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Metaphysics Exam – Studying

Idealism:

  Idealism is the philosophy that people are identical to their mind/soul. Their bodies are just tools to an end much like a bicycle is not identical to the body riding it but instead a tool to an end. To be a living person you require a body and a mind.

  A mind (or soul) is a nonphysical thing, it is the embodiment of a persons entire self. To put it simpler, it is a “Nonphysical, conscious thing.” When thinking of Idealism the previous statement of the bicycle is probably the easiest way to understand it. Likewise it is important to realize the system of communication is entirely one way in Idealism. The soul/mind commands the body without return information.

Materialism:

  Materialism is the philosophy that people are identical to their bodies. The mind/soul is really just physical processes acting out in ones own physical brain via electro chemical responses (or more simply physical processes). It also states that all psychic phenomena are actually physical phenomena.

  A phenomena is a process that is seemingly unexplainable, so in the case of a psychic phenomena people tend to bring up things like telekinesis or out of body experiences. Basically in line with all other concrete knowledge it is the assumption that all things involving the person is likewise a series of events acted out entirely in the physical plane.

Dualism:

  Dualism is the Philosophy that a person is a composite object, a living person requiring a mind/soul and a body.

  The idea being that our mind is the nonphysical thinker and our body is the physical doer. They act in tandem to create a total organic package. When our body dies our mind goes off to live (misnomer?) on its own merry way.

Interactionism:

  Interactionism is the Philosophy that a person is a composite object, a living person requiring a mind/soul and a body. Furthermore the mind and body work in tandem communicating back and forth between each other.

  When thinking about this it’s easiest to look at the mind and body as the two input/output devices, each sending information to the other and each receiving information from the other. The difference between Dualism and Interactionism is the explicit statement that there is a two way information transfer between mind and body.

 

In the next section I will present popular arguments against Materialism and my counter arguments to them (these arguments are not of my doing they are from metaphysics).

The Argument from Death:

  When a relative dies the common vernacular is to say that “that relative has passed on.” Materialism is wrongheaded because when we enter a funeral and see the dead body of someone we do not say “There they are.” In fact we instead say that they have left us, or passed on, or in some other way departed from there body. Because of this it is certain that the person and their body are not a singular being and thusly Materialism is wrong.

  Logically it would be seen as.

  (1) Uncle Mort passed on.
  (2) Uncle Mort’s body did not pass on.
  (3) If (1) and (2), Uncle Mort is not the same as his body.
  (4) If (3), Materialism is false.
  ———
  (5) Materialism is false.

  Justification for line 1 is that when someone dies we say that “They’ve passed on.” Justification for line 2 is that we can see that their body still exists under normal conditions after death. Justification for line 3 is that if a person is not the same as their body then Materialism is false.

  If all parts of the logical structure are true, then the argument from death is entirely valid. For an argument to be valid is just to say that if all lines are true then the conclusion must be true. It uses a series of Modus Ponens. For clarification Modus Ponens is the following logical structure. Where each line is a premise.

Modus Ponus
if P then Q
P

Q

    However while the argument is valid, it is not sound, which is to say that all lines are true. Firstly we look at premise one. Popular opinion is still an opinion, in the same sense that just because you say something does not mean that it is true. It is erroneous to say that uncle mort has passed on, the following example shall illustrated why.

Jerry the Caterpillar

  When Jerry enters the metamorphosis stage we do not say that Jerry no longer is with us. Likewise when Jerry leaves the cocoon and is now a Caterpillar we do not say that Jerry is gone and a new being has appeared. Instead we acknowledge that Jerry has just entered one of his many stages. In all cases still being a physical being.

  Likewise the same is true with uncle mort. The materialist would argue that Uncle mort is in fact in the coffin in front of us. Uncle Mort has merely entered another stage of his physical sequence, in this case death. Much akin to our desktop still existing when we shut off our computer just no longer being accessible Uncle Mort’s brain has ceased to function and we have been shut off from communication. Likewise it may help to think of Uncle Mort’s brain as a monitor that projects thoughts and ideas and that with the ceasing of his heart he has lost power and is equally ineffective at functioning.

  Finally not only is this argument unsound I would further stress that it is a very weak argument. If one is willing to accept vernacular as a decider in real life facts then essentially all things are possible as long as we view them as possible. Yet merely saying something is possible has never been shown to suddenly make it true, to help further understand this it is meant that until something is said it is untrue (or impossible). In essence had everyone who walked into the church said “Uncle Mort is not dead.” would that act alone then make Uncle Mort alive?

