I think we're taking the pedophilia a bit out of context

| Tuesday, May 3, 2011
My favorite social has gotten a tiny bit of criticism for comparing gamers who don't share his goals with pedophiles.
I call him a moron because of his priorities. Because he finds that fun. With an easily understandable example: if you find a guy jerking off to pictures of children, you don't find him disgusting (and in many countries a felon), because of his action. Actually his action is totally harmless. You resent him because his action revealed his sexual priority: he is a pedophile. If he would never do the action and just told you his priorities, you would still resent him.

We shouldn't assume this is the classic internet idiot tactic of comparing something to the extreme bad. Gevlon clearly isn't stupid, since if he was he'd surely not be so critical of stupidity. Instead I think we're putting our own cultural values on him, which would of course be stupid, since as he knows, cultural values are stupid.

What I'm trying to say is that his comparison is totally okay if we assume that Gevlon doesn't think pedophilia is all that bad. After all, what's so great about kids? They're just short adults with no marketable skills. Any rational (self-interested) individual will have no interest having and especially raising kids, since despite being necessary for the long-term survival of the economy and humanity, they are a drain on any individual.

While you can obviously believe and stand up for the idea that "collecting status symbols is good", but "everyone has different priorities" is nihilism as it claims that every idea is equal and good.

Exactly, we cannot just have everyone running around doing whatever they feel like. Instead we need rules and standards. Only an idiot would ever suggest otherwise.

"Dangerous", "counterproductive" are measurable. "Moral" is not. It's merely a rephrasing of "my mum/teacher/priest thought it's right and told me when I was a kid and I never had the brains or time to question it".

Never mind.

I'm not suggesting that Gevlon is a pedophile. What I am suggesting is that he is a delusional moron. One cannot simultaneously claim that people should do what is best for them, regardless of the harm to others, while also assigning any special value to children. He is in fact the social that he so hates, the slave to ape subroutines that he finds so disgusting.

And finally:

This isn't an argument. Actually it's a total misunderstanding of the post. It is obvious that the guy farming for rare minipet #187 has priorities on minipet collection. However I did not call his action (the farming) moronic. If the most effective (or only available) way to get minipet #187 is to farm them, then farming it is completely rational.

Also, wrong. If the goal itself is irrational, then the process of achieving that goal, even if it is perfectly optimized, will also be irrational. Means do not justify ends (or the reverse). So if you're going to call the goal moronic, then you should call the action moronic as well.

And in case there is any confusion: there is a difference between choices and chaos, between individual priorities and nihilism.

Or we could ask, what makes Gevlon's goals objectively better than those of anyone else?


Anonymous said...

Why is Gevlon's avatar a goblin and not a troll?

Mhorgrim said...

His goals arent better or worse than anyone elses. His style of lashing out at everything he deems not in line with his way of thinking however is purely of attention getting, shock jock, self validation.

The only problem I have with his comparissons is the way he seems to downplay a subject that is morally irreprehensible to a game. By comparing goals of a pedophile to goals of a video gamer is kinda morally skewed in my opinion.

Klepsacovic said...

@tagn: Because trolls are lazy drug-users rather than sociopaths who will do anything for a bit of gold.

@Mhorgrim: I agree entirely with the second paragraph, which is why I suggested that he's merely attempting to be objective and sees no problem with abusing children as opposed to adults.

And the first paragraph too.

Stubborn said...

I found your post quite humorous and sarcastic. This was a good way to respond without metaphorically getting out a nuke. Quite wry.

Anonymous said...

I've been reading Gevlon since his "glyph" days ... the boy and the folks that comment, are pure internet entertainment ... nothing more, nothing less.

Fidjit said...

"what makes Gevlon's goals objectively better than those of anyone else?"

I was just going to say the same thing, but you summed it up nicely there. The great irony of his post is that he's speaking out against "stupid and pointless acitivites with no meaningful reward" such as collecting virtual animals while his own obviously meaningful, rational goals are exactly the same: collecting virtual items in a videogame.

Gold and gear is not nearly as distinct from minipets as he seems to think, both in substance (obviously) and more importantly, in purpose.

Nils said...

Not supporting Gevlon here. This guy is rediculous. But goals cannot be irrational. At least not if they are end-goals.

If you want to help a guy murder your mother, it is rational to get out of his way. If you want to stop him, it is irrational to get out of his way.

Means can be irrational, goals are just something you want; for whatever reason. A goal can only be irrational if it is a stopover to another goal.

For example, if you want to get rich and therefore try to work as hard as possible in a blue-collar job, this goal of 'working as hard as possible' would be irrational considering your end-goal of getting rich. You could also they these goals are not consistent.

Klepsacovic said...

My goal is to become God. Not god-like. Not worshiped as a god. God. The all-powerful, all-knowing deity of the Abrahamic faiths.

