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Kids may be more jaded today, but they're not significantly more intellgent.
I had a huge long, rambly post that quickly got away from me.
I'm not necessarily saying kids are more intelligent, but rather that the increases in human knowledge mean that being born later gives you better access to that knowledge. Kids born today have an easier time with computers than those who were born 60 years ago (typically).
Also, if you have a friend with a kid in grade school, I recommend looking at their math homework. When my friend's kid was in kindergarten, her math homework was about on par with what I had in 2nd, maybe reaching up to some of the 3rd grade stuff. This wasn't special smart kid homework either, it was the standard stuff they send home with everyone. She's in 1st grade now, but I haven't bothered to look at what they're working on.
All of this doesn't mean that the kids are more intelligent, but rather that the human knowledge base has expanded and we're getting better at giving our kids access to it (both with technology and advances in teaching).
If you think the violence is bad right now, you should compare it to WW2. Seriously, the statistics on the number of people killed is pretty astounding, not just the raw numbers though. The # per 100,000 killed in violence is something like 10-20 times what is now, and that includes the violence in Syria, whatever place is bad in Africa right now, Ukraine, etc.
If you think diseases are worse... well, we are living longer and healthier. This is again supported by quite a bit of data and evidence.
Kids... teen pregnancy is at an all time low in the US
Kids... they're smarter than they used to be. Just try doing their homework for them. A lot of schools are now sending home instructions and aids for parents so that they'll be able to actually help. As for complaining about their behavior, that goes back as far as recorded history, so it's not new.
Electric Wizard wrote:
At least my teachers let me watch Batman.
There's two parts to this.
1) In the situation
Right now, in this thread, we are not "in the situation". We are "talking about it after the fact". Hypothetical situation:
I'm at a movie theater, I pick my seat.
Is it the smart thing to comply? Sure.
The man with the gun is making the choice to shoot me. I am not FORCING him to do so. I am not using mind control, nor physical force.
The problem with focusing on what was "smart" for me is that it reduces the conversation to focusing on my actions, instead of how messed up it is for someone to pull a gun on me just because they want my theater seat. My actions should not be the focus of the conversation AFTER THE FACT. The actions and behavior of the gunman should be the focus.
People have rights. We acknowledge that in this country. We even like to talk about how those rights are what make this country great. Therefore, when people defend those rights, or demand that those rights be respected (such as not complying with an officer who is acting like a jerk), we need to recognize that those rights are being trampled and defend them.
When confronted with an angry police officer, should a citizen comply? Yes.
Their non-compliance isn't the cause of the problem though. The cause of the problem is the angry police officer who will resort to violence at the mere imagining of resistance.
I don't want to live in a country where law enforcement is entitled to shoot you just because you aren't complying fast enough or precisely enough for their personal taste.
Talk about the root of the problem. Focus on that.
The issue is that your advice carries with it two potential conclusions.
1) If you're beat by police, you didn't follow the advice, therefore you created the situation where police had to beat you.
2) Police are violent individuals and must be dealt with using extreme caution.
Let's assume you didn't intend the first one, since it's victim blaming. The second option is still disturbing and a major reason why a lot of people have issues with how police handle themselves.
In another thread, someone pointed out that Frank Serpico experienced death threats and was essentially hung out to dry by his fellow officers, putting his life in danger, because he had turned whistleblower on fellow officers who had broken the law. This was given as an example of why officers should not be held to a standard where they bust their brothers for doing wrong.
It's a similar argument, cops are so bad, it's better to just let them be in control, otherwise they will hurt you.
I disagree, cops need to be held to a higher standard.
He also forgot:
"Don't carry large amounts of cash for legitimate purposes"
I get the complete opposite sense.
The Dem's tried to maintain some aspects of their left leaning side, but spent a LOT of time being wishy-washy over Blue Dog issues that they essentially looked like paralyzed deer in the recent election. The Keystone pipeline being a prime example. The delayed action on the pipeline for 2 reasons.
1) Dem's in left-leaning districts could continue to rail against the issue and promise how they would block it.
