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Old 2011-05-06, 13:44   Link #13521
Kamui4356
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bladeofdarkness View Post
which is Ironic, given that Atheists theoretically draw their "goodness" from an alternative source in this case.

empathy rather then expecting reward/punishment
That's the point though. A lot* of christians in the US are brought up being taught the reason to be good is to get into heaven when god judges them after they die, so when they encounter someone who doesn't believe in god, and derives morality from other sources, they have trouble accepting that person can be moral.

*A lot doesn't mean all or necessarily even most. Just a sizable sample.
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Old 2011-05-06, 17:32   Link #13522
Vexx
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Never mind that a person can simply choose to be good because it is a win-win for the group and him/her. The whole idea that someone can only be good if some smitey sky god glares at them has always disturbed me...
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Old 2011-05-06, 17:34   Link #13523
FatPianoBoy
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So what's the difference between divine retribution and years of imprisonment? Seems like the same thing to me.
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Old 2011-05-06, 17:38   Link #13524
DonQuigleone
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Years of imprisonment is more ... immediate.

What's strange is that even with heaven people are still afraid of death...
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Old 2011-05-06, 17:40   Link #13525
FatPianoBoy
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Immediate or not, it's using the threat of punishment to keep people in line. The principal is the same as any religion's method of promoting good behavior.
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Old 2011-05-06, 18:51   Link #13526
yezhanquan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
Years of imprisonment is more ... immediate.

What's strange is that even with heaven people are still afraid of death...
Reminds me of this line: Everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die.
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Old 2011-05-06, 19:16   Link #13527
ChainLegacy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaintessHeart View Post
Scientist seeks to banish evil, boost empathy



I see evil as a necessity and part of a balance in a societal structure because humans would never seek to explore truth if they perceive evil as non-existent.
My personal hypothesis on the issue: humans evolved as highly social creatures, and for that reason the average person is capable of empathy. However, given this average, it is also advantageous for a small group of manipulators to 'cheat' the empathetic biological system and be entirely selfish. There is an evolutionary advantage in being a manipulator, but there is a counterweight to that advantage arising from the fact that if everyone were to be manipulative and lacking empathy, then social groups would crumble. Thus, there remains a stable minority in the population of people lacking empathy, and taking advantage of the average trend towards empathetic behavior.
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Old 2011-05-06, 20:20   Link #13528
Vexx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChainLegacy View Post
My personal hypothesis on the issue: humans evolved as highly social creatures, and for that reason the average person is capable of empathy. However, given this average, it is also advantageous for a small group of manipulators to 'cheat' the empathetic biological system and be entirely selfish. There is an evolutionary advantage in being a manipulator, but there is a counterweight to that advantage arising from the fact that if everyone were to be manipulative and lacking empathy, then social groups would crumble. Thus, there remains a stable minority in the population of people lacking empathy, and taking advantage of the average trend towards empathetic behavior.
This is why we have robber barons and sociopathic CEOs
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Old 2011-05-06, 21:29   Link #13529
solomon
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Now Vexx you know that's no where NEAR as evil as those nefarious public workers actually earning benefits...
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Old 2011-05-06, 22:32   Link #13530
Roger Rambo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaintessHeart View Post
The Milgram and Stanford experiments are indicators that people react to extreme changes in their environment drastically as it gets further and further away from their comfort zone.
...you mean like the EXACT same ones that a regular person would be subjected to if he were to be conscripted by his authority figures and threatened into taking part in some kind of atrocity?
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Old 2011-05-06, 22:45   Link #13531
GundamFan0083
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
No if you begin to feel superior, you are putting them in another category then yourself. You are not viewing them as your equal, you may somewhat empathise them, but not fully, as your superiority will get in the way.
I suppose that is true in some cases, however an argument can be made that individuals who feel superior enjoy causing fear and tormenting those below them to keep them in line.

In the article we read of Cohen that he was of:A Jewish upbringing peppered with tales about the horrors of the Nazis' treatment of Jews and other minorities was early motivation for Baron-Cohen to seek to deconstruct human cruelty

The Nazis certainly had this vice (human cruelty), as they saw themselves as the superior race even though they could empathize with other races and thus use that understanding of the feelings of others to solidify their political power and instill absolute terror in those that would oppose them.
In that way, the Nazis did use empathy to control others and bend them to their will.

