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Default Does Extremist Media Inspire Violence or Curb It?

August 26th, 2009, 21:34
Okay, the ol' bean clicks. Or, as they say in Finland, one pea found another.

I read the rest of the thread, and now I think I get what you're saying, dte.

In many real life situations, decisions *are,* indeed, binary. A defendant is guilty, or not guilty, or there's a mistrial. You take the left fork of the road, or the right one, or stay where you are, or return where you came from. Any deliberations leading to the decision can be as complicated as you want, but ultimately they have some unambiguous outcome that precludes other outcomes. Is this what you're saying? If so, it's certainly hard to disagree with.

The trouble is that that's an incomplete view. Trials don't involve just "guilty/not guilty." They also involve sentencing — death, life w/o parole, 15-life, 10, 5, parole, acquittal, or something in-between. What's more, sometimes there isn't even a trial, such as in war, or with an executioner doing his job. That's not a binary choice; it's a continuum, and it reflects the continuum between totally unacceptable and commendable that I've been talking about.

And moral decisions are even more fluid than trials — they're all about continua. You refusing to hire a black man because he's black is worse than you calling him a nigger, which, IMO, is worse than him calling you cracker after you refused him a job for being black. Some of these, IMO, should go to court (you refusing to hire him because he's black), some might or might not (you calling him a nigger), others probably not (him calling you a cracker). That's another continuum: while I don't consider any of these things acceptable, I find some definitely less acceptable than others.
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August 26th, 2009, 21:34
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
You're missing the point. Not trying to make progress is just fear or laziness.
No, I got the point - I just don't agree.

Not trying to make progress can be progress.
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August 26th, 2009, 21:46
That's a contradiction in terms.
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August 26th, 2009, 21:47
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
That's a contradiction in terms.
No it's not
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August 26th, 2009, 22:07
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
—lots of good stuff—
I'm beginning to think we're getting to one of those points where perhaps we're confusing misunderstanding with the complete inability to understand. Maybe the entire way we each go about processing the world around us is mutually exclusive, leaving no common ground to place a support for a bridge between the two. It feels a bit like a lazy punt, but maybe it's the whale and hummingbird arguing about which is solid, the air or the water, based on where they can't move. (I'll be the slow, ponderous whale, BTW, ya little flit )
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
The scalar shows up in sentencing. One killer gets the death penalty. Another gets life without possibility of parole. Another gets fifteen to life. Another gets ten. Another gets five. Another gets paroled. Yet another gets off scot-free. The "guilty/not guilty" verdict is just the first part of it.

What's more, I by no means deny the *existence* of binary answers — you, for example, are all to eager to provide them. However, *I* do not, generally speaking, offer binary answers, because I believe that they almost invariably oversimplify things to the point where they become almost as bad, or even worse, than no answer at all.
You didn't get to play the judge. You're strictly jury foreman. You have one and only one question to answer. You weigh all the evidence you're presented (all sorts of scalars there—motive, justification, quality of evidence, and so forth). The judge asks you for your verdict. You don't say, "Well, we find the defendent less guilty than OJ but not as innocent as Officer Crowley." You must sum all that under-the-hood stuff into a simple binary. It's your judgment, your answer. The judge cannot act until you supply it, and his actions will be completely different based on which answer you supply. Similarly, at that point of the process, the judge couldn't give two hoots about everything that went on for the last 15 hours while you were debating scalars in the deliberation room to decide which side of the coin you thought was most appropriate (which side of the tipping point). You might be able to get away with not guilty by reason of insanity (restricted parameters, "Normally our binary answer is guilty, but the special circumstance—that he's nuckin futz—prompts us to give a different answer"), but the judge won't accept a scalar, will he. Guilty or not guilty?

I'm saying every decision in life is exactly like being that jury foreman.

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August 26th, 2009, 22:33
Originally Posted by dteowner View Post
I'm beginning to think we're getting to one of those points where perhaps we're confusing misunderstanding with the complete inability to understand. Maybe the entire way we each go about processing the world around us is mutually exclusive, leaving no common ground to place a support for a bridge between the two. It feels a bit like a lazy punt, but maybe it's the whale and hummingbird arguing about which is solid, the air or the water, based on where they can't move. (I'll be the slow, ponderous whale, BTW, ya little flit )
It's possible. I have a feeling we're wired differently in some fundamental way. I sometimes get the same feeling talking to you as I got with a certain ex-girlfriend. Like a whole different species. (Not that you remind me of her in other ways much, mind.)

