How do the Theists explain the holocaust

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Re: How do the Jews and other Christians explain the holocaust

Postby Anpheus » Wed Dec 12, 2007 12:40 pm UTC

So instead of rephrasing your post so that you don't have to rely on little bits of my post as an oratory crutch... you just took out all the quote tags?

I'm sorry, that's, pathetic. I'm not playing this game dude, I've done it on too many forums. It gets insane, you can't do it. You just cannot play the out-of-context quote game and expect a serious debate where two people argue their points of view on their merits. It always ends in people talking around each other or conveniently ignoring the other's point of view.

I like how your new post just wanders all over the place without regard to any sensible order or train of thought though.
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Re: How do the Jews and other Christians explain the holocaust

Postby yoni45 » Wed Dec 12, 2007 12:50 pm UTC

Anpheus wrote:You just cannot play the out-of-context quote game and expect a serious debate where two people argue their points of view on their merits.


Except you have yet to show a single case of out-of-context quoting committed.

You didn't like quotes? I removed them.

The only thing left not to like is the fact that I'm responding to specific points you made. Well, believe it or not, that's how rational discourse works. That's the entire line of reasoning behind citations - you provide references to the points made on which you rest your arguments. This allows for both consistency and verifiability. This also tends to result in things like not running off on completely irrelevant tangents, as the latter half your last (meaningful) post managed to do.

Anpheus wrote:I like how your new post just wanders all over the place without regard to any sensible order or train of thought though.


I would hope that's not actually the excuse you're using in failing to present a counter-argument, considering each of my points was tied into the argument in a rather obvious manner.

Then again, it's probably as good of an excuse as any.
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Re: How do the Jews and other Christians explain the holocaust

Postby Anpheus » Wed Dec 12, 2007 12:56 pm UTC

I'd like to ask a Mod to weigh in on this matter. I'm not going to bicker with you, but I suspect any mod whose seen an online discussion or two would be likely to agree with me, the way to rational discourse doesn't lie in quoting 1/10th of someone's post and then responding to that with over four times as much material.
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Re: How do the Jews and other Christians explain the holocaust

Postby Belial » Wed Dec 12, 2007 2:20 pm UTC

quoting 1/10th of someone's post and then responding to that with over four times as much material.


That's fine. If your point has a flaw, and it takes four times as long to explicate that flaw than it did to make the flawed point in the first place, then that's what happens.

Point me to a quote that's out of context, and we'll talk.
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Re: How do the Jews and other Christians explain the holocaust

Postby Anpheus » Wed Dec 12, 2007 3:43 pm UTC

I would consider any case in which you quote a single line of text and decide to turn that into the lynchpin of your opponent's argument to be out of context. Likewise, doing that several times (see: shotgun essay) as often happens when debates such as these occur... well, pretty quickly it degenerates into a bitchfest wherein both participants split each other's hairs.

Now, for my reply to his post:

In reference to your hypothetical about Little Jimmy staying home, you cannot demonstrate to me that anything other than Jimmy's will to stay home and read about the holocaust caused him to stay home. He made a choice. He could have gone to school, and the actions of another would have ended poor Little Jimmy's Death. You create unnecessary circumstances to back up a conclusion you have already reached: the Holocaust saved Little Jimmy's life. For the life of you, however, you will not be able to make the Holocaust reach forward in time and end his life. He was not there, it is the combined actions of every individual who has existed since the holocaust that will give rise to the choices Jimmy has available to him, and from those choices Jimmy determines his life. Not all choices will always be available to him, as Jimmy can choose to try to be a rock star, but he can't just choose to be a rock star. Little Jimmy is doomed to obscurity, it seems. I make no appeal to ignorance here. You have begged the question by stating several premises you are unwilling to defend (one of your statements is that the Holocaust saved Little Jimmy's life, a conclusion you later reach by adding all sorts of unnecessary details,) you have utilized circular reasoning and, I had to search for the proper name for this one, affirmed the consequent: "If the Holocaust is good, then it saved a life / prevented a death / what have you. The Holocaust saved a life. Therefore, the Holocaust is good." While I agree, if the Holocaust saved lives then there would be a smidgen of good to it, but the definition of the Holocaust is the murder of millions of people. Not the activities that occurred around it.

As for you being evil because your experiment killed people? Yes. You were negligent. You weren't as evil as someone who had planned the whole thing and had the intent to kill millions of people, but you're still up there. It's a matter of criminal negligence, quite simply. You may or may not have been aware that your experiment had the potential to kill millions, and some day your experiment may be heralded as the dawn of a new age for humanity marred by the tragic consequences of your first test, but you still killed millions of people: shame on you.
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Re: How do the Jews and other Christians explain the holocaust

Postby yoni45 » Wed Dec 12, 2007 4:29 pm UTC

Belial wrote:That's fine. If your point has a flaw, and it takes four times as long to explicate that flaw than it did to make the flawed point in the first place, then that's what happens.

Point me to a quote that's out of context, and we'll talk.


Thank you.

Anpheus wrote:In reference to your hypothetical about Little Jimmy staying home, you cannot demonstrate to me that anything other than Jimmy's will to stay home and read about the holocaust caused him to stay home. He made a choice. He could have gone to school, and the actions of another would have ended poor Little Jimmy's Death.


Correct - but I don't need to demonstrate anything "more", since the holocaust is already a factor in his decision, which is all that is required of my argument...

Elaborated further below...

Anpheus wrote:You create unnecessary circumstances to back up a conclusion you have already reached: the Holocaust saved Little Jimmy's life.


Minor correction: the conclusion isn't that the Holocaust did save Jimmy's life, but that the holocaust could have saved his life.

Anpheus wrote:He was not there, it is the combined actions of every individual who has existed since the holocaust that will give rise to the choices Jimmy has available to him, and from those choices Jimmy determines his life.


Correct, but you're ignoring a vital point, that on top of all those various factors, the holocaust would have still been one of them.

That is: assuming all other events occurring in the same manner, the holocaust would have been necessary to save his life.

Anpheus wrote:I make no appeal to ignorance here. You have begged the question by stating several premises you are unwilling to defend (one of your statements is that the Holocaust saved Little Jimmy's life, a conclusion you later reach by adding all sorts of unnecessary details,) you have utilized circular reasoning and, I had to search for the proper name for this one, affirmed the consequent: "If the Holocaust is good, then it saved a life / prevented a death / what have you. The Holocaust saved a life. Therefore, the Holocaust is good."


I'm not sure how you managed to screw up the reasoning of my argument this severely, but regardless:

Anpheus wrote:"If the Holocaust is good, then it saved a life / prevented a death / what have you. The Holocaust saved a life. Therefore, the Holocaust is good."


Severely flawed. Nowhere did I state nor even imply that "if the Holocaust is good, then it saved a life" - in fact, I challenge you to quote wherever I made such an implication.

In fact, my reasoning was the exact opposite, and used a hypothetical approach. Essentially, this:

"If the Holocaust could have contributed to saving a life [or have some other positive effect], then there could be a situation in which the holocaust has good effects."

From there, all I have to do is provide you with a hypothetical in which the effects of the Holocaust could have contributed to saving a life. Using Jimmy's scenario, in which the Holocaust was beyond any reasonable doubt a contributing factor to saving his life, this condition is fulfilled.

Your conclusion is that the Holocaust could not have any positive effects. To support that conclusion, you attempted to show that in my hypothetical situation, we don't really know whether or not the holocaust was really a factor in Jimmy's decision (even though by the definition of the hypothetical, we know that it was).

In order for that claim to have supported your conclusion, you would be required to assume that since we don't know whether or not the holocaust was really a factor, that we therefore know that it wasn't - which is an appeal to ignorance. If you do not assume such an appeal to ignorance, then your argument falls apart, since even if we don't know whether or not the holocaust was a factor (even though we do), that still leaves open the possibility that it was, and therefore leaves open the possibility that the holocaust could have positive effects.


Anpheus wrote:While I agree, if the Holocaust saved lives then there would be a smidgen of good to it, but the definition of the Holocaust is the murder of millions of people. Not the activities that occurred around it.


The fact that you chose to ignore the rebuttal to that line of reasoning the first time, doesn't give it any more merit the second time you try to parrot it.

The 'definition' of the Holocaust is completely irrelevant. We're not discussing whether or not the intent of the Holocaust had any 'good' to it - we're discussing whether or not the actual events had any positive effects.

Anpheus wrote:As for you being evil because your experiment killed people? Yes. You were negligent. You weren't as evil as someone who had planned the whole thing and had the intent to kill millions of people, but you're still up there. It's a matter of criminal negligence, quite simply. You may or may not have been aware that your experiment had the potential to kill millions, and some day your experiment may be heralded as the dawn of a new age for humanity marred by the tragic consequences of your first test, but you still killed millions of people: shame on you.


I thought I made sure that it was pretty clear that I wasn't negligent. I specifically stated that the explosion resulted from a completely unpredictable chain of events. If you must, feel free to adjust that to "completely unpredictable on a reasonable basis".

By your logic, since the definition of the experiment was completely 'good', that even though it killed millions of people, that there were absolutely no 'evil' effects as a result of the experiment.
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Re: How do the Jews and other Christians explain the holocaust

Postby Anpheus » Wed Dec 12, 2007 4:59 pm UTC

Now you're just fucking with me, and quoting me out of context to avoid exposing the flaws of you're own reasoning in your followups. Ugh. This is what I didn't want. Are we saying Jimmy made the choice to stay home, at which point that choice was influenced by myriad, uncountably many factors which stretch straight back to the beginning of time (everything in Jimmy's past light cone could have influence his decision) or are we saying Little Jimmy was saved because of the Holocaust?

Anyway, you're just going to nitpick and strawman me with your little quotes until I'm bled dry. Your style gives me three choices: spend hours scouring my own posts for places in which I've already contradicted you because you neglected to quote my entire post that you took issue with, spend minutes coming up with new counter-arguments, or do both, and waste far more time than I really want to.

This is why I hate that fucking argumentative style. Your little nitpick quotes will just needle me to death because I either have to start scouring my old posts for places you conveniently left out which doesn't allow you to strawman, or I have to rehash everything I've already said. Take, for example, this little tidbit you say:

That guy wrote:In order for that claim to have supported your conclusion, you would be required to assume that since we don't know whether or not the holocaust was really a factor, that we therefore know that it wasn't - which is an appeal to ignorance. If you do not assume such an appeal to ignorance, then your argument falls apart, since even if we don't know whether or not the holocaust was a factor (even though we do), that still leaves open the possibility that it was, and therefore leaves open the possibility that the holocaust could have positive effects.


JESUS CHRIST?! I wrote a paragraph about that! Emphasis added because you don't read my posts:

Anpheus wrote:Little Jimmy is, first of all, the only person who decides what Little Jimmy does. While it is colloquial to say, "The holocaust caused Little Jimmy to reconsider committing suicide," it is not correct. You are confusing real evidence for an act with circumstantial evidence for an act. Real evidence: Little Jimmy chose not to kill himself. Circumstantial evidence: Earlier that day, Little Jimmy enjoyed a candy bar given to him by Little Susie, who he now has a Little Crush on. Also, he watched a documentary on The History Channel about The Holocaust, showing him the horrors of war and the lengths people would go to stop senseless death. His mom baked him cookies. His homework assignment was easy. ... Did all of those things cause Little Jimmy's decision? No. We can no more attribute to the Holocaust Little Jimmy's change of heart than we can his new crush on Little Susie or the smell and taste of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. We cannot ascribe to the Holocaust an integer value in the set {0,1} whether or not it caused Little Jimmy to not commit suicide. Can we attribute to it a rational value in [0,1]? Also no, because we have an uncountable number of things happening to Little Jimmy over the course of his life and before it to contribute to who Jimmy is. All of these things play a role in who he is, we can ascribe to no single event Little Jimmy's actions. You are just as much guilty of cherry picking events as you think I am if you are going to say The Holocaust caused one thing. If you want to say such things in an English writing assignment, go ahead. If you're going to talk philosophy, we have to start defining things a little more rigidly than what everyone rather flippantly says about the world around them. Otherwise we're sure to run afoul of any of an enormous number of different manners of speech and poorly clarified meanings.


