show me where what I'm saying has been tested and under what conditions to prove it as wrong. See here's an example for consideration that affects a wide number of people.

"I'm doing a job I don't enjoy, to pay the mortgage on a house that's not in a neighbourhood where I want to live, that I live in because it allows me to stay near enough to the job I don't enjoy" A decision is needed - both of which may involve temporary loss in both parts of life, which are agreed by the experts to be 2 of the biggies in creating mental turmoil. The sufferer can leave the house and lose the job or leave the job and lose the house - one affects the other and many are afraid to make that change because they may have to start all over again and step into uncertainty (not that either provides any real certainty in today's environment, but it is perceived at least). As such Mr sufferer, for as long as he's unable to make the decision suffers stress - his ability to work productively is affected and he increases the chances of losing the job and house anyway - which makes it seem like he can't make the decision because of stress, when in fact the longer he takes to make the decision, the stress increases. Sooner or later, the inevitable happens and he has to make a life-change anyway, but would have been much better placed if he'd made the decision before his situation deteriorated. Many even fall into a repetitive cycle of these types of events and turn to escape mechanisms as a way of coping with stress arriving from the non-decisions - just look at drug/alcohol addiction figures in areas where people behave like this en-masse. In some fields this is termed a double or multiple bind, is it not?

indi wrote:
jeffryjon wrote:
Doesn't - it proves you have a different viewpoint from different information sources providing different opinions and results.

Yes, i have a different viewpoint and different information, giving different results, but so what? i showed that your viewpoint was wrong in three different ways, and then went on to show that your information and results were also wrong. You haven't responded to any of that. And you haven't done a thing toward challenging my viewpoint, if you even can.

What do you think the purpose of this forum is? To just say whatever the hell you want and not have someone else challenge it, and if it's wrong, to show that? You made a point, i challenged it, and i used a ton of evidence (plus plain old reason) to show that it was wrong. So, again i ask, why are you still arguing this?


I like the fact you challenge it, though the same doesn't seem true in reverse. Your arguments are based on my book(s) say this and your things say that and therefore you are wrong. Not on one occasion have you done better than that.

indi wrote:
jeffryjon wrote:
I could go on forever, yet once again we're going off-track and the thread is deteriorating.

That's because you're not engaging in debate and you're not being reasonable. You're not answering any of the points raised or raising any new ones. You're just insisting that i can't call your claim wrong.


No, absolutely not - what I know, I know, which is by no means everything. In areas of knowledge where I don't know and wish to learn, I will make effort to learn - and test. Once I have a right answer there is no need to keep reading what others claim - grass is green, sometimes yellow, sometimes blue - if someone tells me it's jet-black - I say show me (not tell me)

Quote:
What if i were to do the same thing? You've said cognitive difficulties cause emotional stress, and that you "know" that's true in defiance of all external evidence and reason. Okay, so i'll say that it's the other way around, and i know this because i know it, and no external argument you could provide will sway me. Now where do we go? We're stuck. We're not going anywhere. As you put it, "philosophy is finished".


We're stuck only because you refuse to even consider what I'm saying enough to test it.

Quote:
You want the discussion to get back on track, and the discussion to stop deteriorating? Then start discussing, and stop saying that what you believe can't be discussed. You claimed that cognitive difficulties cause emotional stress, i showed that claim is wrong at least a half-dozen different ways, so now it's your turn; continue the discussion: either show that my objections are false, raise new objections to my claims, provide new evidence for your claims, or just give up and admit your point has been defeated. That's what i'm waiting for.


I and others in this thread have showed that what you claim is false and you refuse to accept it - that's fine. The reason I started this thread was to see if we can raise any new points for consideration for the organization I work for - they were discussed at length and with people of various fields of expertise - we wanted to see if anything new could be raised through outside discussion. So far the value of this thread to us is that it confirms all the points we'd already considered, which is a help in itself.

indi wrote:
jeffryjon wrote:
In my experience, which I trust more than a book/course/whatever (here I'm speaking strictly about subjects such as what life is really about and how it works), there are more than academics who are capable of noticing the way things really are.

Well, first of all, this discussion is not "strictly about subjects such as what life is really about and how it works". The discussion, in point of fact, is about whether emotional stress causes cognitive impairment or whether cognitive impairment causes emotional stress - which is an important part of my original argument about what the right thing to do in a disaster is, and why.

