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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Solara View Post
    This is why I get so frustrated with Batman whenever he fights the Joker.
    If Batman were to kill the Joker in self-defense, then that's morally acceptable. If he had the Joker and his current plan neutralized, and then killed him, he would be a murderer. It can be seen as justified in some senses, but in the end it's still murder.

    The Joker has free will, and any actions taken after Batman turns him into the authorities are on the Joker's head, not Batman's. Otherwise you end with a setting where the 'heroes' have killed all the villains because of what they 'might' do - and we don't like it when our lawful governments jail people just because of 'might do,' why would we want vigilantes or other self-appointed 'heroes' doing the same thing?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramien View Post
    If Batman were to kill the Joker in self-defense, then that's morally acceptable. If he had the Joker and his current plan neutralized, and then killed him, he would be a murderer. It can be seen as justified in some senses, but in the end it's still murder.

    The Joker has free will, and any actions taken after Batman turns him into the authorities are on the Joker's head, not Batman's. Otherwise you end with a setting where the 'heroes' have killed all the villains because of what they 'might' do - and we don't like it when our lawful governments jail people just because of 'might do,' why would we want vigilantes or other self-appointed 'heroes' doing the same thing?
    how many times does the Joker have to escape prison and go on another murder spree before batman realises that its not what he might do but what hes going to do?

    he needs to stop being such a coward who refuses to actually get his hands dirty and do what needs to be done to keep Gotham safe isnt that the whole point of him being the dark knight?

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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Ramien View Post
    I have to say you're wrong here. Killing anything sentient should require the same proofs and reasons behind the killing no matter the race or reputation. 'Evil' can be anything from a barkeep who routinely shortchanges customers when they can get away with it and who might rob any unwary travellers to the most vile devil worshipper. Just because some spell/effect tells you they're on that end of the alignment spectrum does not equal making it okay to kill them. There's no proof of actual misdeeds, just general malign intent. Roy said it best here - 'Concern for the dignity of sentient beings' does not make distinctions about the alignment of the sentient beings.

    Yes, heroes fight evil, and often kill the villains. But they don't set out to kill all evil characters they see. They fight to stop commissions of evil, not to slake their bloodlust on socially acceptable targets. That way lies Belkar.
    Even if a race leans toward an alignment, it doesn't mean all members of the race are of that alignment (Though it's a good guess if you're attacking, say, Xykon's forces.) Killing, say, a band of goblins that has been peacefully occupying in an otherwise abandoned keep for the past 20 years, and minding its own business except to sell a powerful magic fruit for a fraction of its value to the villagers every year (And, instead of killing murderous intruders, subduing and detaining them until reparations of a fraction of the damages in life and property they cause are repaid) is definitely an evil act. So is slaying the town bard that's decided to make a living playing a flute just because it happens to have the head of a hyena and successfully-repressed urges to murder everyone and desecrate the corpses clawing in the back of its mind.

    People who are evil have and continue to commit evil unless stopped... then again, I don't consider someone as able to ping as "evil" unless they have deliberately and remorselessly killed at least one innocent person, with nothing to redeem them. (I consider "Collateral damage", as demonstrated by Mr. Plump's assessment of Moist Von Lipwig in Terry Pratchett's Going Postal to count). Tolerance of genuine Evil shows a blatant disregard of concern for the dignity of the victims of that person. Alignment takes action and intent to achieve.

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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    People who are evil have and continue to commit evil unless stopped... then again, I don't consider someone as able to ping as "evil" unless they have deliberately and remorselessly killed at least one innocent person, with nothing to redeem them. (I consider "Collateral damage", as demonstrated by Mr. Plump's assessment of Moist Von Lipwig in Terry Pratchett's Going Postal to count). Tolerance of genuine Evil shows a blatant disregard of concern for the dignity of the victims of that person. Alignment takes action and intent to achieve.
    its possible for someone to be evil without having a body count

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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Ramien View Post
    If Batman were to kill the Joker in self-defense, then that's morally acceptable. If he had the Joker and his current plan neutralized, and then killed him, he would be a murderer. It can be seen as justified in some senses, but in the end it's still murder.
    So how many hundreds of people does a guy have to murder before putting him down like a rabid dog becomes a justifiable option? To put it back in D&D terms, I think a paladin should be willing to fall if by doing so they know for a fact they're saving countless innocent lives. Wouldn't it be a kind of selfishness to knowingly allow all those people to die because you refuse to get your hands dirty?

