Eff's Rambles (Archive)


Perhaps I am just very peculiar.

Well, I am.

I do not understand people; how they reason. I often do not even get their ethics as well as I would like to, and I have been complimented for my balance. I think my reasoning might be offensive to some, because I will often fence sit because of it on evidence people around me think is the most blatant proof that an issue is confirmed to be factually one way, whichever way that is.

Here is an example, based on real occurences, that make me wonder about how people come to conclusions. But before I give them I state here that I realize that any example I give could itself be a hasty generalization. But my point is not to prove some people less intelligent than me, nor is it to claim I have a superior understanding of logic and how to construct arguments. What I mostly want is for someone smarter than me to explain how it is that people I think should know better either do not, or how it is I am being the idiot.

The following names are fictitious.

Alpha is in a chat room talking with multiple people.

Later some one named Beta comes into the room and begins to cite supposed and, or, proven evil acts by a nation, via its military.

Beta: "A soldier from Ocran's Marines raped a 12 year old girl in Goshnu!"

Beta: "The Ocran army covered up the rape!"

Beta: "The Ocran military if full of barbaric arseholes [yes, I said arseholes, so keep that in mind as you read this and, damn it, appreciate it!], they murdered an unarmed man in the war of Seele Coast!"

Beta: "In 2032, 2040 and 2044, 15 rapes and murders were committed by Ocran troops, and 12 went unpunished! Where is the justice!"

Alpha is following all of this, wondering what these incidences are supposed to prove. He thinks that the examples are too statistically small and infrequent to justify a negative generalization about Ocran and its army.

Beta continues to list examples in war and outside of war.

But, after a bit, Beta announces a whopper of an accusation.

Beta: "In 2016 the Ocran navy bombed an innocent village, went in and massacred the survivors! Over 2000 deaths on their hands!"

Alpha sees that and is thinking to himself, "could that be true?" Thinking further, "that is terrible, if it is true." Alpha does not know enough to dispute what Beta claims.

Here is where my reasoning seems to differ from Beta. I, as Alpha, come up and ask what to me is a salient point.

Alpha: "Beta, I do not know if your last claim is true, but if it is, why did you not mention that first?"

I have never been answered, that I can remember, when I ask the Betas I have encountered why they chose to build up with insufficient sample to prove their accusation. I guess it is to bring credibility to a greater charge of wrong doing. Perhaps they intend people to believe that if they can accept that small and infrequent incidences of heinous crimes are likely true, or which they know to be true, they must accept the possibility of a greater evil act having occured, one that must be the result of policy or negligent discipline. But I do not make inferences from small examples of dubious significance. To me, though it might be less believable without earlier examples of supposed greater plausibility, the largest example should come first. It might be that I cannot disprove a large example, so I am left in a difficult position, one that might be untenable, of trying to be objective yet morally consistent. I can express doubt, of course, or try to find context to explain why the large example event might have happened. It is difficult to fight such a large example. The validity of the smaller examples is less relevant than the large one because the implication was not strongly supported by them. But the large example is powerful because it could be strong evidence of the characterization of Ocran as evil. I wonder if I am the only one that sees it that way.


  • I doubt it.

    Healthy skepticism is a fine thing. Besides, your choices are limited. You can either believe the story and start a movement or join and existing one, or you could acknowledge everything you're being told by the newspapers isn't all there is to the story and just move on.

    Worrying about what you believe is a waste of time. Worrying about what you do about what you believe is much better utilisation of your faculties. In all things you must do what your best information tells you is the right thing for you. Getting informed on issues that matter to you is the best way to work out just what that is.

    SpockRat signing off.

    By Blogger Rat, at 8/10/2005 09:02:00 AM  

  • Hmm. Ok. While I am in chat, I often find the "names" as interesting as the ideas, facts being fairly scarce and difficult to proove, having been the first casualty. Why, for example, did you chose to characterise yourself "Alpha". And why, have you chosen to name the fact-outer "Beta"?