You get similar things with the ACA, the president saying it's great, while representatives call it the work of satan. In the end it made the Dem's look clueless and directionless.
They really haven't gotten more liberal the past 15 years, but have gotten quite a bit more conservative. I say this as a person who has themselves become less liberal over the same time period.
Freehold DM wrote:
It's part of the psychology of being a person with authority. When you *generic you* have authority and someone else does not, it's very easy to dismiss them and ignore them. You have a goal, you make your assumptions and because authority (and sometimes lots of training and experience) has been invested in you, you assume you are correct and anyone speaking against you is wrong.
The officers in this situation exhibited this pattern pretty clearly, and in very typical fashion for officers. They don't arrive in a situation and take the time to assess everything, rather relying on training and experience to inform their assumptions, and with the goal of ending every situation as fast as possible, they act on their assumptions. Most techniques that officers use involve escalating the situation, often with force, until they are in complete control of a scene.
There are times where this strategy prevents injuries to the officer, but there are plenty of times it pushes scenes to violence that might not have gotten there on their own.
I agree, as is, this method is woefully lacking in it's ability to achieve change in all but a few handful of cases. It would require strengthening and improved access for poor plaintiffs to truly start putting police supervisors in fear for their jobs.
Edit: and I'll agree with Kelsey, race is an integral part of this issue, as well as class.
This doesn't mean that all cops are racist, but rather that their daily interactions are deeply impacted by our countries history of race relations. Of course, some are also actually racists.
Criminal case: beyond a reasonable doubtCivil case: a preponderance of evidence
The difference being that with a criminal case, the goal is for verdicts to be 100% certain. With a civil case, it need only be more likely that one thing happened instead of another.
A great example is OJ Simpson. He survived criminal court, because it couldn't be proved with absolute certainty that he committed the crime. On the other hand he lost when the families brought a civil suit against him, because it was found that he was most likely responsible for the deaths.
There are a couple of reasons why civil courts are more lax in their burden of proof.
1) The consequences tend to be monetary, which is generally regarded as less. You can't be sent to jail for a civil suit, nor can you be sentenced to death. Because the stakes are higher in a criminal court, you have more protections.
There are a lot of protections for government officials. For example you can't sue the President because he signed a law that cost you money. You can sue the government to fight the law, but you can't sue the individuals themselves.
I would envision these lawsuits being brought against the government agency responsible, not the individual. It would be up to the agency to determine internally how to handle disciplinary measures to prevent actions that cause them to be sued.
The other benefit is that it would fall outside the purview of the prosecutor's office, which would probably not play a major role in defending the city/state/etc from such lawsuits, other than being witnesses or processing evidence from law enforcement to the civil courts.
You guys are losing the forest for the trees.
The problem isn't the specifics of Michael Browns case. The problem is that we should also be reviewing the details of 107 other killings in August. And the details of the 78 killings in September. And 53 killings in October.
That's 239 killings (including Michael Brown) just from August 1st to October 31st. Now, some of that includes suicides and not in the line of duty shootings, but it's a lot of cases to review.
While specifics of Michael Browns case may or may not be troubling, the real problem is the number of people killed and how few police receive even a slap on the wrist for their involvement.
Thinking of another solution: civil court. A good option would be to make it easier for people to sue the law enforcement agency (or it's controlling governmental body) for a wrongful death. It shouldn't be that ALL deaths should result in a successful lawsuit, but if the police can be shown to do something inappropriate (such as using a wrestling move that the police department has put in rules to against) that some level of responsibility is made clear. Putting that financial burden on the city/local government would increase the incentive of police departments to crack down on this behavior and work harder to prevent civilian deaths.
Officers who repeatedly cost a city millions of dollars probably aren't going to get promoted, which might help change the culture of law enforcement agencies.
The communities that are suffering these deaths need a form of recourse to feel like they get a chance at something that feels like justice. Changing the rules so that they have at least a fair chance of winning a case like this might be one way to do that.
It's one of the problems. In places where body cameras have been adopted there have been officers who have a history of "malfunctions". There are a couple other issues as well that need to be resolved.