    ...of course in the real world if Batman didn't take him down, I'm sure somebody else would have by now, or he'd have simply been executed. Or at least they might have switched out the revolving door in Arkham for one that actually locks.
    Last edited by Solara; 2013-09-16 at 10:47 PM.
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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Solara View Post
    This is why I get so frustrated with Batman whenever he fights the Joker.
    But you don't think they'd do away with a villain as popular and distinctive as the Joker, do you?
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    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    False equivalence. There's a straightforward moral calculus here. The consequences of being wrong in each direction are not symmetrical.

    Dragons are, as previously mentioned, really rare. Thus the chances of this being "the" specific evil dragon are quite high. However, for the sake of being fair, let's say those chances are only 50/50.

    If I kill it, and it turns out to be innocent, an innocent person has died. That's on me, it's my crime, and I'm the one who has to deal with my guilt. If that means giving myself up to the dragon's relatives for justice, letting them take a life for a life - then I guess that's what I'll end up doing. Final casualty count: 1, or worst case, 2. (I would certainly plead for my life in those circumstances, and I would hope that a genuinely "good" dragon community would see my point of view. But worst case, I die.)

    (I'm going to ignore the "what if it's evil but just here to grab a barrel of beer before continuing on to terrorise someone else" option, because that's just too silly to live.)

    If I don't kill it, and it turns out to be guilty, then by the time I next get to roll initiative, 30 innocent people have died, and I then have to kill the dragon anyway. Final casualty count, assuming I win initiative on the second round: 31.

    If the odds are 50/50, then (Expected deaths) if I kill it: 1.5. (Expected deaths) if I don't kill it: 15.5. Even if you make a much more generous assessment of the odds - let's say there's a 75% chance it's innocent, and it could only kill 10 people with one breath - the calculus still comes down firmly against it.

    (Aside: I know there are people who think that "taking one innocent life is just as bad as taking 30". I've heard that argument several times in my life, and it's never made a lick of sense to me. Then there's the argument that I'm directly responsible for the lives I take, but only indirectly responsible for those I allow the dragon to take. I believe that line of moral reasoning is fresh out of the back end of a horse. If I could have prevented those deaths, and, fully forseeing the consequence, I didn't, then - yes, I am responsible.)



    On the contrary. The dragon should have known that her arrival, unannounced, in a village unaccustomed to receiving such visitors would be greeted with consternation, not to say panic. Failing to take some precaution against that is criminal recklessness on her part. A bit like driving a hummer at maximum speed through a built-up area: you might not mean any harm, but really, you're in no position to act the injured-innocent if harm does ensue.
    Actually, the moral thing to do in this situation is to hold action until intent is discerned. If you guess wrong, not only have you killed an innocent person, but you've also left your village to be completely destroyed when the REAL evil dragon comes - and it would come as a surprise, because they believe that the threat had been handled. The death of your entire village is also on your head, not just the death of the dragon you wrongfully killed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ramien View Post
    If Batman were to kill the Joker in self-defense, then that's morally acceptable. If he had the Joker and his current plan neutralized, and then killed him, he would be a murderer. It can be seen as justified in some senses, but in the end it's still murder.

