Killing Orcs toddlers is evil?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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blahpers wrote:
Oly, that really isn't going to score any morality points outside of discussions of utilitarianism. For instance, I find your viewpoint abhorrent to the point of evil, though it may be well-intentioned.

I'm not sure which of my arguments you're talking about, but regardless I lean heavily toward utilitarian and the similar Rawlsian morality (Rawlsian is that what is moral is what you would desire if you did not know which person you would be in the transaction).

Sovereign Court

Oly wrote:
I actually don't know when in world history that was done (as opposed to race/ethnic-based genocide, which we all know of), but I'll trust you it was done wrongly at some points in real world history.

The closest I can think of is when the Khan killed all Tatter males taller than a wagon wheel. They kept rebelling off & on - and he was done with them doing that. The Tarters were badasses, but he wanted loyal badasses. He left the women alive though. *shrug*

Oly wrote:
I've seen statistics that pit bulls cause far, far more dog bites per capita than any other breed.

That's probably a case of correlation doesn't equal causality. People who want vicious bastard dogs tend to get Pit Bulls nowadays. Any dog they got would end up a vicious bastard, so doing away with Pit Bulls would just shift what they buy, not how many vicious dogs there are.


thejeff wrote:
Oly wrote:

If they are always (or almost always) evil if raised in culture, then not taking them away creates other evil beings.

I actually don't know when in world history that was done (as opposed to race/ethnic-based genocide, which we all know of), but I'll trust you it was done wrongly at some points in real world history.

But again, all human races are equal (cultures not necessarily, but no human culture creates almost exclusively evil people). All PF "races" are definitely not. If orcs are almost always evil if raised in-culture, but redeemable if raised outside of orc culture, then the good thing is not to allow them to be raised in culture.

Good should desire a world free of evil to the extent possible.

Yeah, I know it makes logical sense, but it's the kind of logical sense that leads to atrocities. In the fantasy world, we can decide that such and such a culture is irredeemably evil and know we're right about it.

But at that point we're doing the exact same thing many cultures have done in the past because they thought they were right about it. It's different, because we have an outside viewpoint and are objectively defining what's good and evil in the world, but from inside it would look very much the same.

Many of those sending Native Americans to Indian Schools truly believed they were doing good by destroying their culture. Earlier many missionaries believed they were doing good by killing the heathen and converting their children.
Not the same, since we'd actually be right about it, but the resonance is too much for me. I'd rather not set up the world to work that way.

I don't know what occurred with the Indian Schools, but the real moral problem was killing Native Americans and taking their land, though wars of aggression in that day were common enough Americans were far from alone in doing that sort of thing-- which still doesn't justify it.

In this case, as you admit, we can know we're right. I'd simply say I'd be absolutely against allowing someone to grow up who would be near-certain to become evil and kill many innocents. If he can be prevented from becoming evil by being raised in a different culture, that's more humane than killing him and thus preferable to killing him.

Shadow Lodge

Oly wrote:
I don't know what occurred with the Indian Schools...

Looks like they were brainwashed to conform to the society that conquered them.


TOZ wrote:
Oly wrote:
I don't know what occurred with the Indian Schools...
Looks like they were brainwashed to conform to the society that conquered them.

If they had been evil monsters (whereas our ancestors were the ones who were closer to behaving monstrously) if raised within their culture, they would have been justified. Obviously, they weren't. It's hypothetical.

Maybe Americans believed that at the time, and were just wrong. If that was the reason for the schools, they'd be well intentioned and it wouldn't affect what "alignment" they should be perceived as.


Oly wrote:
In this case, as you admit, we can know we're right. I'd simply say I'd be absolutely against allowing someone to grow up who would be near-certain to become evil and kill many innocents. If he can be prevented from becoming evil by being raised in a different culture, that's more humane than killing him and thus preferable to killing him.

Yes. Given that we set up that situation, it's probably the right thing to do. It's probably even the right thing to do to wipe out the entire adult orc population and take all their kids in and teach them our better ways.

Nonetheless, it creeps me the hell out and I'd rather play in a setting where that isn't the right thing to do.

I'd actually rather play in a black and white setting where orcs actually are unredeemable pawns of evil and even their children should be killed without mercy than that one. Because there they're just monsters and we don't worry about the morals.

But I'd really rather play in a setting where all existing orcs aren't evil to start with, even if they are savage and likely to be dangerous, but they can still be dealt with and it's still a good thing to leave their kids with them.


Oly wrote:
TOZ wrote:
Oly wrote:
I don't know what occurred with the Indian Schools...
Looks like they were brainwashed to conform to the society that conquered them.