 

The Problem of Other Minds

(1) If Dualism is true, then it’s not possible for me to know that there are other people in the world.
(2) It is possible for me to know that there are other people in the world.
–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
(3) Dualism is not true.

  Now to help understand the above problem is to first look at a concept that shall be known as “Zombies”. Trying your best to not think of fantasy Zombies, it just makes us both look silly if you do.
  Zombies for the purpose of this discussion are human bodies without minds.
  The Zombie Principle: There is no way for me to definitively prove that other people have minds.

  So with this in mind we look at the above argument. Premise one establishes that by the tenants of Dualism that to be a live person you must a composite object of a mind and a body, however there is no process that we can use to prove that people have a mind. They could very well just be incredibly sophisticated machines simulating the same activities that one would attribute to having a soul. Responses, emotions, and all other human activities can be emulated and thusly there is no way for us to know. Likewise it is utterly nonsensical to think of examining a nonphysical entity with physical tools (the only ones at our disposal).
 
  The second premise is equally reasonable, nearly all persons would recognize that there are people around them. It would be a large stretch (and likely a hypothetical only) to say that anyone has lived their entire life and all those they know and love are to them just zombies. Equally simple would be using Materialism which can be proven by stating that all physical people around you are indeed people.

  If we take these two lines to be true then the argument is valid, because it is impossible to know whether there are other persons through the tenants of dualism yet it is ridiculous to say that all people around you are not people. It would place you in a position where you couldn’t have a discussion at all since all those around you are mere simulations of an actual living person.

  Further I would say that this argument is sound. I could think of no way through dualism that you could prove that there are people with souls. It is entirely possible to even program a software to believe IT has a soul which would take it even further to say that the dualist cannot even prove they have a soul. Ones own brain cannot accurately portray what it is because it cannot exist outside of itself (from the view of a materialist).

  If a statement can only be judged off nonphysical evidence it is flawed because all possibilities in life could be explained with ‘because I think so”. If we take this stance once we no longer need to search for enlightenment since our strategy will simply be to ignore physical evidence in the light of it conflicting with nonphysical evidence. I make this bold statement because it would appear if you are willing to omit physical evidence then all knowledge is omitted seeing as all things we know is either based on outside information or inferences based on previously gained outside information. Even knowledge at the genetic level is passed from parent to child, traveling far enough back until the information is first ingrained from the outside world into the DNA.

The Argument of Psychic Phenomena
(1) Psychic Phenomena Occur
(2) If (1), Minds exist.
(3) If (2), Materialism is false.
—-
(4) Materialism is False

  A story and some clarification is necessary. Firstly we have Psychic Phenomena which are designed as follows.

Psychic Phenomena are defined as all events involving the mind that have no explanation, out of body experiences, reincarnation, and telekinesis being a few.

  Now for the story. There have been many reported cases of events such as telekinesis, out of body experiences, reincarnation, and other irrefutably psychic phenomena. Because of this it is blatantly obvious to anyone who is not close minded that psychic activities happen, psychic activities cannot happen without minds. Materialism states that the mind does not exist, but this evidence proves it does and thusly the philosophy of Materialism is wrong.

  With the above story and definition we find that it is a valid argument. Indeed psychic phenomena (according to the story) occur, thusly minds must exist, and finally Materialism is false if minds exist. I would argue while according to the story and the definition it is a valid argument, I don’t believe in reality that it is a sound argument. See below what I theorize is really happening.

  There is not necessarily such a thing as a Psychic Phenomena, instead there are two sub divisions, a perceived psychic phenomena, and a genuine psychic phenomena. It is quite possible people experience what they perceive in all honesty to be a genuine psychic phenomena however likewise they are not actually genuine. If Perceived makes it difficult to grasp instead try “Apparent”. It would then be safe to say the following:

Apparent Psychic Phenomena
(1) Apparent Psychic Phenomena Occur.
(2) If (1), Then Minds Exist.
(3) If (2), Materialism is False.

(4) Materialism is False.

  If you look at it instead in this light you will find that it is not only not sound but it is also not valid. While it is true that Apparent Psychic Phenomena occur they in no way are explainable solely by the existence of a mind or soul. Which means line 2 is false. In fact there is no better an explanation from the side of minds than there is from the side of materialism. Each raises many questions and neither answers them.

  In fact Materialism already states that all Psychic Phenomena are actually physical phenomena. This would mean that the apparent occurrence of psychic phenomena does nothing to disprove the existence of Materialism. Which means that line 3 is also false.

  For the Argument of Conceivability go back and read this article which is almost entirely on the topic of conceivability and misconceptions with it.