    The Joker has free will, and any actions taken after Batman turns him into the authorities are on the Joker's head, not Batman's. Otherwise you end with a setting where the 'heroes' have killed all the villains because of what they 'might' do - and we don't like it when our lawful governments jail people just because of 'might do,' why would we want vigilantes or other self-appointed 'heroes' doing the same thing?
    Actually, the reason Batman doesn't kill the Joker is:
    1.) He's afraid he'll start slipping, and killing villains who have done less and less damage than the Joker. He's afraid of sliding down a slippery slope because he's at least somewhat aware of his own neurosis.
    2.) He's seen what happens to Superheroes who do kill - their writers misinterpret it, decide that "Anyone who kills someone for any reason is an unhinged murderer", and then derail the character completely, leading to Batman reluctantly killing (or refusing to save) the Joker one issue in a dramatic moment... and fifty or so later, his authors have him driving the Batmobile down Gotham's street with quad-gatling guns mounted on all corners gleefully gunning down bank robbers, teenaged wannabe-gangsters, petty thieves, muggers, jaywalkers, and stopsign/light blowers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Forikroder View Post
    its possible for someone to be evil without having a body count
    I disagree. In order for them to be evil, they must have a net "Lives enhanced vs lives completely destroyed" ratio of -1 - even if that is achieved through greatly diminishing the quality of life of a number of people (Or indirectly getting someone innocent killed through deliberate action) - High-personal-value theft (Taking from those who don't have enough to be taken from), scams, slavery, and the like can all hasten the deaths of people, decrease quality of life, and generally make the world a significantly worse-off place.

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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Scow2 View Post
    Even if a race leans toward an alignment, it doesn't mean all members of the race are of that alignment (Though it's a good guess if you're attacking, say, Xykon's forces.) Killing, say, a band of goblins that has been peacefully occupying in an otherwise abandoned keep for the past 20 years, and minding its own business except to sell a powerful magic fruit for a fraction of its value to the villagers every year (And, instead of killing murderous intruders, subduing and detaining them until reparations of a fraction of the damages in life and property they cause are repaid) is definitely an evil act. So is slaying the town bard that's decided to make a living playing a flute just because it happens to have the head of a hyena and successfully-repressed urges to murder everyone and desecrate the corpses clawing in the back of its mind.

    People who are evil have and continue to commit evil unless stopped... then again, I don't consider someone as able to ping as "evil" unless they have deliberately and remorselessly killed at least one innocent person, with nothing to redeem them. (I consider "Collateral damage", as demonstrated by Mr. Plump's assessment of Moist Von Lipwig in Terry Pratchett's Going Postal to count). Tolerance of genuine Evil shows a blatant disregard of concern for the dignity of the victims of that person. Alignment takes action and intent to achieve.
    And yet, Moist was never Evil. He never even realized he was hurting real people (who weren't trying to con him themselves, anyway) until he had Pump 19 rub his face in it, and he got hit hard with the guilt of it.

    If you're considering murder to be the defining capability of evil, I have some bad news for you about what else can be done to sentient beings without killing them or hastening their deaths in any way.

    In any case, and again, just because they're 'Evil' is not justification for a good person to kill them out of hand. Justice requires proof, Mercy requires compassion, Hope requires (at least a chance of) redemption. Good does not have the luxury of saying 'but not this guy, 'cause he's evil' when it comes to morality. Immediate defense of self, or of others, is necessary, but how you act when your foe is in your complete power is a big part of your own alignment.

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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    I disagree. In order for them to be evil, they must have a net "Lives enhanced vs lives completely destroyed" ratio of -1 - even if that is achieved through greatly diminishing the quality of life of a number of people (Or indirectly getting someone innocent killed through deliberate action) - High-personal-value theft (Taking from those who don't have enough to be taken from), scams, slavery, and the like can all hasten the deaths of people, decrease quality of life, and generally make the world a significantly worse-off place.
    what your talking about is much different then saying "to be evil you must have killed an innocent person"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Forikroder View Post
    what your talking about is much different then saying "to be evil you must have killed an innocent person"
    Really? Who said that?
    Oh, wait, you just made it up as a straw man.