The Holocaust, just like every other contributing point event in Little Jimmy's Life, cannot be attributed any more than its own, unique infinitesimal effect on Jimmy's actions. Unless you want to merge this topic with Free Will (we haven't invoked Godwin's Law over there yet!) we're going to say Jimmy is a willed entity. He chooses his actions by whatever mechanism you wish to supply. (My views on Free Will are too complex to go into depth here. DO NOT DRAG ME INTO AN ARGUMENT ABOUT FREE WILL HERE.) Did the Holocaust cause Little Jimmy to stay home? No. Did it contribute? Yes, but it contributed in the same way we can say that every ingredient and even the temperature of the oven as it varies over time contributes to the quality of a soufflé. It contributes just as every particle in an enclosed system contributes to the final state, even where said final state may exist only as a probability among many. The English verb, "to cause" has a number of nuances which we must avoid when we talk about philosophical statements. When I refer to the Holocaust causing something, I'd expect the Holocaust to rear its ugly head again, grab someone by the throat and put a gun to their head and wait until they do it. When you refer to the Holocaust "causing" something, you refer to any of a number of colloquial meanings. I can say that a scratched print caused people to want a refund at the theatre where I work, but it could have been a combination of awful service at concessions and terrible picture quality. It could have been that they had a shitty day. I can continue to come up with could haves and what ifs as long as you like, to the point where I could start talking about even completely improbable events: they felt an air temperature higher than everyone else as a somewhat unexpected result of the statistical nature of physical interactions. (Maxwell's Demon was let out to play.) Fortunately, however, there is a simpler explanation. They wanted a refund. Hey, they might have their own reasons, they might even say they are causes, but it's not like the scratched print held a gun to their head and said "Get a refund or prepare to have your gray matter ingrained in this fabric."




Belial, I'd like to talk to you over AIM or PM, your choice. Please PM me with whichever is preferable. I can point out myriad ways in which yoni is leaving out large amounts of my posts so that he can take issue with unsupported statements of mine without the context of the whole debate or my whole perspective.
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Re: How do the Jews and other Christians explain the holocaust

Postby yoni45 » Wed Dec 12, 2007 5:28 pm UTC

Anpheus wrote:Now you're just fucking with me, and quoting me out of context to avoid exposing the flaws of you're own reasoning in your followups.


You realize you've whined about out of context quoting at least 4 times now, and have yet to show a single example?

You seem to have finally attempted to show one below, which on its own is already a horrible track record, even if we don't take into account that your claim is also completely baseless.

Anpheus wrote:Are we saying Jimmy made the choice to stay home, at which point that choice was influenced by myriad, uncountably many factors which stretch straight back to the beginning of time (everything in Jimmy's past light cone could have influence his decision) or are we saying Little Jimmy was saved because of the Holocaust?


The latter, but with reasoning.

We're saying that Jimmy made the choice to stay home, a choice that was primarily influenced by the Holocaust. So yes, based on that, you can deduce that Jimmy was saved (at least in part) because of the Holocaust.

Anpheus wrote:Take, for example, this little tidbit you say:

That guy wrote:In order for that claim to have supported your conclusion, you would be required to assume that since we don't know whether or not the holocaust was really a factor, that we therefore know that it wasn't - which is an appeal to ignorance. If you do not assume such an appeal to ignorance, then your argument falls apart, since even if we don't know whether or not the holocaust was a factor (even though we do), that still leaves open the possibility that it was, and therefore leaves open the possibility that the holocaust could have positive effects.


JESUS CHRIST?! I wrote a paragraph about that! Emphasis added because you don't read my posts:

Anpheus wrote:Little Jimmy is, first of all, the only person who decides what Little Jimmy does. While it is colloquial to say, "The holocaust caused Little Jimmy to reconsider committing suicide," it is not correct. You are confusing real evidence for an act with circumstantial evidence for an act. Real evidence: Little Jimmy chose not to kill himself. Circumstantial evidence: Earlier that day, Little Jimmy enjoyed a candy bar given to him by Little Susie, who he now has a Little Crush on. Also, he watched a documentary on The History Channel about The Holocaust, showing him the horrors of war and the lengths people would go to stop senseless death. His mom baked him cookies. His homework assignment was easy. ... Did all of those things cause Little Jimmy's decision? No. We can no more attribute to the Holocaust Little Jimmy's change of heart than we can his new crush on Little Susie or the smell and taste of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. We cannot ascribe to the Holocaust an integer value in the set {0,1} whether or not it caused Little Jimmy to not commit suicide. Can we attribute to it a rational value in [0,1]? Also no, because we have an uncountable number of things happening to Little Jimmy over the course of his life and before it to contribute to who Jimmy is. All of these things play a role in who he is, we can ascribe to no single event Little Jimmy's actions. You are just as much guilty of cherry picking events as you think I am if you are going to say The Holocaust caused one thing. If you want to say such things in an English writing assignment, go ahead. If you're going to talk philosophy, we have to start defining things a little more rigidly than what everyone rather flippantly says about the world around them. Otherwise we're sure to run afoul of any of an enormous number of different manners of speech and poorly clarified meanings.


I just wanted to point out the fact that your so called "context" does absolutely nothing to refute my statement, or show that my statement quoted you out of context.

Your entire line of reasoning in here is that we do not know that the Holocaust contributed to Jimmy's decision ("We cannot ascribe to the Holocaust an integer value in the set {0,1} whether or not it caused Little Jimmy to not commit suicide."). The rest of my argument flows from that.

If I misinterpreted you, and you actually meant to say that we definitively know that the Holocaust did not contribute to Jimmy's choice, then my apologies for the misinterpretation, but you'd have absolutely no basis for such an assumption. Not by the reasoning you provided anyway, which at best states that there could have been multiple reasons, but shows no reason to believe the Holocaust wasn't one of them.

Anpheus wrote:The Holocaust, just like every other contributing point event in Little Jimmy's Life, cannot be attributed any more than its own, unique infinitesimal effect on Jimmy's actions...Did the Holocaust cause Little Jimmy to stay home? No. Did it contribute? Yes, but it contributed in the same way we can say that every ingredient and even the temperature of the oven as it varies over time contributes to the quality of a soufflé. It contributes just as every particle in an enclosed system contributes to the final state, even where said final state may exist only as a probability among many.


That's completely arbitrary - you have absolutely no basis for assigning the relative weight of the effects of the Holocaust in a "random" scenario, let alone in a scenario in which we establish that the Holocaust was a primary reason for his decision.

Anpheus wrote:The English verb, "to cause" has a number of nuances which we must avoid when we talk about philosophical statements. When I refer to the Holocaust causing something, I'd expect the Holocaust to rear its ugly head again, grab someone by the throat and put a gun to their head and wait until they do it.


Again - that's completely arbitrary. You don't get to cherry pick a completely narrow definition of a word while ignoring the actual implications of said word.

Anpheus wrote:When you refer to the Holocaust "causing" something, you refer to any of a number of colloquial meanings. I can say that a scratched print caused people to want a refund at the theatre where I work, but it could have been a combination of awful service at concessions and terrible picture quality. It could have been that they had a shitty day. I can continue to come up with could haves and what ifs as long as you like, to the point where I could start talking about even completely improbable events: they felt an air temperature higher than everyone else as a somewhat unexpected result of the statistical nature of physical interactions. (Maxwell's Demon was let out to play.) Fortunately, however, there is a simpler explanation. They wanted a refund. Hey, they might have their own reasons, they might even say they are causes, but it's not like the scratched print held a gun to their head and said "Get a refund or prepare to have your gray matter ingrained in this fabric."


Again, completely flawed. Yes, you could have a dozen different reasons for a patron's given action, but at the end of the day, while it could have been all those various reasons you mentioned, it still could have been a 'scratched print'. The fact that they wanted a refund is a given, that still doesn't change the fact that they could have wanted a refund because of the 'scratched print' scenario.

Whether or not they had a gun to their head for a refund, has absolutely no bearing on the fact that the reason for the refund could have been due to the 'scratched print'.

Similarly, Jimmy's reason for staying home very well could have been primarily due to the Holocaust. As such, it is possible that the Holocaust was a reason for his staying home, which is a 'positive'.
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Re: How do the Jews and other Christians explain the holocaust

Postby Anpheus » Wed Dec 12, 2007 5:33 pm UTC

See, you start out accusing me of not pointing out these flaws, then when I do, because of your idiotic argumentative style, rather than retract any claims, you merely state that I didn't post enough fscking context to show anything.

Agh, I've been infuriated by that too many times to count. Listen, you accused me of an appeal to ignorance and quoted a tiny little section of my text to back it up. I then showed you a much larger piece of text showing my actual belief that yes, the Holocaust can cause it just like I can cause you to reply within 30 minutes just by posting right now: But such causes are circumstantial and colloquial. Your choice to reply, and Little Jimmy's choice to stay home are what's important. As I've said this countless time. Whether you want to define Free Will as the unique past light cone possessed by each entity or with a dualist philosophical stance, either way, you either have to deal with everything in the entire universe that's in Little Jimmy's past light cone as being the cause, or you have to deal with none of it. And I'm accused of cherry-picking cause and effect. You know why Little Jimmy stayed home? He had a cold and didn't want to go to school.

Edit: I'm sorry, but edit this before the Google bot caches it:
Again, completely flawed. Yes, you could have a dozen different reasons for a patron's given action, but at the end of the day, while it could have been all those various reasons you mentioned, it still could have been a 'scratched print'. The fact that they wanted a refund is a given, that still doesn't change the fact that they could have wanted a refund because of the 'scratched print' scenario.

... Did you just repeat what I said but remove all the other options because you chose to? Again with the cherry-picking.
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Re: How do the Jews and other Christians explain the holocaust

Postby yoni45 » Wed Dec 12, 2007 5:44 pm UTC

Anpheus wrote:See, you start out accusing me of not pointing out these flaws, then when I do, because of your idiotic argumentative style, rather than retract any claims, you merely state that I didn't post enough fscking context to show anything.


Hah, I never stated you didn't post 'enough' context. In fact, I can state with confidence that you couldn't possibly post 'enough' context to show that I quoted you out of context, because get this: I didn't.

Anpheus wrote:Listen, you accused me of an appeal to ignorance and quoted a tiny little section of my text to back it up. I then showed you a much larger piece of text showing my actual belief that yes, the Holocaust can cause it just like I can cause you to reply within 30 minutes just by posting right now: But such causes are circumstantial and colloquial.


My apologies, in that case I simply misunderstood you. That said, that has little to do with context.

And that said, that's already been addressed. Whether such causes are circumstantial and colloquial, they are still potential causes, and on top of that, it is furthermore completely possible that such causes are primary ones.

Anpheus wrote:You know why Little Jimmy stayed home? He had a cold and didn't want to go to school.


Sure, that's a possibility.

You know what else is a possibility? He was really interested in finding out more about the holocaust.

Anpheus wrote:Edit: I'm sorry, but edit this before the Google bot caches it:
Again, completely flawed. Yes, you could have a dozen different reasons for a patron's given action, but at the end of the day, while it could have been all those various reasons you mentioned, it still could have been a 'scratched print'. The fact that they wanted a refund is a given, that still doesn't change the fact that they could have wanted a refund because of the 'scratched print' scenario.

... Did you just repeat what I said but remove all the other options because you chose to? Again with the cherry-picking.


I specifically accounted for all your other options within "...it could have been all those various reasons you mentioned...". That doesn't impact my argument one way or another.

Anpheus wrote:Edit: I'm sorry, but edit this before the Google bot caches it:


???
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Re: How do the Jews and other Christians explain the holocaust

Postby daydalus » Wed Dec 12, 2007 5:46 pm UTC

This flame war is pretty ridiculous, and I'm not going to pick a side. I'd just like to point out, titling something "The Holocaust" is pretty arbitrary. What's the dividing line? Does it encompass the methods of exterminating Jews during the period of 1941-1945? Does it include the embedded racism in European Culture in the first half the 20th century? Does it involve all people whose lives were tangentially affected, from Oscar Schindler to Anne Frank, to Corrie ten Boom and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, to Goring, Himler, Hitler? Where do you draw the line to delineate huge, complex historical events? Tough, isn't it?

Therefore, it’s a little presumptuous to say definitively: "An event X was purely evil. No good came out of it."

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Re: How do the Jews and other Christians explain the holocaust

Postby Griffin » Wed Dec 12, 2007 8:21 pm UTC

Anpheus -

IF the creation of Isreal was good
AND Isreal would not have existed without the Holocaust
THEN There is a good that happened because of the Holocaust.
(This is not to say the Holocaust was the only or most important factor. Events can, and almost always do, have multiple causes.)
This is the basic definition of CAUSE... if A would not have occured without B, B caused A.

You've already stated that regardless of logic, evidence, or, you know, any sort of reasonable your argument, your not going to change your stance - that's all well and good, but it doesn't make you very convincing nor does it make anyone inclined to discuss the situation in the manner you desire, since you've already stated it won't help.

Arguments are composed of points and evidence for those points - quoting before responding makes it easier to follow extended debates. They are there merely as references to larger swathes of your argument, so we (the audience) can quickly follow the flow of the argument and now which point any further evidence exists to refute.

Query: You have stated that you believe evil actions can not have good results. Do you believe benevolent actions can not have bad results?

