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You might mean "not moral". At least if your ethics says no to such behaviour. I think ethics and moral are "synonyms" from the ancient Greek and Latin respectively. But at least in Swedish we make a distinction between ethics (meaning how your values are defined) and moral (meaning how well you behave in respect to your ethics). -- PickyPEZ

So, if it goes against how my values are defined (ethics), doesn't that make it unethical? Maybe we should have a discussion about ethics beeing absolute/relative? :) -- ABC

(What I wrote with an edit conflict:) ... or he might mean "not ethical" - the action of slowing down the processor during your opponents' turns is inethical, you would be immoral if you did it. -- PickyKawigi?

I think it can only be unethical according to some absolute ethics. If it goes against your own ethics it is immoral. (I think). -- PEZ

Ethics are always relative, by definition. Some groups may share their ethics, such as religions, but that are still relative. There is no logical way to determine ethics, so it all depends on personal opinion. -- Tango

I would like to hear you prove that. =) And there are degrees of freedom when it comes to absolutness I think (eh, or is that a contrasiction in terms?) Let's say we wiki-members have agreed, consiously or not, on a set of values. Then this would define the "absolute" ethics of this small community, wouldn't it? Thinking of it this way ABC might have really meant "not ethical". I have managed to confuse myself badly now. =) -- PEZ

I believe in absolute ethics, and I'm the most non-religious guy I know ;). Anyway, using threads to steal processor time from your enemy would be unethical and immoral (imho, of course). -- ABC

PEZ is just being confusing, but ABC is contradicting himself. You cannot say you believe in absolute ethics and that say "imho". If the ethics are absolute, then opinion has nothing to do with it. -- Tango (PS This is getting to be one of the most OT conversations on this wiki...)

The fact that I believe in absolute ethics does not imply that I know how to aply them (act moraly, PEZ would say ;)) in every single case... I this case it is only an opinion, a strong one though. There is always the (slim) possibility of someone making me change my mind about it. -- ABC

In other words, the aformentioned absolute ethics include typing "imho" whenever stating a tautology, in case it ends up not being true. -- Kawigi

Believing in absolute ethics borders religiousity, doesn't it? If not, what's the difference? -- PEZ

Saying that implies that there must be a belief in God in order to condemn everyone to hell. That's simply not true. (Ok, I'm just enjoying the cartoon simplification of ethics in this conversation) In a secular sense, there is still a sense that certain things are just wrong no matter how you look at it, without reference to a supreme being. In such a context, ethics usually have reference to their effect on other people. Think of it as a mutual selfishness that you can't adversely effect another's life without their permission. This is a fairly absolute ethical paradigm (even if the edges are still fuzzy), but is also agnostic. -- Kawigi

(edit conflict) Religions are good when they try to teach ethics by telling some imaginative stories. They are bad when people start taking those stories literally and acting like their interpretation is the absolute truth that everybody must "obey". Also, in many ways, religion == superstition. I don't believe in any religion, yet I don't think they are "wrong". I believe in logic. I also believe in the abuse of the "imho" acronym, even if it is redundant, as the fact that I'm writing it implies that it is my opinion. :) -- ABC

Kawigi, you mean there is something such as a secular hell? That's pretty hard to fathom. The kind of absolute ethics you are referring to here are the same as the one I was speculating about above, in'it? That not religiousity of course. In my thinking absolute (truly absolute, that is) ethics as a concept is very similar to a belief in supreme entities. -- PEZ

Don't take the first two sentances of my last post seriously and see if it makes more sense. As a more religious person, I'll choose not to comment on ABC's take on religious people :-p -- Kawigi

Yes, that makes more sense. =) I don't think ABC really meant to make take on relgious people in general. It was rather his relation to relegion and certain religious people. But, you are right, let's not open this can of worms on this wiki. This page got OT even before this. =) -- PEZ

I'll not comment on my opinions of religion, because i can't be bothered with the debate that would follow, but i will point out the difference between religion and belief in God. Buddism is generally accepted (not universally though) as a religion, despite it being atheistic. Defining religion is very difficult, where are the lines between religion, philosophy, cults, denominations, etc.? -- Tango

I would say that Buddism just uses a different Theo concept than the relgions based on the Old Testament and the Koran. There is still somewhere an account where your appliance of the ethics (or moral) are kept. I probably think like this because I think the absolute ethics borders religion. =) -- PEZ