The No Interaction Argument

(1) Causal interaction between nonphysical and physical things is inconceivable.
(2) If (1), causal interactions do not happen between nonphysical and physical things.
(3) if (2), Interactionism is false

(4) Interactionism is false.

  The logic behind the first line is that there is no way to reasonably conceive an interaction between a non-physical and a physical thing. To do so requires very high levels of ambiguity that as I’ve discussed before is inappropriate. The reasoning behind line two is that if there is no way to conceive of it then the operation cannot happen. For a further understanding this returns to previous statements of physical evidence. If you accept natural law then the action cannot happen without negating natural law. If you negate natural law then you essentially rebuke existence which is a bold statement to make while arguing within it. The reasoning behind line three is that Interactionism explicitly states that there is a causal relation between both the mind and the body. If there is no means for this to happen then the philosophy is false.

  For reasons stated above the argument is valid, likewise I would say it is also sound. There is no way with any possible outside evidence to prove that nonphysical things interact with physical things. Because by design nonphysical things are entirely undetectable. If we are willing to create new rules to make it possible then we’ve essentially created a precedent to make everything true.

Finally we reach the last possible Argument on the exam tomorrow:

The Argument for Materialism by Taylor
(not me I think I could make a better on and probably did already on the conceivability article about god :P).

(1) Materialism is no worse off than any non-Materialist view in answering for a persons thoughts, feelings, emotions, etc.
(2) Materialism is better than non-Materialist views in explaining the connection between the conscious self and the physical self.
(3) If (1) and (2), Materialism is True.

(4) Materialism is true.

  Of all the arguments this one requires the most deep explanations to make it make sense. The justification for line one is that when you require non-ambiguity it is shown through comparison that non-materialist views are no better at explaining the difficult questions (many addressed above). Which is a nice way of saying on the unknown Materialism is tied with its competitors. The rational for line two is the idea that a materialist views the conscious self and the physical self as one in the same, there are tools one can use to show physical activities carrying out within the mind when a person is thinking that support it, in the sense that there are many physical means of displaying thought it would appear that Materialism is indeed one up on that.

  If then Materialism is no worse at explaining the difficult questions and is better at explaining the critical question of the conscious self and the physical self. With this it becomes apparent that it would be illogical to choose a non materialist view and thusly if you do choose Materialism (as evidence should direct you to) you are then admitting that it is True. Even if you are to say it is “True with all known evidence.” that means at the point of discussion you believe it is true. Indeed why would someone believe in something they don’t think is true, that would be nonsensical.

  If we have established the previous reasoning then the argument is sound, you cannot have a case (if you accept the above two paragraphs) where the above lines are true and the conclusion is not. I would further argue that it is a sound argument. The best counter argument I can think to this argument is that one could refute physical evidence but that would to me create the paradigm of explaining everything as true.

  However I will likewise admit that while this argument is sound, it’s a very weak or poorly worded argument. It requires far too much explanation to help make its point which is counter productive to the system of logical structure.

  With this I am done with studying for my next exam tomorrow, I hope anyone who reads this enjoys themselves. I realize in the beginning I was erroneously stating what ‘valid’ is but I corrected myself near the end. Regardless my points should still be correct :P.

By | 2009-02-03T20:26:13+00:00 February 3rd, 2009|Journal|Comments Off on Metaphysics Exam – Studying

The Burden of Proof

  Something that has annoyed me for quite sometime is a common strategy used in many debates. “Prove me wrong.” This I feel is entirely incorrect and takes a very immature and utterly pointless road on the journey to intellectual enlightenment.

  There are any number of statements that someone can safely make and by the logic of “Prove me wrong” herein called “PMW” you create a difficult situation that does nothing constructive. Some of life’s greatest questions have been defended with this view. What people fail to recognize is the conundrum they place themselves or at the very least their views in. As stated in a previous article it is the case that all knowledge is either from the outside world or previous information gathered from the outside world. Any and all debates should take this into account and consider any information not in this outside world superfluous.

  You might ask why such a bold suggestion would be made. However it comes to pass that if you are willing to accept information with no outside support because it ‘feels’ right you essentially can say absolutely anything and it becomes true (at least to you). Example below:

(1) There are invisible creatures circling the earth generating absolutely no information that could aid any other entity in detecting them.

  You can easily defend this argument with PMW but does that accomplish anything but superficially making you ‘win’ (one of the poorer reasons to debate). The PMW is another example of something that explains everything and because of this it explains absolutely nothing. It is not a proper response to support absolutely any argument. It’s highly popular because of its simplicity. Essentially the person making this defense is saying the following:

“All things that cannot be explained at current time can justly be explained with any answer.”