No one has argued the holocaust is all good. In fact, most everyone has argued the holocaust is extremely bad. This makes the good results irrelevant by comparison, but does not make them nonexistent.

Also, you repeatedly claim strawmen, misquotes, and people bending your words and then do the same to them - you might want to tone down the hypocrisy a bit if you want people to take you seriously, since you

I was considering following the logical extremes of your free will argument as well (That guy from saw wasn't evil! Everyone had a choice, so their deaths weren't caused by him!) but, honestly, I don't think I need to as most people can see the error in it.
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Re: How do the Jews and other Christians explain the holocaust

Postby Razzle Storm » Thu Dec 13, 2007 3:08 am UTC

Griffin wrote:No one has argued the holocaust is all good. In fact, most everyone has argued the holocaust is extremely bad. This makes the good results irrelevant by comparison, but does not make them nonexistent.


Anpheus-
I would like to emphasize that this (quote above) is what other people are arguing for. They aren't saying that the Holocaust's tiny amount of good offsets the bad. No one said that. I don't know where you drew it from, but it's what you're arguing against, despite the fact that it's not what anyone thinks. They are saying that it is possible that the Holocaust had a tiny amount of good. I repeat, no one is saying that people should start another Holocaust, nor are they saying that the Holocaust was not super evil. They are saying that the Holocaust may have had good effects. No one is arguing that the good effects outweigh the bad effects, they are just pointing out that they exist. Until you understand what people are actually arguing for, chill out. Getting angry like you are doesn't solve anything, and probably makes you misunderstand what people say even more.

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Re: How do the Jews and other Christians explain the holocaust

Postby Kirikasama » Thu Dec 13, 2007 4:21 pm UTC

Anpheus wrote:You have to understand that there is a reason I take the point of view that I do: I have an ethical philosophy that does not permit "doing evil in order to cause good."


Just as a quick thought experiment type question;

Would you carry out a minor act of Evil, i.e. stab someone non-fatally in the leg or something, if this would lead to a massive amount of good happening throughout the world, i.e. world peace, end to hunger/disease etc.

Because from the way you phrased that it sounds like your code of ethics would forbid that, and that answer would lead us a lot closer to understanding the point from which you are arguing.

P.S. - I understand from the rest of the thread that you frown on quoting posts, but as on this occasion it was a page ago, and in addition I'm not pointing out a flaw, but asking for more information, I hope you can forgive me this once ^^;

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Re: How do the Jews and other Christians explain the holocaust

Postby Anpheus » Thu Dec 13, 2007 8:15 pm UTC

Ok, I'm afraid I've not done a good enough job in describing my point of view, and this has caused significant problems as I change my own beliefs slightly to argue with.

C'est la vie, I think it was Emerson who said that a foolish consistency is the hob-goblin of little minds.

So, here's what I'm trying to describe here.

Can we all accept, as true, that the Holocaust was the murder of millions of people? We can even include or exclude the numerous soldiers and Nazi party leaders, but the point is, the Holocaust was an event, the Holocaust describes a particular set of events that occurred during the war.

First, according to our definition, is the Holocaust good or bad? I think we can all say bad, evil, terrible.

Now, your belief is that something such as the Holocaust can indirectly, through creating opportunity, cause good. That is where my beliefs and yours differ. The Holocaust created enormous opportunity to good, for example, assassinating the orchestrator of the Holocaust would, in my ethical beliefs, be something very good. (It would remove a far greater evil and the ethical price you pay for murder is pocket change compared to Hitler.)

Did the Holocaust cause good? No. I say that good is a choice that we all take. Good is something we can choose to do or not to do. The circumstances may change, as they have in Sudan, Burma, etc. The opportunity to do good still remains a choice. According to our definition, the Holocaust is 'the cause' of several million murders. It is not the cause of the individual soldier's actions (as has been pointed out, historically inaccurate up until the very, very end of the war) nor is it the cause of the good done by people in Germany to protect their friends, family, and neighborhood against the Nazi party. Good is a choice, and we can only ascribe to events good or bad based on the explicit causes. If we choose to describe meta-level events, such as say, "The destruction of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina," we have to analyze what we mean by that. Certainly, a small amount of good came out of the destruction of New Orleans, vastly outweighed by the bad, but it still existed. Why? Because destruction is not wholly bad. When businesses choose to demolish a building and rebuild it, that is not always bad. Some individuals in New Orleans look forward to the opportunity to rebuild. (Ah, optimism.) Our meta-description is very important here, as it does not require any single cause (Hurricane Katrina was itself 'caused' by a combination of necessary atmospheric conditions.) Rather, it describes a whole slew of cause/effect relationships so we can deal with them as a whole instead of going through piecemeal and saying, "Hm, yes, the destruction of this home in New Orleans truly was a terrible thing. Ok, next home." So, when I say the Holocaust at least, I am describing the murder of millions, not anything else. I do not believe any good exists in murdering another human being.

Now, to deal with a thought experiment or two that I think has been posted for me.

IF the creation of Isreal was good
AND Isreal would not have existed without the Holocaust
THEN There is a good that happened because of the Holocaust.
(This is not to say the Holocaust was the only or most important factor. Events can, and almost always do, have multiple causes.)
This is the basic definition of CAUSE... if A would not have occured without B, B caused A.


First, here's a syllogism of your argument.
Major: The creation of the state of Isreal is good.
Minor: One of the events that lead to the creation of Israel is the Holocaust.
Conclusion: The Holocaust is good.

This ignores first of all, the people involved in creating the state of Israel (they don't get a choice any more?) This of course, requires that we take a few IFs into consideration, we must assume the meta-event, the creation of Israel, is good. We must assume that there is exactly one lynchpin 'cause,' etc. My definition of cause is different from yours, you said: "If A would not have occurred without B, B can be said to cause A." My definition of cause is, "If B can be said to follow from A, then B can be said to cause A." In your case, A can occur with B, but it can also occur with myriad other circumstances. In my case, A can only be 'caused by' something which describes the preceding events. The difference is, your definition lets you pick what you think is necessary to a cause, which means you can just as well attribute the creation of Israel to the fact that the Jewish people flocked there again. You can pick whatever you want as the 'necessary cause' without demonstrating it and you've proved nothing. I say, if you can't show that B will always cause A, that is, if I light a match and hold it indefinitely, my fingers will become burnt (assuming identical, flawless, perfectly rigid and/or frictionless matches, etc.) Even this, however, is a meta-event we must describe because we are removing from myself the free will to choose not to continue holding the match. Only in the meta-event: "If I hold a lit match indefinitely, my fingers will get burnt." does the match cause my fingers to become burnt. In reality, I can always choose to let go of the match, blow it out, or in general, not be an idiot. I can choose whether or not I am burnt in reality. Likewise, the German Soldiers could, and some did, choose not to kill Jewish people. The Holocaust is the meta-level description of the murders that took place, not a description of the minds of all the soldiers who took part.

That is you have to deal with the fact that people, PEOPLE chose to create Israel. People came together, they deliberated, they can attribute to whatever they want their own 'causes' but at the end of the day, we must say Israel was created because powerful men met in a room, discussed it, agreed upon it, and departed. Their choices lead to the creation of Israel, and regardless of the Holocaust, their choices were the key to its creation. Again, we have an error in our definition of 'cause.' Cause is not what people say caused them to do things. Cause in that manner is so colloquial and meaningless to a philosophical debate that it allows hilarious consequences. If you choose to argue that because the people in that room claim the Holocaust was their cause for action, then... Well, proving the existence of god is as easy as saying, "god caused me to do this." There's a logical fallacy invoked when you start mixing the colloquial and actual definitions of cause.

Would you carry out a minor act of Evil, i.e. stab someone non-fatally in the leg or something, if this would lead to a massive amount of good happening throughout the world, i.e. world peace, end to hunger/disease etc.

If stabbing you in the leg causes, according to MY definition of cause, a Utopian society with no scarce resources, no tragedy of the commons, and everlasting happiness on Earth... I'd stab you in a heart beat. Unfortunately, I can't even imagine a situation in which I would think stabbing someone in the leg would absolutely cause the creation of a utopia. Ultimately, the creation of a Utopian society rests upon the choices of all its participants. World peace depends on the choices of all its participants. An end to hunger and disease requires the concentrated effort of millions of people. While theoretically I could go into politics and champion a particular cause like ending world hunger or AIDS or what-have-you, it would be an act of extreme hubris to attribute to me the act of removing that thing from the world if that cause I created were to succeed. Sure, I may have caused the existence of the organization, but the success of the organization depended upon all of the individuals at work in it. Perhaps I'm too modest to be a good politician if I can't unfairly take credit for other people's work?
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Re: How do the Jews and other Christians explain the holocaust

Postby Maurog » Thu Dec 13, 2007 9:20 pm UTC

Anpheus wrote:Can we all accept, as true, that the Holocaust was the murder of millions of people?
Anpheus wrote:for example, assassinating the orchestrator of the Holocaust would, in my ethical beliefs, be something very good.
Anpheus wrote:I do not believe any good exists in murdering another human being.

And there we go... with so many people being murdered, I'd say the chance of at least one being scum of the earth worthy of assassination is 100%. Sure, he got murdered for all the wrong reasons, but nevertheless, the act of murdering this man is by your own definition good. Therefore, since we found one sinner among millions of innocents, the Holocaust did cause -something- good directly.

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Re: How do the Jews and other Christians explain the holocaust

Postby mosc » Thu Dec 13, 2007 11:09 pm UTC

To deny there was ANY good to come out of the holocaust is to insult the thousands of righteous gentiles sacrifices and to say the survivors might as well have been dead. The Jewish people survived. Bloodied and forever wounded, but we survived. Enough of this travesty of extreme that no good came of it. I am living proof that you are wrong sir.
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Re: How do the Jews and other Christians explain the holocaust

Postby yoni45 » Fri Dec 14, 2007 12:56 am UTC

Before anything else, I'd like to have your definition of 'cause' here for reference:

How to define cause, according to Anpheus: wrote:If B can be said to follow from A, then B can be said to cause A.


That's fair, with one caveat. I'm assuming this was likely a typo, since in it's current form the above definition makes little sense.

If B can be said to follow from A, then it should be A that can be said to cause B (not the other way around, as per your statement). Otherwise, that makes no sense - if B follows from A, there is absolutely no reason for believing that A was caused by B, since A is the one that came in the first place...

So, the definition of a cause is essentially:

If B can be said to follow from A, then A can be said to cause B.

That said, I'm assuming you understand that no 'cause' is ever alone in creating an effect, nor does it have to be in order to be considered a cause. If I thrust my hands forward, and someone happens to be standing in front of them, and that someone is also standing on the edge of a staircase and ends up falling to his death. The thrusting of my hands is still a cause of his death, regardless of the fact that there other causes, such as the fact that this person chose to stand in front of my hands on the edge of a staircase, or the fact that the stairs were made of a particularly hard material, etc.

Anpheus wrote:Did the Holocaust cause good? No. I say that good is a choice that we all take. Good is something we can choose to do or not to do. The circumstances may change, as they have in Sudan, Burma, etc. The opportunity to do good still remains a choice. According to our definition, the Holocaust is 'the cause' of several million murders. It is not the cause of the individual soldier's actions (as has been pointed out, historically inaccurate up until the very, very end of the war) nor is it the cause of the good done by people in Germany to protect their friends, family, and neighborhood against the Nazi party. Good is a choice, and we can only ascribe to events good or bad based on the explicit causes.


Good might be a choice that we make (although, it's questionable whether all benefits to society are solely the result of human choices), but that doesn't change the fact that there are causes that can lead to such choices.

Back to your definition: can there be such choices that follow as a result of the holocaust?

And the answer to that is, yes. Whether or not the holocaust was a minor cause or a major cause (neither of which is necessarily impossible), the holocaust still can be a cause for certain choices that are 'good'.

Anpheus wrote:I do not believe any good exists in murdering another human being.


You seem to confuse the inherent state of something with effects that such an event may have - these are two different things.

Murder is inherently bad - yes. Can something good 'follow from' murder? Sure, what if the person you just happened to murder was about to detonate a bomb that was to kill other civilians?

What you did is still murder - you didn't know he was going to do that. But the non-detonation of the bomb is still good, and it followed from that person's murder.

Anpheus wrote:First, here's a syllogism of your argument.
Major: The creation of the state of Isreal is good.
Minor: One of the events that lead to the creation of Israel is the Holocaust.
Conclusion: The Holocaust is good.


You've mis-represented that point about a dozen times now, and you've been called on it about a dozen times on top of that.

The conclusion is NOT that the holocaust "is" good; the conclusion is that the holocaust was the cause of some good.

Now, you're jumping all over the place between 'necessary' and 'sufficient' causes, when in fact, causes don't have to be either.