So, about that multithreading... : ) -- Vuen

I think it's bad for your Karma. =) -- PEZ

I think what makes something a religion is that it explains the supernatural/unexplainable and also enlightens us as to what our purpose is - why we're alive. The ancient Greeks thought of life as MultiThreading, the three fates would cut the MultiThread of life at will, which ends the life of mortals. This time, PEZ, only take the first part seriously. -- Kawigi

The first, first part might not hold true for, say, Buddism. I'm not entirely familiar with Buddism I must admit, but I don't think it is big on explaing supernatural/unexplainable like Christianism, Islam or ancient Greek or old Scandinavian Asa belief. I also think some religions might not do much on the part of offering a purpose for existance. It is probably more shared among religions that they offer a value framework, or ethics. Absolute ethics, if you like. I am one of the selected to know what the meaning of life is by the way. It is children. I realized this the second I held my daughter in my arms directly after she was born. It was and is almost a religious experience. It also provides a set of values that are undisputible. Almost like absolute ethics. -- PEZ

I would agree that the point of life is children. That is a very scientific viewpoint, as well as an emotional one. All life is focused around one task, reproduction, therefore that is the meaning of life. I wouldn't say that gave indisputable values though, everyone has their own opinions on how best to bring up children, etc. -- Tango

Indeed, but this is where the experience is close to religious (the closest I have come anyway). The emotional side of realizing what my life had been about from the beginning was overwhelming. The value framework is not so much my view of up-bringing as it is about feeling, knowing that every step I take from here must be evaluated in respect to how it affects my daughter. My ethical path suddenly narrowed and widened at the same time. Narrowed because from now on everything is rather about my daughter than about myself. Widened because I would be prepared to do stuff outside my previous ethical "box" in the interest of my daughter. Non-religious as I most often think I am I am not sure I was not "touched" by Theos that moment when I first held my daughter. And I still am when she's around. -- PEZ

To say that the point of life is children, based on a single "religious" experience, is a bit hasty I would think. You may, after all, experience many more religious experiences before your life is over. And while conjecturing, you may find that these religious experiences which you may or may not have all share a common, higher Thread which runs through them and ties them together. It is certainly true that other people have religious experiences that do not involve children. But that is important or not depending on your view of the Absolute. However, if you were a relativist, you certainly would have said "the meaning of my life" and not "the meaning of life" (in general). Incidentally, my definition of religion is more along the lines of Kawigi's. Religion is a system of ideas and beliefs that provides a particular perspective to the world at large, whether physical only, or also spiritual. Of course, this definition implies that each person has their own "religion" that is comprised of their personal beliefs. That implication is not entirely intended, but people do often speak of their religion as a personal matter. And of course, all of the above is IMHO, which, although I am a believer in absolute truth, is not a contradiction, because although I believe that Absolute Truth is out there, I do not pretend to even come close to comprehending it all. -- nano

As long as noone can claim they comprehend that absolute thruth there could as well be no such thing. There's little or no difference. No experience, short of another child, in my coming life will ever come close to when my daughter was born. I know this. I really implied "my" when I said the meaning of life. I seldom speak for mankind in general. =) -- PEZ

There is a big difference between something not existing, and us merely not knowing it. To say there is no difference is extremely arogant. You cannot "know" that you will never have a similar experience, you can belive it, but you can't be 100% sure. -- Tango

I did not mean to be arrogant. But can you tell what the difference is between a non-existant absolute truth and an existing one that noone knows about? To me they appear completely equivalent. I do think that when you experience the most marvelous thing that will ever happen to you then you can know this. -- PEZ

It is arrogant to belive that humanity is so important that their knowledge is the way of defining absolute truth. Thinking you know something, and it being the truth are very different things. -- Tango

Can you please stop calling me arrogant? I don't mean it that way at all. I am not trying to define absolute truth here. It's that the existance of something that does not manifest it's existance in any way at all that we can comprehend is about equivalent with the same thing being non-existant. I guess it's a philosophical stand point. But hardly an arrogant one. -- PEZ

The arrogant bit is: "that we can comprehend". We have nothing to do with it. Just because we are too stupid to comprehend it, doesn't stop it being the truth. Was gravity not the truth prior to Newton? Was heavier-than-air flight impossible prior to the Wright brothers? Was Everest not the tallest mountain before it was discovered? Our knowledge does not effect what is true. -- Tango