One is the issue of privacy. There are groups in the US that use various freedom of information acts to obtain any and all documents from police. While that tends to be a good thing, it almost means that when police officers enter your home, they're essentially filming the interior which will be made public. Is that okay? Should it be public information? Do the answers depend on whether you're charged/convicted of a crime?
The other issue is the system used to determine whether the officer behavior appropriately or not. In the Eric Garner case a bystander captured video of his death and that was part of the evidence for the grand jury, but it chose not to indict. Even if we have video evidence, if we don't hold officers accountable, it doesn't really change anything.
Thinking about it, there is an aspect of relativism in alignment, but only in terms of what is and is not Lawful. Something in one society might be considered Lawful, while it isn't in another.
That doesn't apply to the concept of Good though. Just because something is Lawful, does not mean it is Good. We know this by definition, because Lawful Neutral and Lawful Evil exist. Therefore, something can be both Lawful and Evil at the same time. The relativism that determines if something is Lawful does not apply to determining if something is Good.
It's also a common story telling device to pit Lawful and Good against each other. A character can follow the rule and do something bad, or he can break the rule and do something good.
So I agree, if we look back, we use the standards of that day to determine what is and is not Lawful. That has no impact on whether it is Good or not.
The two aspects of the alignment are different and to qualify for Lawful Good, it must adhere to BOTH aspects independently.
Cop breaks woman's eye socket while she is handcuffed in the back of his car, not charged. So apparently, even after you have restrained the suspect you can beat them on video and be found not at fault for anything.
Don't forget, if they bleed on you after you've beaten them, you can charge them with destruction of government property.
And here's where we get into a sticky mess. Marrying a 14-year-old girl was not considered an evil act in the era in which he did it. The idea of marrying a 14-year-old girl, some would argue, was not done with cruelty or intent to oppress; people had absolutely no knowledge at the time that it was an act of cruelty just because of her age.
Ignorance of consequences does not absolve oneself of responsibility.Moral relativism renders the alignment system pointless.
If we were studying this in a history or philosophy context, I agree to a certain extent that we have to view things through the lens of history and in the context that it happened. We're not doing that though, we're judging these people and societies within the terms of the game.
I'd also argue that people weren't really unaware of the oppression they were engaging in. Rather that it was just considered the norm and nothing was necessarily wrong with it. Note, Joseph Smith didn't marry Helen Kimball because the two of them struck up a romantic relationship, with him courting her and eventually cementing the relationship with marriage. He arranged the marriage with the father in order to secure himself an additional bride.
This was a society that treated women as a commodity to be traded in some ways. In this case, Joseph traded prestige and influence within the community in exchange for a new sex partner. They were engaged in the oppression of women, willingly and openly. Joseph Smith add a layer onto the contemporary level of oppression of women by encouraging men to acquire as many of them as they could, instead of the nominal standard of only acquiring one.
Oppression is an Evil act. Even if it is considered normal and within one's right to do so.
Joseph Smith Jr wrote:
that which is wrong under one circumstance, may be and often is, right under another. God said thou shalt not kill—at another time he said thou shalt utterly destroy. This is the principle on which the government of heaven is conducted—by revelation adapted to the circumstances in which the elders of the kingdom are placed. Whatever God requires is right ... even things which may be considered abominable to all those who do not understand the order of heaven.
This is a man who invented his own religion in order to justify whatever behavior he chose to partake in. He believed himself to be benevolent and good, to be doing God's work and spreading his word. Just because he believes himself to be good does not automatically give him the Good alignment.
Now, I don't necessarily consider Smith to be an Evil person. Just in my opinion, he participated in enough Evil acts (some of which were condoned by the society around him) that he himself does not qualify as Good. He incited violence, created a system that furthered the oppression of women and capitalized on the norms of the era to fulfill his own desires.
That's the other thing, his sex with young girls is only ONE aspect of him. The other being his implicit approval of violence and encouragement of others to engage in brutal acts. When there started to be power struggles in the Mormon community he approved of the creation of a secret group that would weed out dissenters and problematic people in their community.