For example:

Anpheus wrote:We must assume that there is exactly one lynchpin 'cause,' etc. My definition of cause is different from yours, you said: "If A would not have occurred without B, B can be said to cause A." My definition of cause is, "If B can be said to follow from A, then B can be said to cause A." In your case, A can occur with B, but it can also occur with myriad other circumstances. In my case, A can only be 'caused by' something which describes the preceding events. The difference is, your definition lets you pick what you think is necessary to a cause, which means you can just as well attribute the creation of Israel to the fact that the Jewish people flocked there again. You can pick whatever you want as the 'necessary cause' without demonstrating it and you've proved nothing.


Over here, you're telling us that just because there can be a myriad of other circumstances in which said result can occur, that B's not really a cause of A. In other words, that just because B is not a necessary cause of A, then it's not really a cause of A.

Then you bring us your next example, in which you then confuse your 'necessary' criteria with 'sufficient' criteria:

Anpheus wrote:I say, if you can't show that B will always cause A, that is, if I light a match and hold it indefinitely, my fingers will become burnt (assuming identical, flawless, perfectly rigid and/or frictionless matches, etc.)


In this example, all you're doing is showing that your cause is sufficient for your effect. That is, you don't need anything more.

But in fact, your example actually fails the criteria set by your previous example. Why? Not because of the reasons you then cited (you can always let go of the match), but because of the fact that it is not necessary for you to light a match and hold it indefinitely to burn your fingers. There are a 'myriad of other circumstances' by which you can burn your fingers.



But at the end of the day, causes don't have to be necessary nor sufficient in order to be considered causes. The only criteria they have to meet, is that of a cause. Did a certain event follow from another event. If so, then that latter event can be considered a cause.

If you assume that the creation of the state of Israel followed from the holocaust (at least in part), then the holocaust was a cause of that creation. Does it mean it's the only cause? No. As you noted, the fact that there was high levels of Jewish immigration in decades prior was also a cause. Does it mean there was no other way to create the state? Not necessarily. Does it change the fact that the creation of the state of Israel followed from the holocaust? No.

Anpheus wrote:Again, we have an error in our definition of 'cause.' Cause is not what people say caused them to do things.


How do you know that?

That is, that might not be how you define cause, but the two can still positively overlap. You might not necessarily know that the cause was what they said caused them to do something, but you don't necessarily know that it wasn't. Furthermore, what people say is irrelevant. Just because you can't necessarily believe a person who tells you that a certain event caused him to do something does not mean that that event didn't cause his actions. It does not mean that certain actions cannot follow from the occurrence of certain events.
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Re: How do the Jews and other Christians explain the holocaust

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri Dec 14, 2007 8:50 am UTC

I think there are a few misconceptions going on in this discussion that need some clarification. I can be a bit abrupt when it comes to matters of history, so I apologize in advance if I step on your toes. I'm not here to make anyone out to be a jerk, but I want to make two things clear.


Matter 1: Something positive can be taken out of the Holocaust.

This discussion has all ready become a runaway train screeching down the rails at sixty miles per hour, charging straight for Semantics-Ville (population: Debatable!), so let me jump out of the way while tossing up a little barricade I've hastily constructed from leftover words out of my pocket thesaurus.

This is a very touchy subject. Let me explain why: Several historians (one of them an actual Holocaust survivor) believe whole-heartedly that "God died in Auschwitz". In essence, any attempt to extrapolate good from the Holocaust (See: Diary of Anne Frank) trivializes the enormity of the evil. I don't think anyone here would claim that the Holocaust is a story about the triumph of the human spirit over adversity, and stories that talk about how one survivor 'got away' or how another managed to maintain their faith blatantly ignore the millions who were not so fortunate. Even if one did get away--one did manage to survive with their faith intact--emphasizing this in the face of so much bald-faced horror strikes some as a repugnant insult to those who did not. Since morality is ultimately just a sprawling quagmire of subjectivity anyway, it does not strike me as hypocritical to let the issue of 'What Good Things Came Out of the Holocaust?' drop in favor of paying respects to the many, many, many dead people who didn't get to enjoy any of those good things anyway.

This is actually indicative of a far broader philosophical movement that has its roots in many pies, but got its kick-start from the Holocaust; the underlying idea is that tragedy is not something you should be hijacking for the premise of feel-good poetry or mini-series that explore the 'spiritual strength' of those who survived (On average, most Holocaust survivors do not exert 'spiritual strength' anyway; there's actually a prevalent notion among some of them that they basically died in the Holocaust and they're just waiting for their bodies to realize it). Emphasizing the good of abominable evil is our attempt to make it something we can mentally handle; we emphasize the points of light because we don't like to stare at the dark--but there are some splotches we just shouldn't try to brighten up.

Again, I'm not denying that you couldn't find some good things that came out of the Holocaust. You're all intelligent and creative people (I assume!); I'm sure you could do it. My point is that you shouldn't. It trivializes it.


Matter 2: The Holocaust Was the Worst Thing, Ever.

No one I know of has really said this outright, but it's kind of been subtly implied throughout several posts, so I want to address it. You can argue the above point until you're red-and-blue, but let me just point out that as someone who's very interested in studying what sort of terrible things we do to each other, I can honestly say that the Holocaust is by no means an isolated event. Its horror is emphasized in our minds because it is one of the first very well documented acts of genocide (the Nazis, unlike the Turks, were notoriously obsessive about keeping good paperwork) where we have such an overwhelming abundance of first-hand accounts, second-hand accounts, and photographic evidence.

Just off the top of my head--the Armenian genocide, the Cambodian genocide (not technically a genocide, actually a classicide, but you get my point), the Indonesian genocide (also technically not a genocide, but you still get the picture), Darfur, Mao's Glorious Revolution (again, more a classicide), the rape of Nanking, Russia's countless pogroms--people do unspeakable things to other people all the time. When people talk about the Holocaust and say 'never again', most historians are apt to roll their eyes--because that level of genocide was happening before the Holocaust, and it certainly happened after it. In fact, you could go as far as saying that mass-murder is pretty much standard operating procedure for an industrialized world. Yes, it's that bad.

Again, this ties back to Matter 1--I don't like it when people try to take good things away from these events. I'm sure you could, but why would you? None of these tragedies are stories of hope or salvation. Nearly every single one of them is a murderous, blood-soaked tale told by a tyrant who dies fat, old, and content (the Holocaust is one of the rare ones where some of those responsible in the upper tier did get some form of comeuppance--but certainly not all, not by a long-shot). These tales are important because they remind us just how cruel we can be to our fellow humans; muddying their waters with a few sparks of optimism in the sea of despair risks turning them into pseudo-spiritual rubbish about how the human spirit continues to persevere (it really doesn't; seriously, go try interviewing a Holocaust victim about the 'perseverance of the human spirit').

tl;dr version: Man falls from a window and goes splat. Some curse the window, others curse the man. Some weep for his fate, others join hands and say he's in a better place.

Some just try to figure out why he fell and leave it at that.
Last edited by The Great Hippo on Fri Dec 14, 2007 8:00 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: How do the Jews and other Christians explain the holocaust

Postby Anpheus » Fri Dec 14, 2007 8:26 pm UTC

Maurog wrote:
Anpheus wrote:Can we all accept, as true, that the Holocaust was the murder of millions of people?
Anpheus wrote:for example, assassinating the orchestrator of the Holocaust would, in my ethical beliefs, be something very good.
Anpheus wrote:I do not believe any good exists in murdering another human being.

And there we go... with so many people being murdered, I'd say the chance of at least one being scum of the earth worthy of assassination is 100%. Sure, he got murdered for all the wrong reasons, but nevertheless, the act of murdering this man is by your own definition good. Therefore, since we found one sinner among millions of innocents, the Holocaust did cause -something- good directly.

Sodom and Gomorrah in reverse!


Well played sir!

I made a logical fallacy and fell into a trap of my own devising. Will read the other topics in the intervening time but I thought you deserved a pat on the back.

Edit and repost 12/14/2007:

In isolation, murder is unethical according to my beliefs, because I am causing the end of another person, another person's will, what have you. If I believe that removing Hitler from the equation because he is actively trying to (even if he is not the one actually pulling the trigger) cause the death of millions of people, then that is not irresponsible. It's removing a potent and dangerous threat. And of course, this brings capital punishment into the discussion. It was premature of me to say that I would kill Hitler. I would imprison him, and not in the fancy, ridiculously expensive to maintain sort of prison we have today. Does he deserve to die for his actions is a question for another day, another thread (start a capital punishment thread, if you like.) Regardless: I would like to correct myself that in isolation, that is, if I were to grab a random person off the street who I know nothing about, whether he or she is a serial murderer, child rapist, or Mother Teresa, and end their life not knowing anything, without any reason at all, that would be an incredibly cruel act. If my life is threatened by serial killer and I must defend myself or risk dying, I would weight my life as more important to me than his, and I would probably regret having to kill to defend myself for a very long time. Would it be justified? Absolutely, but I could never be certain that there was no way out of it that allowed us both to live.

I hope this clarifies things, and again, well played on those quotes.

Reply to Yoni45:
yoni45 wrote:[lots of stuff here]

You're right on the typo, maybe if we repeal the second law of thermodynamics I'll turn out right! ;p

Now, you said that no cause is alone in creating an effect: true, insofar as we can no longer attribute to those things the word 'cause.' As I've said before, the buck stops where another person's will begins. By you thrusting your arms out, an action you chose, you killed them. It was not the staircase that killed him, but your action. You trace it back to the people who acted to cause something. Did you cause that person die because of you? Absolutely. The other causes are irrelevant, even if in a hypothetical universe you had pushed him into Munroe's private ball pit and he didn't die, we cannot say, "It was the exact situation he was in that killed him." It was you. It's irrelevant to me to say that the floor killed him, or the staircase he impacted his skull upon killed him, when it's rather clear to both of us that the only entity that acted to cause those circumstances was you.


Yoni45 thought experiment wrote:Murder is inherently bad - yes. Can something good 'follow from' murder? Sure, what if the person you just happened to murder was about to detonate a bomb that was to kill other civilians?

What you did is still murder - you didn't know he was going to do that. But the non-detonation of the bomb is still good, and it followed from that person's murder.


I elaborate on what I would do in those circumstances above, in my reply to Maurog.

Yoni45 wrote:Now, you're jumping all over the place between 'necessary' and 'sufficient' causes, when in fact, causes don't have to be either.
...
Over here, you're telling us that just because there can be a myriad of other circumstances in which said result can occur, that B's not really a cause of A. In other words, that just because B is not a necessary cause of A, then it's not really a cause of A.
...
In this example, all you're doing is showing that your cause is sufficient for your effect. That is, you don't need anything more. But in fact, your example actually fails the criteria set by your previous example. Why? Not because of the reasons you then cited (you can always let go of the match), but because of the fact that it is not necessary for you to light a match and hold it indefinitely to burn your fingers. There are a 'myriad of other circumstances' by which you can burn your fingers.

I'd like to say that this is contrary to my own views. A cause must be necessary and sufficient to produce an effect, otherwise we can attribute to anything any cause. The actions of other entities, people, animals, anything more intelligent than a rock or the bacteria on our skin tends to complicate things.

I think the above quotes pretty well show that you mischaracterize my argument to the point of absurdity. I create hypothetical thought experiment to demonstrate that cause is dependent on will, and that only within 'meta-events,' descriptions of real things that leave out certain details and free will, can you attribute cause to non-willed things. If I am an idiot and don't properly check that the stove is hot before touching it, then I am causing my own burn. If I hold a match until it burns my fingers, I cause my own burn. The meta-level description that we commonly use to describe things is, "If, excepting my own stupidity, I hold a lit match indefinitely, it will cause my fingers to be burnt." The Holocaust is just the murder of millions of people. The Holocaust does not describe the people who escaped, the people who survived, the people who risked their lives to save others.


God... epic argumentative failure. This is why I don't like your teeny little quote-you-to-death strategy. Belial, this is ridiculous, he quotes this, "I say, if you can't show that B will always cause A, that is, if I light a match and hold it indefinitely, my fingers will become burnt (assuming identical, flawless, perfectly rigid and/or frictionless matches, etc.)" and says, "AHA! But there's more than one way to skin a cat burn a finger! Silly Anpheus, your thought experiment to demonstrate that only if we create these descriptive, absent-of-free-will thought experiments can we attribute causes to things that aren't people or things that possess thought has failed miserably! If you put your hand on the stove it will burn your finger as well, what say you to that?!"