If they had been evil monsters (whereas our ancestors were the ones who were closer to behaving monstrously) if raised within their culture, they would have been justified. Obviously, they weren't. It's hypothetical.

Maybe Americans believed that at the time, and were just wrong. If that was the reason for the schools, they'd be well intentioned and it wouldn't affect what "alignment" they should be perceived as.

It's like making the argument that if black people had really been like slavery apologists claimed, slavery would have been fine.

Yes, it's a logically valid argument.

But you're still echoing the claims of apologists for slavery.

You're making the world. Don't make a world where that's a good thing.


Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Oly wrote:
Maybe Americans believed that at the time, and were just wrong. If that was the reason for the schools, they'd be well intentioned and it wouldn't affect what "alignment" they should be perceived as.

That was the general idea. In some ways they weren't all bad since some of what they did was teach better farming methods etc. Though they had far more than their share of issues.

I'm not going to weigh in on the pros and cons of different cultures here. (Not a chance.) But are some of you REALLY saying that the murdering/pillaging culture of standard orcs deserves to be protected? Really?

Do you think the Viking culture of having a season every year where you go raid / rape / pillage should have been protected?

Just because a culture exists doesn't mean that it should be protected. Orcish 'culture' being pretty much the epitome.

There's a difference between "protected" and "killing them and taking their children".

There are a lot of options in between the two.


thejeff wrote:


2) I do think that if the appeal is "the violent brutality and the warrior culture ethos", you really want a game without the objective morality of D&D/PF. Or at least a heavily modified version of it.

On the contrary, I think it is baked heavily into D&D's ethos. I think a lot of these ethical dilemmas arise because 21st century LG, NG, and LN Americans and Europeans don't like the "right" answers. LG characters aren't necessarily opposed, in principle, to genocide, just to ILLEGAL genocide that is, on the balance, more evil than good.

thejeff wrote:

There's a difference between "protected" and "killing them and taking their children".

There are a lot of options in between the two.

Okay, so now I'm totally thinking about a Pathfinder campaign centered around an elite Childhood Protective Services team.


thejeff wrote:
Oly wrote:
In this case, as you admit, we can know we're right. I'd simply say I'd be absolutely against allowing someone to grow up who would be near-certain to become evil and kill many innocents. If he can be prevented from becoming evil by being raised in a different culture, that's more humane than killing him and thus preferable to killing him.

Yes. Given that we set up that situation, it's probably the right thing to do. It's probably even the right thing to do to wipe out the entire adult orc population and take all their kids in and teach them our better ways.

Nonetheless, it creeps me the hell out and I'd rather play in a setting where that isn't the right thing to do.

I'd actually rather play in a black and white setting where orcs actually are unredeemable pawns of evil and even their children should be killed without mercy than that one. Because there they're just monsters and we don't worry about the morals.

That's interesting, because in the latter setting absolute genocide of orcs would be the right thing to do, and that's less creepy than forced cultural assimilation?

I don't get creeped out by these settings, because I think of orcs as a "species" rather than a "race," and don't compare genocide of orcs to the Holocaust or forced cultural assimilation to the Indian Schools that I didn't know of before today (though if I were creeped out by one it would more quickly be the Holocaust scenario).

I'm also fine with a setting where a good portion of orcs are decent people, too.

The world is a fantasy world, where "races" are far from equal, and I accept it for what it is, and recognize how different it is from real life in that way.

Webstore Gninja Minion

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Jeven wrote:
There should be a general rule against complaining about the presence of threads which you are not interested in but other people are.

Pretty sure it's covered under Rule Zero.

A reminder, this is a tricksy topic. These are the kinds of questions that roleplaying can explore, should you and your players want to. Some do—others don't. Telling somebody they're playing the game wrong isn't cool—it's their game, not yours. Be civil to each other, and learn to step away from the keyboard if you feel yourself getting too heated.

Oly, I'd recommend watching the "We Shall Remain" and "Ken Burns' The West" documentaries if you want to learn more about some of the past (and current) U.S. policy towards Native Americans.


Liz Courts wrote:
Jeven wrote:
There should be a general rule against complaining about the presence of threads which you are not interested in but other people are.

Pretty sure it's covered under Rule Zero.

A reminder, this is a tricksy topic. These are the kinds of questions that roleplaying can explore, should you and your players want to. Some do—others don't. Telling somebody they're playing the game wrong isn't cool—it's their game, not yours. Be civil to each other, and learn to step away from the keyboard if you feel yourself getting too heated.

I wonder if any thought has been given to changing "race" to "species," because part of what makes the subject so sensitive, I think, is that saying that "Orcs are an inferior race," while true in PF, causes people to think in their minds of real life human races that were wrongly considered (and sadly still are by some people) inferior.

