Hacker Newsnew | comments | show | ask | jobs | submitlogin

You're meth example is not the same thing. The meth user's meth usage does not effect the person he tells not to use meth. Well, maybe there's something to be said about the societal issues.

In the room example it is stated the bad thing affects everyone in the room to some detriment. Even though the visionary got everyone to stop, the eventual outcome is the detrimental one since the visionary keeps doing the bad thing. Therefore, in the end it doesn't matter if one of them or all of them does the bad thing. So, the fact that the visionary was a hypocrite has doomed them all. Only when the visionary is not a hypocrite can they all be saved. I believe the bad thing in a room is not a good example of the point to be made. This is more about the potential stupidity of groups of people following leaders (visionary and commentator both) without thinking for themselves. The best thing for the self-interest of the people involved was to individually decide to leave the room.




>In the room example it is stated the bad thing affects everyone in the room to some detriment. Even though the visionary got everyone to stop, the eventual outcome is the detrimental one since the visionary keeps doing the bad thing.

No, it's not the detrimental one at all. 1 person doing a bad thing (e.g farting in a room) is not at all the same as 100 persons doing a bad thing (e.g farting in a room).

>Therefore, in the end it doesn't matter if one of them or all of them does the bad thing. So, the fact that the visionary was a hypocrite has doomed them all.

No, it's their giving importance not to the idea of doing the good thing but to the consistency of the visionary that doomed them all. That's the whole point of the article.

>Only when the visionary is not a hypocrite can they all be saved.

No, they can also be saved if they STOP being obsessed with consistency in the visionary, and instead evaluate the visionary's ideas _in themselves_ and in how they benefit them all.

>The best thing for the self-interest of the people involved was to individually decide to leave the room.

In that thought experiment, as in lots of situations in life, there is no "leaving the room". Say, the room is earth, and the visionary is some early ecologist. If someone finds out that he doesn't recycle it shouldn't translate to "oh, hypocrisy, we shouldn't recycle either".

It would much better translate to: "Hmm, the guy doesn't do what he preaches, but we will continue doing it because it does good. He is a hypocrite, but, hey, at least the guy told us about the necessity of doing this thing in the first place, something we haven't figured at the time.".

But that's not a knee-jerk reaction, so it is too much to ask from some people.

-----


Well, now you're changing things around with the thought experiment to support your point.

It was stated that the bad thing damages the room and the people in it as well; I took this to mean physical damage possibly leading to death because otherwise it doesn't make any sense. Therefore, with the two options that we are apparently forced into, the group is doomed regardless. It's only a matter of time. I say forced into two options because of the artificial restriction that the people cannot leave the room, which was not stated in the original explanation. Another out would be for the group to kill the visionary once he started back to doing the bad thing, remember that this damages them, which showed he could not be trusted and did not care for the well-being of the other people in the room. Is that not an option as well? In the end, the only choice the people had to fit their best interests was to leave the room, unless you can justify the murder of the visionary. But you took that away and I'm led to believe that they have no other options, so in the end they are all doomed regardless of either choice they go with.

Changing the rules, or adding new rules as I respond, to change the thought experiment is not a good way to invalidate my conclusion. For instance, equating a room with the Earth doesn't work for me, that's different situations with different potential outcomes with different options. The bad thing in a room thought experiment, as presented, is simply a bad example if there are only two options allowed.

Now, if we're talking about a situation you are describing, where the outcome is not damaging to the people involved, except for maybe their sanity, then I can somewhat agree with what you're saying.

-----




Applications are open for YC Summer 2015

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Y Combinator | Apply | Contact

Search: