Is North Korea acting rationally?

Posted by lrshultis 4 years, 1 month ago to Philosophy
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Does the fact that North Korea acts with respect to the limited reality that it allows itself, imply that that action is actually rational?
SOURCE URL: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/11/world/asia/north-korea-nuclear-missile-programs-rational.html?_r=0


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  • Posted by evlwhtguy 4 years, 1 month ago
    The authors comment..."States are irrational when they do not follow self-interest."
    Was very interesting. How is the US policy of allowing completely uncontrolled immigration from Muslim and 3rd world hellholes rational. When you couple this with the immigration controls on educated people from western Europe[it seems that the more illiterate and non English speaking you are the more likely you are to get in!] you have a policy which seems self destructive at best and suicidal at worst.
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    • Posted by 4 years, 1 month ago
      Being rational is a concept that requires some deep knowledge of objective reality as well as the part within the brain called the mind. Having been born with a tabula rasa brain after conception with a complex scrambling of genes and 9 months of gestation and several years of somewhat randomly chosen training by parents, there has to form, to begin with , a simple model of reality within the mind, sometimes explicitly and sometimes implicitly. Whether the model is rational or not, depends upon years of possible evading facts and pretending to know about reality from the standpoint of parents and others. Unless the person is able to be honest under layers of mental crap, you get only a few who connect rational thought to objective reality. Even then there are few who can sustain that type of rational model all the time especially in a world of easy to accept memes finding little nooks and crannies too take roost and saying that it is too hard to be fully rational and besides I will lose friends or family or even my life, as in some really rotten countries of the world, if I stand alone. Doesn't leave much room for even the exceptional person to be rational or even know what is rational. Rand, for the most part and especially her metaphysics and epistemology, is an excellent place to learn what rational thought might entail. Not much hope for North Korea unless an accident happens with the nukes and the country is finally permitted to learn about liberty after the cleanup.
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    • Posted by $ allosaur 4 years, 1 month ago
      Such was old dino's thinking while reading the article.
      The globalist ideology the Great and Powerful Apologist has nothing to do with the self-interest of the USA.
      His self-interest is more akin to that of dictator Kim Jung-un, though the latter communist is not an apologist.
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  • Posted by jdg 4 years, 1 month ago
    The headline displays the fallacy of conflating nations with the individual ruling them.

    To all appearances, Kim Jong-Un would rather see North Korea nuked than see it become part of either China or South Korea. His behavior backs this up. The way he's going, he'll soon start throwing nukes at South Korea. The US will hit back with at least one. Then the fun begins.

    This will not be good for anyone in North Korea except the dictator, but he doesn't care.
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  • Posted by $ blarman 4 years, 1 month ago
    The article is in error. Their behavior is not rational. Rationality is sustained and results in the respect of rights and freedoms. North Korean leaders are power-mongers seeking to put themselves and their interests first without recognizing either the rights or interests of others. Their behavior may be logical in a short-term sense, but it is not rational.
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    • Posted by wiggys 4 years, 1 month ago
      if a statement or action is not rational how can it be logical?
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      • Posted by $ blarman 4 years, 1 month ago
        Logical just means that it follows given a certain premise. A statement is only valid however, if it is a product of both substantiated premises and sound logic. Rational (at least for Objectivists) means logically valid not just logical.
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        • Posted by 4 years, 1 month ago
          I think that Rand considered rational to mean with respect to reality.
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          • Posted by $ blarman 4 years, 1 month ago
            Yes, but the problem is that we don't always know whether or not our premises are valid. We sometimes must act to test out the validity of a hypothesis, so we don't know whether or not our actions are rational until after the fact. They would, however, be logical - a deduction based on premises, etc.
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            • Posted by 4 years, 1 month ago
              Since when were you promised by nature that omniscience was part of human rationality. A hypothesis is a guess from evidence that something might be true and it must be tested before accepting it as a truth (note the necessity of evidence before even forming a hypothesis or even a guess). Even then, it is possible to need to modify it should new evidence be found. So it is not that "we sometimes must act to test out the validity of a hypothesis..." we must always do so. Seems like pragmatism with kind of a "I don't know so I will try this and that until I hit right and then I will have been rational, to hell with all that data gathering nonsense". Being rational does not mean always being right, but only that you are focused on reality and not act on just random guesses or emotions or other reality modeling constructs without evidence. If humans are rational animals, all that means is that they have a consciousness that can focus on objective reality and create a conceptual view, as a model, of it. Objectivism requires that one have an understanding that knowledge is contextual and that omniscience is not possible no matter how hard you wish or pray that nature is not that way.
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              • Posted by $ blarman 4 years, 1 month ago
                I don't know that anyone was promised omniscience. That wasn't part of the question. The question was one of the difference between acting logically and acting rationally. A decision may be logical, but it may not be rational. Example: If you have been taught all your life that global warming is real, to act on that in support of initiatives curbing CO2 is logical, but to someone who knows that the "proof" of global warming is manufactured and false, that same act - though the product of logical thought - is irrational to the informed observer.