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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Solara View Post
    To put it back in D&D terms, I think a paladin should be willing to fall if by doing so they know for a fact they're saving countless innocent lives. Wouldn't it be a kind of selfishness to knowingly allow all those people to die because you refuse to get your hands dirty?
    At least one D&D supplement (BoED) puts a huge NEVER DO THAT sign on that action with wailing sirens and everything.

    Why?

    Because a Paladin Falling is tangibly making evil stronger. And in D&D evil as a force is actually a real thing.

    A soul is something that should never be sacrificed according to more than one supplement of D&D. By extension anything that would taint that soul (say, Falling) should also never be done.

    It ain't sacrifice to 'sacrifice' the one thing that should never be sacrificed. Moreover the people who usually whisper into the ears of a paladin that they should sacrifice the unsacrificable?

    Usually they end up being from the, shall we say, deep end of the alignment pool. With a healthy dose of corruption in mind. ANd I don't know about you, but those folks usually don't have the paladin's best interests at heart.
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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Quote Originally Posted by 137ben View Post
    Really? Who said that?
    Oh, wait, you just made it up as a straw man.
    I don't consider someone as able to ping as "evil" unless they have deliberately and remorselessly killed at least one innocent person, with nothing to redeem them.
    scrow2 posted that like 5 posts up

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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Ramien View Post
    And yet, Moist was never Evil. He never even realized he was hurting real people (who weren't trying to con him themselves, anyway) until he had Pump 19 rub his face in it, and he got hit hard with the guilt of it.

    If you're considering murder to be the defining capability of evil, I have some bad news for you about what else can be done to sentient beings without killing them or hastening their deaths in any way.

    In any case, and again, just because they're 'Evil' is not justification for a good person to kill them out of hand. Justice requires proof, Mercy requires compassion, Hope requires (at least a chance of) redemption. Good does not have the luxury of saying 'but not this guy, 'cause he's evil' when it comes to morality. Immediate defense of self, or of others, is necessary, but how you act when your foe is in your complete power is a big part of your own alignment.
    Actually, I'd say Moist was Evil... up until Mr. Plump set him straight on the matter. The story was kind of an awkward redemption arc, though he achieved redemption through directly making the world a better place instead of acknowledging his own atrocities. Almost all evil acts hasten someone's death, or dramatically and maliciously reduce someone's quality of life. You have to be able to prove someone is evil, though, before it can be used as evidence. Someone who goes on a killing spree against random targets on the off-chance that they're evil is commiting an evil themselves, and has a high chance of commiting an evil act if they're acting without solid proof of guilt/non-innocence/evilness. Evil is a destructive way of life, not a trait about a person like race or hairstyle or country of origin or favorite song or preferred political candidate, or sexual identity/orientation, or language, or date of birth is. If I seem to be contradicting my "Monsters can be inherently evil" stance here, it's because this argument is a lot more relevant to the real world than fictional monsters that don't actually exist and only exist in fiction to be incarnations of everything wrong in the world/with people.

    Quote Originally Posted by Forikroder View Post
    what your talking about is much different then saying "to be evil you must have killed an innocent person"
    Not really. I referenced it in my initial post. In order to be Evil, you must have commited an Atrocity (Or chain of sins to amount to an atrocity) - which I define as "The deliberate, remorseless killing of an innocent-for-all-relevant-purposes person." A lot of people do end up making decisions that make life worse for others around them, but it's often counterbalanced by A.) The recipient at least sorta-kinda deserving it on a relevant note. B.) Not being intentional, and/or C.) The person also selflessly improving the lives of others around him by a comparible or greater amount.
    Last edited by Scow2; 2013-09-16 at 11:27 PM.

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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Solara View Post
    So how many hundreds of people does a guy have to murder before putting him down like a rabid dog becomes a justifiable option? To put it back in D&D terms, I think a paladin should be willing to fall if by doing so they know for a fact they're saving countless innocent lives. Wouldn't it be a kind of selfishness to knowingly allow all those people to die because you refuse to get your hands dirty?