Was gravity before Newton really? I'm not completely sure it was. Well, things didn't fall of the planet of course, but whether gravity existed or not was probably equivalent to all people before Newton. I could believe there's a pink elephant floating around behind Jupiter. Whether there is or not is equivalent until we can either prove there is or is not a pink elephant there. I would say that our knowledge very much defines what is and what is not. -- PEZ

Nope, wheter there is or not is isn't equivalent, it is undetermined. -- FnH

In my view, there is one more fundamental difference between a non-existant absolute truth and an unknown absolute truth - the unknown one is worth seeking. While I mean that in a more religious sense, I'll echo Tango and mention that this is also the basis of research and science. -- Kawigi

Indeed. Some things unknown are worth seeking, but I am not sure absolute truth is one of these. However, as long as you are seeking it I can certainly agree that there is a difference, a major one. Still, as long as you have not found it it has no practical consequence on the establishment of an absolute ethics framework. Even when you have found it this might prove difficult since it remains to convince others that you know about the absolute truth. Until, we will still have to suffice with our relative, personal ethics. It is because our knowledge defines the existance that we must constantly try to expand our knowledge. I think this is the basis of research and science. -- PEZ

Our knowledge defines our perceptions and our thoughts, it does not define existance. We extend our knowledge in order to extend our perceptions and thoughts, our existance does not change. I think it is always worth seeking knowledge. All knowledge is good, it is simply how knowledge is used that is good or bad. -- Tango

I think the best rebuttal to this argument (that knowledge defines reality -- which is certainly not an odd or uncommon belief, although PEZ is bravely defending it alone), is to ask this question: Do you believe that a man living today who with all of his heart believes himself to be Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth president of the United States, is insane? Would you not say that this man's beliefs do not hold with reality? If you hold to the train of thought that you have been following, then you must respond by saying that, for him, he is in fact Abraham Lincoln, and that his apparent insanity is merely a result of miscommunication, or mismatched perspectives. This is, however, usually an unpalatable belief. If you do respond such, then the next question arises. Presume that there is a man who believes himself, wholeheartedly, to be a soldier still fighting in the Vietnam War. Presume that he acts upon this belief by dressing in camoflauge and traipsing through crowded public areas, firing an automatic weapon. Do you believe that this man should be locked up? After all, if his knowledge defines his reality, then he is simply defending his country, which is after all not a criminal offense. He should instead be given a medal for showing such bravery in taking on the enemy single-handedly. If you follow the defense of your argument, you must eventually claim that each person inhabits his own universe that is defined by his beliefs and the other "apparent" people are merely illusions caused by your beliefs of those people, and therefore what happens to them in your world doesn't necessarily happen in theirs. But then of course, those people don't even "exist" in any real sense beyond your own cognition. I do not think you will hold to these views, however. Your love for your children probably causes them to be very real to you, and no doubt you feel them to be real people, capable of holding incorrect views. -- nano

I don't follow your line of reason completely I think. But I can answer both your questions by saying that I would say the first man is insane and that the second man is too (and should be locked up good). I really think people around me exist for real. To all my knowledge they do. I think that when something is discovered to exist and you can convince the common "mind" of its existance then it exists not only in the minds of people acknowledging it but in a most real sense.

I too think it is good to seek knowledge. But I don't think that there an absolute truth is waiting to be discovered (or spring to existance, if you like). That's why I don't think it is worth seeking it. It's a kind of trade-off I guess most knowledge-seekers do all the time.

-- PEZ

I don't think PEZ's argument is anything about truth not existing if a particular person doesn't know it, but truth not being useful if no one knows it. -- Kawigi

Ok, PEZ, i think i must either not understand you, or you have not fully explained yourself, because at the moment you are coming across as even more arrogant than before. It appears that you are saying that it is *your* knowledge than matters, and not anyone elses, so the fact that you know the man isn't Lincoln outways his knowledge that he is. And, Kawigi, i would agree that something isn't useful *to us* if we don't know it, but to say "no one" knows it, is again arrogant. No one that you know of knows it, that doesn't mean no one knows it. Ah, i seem to have just used the arguement to prove the arguement... nevermind... -- Tango

I have decided not to mind if you think I am arrogant. =) But now I am curious. Would you say that a man in our times thinking himself of being Abraham Lincoln, president of the United States between 1860 until he was murdered 1865, who ended the system of slavery in your country. Would you say this man is sane? I think there are enough people, disregarding myself, who would think, who would know better. I also think that this is why Nano choose that particular person in history for his experiment of thought.