Secondly, of course "academics" aren't the only people who can notice the way life is, but we're not talking about "academics"... we're talking about people who have specifically studied the phenomenon in question, with tools and methods far superior to anything you have. Given that fact, you can't reasonably argue that your perspective is equal to theirs. You probably never even considered the problem before this discussion; they have dedicated careers to studying it, and had to defend their results against powerful argumentation and dissension before it became consensus. Your perspective is not equal to theirs, and it is ridiculous to claim that it is.


As you can see already in this post, a great length of consideration has been given to the topic. It was me who wanted to discuss it further - I started the thread - remember. Just to be sure you understand Indi - I have no interest in taking part in a thread that I don't believe I can both learn from and make quality contributions. there are many threads I do not take part in because I don't believe I both the above are true and in threads where that process comes to a halt, I tend to withdraw, as do most others.

Indi wrote:
jeffryjon wrote:
Further to this, I say with 100% confidence that the best way to learn about life and the best philosophy to living it - is to live it.

Fascinating i'm sure, but the topic is whether or not it is right to override a government in a disaster... not "life", whatever you may mean by that. And the specific question being debated - which relates to the topic - is whether emotional stress causes cognitive impairment or whether cognitive impairment causes emotional stress... again, not "life".

Now you may be "100% confident" in your beliefs and the fact that your beliefs are infallible, regardless of external evidence, but if i may offer an objection: if it is true that merely living your life is the "best" way to learn about the philosophy of life, then it would be true that any random 60 year-old in the world should be a better philosopher than a 40 year-old - even if that 40 year-old is a professional philosopher - simply because the older person has lived more life. And if you really believed that, then you should be very concerned about my age relative to yours, before you go asserting that i don't know what i'm talking about. ^_^;


There is a great deal of difference between living your life (as in getting down in the nitty gritty and doing whatever you do to the full) and existing through it with some form of life. Only you and bikerman chose to read that out of context. I know old people who have never really lived (in that context), young people who have really lived and a whole bunch of others who fall somewhere in between.
Indi
jeffryjon wrote:
I did make observations - along with many others - as I said to you, we developed training courses that had the very effect we spoke of - not just me - do you think a fire brigade in a leading country just let's a lone-wolf do what he likes.

To repeat myself yet again: so you made observations, good for you; so you made observations with a bunch of people, good for you all; that's not science. That's exactly what pseudoscientific loons like ghost hunters do: they take readings and measurements using scientific equipment and corroborate those readings with others ("did you read the same cold spot i did?", "did you get an EVP at the same time i got an EMF spike?"), then say they've found things that can't be explained. The problem is - and the reason why they're loons - you can't just make a handful of observations and call it data without knowing the surrounding context. That means doing controlled studies and so on. For example, those observations you made can be explained by BOTH your version of things and mine, so it would seem like both theories are valid... HOWEVER, if you take OTHER observations into account, your version no longer makes sense but mine still does. Ipso facto, your observations are correct, your conclusions are wrong. What you're doing is simply ignoring the bigger picture for the sake of the small set of data you took yourself under highly dubious circumstances. Which, of course, i've explained three or four times already.

jeffryjon wrote:
Psychologists/psychiatrists are often seen in poor light in disciplines that involve tough decisions - and that's not just a British thing - these days workers are even coerced into seeing a shrink under threat of suspension and often for the most trivial of things. There is a place for psychology/psychiatry and much of what they've discovered is right, but even among them there are different schools of thought in many areas which is a good thing. Leaders in the field tend to be much more open to studying other mechanisms.

First, psychology and psychiatry are two entirely different things. One is science, the other is medicine. A psychologist is to a psychiatrist what a biologist is to a medical doctor, or a physicist is to a mechanic.

Second, the fact that people in "disciplines that involve tough decisions" see psychologists or psychiatrists in "poor light" is about as interesting as the fact that such people often see scientists in general as laboratory-closeted eggheads... which is to say it's not interesting at all. At the end of the day the psychologists, and scientists in general, still know much more about their field of study than a fire fighter. And, anyone who trusts a fire fighter's expertise on psychology over a psychologist is about as stupid as someone who takes a garbage person's expertise on cancer treatments over an oncologist.