You have to empathize with someone to understand how they will react to your actions.

However, we all know that empathy can also be used to express sympathy and compassion for others, and here is where I think Baron-Cohen is going wrong.
When he said this:"Empathy is a skill like any other human skill -- and if you get a chance to practice, you can get better at it."

Methinks that he should have said this:"Compassion is a skill like any other human skill -- and if you get a chance to practice, you can get better at it."

I would agree with him then.
Nevertheless, that's not what Baron-Cohen is postulating.
His claim is that empathy (or a lack of) is the cause of human evils and I disagree.
Empathy in and of itself can be used as a tool to inflict harm on others.
As in the case of torture for example.
The interrogator knows full well how the torture will feel, that's why he's inflicting it in the first place.
He knows that the pain and suffering he will inflict can be used to extract the information he requires.
If he lacked an understanding of the emotional feelings his prisoner/victim had, he would not have a referrence point in which to determine how much to torture and what methods are best to use.

On the other hand, a person who lacks Empathy is not necessarily "evil."
They may still do good works for their own selfish desires or perhaps out of necessity or mutual aid.
Take for example the person who gives to a charity to get a tax break.
The person might feel empathy, but then again it's more likely they just want a deduction on their tax form.
A person giving change to a bum might do so just because they don't want the change in their pocket.
A person stopping a crime may do so for a feeling of self-aggrandizement rather than to actual help someone out of empathy.
Empathy certainly plays a role in human affairs, but to say that a lack of it is the cause of evils in the world seems ludicrous to me.

I'd say the lack of compassion for others is why so called evil exits.
Empathy is not synonymous with Compassion or Sympathy.

Quote:
em·pa·thy   /ˈɛmpəθi/ Show Spelled
[em-puh-thee] Show IPA

–noun
1. the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.
2. the imaginative ascribing to an object, as a natural object or work of art, feelings or attitudes present in oneself: By means of empathy, a great painting becomes a mirror of the self.


sym·pa·thy   /ˈsɪmpəθi/ Show Spelled
[sim-puh-thee] Show IPA
noun, plural -thies, adjective
–noun
1. harmony of or agreement in feeling, as between persons or on the part of one person with respect to another.
2. the harmony of feeling naturally existing between persons of like tastes or opinion or of congenial dispositions.
3. the fact or power of sharing the feelings of another, especially in sorrow or trouble; fellow feeling, compassion, or commiseration.
EXPAND
4. sympathies,
a. feelings or impulses of compassion.
b. feelings of favor, support, or loyalty: It's hard to tell where your sympathies lie.
5. favorable or approving accord; favor or approval: He viewed the plan with sympathy and publicly backed it.
6. agreement, consonance, or accord.
7. Psychology . a relationship between persons in which the condition of one induces a parallel or reciprocal condition in another.
8. Physiology . the relation between parts or organs whereby a condition or disorder of one part induces some effect in another.
So to empathize with someone is to simply understand their feelings.
It most certainly doesn't mean you respect or care about their feelings.
Perhaps Baron-Cohen simply mispoke himself.
I would hope so, because to base a moral set on empathy as Baron-Cohen does here: But rather than labeling them as evil, Baron-Cohen says they should be seen as sick, or "disabled," and we should seek to understand why they have such an empathy deficiency and help them replace it.
Seems more like a solution looking for a problem than an actual problem to me.
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Old 2011-05-07, 01:22   Link #13532
DonQuigleone
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GundamFan0083 View Post
I suppose that is true in some cases, however an argument can be made that individuals who feel superior enjoy causing fear and tormenting those below them to keep them in line.
Feelings of superiority in themself does not directly lead to cruelty, and can also lead to paternalistic attitudes, which are somewhat more positive. In all cases though "You know best"

Quote:
The Nazis certainly had this vice (human cruelty), as they saw themselves as the superior race even though they could empathize with other races and thus use that understanding of the feelings of others to solidify their political power and instill absolute terror in those that would oppose them.
In that way, the Nazis did use empathy to control others and bend them to their will.
The Nazis did not use empathy, their purpose wasn't to cause suffering, their purpose was to eliminate all thr "lesser elements" of society. They didn't care how they did it. The system was built so rank and file Germans would not feel guilt for their actions. Jews (and others) were isolated away from the public eye in ghettoes and Concentration camps. And the "punishments" always went through a layer of bureaucracy that insulated all people involved. The person who assigned a punishment to a Jew, was never the one who carried it out. Guilt was spread out so thinly, that any individual if they had qualms, could blame the "system". And a fair number didn't feel any guilt anyway, as the fact that jews are inferior, almost non-human, was hammered into them

Nazis only wanted to eliminate Jews, they didn't give a damn how the Jews felt about it!