Kawigi, thanks. That is exactly what I am trying to say. I am willing to narrowing it down to say that if no one we know about knows the truth then it is of no consequence to us. That truth offers no guidance when we try to figure out what is right and what is wrong. We're on our own just as if the truth did not exist at all. -- PEZ

So now you are saying that the majority decision is the truth? That is a common misconception, but it all falls down when you realise that the human race is stupid. -- Tango

You misunderstand me completely. I am not saying that my thinking is the truth. But of course I must in some sense believe myself that my perception of reality is somewhere close. Otherwise I would have to declare myself being insane. Something that even insane people are not known for doing too lightly. Human race stupid? Compared to what? -- PEZ

If that's not what you're saying, then what are you saying? That's that only way i can interpret your words. The human race is stupid compared to basic logic and common sense. It is irrational, foolish, fickle, etc. -- Tango

Try to imagine the intelligence level of an "average" person, for example when you go to a public place. By definition, 50% of all persons are dumber than that one... ;)

Note - When I described PEZ's position, I wasn't trying to prove that there is something that no one knows, the fact that no one knows is the basis - given a truth that no one knows, it's not incredibly useful (until, of course, someone finds out about it). -- Kawigi

Indeed, half of any group are below average, but the problem is, the average is pretty stupid, anyway. Watch a commercial TV channel for a bit, see a few adverts. The advertisers are educated people, they know what they are doing, which means the adverts must work. The adverts are clearly aimed at stupid people (they are purely manipulative, not informative), so most of the people that buy things, so therefore most of the people in the world, are stupid. -- Tango

Wow Tango. Thats a pretty harsh assessment of the world. What would make you believe that half the people in the world are stuid? I would have agreed with you had you said "too lazy to do their own research". I would hazard a guess that the average person in the world today knows more things than the average person of 100 years ago. Our ability to reason may not be that much better, but this level of information has allowed us to use what ability we have to make sounder decisions. I also do not think that a study of advertising can lead us to a conclusion of perceived lack of intelligence. The store in wich you bought your last widget had at least a sign in front of it announcing that it was a store. This sign, and your desire, led you into the store to purchase it. You succumed to a form of advertising. I do not think you are stupid because of it. I think you are someone that recognized a need/want and had the means to obtain it. You said to yourself, I need this functionality and the time I *could* spend researching the options is more valuably spent else where (like robocoding =^>). That does not make you simple. It makes you capable of rationalizing that your time is better spent else where. -- jim

Firstly, knowledge and intelligence are very difference things, one involved memorising things, the other thinking about them. There are different types of advertising, there is manipulative attempts to trick people into buying your product (eg. adverts that bear no resemblance to the product, and are simply trying to get you to notice them), and there are informative explanations that prove to you that you really do want/need this product. I would like to think i don't fall for the first sort, but i'm only human, so i'm sure i do from time to time. Prioritising time is a good point, but it would still be more intelligent to find a good summary of the information, that someone else has already gathered, rather than just buy the thing which had the most colourful advert. -- Tango

I am not going to be thrust into the position of defending adverts, not even as a Devil's Advocate =^> I will say that I think what you call intelligence I call reasoning. I think the combination of my ability to extrapolate a probable outcome from the set of things I know and learn from the accuracy of these conclusions are what constitutes intelligence. My ability to remember my lessons learned are what constitutes my wisdom. To bring it full circle, it is my ability to take the set of these experiences, my reasoning, and my gained wisdom and use them to do the right thing no matter how hard that is, that constitutes my ethics. Note here that I said nothing about wether it was the right or wrong thing to do. Just that I think it be the right thing to do. History will judge it to be right or wrong. Thats not ours to decide. We just do the best we can and hope. =^> -- jim