                "Being rational does not mean always being right"

                The key word here is "right". "Right" in this use implies a moral destination or outcome which is logically sound and based on correct premises. What you are actually saying is that it is difficult to ascertain in some cases whether or not a particular outcome is "right" - not necessarily whether or not one is acting logically - until after the decision has been made and the consequences arrived at. I don't disagree with you at all. The question is rather the determination of what is "right", because that entirely determines what is actually rational.
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                • Posted by 4 years, 1 month ago
                  I inferred that a wish for omniscience might be in the background with that lament that we must sometimes act without knowing what we are doing due to lack of evidence, where many times that is due to emotion driven action, but emotion is from previously learned pro or con, to the self, knowledge. The brain will give a logically correct, with regard to that knowledge, since natural processes can not be illogical in regard to nature.

                  In your example: if the premises that one has are true as far as one knows and are not contradicted by other evidence from reality, then to use them, in the context, to justify an action would be rational. The other person's accepted facts as being true and causing some action, in their context, would also be rational. The conclusion by the latter would in the same way be rational as would be the conclusion that the former is being irrational while the former could have the same conclusion about the latter. The question as to whether there is a contradiction between the premises used by the two analysts is what would be important for the beliefs. It could be the case that both are acting rationally due to some other factor not yet discovered. Of course, there could be the choice of not acting in some knee jerk way until more is known. I have been studying the conflict for many years and find problems on both sides along with the nastiness being flung back and forth. On blogs, the common thing is to close comments when there could be some new thought on the subject.

                  Right, as I was using it, also means 'in accordance with fact, reason, or truth' as well as your connotation.
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                  • Posted by $ blarman 4 years, 1 month ago
                    So really, when Rand uses the word rational in descriptions of human behavior, she isn't using it in an absolute sense, is that what you are saying? She is using it to mean acting logically with a heavy dose of intent to compensate for the very real potential of missing knowledge? I'm good with that.
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                    • Posted by 4 years, 1 month ago
                      Rational means having or exorcising the ability to reason and would imply with respect to reality, which thinking, even theoretical thought, is about. Reason is harder to pin down. Sometimes it refers to the result of thinking and sometimes to the thinking itself. But in the end, they are contingent on ones choice and so could be considered as not absolute and depend upon the ability to choose by a particular rational animal.
                      There is no way, even in mathematics to not have surprises to show up, to be omniscient, and one must reason with the knowledge context available. Some will have more knowledge than others but all have to have a possible lack of some knowledge. What is conscious in reason is the choosing, though that even has some subconscious source, or allowing oneself to do the work of thinking logically. Most of what is considered thinking is done automatically in the brain and then later one becomes aware of it as thoughts.
                      Here is an example of a little problem that takes a bit of mental work and may, in some people with experience be instantly answered:
                      "We are given three brothers named John, James, and William. John and James (the two J's) always lie, but William always tells the truth. The three are indistinguishable in appearance. You meet one of the three brothers on the street one day and wish to find out whether he is John (because John owes you money). You are allowed to ask him one question answerable by yes or no but the question may not contain more than three words! What question would you ask?"
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                      • Posted by $ blarman 4 years, 1 month ago
                        "Rational means having or exorcising the ability to reason and would imply with respect to reality..." (emphasis mine)

                        That is entirely my point. We do not have the capacity to be 100% rational because we don't have the capacity to determine reality 100%. We can be logical and act on what we know, however. Rationality ultimately can only be measured to the degree we understand reality and thus "rational" thinking can never be 100% objective - i.e. 0% uncertainty. The goal is to strive for better, but also to recognize that gaps in knowledge inevitably exist and may taint logical thought processes - thus the need to re-examine our premises when new information arises.

