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A logic Progression

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The Yosemite Bear
 Post subject: A logic Progression
PostPosted: 2002-08-09 01:24am 

Mostly Harmless Nutcase


Joined: 2002-07-21 02:38am
Posts: 35211
Location: Dave's Not Here Man
1. Knowledge is Power, the more you know the more effectively you can use information, Possession of information can effect other things in reality,

2. Power Currupts, the possession of power inevatably leads to temptation to abuse the power or to prevent others from using/obtaining more power then you.

3. Knowledge Currupts. Can possession of just information cause temptation to misuse information, can information be misused,

Please attempt to prove or disprove
and please site refrences and osurces.

thank you
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Mr Bean
 Post subject:
PostPosted: 2002-08-09 07:26am 

Lord of Irony


Joined: 2002-07-04 08:36am
Posts: 20669
Quote:
1. Knowledge is Power, the more you know the more effectively you can use information, Possession of information can effect other things in reality,

2. Power Currupts, the possession of power inevatably leads to temptation to abuse the power or to prevent others from using/obtaining more power then you.

3. Knowledge Currupts. Can possession of just information cause temptation to misuse information, can information be misused,

If you changed this to how a Mad Scientist was born it would be funny :D

But its fair to point out not ALL knowledge is power, If it where Alex Trebek should be the most powerful and evil man on the planet :P
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The Yosemite Bear
 Post subject:
PostPosted: 2002-08-09 12:00pm 

Mostly Harmless Nutcase


Joined: 2002-07-21 02:38am
Posts: 35211
Location: Dave's Not Here Man
Isn't he?

Wait it's part of that vast evil Canandian Conspiracy.....
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Tsyroc
 Post subject:
PostPosted: 2002-08-09 12:37pm 

Emperor's Hand


Joined: 2002-07-29 08:35am
Posts: 13149
Location: Tucson, Arizona
THe Yosemite Bear wrote:
Isn't he?

Wait it's part of that vast evil Canandian Conspiracy.....



Well he (Alex Trebek) was one of the Men In Black (along with Jessie Ventura) on one of the more humorous X-Files episodes. It sure looks like some sort of plot to me. Hmmm, Minnesota borders Canada, do you think Ventura's take over was one of the more notaceable steps in Canada's secret plan? :wink:
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Crown
 Post subject:
PostPosted: 2002-08-09 12:55pm 

NARF


Joined: 2002-07-11 11:45am
Posts: 9735
Location: In Transit ...
I have a different one if anyone's interested, although I am sure you would have seen this before;

w = women, m = money, t = time, rE = root of evil (square root of)

w = m * t

t = m

w = m^2

m = rE

w = rE^2

therefore women = evil, there you go hard mathematical proof for ya!
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Nick
 Post subject: Re: A logic Progression
PostPosted: 2002-08-10 11:48am 

Jedi Knight


Joined: 2002-07-05 07:57am
Posts: 511
Location: Brisbane, Australia
The conclusion that 'Knowledge Corrupts' in the same sense that 'Power Corrupts' is to a certain degree true. However, the limitations remain the same as for the original "Power Corrupts" (or, in full, "Power corrupts. Absolute power, corrupts absolutely"). In that phrase, the Power being referred to is Power over or in relation to other people (after all, this is the only context where the idea of 'corruption' or abuse of power makes sense). Simlarly, Knowledge in this context refers to Knowledge about or relating to other people (this is, of course, why privacy advocates are so concerned about security of personal information - this is a definite case of 'Knowledge Corrupts'!)

For example, knowing the PIN code of someone's bank account gives you power over them - you can threaten to reveal the PIN, use the PIN to get money from their account, change the PIN to a number the owner doesn't know, various other nasty things.

Knowing that someone has a PIN code for their bank account lets you try certain techniques geared towards gaining access to that PIN.

Knowing that someone has a bank account, tells you very little.

In this case, each increase in knowledge carries with it an increase in temptation. However, only at the highest level (where the PIN is already known) is that temptation present for someone who was given the PIN innocently (such as someone giving a close friend access to an account for some specific purpose, and then not changing the PIN afterwards).