(Responding to PEZ): I'm sorry that I missed your point so dramatically. My questions were aimed at the statement "I would say that our knowledge very much defines what is and what is not", which is obviously false if you believe both of those men to be insane. Knowledge itself cannot define reality, in fact, Reality is the authority, and defines whether knowledge is correct or incorrect. However, I now understand that by "knowledge" you probably in fact meant "the set of true facts about reality that the human race as a whole is aware of". In that case, it doesn't make sense to talk about knowledge being right or wrong. However, if that is your definition, I still must disagree with you. Presume that you are in a maze, of which you have explored a very small portion. You do not say, "I have explored the whole maze." You don't say it, because it isn't true. What you really mean is "I have explored a portion of the maze, and I declare that the portion that I have explored is, for all intents and purposes, the entire maze." If you do this, however, you are inherently limiting your possible knowledge of the maze. If the portion of the maze that you had explored was in fact the entire maze, then you have no reason to keep exploring, because you will only see what you have seen before. However, if you recognize that the maze is much larger than what you have seen, then you will keep exploring it, in order to uncover its secrets. Of course it is true that you won't know anything about the other parts of the maze until you get there, but that doesn't need to be said, as it goes without saying. The point is that there are other parts to the maze that you haven't seen. -- nano

Yes. I agree. But I think of it as expanding our reality. Some parts of the unexplored maze we probably can deduce what they are about from the parts of the maze we have in fact explored. The parts in complete darkness are not a useful part of our reality. They can't be telled apart from purely imaginated parts of the maze. Time might tell about whether they existed or not. Then again time might not.

As for the human race being stupid. I can't agree since the human race is the most intelligent race we know of. But I certainly utter harsh statements like that about people when I see some commercials. I wonder who makes those commercials worthwhile broadcasting. Considering a man thinking himself being Lincoln today sane because "the human race thinking Lincoln was murdered 1865 is stupid" is a bit far stretched though. =)

-- PEZ

To say that the unknown is "useless" is of course true in the simplest sense. You can't use it, since you don't have it. But to thus dismiss it is folly. To do so is like not looking both ways before crossing the street because you don't know if there are cars coming or not. That is, in fact, the reason you do look. What you don't know can hurt you, and in many ways the unknown is more important than the known.

Many times, people will use similar words to describe their dislike for the pursuit of philisophical or religious knowledge. They say that you can't know it, and so therefore it isn't worth seeking. However, you have found for yourself a piece of religious truth. What is to prevent you from stumbling across more? It is possible that part of your "religious revelation" was that it was itself alpha and omega, but I personally feel that that must just be a deception or confusion. Of course, that is my humble opinion. -- nano

I haven't dismissed it thusly. I am not saying absolute truth is not worth seeking because we can't see it. And I don't dislike the pursuit of relegious knowledge as such. What I do say is that most of our actions are hard to value on an absolute ethical scale. We have to put them on a moral scale based on our own ethical frame. Absolute ethics might or might not exist and is pretty useless for this purpose. On the other hand I do think that the search for absolute truth is not for me since I don't think it exists. That's what I think. I could be wrong. So someone thinking, feeling, knowing the thruth is out there should not feel constrained by what I think is possible or not. If the piece of truth I stumbled across when my daughter was born was religious or not is hard to tell. I would say it was not religious, since I don't think I am religious myself. -- PEZ

For me there is an obvious cientific and logical explanation to your "almost religious" experience with your daughter. The most basic instinct that governs all life is survival, both of the individual and of it's species. We all have a "success function" hardcoded in our brains that gives us pleasure when we satisfy those instincts and pain when we go against them. That is why you felt a great pleasure when your daughter was born, and why having children can be seen as "the meaning of life". -- ABC

About absolute ethics, there is the fundamental principle (axiom) "don't to to other what you wouldn't like them doing to you" from wich you can derive every other moral "rule". Good and evil are absolute concepts (although abstract) for me. Btw, adverts are evil, and people are are very stupid and very intelligent at the same time. ;) -- ABC

Marketers are fundamental evil. I must hasten to point out that scientific explanations of "spiritual" phenomena do not rule out the possibility of an actual spiritual meaning. People often suppose that to be the case, but just because a feeling is prompted by brain chemistry does not mean that there is no higher truth or meaning behind the feeling. In fact, if there were a Creator, this is precisely what we should expect: that the physical world mirrors (and in some ways is symbolic of) the spiritual world.

Again, it is very true that we cannot use an Absolute Ethical Scale if we do not possess it. However, there is nothing to prevent us possessing it. As ABC has pointed out, entire ethical systems may be based upon a single axiom. The one he quotes is (in practice) the same as the Second Greatest Commandment: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Of course, any person would also admit that if a Benevolent, Omnipotent Creator existed, then the Greatest Commandment must be to love Him first and foremost, and the Second Greatest Commandment must simply be an extension of the first. All other moral principles would hang on these (to paraphrase the Bible).