Quote:
However, we all know that empathy can also be used to express sympathy and compassion for others, and here is where I think Baron-Cohen is going wrong.
When he said this:"Empathy is a skill like any other human skill -- and if you get a chance to practice, you can get better at it."

Methinks that he should have said this:"Compassion is a skill like any other human skill -- and if you get a chance to practice, you can get better at it."
Compassion is the natural consequence of empathy. You can't have true compassion without empathy (you can have "paternalistic compassion"), and likewise, if you're truly empathising with someone in distress, you'll naturally feel compassionate (it's what "human interest stories" are for!).

Quote:
His claim is that empathy (or a lack of) is the cause of human evils and I disagree.
Empathy in and of itself can be used as a tool to inflict harm on others.
As in the case of torture for example.
The interrogator knows full well how the torture will feel, that's why he's inflicting it in the first place.
He knows that the pain and suffering he will inflict can be used to extract the information he requires.
If he lacked an understanding of the emotional feelings his prisoner/victim had, he would not have a referrence point in which to determine how much to torture and what methods are best to use.
The torturer has already put himself in a category above the suspect. Think about how the audience regards terrorists in 24, do we care for their plight? No, they're just sources of information. If they really empathised, they'd see that torture is pretty much a waste of time, the torturee will tell you whatever you want him to.

Usually torturers approach their subjects in a more detached manner.

Another interesting fact is that people can't regard more then about 100 people or so as actual people at any one time. The rest they regard as slightly more abstract entities, using stereotypes and assumptions. You don't automatically see your bus driver as a person, most of the time, he's just part of the scenery.

Quote:
On the other hand, a person who lacks Empathy is not necessarily "evil."
They may still do good works for their own selfish desires or perhaps out of necessity or mutual aid.
Take for example the person who gives to a charity to get a tax break.
The person might feel empathy, but then again it's more likely they just want a deduction on their tax form.
A person giving change to a bum might do so just because they don't want the change in their pocket.
A person stopping a crime may do so for a feeling of self-aggrandizement rather than to actual help someone out of empathy.
Empathy certainly plays a role in human affairs, but to say that a lack of it is the cause of evils in the world seems ludicrous to me.
Intent is a big element of good and evil. Speeding in itself may be considered "wrong" or "evil"(well mildly). But speeding to get your wife to the hospital when she's in labour would be considered fine. But I wouldn't tinge the choices above with shades of good and evil. Most decisions people make in daily life can't easily be made in such terms. But I think a good rule of thumb is that if you do something without taking the feelings of other affected parties into account, you are getting into the "evil spectrum". That could be as mundane as underpaying at a supermarket, or as exotic as murder.

When people commit evil acts, it's usually out of perverted idealism, or "me, me, me" behaviour. The latter particularly applies to psychopaths, who commit murders often in a perverse attempt to gain fame.
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Old 2011-05-07, 02:37   Link #13533
GundamFan0083
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
Feelings of superiority in themself does not directly lead to cruelty, and can also lead to paternalistic attitudes, which are somewhat more positive. In all cases though "You know best"
I wish I knew best.

Seriously though, I do agree that in some cases feelings of superiority are beneficial.
However, the subject matter is Baron-Cohen's claim of what constitutes "evil" and that's the angle I was taking with superiority.
That a need or desire for power is why an individual commits heinous acts and not a lack of empathy.

Quote:
The Nazis did not use empathy, their purpose wasn't to cause suffering, their purpose was to eliminate all thr "lesser elements" of society. They didn't care how they did it. The system was built so rank and file Germans would not feel guilt for their actions. Jews (and others) were isolated away from the public eye in ghettoes and Concentration camps. And the "punishments" always went through a layer of bureaucracy that insulated all people involved. The person who assigned a punishment to a Jew, was never the one who carried it out. Guilt was spread out so thinly, that any individual if they had qualms, could blame the "system". And a fair number didn't feel any guilt anyway, as the fact that jews are inferior, almost non-human, was hammered into them

Nazis only wanted to eliminate Jews, they didn't give a damn how the Jews felt about it!
No they killed everybody they didn't like.
Hitler was one psychopathic bastard.