Third, sure there is debate in psychology over a number of topics... and in fact there is lots of debate over how and when emotion comes into play in an emotional reaction (i can think of about 4 theories off the top of my head). The thing is, none of that debate is what you think it is. The debate is not "which comes first, emotion or cognition", it is "which comes first, emotion or BEHAVIOUR". That cognition follows emotion is pretty much a done deal.

jeffryjon wrote:
I don't care any more or less about what a so called expert thinks than your so-called layman.

i challenge that. If you really believe that, then next time you get very ill, ask your drinking buddies or some random people on the street what treatment you should take, rather than a doctor. After all, they all have bodies just like yours, do they not? And they've had them all their lives, have they not? Therefore, by your logic, they should be as good as - or better - physicians than qualified medical professionals.

jeffryjon wrote:
The layman makes up the vast majority of the population and to suggest in such a subject as the workings of the human mind, that learning from something other than real life is superior is frankly ridiculous.

Really? Once again, to repeat myself, you've almost certainly had experience with the Sun several times a day for almost every day for your entire life. If learning about something simply from experiencing it works, then estimate the temperature of the Sun, using only your life experiences.

jeffryjon wrote:
We get a whole bunch of mental health workers here from all over the world - and most of them admit freely that they haven't got anymore answers than anyone else - although worldwide it's a small sample of a couple of thousand who tend to come here, my observations are they're seeking answers just as much and often more than anyone else - these people ARE from your so-called expert pool - and yes I've helped quite a few of them and they've become long-term friends. The main problem they express to me is being afraid to try anything back in their home countries which is not officially stamped - as such the asians tend to do better with it as the restrictions are nowhere near as tight.

i don't know why you have such disdain for mental health professionals, but your bigoted rants against them entirely irrelevant here. We're not talking about mental doctors, we're talking about mental scientists. A scientist can understand every single atom and process in an internal combustion engine, yet a mechanic still might not be able to fix it when it's broken. That is not a criticism of the mechanic, but merely an observation that he has a different problem to solve. When he has an engine put in front of him, he has to troubleshoot an extremely complex system; he has figure out what is wrong with THIS engine. If he had a perfect understand of THAT engine, he could surely fix it, but to get a perfect understanding of THAT engine usually requires taking it right the hell apart and inspecting the components in great detail... in effect, functionally destroying the engine. Generally speaking, that's neither practical nor desirable, so the mechanic is forced to guess at the source problems indirectly from the symptoms. That's an iffy way to go about fixing things, at best.

The scientist, meanwhile, is not constrained by practicality, but merely by the limits of what he can observe under extreme conditions (which go far beyond the conditions you are capable of making observations at). So he may, in theory, be able to tell you how to fix any engine problems... but even he may not be able to fix THAT engine because he won't know precisely what particular problem it has.

Bottom line: your bigoted rants against mental health professionals are pointless. Even if they couldn't ever cure anyone, that doesn't change the fact that the psychologists - the ones who study and research the general facts under ideal conditions - probably still have all the answers you could ever need, and certainly better answers than anything you could come up with personally.

And furthermore, your position is even more bizarre and silly when you put a moment's thought into it... because if you really think you and your fire fighter buddies (or lay people in general) know more about psychology than trained mental health professionals, then you should believe that you (or anyone in general) can do their jobs better. If that were true, then why don't you cure all those mental health problems that they can't? Why doesn't the janitor at the local mental hospital?

jeffryjon wrote:
See there you go again with this accusations about my qualifications and/or experience in the field. Presumption - you don't know and I deliberately haven't told you about much of my past experience - why should that have any bearing to you or me. I really don't know anything about you either, beyond what you chose to tell me.

i am forced to make assumptions about your training because you "deliberately" won't tell me what your credentials are. i make those assumptions based on the level of knowledge about the field you have demonstrated. You haven't demonstrated much knowledge of the field at all - and, in fact, have several times fallen for fallacies that lay people with no training often fall for - so all the evidence i have available leads to the conclusion that you don't have any psychological training. i am not making random ad hominem judgements about you, i am looking at the arguments and claims you have presented and using them in conjunction with my own knowledge to derive a picture of your understanding of the topic. YOU are claiming that you're the expert here, not me. YOU are the one making your credentials an issue. The picture i'm getting is that your understanding is little better than any lay person's understanding. That's what the evidence i have available shows. If that conclusion is wrong, don't just say it's wrong, show it's wrong, or i have no choice but to stick with it. Or to put it another way: if you really do have proper knowledge an training in the subject, then why are you pretending to be stupid? and if you don't have the knowledge or training, then why are you objecting to my (correct) conclusion?

As for my experience on the subject, i've already told you that i've studied this stuff at the university level. That's what gives me the knowledge to sniff you out as someone without training.

jeffryjon wrote:
One of those things was that me learning psychology would make me nuts - now I wonder where that would come from - and more importantly, as it would in your opinion make me nuts, then I may be better to find techniques that would do other than make me nuts.