  For me the burden of certainty lies upon information. If I am not willing to require solid information then why am I trying to learn? It seems to me asinine to scour the world for knowledge and then toss it aside when it doesn’t sparkle with your beliefs. (Kudos to those that get the joke in that last line)

  So that’s it, this goes also for any posts in the future that will inevitably link me to linking back to here. In all cases within this Universe (unless you are willing to negate all Knowledge and thusly the entire discussion in the first place) the burden of proof lies upon all things that are not currently understood. If there is no evidence to support a belief then that belief is unfounded and likewise a piss poor citation.

  A final note, an equally poor response to evidence is saying “I don’t believe it.” Instead one must say “I don’t believe it because…” and remember not to fall back upon hokey support discussed above.

By | 2009-02-02T18:59:06+00:00 February 2nd, 2009|Journal|Comments Off on The Burden of Proof

Common Courtesy: A dying art.

  Three daily college realities have seemingly overlooked the age old idea of Common Courtesy, do unto others as you would wish them to do unto you (albeit flawed that logic works pretty well most times).

   021001_WineSpitting_Main
(Image from Slate)

  Spitting is an activity that I’m quite certain has been around since the very first organisms blessed with the ability to do so. Likewise I feel that in some situations it is a very important activity that may indeed save you from certain death (I’ll let your imagination go wild with that). However I find this incessant equation of spitting = cool to be getting out of hand. I have four classes that I walk between every other day, which equates to 3 walks of roughly 5-10 minutes in duration. On each of these walks I see at least two dozen glossy splatters of mucous on the ground. If the wind catches it you’ll even see people walking with snot slathered on their shoes.

  This is ridiculous. If you can’t make a walk between your classes without spitting you need to get help. If you can’t make it through a day without spitting you should acquire medical attention this instant. “But it’s gross to swallow spit.” It’s produced in your mouth and frankly spitting and swallowing cause it to cross nearly the same amount of taste spots on your tongue. It’s bad enough that people can’t make it to a trash can without dropping their gum on the ground we don’t need to add piles of disease everywhere.

  Oh you didn’t realize that? Whenever you spit you aren’t simply safely discarding of germs from your system. When other people step on it they carry that disease into their home, into classrooms, dining areas, and even into hospitals (yeah thanks). Tuberculosis and similar diseases are spread quite consistently by spitting, whenever the spit dries the germs are carried through the air, so next time you see a beautiful windy day take a gander at all the dried flem on the ground. What used to be camping out on it is likely dancing around in your lungs.

  This is one of the three activities that I’m forced to examine with each school day that is disgusting in every meaning of the word.

smoking2sw5  
(Image from winston.hoyhouse (Site not linked because of virus attempt))

  Smoking while you walk in a crowded area. I have nothing against smoking as a personal activity, frankly I’m in full support of any drug habit you feel isn’t destroying your life (someday I’ll write an article on that view to help flesh it out) but this is different. There are a few common courtesies that I give to all people that are anywhere in my vicinity, I don’t press their face up against my ass and fart, I don’t pee on anyone, and I don’t carry a campfire with me to blanket all those around me with smoke.

  It doesn’t matter what you smoke, be it tobacco, weed, or a chimpanzee, if it’s smoking it’s not good for your lungs. In almost all cases your lungs hate when solid particles are caking inside of them, regardless of it those particles are literally Costco cake particles or crystallized chunks of toxins. Likewise standing a foot away from me doesn’t magically make the smoke not come my way, many times while waiting at bus stops there is a small group of people chain smoking about three to five feet away from the stop that has a prominent “No Smoking” sign on it. I find it an odd paradigm that you can’t drink alcohol in public yet you can smoke. Of the two I prefer the obnoxious drunks behavior to the coal train walking in front of me.

  I know in the same breath most people can say its not addictive and ignore the fact they can’t make it through a school day without smoking and frankly that’s not what this post is about. If you can find a way to smoke without me having to inhale your leftovers we have no conflict. Otherwise stop smoking when you are in public, even propaganda aside that is not in the slightest way courteous. Unless we can agree that I can fart directly in your face without recourse. Then I think we have a deal (keep in mind when I have pot stickers you may not survive the incident).

Texting(Image from yorkblog)

  This falls back to the last conversation of smoking. I really don’t feel there is anything wrong with texting, it’s a form of communication and I feel that’s a wonderful thing. But much like smoking it has its place. That place is not in a classroom. I am driven to a near homicidal rage when I find the student behind me, the student two kids to the left of me, and the student directly to the right of me all texting. The clicking becomes this haunting orchestra that distracts me and leaves much of the class discussion collapsing beneath its weight.