Joseph Smith Jr wrote:
Thus far, according to the order of the Danites. We have a company of Danites in these times, to put to right physically that which is not right, and to cleanse the Church of every great evil which has hitherto existed among us inasmuch as they cannot be put to right by teachings and persuasyons [sic]. This company or a part of them exhibited on the fourth day of July [—] They come up to consecrate, by companies of tens, commanded by their captains over ten.
I'm sure someone will come along and say that this is a falsehood created by anti-Mormon detractors. But this is from a journal of Smith's that is published by a Mormon publishing company.
Also, Smith's brother Hyrum signed the Danite manifesto.
The Danites were extremists and had high representation within the various Mormon militias prior to the trek to Utah. Exact details are scarce about the group, since it was a secret group, but we know it exists and we know Smith knew about it. There was a sermon given by Sidney Rigdon that was used to justify violent actions by the Danites. After it had incited violence, Smith published the sermon as a pamphlet for further distribution. This was during the period of escalation of the 1838 Mormon War.
During Smith's arrest for treason, he began to denounce the Danites and claim no knowledge or influence among them. He continued to denounce them while in Illinois, though he continued to approve of dissenters being forcibly evicted from the Mormon community (the primary role of the Danites).
I don't think it was just one thing that prevents Smith from being considered Good. I think it's a pattern of behavior that persists over a significant period of his life. I don't think he is responsible for every bad thing done within Mormonism. I think he did hold some very liberal ideas of equality and justice (for the period). It was more talk though, and not necessarily evidenced by his actions.
Power corrupts and he gained a lot of power during his life, being the religious leader of a religious community. He used that power in negative ways on more than one occasion.
Here's something else to consider:
The original Star Trek series, the movies and most of the more recent series have all trended towards harder sci-fi. While the science isn't necessarily great in most of these, there are attempts to take their cues from actual science, grabbing interesting scientific hypothesis and giving them a Hollywood treatment.
Compare that to original Star Wars. There really is no science involved in this. We get a handful of terms, but really there is little to no science in these movies. There's no science in this sci-fi. More accurate would be to consider this space fantasy, with strong roots in the old adventure pulps.
Now re-examine the new Star Trek movies. They're pulp adventure. We get a handful of science terms, but there's no real attempt to make it about the science. It's space fantasy. The new Star Trek movies, in regards to storytelling style, have much more in common with Star Wars than the old Star Trek. They haven't been great Star Trek movies, but they've been decent action movies set in space.
I don't think JJ Abrams makes particularly great movies. He has interesting concepts for stories, but his follow through tends to be pretty *vomit sound*.
On a major plus side, Lawrence Kasdan is on the screenwriting team for Ep 7. Some of his works include:
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
Now, this isn't an amazing list, but it's a pretty apropos list. Some of his other movies aren't impressive, but nothing stands out as a ridiculous stinker either.
Another positive thing is that Disney owns it. While Disney does of course make bad movies, they also have a lot of resources and talent to tap into to make good movies, of which they've made more than a few. Marvel Cinematic Universe is essentially a Disney product.
Recheck the thread topic, this is not a philosophy class, this is a discussion of game terms and using them to look at the real world.
When I say "Good", I don't mean "my modern sensibilities", we're talking about the Good alignment in D&D/Pathfinder. Good is not subjective. Just because something is legal does not mean something is Good. We know this, because things can be Lawful Evil, meaning that they adhere to rules (or laws) but are the opposite of Good. Legal does not inherently mean Good.
We aren't doing comparative morality throughout history. We are determining whether something meets the definitions of Good, Neutral and Evil in game terms.
It doesn't matter that in dozens of states during the 1700's, it was perfectly legal to whip a slave for ANY REASON YOU DEEMED APPRPORIATE. It still wouldn't qualify as a Good in D&D terms.
I'd love to hear how Joseph Smith's situation fits the definition of Good or Neutral. Remember, in your narrative of this situation you have to account for:
1) Joseph Smith was 38 years old, his bride was 14.