    ...of course in the real world if Batman didn't take him down, I'm sure somebody else would have by now, or he'd have simply been executed. Or at least they might have switched out the revolving door in Arkham for one that actually locks.
    The only time it becomes justifiable is when that's the only way to stop them from killing more. Not even if you 'know' they're just going to escape again.
    A paladin who's 'willing to fall' knows that the act itself would be considered evil, or else they wouldn't fall. If the paladin is really that worried about the issue, why not guard the miscreant in question personally until the lawful authorities can pass sentence on the evil-doer? If a medieval Joker, for example, had been tried and sentenced to execution by an appropriate authority, then carrying out the sentence would be an lawful act, and a paladin would not necessarily fall in that case. But at that point, they're also acting as an agent of the state, or of Justice, not of their own judgment.

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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    This thread is really, really reminding me of why I like The Giant so much.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Every story is about our world, because it is the only world that actually exists. Even if we were to discover another world tomorrow, it would still only be an extension of this world, and all the same moral truths would apply there as well. There is no value to considering the events of a universe that has never existed and will never exist unless it is to reflect upon our own.

    This argument is like saying that you would be the greatest football player who ever lived if football involved doing differential calculus while riding a pogo stick. OK, maybe you would be, but so what? That has no bearing on the actual game of football. Maybe you can sit and daydream about it if you want, but the only actually worthwhile point that such a fantasy could have would be what it might illuminate about the actual game in the actual world.
    I especially like this passage.

    I think that there is some merit to having totally nonhumanlike sentience in fiction, because coming up with a form of sentience totally different from our own is a great way to examine some of the flaws, foibles and general structures of our own minds. But if it's used as a shortcut to allow for mass extermination of that species with no moral questions or qualms... well, that tells us some about the flaws and foibles about our own minds, too, but it's not particularly nice.
    Last edited by DaggerPen; 2013-09-16 at 11:23 PM.
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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Not really. I referenced it in my initial post. In order to be Evil, you must have commited an Atrocity (Or chain of sins to amount to an atrocity) - which I define as "The deliberate, remorseless killing of an innocent-for-all-relevant-purposes person."
    so your saying its impossible for there to be "shades of black"? its impossible for someone to be jsut a little bit evil?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scow2 View Post
    Actually, the moral thing to do in this situation is to hold action until intent is discerned. If you guess wrong, not only have you killed an innocent person, but you've also left your village to be completely destroyed when the REAL evil dragon comes - and it would come as a surprise, because they believe that the threat had been handled. The death of your entire village is also on your head, not just the death of the dragon you wrongfully killed.
    Yes, and having acted "morally" will be a great comfort to me when I'm burying the remains of my family thankyousomuch. That's why I said, in my initial rant, I don't care about the morality. I simply am not going to wait for my children to die before I make that call, and if that makes me a murderer, so be it.

    However, you're right: my calculus only works if I believe that, on balance of probabilities, this really is more likely than not to be the guilty dragon. I'd have to introduce some more evidence to justify that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scow2 View Post
    Actually, I'd say Moist was Evil... up until Mr. Plump set him straight on the matter.
    In order to be Evil, you must have commited an Atrocity (Or chain of sins to amount to an atrocity) - which I define as "The deliberate, remorseless killing of an innocent-for-all-relevant-purposes person."
    I have to admit I'm having trouble following your argument as well. Moist was Evil...but never committed an Atrocity? Moist never killed anyone. He swindled people, and yes indeed that affected their quality of life, but there's no evidence it hastened anyone's death. Certainly, if anyone died because of what he did, it wouldn't have been Deliberate or Remorseless.

    Then you disagreed with Forikroder's "its possible for someone to be evil without having a body count"...when, again, Moist had no body count.
    Last edited by jere7my; 2013-09-16 at 11:32 PM.