This is an example of knowledge which corrupts - knowledge of the PIN translates directly to power over the account, and this power has a corrupting tendency, as it carries a great temptation to misuse that access. However, there are also things countervailing that tendency towards abuse. In the case of a friend, the ties of friendship make the tempation easier to resist. For the stranger, the fact that they are breaking the law and may get caught is an argument for honesty. But neither of those effects eliminate that the fact that the increase in knowledge necessarily incorporated an increase in tempation.

One other caveat - your use of the word 'inevitably' is inappropriate. The phrase is generally taken to mean something along the lines of "Possesion of power implies the temptation to abuse that power". In the real world, checks and balances are put in place to limit the likelihood of abuse of power. That doesn't mean it never happens (of course it happens) but the abuse is not inevitable (hell, some people possess power without abusing it just by virtue of being nice people)
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Mr Bean
 Post subject:
PostPosted: 2002-08-10 11:59am 

Lord of Irony


Joined: 2002-07-04 08:36am
Posts: 20669
Power Corrupts, Absoulte Power is Pretty Neat
~White House Staffer
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Asst. Asst. Lt. Cmdr. Smi
 Post subject:
PostPosted: 2002-08-10 05:53pm 

What Kind of Username is That?


Joined: 2002-07-10 08:53pm
Posts: 9254
Location: Back in PA
I read that in a Dilbert comic. Anyway, Alex Trebek isn't evil. He's just a fruit. Foreign goods have to be inspected at customs. A fruit is one of those goods. Therefore, Alex Trebek had trouble getting to the US.
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Zoink
 Post subject:
PostPosted: 2002-08-12 10:41pm 

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Joined: 2002-07-04 03:15pm
Posts: 2170
Location: Fluidic Space
Quote:
The conclusion that 'Knowledge Corrupts' in the same sense that 'Power Corrupts' is to a certain degree true.


I would disagree. In your example with the PIN number, the person in question is lacking knowledge. He lacks certain morals and the knowledge as to why he shouldn't steal. Personally, if I found a bank card w/ PIN, I would have no temptation to use it, instead I'd feel a desire to return it to the bank to ensure its not misused.

The fact that certain knowledge can be used for 'evil' purposes doesn't mean knowledge corrupts. I could be holding a frying pan, which I could use to hit a person on the head, yet frying pans don't corrupt :) In your example, its the lure of money that is corrupting (ie greed), not the PIN. You are presented with a situation where you can steal, and get away with it (probably).

Some people base there morals on punishment: its wrong because you'll be punished by the police, your father, god, whomever. These people when presented with the above situation will often steal because the threat of punishment is gone, so its morally justifiable to steal.

Most people base there morals on a system of fair play. I have no desire to steal from my neighbor because I have no desire to see him harmed, and would hope he feels the same way. Wether he is present or not, it doesn't really change that fact.
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VilliageIdiot
 Post subject:
PostPosted: 2002-08-13 01:46am 

Youngling


Joined: 2002-08-08 08:12pm
Posts: 87
Location: Cal, I give it a bad name...
Crown wrote:
I have a different one if anyone's interested, although I am sure you would have seen this before;

w = women, m = money, t = time, rE = root of evil (square root of)

w = m * t

t = m

w = m^2

m = rE

w = rE^2

therefore women = evil, there you go hard mathematical proof for ya!


How about this proof:

Anything is better than nothing, hence anything>nothing

Nothing is better than love, hence nothing>love

Therefore, by the transitive property:

anything>nothing>love

anything>love


So, anything is better than love.
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Resident Creationist
 Post subject:
PostPosted: 2002-08-13 03:29am 

Redshirt


Joined: 2002-08-13 02:47am
Posts: 12
Quote:
1. Knowledge is Power, the more you know the more effectively you can use information, Possession of information can effect other things in reality,

2. Power Currupts, the possession of power inevatably leads to temptation to abuse the power or to prevent others from using/obtaining more power then you.