                        PS - I've seen this puzzle with two choices, but never with a third. It's an interesting twist. "Are you James? would be answered by a No by either William (truthful) or James(untruthful) but by a Yes by John(untruthful). Is that right?
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                        • Posted by 4 years, 1 month ago
                          That is right. Now that took a small amount of thought. In your case, your previous thought would have been helpful. To many people even that small amount of thought would be too much to make the effort.

                          No, there is no measurement for rationality. It is all or none. You either think with respect to reality to the best of your knowledge, or you do not. You do not get the pretend absoluteness of religious faith.There are large numbers of absolutes from being rational, such as one needs food and water in order to continue to live. Other thinking should be noted as having little mental question marks meaning that evidence might be lacking but the thinking still would be rational. Guessing counts when rational or there could never be a hypothesis created. Mathematics is very rational because the reality is that of valid conceptual formation and discovered logic and real and mentally created abstract relationships.
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                          • Posted by $ blarman 4 years, 1 month ago
                            So I'm a little confused. You say that rationality is either all or none, yet there is the huge caveat in there that because of imperfect knowledge we can not be 100% rational. So according to your definition, rationality is as much about will as anything.

                            "You do not get the pretend absoluteness of religious faith."

                            No idea what that means.

                            "Other thinking should be noted as having little mental question marks meaning that evidence might be lacking but the thinking still would be rational."

                            Again - if by your definition rationality is an absolute, how does one justify decision-making based on incomplete information (a constant guarantee) as being rational? Again I go back to my example of someone who has been taught global warming as doctrine: they are being logical, but according to my definition they are not rational, where by your definition they would be rational. Which is it?
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                            • Posted by 4 years, 1 month ago
                              I am saying that there is no measurement scale for rational. That is an exclusive thing where you can not sneak in what is not known. If you are, to the best of your knowledge, reasoning with respect to reality, then you are rational. If you pretend that you have part of your knowledge of reality, such as "I have a gut feeling" or "everyone believes that, so who am I to buck them", though those exist in reality, that would be irrational and not some OK position on a rationality scale.
                              There is no way to even consider something like 100% rationality since there may be something not yet discovered. But you can be say that 100% rationality would be when you act with regard to all that you believe to be true with no little added stuff to make reality look better than it looks with what you can actually know that you know. You seem to be wanting to categorize some degrees of irrationality as being rational in some way. It is the same with irrational, it is or it is not, it is more about honesty with oneself about reality. Same with honesty and integrity. There are not 0 to100 scales for them so that you can pretend. You are either rational, honest, or have integrity or not.
                              That might seem a bit harsh, but the natural world is more harsh than lenient. No mental free lunches.
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                              • Posted by $ blarman 4 years, 1 month ago
                                I don't mince words and don't expect others to do so. I just wanted to make sure I was understanding what you were saying. Thanks.

                                "If you are, to the best of your knowledge, reasoning with respect to reality, then you are rational."

                                Okay, so you are equating logical to rational. Just wanted to make sure.

                                "If you pretend that you have part of your knowledge of reality, such as "I have a gut feeling" or "everyone believes that, so who am I to buck them", though those exist in reality, that would be irrational and not some OK position on a rationality scale."

                                I'm going to play devil's advocate with you on this statement. There is a book by Malcolm Gladwell called Blink. In it, he sites several examples where gut feelings (instances of "something is wrong with this picture") came to various experts and were later shown to be completely accurate but at the time the experts themselves couldn't quite identify why they felt they way. One example was an art forgery case, where the experts involved were signing off on the authenticity of a statue for sale and insurance purposes. The first instant or "blink" when the expert saw a particular piece of art, their first reaction was that it was fake. But the individual overrode that reaction and then went about performing all the standard tests of authentication. According to the tests, the statue passed and was accordingly sold, etc. for a handsome sum of money. But the particular expert thought about her initial reaction and couldn't shake it. Some months later, she finally isolated what about the statue had twinged the initial reaction: the toes. They did another investigation and it turned out to be a massive forgery, but it had fooled all of the experts precisely because they ignored their intuitive senses which had - literally - arrived at the correct/real conclusion in the blink of an eye. The whole point of his book was that in many cases we actually arrive instantaneously at the correct decision without knowing why and we frequently talk ourselves out of it in favor of "facts" which are more to our liking or experience.