You say that you do not believe in "absolute truth", however, I think this is simply miscommunication. When I say "absolute truth" I mean the set of all things true for all people, including that I am currently typing this post, that it is December 17th, 2003, that the current president of the United States is George Bush (Lord help him), and that two and two are four. I do not restrict "absolute truth" to the set of things nebulous or spiritual, and I think it would be a mistake to do so. By my definition, you are seeking absolute truth every day in a myriad of ways. You simply do not wish to search for anything that is not physical, as you believe that anything beyond the physical does not exist. (I hope I am representing you correctly. Please correct me where I am wrong.) Oh, and thank you for the wonderful discussion. I haven't had the chance to do this for quite some time.

-- nano

If you define truth like that I must again agree. But it was not the way I meant it above, so misscommunication it is. Replace all occurences of "truth" in my postings above with "ethics", or "right and wrong". I don't restrict it to the set of things spiritual either. I rather reflected that in my thinking absolute ethics is hard to imagine without religion (or spirtualism, if you like). I do not rule out the possibility of a supreme absolute spirit. It's just that I don't think there is one. As for axioms... well, there certainly are people around that do not share the particular view that you must not treat others in a way you wouldn't like to be treated yourself. I certainly try to follow that rule. Though I do not always succeed. My wish for searching for things are based somewhat on a ratio "the probability it is there, or that I can find it / the benefit a find would bring". The probability for me to find the absolute ethics of the world are about zero in my thinking. The benefits are incalcuable. It could save me and the world and it could damn me and the world (or anything in between those extremes). What if the absolute ethics is to always only think about yourself and never care about others? With ethics like that Saddam Hussein might be the model we should all follow. I must look up the words "Benevolent" and "Omnipotent" before I can admit what "any person would".

I also like this discussion. It's rare that I can find anyone around me that thinks things like these are interesting and important to discuss. But I am a bit worried all the time that we bring it to the point where we upset each other or others. I suggest we give all of us a veto to end this discussion if it should break the only rule of the robowiki. -- PEZ

Benevolent=nice, omnipotent=all knowing. (those are very simplified definitions, but they will do, i think) We all already have a veto to end the discussion, it is called leaving. If i am not happy with the discussion i can leave, and just stick with the more robocode related parts of the site, and everyone else can carry on without me. That's the good thing about the internet, you cannot be forced to read things you don't want to, that isn't the same with verbal discussion, you can hear what people say even if you don't want to (unless you leave the room, but that isn't always possible, and is equivilent to leaving the whole site). However, the discussion is better if you have more people (to a limit, and assuming the people have something to offer the discussion), so it is best we try to not to upset people. It is difficult in such a discussion though, as people who have strongly held beliefs often struggle to take people critism of those belives as it is meant (simply a logical arguement, to try to come to a conclusion) and take it as a personal insult. We normally use tone of voice to correct these mistakes, but obviously you can't do that online, so i suggest liberal use of ":-)" whenever you say something that could be misinterpreted, to confirm you mean it kindly. And lastly, if i have upset anyone during this discussion, i apologise, and if the person offended would like to contact me and explain what i did, i will try to avoid such action in the future. -- Tango

No offense taken here anyway! Given those definitions of the words previously lacking from English vocabulary I can't say I admit to that the greatest commandment must be to love the creator first and foremost. (If we, for the sake of argument, assume such a creator exists). Why must it be that? -- PEZ

I also don't see the logic in that. If there is a benevolent and omnipotent being then we should logically do what it says (it is omnipotent, so knows what is best, and is benevolent, so will do what is best), but unless this being tells us to love it above all else, there is no reason to. (BTW, slightly OT, the Christian God may be omnipotent, but certainly isn't benevolent, a quick scan of the Bible is enough to confirm that to anyone capable of thinking for themselves) -- Tango

Omnipotent=all powerfull, omniscient=all knowing. -- ABC

Thanks, ABC, I was going to make that correction, too. I would tend to define benevolent as caring or loving. Side note - omnipotent (all-powerful) in Tagalog is "pinakamakapangyarihan". I had to memorize that word. Anyways, in that sense, I'd say the OT / Christian God is benevolent because he tends to do that which ultimately benefits his people (like a father would do with his children, even if his children don't see the point). Of course, possibly superceding that, the God in the Bible is just. He simply won't let you be happy forever in sin. Sometimes that is your opportunity or warning to shape up (might seem mean, but it's for your own benefit), and other times you are just plain getting punished (which is probably why you say he's not benevolent). Even the Christian principle of forgiveness isn't really a replacement for justice. -- Kawigi