The Nazis did wish to instill fear into the world, and they knew how to do it by using an understanding of peoples feelings against them.

Alexander Kimel (an actual Holocaust survivor) gives a good example:
"You may wonder why prisoners who has just gotten off the trains did not revolt, waiting as they did of hours (sometimes of days!) to enter the gas chambers... The Germans had perfected a diabolically clever and versatile system of collective death. In most cases the new arrivals did not know what awaited them. They were received with cold efficiency but without bestiality, invited to undress "for the showers". Sometimes they were handed soap and towels and were promised hot coffee after their showers. The gas chambers were, in fact, camouflaged as shower rooms, with pipes, faucets, dressing rooms, clothes hooks, benches and sort of. When, instead prisoners showed the smallest sign of knowing or suspecting their imminent fate, the S.S. and their collaborators used surprise tactics, intervening with extreme brutality, with shouts, threats, kicks, shots, losing their dogs, which were trained to tear prisoners to pieces, against people who were confused, desperate, weakened by five or ten days of traveling in sealed railroad cars."

When the SS told their victims things like "we're taking you to a better place" it was to assuage their fears.
The SS knew their victims were fearful, because they understood their feelings.
That's empathy, or if you prefer, abuse of empathy by a vile group of political zealots.

Quote:
Compassion is the natural consequence of empathy. You can't have true compassion without empathy (you can have "paternalistic compassion"), and likewise, if you're truly empathising with someone in distress, you'll naturally feel compassionate (it's what "human interest stories" are for!).
I disagree.
People can have compassion without understanding a person's feelings.
I think one requires sympathy, but not empathy, to be compassionate.
Since sympathy requires you to care about someone else and empathy does not.
Empathy only requires that you understand their plight/feelings.
Sympathy and empathy are not the same thing.

Quote:
The torturer has already put himself in a category above the suspect. Think about how the audience regards terrorists in 24, do we care for their plight? No, they're just sources of information. If they really empathised, they'd see that torture is pretty much a waste of time, the torturee will tell you whatever you want him to.
I'm sorry you have me at a disadvantage.
I don't watch television, so I've never seen 24 (had to google it to find out what it was and what you meant).
Nevertheless, I'll attempt to answer you the best I can.
If we don't care for the terrorist in the TV show it's because we have no sympathy for him.
If the show's written well we will understand his/her feelings in the interrogation room, and thus will be able to empathize with that character's situation.
Uh...I'm sure that certain forms of "enhanced interrogation" actually works.
It's how the CIA found Osama Bin Laden.

Quote:
Usually torturers approach their subjects in a more detached manner.

Another interesting fact is that people can't regard more then about 100 people or so as actual people at any one time. The rest they regard as slightly more abstract entities, using stereotypes and assumptions. You don't automatically see your bus driver as a person, most of the time, he's just part of the scenery.
Oh I agree.
However, the torturer has to use his own knowledge of what a person will feel during the torture in order to get the desired result of his subject divulging information.
Otherwise he's not much of an interrogator.
That's where empathy comes into play and sympathy goes out the proverbial window.

Quote:
Intent is a big element of good and evil. Speeding in itself may be considered "wrong" or "evil"(well mildly). But speeding to get your wife to the hospital when she's in labour would be considered fine. But I wouldn't tinge the choices above with shades of good and evil. Most decisions people make in daily life can't easily be made in such terms. But I think a good rule of thumb is that if you do something without taking the feelings of other affected parties into account, you are getting into the "evil spectrum". That could be as mundane as underpaying at a supermarket, or as exotic as murder.
I agree there's an argument to be made in favor of that view.
However, at the same time we've got to prioritize the level of evils and focus on the ones that constitute the greatest threat.
That's why I view the acquisition of power over another individual by force or fraud to be the greatest of secular evils.
I don't need a divine entity to tell me that a totalitarian state is evil, that type of government does that all by itself.