                                If you ever talk to law enforcement personnel, you will find that nearly all of them can cite a similar example of where - though they couldn't readily identify the source of the feeling - something just seemed off about a person or situation and their intuition turned out to be a game-changer. I've also seen the same thing with mother's instincts as well as in my own life. There is also the old test-taking maxim where one's original impression is usually correct. So I am going to differ with you in disallowing gut feelings. Groupthink I will agree, however, is just laziness.

                                I think what I'm mostly getting at, however, is that you seem to be categorizing rationality from a personal measurement standpoint in which something is either rational or not rational and I am attempting to take a third-party stance. I think we both may be accurate from our individual points of view (relative vs absolute), but the flaw I see in self-evaluation is that nearly every given decision when evaluated personally can be argued to be rational with respect to one's self, yet be very irrational when viewed from the perspective of someone else and in particular someone with more knowledge.
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                                • Posted by 4 years, 1 month ago
                                  SYNONYMS: logical, analytic, ratiocinative, rational. The central meaning shared by these adjectives is “capable of or reflecting the capability for correct and valid reasoning”: a logical mind; an analytic thinker; the ratiocinative process; a rational being.
                                  ANTONYMS: illogical.

                                  What I am trying to get at is that rational is an adjective implying only that the ability to reason is intact in whatever thing or process that it modifies. It indicates a particular type of thing or process. It has nothing to do with whether all the evidence is available, that, say all ravens are black in an absolute sense, only that ones reason exists. The thing or process would have to be looked into to see how evidence is used, as say in rational action, rational thought, etc., i.e., how reason is used. Thinking rationally would indicate using reason correctly and rationalness and rationality would indicate the reason itself. Thinking would be the application of reason and its tool of logic to perceptual - conceptual knowledge. That knowledge may or may not be extensive but must be considered valid for logical purposes. That is where honesty would enter so that those intuitions, emotions, feelings, dreams, and whatnot are questioned until the emergence of actual evidence. I am aware that at the subconscious level the brain can detect little subtleties that the mind finds valuable enough to make conscious in ways that have not been reasoned logically upon but likely logical with respect to whatever knowledge or beliefs that the brain has to work with with regard to percepts.
                                  We both might be on the wrong tract but since most people don't even consider any of this, I mainly considered it with what I remember from Rand saying something about rational thought being relative to reality. Hope I have not wasted too much of your time trying to figure this out.

                                  Thanks for referencing 'Blink', I read it years ago but must have not retained anything from it. Might have rubbed me the wrong way at the time.

                                  I am running out of typing room on my monitor so will need to resume this somewhere later if you would like to do so.
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                            • Posted by $ MichaelAarethun 4 years, 1 month ago
                              Rationality is also from the point of view of the rationalizer and pertinent only to that one individual. The same as tryiing to learn from history from the context of yourself instead of the context of the people and times being studied.

                              So two points of view one has a full cup one and empty cup. Who is satisfied? Both if they are after different objectives.

                              In the wine country of western France there was an old superstition that demanded if you say some dog poop step in it for good luck. We would probably wrinkle are nose but the French individual was looking for luck not clean shoes.
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                              • Posted by $ blarman 4 years, 1 month ago
                                But what you are actually arguing for here is subjective reason rather than absolute reason. Context can help us learn why someone acted in a certain manner, but context does not determine absolute rationality. It all comes down to whether an individual gets to set the standard for reality or whether reality itself is the standard.
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                                • Posted by $ MichaelAarethun 4 years, 1 month ago
                                  What I'm actually arguing for is 'what I said.' Doesn't need embellishing nor spin. Is it rational to deny everyone elses basis for rationality?
                                  If it's subjective that gives you a firm clue as to what stance to take. Without recognizing the context or start point of the other individual it's just a slug fest or rotten egg throwing contest.