If they were called a different species instead, that might make discussions about such issues less potentially offensive.

Liberty's Edge

Okay, 2 things I want to address.

First, what is with all these people saying "it's the GM's fault for daring to have realistic consequences for the PC's actions. When I wrote my alignment on my character sheet I never expected for it to actually matter in any way during the campaign." Consequences are good things to have, they're what makes the campaign world come alive and give shape to the narrative.

Second, pit bulls have no natural predisposition towards aggressive behaviour. They are very loyal and easily trained, and make great pets for families with children. The reason pit bulls are used in dog fighting rings is because their owners are taking advantage of their loyalty and training them to be aggressive. If you've ever met a pit bull who has been abused in that way you'd know that even then they still rarely show any signs of aggression towards humans. The most common responses a pit bull raised to fight has to a person are submission and fear. The plight of the pit bull is heartbreaking and the I find the ignorance of those advocating to ban the breed and immediately put them down when they end up in shelters disgusting.

Liberty's Edge

Oly wrote:

I wonder if any thought has been given to changing "race" to "species," because part of what makes the subject so sensitive, I think, is that saying that "Orcs are an inferior race," while true in PF, causes people to think in their minds of real life human races that were wrongly considered (and sadly still are by some people) inferior.

If they were called a different species instead, that might make discussions about such issues less potentially offensive.

a) Half-orcs exist, the use of the word "race" is more accurate than "species". The most accurate term would be "sub-species".

b) Even if they were a different species, slaughtering the innocent offspring of another intelligent species for the crime of being born is an evil act.


PrinceRaven wrote:
Oly wrote:

I wonder if any thought has been given to changing "race" to "species," because part of what makes the subject so sensitive, I think, is that saying that "Orcs are an inferior race," while true in PF, causes people to think in their minds of real life human races that were wrongly considered (and sadly still are by some people) inferior.

If they were called a different species instead, that might make discussions about such issues less potentially offensive.

a) Half-orcs exist, the use of the word "race" is more accurate than "species". The most accurate term would be "sub-species".

b) Even if they were a different species, slaughtering the innocent offspring of another intelligent species for the crime of being born is an evil act.

Not if they were nearly certain to grow up to be evil, which is the case in some PF-based universes. Killing the babies then saves many more innocent lives than it takes.

If a baby were 99% certain to become an evil monster when he grew up, it would almost be evil to let him live. That's not always true of orcs. It depends on the GM's setup of the universe. But if it is true, it's actually good to kill him.

If through time travel you came across (not even Hitler but let's say) Ted Bundy (notorious serial killer, for those who don't know) as a baby, it would clearly be the right thing to do to kill him.


Clearly?

Seriously, this is bordering on sociopathic.


blahpers wrote:

Clearly?

Seriously, this is bordering on sociopathic.

Ted Bundy was the sociopath.

Kill Ted Bundy as a baby, save about 30 innocent women he later killed, and many other lives he harmed, as sociopaths go through life doing.

I want to save 30 innocent lives and you're saying it sounds sociopathic?


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Oly wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Oly wrote:
In this case, as you admit, we can know we're right. I'd simply say I'd be absolutely against allowing someone to grow up who would be near-certain to become evil and kill many innocents. If he can be prevented from becoming evil by being raised in a different culture, that's more humane than killing him and thus preferable to killing him.

Yes. Given that we set up that situation, it's probably the right thing to do. It's probably even the right thing to do to wipe out the entire adult orc population and take all their kids in and teach them our better ways.

Nonetheless, it creeps me the hell out and I'd rather play in a setting where that isn't the right thing to do.

I'd actually rather play in a black and white setting where orcs actually are unredeemable pawns of evil and even their children should be killed without mercy than that one. Because there they're just monsters and we don't worry about the morals.

That's interesting, because in the latter setting absolute genocide of orcs would be the right thing to do, and that's less creepy than forced cultural assimilation?

I don't get creeped out by these settings, because I think of orcs as a "species" rather than a "race," and don't compare genocide of orcs to the Holocaust or forced cultural assimilation to the Indian Schools that I didn't know of before today (though if I were creeped out by one it would more quickly be the Holocaust scenario).

I'm also fine with a setting where a good portion of orcs are decent people, too.

The world is a fantasy world, where "races" are far from equal, and I accept it for what it is, and recognize how different it is from real life in that way.

The species vs race distinction wouldn't make a difference for me. I've read enough science fiction that dealt with oppression/genocide of alien species to know that it bothers me the same way. And to worry that if we did encounter sapient life out they, either they or we would likely play out the same kind of ugly scenarios.