  You are not that important, people CAN survive without you for 50 minutes (much like I feel you can survive without a cigarette when in crowded areas). I don’t have my cell phone on when I am in class, because I understand two major things. I don’t NEED to be available at all times of the day, I’m not the president nor am I the pope. Secondly I am not the only person in the classroom. Much like smoking in the middle of 100 non-smokers is an obvious dick move you should not be clicking away at a tiny keyboard in a course that cost everyone in the class hundreds of dollars.

  If you don’t feel the lectures are worth your attention then stop coming to class. If you can’t survive without discussing things with your BFF then start taking all the same courses. This is unacceptable in almost all situations. The only time I feel that you should be texting in class involves situations that warrant you not being there in the first place. This problem is absolutely out of control at my university and one of the major players in my inability to suggest anyone ever attend this place.

  There are likely other things but in my daily life these three are rampant. In the last year I have never had a day where I wasn’t dodging smoke clouds, mucous mounds, or attempting to ignore the endless clicking of gossipy texters. If these situations had been played out in a book I’d feel they were exaggerative but this is everyday life at Western.

  I have no plans to have rants all the time, these are just some things that are going to cause me to lose years off my life (from stress and disease which each feed off one another) or cause me to end someone elses life early :P.

By | 2009-02-01T15:13:27+00:00 February 1st, 2009|Journal|2 Comments

A Complaint against Piracy and my Response

The Original Comment:

fail

piracy hurts actors, distributers, producers, the poor schmo who presses the DVD’s for a living, the projectionist, the ticket collector. – jim_doki

My Response:

Well I was about to lower myself your your catchy lines "like fail" but I’d like to remind you that all crime exists for a reason.

What we tend to do is merely attack the crime itself without looking at the factors behind the crime. That being said I know your response will likely be something like "These people are just cheap scum" because that’s the general close minded view of the situation.

However if we are here to argue that you should never do things because they are illegal then I think we best retroactively jail people who flee’d their slave owners, or refused to move on bus’s, or really any other form of activity that at one time was illegal. It sounds ridiculous but if you were to go back in time there were people making your same argument for those activities. "These people are hurting the honest lives of white homegrown Americans."

The thing about piracy I feel at least is that it gives me the means to decide if a product is worth my time. I’m not saying I do it (because I believe most sites ban you outright) but I will say that if it ever stopped existing I’d merely cease purchasing games altogether.

When movies are consistently poor (don’t get me wrong there is a beautiful golden apple in every bad batch each year), games are consistently poor, and many artists produce absolute garbage (to fill a CD around the one good title) people become disheartened.

If I can demo something and I like it I buy it. Kanye West’s recent CD, about 100 dollars in indie games, Guild Wars just made it onto my list, a few books that I dabbled in before I bought are now shipping to me, all in all in the last half year about two thousand dollars that would have NOT been spent has been because I was able to examine whether the product was worth owning.

I know, i know, ‘this is a special case’ but I fail to see evidence that links your example to actuality. In general games like SPORE are released that are absolutely sub par and the blame is placed on piraters instead of admitting to producing something that is barely above flash quality (editor aside). I will say however their DS itineration was well worth the purchase :). For a portable game it was quirky enough to be fun.

It reminds me of the military. The military spends millions and millions of dollars to sustain many times the amount of nuclear weaponry needed to eliminate all life on the surface of the Earth. Whenever the government cuts the military’s budget instead of simply discontinuing some nuclear weaponry (which would in no way hinder the US’s defenses because we’d still have enough for a scorched earth response) they cut the wages of their soldiers.

It’s a political tool. Much like when the Crytek CEO (or whatever his title was) blamed piracy and consumers own lack of understanding on what is good for their poor sales. He not once admitted that Crysis was only noteworthy in graphics (which I believe is a pretty common opinion). He even went so far as to say that graphics were the most important factor (or one of the most important) factors in gaming which I think shows what is really hurting the industry.

So I know you won’t agree with me, and that’s not what I’m trying to get you to do, I just want you to sit back and think about what ’causes’ a crime instead of how to brute force the criminal.

Before heroine was made illegal there were many people diagnosed to use it (because it was believed to be non-addictive), these people overnight went from victims of a flawed medical system to criminals. This same process has happened multiple times with multiple drugs, yet whenever we speak of the situation we act as if the drug users are the problem.