                                  By determining the the thinking process of the other individual you determine how to deal with the problem or just reject it as having no meaning. Nukes are one thing Stepping in doo doo quite another. Both are irrational to my point of view. Step one. You need more information for step two and effecting any change - or just turning away and leaving . Both good responses
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                                  • blarman replied 4 years, 1 month ago
  • Posted by $ Olduglycarl 4 years, 1 month ago
    I don't think they have the ability to "Think" rationally never mind "Act" rationally...in fact...I don't see Any rational behavior anywhere in this world these days.
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    • Posted by 4 years, 1 month ago
      Since there is "no rational behavior anywhere in the world these days", how should we view your behavior? I can see you might have a point there by your referencing inmate Kevin Trudeau as a possible source for something.
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      • Posted by $ Olduglycarl 4 years, 1 month ago
        Kevin T was politically prosecuted for saying something was easy...something we all say at one time or another...some idiot thought it was hard I guess.
        Kevin brought some interesting history to the table that gave me the incentive to dig deeper 20 years ago.

        Say what you will of him but he was a straight shooter and a good friend to Mark Hamilton, I and many others.
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 4 years, 1 month ago
    The claim makes sense to me except that it anthropomorphizes the Korean state. If the state were a conscious beast, I can understand why it might act this way. Right now the world wants non-proliferation. They'll invade you like Iraq if you're trying to get nukes. Once you get them, though, no one will touch you. So that part's rational.

    I'd like to understand why the people who lead it and administrate it stick with it and support the rational interests of an evil state. Sure the people on top get to be in charge and get all the perks. They set up a social class of courtesans. The people at the top and enjoy the perks and they can use carrots and sticks to stay in power. BUT when you look at that map of the night lights of Korea, it looks like South Korea is an island. Even poor countries have more lights. It seems like for everyone but those at the very very top, it would be more rational for them to be a middle-class person in South Korea than a rich and powerful person in a dirt poor country where you have to worry about your whole family being killed if you fall out of favor. I have the same question for middle-class people who are nowhere near the top. They make those people gush about their leader as if he were superhuman. Does that just feel way over-the-top? They don't let them say, "all in all, despite the foibles we all have, he's the best man for the job," which would sound believable. They make them almost prostrate themselves as being unworthy of his amazing leadership. I'd think people would eventually call BS on this and just take the country back-- I mean the rank-and-file workers, the police officers, accountants, the people who run their prison camps, the purchasing people who order supplies for the gov't, just everyone. I don't know why they put up with it.
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  • Posted by $ blarman 4 years, 1 month ago in reply to this comment.
    "Is it rational to deny everyone elses basis for rationality? If it's subjective..."

    But that is my whole point. If rationality is according to the individual, it is going to be subjective to some degree and a more-informed third party is going to evaluate rationality - even if in the same situation - differently. So it's rather self-serving and subject to bias to self-examine and self-declare rationality. I'm not arguing that acting on our own knowledge isn't logical and isn't what we should be doing, I'm just pointing out what I perceive to be a significant definitional issue: that of rationality.

    In every other aspect, we disallow subjectivity in the philosophy of Objectivism. Though some people may adhere to the standards better than others, it isn't people who are the standards: the standards are objective and external. As soon as we start saying that a specific person's interpretation is more important than the objective and external, we violate the standard of objectivity and plunge ourselves into the chaos of subjectivity. Where once the waters were clear, now they are muddied. When we begin comparing what we did to what we would have done, we're always going to see ourselves as rational! It is only when we compare ourselves and what we did to what a more informed person would have done that we can really perform an objective comparison.
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  • Posted by Owlsrayne 4 years, 1 month ago
    Hearing about the leader there seemingly executing his Generals and Scientists on a whim doesn't make him rational. China's leaders who are supporting him are just as crazy but more calculating. I'm sure that Kimmy boy will try to launch a nuclear missile at the the US on election day just to turn everything into chaos.
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  • Posted by $ Thoritsu 4 years, 1 month ago
    Rational does not mean smart. Kim Jong could live like a real king (in a country that could support a king) if he offered to reunite Korea in exchange for a being the king like the UK monarchy and immunity from prosecution.
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    • Posted by TheRealBill 4 years, 1 month ago
      "Rational does not mean smart"

      Something many forget. Rationality also requires context. Often things we don't know would change our rational choice fi we knew them. This is what makes judging historical figures, notions, and actions difficult - we know things they did not know.