These are all facts. We know these facts because both of writings from both Joseph Smith AND Helen Kimball. I'm not making these facts up. I'm not getting them from people who hated Joseph Smith. I'm getting them from the people directly involved in the marriage.
Now, I agree, that this is something that creeps me out with my modern sensibilities. That said, in my RPG experience of 20+ years, I've found that most things that make my skin crawl tend to be Evil. Maybe this isn't, but if you're going to explain it, you need to do better than "it was legal at the time". You need to explain how it qualifies as a Neutral act in game terms (or Good if you so choose).
Note, there were accusations of sexual misconduct dating back to 1827, 3 years prior to his first transcribing of the Book of Mormon. There's no proof anything was forced (Smith wasn't a rapist, he wanted willing partners), but he seems to have a penchant for teenage girls. Some of the charges were probably drummed up. Some are probably just angry fathers/husbands/brothers, pissed off that their women folk had sex, with little or no merit to the charges. The prevalence of incidents and number of wives is fairly consistent and constant throughout his life.
Of course, this could all be a conspiracy against Mormonism that started 3 years prior to the first appearance of the word.
Not philosophy class, we're utilizing the game terms of alignment.
In no order
Fist of Legend
I might consider Lord of the Rings if it were only 1 movie. I enjoy it, but not enough to take up 3 slots. At 1 slot it would be good enough to replace SW:ANH.
These aren't necessarily my favorite movies, but ones I know I can rewatch again and again.
It was legal to whip a slave that displeased you prior to 1864. Just because something is legal (or even common practice) does not make it moral.
There are two parts to the concept: Lawful AND Good.
Just because something is Lawful does not automatically mean it is Good. We know this for a fact because we also have the concept of Lawful Evil.
I think we can reasonably agree that the institution of slavery in America was probably an example of Lawful Evil. I would put a society that not only permits but encourages adults to sexually abuse children in the same category.
Now, Mormonism didn't necessarily encourage men to go out and find child brides. But it did encourage the practice of gathering as many brides as possible and the leaders had a long history of presenting marriages to them as a way to secure salvation for a families soul. Joseph Smith Jr for example convince Helen Kimball's father that if he gave over his 14 y/o daughter his family would earn a higher place in heaven, as well as higher status in the community.
Just because "my religion told me to" is not justification for something to be Good. Even in the game we blatantly acknowledge that many religions are Evil, therefore we must judge a religion by the content of it's practices.
So far, the only defense for Joseph Smith presented is that potentially "someone who didn't like him made it up". Except we know that isn't true, since we have documents from Helen Kimball telling us that she married at age 14 and she and her family kept that marriage a secret initially.
I don't think that Mormonism is necessarily responsible for the pedophilia that happened within, but it is responsible for creating a culture and atmosphere for it was acceptable or at least overlooked. Several pages ago I suggested a set of criteria:
1) Evil acts are abhorred within society
I would consider pedophilia to be an Evil act. If you want to try and argue otherwise, feel free. If it is an Evil act, Mormonism clearly fails the first test by not abhorring an Evil act.
I'm just going to back out.
There's clearly no talking to you, because if I doubt for a moment that Mormon's might have done something wrong ever, clearly I'm an agent of the devil who is seeking to sow disruption.
It matters, since the BoM does reference skin color as being a curse from God. That influences how a society thinks about such things like skin color. Even if you're story is about Group A, it's plainly obvious that Group B has an even darker skin tone.
For example, black people weren't allowed to have a celestial marriage until 1977. There were several other rites I'm not familiar with they were excluded from as well. Essentially in the Mormon religion, blacks were only part way allowed into heaven. They could only have an Earthly marriage, which would end upon their death (unlike a celestial marriage which endures into the afterlife).
Basing a religion around such stories, even if that aspect is not the dominant factor of the religion, influences how they treat people who are portrayed in those stories, such as people with dark skin.
Yes, the BoM does talk about equality and how anyone, regardless of skin tone can get into God's good graces, but at the same time you can't deny that the BoM does have passages that directly correlates skin color to sin.
