[2014-07-09] Looks like someone's read Forge of God

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Expand view Topic review: [2014-07-09] Looks like someone's read Forge of God

Re: [2014-07-09] Looks like someone's read Forge of God

Post by Lethal Interjection » Thu Jul 10, 2014 10:05 pm

I agree with both Apoc and Kaharz. With the example of the collection plate (or really any charitable giving situation). There is a societal pressure to give, and thus a negative to take. But the needs or compulsions to steal that money are there all the time. I've seen a collection plate go by, or a donation jar/bin, and thought, 'boy, I could really use that money'. Have I taken it? No. But I do have to go through a moral filter to do so.

I don't think that dark colored pepper moths have any choice in their appearance.

Re: [2014-07-09] Looks like someone's read Forge of God

Post by Kaharz » Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:52 am

ReasonablyDoubtful wrote:The church donation plate is actually a perfect example of this. An extremely significant number of people put into these donations plates when they go to church, but how many people take from it?


Not a very good example in my opinion. In the case of the church donation plate you have a very high social pressure to put money in. You are being a good member of the group and you are rewarded by being allowed to be part of the group. You also have a fairly high risk of getting caught and low reward when it comes to taking money out.

I don't disagree with the actual point. Most people are relatively 'good.' Or at least not bad. They may lie frequently, but probably mostly for their own aggrandizement. I would guess a lot of people cheat or steal in very small ways, such as conducting personal business while they are at work. Or taking eleven items through the ten items or less checkout line. But yea, most people don't murder, rape, commit large amounts of theft, et cetera.

Of course the question is, why do people behave that way. Are they inherently good, are they socially conditioned, is it something else? I don't think it is a debate anyone can convincingly resolve. There are people on the extremes who say that people are inherently selfish and are capable of anything for their own gain and it is only the risk of punishment and social conditioning that keeps them check. There are of course people on the other side that claim people are inherently good and are corrupted by society or other outside influences. There are also a crap ton of studies on it, but it is impossible to control enough of the variables to get a decent generalized validity.

Re: [2014-07-09] Looks like someone's read Forge of God

Post by Apocalyptus » Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:32 am

I'm pretty sure human social behaviour is a tiny bit more complicated than the physical characteristics of a moth. I'm not sure it is a valid comparison.

Re: [2014-07-09] Looks like someone's read Forge of God

Post by ReasonablyDoubtful » Thu Jul 10, 2014 6:46 am

Lethal Interjection wrote:They exist. They might be a small(ish) percentage, but they exist.


I do not doubt that, but that's like saying that dark-colored peppered moths should be taken as going with the grain of evolution as opposed to against it. They're the minority of the species for a reason: dark colors show up really well against birch trees. Similarly, because humans are social animals, people like that are not a product of evolution, but rather anomalies, much like dark-colored peppered moths.

Re: [2014-07-09] Looks like someone's read Forge of God

Post by Lethal Interjection » Thu Jul 10, 2014 12:23 am

ReasonablyDoubtful wrote:Yeah, yeah, yeah. Humans are horrible, and yet, statistically, any individual you meet is highly unlikely to actually be someone that cheats, steals, kills, etc.

And, usually, the justification for the first two involve the same view of the world that Weiner espouses: That you'd be likely to do it to them, so they're justified in doing it to you. In other words: It's not a crime when it's against a criminal.

The church donation plate is actually a perfect example of this. An extremely significant number of people put into these donations plates when they go to church, but how many people take from it?


To deal with the last question first. They exist. They might be a small(ish) percentage, but they exist. I actually had an old acquaintance who was in insurance, and dealt with a large group of churches. Their insurance was actually somewhat determinate on the type of collection plates they use. To use two examples, the standard plate (basically like a bigger pie-dish) had a higher rate of insurance than the ones with bags attached to what kind of look like old-timey ship's wheels. Simply because the latter is far more conspicuous to steal from, whereas the former requires only the most basic sleight of hand.

As for the first part, I think it is highly likely that you meet a cheater, and perhaps slightly likely that you meet someone who steals. It is just that their cheating/stealing is not of a particular societal significance.

Re: [2014-07-09] Looks like someone's read Forge of God

Post by ReasonablyDoubtful » Wed Jul 09, 2014 10:51 pm

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Humans are horrible, and yet, statistically, any individual you meet is highly unlikely to actually be someone that cheats, steals, kills, etc.

And, usually, the justification for the first two involve the same view of the world that Weiner espouses: That you'd be likely to do it to them, so they're justified in doing it to you. In other words: It's not a crime when it's against a criminal.

The church donation plate is actually a perfect example of this. An extremely significant number of people put into these donations plates when they go to church, but how many people take from it?

[2014-07-09] Looks like someone's read Forge of God

Post by fancybone » Wed Jul 09, 2014 3:07 pm

So, uh, spoiler alert but Forge of God and Anvil of the Stars strongly feature "trap species" - artificial creations meant to lull humanity into a false sense of security. A great pair of books, which I highly recommend, despite spoiling one aspect of both of them. (And the second one is kind of ambiguous on the topic, anyway.)

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