Quote:
When people commit evil acts, it's usually out of perverted idealism, or "me, me, me" behaviour. The latter particularly applies to psychopaths, who commit murders often in a perverse attempt to gain fame.
Oh absolutely.
Psychopaths being the worst.
In abnormal psychology we're taught that the psychopath views others as "paper-mache," and there is an ongoing debate as to whether they simply lack sympathy for others or if they really are unable to understand other people's feelings entirely.
The Psychopath also has no empathy, but they can fake it in order to fit in.
This facade often flounders when they have prolonged or intimate interaction with other people since their view of the world is greatly hampered by their disorder.
Normally a psychopath attempts to alter reality to fit their view of it rather than altering their view to fit reality.
The problem with many sociopaths (among which psychopaths are a sub-group) is that they do understand the feelings of the people they hurt, and they get off on it, Sadists being among the worst offenders in this case.
Here's a link to a site that describes various types of sexual offenders (violent ones anyway).
Most do empathize with their victims and thus feel a charge of power from what they're doing to them.
Using the rape example again.
One of the best ways to know whether a rapist has empathy (understanding) for his/her victim is to ask that person if they'd like to be raped.
More often than not they'll say no, which indicates they understand what their victim is feeling, they just don't care (have sympathy or compassion).
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Old 2011-05-07, 02:48   Link #13534
SaintessHeart
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Rambo View Post
...you mean like the EXACT same ones that a regular person would be subjected to if he were to be conscripted by his authority figures and threatened into taking part in some kind of atrocity?
That sounds like a loaded question, but I'll still answer "very likely".

Like I said, in a system of equilibrium, an extreme force applied will result in an extreme counterforce enacted by the system to push it back into the equilibrium level. Same as humans : if the authority figures tell them to shoot civvies from an opposition, there will be three possible outcomes -

1. The shooters express immense regret.
2. The opposition gets people to shoot back at the civvies from the shooters' side.
3. The shooters commit suicide.

There may be other outcomes, but they will all counteract to the change in one way or another. It is action-reaction that result in cause-effect cycles. Sometimes things get uglier, while sometimes it just dies down when one party is wiped off the face of the Earth or simply lets it go via surrender or enough-is-enough.
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Old 2011-05-07, 05:43   Link #13535
ganbaru
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After five months of deadly fighting, Ivory Coast president finally takes office
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/...rticle2012939/
After so much time, and so much death...
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Old 2011-05-07, 06:06   Link #13536
MrTerrorist
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ganbaru View Post
After five months of deadly fighting, Ivory Coast president finally takes office
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/...rticle2012939/
After so much time, and so much death...
A real life case of We Could Have Avoided All This
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Old 2011-05-07, 07:47   Link #13537
DonQuigleone
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GundamFan0083 View Post
I wish I knew best.

Seriously though, I do agree that in some cases feelings of superiority are beneficial.
However, the subject matter is Baron-Cohen's claim of what constitutes "evil" and that's the angle I was taking with superiority.
That a need or desire for power is why an individual commits heinous acts and not a lack of empathy.
I think Power is only a means to an end. They want it for either just or unjust reasons. The end is more important. An sociopathic person will want power for their own sadistic reasons, a more idealistic person may want it to implement what they believe to be right, and sometimes you get a bit of both. For instance, Hitler wanted Power not just for himself, but so that he could make Germany great again, he was devoted to it. He was also somewhat deranged, but I don't think extraordinarily so. I doubt Hitler himself was a psychopath. He had simply made a "foreign" group into an evil enemy in his mind. Contrast how certain americans behaved after 9/11 demonising Arabs, it's the same process.

Quote:
No they killed everybody they didn't like.
I didn't emphasise right, they didn't only kill jews, but there goal was only to kill jews (and other "enemies" or weakeners of Germany EG communists, Homosexuals, Disabled...). Amazing the difference a stress makes.