Something tells me Kawigi isn't completely unbiased on the subject of the Christian God. =) -- PEZ

Oh, i got them round the wrong way, sorry. It actually makes a lot of difference, oh well... What do you mean by "living in sin"? If you are living by stealing and killing people, then fine, a benevolent God would stop that, but if you are simply living with someone of the oposite sex without being married, for example, you aren't hurting anyone, so why would a loving/caring/nice God want to stop that? Also, killing every single lifeform on the planet except for one family of humans and one mating pair of everything else (BTW, doesn't that seem a little unfair to you? The animals only get 2 each, but humans get a whole family.) just because a majority of humans are sinners is not the the actions of a benevolent being. Nor is it the actions of an omniscient being, as it clearly failed, we still live in a wartorn, "sinful" world. (BTW, did you know that "to sin" actually means to fall short of your target(s), not to do evil, as everyone seems to think?) -- Tango

PEZ's observation is just, I'm far from neutral ;-) Living in sin certainly includes some things that don't apparently hurt other people, because you could be (consciously or ignorantly) hurting yourself. Saying that the flood didn't "work" is interesting, you don't think there are more than 6 God-fearing people in the whole world? It has worked just fine in a sense - it has taken more than 4000 years for society to get close to what it was in Noah's time. I think some people even consider it a "nice" warning - I remember a Take 6 song that says "it won't be water but fire next time." As far as my personal beliefs, I just don't think the world was such that someone could be born into it and even have a chance to live righteously - letting more people be born into such an environment would be (in his eyes) more cruel than destroying the wicked people of the world. In all fairness, (not like I SHOULD have to defend a theoretically omniscient God), He sent Noah to warn them that it was change or die. -- Kawigi

Water or fire, does it matter? "Hey, I'm going to warn you the nice way this time. I'll just drown you. Next time I'll burn you up." Sounds like Tony Soprano to me. It was a long time since I read about Noah. But didn't God promise Noah never to do such a thing to mankind again? -- PEZ

Yes he did. He sealed the promise with the rainbow. In theory, every rainbow is a reminder of this promise.

How do you reconcile a God that on one hand promises to sentance me to spend an enternity in "hell fire and brimstone" if I do not shape up and on the other has commanded me to "Do unto others as would have them do unto you"? You can not have it both ways, unless you accept that God is either willing spend eternity with me suffering or that he is above the rules. I personally have had a lot of trouble with that one over the years. I find it tough to deal with the idea that I am being commanded to maintain a standard that the big guy is not willing to keep (assuming of course that he would not choose to spend eternity in Hell with me). -- jim

But if you follow Kawigi's reasoning and accept that it was an act of kindness to drown all living things on earth, then God was doing things to others that he would want them to do to him. Being kind. Right? Of course in my mind there would be nothing awkward with God being above the rules. The rules we are talking about is for men I guess. -- PEZ

Back again after a crazy work week (including weekend). It seems a very interesting discusion. I'w try to catch up. BTW, has someone readed "the hero of a thousand faces" by Joseph Campbell? -- Albert

Welcome back Albert. I was beginning to wonder where you were. What do you think about the RoboRumble/LRP? -- PEZ

Great tool!!! I just found out in a few minutes that my brand new statistical targeting gun is just crappy (just take a look into AspidReloaded) so I think I'w go back to pattern matching. Is the source code public? Would be interesting to add it to the server distribution files. -- Albert

Would it be the first client-run program in the server package? What may be most appropriate is to include a JSP to display it (the current page that displays the applet is a quick Perl script we hacked up the other day).