Henry Ford once said that the job of the Industrialist is to "Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible." These tenets have all been broken and the issue is being masked behind a secondary effect of this.

Thanks for your time and if your response is basically to insult me you might as well not post. (Since that seems to be the theme of this thread) I just wanted to maybe inspire a few people to think outside the box.

PS. For instance in the case of DRM. Starforce (a DRM company) linked to a working torrent of Galactic Civilization II on their own website to make a point to Stardock that you must protect your products or criminals will steal them.

Sales of Galactic Civilization II actually picked up because many people wanted to prove that a high quality product for a reasonable price is what we are all asking for. In fact their most recent expansion is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen in the gaming world. Stardock is one of the only respectable gaming companies on the face of this planet (I feel) in that they are willing to forego brute forcing the consumer and place their faith upon those they work for. It has done nothing but work in their favor :). Heck even their digital download service has the option of paying them SnH and they’ll send you a hard copy of the game as well as give you instant access to it digitally! Man……I can’t say enough good things about people like them…or the World of Goo guys…or basically anyone with games on Greenhouse games (all those developers are amazing).

Anywho back to reading about the 20th century and the evolution of art (Exam on Monday :((((()

 

Discussion was located at: The Escapist

Update Below

jim_doki:
Its such a relief to see that I am not the only anti piracy nut here. I agree whole heartedly. yes, its a sucky measure, but its the best we have

 

My Response:

If Piracy ended, I would no longer have the only quick way of seeing if a game is worth my time or my money. Every single game I’ve ever demo’d has been purchased and every single game I’ve hated has been lamented (I think that’s the word I’m looking for).

Now for most pirates that I’ve ever known, this is how the system works. I don’t care what you ‘think’ all the pirates are doing, that doesn’t matter to me, I’m not here to defend all pirates. But every single one I’ve ever known has worked like this. We all have copius gaming shelves full of only the best games, what makes a game the best game you might ask "IT’S A GAME YOU ACTUALLY LIKE REGARDLESS OF WHAT OTHER PEOPLE SAY!"

That’s what annoys me when people say "Just read reviews." Frankly they’ve never been an accurate tally for me, I love some games many people hate and I hate quite a few games people get boners just thinking about.

Now you might say "That’s what Demo’s are for." and I agree. Any company that has ever provided me a Demo has never seen my IP on any torrent site for their game. Well I suppose I should rephrase that. Any company that has provided me a real demo has gotten that courtesy. DoWII for instance gave me the option to demo their game (because I bought Soulstorm, a game I pirated first I might add) and I appreciate that. I mean I’m not going to buy it because to me it’s a complete piece of shit. That’s my opinion, I know many of you don’t agree with it but that’s how >I< feel. (I’m being specific here to limit the amount of bitchy responses if anyone is curious)

The problem is most companies don’t probide proper Demo’s anymore, all the major review sites now have immense levels of pressure and integrity issues (Seriously people who gave SPORE a 9 or a 10 even with my open mind I feel there is a disconnect). There is also the issue of the new car smell that catches many people by surprise. Sure for the first week you think its the greatest thing ever and you tell all your friends, then reality hits you and now all your friends are 50 dollars out too and likely feeling the same thing.

There are exceptions to some of the above of course. If a game is properly priced I will buy it without checking in advance, a few of my DS purchases have been like that, they were cheaper than their competitors and I appreciated that nod to me. They realized that I have other bills in my life and while I want to support them I can’t fork out 35 dollars everytime I want a handheld game. In the end they get a thank you, some money, and I get a product which is how I used to feel the gaming world worked.

DRM has never and will never stop piracy, what it does do is insult people. I’ve made multiple products that at any point anyone could have given out on torrents and essentially killed my (albeit small) income from those products. Likewise I’ve had things I’ve toiled over stolen because other people didn’t understand copyright laws (for instance the act of editing an image to get to that ‘original content’ % people talk about is already a crime without permission of the original author :)). Do you see me doing things differently? No I have a very stardockian way of viewing things.

You should notice a popular quote I like to steal quite often from the late Henry Ford.

"There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible. "

Lemme say why this is important, if you feel I’m incorrect in my logic show me a company that has followed this and not had my results:

Any company following Henry Fords one rule garners respect from the consumers.
Anyone who has respect from the consumer will gain their support.
Anyone with support from consumers will have enough gains to survive and to grow.

Now we can argue that business’s should be able to milk you for every penny you have on you. But that is not the ideal form of Capitalism. The idea is to create a business of the highest quality while not lessening the quality of the lives of those you cater to.

It is entirely possible to produce games of exceptional quality with absolutely minimal protection (See CD Key) and still survive and become a thriving and utterly dominating company.