Quote:
The Nazis did wish to instill fear into the world, and they knew how to do it by using an understanding of peoples feelings against them.
I don't think fear was their end goal. Their goal was greatness for Germany, to remake the world according to how they saw it.
Quote:
Alexander Kimel (an actual Holocaust survivor) gives a good example:
"You may wonder why prisoners who has just gotten off the trains did not revolt, waiting as they did of hours (sometimes of days!) to enter the gas chambers... The Germans had perfected a diabolically clever and versatile system of collective death. In most cases the new arrivals did not know what awaited them. They were received with cold efficiency but without bestiality, invited to undress "for the showers". Sometimes they were handed soap and towels and were promised hot coffee after their showers. The gas chambers were, in fact, camouflaged as shower rooms, with pipes, faucets, dressing rooms, clothes hooks, benches and sort of. When, instead prisoners showed the smallest sign of knowing or suspecting their imminent fate, the S.S. and their collaborators used surprise tactics, intervening with extreme brutality, with shouts, threats, kicks, shots, losing their dogs, which were trained to tear prisoners to pieces, against people who were confused, desperate, weakened by five or ten days of traveling in sealed railroad cars."
I think that coroborates what I said. The Concentration camps were not designed to inflict maximum pain on their captives (if it was, they would have attempted to keep em alive longer), and indeed they often went in not knowing they were about to die. The routine SS brutality I think was more a result of the fact that there was no punishment for such behaviour, and the captives were already seen as subhuman, it's also a similiar scenario to the stanford prison experiment.

Quote:
When the SS told their victims things like "we're taking you to a better place" it was to assuage their fears.
The SS knew their victims were fearful, because they understood their feelings.
That's empathy, or if you prefer, abuse of empathy by a vile group of political zealots.
I think they only understood it was fearful in the sense that I can tell an animal is fearful, I still can't really fully empathise, nor do I usually want to. There attitude was similiar to the staff of a slaughterhouse, the staff of a slaughterhouse don't want the animals to be fearful as it messes things up, creates inefficency. Are they really empathising with the animals though? I doubt it.

Quote:
I disagree.
People can have compassion without understanding a person's feelings.
I think one requires sympathy, but not empathy, to be compassionate.
Since sympathy requires you to care about someone else and empathy does not.
Empathy only requires that you understand their plight/feelings.
Sympathy and empathy are not the same thing.
You are right, that they all aren't the same thing. Empathy is the most complex of them all though, and not a raw requirement of either of the other two. A child can feel some Sympathy and compassion, but doesn't really have a capacity for empathy, the ability to look beyond yourself and fully look from the other person's point of view.

Quote:
I'm sorry you have me at a disadvantage.
I don't watch television, so I've never seen 24 (had to google it to find out what it was and what you meant).
Nevertheless, I'll attempt to answer you the best I can.
If we don't care for the terrorist in the TV show it's because we have no sympathy for him.
If the show's written well we will understand his/her feelings in the interrogation room, and thus will be able to empathize with that character's situation.
Uh...I'm sure that certain forms of "enhanced interrogation" actually works.
It's how the CIA found Osama Bin Laden.
I haven't seen much of 24 myself, I only know that it "glamourises" torture. A bit of psychological games (EG good cop, bad cop) is one thing, but all forms of torture, using pain or psychological trauma is wrong, and does not work. A torturee will tell you exactly what they think you want them to say, not the truth. How can you tell whether a tortured person told the truth or not? You can't, they might have told the truth, you torture them anyway, then to get you to stop, they tell a lie, what they think you want to hear. Doesn't work. Besides that, it's also morally and ethically repugnant, and often the torturers end out taking perverse pleasure from it. Look at Abu Ghraib. It traumatises the torturee(who may be innocent), and makes the torturer into a brute.

Quote:
Oh I agree.
However, the torturer has to use his own knowledge of what a person will feel during the torture in order to get the desired result of his subject divulging information.
Otherwise he's not much of an interrogator.
That's where empathy comes into play and sympathy goes out the proverbial window.
See above, there are means to get people to talk, physical and psychological trauma are not one of them (though the threat of it may work at the outset, not after it's been done though).

Quote:
Oh absolutely.
Psychopaths being the worst.
In abnormal psychology we're taught that the psychopath views others as "paper-mache," and there is an ongoing debate as to whether they simply lack sympathy for others or if they really are unable to understand other people's feelings entirely.
The Psychopath also has no empathy, but they can fake it in order to fit in.
This facade often flounders when they have prolonged or intimate interaction with other people since their view of the world is greatly hampered by their disorder.
Normally a psychopath attempts to alter reality to fit their view of it rather than altering their view to fit reality.
The problem with many sociopaths (among which psychopaths are a sub-group) is that they do understand the feelings of the people they hurt, and they get off on it, Sadists being among the worst offenders in this case.
Here's a link to a site that describes various types of sexual offenders (violent ones anyway).
The link is correct. Psychopaths are kind of a special category, most people are not psychopaths, and most psychopaths never rise to high positions of power. It's difficult to know whether some of the more famous dictators are psychopaths or not. I'm inclined to think some are, but most are not, and even if the dictator was a psychopath, most of his subordinates who carried out his orders were not. Either way, psychopaths can commit evil acts with no remorse, they are emotionally disabled. 4% of people are psychopaths, but 96% aren't, what causes those 96% to commit cruel and evil acts? Something special has to occur to allow someone "normal" to do so. I think for a normal person to actively harm another person, they need to convince themselves that that person is something other then human.