Come on, I was trying to get you to realize that the match burns my fingers because we're ignoring free will in one of those meta-level descriptions of events that are often confused with actual reality and that the key is we need to separate those from reality in order to start drawing conclusions. As a meta-level description you can say the Holocaust caused this or that, but you're already assuming there's no free will involved. As far as reality goes, the Holocaust happened, and the definition is the events that occurred over the course of several years that caused millions of deaths. If people chose to act good in those circumstances, damn good for them. But that doesn't mean the Holocaust in any way caused them to act good!
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Re: How do the Jews and other Christians explain the holocaust

Postby yoni45 » Sat Dec 15, 2007 7:58 am UTC

Anpheus wrote:You're right on the typo, maybe if we repeal the second law of thermodynamics I'll turn out right! ;p

Now, you said that no cause is alone in creating an effect: true, insofar as we can no longer attribute to those things the word 'cause.' As I've said before, the buck stops where another person's will begins. By you thrusting your arms out, an action you chose, you killed them. It was not the staircase that killed him, but your action. You trace it back to the people who acted to cause something. Did you cause that person die because of you? Absolutely. The other causes are irrelevant, even if in a hypothetical universe you had pushed him into Munroe's private ball pit and he didn't die, we cannot say, "It was the exact situation he was in that killed him." It was you. It's irrelevant to me to say that the floor killed him, or the staircase he impacted his skull upon killed him, when it's rather clear to both of us that the only entity that acted to cause those circumstances was you.


Why would you assume the other causes are irrelevant? You don't get to pick and choose which causes are and aren't relevant so that only those you want to work are the ones that end up being considered causes.

You've provided to us the definition of a cause: something from which something else follows.

Did that person's death follow from the thrust of my hands? Yes.
Did that person's death also follow from the placement of the staircase? Also yes.

Let's fast forward to your later post:

"A cause must be necessary and sufficient to produce an effect..." - Anpheus

Yet, you claimed that my thrusting of the hands forward was a cause of that person's death. In fact, the thrusting of my hands is neither necessary nor sufficient for that person's death.

It is not necessary for that person's death because it is not required for me to thrust my hands forward to cause his death (he could die for a myriad of other reasons).

Furthermore, it is also not sufficient for that person's death, because simply pushing him is not enough to kill him. You would also need a staircase and a whole set of circumstances to kill him with a simple push.

By your logic, me thrusting my hands forward in this scenario does not cause that person's death. This applies to your other two scenarios as well (stove and match scenarios are both sufficient - not necessary).

So far, you've provided us with 2 (actual) criteria for what makes a cause - under the first, we can easily show that events that are good can follow from the holocaust. The 2nd set of criteria, on the other hand, tends to have rather ridiculous results when applied to various circumstances (ie, it's largely invalid).

So at this point, I guess it's either adjust (or add) to your definition of cause, or show why your original definition still sticks (your addendum to it definitely doesn't).

Anpheus wrote:God... epic argumentative failure. This is why I don't like your teeny little quote-you-to-death strategy. Belial, this is ridiculous, he quotes this, "I say, if you can't show that B will always cause A, that is, if I light a match and hold it indefinitely, my fingers will become burnt (assuming identical, flawless, perfectly rigid and/or frictionless matches, etc.)" and says, "AHA! But there's more than one way to skin a cat burn a finger! Silly Anpheus, your thought experiment to demonstrate that only if we create these descriptive, absent-of-free-will thought experiments can we attribute causes to things that aren't people or things that possess thought has failed miserably! If you put your hand on the stove it will burn your finger as well, what say you to that?!"


I must say - I find it rather amusing that you start whining (again) over me quoting you selectively, while at the same time, you're the one who creates (yet again) a straw-man of my case.

What you seem to have (conveniently) failed to note in presenting my case, is the fact that you claimed a cause must be necessary to be considered a cause. Considering that, my rebuttal, which shows that the event which you claim to be a cause is not really necessary (and therefore not really a cause by your logic), makes perfect sense.
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Re: How do the Jews and other Christians explain the holocaust

Postby Anpheus » Sat Dec 15, 2007 9:10 am UTC

Again, we have to start abstracting away free will here in order to reduce causes, and unless you're willing to concede that people cause things to happen, and that circumstances be damned, people still have a choice to do good or evil, this argument isn't going to go anywhere.

You have to understand free will (pretty please post in the free will topic about this!) before you can start saying willy-nilly that the staircase caused his brain to go kersplat. Sure, the staircase would have to be in just the rightwrong place, and the cement of just the right softness to not cushion his fall in the way his cranium would have preferred, were it asked for its opinion. But you're taking the narrow perspective here, and you really need to zoom out, literally you need to examine things further back in the light cone until you get to something you can't readily explain. In this case, well, why is he falling down a staircase at a velocity that will almost surely end his life? Ahah! There was an arm thrust out approximately two seconds ago that caused him to fall. So when the family sues you, are they going to call for the execution of your arm? No, we need to zoom out further. AH! There we are, a person on the other side of the arm, through a series of complex chemical reactions caused a chain of events leading to the arm being thrust out, leading to the person falling at great speed, leading to that abrupt acceleration near the end where his speed rapidly approached zero along with his heart's and then was declared clinically dead upon the arrival of the paramedics. Why do we stop zooming out at the 'your head' level, and not keep going? Because your brain is so fscking complex that even if we could map your brain at the molecular level and created images of it every millisecond to compare against previous images, we would not be able to determine with any degree of accuracy which previous thing was the most significant reason for you acting the way you did, pushing that poor man down the rigid staircase.

To reply to you again saying my stove/match scenarios are wrong, you're completely ignoring the fact that in terms of every-day speech, "cause and effect" mean something other than what they really are. In a common every day scenario, "If I hold a lit match indefinitely, my fingers will be burnt."
Syllogisms follow:
I am holding lit match until it goes out. (No semantic trickery, I'm not wearing gloves, I'm holding it with the tips of my fingers, etc.)
Lit matches have a fire that goes from the tip to the base.
Conclusion: The fire will reach my fingers.

I hold a lit match until it goes out.
Fire burns fingers.
Conclusion: From the previous conclusion, we know the fire will reach my fingers, and that the fire will burn my fingers. Hence, the match will burn my fingers.

How is the match burning thing necessary and sufficient? Well, our conclusion is the match will burn my fingers. If I... were to instead place my fingers on a hot plate, would my fingers still be burnt? Yes. So how is it still necessary? Because I'm holding the match as per the first major premise in the syllogism. I'm not holding a hot piece of metal. The necessity is defined by the fact that we're describing those meta-level phenomena which you refuse to even accept the existence of, it appears. The major premise is that I hold a match until it goes out. Not that I'm doing anything else. There's no trickery here, dammit! Please stop trying to read between the lines there. We're talking about a hypothetical situation, in which I hold a lit match (<-- important bit) with my poor, exposed flesh and it ends up burning me. It is necessary that I be holding the match in this hypothetical scenario in order for the match to cause my burn. It is necessary that the match be lit. In fact, all the 'necessary' bits rely on properties of the match and the chemistry that causes the fire. Since we're not debating chemistry here, the important bit is that it's necessary for me to hold a lit match for it to burn my fingers. Complete fscking hypothetical, ok? We're not allowing any other initial conditions. The only conditions I'm saying exist are the ones I explicitly say exist. P is "My fingers were burnt by the match" and Q is "The match is lit until it goes out." The definition of a necessary condition is one such that Q -> P. We've proved that. The definition of a sufficient condition is one such that P -> Q, we can show that thanks to chemistry, the match must have been lit (or in some way very hot) in order to have caused a burn. There was no word trickery involved, in this hypothetical I did not pick up a 140 degree Fahrenheit match, the match was not just-put-out, the match was not on a burning countertop or a hot stove.

Problem is, it's still a hypothetical. God... dammit, I still can't get you to see that and it irks me. The hypotheticals posed in real life are always laced with problems that don't crop up until critically examined, so let's start critically examining the difference between actual, real causation, and what you think causation is.

And, again...
I've said, over and over, regardless of how traumatic and powerful the effect the Holocaust had on people, they still had a choice, they still chose to do what they wanted to do. If they chose to do good things, devote their life to good work, I say good for them. I congratulate them, I even envy them a little, for I could not so easily devote my life to such good things, and I would hope I have the constitution to do so if such a thing were to happen, but I do not know for certain. But I think it is rude to say that they do good things because of the Holocaust. What? They didn't decide to be good people? Aren't... what? Are you going to say the Holocaust is responsible for them being strong-willed, independent individuals with a great deal of respect for the humanity in each of us? You're going to say that they only did those things because of the Holocaust?
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Re: How do the Jews and other Christians explain the holocaust

Postby yoni45 » Sat Dec 15, 2007 9:31 am UTC

Anpheus wrote:Again, we have to start abstracting away free will here in order to reduce causes, and unless you're willing to concede that people cause things to happen, and that circumstances be damned, people still have a choice to do good or evil, this argument isn't going to go anywhere


But that isn't the point - granted, people have the choice to do good or evil. That's doesn't change anything: various actions or events can still influence (and thus, be causes of) said choices.

Anpheus wrote:But you have to understand free will (pretty please post in the free will topic about this!) before you can start saying willy-nilly that the staircase caused his brain to go kersplat. Sure, the staircase would have to be in just the rightwrong place, and the cement of just the right softness to not cushion his fall in the way his cranium would have preferred, were it asked for its opinion. But you're taking the narrow perspective here, and you really need to zoom out, literally you need to examine things further back in the light cone until you get to something you can't readily explain. In this case, well, why is he falling down a staircase at a velocity that will almost surely end his life? Ahah!


Here's the thing though: I'm not taking the 'narrow' perspective - I'm simply taking every perspective. I do not deny that in this scenario, I would be a cause of his death - that's a given.

You can ask 'why is he falling down a staircase at a velocity that will almost surely end his life(given a certain set of circumstances)?', to which the answer would be because I pushed him.

You can also ask: 'why does my pushing him create a situation in which his life will likely end?', to which the answer would be because there is a staircase there, built of material that is hard enough to cause significant trauma to his head.

You're absolutely right on that point: you cannot take a 'narrow' perspective; you must take into account all causes that led to his death...

Anpheus wrote:So when the family sues you...


This is likely a non-issue (probably not used as such in your example), but I just want to preempt it in case it becomes one: legal responsibility is not a measure of 'cause' - it is a measure of a person's contract with society and other persons, and their breach of said contract.

Anpheus wrote:I've said, over and over, regardless of how traumatic and powerful the effect the Holocaust had on people, they still had a choice, they still chose to do what they wanted to do. If they chose to do good things, devote their life to good work, I say good for them. I congratulate them, I even envy them a little, for I could not so easily devote my life to such good things, and I would hope I have the constitution to do so if such a thing were to happen, but I do not know for certain. But I think it is rude to say that they do good things because of the Holocaust. What? They didn't decide to be good people? Aren't... what? Are you going to say the Holocaust is responsible for them being strong-willed, independent individuals with a great deal of respect for the humanity in each of us? You're going to say that they only did those things because of the Holocaust?


Possibly? Yes.

People do not act in a vacuum - there are causes for each action undertaken by an individual. Some of these causes are internal, some of these causes are external. Influence of the holocaust can be such an external cause.

It is no more rude to admit this than to admit that an influential speaker, teacher, professor, salesman, traumatic or joyous experience, preaching, etc. might have an impact on an individual - that is, be a cause of at least some of that individuals later actions.
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Re: How do the Jews and other Christians explain the holocaust

Postby Anpheus » Sat Dec 15, 2007 9:50 am UTC

I apologize Yoni45, I have this terrible habit of posting, revising, revising, revising, and it can sometimes take 10 minutes before I'm satisfied with my argument. I don't use the preview function as much as I should and so I'm going to have to point out my post is now different than it was when you posted.

Edit: And I'd just like to remind you again, what most people refer to in English when talking about causes is laced with enormous error and is not an actual measure of cause. The reason I stop at the first free will(s) I encounter going back temporally to determine a cause is because people are so inordinately complex we can no more assuredly say that a public speaker caused someone's success in life as any of the other things that happen to them on a day to day basis. The public speaker was sufficient but not necessary, and we can't speak of "necessary" things when we start talking about your brain because of it's damned complexity. We don't know what is/is not necessary for you to do something, and there's no way to prove it! Whereas if I were talking about a rock, or a gun, or the bullet coming out of that gun... necessary and sufficient here we go! And we just follow that back until we can no longer do so. Which happens to be right where I stop: the first willed, complex entity. Sometimes it'll be something completely strange, like... what causes a projector's belt mechanism at work to fail suddenly? The mechanical stresses involved are complex, impossible for me to work out, and I am inadequately equipped to tell you the necessary and sufficient reasons for the belt mechanism's slow degradation. I can use some handwaving and start saying friction or I can admit I don't really know what causes one belt to wear out much faster than all the others and start squeaking. The actual cause likely lies in a manufacturing defect I will not be able to trace, maybe a lack of quality control, eventually I'd get to a person. If we replace the belt mechanism metaphor with a car brakes metaphor, we have a potentially dangerous situation in which it's difficult to attribute a cause to. If your car brakes suddenly cease functioning without warning you are quite dangerous, and while there is a limited amount of work you can do to avoid calamity, good luck... My belief is that we attribute cause to whatever 'prime cause' we can no longer come up with adequate explanations for. Our goal should always be to reduce the number of times we have to do that (hooray science! it works, bitches!) but inevitably, when we can no longer work out actual causes, we have to say, well, this is the best cause we've got.