3. Knowledge Currupts. Can possession of just information cause temptation to misuse information, can information be misused,

Please attempt to prove or disprove
and please site refrences and osurces.

thank you

Well, as for the "power corrupts", I believe this has to do with power without accountability. If you're given control over a nation, for example, and you don't have responsibilty for your actions, (monarchies, dictatorships etc) lead to corruption.

Information, like the PIN code example, if you can do things with them without having responsibility could lead to corruption. But in general, the type of power you get from lots of Knowledge, such as being able to discern and detect abuse of power in others, and understand the world around you is generally not the same type of unchecked power.

Yes, you can manipulate information etc. but It's still not quite the same.

I hope you understood that, it's nearly 1AM and I'm tired -_-
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Nick
 Post subject:
PostPosted: 2002-08-13 10:41am 

Jedi Knight


Joined: 2002-07-05 07:57am
Posts: 511
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Zoink wrote:
Quote:
The conclusion that 'Knowledge Corrupts' in the same sense that 'Power Corrupts' is to a certain degree true.

The fact that certain knowledge can be used for 'evil' purposes doesn't mean knowledge corrupts.


OK, I think I need to use smaller words. . .

Phrase: "Power corrupts"

Expanded form: "Power, in and of itself, has a tendency to corrupt"

Meaning: "The possession of power carries with it the opportunity and tempation to misuse and abuse that power."

Connection to knowledge: "Certain forms of knowledge confer power, hence the truisms relating to power also relate to those forms of knowledge"

With me so far?

Now, do some moral codes make it easier to resist the temptation? Certainly. The thought of abusing their power doesn't even occur to some people - for them, even though the opportunity for abuse exists, the temptation to take that opportunity is basically nonexistent.

There's also natural consequences - often it is easy to extrapolate out the consequences of abuse and realise that it just isn't worth it.

Additionally, externally imposed consequences may make the temptation even easier to resist. The penalties for abuse may be so severe, that the very idea of abuse becomes almost unthinkable.

However, none of that affects the truth of the original statement. Power carries with it the potential to abuse that power. In hypothetical situations, it is easy to choose the 'moral way'. In real life it is not so simple - all sorts of factors can lead to abuse ("It's just this once." "It's not like I'm hurting anyone." "It's for a good cause.").

This discrepancy between real and hypothetical is what leads us to the truism. It's much easier to take the moral high ground when you don't have any real vested interests in the situation.
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IDMR
 Post subject:
PostPosted: 2002-08-13 11:31am 

Moderator Emeritus


Joined: 2002-07-03 04:53am
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Location: On board the Imperium Fortress-Monastery Daedalus
[statistician]Even given the above premises, it is by no means the necessary conclusion that knowledge corrupts, since there is no evidence of linear correlation between knowledge and power, as well as as power and corruption![/statistician]
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Zoink
 Post subject:
PostPosted: 2002-08-13 11:35am 

Jedi Council Member


Joined: 2002-07-04 03:15pm
Posts: 2170
Location: Fluidic Space
Nick wrote:
Connection to knowledge: "Certain forms of knowledge confer power, hence the truisms relating to power also relate to those forms of knowledge"



If you take "power corrupts" as true, then it leads to your conclusion. I'm disagreeing with the premise because it disagree's with my own observation. While certain knowledge given to certain people will be misused. You are simply giving opertunity to people lacking certain morals, people who are able to rationalize immoral behavoir for their own selfish goals.

I possess a great deal of information that could be misused (about friends, family, neighbors, strangers), and I'd probably could get away with it. Yet, I've never been tempted to misuse that information. The same is true of other people's knowledge of myself. That same information given to certain people would be misused... but they are already immoral.

You'll have to show me how the aquiring of information itself corrupts; how giving me information (like a stranger's PIN) would 'corrupt' me and change my morals. I don't see it. If my morals say: "If given a PIN I should ignore it"... and then I don't follow it, then I was deluded into thinking I had that moral in the first place.

Please note, I'm not saying I'm the most moral person on the planet, just that the acquiring of abusable knowledge wouldn't affect those I have. The reason I don't use your PIN isn't because I don't have your PIN.



Quote:
"It's just this once."