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Most do empathize with their victims and thus feel a charge of power from what they're doing to them.
Using the rape example again.
One of the best ways to know whether a rapist has empathy (understanding) for his/her victim is to ask that person if they'd like to be raped.
More often than not they'll say no, which indicates they understand what their victim is feeling, they just don't care (have sympathy or compassion).
I'd put sex crimes as another special category, some non-psychopaths do get off on "forceful" sex and power dynamics, and are otherwise normal, they're simply swept up in the moment and can't restrain their libido (I do think that when people are sexually aroused, including myself, our personality changes a bit, and it's difficult to stop). More premeditated rape however, is a bit different though, and may be a result of psychopathic tendencies.
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Old 2011-05-07, 15:13   Link #13538
TinyRedLeaf
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Age: 39
Singapore's ruling party returned to government
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Singapore (May 8, Sun): Singapore's ruling People's Action Party (PAP) was returned to power on Sunday with a huge majority but lost a Group Representation Constituency (GRC) to the opposition.

The PAP won 81 of the 87 seats, compared with its victory in 82 out of 84 seats in Singapore's last General Election in 2006. Overall, the PAP won 60.14% of the national vote, compared with just over 66% in the 2006 poll.

The number of seats contested in this poll, 82 out of 87, is a record high, marking it out as a "watershed election" for Singapore.

Political analyst Derek da Cunha had recently said: "We will now finally know the real level of support the PAP Government enjoys, that is, in terms of the popular vote.

"It is the only opinion poll that matters, and it will have an impact on the direction of government policy, irrespective of how many seats the opposition parties win."
The people have spoken: Let it not be said again that Singapore is a "single-party" state by repressive force rather than free choice. More than 2.1 million voters were given the choice yesterday to overhaul the Government, but the greater majority have shown that, in the end, Singaporeans are savvy enough to distinguish between populist politics and good, solid leadership.

But it would be a mistake to think that it'll be business as usual. A groundswell of resentment against the ruling party's style of government has indeed surfaced over the last nine days. It is a harbinger of things to come over the next 10 or so years, as a younger electorate with no emotional ties to the PAP increasingly assert their desire for greater freedoms and participation in civil society.

Singapore is coming of age and, personally, it has been moving to see so many Singaporeans, young and old, feel proud to be a citizen again. The simple power to vote: so seemingly small, yet so great an impact it creates.

Majulah Singapura. Onward Singapore!
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Old 2011-05-07, 15:24   Link #13539
SaintessHeart
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Age: 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
Singapore's ruling party returned to government

The people have spoken: Let it not be said again that Singapore is a "single-party" state by repressive force rather than free choice. More than 2.1 million voters were given the choice yesterday to overhaul the Government, but the greater majority have shown that, in the end, Singaporeans are savvy enough to distinguish between populist politics and good, solid leadership.

But it would be a mistake to think that it'll be business as usual. A groundswell of resentment against the ruling party's style of government has indeed surfaced over the last nine days. It is a harbinger of things to come over the next 10 or so years, as a younger electorate with no emotional ties to the PAP increasingly assert their desire for greater freedoms and participation in civil society.

Singapore is coming of age and, personally, it has been moving to see so many Singaporeans, young and old, feel proud to be a citizen again. The simple power to vote: so seemingly small, yet so great an impact it creates.

Majulah Singapura. Onward Singapore!
81/87? That is a pretty large proportion!

So, when will the opposition (particularly NSP and their pandering slogans) will start calls for a vote recount? *sarcastic*

P.S I suppose you are still working at this hour to prepare news for Sunday?
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Old 2011-05-07, 18:57   Link #13540
DonQuigleone
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Age: 25
When it's 81/87 there's not even a point in having a parliament...

However that kind of proportion isn't implausible considering Singapore is a single city, many other cities see that level of support for a single party.
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