All that DRM does is remove that tie of respect between customers and businesses. Look at EA’s stock after SPORE was released, it has been on a relative free fall since that date and with each report of a new more advanced DRM their stock takes another hit (it may be recovering lately but it still has ages to go before it is back to normal). You might say "It’s the recession" but keep in mind EA was the biggest loser of all other business’s multiple times in the last year. Even if you take into account other people are losing money EA is losing money at a far more impressive rate.

Now I’ve lost my place but I’ll continue from where I think I was going with this :P. If Piracy stops I will merely stop buying games from any company that doesn’t provide me with a sincerely accurate portrayal of their product. That means companies like Bethesda will lose sales from me (considering I’ve bought every single thing they’ve released since Morrowind, each time pirating before I bought to make sure I liked it). In fact I’m quite certain every company except for indie developers, valve, and stardock would instantaneously lose my business.

There ARE people who abuse piracy, likewise there ARE people who go into the store and steal things, does that mean that everyone should be treated as a criminal that walks into a store? Most businesses find that the amount of theft in the store is directly related to the amount of customer relations completed in that store. Likewise you’ll find the companies working the hardest the distance themselves from consumers (Like EA who tends to ban anyone who questions their practices) are the ones suffering the hardest from this all.

The biggest issue I think I have is that piracy nuts believe there is a direct and almost unanimous correlation between piracy and loss in sales. Never once questioning the developers or the product. It is no wonder that SPORE was pirated so many times and didn’t get many sales, I imagine most people pirated it and were appalled at what had become of a revolutionary concept. Games like Crysis complain about piracy but frankly it was a turd with a shiny crown on it, it did nothing exceptionally well except cover up its problems with beautiful landscapes. That’s admirable but I have high definition images when I want pretty.

Plus DRM companies aren’t here to protect the people making the products, they are here to make money. Starforce released a live link to Stardock’s Galactic Civilization II in response to Stardock refusing their DRM service. Sony’s team behind SecuROM is no different, these services are run by children who charge many thousands of dollars to put an easily crackable block on products. Last I knew it cost 3k dollars per movie (not per copy of movie mind you) to use blu-ray’s DRM. DRM that was cracked on what…day 0? Week later? That’s why you don’t see small time movie makers using Blu-Ray, you end up spending more money on the DRM than you make back in many many sales.

The cost of DRM has never and will never offset the little that it does especially when the little that it does is drive away consumers and create more of the very thing it is said to create.

I just have trouble understanding how you all defend censorship and DRM when the latter has been caught red handed abusing piracy for its own end and the former merely causes the crimes to become even harder to detect. Many illegal activities now are no less prolific than they once were they are just harder to see and I feel that it is far less safe to be amidst crime that goes undetected than crime that is.

Extra Note: Likewise these fantasy characters that pirate because they refuse to pay for things (that are in many examples on this site and others) would not buy the games if you got rid of piracy entirely. They’d (almost entirely) just turn to something else.

By | 2009-02-02T19:02:59+00:00 January 31st, 2009|Journal|Comments Off on A Complaint against Piracy and my Response

People to meet before I (or they) Die (Part 1)

  It pains me to say that at one time I would have put Steve Irwin on this list, when he died a part of me died. People may have joked about him and said he was silly but I feel that Irwin was an individual of great charisma and incredible talent. He was a wonderful individual caught in a truly unlucky situation (being I believe the 13th person in the world to die from a stingray attack). If there were any justice in the world people like him would be allowed to live for as long as they wish, at least that’s how I feel.

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Neil DeGrasse Tyson (Image from NYT)

    Neil DeGrasse Tyson is one of the most energetic people I have ever seen in action in my entire life. I am always incredibly happy to see people who take a profession that they enjoy and I am truly hard pressed to find more than a half dozen people on the face of this Earth that are as enthralled with what they do as Dr. Tyson. I’ve read many studies that say that happiness is contagious and by that respect I’m quite sure anywhere within 300 feet of this individual is in a permanent state of energy and joy. I couldn’t tell you where to go to meet him (although considering he was born in raised in New York as far as I know) but if you are ever in an area where he is visiting I cannot emphasize enough how much of an impact I’m sure a mere few minutes of talking with him about the universe would have upon your life. Just watching his short interviews on television inspire me and I find myself thinking well on into the morning.