You didn't get to play the judge. You're strictly jury foreman. You have one and only one question to answer. You weigh all the evidence you're presented (all sorts of scalars there—motive, justification, quality of evidence, and so forth). The judge asks you for your verdict. You don't say, "Well, we find the defendent less guilty than OJ but not as innocent as Officer Crowley." You must sum all that under-the-hood stuff into a simple binary. It's your judgment, your answer. The judge cannot act until you supply it, and his actions will be completely different based on which answer you supply. Similarly, at that point of the process, the judge couldn't give two hoots about everything that went on for the last 15 hours while you were debating scalars in the deliberation room to decide which side of the coin you thought was most appropriate (which side of the tipping point). You might be able to get away with not guilty by reason of insanity (restricted parameters, "Normally our binary answer is guilty, but the special circumstance—that he's nuckin futz—prompts us to give a different answer"), but the judge won't accept a scalar, will he. Guilty or not guilty?
I refuse to play that game. I would almost certainly be disqualified from jury duty in the US, after I explained my position to whoever it is that selects juries. (Not in Finland, though, as over here juries also participate in sentencing, so I'd be quite able to engage in scalar thinking.)

I'm saying every decision in life is exactly like being that jury foreman.
Right… here's where we disagree, because I believe that relatively few decisions in life are like being that jury foreman. I mean sure, there is the occasional fork in the road that, as the immortal Yogi Berra put it, you have to take — but most stuff involves quantities as well as decisions.

"Where to go to eat" and "what to choose from the menu" are definitive choices, but "how much to eat" and "when to go" are scalar. The decision to go to the gym is a definitive choice, but the time you decide to spend there, and the amount of effort you decide to make, is scalar. Your choice of career is a definitive decision, but the amount of attention and effort you spend on that, at the expense of other things, is scalar. Your choice of spouse is a definitive decision, but the amount of attention and effort you spend on your marriage is scalar. In life, you're the sentencing judge as well as the jury foreman.

And so on and so forth. I've honestly been trying to think of any life decision I've made that doesn't involve a scalar dimension… and I can only think of a small handful: a couple of break-ups are the only ones I could come up with.

Edit: I think I now understand you better, even if the understanding is limited to understanding what I don't understand. I didn't understand even that, before, and it's quite possible that I'm misunderstanding it now. But nevertheless, it's a nice, warm, fuzzy feeling. So thank you.
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September 3rd, 2009, 21:47
This seemed like the most appropriate place to put this. At this point, I'm not drawing any real conclusions from it, but I do find it thought provoking.

http://www.freep.com/article/20090903/NEWS03/909030606

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September 3rd, 2009, 22:19
Whoa, buddy—talk about stone cold killer eyes on young Mr. Andrusuk—-that's a terrifying news story, dte.

Leave it to a psychologist to state the obvious:
These kids "must be so desensitized that they are unable to understand or appreciate what the victims might feel," said Brad Bushman, a psychology professor at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, where he researches human aggression. "These are pretty horrific crimes with little motive."
Classic definition of sociopath there, I think.

Others note that young killers aren't new.

"The image of a child hopscotching or riding a bike has been changing for a while," said Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy. "There isn't a spike in the number of cases, there's been a spike in interest."
Makes one wonder if there isn't just always a certain portion of the species that is born self-predatory, and if it isn't repressed by social systems and culture, proceeds to go out and prey.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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September 3rd, 2009, 22:48
Very sad. Is this the result of the entitlement generation colliding with a near depression?
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September 3rd, 2009, 22:58
Originally Posted by magerette View Post
Makes one wonder if there isn't just always a certain portion of the species that is born self-predatory, and if it isn't repressed by social systems and culture, proceeds to go out and prey.
From what I've encountered it could be a combination of mental illness (adhd,bipolar,etc), drug-usage (amphetamine), unhealthy friendships (mix certain personalities and things will quickly escalate), lack of parental monitoring and countless other things. It need not be these things, as it could just as easily be mob mentality run amok. One rotten apple and ruin a lot of lives.
Last edited by hishadow; September 4th, 2009 at 01:20.
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September 4th, 2009, 09:42
Originally Posted by magerette View Post
Makes one wonder if there isn't just always a certain portion of the species that is born self-predatory, and if it isn't repressed by social systems and culture, proceeds to go out and prey.
I didn't realize that was an open question. Check out some of the stuff that's going down in sub-Saharan Africa to see exactly what happens to kids when there's a total meltdown of society. Makes Lord of the Flies look like Teletubbies.
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September 4th, 2009, 15:56
I really think some kids are honestly "born bad", magerette. I've got a niece-in-law that's been a disaster since she was a toddler. Her 1st grade teacher made the prediction that, without some significant changes, she'd eventually be in jail for stealing cars or worse. When the girl turned 17, she went to juvie for….wait for it….stealing a car. She's been in trouble (legal or otherwise) for a dozen different things, so her issues go beyond simple kleptomania, but it amazes me to this day that a teacher can look at a 6 year old kid and know that early the path the kid would follow. Makes me wonder what we'd find if we could take a time machine back to the 1st grade parent-teacher conferences for the animals in the article.

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