I'm trying to say that some goals can be irrational. Theoretically. In practice we probably won't see many irrational goals, but they can exist. Though beside these there are goals that we will want to interfere with.

Sthenno said...

I don't think Gevlon is actually comparing bad players to pedophiles. I realize you probably don't think that's what he meant to do either, but I wanted to post this because I think the argument is very revealing. I believe that what Gevlon is doing, whether he means to or not, is argue that we think the same way he does.

Most of us probably feel some significant measure of disgust when we think of pedophiles, and he is right that we are making a judgement about them as people rather than a judgement about the actions they take. Of course this doesn't have to extent to all parts of our lives because we are comfortable dealing with what we consider to be extreme cases differently than what we consider to be normal cases. If Gevlon would have said instead that we judge someone who robs a store because of the content of their character rather than because of their action, lots of people would have disagreed with him. He knew that, and he didn't pick that example.

Gevlon doesn't like shades of grey where there is no absolutely right answer. Unless there is a clear line, and an easily applicable rule, to determine when we shift from disliking actions to disliking the people who perform the actions, he is pretty uncomfortable with the idea that both are things we do. He doesn't like situations like this probably because either: a) he feels stupid when he can't figure out a perfect answer; or b) he feels that as soon as there is no firm rule in place to sort things out it just comes down to a popularity contest between the people with the opposing viewpoints and he is not that popular.

So he makes the analogy to convince us that *we are like him*. We also judge pedophiles by the content of their character, therefore we must also judge people with low DPS by the content of their character, right? And if that's the case then we are just like Gevlon, and he is not alone, not stupid, and won't lose any popularity contests.

Klepsacovic said...

I think he's doing a few things. One of them is to equate the 'nihilism' of people having fun collecting pets with pedophilia, to say that "if you think people get to decide what is fun, then why not that?" It's essentially a half-step away from Godwining the issue, while ironically promoting a pretty restrictive view of acceptable behavior.

He may also being doing what you are suggesting, to say "this action implies a bad person" and then stretch that to trivial cases. It's a strangely tribal attitude, to compulsively categorize people into us and them, with us obviously being much better than them.

I'd have to dig a bit to find it, but a while back I had a few comments on Tobold's blog about this, essentially saying that we should not be quick to judge people based on performance in a game. A bad hunter is a bad hunter, but we have little idea of how that relates to their real-life attributes.

Then there are the issues of order of maginitude. If I drop a hammer on the sidewalk that will damage it. If I pound away with a sledgehamer, that will damage it much more. Obviously we'd respond differently to these actions, because despite being similar in effect, damaging the sidewalk, the severity matters. Or if we want to retain the claim that single actions should be used as measures of a person, the first person may have tripped while the second is destructive and potentially dangerous.

Sthenno said...

I think in that final quote about nihilism he's just furthering the argument I outlined above. He says (as you quoted above):

While you can obviously believe and stand up for the idea that "collecting status symbols is good", but "everyone has different priorities" is nihilism as it claims that every idea is equal and good.

So, he's not saying that you are a pedophile if you collect pets. Quite the opposite, he directly says that if you think collecting pets is good then you can try to make that case. What he is saying is closer to the idea that if you aren't judging people for collecting pets then you are justifying pedophilia. The post is an argument in favour of judging other people; he's saying that if you don't judge other people then you don't judge pedophiles, which means you are bad (a "nihilist"). And of course, in current culture, anything less than a vibrant display of disgust at pedophilia automatically brands you a pedophile yourself, so he kind of sneaks that in there to.

In summary, if you go on his blog and say, "You are totally wrong and stupid, collecting companion pets is meritorious!" then you are an idiot but not necessarily a pedophile. If you go on his blog and say, "Some people like doing that and some people don't, and I think that's fine" then you are an idiot and pretty much a pedophile.

Anyway, having reread and thought more about your post, I'm not sure this runs contrary to anything you said. More of a tangent, I guess.

Klepsacovic said...

I would be a hypocrite to criticize tangents!

As far as "he wants us to judge other people", that's about half of what his blog is, the other half being fantasy logic and fake charts to support it. Essentially it comes down to your claim that he prefers extremes: I judge people, but not always. Or maybe more accurately, I judge people, but that judgement can be negative, positive, or neutral, and it will not even cover all aspects of a person. If I think someone is ugly, that is only a judgement of appearance with no affect on other aspects such as intellect.

The pedophile thing is a pretty bad analogy*, since the whole reason we dislike pedophiles is not because of children, but because of harm. Teachers are with children all the time, but we think they help children. Conversely, we think rapists and thieves are bad, not because they work with people and houses, but because they cause harm. In fact, his specific case is a bit debatable in terms of harm, since we know nothing of the circumstances of the picture, but that's risking a tangent that cannot sound good.

* By bad I mean inaccurate or illogical, but it was certainly effective and spreading an idea.

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