    I hope when all things are said and done I can enjoy my job (whatever it ends up being) as much as Dr. Tyson appears to enjoy his. Then again had I known how much I liked astrophysics back when I first started college I might have been able to spend my time working towards working for or with him. He is a man who appears to always be thirsting for more knowledge, so much so that he wasn’t even able to leave the Green Room of the Daily Show without completing a Rubics Cube that was on the table. Finally I feel Dr. Tyson has deserved every honor that he has ever received (which are quite numerous from looking at his website).

    In fact I see that he will be in Seattle Washington on the 23rd of February, It’s hell to get around the place by bus but that would certainly be worth the 5 dollar entrance fee :).

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Philip Zimbardo (Image from 3am.net)

    Philip Zimbardo is essentially the man who got me into Psychology. I use the photo above in jest because frankly of the hundreds of photo’s I’ve ever seen the man in he’s always smiling or laughing. He has written many bestselling books (albeit sales does not a good book make but trust me he has some very well written pieces of literature) and conducted one of the most legendary experiments to be discussed in Psychology. I don’t believe I’ve finished a single class without it being discussed for at least a class period. Known as the Stanford Prison Study it showed the psychological effects of being a prisoner or a prison guard. It was an amazing study that overwhelmed me the first time I watched it. It is astounding how quickly people can change from the kind boys on the street to heartless monsters. It reminded me of early videos of German soldiers as the young boys laughed and tossed balls to each other. To know what they would be called to do very soon, to know that they had no idea what was over the horizon. He also has written a book that tends to always be sold out when I order it known as the “The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil” that I highly recommend anyone check out.

    His personality is infectious (in the good way ;D) and his voice is one for the ages, I feel that anyone even moderately interested in Psychology or the workings of the mind should watch some of his old videos. They may feel corny by modern standards but even with the technology he had to work with Dr. Zimbardo presents even the simplest of concepts in a way that (at least in my experience) can leave you dumbfounded and hungry for more.

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Jon Stewart (Right) and Stephen Colbert (Left) (Image from TVCrunch)

    Jon (Too cool for an H) Stewart has been my primary source of news for many many years his amazing ability to deliver political (and sometimes not-so-political) humor is so great that few realize the amazing philosophical mind behind it. Whenever he takes a break from the comedy and begins speaking in earnest you bare witness to some of the deepest insight in the 21st century. In a country full of propaganda (I do mean full) he is a breath of fresh air that never ever fails to deliver. Much like California kidnaps all the good video game development jobs I feel that New York is hogging all the amazing people. While I realize at a time the Daily Show wasn’t starring Jon Stewart but I feel that it could no longer exist without him, it provides some hope I think in the world of journalism that maybe we’ll see more like him (and his wonderfully eclectic reporters) telling us what is really going on. The world is absolutely massive and I find it no less than a crime that there are only two truly earnest news stations on television that don’t bank on terrible events or skew political situations.

    Stewart and crew may be accused of a ‘liberal’ twist (amongst other colorful titles) but it is their production of solid evidence and direct quotes that makes it all so wonderfully meaningful. If I ever go to New York one of the things I’d have to do before I left would be to go to the show. Likewise if I was really lucky maybe get a handshake from Jon, which is quite a thing since I absolutely detest handshakes. But considering I am devoid of breasts for him to sign I suppose that’s my next best option.

    Of course on second thought bringing “America (The Book)” and having him sign that would be equally amazing. If you live in New York and have not been to a screening of this show I feel that you are bordering on treason (oh yes I said it).

    Stephen Colbert is the quirky ‘republican’ super hero to Jon Stewarts Mild Mannered Reporter. When Tek Jansen isn’t laying space babes and falling one hundred stories buck naked he’s providing wonderfully informative (and many times painfully sarcastic) takes on the world around us. There is something behind the delivery of the material that causes the viewer to think and that is a quality that few television shows seem to do anymore. His energy is infectious (much like all those above, it’s a common quality) and his voice is powerful. Colbert embodies many of the traits that I feel make a truly great American. It’s sometimes hard to get a peg on the man behind (what may be a) mask which is even a reality that Colbert has addressed before in interviews but there is only so well someone can act.

    Many of the best books I’ve read in the last few years have been as a direct result of interviews held by Stewart and Colbert. Both individuals provide a source of honesty that young Americans desperately desire. As it stands Comedy Central should just place more commercials during their daily reruns of Super Troopers and Scary Movie 1-4 so that they can run both shows without commercials.

    In all honesty these days, if not for Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, I’d never turn on my television.

To be Continued… (I have a handful more individuals that I’ll talk about off and on over the next month)

By | 2009-01-31T20:27:49+00:00 January 31st, 2009|Journal|Comments Off on People to meet before I (or they) Die (Part 1)