What i said was: "If you want to learn about cognitive psychology, go nuts."

If you are not familiar with English slang, look up what it might mean, then use some basic comprehension skills to determine what i meant by it.

jeffryjon wrote:
See how you perceive I'm attacking you by raising points just for the fun of it - here's the rea;l deal - if I speculate, I say I'm speculating - if I say something is a fact, it has been observed directly and tested

You accuse me of making presumptions, then do this kind of thing. ^_^; For the record, you presume wrong - i don't think you're attacking me. (In fact, if you think that what you've said and done so far would make me feel "attacked", then you must think that i feel attacked any time someone breaks wind in my vicinity.) i don't know why you would think that, because i've been quite clear about what i think. As i repeated several times: what i think is that your beliefs don't match the beliefs of people who have studied the field in far greater detail than you have or ever could, and that your beliefs do not measure up logically, and that your methodology is foolish and error-prone.

jeffryjon wrote:
if I say something is according to someone else then I put it forward as such and am quite happy for you to tear it to shreds as you say.

Being happy to have "something according to someone else" torn to shreds is great, but why don't you include those things you speculate or observe and test? Why are other people's conclusions open to debate but not your own? Isn't it a bit cowardly to say that opinions you got from other people are open to being challenged... but your own aren't?

jeffryjon wrote:
Quote:
There is nothing "blind" about that, and you are supposed to "challenge" the idea that these people have a better handle on the answer than you do... right up until the moment that the overwhelming evidence indicates that they do. At that point, any further challenging is just stupid. We're well past that point.


A very dangerous presumption.

Why, exactly?

jeffryjon wrote:
Fact is you either don't know what I'm saying is wrong or you have chosen not to present the evidence - show me where what I'm saying has been tested and under what conditions to prove it as wrong.

That is a bald-faced lie. The fact is i have presented evidence - several forms of it, several times. i've cited brain scan studies, i've cited existing psychological theory, i've shown fallacies in your theory by means of contrary examples, and more, including twice quoting a web site found in a Google search which i also urged you to do. You've just never answered any of it.

jeffryjon wrote:
See here's an example for consideration that affects a wide number of people.

"I'm doing a job I don't enjoy, to pay the mortgage on a house that's not in a neighbourhood where I want to live, that I live in because it allows me to stay near enough to the job I don't enjoy" A decision is needed - both of which may involve temporary loss in both parts of life, which are agreed by the experts to be 2 of the biggies in creating mental turmoil. The sufferer can leave the house and lose the job or leave the job and lose the house - one affects the other and many are afraid to make that change because they may have to start all over again and step into uncertainty (not that either provides any real certainty in today's environment, but it is perceived at least). As such Mr sufferer, for as long as he's unable to make the decision suffers stress - his ability to work productively is affected and he increases the chances of losing the job and house anyway - which makes it seem like he can't make the decision because of stress, when in fact the longer he takes to make the decision, the stress increases. Sooner or later, the inevitable happens and he has to make a life-change anyway, but would have been much better placed if he'd made the decision before his situation deteriorated. Many even fall into a repetitive cycle of these types of events and turn to escape mechanisms as a way of coping with stress arriving from the non-decisions - just look at drug/alcohol addiction figures in areas where people behave like this en-masse. In some fields this is termed a double or multiple bind, is it not?

Finally, an actual argument.

Alright, here is the problem: you have over-complicated your example, and are now unable to properly identify causes and effects. This is why experiments, and examples, are usually kept simple.

Here's what you say is happening (and feel free to correct this, because honestly, your description got a little convoluted, ending up in alcoholism and social ills and other weirdness that isn't really relevant here):
Discontent with situation (job/home) → inability to make decision → stress

Here's what i say is happening:
Discontent with situation (job/home) → stress → inability to make decision

Both seem plausible given just that one particular situation. So how do we differentiate. Simple, we just ask if there's anyone who is discontent with their home and job, and can't decide whether to move/quit or not... but not stressed. And of course there are. Lots of people hate their job and would move in a heartbeat if they weren't tied down... but are not in the least bit stressed. In other words, we now know that the second arrow in your formulation is not always true.

Furthermore, the first arrow in your example makes no logical sense. Why would the situation itself lead to an inability to make a decision? To put it another way, if it wasn't your ass on the line, is there anything about the choice that says "a decision can't be made easily"? Of course not: if your ass is not on the line you can quite easily advise someone to stay or move depending on the details of their situation. Merely having to make a decision - even an impossible, lose-lose decision - can't lead to an inability to decide; that's simply illogical. Something else - along with the tough choice - must be in play to make someone unable to decide.