Attempt to rationalize immoral behavior by minimizing the consequences. A moral person wouldn't do this. This person's morals obviously state: "its OK of it hurts a little"


Quote:
"It's not like I'm hurting anyone."


If its not hurting anyone then its probably not immoral. Your country's laws are laws, not morals. Their based in morals, but violating one isn't necessarily immoral. Of course it depends on your definition of morality.

Some people (not me) use marijuna and rationalize it by saying "its not hurting anyone". Even though I don't use marijuna, I'd still label that person as moral because it agrees with my own morals.


Quote:
"It's for a good cause.").


Same. Depends on your definition of morals. Something that causes good may not be immoral.

Last edited by Zoink on 2002-08-13 03:33pm, edited 1 time in total.
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The Yosemite Bear
 Post subject:
PostPosted: 2002-08-13 01:52pm 

Mostly Harmless Nutcase


Joined: 2002-07-21 02:38am
Posts: 35211
Location: Dave's Not Here Man
This is almost as spirited of a discussion as when I brought it up in Philosphy Class.....
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Nick
 Post subject:
PostPosted: 2002-08-14 06:37am 

Jedi Knight


Joined: 2002-07-05 07:57am
Posts: 511
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Err, Zoink, you do know what the word corruption means in the context of the 'Power Corrupts' phrase, don't you?

Corruption is about the abuse of power for your own ends. The phrase is useful because it illuminates a useful aspect of human behaviour. Often, when abuse is revealed, reactions are along the lines:
"Well, I never would have expected it of him!"
"But she was such a nice girl."

Or, someone is in a certain position, is promoted and given a certain amount of additional power, and goes completely silly with it. The person who promoted them obviously thought they could handle it, but ended up being proven wrong.

TYB's question was whether or not the phrase 'Knowledge corrupts' could be used in the same sense as the phrase 'Power corrupts'. And, for certain types of knowledge, it can.

The fact that you don't understand the utility of the original truism is irrelevant.
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oberon
 Post subject:
PostPosted: 2002-08-14 09:25am 

Padawan Learner


Joined: 2002-07-24 03:59pm
Posts: 255
Location: Maple Valley, WA
"anything>love"

You made an assumption mid-game of the transitive property applies. It doesn't, or at least you need to show that it does.

Anyway, knowledge is power, power corrupts, George W?
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Zoink
 Post subject:
PostPosted: 2002-08-14 12:39pm 

Jedi Council Member


Joined: 2002-07-04 03:15pm
Posts: 2170
Location: Fluidic Space
Err, Nick. I know what corruption means. Please don't corrupt my diction with self-serving definitions.

Quote:
cor·rupt:
adj.
Marked by immorality and perversion; depraved.
Venal; dishonest: a corrupt mayor.
Containing errors or alterations, as a text: a corrupt translation.

cor·rupt·ed, cor·rupt·ing, cor·rupts
v. tr.
To destroy or subvert the honesty or integrity of.
To ruin morally; pervert.
To taint; contaminate.
To cause to become rotten; spoil.
To change the original form of (a text, for example).


If power corrupts, then the acquisition of power changes your morality. So if my morals say "don't steal", and I acquire power, the statement suggests that the potential to steal w/o fear of punishment might change my morals to "stealing is OK".

"Power corrupts" seems self-evident (ie 'truism) because it takes a simplistic look at a situation: There is a large number of corrupt people in power, so power must corrupt. This is clear in the origin of this statement:

Quote:
"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men...There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it." -Lord Action


He qualifies his statement with an observation of corrupt people in power. The large number of corrupt people in power could simply be a reflection of the type of people that seek power. He was encouraging his students to hold people in power as accountable as the everyday citizen. This suggests that punishment keeps people moral (which agrees with the typical Christian view). I suggest that punishment keeps immoral people in line.

I agree with Lord Action's point, that people in power need to be accountable. I just don't take as true his little catch-phrase.

THE MAIN REASON I DISAGREE WITH THIS: Because many Christians use the same type of reasoning to suggest that Atheism corrupts; that the same lack of accountability for your actions means that atheists are inherently immoral. I believe that when I die, the exact same thing happens to me as to Osama Bin Laden, yet I have no desire to commit immoral acts regardless of whether or not I get caught by the police or a god.