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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Scow2 View Post
    Actually, I'd say Moist was Evil... up until Mr. Plump set him straight on the matter. Almost all evil acts hasten someone's death, or dramatically and maliciously reduce someone's quality of life. You have to be able to prove someone is evil, though, before it can be used as evidence. Someone who goes on a killing spree against random targets on the off-chance that they're evil is commiting an evil themselves, and has a high chance of commiting an evil act if they're acting without solid proof of guilt/non-innocence/evilness. Evil is a destructive way of life, not a trait about a person like race or hairstyle or country of origin or favorite song or preferred political candidate, or sexual identity/orientation, or language, or date of birth is. If I seem to be contradicting my "Monsters can be inherently evil" stance here, it's because this argument is a lot more relevant to the real world than fictional monsters that don't actually exist and only exist in fiction to be incarnations of everything wrong in the world/with people.
    I would argue Moist was Chaotic Neutral. His harm was either A: unknowing (he thought he was harming a bank or another faceless institution rather than people) or B:what he thought of as karmic justice - he was only taking advantage of people's own greed and/or dishonesty, letting them prove themselves to be less than innocent so he could take advantage of them. In a twisted way, it's the same way you describe the appropriate treatment of evil people - but substitute greed in place of evil. 'They're proven to be greedy liars, so it's okay to swindle them' is just a shallow version of 'They're proven to be Eeeevil, so it's okay to kill them.'

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scow2 View Post
    To me... the argument that Fantastic Racism leads to real racist thoughts/actions needs a lot more evidence than mere internet discussions.
    You've got it backwards. It is real racism that causes Fantastic Racism. Fantastic Racism is an expression of pre-existing racist thought patterns and tendencies that permeate our culture.

    Fantastic racism is wish fulfilment for our real racist tendencies, giving us a guilt-free, consequence-free target to indulge these impulses. And in so doing help to perpetuate them and hinder their excision from our thought patterns and habits.

    The problem with fantastic racism is not that it "leads" to real racism, but that it interferes with the removal of real racism.
    Last edited by Amphiox; 2013-09-16 at 11:34 PM.

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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Forikroder View Post
    so your saying its impossible for there to be "shades of black"? its impossible for someone to be jsut a little bit evil?
    Not enough to ping as such. However, there are a lot of qualifiers that I haven't explicitly stated in saying when it's okay to kill someone "for being evil" - largely, they must not be innocent of any relevant situations. A Good person can take decisive military action against a confirmed-as-Evil-and-not-innocent group without having to check every member that stands against him. It's not an Evil act to kill an Evil person, but it's not a Good act either: To use Moist again - had someone acting explicitly on the behalf of those who's life had been destroyed by the con artist's scams taken vigilante vengeance on him, or had Vetinari allowed him to swing (His crimes HAD warranted execution, after all), it wouldn't have been a moral problem (Legal is much iffier in the first case, since they need to prove Moist was guilty to the courts)

    All evil people deserve death... but who are we to carry out that sentence? There is still room for mercy and redemption, and a truly Good person recognizes that - but they shouldn't have to fear not staying their blade when there isn't time or room for such virtues to carry the day.

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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Solara View Post
    Admirable effort, but in the end, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him think.
    In the end we do rely on the horse's innate ability to feel thirsty, and we give the horse enough respect to assume that, once led to the water, if it gets thirsty, it has the power to choose to drink.

    A small bit of faith in our fellow humans is a prerequisite. Otherwise we wouldn't bother wasting our time making these kinds of arguments.
    Last edited by Amphiox; 2013-09-16 at 11:38 PM.

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    PirateGuy

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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Porthos View Post
    Usually they end up being from the, shall we say, deep end of the alignment pool. With a healthy dose of corruption in mind. ANd I don't know about you, but those folks usually don't have the paladin's best interests at heart.
    But Miko would have looked really good in black leather...

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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    Yes, and having acted "morally" will be a great comfort to me when I'm burying the remains of my family thankyousomuch. That's why I said, in my initial rant, I don't care about the morality. I simply am not going to wait for my children to die before I make that call, and if that makes me a murderer, so be it.
    Or, you can wait to shoot the dragon after Hostile Intent has been determined, but before it can act on such. "READY YOUR ACTION, FOOL!"