I would agree that there are actually some very redeeming qualities about the Mormon religion. For example, it is part of their religion that they be prepared with food and supplies in case of disaster. As a result, the Church of LDS actually had supplies en route to New Orleans several days prior to hurricane Katrina making landfall.
I just don't think that whitewashing a violent history peppered with pedophilia is a good idea.
The 8th Dwarf wrote:
My point was a lot of people were saying that the death rate by police would be the same in most other western countries- clearly it's not. 6 in one year for Australia comes closest... The UK went a whole year without the police shooting somebody. In 3 years they discharged their weapons 18 times for 9 fatalities.
Yes, my point was that the problem may be larger than those numbers suggest.
You're right, I made an error while doing math. It happens.
Now, some of those aren't strictly relevant to the topic. 4 suicides (one included a double-murder prior to the suicide) and two other murders, but that's still 100 people shot by officers in the line of duty in one month.
Some of those were justified. Some clearly were not (like the young man shot because he was carrying an air rifle in Walmart, he was there to purchase it).
The 8th Dwarf wrote:
Those statistics are inaccurate.
There are 17,000 law enforcement agencies in the United States. Those accrued statistics account for roughly 750 of them, or 0.4%. While most of the larger agencies do report, it probably represents much more than 0.4% of all officers.
Highly inaccurate numbers developed from media reports puts the number of killings just over 1000, but again that's reliant on the media reporting on every incident and that the researchers were able to compile a complete list of all reports.
Currently, we don't possess the technology to do this... in space. A magnetic field is still going to require a lot of equipment and take up a fair bit of energy to maintain. There are a whole host of issues to fix to make it work in the confines of a ship.
Side benefit, I suspect that such shielding will provide some significant advances in superconductor technology.
One of the advantages of a lunar base is that if we set up ice collection and H2O splitting facilities we could actually manufacture fuel on the Moon (as well as collecting water supplies). That could save massive amounts of weight for an actual Mars mission, while also allowing us to improve our long range/duration capabilities.
The Moon isn't just some sort of baby step, but could actually be a critical and necessary step. It would also be a critical facility for testing protection from cosmic rays. A Mars trip would be at least ~300 days spent outside the protective shields of Earth, which means a lot of radiation. Much of which we don't even have a method of shielding.
Scott Betts wrote:
The reprints were only the core books, who's info is nearly entirely contained in the SRD, which is free and has been available online for nearly 10 years.
My only thing is that less is more.
If you want lightsabers to be cool, only show them to us a couple times during the movie. Then you don't need to make them funny shapes, because their rarity will naturally cause them to have a strong visual impact.
I stand behind the Gwendoline Christie theory though.
Just because you link a logical fallacy does not make your analysis true.
Mechanics do define the game. Storytelling is defined and included within the game, it's just that there are no obvious mechanics included within Pathfinder, so the definition and execution of storytelling differ widely from table to table. That is actually a very purposeful feature of the game and not a mistake.
There are lots of other games that do include mechanical features that impact the story telling of the game. There are even board games that do that (tell a story).
Your position also excludes the concept that mechanics can (and do) impact story telling. Fiasco is massively different from D&D, but they're both roleplaying games. In Fiasco, I do horrible, horrible things to my characters. I kill them off, ruin their careers and abandon them to live in sex dungeons as someone else's slave quite regularly. The mechanics of that game encourage me to tell that kind of story.
Another example that's a favorite of mine is Mythender. It's a game about power, survival and free will. You can grab the power of a god quite easily in that game, but you risk losing your free will by doing so. If you don't take enough power though, you risk dying. The game's mechanics purposely push you into this kind of story. There's different ways to interpret that story, you can have a heavy metal song about ripping the earth asunder, or you can have an emo shoe gazing song about how hard your life is. I've played both and enjoy both, but the fundamental themes of the game remain: power, survival and free will.
In Pathfinder, it's more subtle, but the impact on mechanics is still there. For one, it dictates player choice. The game is highly focused on combat and using violence to achieve one's ends. The primary reward drivers (XP and money) are gained from fighting. The game rewards you for being good at combat (a big reason why a lot of people try to optimize).