So, in summary, your model fails: the first step doesn't make sense (why does the problem cause an inability to decide?), and the second step doesn't match reality (lots of people are unable to make big life choices, few are stressed).

Now, let's test mine.

First, does the first arrow make sense? Why yes, it does. Not everyone is going to be stressed by being stuck in a rut, but some are, and being stuck in a rut does lead logically to stress (depending on your temperament).

Does the second arrow make sense? Again, yes it does. It is easy to show that someone stressed has problems making decisions (and i've done it many times in this thread).

So, in summary, my model works: the first step makes sense (being stuck in a shitty job/place can reasonably lead to stress), and the second step does too (being stressed does affect cognitive abilities).

So, there you go. Once again - because this isn't the first time i've one this - i've showed without resorting to the science (despite your false claims that that's all i've used) that your model doesn't make sense, and mine does. That doesn't prove mine right, of course, but it does prove yours wrong. Now, add the scientific evidence and consensus - which also supports my model - and the deal is pretty much sealed.

jeffryjon wrote:
I like the fact you challenge it, though the same doesn't seem true in reverse. Your arguments are based on my book(s) say this and your things say that and therefore you are wrong. Not on one occasion have you done better than that.

A lie, because, as i have explained in previous posts - in point form no less - i have shown using simple reasoning, without resorting to science or experts, that your model is flawed. You just never answered that challenge.

jeffryjon wrote:
No, absolutely not - what I know, I know, which is by no means everything. In areas of knowledge where I don't know and wish to learn, I will make effort to learn - and test.

And your knowledge is perfect and beyond being challenged? There is no way that someone who studies a topic in depth, even though you haven't, could know better than you?

jeffryjon wrote:
Once I have a right answer there is no need to keep reading what others claim - grass is green, sometimes yellow, sometimes blue - if someone tells me it's jet-black - I say show me (not tell me)

Really? Then what would you have done back in 1920s when Einstein came along? See, at that point, everyone "knew" that time was constant for everyone. But the experts found new evidence and changed their conclusions. But... since you already know the answer... there would have been no reason to keep reading their conclusions, right?

jeffryjon wrote:
We're stuck only because you refuse to even consider what I'm saying enough to test it.

Another lie, and i'm really getting fed up with all the lies. i've tested it repeatedly, in about a half-dozen different ways. In one post, i explicitly listed, in point forms, all the ways i tested your claim, and found it wrong. You've never answered any of those results.

You know what? You want me to show, not tell, so i will; i will show you one of the places where i did logically test your claims and find them false, to prove that you are lying when you said i never did. Here you go. In that post, i used an example of someone who has a stressful task without any need to make a decision (a routine button-pusher), to show that even without the need to make a decision, stress affects cognition. And again, that was only one example, out of many, none of which you ever answered.

jeffryjon wrote:
I and others in this thread have showed that what you claim is false and you refuse to accept it - that's fine.

Another lie. Show, don't tell (as you say), me exactly where "you and others" proved my model wrong.

jeffryjon wrote:
The reason I started this thread was to see if we can raise any new points for consideration for the organization I work for - they were discussed at length and with people of various fields of expertise - we wanted to see if anything new could be raised through outside discussion. So far the value of this thread to us is that it confirms all the points we'd already considered, which is a help in itself.

In other words, you came into this thread with a preconceived opinion, you have ignored all contrary evidence from both me and experts, and are walking about with the same opinion you started with. Good job?

jeffryjon wrote:
There is a great deal of difference between living your life (as in getting down in the nitty gritty and doing whatever you do to the full) and existing through it with some form of life. Only you and bikerman chose to read that out of context. I know old people who have never really lived (in that context), young people who have really lived and a whole bunch of others who fall somewhere in between.

If getting down to the "nitty gritty" is the key to discovering truths, then shouldn't the people who have made a lifelong career of getting down to the nitty gritty for a particular topic be more trusted than someone who hasn't (like you)?
jeffryjon
Indi wrote:
jeffryjon wrote:
I don't care any more or less about what a so called expert thinks than your so-called layman.

i challenge that. If you really believe that, then next time you get very ill, ask your drinking buddies or some random people on the street what treatment you should take, rather than a doctor. After all, they all have bodies just like yours, do they not? And they've had them all their lives, have they not? Therefore, by your logic, they should be as good as - or better - physicians than qualified medical professionals.