    Do you have no faith in facts? And do you feel this validates your opinion more. What makes the distrustful feel so self-assured? And, why would 2000 deaths be more important then one rape. Surely both are heinous. Can you excuse one rape, and if you can ~ can you then excuse 2000? A buddhist wouldn't kill a cockroach ~ would a buddhist, all alpha brainwaves, demand the 2000 deaths before the one rape?

    By Blogger emigre, at 8/13/2005 11:35:00 PM  

  • The use of the Greek letters as names was not inspired by anything significant. I merely found them easy to use. Neither the implied order nor any other factor is meant to denote any sort of value to any of the hypothetical persons in my essay.

    The facts are not established. I was presupposing from my belief in their (the smaller scale examples) greater comparitive probability to the large example, that they are more plausibly true, and more implying as such for the sake of my argument.

    I was not intending to define and compare misdeeds and conclude which is more egregious. What I am trying to do is ask what type of event is more adequate for proving the primary conclusion of persons like Beta, that the military and nation to which it belongs are evil, apathetic; generally bad.

    I believe that small scale misdeeds cannot be offhand precluded as events isolated in major responsibility and culpability to within the person or party directly responsible for said misdeed.

    There is importance in patterns and the apparent precedent they set, and that is applicable regardless of the scale of the events in a pattern. But a pattern, at least a relevant one, does not exist in all cases. Events can be anomalous. If one can be reasonably concluded that way, to use it to negatively refer to a person or entity as corrupt would be, in my opinion, unfair.

    A large scale misdeed, whether or not more probable, by the nature of its difficulty in commission, is harder to posit as anomalous and isolated from the knowledge of those in a military and governemt chain of command. Because of that, I contend that they are inherently better support for proving an accusation of evil against a nation and its military.

    By Blogger Eff, at 8/14/2005 11:13:00 AM  

  • Almost worthy of a laugh Eff, although war is no laughing matter.

    The thing is, when a critic becomes concerned with the finer quantitive qualities of war crime, then a critic might want to appreciate the finer qualities of alphabetic suggestion.

    Anyway, I'm biased - war is hell any which way I look at it.

    I can see your point though, in trying to help others strengthen their arguments.

    By Blogger emigre, at 8/14/2005 08:00:00 PM  

  • The smaller scale examples were not necessarily war crimes, even the larger example can occur in advance of a war, though they are acts that I presume to be more likely to occur in war.

    I do not see the humor nor absurdity in my contention. The predicate of which is basic fairness. If someone is going to character assassinate a nation, the argument in support of it is right to examine.

    By Blogger Eff, at 8/15/2005 06:10:00 AM  

  • "The smaller scale examples were not necessarily war crimes"

    Well, I guess that depends on the shifting definition of "war crime". Which seems to shift according to who is in charge of the war crimes court, at the the time of trial, and whether or not whoever is in charge of the war crimes court is willing to trial their own, and to what degree.

    My own reasoning would go like this; a rape is a crime. A war happens. A soldier rapes during war. It is a war crime.

    The shadey part happens later on... it is after the war, the soldier has seen and done many terrible things. His sanity deteriorates because he cannot integrate hell with the life he has returned to, where nobody else seems to understand or be able to comprehend the purgatorious life he is leading. He is driven to either madness or alcohol. He choses the later and goes mad anyway. He rapes. Is it a war crime still? To me, yes, war leaves an indelible mark on time and it takes several generations to fade. Someone else might like to analyse the whole thing on technicalities - the rape committed after war is a crime, but not a war crime and he might have done it anyway especially if he was attracted to violent situations which might have been why he enlisted in the first place and we might be able to get him off with a lighter charge because he was out of his mind etc etc. But for me, it's still just all another horrid facet of human nature bound up with a horrid propensity for violence and powertripping and a society that subtly condones violence by training paid killers. It's all quite awful really.

    Do you like black a lot?

    By Blogger emigre, at 8/16/2005 10:27:00 AM  

  • Do I like black a lot? Yes, but not a lot. It just looks good. I like other colors.

    Your points are interesting, though I should point out myself that I primarily meant that a soldier can commit a crime when based at a country and not during time of war in said country.

    By Blogger Eff, at 8/16/2005 04:07:00 PM  

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