Quote:
The fact that you don't understand the utility of the original truism is irrelevant.


If "Power corrupts" is not a truism then what does that say of its utility? I think that's relevant. I hold that: Knowledge corrupts is true in the same sense as power corrupts is true in that they are both false

The original question was to “prove or disprove” his logic. He stated two “truisms” (he assumed his first two statements are true or self-evident). You can disprove his logic by attacking his assumptions.
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Nick
 Post subject:
PostPosted: 2002-08-15 06:39am 

Jedi Knight


Joined: 2002-07-05 07:57am
Posts: 511
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Zoink wrote:
Err, Nick. I know what corruption means. Please don't corrupt my diction with self-serving definitions.


As it turns out, the misunderstanding between us was somewhere else - my apologies.

Quote:
Quote:
The fact that you don't understand the utility of the original truism is irrelevant.

If "Power corrupts" is not a truism then what does that say of its utility?


The misunderstanding was in what I mean by the word 'truism'.

Did I ever say the statement "Power corrupts" was strictly and literally true? No. Never. I said it was a truism. A statement that, while potentially false if interpreted literally, embodies and references an important truth.

In this case, the actual truth is "You never really know how someone is going to react to possessing power until they actually possess it." This is strictly and literally true. You can make an educated guess, but there are so many factors at play in how an individual reacts to power that no prediction is ever going to be particularly reliable. You cannot even make this prediction, with 100% reliability, for your own actions.

However, "Power corrupts" has great utility, because it remind us of the danger of predicting future actions in a context which is NOT sufficiently analogous to any previous situations we have seen that individual in (even when that individual is ourselves).

The thing with a truism though, is that, for it to be useful, it is necessary to see through the literal text to the underlying meaning. The phrase 'Power corrupts' has been around for so long, in its context as a truism, that most people will assent to the underlying meaning, not to what the words actually say. With phrases such as 'Atheism corrupts', this pre-existing utility does not exist - the underlying meaning cannot be safely assumed.

If the phrase 'Atheism corrupts' is taken to mean "You can't really tell how someone will react to the removal of the strictures of their religion until those strictures are actually removed', then the phrase is true in the same sense that "Power corrupts" is true. However, I'd be really surprised to find a fundamentalist ever meaning it that way - they think we're Godless, immoral, bastards (who, deep down, really do believe in God, we're just refusing to admit it). The ongoing attempts by fundamentalists to equate atheism with immorality actually mean the literal interpretation is likely to be applied - so the phrase has little utility, as the way it is probably going to be interpreted results in a false statement.

So if someone does try that tactic on you, simply point out that the phrase "Power corrupts" is not meant to be taken literally (if bored, you can even point out what it does mean to most intelligent people - probably worthwhile, since their immediate riposte is otherwise likely to be an appeal to popularity). As you quite correctly point out, the statement, if taken literally, is false. To tell you the truth, it never really occurred to me that anyone ever would try to take it literally (that's why it took me so long to realise what you were getting at). Although, given that people take Genesis literally, I guess it really shouldn't have surprised me. . .
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Zoink
 Post subject:
PostPosted: 2002-08-15 08:19am 

Jedi Council Member


Joined: 2002-07-04 03:15pm
Posts: 2170
Location: Fluidic Space
Nick wrote:
"You never really know how someone is going to react to possessing power until they actually possess it."


I can agree with that :)
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Nick
 Post subject:
PostPosted: 2002-08-15 08:38am 

Jedi Knight


Joined: 2002-07-05 07:57am
Posts: 511
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Zoink wrote:
Nick wrote:
"You never really know how someone is going to react to possessing power until they actually possess it."


I can agree with that :)


Every time I fail to give someone the benefit of the doubt, the universe seems to find it necessary to come along and kick me in the head :P

Nice to know the conclusions I jumped to were wrong :)

I thought you were missing the point out of cluelessness, I have no idea what you thought I was doing, and it turns out we pretty much agree. Ahh, gotta love Internet forums. . .
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