If you believe in free will, you have to believe that you can't attribute necessary and sufficient cause to a person's actions. Sufficient is easy, necessary is much harder. Obviously the set of all things that happened before a person does something is sufficient to make a person do that something... But can you even begin to describe what is necessary?
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Re: How do the Jews and other Christians explain the holocaust

Postby Malice » Sat Dec 15, 2007 1:22 pm UTC

Anpheus wrote:Edit: And I'd just like to remind you again, what most people refer to in English when talking about causes is laced with enormous error and is not an actual measure of cause. The reason I stop at the first free will(s) I encounter going back temporally to determine a cause is because people are so inordinately complex we can no more assuredly say that a public speaker caused someone's success in life as any of the other things that happen to them on a day to day basis.


No more, yes. But no less.

You can throw up your hands and say, "Only people cause things," but that's a definition of "cause" which is unnecessarily specific. The only demonstration you have made to suggest that this specificity is necessary is to say, "Well, we aren't smart enough to know any other cause for sure."

First of all, that won't fly for the reason stated above; you can't say for sure that A didn't cause B, so it's possible.

Second of all, that won't fly because you can't know that a person's free will caused something, either. Is it correct to say that Hitler caused the Holocaust? Is it correct to say that the people who carried out his orders caused it (after all, they had the choice to follow or not)? Is it correct to say that the Jews caused it by not fighting back? Is it correct to say that England caused it by pushing for the punitive WWI fines which threw Germany's economy into the shitter, which led to fear and confusion in the populace, which allowed Hitler to come to power, who ordered the Holocaust? Is Hitler's mother the cause, for having him, or not raising him properly? Is the cause of the Holocaust the bad sandwich Hitler may have had the day he decided the Jews needed to go? Is it the cause of the bullet that hit him when he was a soldier in WWI, or is it the cause of the bullets that missed?

By your logic, nothing has a cause, and nothing is caused by anything. At that point, the word "cause" ceases to have meaning, and it is time to find it a new definition based on probabilities and not absolutes.
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Re: How do the Jews and other Christians explain the holocaust

Postby yoni45 » Sat Dec 15, 2007 9:48 pm UTC

Anpheus wrote:I apologize Yoni45, I have this terrible habit of posting, revising, revising, revising, and it can sometimes take 10 minutes before I'm satisfied with my argument. I don't use the preview function as much as I should and so I'm going to have to point out my post is now different than it was when you posted.


That's fine, I often do that myself.

To respond to your addition, this is essentially where there's an issue with your argument:

Anpheus wrote:Since we're not debating chemistry here, the important bit is that it's necessary for me to hold a lit match for it to burn my fingers.


If you pre-suppose that the effect in question is that the match burns your fingers, then that's a different story than the effect being your fingers being burnt. Arguably, even that's not necessary for the effect to occur, as there is probably more than one way in which a match can burn your fingers without being lit (use your imagination ;) )

But in any case, you're adjusting the effects so that they perfectly fit within your theory.

Even if we assume that holding a lit match is both necessary and sufficient for the match to burn your fingers - that doesn't resolve the inherent issue with your criteria. That's because by your criteria, the lit match is still not a cause of you (just) burning your fingers, as it's not necessary for that effect (that is, if we don't pre-suppose the match itself burning your fingers into the effect).

Or back to my pushing-down-the-stairs scenario, me thursting forward my hands cannot be said to be a cause of that person's death by that criteria, since the thrusting of my hands is neither necessary nor sufficient for the effect of his death.

Anpheus wrote:Edit: And I'd just like to remind you again, what most people refer to in English when talking about causes is laced with enormous error and is not an actual measure of cause. The reason I stop at the first free will(s) I encounter going back temporally to determine a cause is because people are so inordinately complex we can no more assuredly say that a public speaker caused someone's success in life as any of the other things that happen to them on a day to day basis. The public speaker was sufficient but not necessary, and we can't speak of "necessary" things when we start talking about your brain because of it's damned complexity. We don't know what is/is not necessary for you to do something, and there's no way to prove it!


First off, if you believe what 'most' people refer to as causes is in error, then I'd still like to see your improved definition of the word. Unless of course, it's what you've already provided (which is mostly in line with what 'most' people consider to be a cause).

And again, the fact that we might not be able to assuredly connect a public speaker to someone's success in life, has absolutely no bearing on this argument. You've been repeating it countless times, it's been responded to countless times, and you've kept on repeating it as if nothing had changed.

This argument is about whether or not said public speaker can somehow influence someone's actions - not whether or not we know that said words definitively did.
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Re: How do the Jews and other Christians explain the holocaust

Postby Anpheus » Sun Dec 16, 2007 12:44 am UTC

yoni45 wrote:If you pre-suppose that the effect in question is that the match burns your fingers, then that's a different story than the effect being your fingers being burnt. Arguably, even that's not necessary for the effect to occur, as there is probably more than one way in which a match can burn your fingers without being lit (use your imagination ;) )

I want you to know I literally sighed out loud, exclaiming "god I hate your style of posting and reading my posts."

You don't take CONTEXT into account. You don't reply to anything except particular tidbits you read and fail to see anything else. I demonstrated according to the definition of necessary and sufficient conditions what 'caused' my hand to burn. It was a two-step process: I have to accept that fire burns fingers, and that a lit match will eventually burn from one end to the other. From that, I can conclude: the lit match burned my fingers.

Now, here's where I get so, totally pissed off at your style of posting, and I actually have a REALLY great example to prove to you that you don't read my posts or take the whole context into account:

Anpheus wrote:There was no word trickery involved, in this hypothetical I did not pick up a 140 degree Fahrenheit match, the match was not just-put-out, the match was not on a burning countertop or a hot stove.
Read yours again:
yoni45 wrote:Arguably, even that's not necessary for the effect to occur, as there is probably more than one way in which a match can burn your fingers without being lit (use your imagination ;) )
Read mine again:
Anpheus wrote:There was no word trickery involved, in this hypothetical I did not pick up a 140 degree Fahrenheit match, the match was not just-put-out, the match was not on a burning countertop or a hot stove.


DO YOU SEE IT YET? HOW PAINFULLY OBVIOUS MUST I MAKE IT?

Or back to my pushing-down-the-stairs scenario, me thursting forward my hands cannot be said to be a cause of that person's death by that criteria, since the thrusting of my hands is neither necessary nor sufficient for the effect of his death.

It absolutely is!

Watch:

Necessary for his death: You pushing your arms out to push him into the stairwell (that's what actually happened.)
Sufficient for his death: Any of a huge variety of things.

In order to show it was caused by you, we have to prove this is necessary and sufficient:
P is "A force causes someone to fall down a stair case."
Q is "That person dies due to trauma impacting one of the stairs, the combined steps, etc. Essentially: the impacts with the stair case kill him."

Q -> P, is this true? That is, is there any situation in which dying of massive head trauma after falling down a stair case does not imply that some sort of force, be it the guy tripping, or being pushed... etc? Can you fall down a staircase without any sort of force involved? No. There has to be some sort of deliberate or accidental event that causes gravity to have its way with his skull. P -> Q, is this true? Is pushing someone down a staircase sufficient to cause his death? Yes. There are many sufficient causes. I used a general term 'force' because that's really the one true sufficient cause here, some physical force has to be involved. Whether that means he put his weight wrong, or slipped and fell, or whatever.

Ok, so we can establish that some force is necessary. Did he trip? No. Did he slip and fall? No. Did someone push him? Yes. Our hypothetical scenario is that you pushed him down a stair case and he later died. Your push is necessary to cause his death, and by the statement of our hypothetical situation, there was no other force involved, and his death is sufficient to explain that there was some force involved, even if purely accidental.
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Re: How do the Jews and other Christians explain the holocaust

Postby yoni45 » Sun Dec 16, 2007 2:25 am UTC

Anpheus wrote:You don't take CONTEXT into account.


You know what's rather interesting? When you take my words out of context, I provide you with a clear-cut example of you doing so. I show you what I said, I show you what you said, and I showed you what context you left out that would make your rebuttal rather useless.

You seem to just constantly whine about people taking your words out of context.

Anpheus wrote:Now, here's where I get so, totally pissed off at your style of posting, and I actually have a REALLY great example to prove to you that you don't read my posts or take the whole context into account:

Anpheus wrote:There was no word trickery involved, in this hypothetical I did not pick up a 140 degree Fahrenheit match, the match was not just-put-out, the match was not on a burning countertop or a hot stove.
Read yours again:
yoni45 wrote:Arguably, even that's not necessary for the effect to occur, as there is probably more than one way in which a match can burn your fingers without being lit (use your imagination ;) )
Read mine again:
Anpheus wrote:There was no word trickery involved, in this hypothetical I did not pick up a 140 degree Fahrenheit match, the match was not just-put-out, the match was not on a burning countertop or a hot stove.


Now, read mine again:

Yoni45 wrote:Arguably...

...But in any case...

Even if we assume...


You know what that's called? Taking things out of context. I clearly stated that what you're getting all hysterical is simply an aside - I allowed the argument to progress assuming it had no relevance. Way to go.

Now, moving to the actual argument (your ranting seems to be taking more and more room with each post):

Anpheus wrote:It absolutely is!

Watch:

Necessary for his death: You pushing your arms out to push him into the stairwell (that's what actually happened.)
Sufficient for his death: Any of a huge variety of things.

In order to show it was caused by you, we have to prove this is necessary and sufficient:
P is "A force causes someone to fall down a stair case."
Q is "That person dies due to trauma impacting one of the stairs, the combined steps, etc. Essentially: the impacts with the stair case kill him."


No Anpheus - there is a perceived cause, and a perceived effect:

The cause is my thrusting of my arms, the effect is that person's death. Period. Nothing more than that - you don't get to expand either one to fit your narrow definition of a cause.

Was the thrusting of the hands necessary for the person's death? No. I'm assuming you know what the definition of 'necessary' means - but if that person can die without the thrusting of my hands, then that means that said thrusting is not necessary.

Was the thrusting of the hands sufficient for the person's death? Also no. I'm also assuming that you know what the definition of 'sufficient' means - but if the thrusting of my hands, on its own does not result in a person's death, then the thrusting of my hands is not sufficient.

By your logic, the thrusting of my hands (cause) is not a cause of that person's death (effect).
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Re: How do the Jews and other Christians explain the holocaust

Postby The Great Hippo » Sun Dec 16, 2007 3:48 am UTC

I know this is the equivalent of pissing on a fire in a refinery plant, but I'd like to humbly point out that morality is utterly and miserably subjective, and attempting to quantify something 'good' coming out of the Holocaust through a cause-and-effect argument is an effort of semantics.

Again, if you're creative and you have the right moral system behind you, it's very easy to pull something good out of the Holocaust. If you have the right moral system, it's possible to pull something good out of anything. The more important question is not whether you can but whether you should.

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Re: How do the Jews and other Christians explain the holocaust

Postby zar » Sun Dec 16, 2007 5:22 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:I know this is the equivalent of pissing on a fire in a refinery plant, but I'd like to humbly point out that morality is utterly and miserably subjective, and attempting to quantify something 'good' coming out of the Holocaust through a cause-and-effect argument is an effort of semantics.

Really, you don't think that any objective moral claims can be made? Do you then think that the claim that the holocaust as a whole was bad is just as legitimate as claim that it was good; that it's only a "subjective" claim that we ought not send millions to death camps?

If you want to argue for moral relativism, this is probably the worst topic you could have chosen to make your case. But, I'm all ears if you want to explain to me how the Nazis who were slaughtering Jews are objectively on equal moral footing with those fighting against them.

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Re: How do the Jews and other Christians explain the holocaust

Postby The Great Hippo » Sun Dec 16, 2007 5:44 am UTC

Well, yeah. Of course no objective morality claims can be made. I kind of thought that was an assumption we were all ready operating under; unless you have strong religious beliefs, there's nothing ontologically good or evil about the Holocaust--there's nothing ontologically good or evil about anything. We define the Holocaust and genocide in general as a 'universal evil' because we need points of reference that we can all agree on so even if we're not on the same page, we're at least in the same book when it comes to our standards of morality. It works as a good identifier (if you believe the Holocaust wasn't an evil act, chances are your code of morality isn't going to be compatible with mine).