      For example, many do not consider it rational to spend trillions of dollars on an "earth defense" system to protect against alien invasion. In our current context, it would not be rational given our other uses for that money and our current belief that the risk of alien invasion is non-existent. But if an alien invasion did occur, you can bet many would say it was not rational to build up planetary defenses. The difference is context informed by knowledge. This is similar to logic which is about the consistency of an argument, not the veracity of the conclusions.
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      • Posted by $ Thoritsu 4 years, 1 month ago
        True enough. Although there cold be an argument that such aliens would likely be benign, not my argument, but an argument to prepare for. Mine would be more like, if they come in spacecraft (structural strength to weight 100x a ground vehicle) and have enough left in the tank to conquer us, they deserve it.
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        • Posted by TheRealBill 4 years, 1 month ago
          I'm prepared it for in that there isn't really an argument that any species capable of interstellar flight is benign. Indeed, there is quite a compelling one to the opposite. The notion that a civilization "sufficiently advanced enough" to conquer interstellar flight is "enlightened" is actually a fantasy concocted by dreamers.

          I ask on what scientific basis do we expect such a species/civilization to be benign? The answer is usually blank stares combined with "well it just makes sense". Nope. What makes sense is that any species to advance technologically will share a critical trait with us: being the top predator for the planet. In all terrestrial observations the dominant species is the predator, not the prey. Thus, based on what we actually know, we should expect them to be of predatory origin. There is nothing scientifically validated we've seen yet which suggests that at some point predators 'evolve" out of being predatory by nature.

          Ergo, the more likely scenario based on what we currently know is that any species to travel to earth will be of a predatory background, and likely the dominant predator from their planet. Now, there is a theoretical possibility that we could be found by a species trying to escape a predatory "alien" race, but that would affirm that there is no reason to believe that any species capable of interstellar spaceflight would thus be pacifist or "benign". Indeed such an event would expose the notion for the fantasy it is.

          Not that I'm saying an invasion is incoming or imminent. I'm sure I'd be expelled from the high order of secret aliens for admitting to such 9and surely locked up by the puppeteers). Merely that the notion they would inherently be peaceful is entirely untenable. Thus in keeping with context, IF we take into consideration visitation by aliens, it would be entirely rational to be prepared for them to have descended from, and possibly still be, predatory by nature. ;) Now Hollywood aside, whether we could stand against them is another matter. ;)

          Or they could machine intelligence which has been convinced that organics are a threat to the universe so they exterminate anything which rises to a given technological level. ;) (Ian Douglas FTW)
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          • Posted by $ Thoritsu 4 years, 1 month ago
            The argument could be perpetrated by socialists and advocates of forced altruism. They have been so successful thus far in controlling waste and conquering.
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          • Posted by 4 years, 1 month ago
            Unless there is some method to get near the speed of light so that the travel time for the travelers is shortened by relativistic effects and those who built the starship can wait 100s or 1000s of Earth years for a return on their investment, there is no chance of an invasion.
            AS for being malevolent, that would depend on whether they learned anything by not destroying themselves in the development of the technology for interstellar travel, that has to be very energy intensive and far beyond just developing nuclear weapons and not wiping themselves out.
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            • Posted by TheRealBill 4 years, 1 month ago
              Ah but see here is where the context of assumptions comes into play. You are assuming there was an intent to conquer before leaving, and that the invasion force would launch from an origin. That provides a limited view which supports the argument, rather than looking at more possibilities.

              It also assumes the act was an act of malevolence rather than one of rational thinking based in their alien intellect. In the case of a species which doesn't consider us a species worthy of consideration, the proverbial "we are but insects in their world" view. It would not malevolence to wipe us out to harvest the global resources or build an alien resort of the planet. They could be fully migratory. There may be other ways of crossing astronomic distances which we with our limited knowledge conceive of except in scifi- even ways science fiction hasn't considered.

              Our biases guide our development. Consider the nation which built the first missile: Nazi Germany. The leaders of that country had a bias against the work of Einstein and his fellow Jewish scientists because of antisemitism. But in such a bias they pursued a different line of questioning and developed different technology.

              As to it wiping themselves out, a different predatory species could be non-competitive among themselves. Consider a species which has a hive mind as an example. They would still be top predator, but never have the thought process of independence which we have. So they could easily be highly predatory and not "learned the lesson" we humans claim we need to learn.

              And yet consider our own technological state. It isn't lack of knowledge which has kept us in our cradle, it is lack of aggregate will to go. Not in a star trek style, but we have had the knowledge needed for decades. Yet we haven't "learned to be pacifists".

              There are many possibilities - the point of aliens is that they are alien. This is where reason comes into play. It is an unfounded assumption to say that they must be nonviolent because they are "advanced". A rational approach is to look at what we do know based on biology and ecology. These demonstrate that not only has the does the most technological advancement come from the predatory species, but also that the most destructive capacity does as well.