Second, the game also dictates reality with it's rules. Everything from skills, feats, classes to spells and magic items define what is and is not possible within the game world. That impacts how reality is shaped within the story.
Mechanics are the fundamental driver of how we shape and interact with our stories in RPG's. I agree they aren't the sole factor, the people sitting around the table have a lot to do with it as well, but the game they choose and how they use that game is massively important.
I agree with you, that would be ideal.
You didn't actually address the root cause of the problem that I outlined in my post though. You went after my conclusion and seem to have misinterpreted it.
I want what you want. I am pointing out the difficulties in achieving it.
The crux of the issue is partly one of perception. For one, different people have a different concept of what 100% efficiency is. Second, people have a different concept of what 95% efficiency is. Third, as you eliminate/fix options that are above or below 100%, you will alter people's perceptions of how far off from 100% remaining options are.
We remove Z, or fix it to be 90% efficiency.
As the absolute space between abilities becomes smaller, our perception of that difference becomes more acute. We still see the good and bad choices. You might get it to 100-99-98 eventually (compared to the original), but players will still see the 'giant gulf' between them, unless there are other abilities outside that margin to compare them to.
With complicated games it is an inherently comparative process we use to determine the strength of one ability compared to another. Unless you make all abilities identical in mechanical impact (everything gives a +2 that doesn't stack) there's no way to change the perception of players that there aren't good and bad choices.
I agree that game designers should strive to make the game as balanced as possible. I'm saying that we also have to be aware of how our perceptions affect how we view the game and options within it. Regardless of whether designers intentionally put in Timmy cards or not, we will perceive the least efficient options to be that way anyways.
Do not construe my highlighting this fact to mean that I want it. Just like realizing that my car needs new timing belts doesn't mean I WANT to pay to replace them.
There's another aspect of Timmy cards.
An experiment was done, I believe with M:tG. They took a competitive environment, looked at the 25% of least used cards and eliminated them from legal play. Since no one was using them (or very few) it was expected that it would just make deck building that much easier, reducing choices. What happened is that the next bottom tier of cards ended up falling in how often they were used. Essentially a new tier of Timmy cards was created as the field narrowed and players had their options reduced effectively again.
When you have variations in game options, unless they all operate under identical mechanics, there will be a sorting of which options are optimal and which ones aren't.
There's a similar phenomenon in League of Legends (the PC game). There are 121 characters to play in that game. Typically at any given point there is a meta, for each role there are 5-6 very strong characters who are popular. At lower tiers of player skill the list of potential characters expands, but at the top end the list tends to be very small. The developers have long attempted to make balance changes to expand how many champions are viable for competitive play, but all they've really managed to do is push the meta in one direction or another.
Games with lots of options tend to end up having only some of those options being strong. Designers do (and should) spend a lot of time trying to make more options viable, but with a complex game it is inevitable that there will be strong and weak options.
I suspect the pheromone hypothesis is at best a contributing factor, not a determinant one. There's some evidence that suggests that pheromones from one person do not have the exact same reaction on every other person.
I agree that we're still biological beings, but even without pheromones there's plenty happening in the brains of everyone in a mob. I'd guess that the pheromones are just one way of transmitting that data from one brain to another, body language, spoken language and the natural influence of being in a crowd also transmitting and amplifying the behaviors.
It's pretty well understand that being in groups influences our thoughts. The degree to which it happens and how and why might not all be clear, but it is documented in plenty of phenomena. Group think is pretty common and once an idea takes hold, it's hard to get rid of it, particularly if not challenged diligently and quickly.
Just because we smell a pheromone does not necessarily mean that it creates the same emotion in our brains. It means we can process more accurately how that person is feeling, but our response to that is going to contingent on a lot of other factors, such as our present state of mind.
As a hypothesis, I see it much more likely that pheromones act as an echo chamber for the mob. If everyone is angry, they're more likely to detect each other's anger, reinforcing their own anger. It doesn't cause it to spread as some sort of infection, but rather creates subconscious communication that happens to reinforce this one type of behavior in a crowd.