I mean, the only way you can even start to make any sort of claims concerning objective morality is if you're starting with the assumption that religion got it right. And then we're still in that subjective quagmire, because now we need to figure out which religion got it right and whether or not your interpretation of that religion's moral code fits with my interpretation.

So, uh, yeah. I kind of hoped that the fact that morality is always a subjective quagmire would go without saying. My bad if this isn't the case? D:


Oh, just one quick fix--

zar wrote:If you want to argue for moral relativism, this is probably the worst topic you could have chosen to make your case. But, I'm all ears if you want to explain to me how the Nazis who were slaughtering Jews are objectively on equal moral footing with those fighting against them.


Morality disappears in a puff of smoke when you talk about objective reality (again, good and evil are descriptors we use; much like 'this is delicious' or 'this is ugly'). So, objectively, there is no morality to be on equal footing with. It'd be like saying that because I believe there is nothing ontologically delicious about ice-cream, I believe that ice-cream and dog poo are equally delicious. No, I posit that neither are delicious; delicious is a descriptor I use so I have a frame of reference with which to discuss them with you in the context of our society. I say something is 'delicious', but I always have the understanding that--objectively--delicious is just a subjective descriptor.

Same with morality!

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Re: How do the Jews and other Christians explain the holocaust

Postby Anpheus » Sun Dec 16, 2007 11:46 am UTC

You made a snide remark telling me to use my imagination when I very fucking clearly did. Reporting your post to a moderator, though I am glad you're finally quoting larger chunks of text than before, it's still really quite annoying.

yoni45 wrote:The cause is my thrusting of my arms, the effect is that person's death. Period. Nothing more than that - you don't get to expand either one to fit your narrow definition of a cause.

WHOA! You, you said it! You pushing out your arms caused his death! Thanks! We agree! Oh... wait. *sigh* You don't. You agree you caused his death but you disagree that you caused his death, using a slightly better definition of the word cause.

yoni45 wrote:Was the thrusting of the hands necessary for the person's death? No. I'm assuming you know what the definition of 'necessary' means - but if that person can die without the thrusting of my hands, then that means that said thrusting is not necessary.

Was the thrusting of the hands sufficient for the person's death? Also no. I'm also assuming that you know what the definition of 'sufficient' means - but if the thrusting of my hands, on its own does not result in a person's death, then the thrusting of my hands is not sufficient.

I don't like how your argument consists entirely of handwaving, and how I have to actually write up all these fscking examples of necessary and sufficient conditions. You don't understand cause and effect at all from what you've argued, you think necessary and sufficient conditions is just some theory I made up, and you persist in arguing about the "definition" of necessary and the "definition" of sufficiency, when what you're using is Merriam-Webster and what I'm using is the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Your definition of various terms is vague, intentionally, as you refuse to acknowledge any inquiry into stronger definitions of causation, necessity or sufficiency. You're refusing to analyze, in depth, cause and effect, or give any sort of systematic treatment to the words we'll use to describe it. Case in point, cause and effect is typically chained together, not just an instantaneous thing like you seem to suggest in the above quote. When I say "A butterfly caused a hurricane across the world," I don't mean the butterfly literally flapped its wings and at the exact same instant a hurricane formed across the world, I mean, the butterfly's wings caused a series of cause/effect relationships that presumably end in a hurricane, possibly much later. Likewise, you thrusting your hands out forward may not directly, instantly cause his death. That is correct. Someone dying does not necessitate that you thrust your arms out, and you thrusting your arms out is not always sufficient to cause someone's death. However, in this specific case, we can show that had you not thrust your arms out (or more correctly, had you not pushed them in some way,) they would not have died from falling (necessity) and that you thrusting your arms out or even kicking them down the stair case, or a variety of other ways of pushing, would be sufficient to cause them to die. The actual cause-effect relationship is lengthy, so I'll try and use a short three part one below. The actual one would clarify that they would fall in the way they did only if pushed in their back, that the push in their back could only have been your arms, etc. You can go as in depth as you like.

A person falls (as opposed to trips) if and only if some force is applied to them.
(This is phrased in 'Q -> P' form. The 'P -> Q' form is, applying force to someone causes them to fall.)
Necessary by definition is determining whether Q -> P is true. I am not allowing 'tripping,' 'slipping,' or anything other than some external force. If they fell of their own accord, it is not covered by this statement. If someone falls, not of their own accord, it implies that something pushed upon them. Some equal and opposite force was involved which they hit, and it hit them.
Sufficiency by definition is determining whether P -> Q is true. Is applying force to someone sufficient to cause them to fall down? Yes.

A person receives injury if and only if the impact is significant enough to cause damage.
(That is in 'Q -> P' form. 'P -> Q' form is, an impact significant enough to cause damage causes them to become injured.)
Necessary (Q -> P =? true:) Injury implies some sort of force upon the body. This is virtually the definition of an injury: physical damage to the body, an altered state in which one feels injured.
Sufficiency (P -> Q =? true:) Does a significant force cause injury? I don't know, practice with something sharp some day.

The next bit is a bit hard. We have to define clinical death as an effect of significant injury... This next bit hinges upon, do you think stopping the heart and lungs is a form of injury? If so, then we're good. If not... we'll talk. Just quote this line of text and I'll work with you on it.

A person dies if and only if their injuries are significant enough.
(That's 'Q -> P,' the 'P -> Q' is, significant enough injuries cause death.)
Is it necessary (Q -> P:) Yes, clinical death is the cessation of any sign of life, the heart has stopped, the lungs are not operating. If you're still reading, you agree that the heart stopping is a form of injury, that a heart attack is a form of injury, even if self inflicted, it is usually caused by and causes significant damage to the cardiovascular system.
Is it sufficient (P -> Q:) Yes, if I shoot you, the injury is usually sufficient to end your life. A significant injury is one that is sufficient to cause your life to end. We are merely affirming the consequence of significant injury and clarifying what we mean here, significant injuries are ones that happen to cause your death.

Your significant push -> them falling -> them hitting the staircase with sufficient impact -> them becoming injured -> them dying.
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Re: How do the Jews and other Christians explain the holocaust

Postby yoni45 » Sun Dec 16, 2007 9:08 pm UTC

Anpheus wrote:You made a snide remark telling me to use my imagination when I very fucking clearly did. Reporting your post to a moderator...


Haha, we know how far that went last time... ;)

Anpheus wrote:I don't like how your argument consists entirely of handwaving, and how I have to actually write up all these fscking examples of necessary and sufficient conditions.


The fact that you have to make up all these irrelevant examples in order to make your point says all that needs be said about your position.

Again: you do not get to pick and choose what causes and effects in question are in this case. There is 1 cause in question, and 1 effect in question.

Cause: I thrust forward my hands.
Effect: Person dies.

Anpheus wrote:...and you persist in arguing about the "definition" of necessary and the "definition" of sufficiency, when what you're using is Merriam-Webster and what I'm using is the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Your definition of various terms is vague, intentionally, as you refuse to acknowledge any inquiry into stronger definitions of causation, necessity or sufficiency...


First of all - you have yet to provide any flaws to the Webster's definition.

Second - the page you cited doesn't actually have a concrete definition of the two words - it simply discusses their interrelation with each other (this is while labeling my definition vague - hah).

Fortunately, however, that webpage does cite another one regarding the basic concepts of the two words (which it seems you have yet to cover) - in which it does define the two words. You can find it here:

http://www.sfu.ca/philosophy/swartz/conditions1.htm

Now, I didn't think we'd really have to go over the actual definitions of the two words, but unfortunately, it seems that we do.

Let's just make sure we're on track by the way. Our cause is the thrusting of my hands, our effect is the death of an individual.

Definition of Necessary wrote:A condition A is said to be necessary for a condition B, if (and only if) the falsity (/nonexistence /non-occurrence) [as the case may be] of A guarantees (or brings about) the falsity (/nonexistence /non-occurrence) of B.


Now, does the falsity of the thrusting of my hands guarantee the falsity of the death of that individual?

That is, if I didn't thrust my hands, does that guarantee that the individual would not die?

No, it does not. The person could have slipped, he could have been shot, he could have been terminally ill, he could have had a heart attack, a bulldozer could have destroyed the building and effectively killed us all, etc.

Therefore, the thrusting of my hands is not necessary to that person's death.

Moving on:

Definition of Sufficient wrote:A condition A is said to be sufficient for a condition B, if (and only if) the truth (/existence /occurrence) [as the case may be] of A guarantees (or brings about) the truth (/existence /occurrence) of B.


Now, does the truth of me thrusting forward my hands guarantee the truth of that person's death?

Also no. If I thrust forward my hands and the person isn't even in front of them, then it wouldn't affect him much, let alone guarantee to kill him. If he was standing infront of an open grassy field, or a wall, a simple thrust would be unlikely to kill him, let alone guarantee his death. Heck, even if he was standing in front of a staircase, and he fell down the staircase, even that wouldn't guarantee his death.

Therefore, the thrusting of my hands is not not sufficient for that person's death.

-------

Edit (well, addendum):

I guess it wouldn't be completely fair for me to outline why I'm right without outlining why you're wrong, so here goes:

Anpheus wrote:A person falls (as opposed to trips) if and only if some force is applied to them.
(This is phrased in 'Q -> P' form. The 'P -> Q' form is, applying force to someone causes them to fall.)
Necessary by definition is determining whether Q -> P is true...


First of all, you're already adjusting the cause - the cause is 'me thrusting my hands forward', not 'me thrusting my hands forward against another person'. You have yet to show that me thrusting my hands forward will necessarily result in pushing a person.

Furthermore, that's also fundamentally flawed, on more than one point. Your original statement essentially makes 2 points:

A person falls (as opposed to trips) if some force is applied to them.
A person falls (as opposed to trips) only if some force is applied to them.

While in fact, neither is necessarily true:

1. A fall is not 'opposed' to a trip. A fall is a potential effect of a trip (as well as of other things). In other words, a person can fall without force being applied to them by doing exactly that: by tripping, which causes a fall. In other words, a person does not fall 'only if' some force is applied to them.

2. A person also does not necessarily fall if some force is applied to them - a person can absorb the force without losing balance. In other words, a person also does not (necessarily) fall 'if' some force is applied to them.

Which basically means that the entire statement is flawed. 'A person falls if and only if some force is applied to them' - that's simply not true, on neither the 'if', nor the 'only if'.

While there's still a number of logical holes in your chain of events (jumping from a fall to significant damage to cause injury, to significant damage to cause death - jumps that are completely unwarranted), I won't bother touching those too extensively for now.
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Re: How do the Jews and other Christians explain the holocaust

Postby Anpheus » Mon Dec 17, 2007 12:41 am UTC

More handwaving and disputing accepted terms in philosophy, please.

Seriously, this is pathetic. I don't get to pick and choose what causes? The list of causes is virtually infinite. We can go down to the molecular level with causation and I'd have to write a thousand million million pages or so before I had adequately explored why your push caused that death. Of particular importance are those epiphenomena that we describe the world in terms of. Virtually every descriptive term people use is a simplification of reality, and the reason is obvious: we do not possess electron microscopes for eyes.

You said that it is impossible to demonstrate necessary and sufficient conditions for the death to be caused by the thrusting of your hands:

Yoni45 wrote:Cause: I thrust forward my hands.
Effect: Person dies.


Really? Is that all that happened? You pushed something, and someone spontaneously died? Can you explain that scientifically? I doubt you can. I can guarantee, in fact, that there was some intervening time in which other causal things occurred between when your hands were thrust forward and when they died. You could create a chain of said events based on how abstract you wanted to go, but the idea of 'death' is itself an epiphenomena, a metaphor we use to better understand our world. Modern science keeps redefining 'death' but I doubt you'd particularly enjoy having to write a causal chain description of what 'death' is, would you?

You can't have it both ways, you can't have everything describable with a single, terse statement of causation and nitpick me on the lack of details. If I could write up a list of causes-effects measured by the planck scale using purely physical reactions to prove you wrong, I would. Except as I said, it would take thousands of millions of millions of pages before I even expressed anything remotely similar to your hypothetical.


Rather than actually try to explain causation, you would have me say that nothing is truly ever caused, and that any effect is illusory. If we cannot prove the relatively simple case of your hands being thrust forward, causing a force upon whatever is in front of them and a force back into your body of equal magnitude and opposite direction, a reciprocal relationship that continues until your arms are fully extended or a variety of other circumstances we won't go into, the force of which then causes a person to lose their balance and consequently their sense of balance, and that causes them to fall, and then gravity (do we need to explain the cause/effect of gravity in this too?) takes over, accelerating their fragile mass toward the hard concrete (held together with electromagnetic forces, do we need to explain those, as well?) and the velocity is abruptly reversed in direction and greatly lessened in magnitude as their body impacts various surfaces, finally causing a series of events that could range from internal bleeding, paralysis, an expulsion of air from the lungs and damage enough to prevent the diaphragm from expanding, head trauma and the near immediate loss of consciousness or brain function...