              This means we can not rationally assume any aliens coming to earth would be benign. Hence rationality evaluation requires context, not assumptions of things against what we know.

              A related alien invasion example is the assumption that mankind as a whole would unite against an alien threat. Something I see no evidence for. The idea that nobody in any government wouldn't try to jockey for "a better deal" for themselves is just as untenable. In that context it would be rational to try to get a better outcome for themselves or their country.
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              • Posted by 4 years, 1 month ago
                It is a bit early to use a word like 'may' which indicates some possibility for the future development of some unknown technology such as interstellar means of travel. There is zero evidence for any such future developments and science fictional speculation does not count. Just as for climate change with the knowledge that climate has continuously changed on Earth where any preventive measures are costly and useless without a means to foresee the future, so preparing with the at present knowledge level of science for an alien invasion would be irrational and a total waste of money and human time.
                Although some people on Earth do have what many in the USA might find to be alien beliefs, it should be possible to prepare for invasion from them at a reasonable cost without giving up individual liberties and the technology already exists for that, but the will to define some ideas held by those aliens as irrational and not tolerable does not look feasible due to so many in the USA holding similar ideas as valid knowledge for existence.
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                • Posted by TheRealBill 4 years, 1 month ago
                  I think you're missing the point which is that context is required for a judgement of rationality. You are caught up in "defending" an untenable straw man. Nobody said anything by about asserting we should be subverting individual liberties, or even what a reasonable cost is. Hell, I'm not even saying we should be building up such defenses. I specifically stated that while right now we consider it rational to spend that money elsewhere given our current context, in a future where we were invaded our decisions now would be viewed as irrational to the survivors. This is because you can't judge a scenario as rational or not on information the actors involved did not have. That said, the belief that any aliens that came here would have to be benevolent and "evolved beyond violence" is irrational within our current context because it goes against what we do know. It is at best wishful thinking. We have zero evidence it has ever happened - certainly not on this planet. The closest you can get to such an idea is the Bonobo, and they aren't climbing the technological ladder.

                  As to speculating advanced transportation there are indeed some solid theories at the edge of serious research. The SToR does indeed say the speed limit is light speed. But the GToR actuall specifies some ways around this limit. Most of them do require serious levels of energy - few within our technical capability, and none within our economic or political will. For a specific short example according to the Big Bang theory (not the show), space itself is capable of expanding or contracting faster than the speed of light. With enough energy itbosnt ossicle to warp space. Ergo to say it is impossible is untenable based on currently known mainstream science. That said it is arguable that a civilization capable of generating and harnessing that level of energy (a Type III civilization certainly, maybe a type II) would be one we could militarily contend with.

                  But fun digression side, you don't seem to be actually disagreeing with me on whether it is rational given what we know, but you seem to think you are. I'm saying that the idea that aliens will have to be benevolent is itself irrational, and that if we were invaded in the future our views today that seem rational to us would be viewed as irrational due to their different and "updated" knowledge.

                  That said I can't agree with your assertion that a concerted effort to build a terrestrial defense system must be a waste of time and resources. It is likely it would be absent a clear threat, but that isn't a given. A large chunk of our advancements have come from application to military purposes.

                  Even M&Ms and the interstate highway system - curiously both have fallen into relatively sorry state. Apparently the newer ones can easily melt in your hands. My oldest daughter complains of this happening.
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                  • Posted by 4 years, 1 month ago
                    Rational pertains to the facts of objective reality. To be inclusive, objective reality must include all that exists that can be sensed by the body as well as the patterns in the brain from which emerges the mind, its knowledge, and theories that it creates. Why do you believe that it is rational to judge those, who in the past and had no objective knowledge of the future, as being irrational if something happens in that future that they did not know in the past. It would be irrational for those in the past to act without knowledge and yes, knowledge is contextual and in the absence of a context, pretending that one exists would be irrational. Rational action requires known facts of reality for direction. Good stories are not enough to act on other than searching out sequels and other works of the author. The fact of the destructive state of the world at present should be enough to show that good stories are not enough for civilizations because stories like math are not reifiable.