Read back Indi and it's clear to anyone that you've deliberately taken that sentence out of context with the paragraph.

Indi wrote:
jeffryjon wrote:
The layman makes up the vast majority of the population and to suggest in such a subject as the workings of the human mind, that learning from something other than real life is superior is frankly ridiculous.

Really? Once again, to repeat myself, you've almost certainly had experience with the Sun several times a day for almost every day for your entire life. If learning about something simply from experiencing it works, then estimate the temperature of the Sun, using only your life experiences.


Here we go again. Your reaction is about as relevant to what I actually said as chalk to cheese frankly. We don't live in the middle of the sun, though we do all live in a mind (well most of us anyway).

Indi wrote:
jeffryjon wrote:
We get a whole bunch of mental health workers here from all over the world - and most of them admit freely that they haven't got anymore answers than anyone else - although worldwide it's a small sample of a couple of thousand who tend to come here, my observations are they're seeking answers just as much and often more than anyone else - these people ARE from your so-called expert pool - and yes I've helped quite a few of them and they've become long-term friends. The main problem they express to me is being afraid to try anything back in their home countries which is not officially stamped - as such the asians tend to do better with it as the restrictions are nowhere near as tight.

i don't know why you have such disdain for mental health professionals, but your bigoted rants against them entirely irrelevant here. We're not talking about mental doctors, we're talking about mental scientists. A scientist can understand every single atom and process in an internal combustion engine, yet a mechanic still might not be able to fix it when it's broken. That is not a criticism of the mechanic, but merely an observation that he has a different problem to solve. When he has an engine put in front of him, he has to troubleshoot an extremely complex system; he has figure out what is wrong with THIS engine. If he had a perfect understand of THAT engine, he could surely fix it, but to get a perfect understanding of THAT engine usually requires taking it right the hell apart and inspecting the components in great detail... in effect, functionally destroying the engine. Generally speaking, that's neither practical nor desirable, so the mechanic is forced to guess at the source problems indirectly from the symptoms. That's an iffy way to go about fixing things, at best.


Now just point out where I've been bigotted or shown any disdain. The paragraph quite obviously shows quite the opposite.

Indi wrote:
The scientist, meanwhile, is not constrained by practicality, but merely by the limits of what he can observe under extreme conditions (which go far beyond the conditions you are capable of making observations at). So he may, in theory, be able to tell you how to fix any engine problems... but even he may not be able to fix THAT engine because he won't know precisely what particular problem it has.

Bottom line: your bigoted rants against mental health professionals are pointless. Even if they couldn't ever cure anyone, that doesn't change the fact that the psychologists - the ones who study and research the general facts under ideal conditions - probably still have all the answers you could ever need, and certainly better answers than anything you could come up with personally.


Now there's a beautiful example of bigotry - enjoy your weekend. Very Happy
Bikerman
I don't wish to intervene in the debate, but I should quickly offer my understanding of the word bigot, in context of TOS, in case this becomes a moderation issue.

A bigot is someone who believes in the superiority of a particular individual (themselves normally) or group, and is unreasonably intolerant or critical of other individuals/groups with different views/characteristics/practices.
Bigotry as such is not explicitly forbidden in the TOS - it depends very much on the nature of the bigotry*.

On the actual usage here, I don't honestly see that Indi's comment** is bigotted.
On the other hand, the statement that
Quote:
The main problem they express to me is being afraid to try anything back in their home countries which is not officially stamped - as such the asians tend to do better with it as the restrictions are nowhere near as tight.
Seems to be a very questionable generalisation. Asia is a big continent, encompassing a huge diversity of nations and systems of regulation/control. I don't think it is particularly useful or enlightening to group Israel, Bahrain, Hong-Kong, China, India, Singapore, Russia, Kuwait and the rest of the continent together as having a particular system or attitude to regulation in psychology/medicine. Neither do I think that 'so-called experts' is particularly helpful when talking about people who have clearly got qualifications and experience that entitle them to be called experts. I suspect you would not like to be referred to as a 'so called fireman'....?

I'm aware that you may not regard me as impartial and I'm not speaking as a moderator for that reason...just trying to be as impartial as i can be, and offer some clarification to avoid more confusion, in the hope that moderation will not be required.
You are obviously free to take it or leave it, since this is just my own opinion and not a 'ruling'....

* Obviously racism/sexism are forms of bigotry that will not be tolerated.

** It seems to me to be saying that the body of professionals/expert psychologists will have better answers to a problem in psychology than a non-expert individual. I would not call that an unreasonable induction.
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