Reality doesn't occur in a vacuum: thrusting your hands forward can kill someone, just like pulling a trigger can. You are the cause.



Now, let's un-derail this topic. The Holocaust: how do you explain it in the view of Abrahamic faith? There are a few ways I can think off of the top of my head, and I implore any others to expand this list (quote my list or the list of the most recent poster, remove all the prepended and appended BBCode tags, and add more items.)

(Copy paste the BBCode from this line on.)
  • God does not exist, no explanation is necessary.
  • God does exist:
    • God does not intervene ever. (Why not? What implications does this have?)
    • God does intervene, but did not intervene in this case. (Why not? What implications does this have for the Abrahamic god in particular?)
    • God does intervene, and did intervene in this case. (How did such intervention occur? What reasoning exists as to the holocaust still existing?)
(Stop the copypasta here.)

Add any implications, any more 'true/false/indeterminate' statements, be sure to try and avoid any fallacies of the excluded middle (for example, if I were to remove the third "God does exist" sub-bulletin point.

After a sufficient number of posts, we'll discuss any issues that are brought up.
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Re: How do the Jews and other Christians explain the holocaust

Postby yoni45 » Mon Dec 17, 2007 1:17 am UTC

Anpheus wrote:I don't get to pick and choose what causes? The list of causes is virtually infinite.


Correct - however, we're only discussing a single potential cause: the thrusting forward of my hands.

And what we're discussing is whether or not that was a cause of that person's death.

The bottom line is: your criteria for what makes a cause (it must be necessary and sufficient for said effect) is clearly flawed - me thrusting forward my hands is neither of the above (and that's both been shown to be correct, using both "Webster's" definition, as well as your "philosophical" definition) - even though the thrusting of my hands clearly is a cause of that person's death.

Anpheus wrote:We can go down to the molecular level with causation and I'd have to write a thousand million million pages or so before I had adequately explored why your push caused that death.


Indeed, I wouldn't be surprised if you went ahead and did that.

Unfortunately, not a single one of those pages would have anything (valid) to show that the thrusting of my hands is either necessary or sufficient for that person's death.

And that said, it also makes your reasoning for why the holocaust cannot be a cause for anyone's actions flawed, since without your (rather arbitrary) addendum to how a 'cause' is defined, we're back to the simple definition of something from which something else follows. Under such a definition, someone's actions very well can somehow follow from the occurrence of the Holocaust, and such actions can also very well be 'good'.

In other words, something 'good' can occur as a result of the holocaust.

Anpheus wrote:You said that it is impossible to demonstrate necessary and sufficient conditions for the death to be caused by the thrusting of your hands:

Yoni45 wrote:Cause: I thrust forward my hands.
Effect: Person dies.


Really? Is that all that happened? You pushed something, and someone spontaneously died? Can you explain that scientifically? I doubt you can.


It's rather amazing you're still having trouble with such simplistic concepts.

By definition, if your cause is sufficient, then that's all that needs to happen for the effect to occur.

That means that if you are unable to explain 'that' scientifically, then your cause isn't sufficient.

By definition, if your cause is necessary, then that's all that needs to be negated for the effect to be impossible.

That means that if you are unable to explain 'that' (the impossibility due to negation) scientifically, then your cause isn't necessary.

Which means that yes, if you're trying to prove necessity and sufficiency between apparent causes and effects, then those supposed causes and effects are the only givens you can work with (along with the basic 'rules' of the universe, of course).

And finally, where your argument completely loses it:

Anpheus wrote:Reality doesn't occur in a vacuum: thrusting your hands forward can kill someone, just like pulling a trigger can. You are the cause.


Of course thrusting your hands 'can' kill someone. It doesn't mean it is sufficient nor necessary.
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Re: How do the Jews and other Christians explain the holocaust

Postby Anpheus » Mon Dec 17, 2007 1:28 am UTC

Necessary and sufficient causes can be chained together, and in fact, must be.

Otherwise, your cause-effect relationship is very, very broken.

"Cause: You thrust your hands out.
Effect: Someone dies."

Sans context, if that were true, woe be the world you live in! You would cause senseless death every time you swing your arms around. When you do various forms of dances, the room would quickly be littered with bodies.

So, we can say that obviously, you thrusting your hands out does not cause someone to die regardless of context or circumstance. Rather, in this particular circumstance it does. I made no statement about generalizing the circumstances. If in fact you pushed someone down a stairwell and they died, you cannot ignore the circumstances, however, the circumstances themselves, as they are held static in the hypothetical, are not held responsible. We do not attribute cause to the floor, the stairwell, or the clothing the person wore (all of which transmitted forces in the hypothetical situation) because it all really comes down to your choice, which is so complex as to be unapproachable to us. Rather, your cause/effect relationship is broken and does not describe the hypothetical situation:

That guy who leaves out this bit of information every fscking time he quotes people. wrote:That said, I'm assuming you understand that no 'cause' is ever alone in creating an effect, nor does it have to be in order to be considered a cause. If I thrust my hands forward, and someone happens to be standing in front of them, and that someone is also standing on the edge of a staircase and ends up falling to his death. The thrusting of my hands is still a cause of his death, regardless of the fact that there other causes, such as the fact that this person chose to stand in front of my hands on the edge of a staircase, or the fact that the stairs were made of a particularly hard material, etc.


How come you're allowed to declare cause-effect there but I am not allowed to bring those numerous circumstances into my own cause-effect? Why are you allowed to state these circumstances yet, if I utilize them in my own description, I am making an error?

Do you understand how you can't generalize cause/effect like that? If that were true, people would be dying willy-nilly because of various things like shooting a gun. (Cause: I pull the trigger on a gun. Effect: someone dies. That's true if and only if a whole shitload of circumstances are true, yet we attribute cause to the only thing we attribute 'free will' or 'will' to. The staircase or the bullet certainly did not choose to kill someone.)
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Re: How do the Jews and other Christians explain the holocaust

Postby yoni45 » Mon Dec 17, 2007 1:45 am UTC

Anpheus wrote:Sans context, if that were true, woe be the world you live in! You would cause senseless death every time you swing your arms around. When you do various forms of dances, the room would quickly be littered with bodies.

So, we can say that obviously, you thrusting your hands out does not cause someone to die regardless of context or circumstance. Rather, in this particular circumstance it does.


Which is precisely why thrusting my hands is not sufficient for a person's death.

If need be, refer to the definition of sufficiency.

Anpheus wrote:How come you're allowed to declare cause-effect there but I am not allowed to bring those numerous circumstances into my own cause-effect? Why are you allowed to state these circumstances yet, if I utilize them in my own description, I am making an error?


Because you're the one trying to prove something in which you're limited to very narrow pieces of information.

The rest of the information I provide is there to highlight the flaw in your criteria - that is, to show that the thrusting of my hands clearly is a cause of that person's death - even though it isn't sufficient.

Anpheus wrote:Do you understand how you can't generalize cause/effect like that? If that were true, people would be dying willy-nilly because of various things like shooting a gun. (Cause: I pull the trigger on a gun. Effect: someone dies. That's true if and only if a whole shitload of circumstances are true, yet we attribute cause to the only thing we attribute 'free will' or 'will' to. The staircase or the bullet certainly did not choose to kill someone.)


And again, the only thing that means is that such specific causes are not sufficient for those effects. Which as noted prior, means that your assumption that causes must be both sufficient and necessary for a given effect, is fundamentally flawed.

Let me try to highlight the differences:

Me shooting a gun is not sufficient for a person's death.
Me shooting a gun that is aimed directly at someone's brain, under normal circumstances, is.
Unplugging a mouse is sufficient to cause programs that require use of a mouse to stop functioning.
Dropping a television from the 25th story of a high-rise, under normal circumstances, is sufficient for that television to break.
Dropping a person head first, unconscious, from the 25th story of a high-rise, towards a concrete sidewalk, under normal circumstances is sufficient to kill him.
Thrusting my hands forward, is sufficient to displace any particles that may be within the area into which my hands are to be thrusted.

It is not sufficient to kill a person.
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Re: How do the Jews and other Christians explain the holocaust

Postby Anpheus » Mon Dec 17, 2007 1:51 am UTC

Yet the hypothetical entails all those circumstances that allow us to go back in time to say that you are the only variable. Though that person could have tripped and fallen of their own accord in your absence, that did not happen, because you made a choice that prevented them from being able to make that mistep and cause their own death. In this way, you prevented an accidental death, and replaced it with an, if not intended, at least externally caused death, one which they were not themselves responsible for. Regardless, by whatever choices they made, they ended up in that stairwell. By your own choices, you also ended up in the stairwell. You made a choice, to which a cause is impossible to attribute, to set in motion a series of cause-effect relationships so numerous as to be indescribable here.

You believe I am not allowed to include those circumstances in defining causation, yet you are. Why?
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Malice
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Re: How do the Jews and other Christians explain the holocaust

Postby Malice » Mon Dec 17, 2007 1:53 am UTC

Anpheus wrote:Necessary and sufficient causes can be chained together, and in fact, must be.

Otherwise, your cause-effect relationship is very, very broken.

"Cause: You thrust your hands out.
Effect: Someone dies."

Sans context, if that were true, woe be the world you live in! You would cause senseless death every time you swing your arms around. When you do various forms of dances, the room would quickly be littered with bodies.

So, we can say that obviously, you thrusting your hands out does not cause someone to die regardless of context or circumstance. Rather, in this particular circumstance it does. I made no statement about generalizing the circumstances. If in fact you pushed someone down a stairwell and they died, you cannot ignore the circumstances, however, the circumstances themselves, as they are held static in the hypothetical, are not held responsible. We do not attribute cause to the floor, the stairwell, or the clothing the person wore (all of which transmitted forces in the hypothetical situation) because it all really comes down to your choice, which is so complex as to be unapproachable to us.


You conclusion there makes no sense.

Correct me if I'm misunderstanding you, but you're saying:
1. In the situation, "Cause: I thrust my arms out, Effect: Someone dies," the cause does not appear to be necessary and sufficient because of the chain of events in between.
2. That, properly set out, that chain should look more like this: "Cause: I thrust my arms out. Effect: My arms create a force pushing on someone's chest. Cause2: The force I created. Effect2: The person falls backward. Cause3: The place where the person falls backward happens to be the top of a staircase. Effect3: The person falls down the staircase. Cause4: The person falls down the staircase. Effect4: The person hits their head on the stairs. Cause5: The person hits their head. Effect5: The person dies."
3. That this is an incomplete list, because the number of causes increases as you increase specificity, eventually getting to the unknowable subatomic level. This list will never be complete.
4. Because we cannot ever understand all of this chain of causes and effects, it is better to disregard all of them except for the final effect (Effect: The person dies) and choice right before the first mentioned cause. The logical string becomes: "Cause: I choose to thrust my arms out. Effect: Someone dies."

The problem comes in where you say that "This choice is so complex as to be unapprochable to us." That's the same reason you gave for discarding the intermediate causes and effects. So why focus on the choice? I think it's an arbitrary decision.

---

This is unrelated, but Anpheus, you need to stop being a dick. I don't know how you can be so furious in an abstract, philosophical discussion, but regardless, you should probably calm down. Sarcasm, comments like "This is pathetic!", etc--it's getting out of hand. This is an interesting discussion. It would be better without all the anger and invective. Kay?
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Re: How do the Jews and other Christians explain the holocaust

Postby yoni45 » Mon Dec 17, 2007 1:56 am UTC

Anpheus wrote:Yet the hypothetical entails all those circumstances that allow us to go back in time to say that you are the only variable.


But I'm not the only variable - that person's inherent ability to resist shock, the placement of the staircase, the material of which the staircase was made - those are all variables.

Anpheus wrote:You believe I am not allowed to include those circumstances in defining causation, yet you are. Why?


Again, because you're the one trying to prove that a single cause was sufficient and necessary - the proving of which requires, by definition, that that specific cause be all that is considered.

The definitions of necessary and sufficient:

A condition A is said to be necessary for a condition B, if (and only if) the falsity (/nonexistence /non-occurrence) [as the case may be] of A guarantees (or brings about) the falsity (/nonexistence /non-occurrence) of B.

A condition A is said to be sufficient for a condition B, if (and only if) the truth (/existence /occurrence) [as the case may be] of A guarantees (or brings about) the truth (/existence /occurrence) of B.
Last edited by yoni45 on Mon Dec 17, 2007 1:58 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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