                    As for a terrestrial defense system, fine for possible asteroid defense and anti-missile defense but depends upon how ruthless the taxers can become to get funds. If there is no clear threat, then one should not pretend that there is one.
                    Mathematics is part of those mental patterns but it must be remembered that mental patterns are only that, patterns. They cannot be reified as real things of matter and radiation. The faster than light tachyons from SToR are mathematical artifacts and have not been shown to exist. GToR has many interesting posited mathematical entities, but only attempted to be made real by trying to reify mathematics leading to fantasy worlds. Other math gives possible means for time travel but would require resetting existence to a previous state because light cones do not exist as other than the mental patterns of mathematics.
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                    • Posted by TheRealBill 4 years, 1 month ago
                      " Why do you believe that it is rational to judge those, who in the past and had no objective knowledge of the future, as being irrational if something happens in that future that they did not know in the past."

                      Where did I say I believe this? Noting that it happens, and expecting it to happen in the future, is not the same as saying it is a good thing, or rational, or that I believe it to be so. Don't add beliefs to others to support your argument. If you're going to do that, it would be irrational to continue discussion with you.
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                      • Posted by 4 years, 1 month ago
                        Maybe from this comment of yours.
                        " I specifically stated that while right now we consider it rational to spend that money elsewhere given our current context, in a future where we were invaded our decisions now would be viewed as irrational to the survivors."
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  • Posted by term2 4 years, 1 month ago
    Actually N Korea IS acting rationally if the purpose of its actions is to maintain its dictator. It gets supported by China, so it can forget about the people, it pursues nuclear bombs so it can scare the west into leaving it alone, and it DOES stay a dictatorship. Of course its not living independently, as it would crash if China let it float free. And eventually its people would rise up.
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  • Posted by Herb7734 4 years, 1 month ago
    N. Korea is choosing a path that is very dangerous. Provoking with war-like intent in order to glean favors from powerful neighbors is not rational. Any collectivist society, especially one run by an inherited dictator is by its very nature irrational. Just because it has a coherent intent doesn't make it sane.
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    • Posted by $ MichaelAarethun 4 years, 1 month ago
      And they get more free goodies from the leftist do gooders while our food prices go uip and MILLIONS of children in our country starve every day - thanks to the same leftist do gooders. What a pile of PC rap
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  • Posted by wiggys 4 years, 1 month ago
    from their perspective the answer is yes.

    north Koreans leaders just like the muslim leaders only want to destroy what was started by the men of the UNITED STATES versus trying to emulate us. the real problem that WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES face is a government that we put in place that is emulating those fools.
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  • Posted by $ MichaelAarethun 4 years, 1 month ago
    2,258,164 metric tons of food aid from 1995 to 2012 is a measure of rationality.

    That's the amount shipped to NK in ostensibly in exchange for their not pursuing a nuclear weapons program.

    Rational?

    To Korea gettng fed in exchange for nothing is very rationall

    To China it lessens the amount of food they need to import especially since rice production in California has been curtailed drastically.in favor of kangaroo rats and grain tonnage to NK can likewise be lessened.

    To Californians it would be rational except that requries ability to reason. (Previously the USA was the worlds number one rice exporter. I beleive the rule was 90% of rice was consumed with ten miles of where it was grown. the US exported 95% of it's rice production and grew moe than anywhere else. Close but not an exact quote.

    It was rational to USAID and Congress who could out bid or provide other incentives to rice growers Louisiana/Texas, Arkansas or other countries even though it raised prices in the USA. Exactly what they did when prices shot up due to ethanol for all cereal grains.

    It was very very rational to the agricorps who could switch production and destination to the most lucrative markets and gain favor in other areas with the government.

    It was rational to the UN who said ethanol would raise world wide food prices 30% when answered by our Congress ' no prob we'll just increase the USAID budget by whatevers needed.' I seem to remember an extra billion

    Rational to everyone when the complaints of starving children and the new PC bureaucrat terms 'food impaired houses.' meaing at least one meal per year would be missed. etc etc, etc. were shrieked throughout the media, but no one thouoght to mention why are we shipping food to an enemy nation instead of feeding children. (that section gets exceptionally irrational)

    Maybe not so rational to the consumer in the US who faced increases in grains,m orther produce and livestock feed costs which produced Mexicos number one mean turkey ham. and turkey everything else.

    Rational? i have to put NK down as the winner.

    The rest don't don't the meaning of the word but will vote the villains back into power anyway
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