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    DruidGirl

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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Goosefeather View Post
    Pratchett's elves[/URL] are basically extra-dimensional amoral parasites - they literally cannot comprehend empathy or emotions. They're the only sapient species that doesn't get a sympathetic portrayal. His dwarves, trolls, vampires, werewolves, orcs, goblins, gnomes, gnolls, gods, gargoyles, fairies and humans are all capable of both good and bad, and held accountable for their choices as individuals, but his elves are just alien.
    Also the Auditors of Reality. (With one exception).

    But there was also at least one elf that was portrayed in a neutral, if not sympathetic, light, and who in the narrative proved helpful to the protagonists.

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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Not enough to ping as such.
    if were talking detect evil, it will ping someone as evil regardless of how evil they are, if there even a millimeter south of neutral they come out as evil

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    PirateGuy

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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Scow2 View Post
    All evil people deserve death... but who are we to carry out that sentence? There is still room for mercy and redemption, and a truly Good person recognizes that - but they shouldn't have to fear not staying their blade when there isn't time or room for such virtues to carry the day.
    This is... actually pretty close to the point I was trying to make. Are we arguing degrees of when it is appropriate/necessary versus when it isn't at this point?

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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Amphiox View Post
    You've got it backwards. It is real racism that causes Fantastic Racism. Fantastic Racism is an expression of pre-existing racist thought patterns and tendencies that permeate our culture.

    Fantastic racism is wish fulfilment for our real racist tendencies, giving us a guilt-free, consequence-free target to indulge these impulses. And in so doing help to perpetuate them and hinder their excision from our thought patterns and habits.

    The problem with fantastic racism is not that it "leads" to real racism, but that it interferes with the removal of real racism.
    Racism is merely a vile symptom of a far less malevolent and malicious survival instinct. You could argue that "But we're heroes!" Murder-hoboing is wish-fullfillment of a desire to kill anyone who stands in the way of forcing our morals and values on the world, and having games (Video or tabletop) with wanton slaughter interferes with the removal of violence from our thought patterns and habits.

    I'm not really sure it's possible or desireable to completely excise violence and "fear of the other", instead of confront, re-direct, and examine them more circumspectly instead. Our literature needs both, Ender's Game and Starship Troopers.

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    BlueWizardGirl

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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    Quote Originally Posted by Amphiox View Post
    You've got it backwards. It is real racism that causes Fantastic Racism. Fantastic Racism is an expression of pre-existing racist thought patterns and tendencies that permeate our culture.

    Fantastic racism is wish fulfilment for our real racist tendencies, giving us a guilt-free, consequence-free target to indulge these impulses. And in so doing help to perpetuate them and hinder their excision from our thought patterns and habits.

    The problem with fantastic racism is not that it "leads" to real racism, but that it interferes with the removal of real racism.
    Perfectly put! Thank you.

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    Default Re: The literary merits of Alien Intelligence

    I would point out at this point that even dropping sentience from this discussion changes nothing.

    Making the target a "monster", something unreasoning, instinctively dangerous, without culture or civilization STILL does not give us justification for killing them indiscriminately just for being what they are.

    Because what we essentially have the unreasoning threat that runs solely on instinct and is a dangerous threat is a wildlife management problem.

    It is culture and civilization that makes an enemy, as a collective, dangerous. That which runs on instinct is much easier to deal with. You study them, learn what their instincts are, and use that knowledge to manage and neutralize the threat they pose, without requiring you to "kill-em-all".

    You kill the ones you need to to neutralize the threat that is posed, as few as possible, as many as necessary, but you are killing those individuals because they, individually, are a threat and not because of what they are.

    So in fact there is NEVER, EVER, any justification for "killing X because they are X." If they are sentient then it is genocide. If they are not sentient then it is an ecological crime.

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