I would say that God obeys a higher law than we do (not that He's above our law so much, but that we have to follow our law until we have the understanding necessary to live His). For instance, take this idea: "I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men." Why doesn't he have to forgive everyone but we do? Because if we accuse someone of wrongdoing, we may be wrong. Or we may not understand why they did what they did, or what their motives were, if they are genuinely sorry, etc. So to be on the safe side, so we don't go about being unforgiving to those who deserve forgiveness, we should forgive everyone. But for an omniscient being who knows what someone was thinking, what their motives were, why they did something, and how they feel about it, he can unquestionably know whether a person deserves forgiveness. On the level of the "golden rule", we can treat others the way we'd like to be treated because primarily, we don't know how they want to be treated (but the way in which we would like to be treated is a good estimate). -- Kawigi

Just about religions and the need of God: The main characteristic of religions is that they are revealed and provide an absolute cosmological framework (which usually includes a moral). But there is no need of God to have a religion. Buda just got an absolute truth throught enlightment and revealed it to mankind, but he was not a god. Note that because the truth is just revealed (not rationally discovered nor consensuated), there is no opportunity on discussing it: If you believe in the revelation, any one not following it is wrong. That's why religions have caused so many problems in the world. -- Albert

This is how I see the problem of mercy vs. justice: 1) There is a law that says that authority must punish and 2) There is a law that says that everyone must forgive. What authority there is may both punish and forgive. This model is seen in parenting, as well as in the world's many judicial systems, as well as in the God of the Bible (OT and NT). I do not think that God forgives some and punishes others. Instead he forgives all, but punishes those who do not accept the exception to the rule, that is, the way out of punishment that Jesus provided.

"You can not have it both ways, unless you accept that God is either willing spend eternity with me suffering or that he is above the rules." It is, in my view, the former. God was willing to spend eternity in suffering, and He came to earth to die so that He might do so. He did go down to Hell. He took our punishment. He is not above the rules, as He Himself is the definition of the Rules. As the Bible says, "He is just". You may say that 1) It is allowed in the Rules that one (innocent) person may take the punishment of another, or 2) God punished Himself for creating a race of people to whom He gave the power to create sin. I personally like the second, as it does not require a separate rule. "The wages of sin is death" is the only rule needed. If 2) is correct, then when you "accept Christ", you are merely allowing God to shift the blame of your sin from yourself to Him. Although He is in fact blameless (He Himself would never sin), He at all moments empowers us to sin by providing us with free will to choose one thing or another. He is, in everything, the ultimate Cause. We killed Him in a very real sense, by becoming ourselves worthy of death.

This is all just my ramblings, and is not taken from any reputable source, so you may take it with a heaping spoonful of salt.

-- nano

One point. When Jesus desended into hell he rescued all the people who accepted him, and then left, all in time to rise from the dead 3 says later. I hardly called that an "eternity"... -- Tango

I think we should try to move the discussion away from the Christian theology. It's almost impossible to meet when some are deep believers and some are quite the opposite. -- PEZ

I do not believe that our concept of time applies in the same way to Hell or Heaven. Time is intimately related to this particular universe (spacetime). The Bible does say that Jesus still bears the scars from his death. I believe that this applies in more than just a physical sense. I do not know what it entails, but I do believe that God did take our punishment, however possible.

I do agree with PEZ: there is no question of convincing anyone of Christian theology by argument, and it would be dangerous to continue much further along those lines. I was simply defending my beliefs, which I believe is an acceptable thing to do. I have no problems doing so. I will attempt to not stray into evangelism. :) -- nano

For what it's worth I take no offense at what nano or what anyone else was saying and I was making no attempts to put anyone on the defensive. I was very interested to nano's answer as it is one of the things that I can never reconcile in my mind as it regards any religon. I am a voracious reader on the subject of religon. I have studied it very intensly my whole life. nano I apologise if you felt I was questioning you. I was not trying to shake you or disuade you and I never will (I never could anyways :-) ). Thanks for taking the time to answer. You have given me something to think about. -- jim

Absolutely Jim, it's really my pleasure. I enjoy talking about this stuff. I wasn't offended in any way. -- nano

Since Voidious ressurected this thread...
I am inclined to believe that nearly anything you can do is 'fair game' as long as it isn't abusing the mechanics of the game. However, you should consider why you are trying to program a bot in the first place. If the effort will be worth it based on your personal satisfaction of achieving your goals, whatever they are, then there's really nothing to stop you from playing dirty. But if you want the benefit of praise from your competitors, your product has to meet their criteria for praise. Someone might applaud your efforts to abuse the game mechanics with a malicious thread. Someone may think you are devious for hampering testing against your bot. Someone may think it is wise to research the open source bots for ideas rather than relying on your own inspiration and programming prowess. Some may not. -- Martin Alan Pedersen

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