The "Orcs are just evil monsters" one bothers me less because, a) they're not people, just killing machines b) such a game is going to be taking the moral issues much less seriously. It's just fighting the evil hordes, not addressing moral arguments for genocide.

The "They're all like that, but it's just cultural" version is either just a poorly thought out reason to have them all be bad guys, but still have them theoretically redeemable because they're supposed to free willed creatures or an excuse for contrived moral dilemmas.
Besides, I don't believe in cultures that make everyone evil. Especially not a culture that makes an entire race evil. If it's cultural, they're going to show a broad range of behavior. Maybe skewed towards violence and savagery from the human range, but still a broad range.

The


No, species is more correct. Elves are literally from a different origin planet than humans and are capable of interspecies breeding.

The use of the word race is actually misleading in Pathfinder because things must be within the same species in order to describe the sub-taxa as races. Orcs, Elves, Gnomes, Halflings, Sahuagin, Devils, Demons, Angels, ect are most definitely of different species as they usually have completely separate evolutionary origins.

Why it is that inter-species relations can result in offspring in Golarian is unknown to me, but I blame magic and the rule of cool.

If the Gods made each ..organism.. and intended them to interbreed then I don't think we should be using terms implying taxonomy.

Liberty's Edge

Oly wrote:
blahpers wrote:

Clearly?

Seriously, this is bordering on sociopathic.

Ted Bundy was the sociopath.

Kill Ted Bundy as a baby, save about 30 innocent women he later killed, and many other lives he harmed, as sociopaths go through life doing.

I want to save 30 innocent lives and you're saying it sounds sociopathic?

Actually...sociopathy (or whatever you want to call it) has basically nothing to do with being a serial killer. There's some debate about exactly what results in serial killing behavior, but it's definitively not linked to any disgnosable wiring issues like antisocial personality disorder (aka sociopathy...sorta, sociopath is an obsolete term).

Oh, and you know what all serial killers universally have a history of? Being abused rather badly as children. So...if you go back in time and find Ted Bundy as a baby, putting him in a good home with nice adoptive parents is at least as valid a solution as killing him.

So, in summary...this was a really bad example for you to use to try and prove your point.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Oly wrote:
blahpers wrote:

Clearly?

Seriously, this is bordering on sociopathic.

Ted Bundy was the sociopath.

Kill Ted Bundy as a baby, save about 30 innocent women he later killed, and many other lives he harmed, as sociopaths go through life doing.

I want to save 30 innocent lives and you're saying it sounds sociopathic?

Actually...sociopathy (or whatever you want to call it) has basically nothing to do with being a serial killer. There's some debate about exactly what results in serial killing behavior, but it's definitively not linked to any disgnosable wiring issues like antisocial personality disorder (aka sociopathy...sorta, sociopath is an obsolete term).

Oh, and you know what all serial killers universally have a history of? Being abused rather badly as children. So...if you go back in time and find Ted Bundy as a baby, putting him in a good home with nice adoptive parents is at least as valid a solution as killing him.

So, in summary...this was a really bad example for you to use to try and prove your point.

A bit off topic but I thought it was psychopath that had become an obsolete term? Then again, the medical world does change alot in a year.


thejeff wrote:
]The species vs race distinction wouldn't make a difference for me. I've read enough science fiction that dealt with oppression/genocide of alien species to know that it bothers me the same way. And to worry that if we did encounter sapient life out they, either they or we would likely play out...

Through sci-fi I've seen, I see cases where genocide of alien species would be right, even though the writers tend to think otherwise.

A clear example was on Star Trek: The Next Generation when Captain Picard has a captured Borg and Data had some up with a way to put into the Borgs' cybernetic programming what amounted to a very strong computer virus that would have killed them all.

I knew it wouldn't happen, and Picard was persuaded not to use it (and got a bit of a reward for it later as he led to a "free Borg" group that helped the crew out in a future episode).

Picard was right when he first wanted to kill off the Borg, though. As he pointed out, they weren't like Romulans or Cardassians who could be negotiated with, but would stop at nothing short of forcing all others to join them as automatons. Given the number of innocents the Borg destroyed after that point, Starfleet was right to be very angry at Picard for not using his opportunity to destroy the species.

Orcs in many, maybe most, PF universes are much better compared to Cardassians instead. There were some good Cardassians, and even most of the evil majority were open to negotiation. But in other PF scenarios, that's less true of Orcs.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Oly wrote:
blahpers wrote:

Clearly?

Seriously, this is bordering on sociopathic.

Ted Bundy was the sociopath.

Kill Ted Bundy as a baby, save about 30 innocent women he later killed, and many other lives he harmed, as sociopaths go through life doing.

I want to save 30 innocent lives and you're saying it sounds sociopathic?

Actually...sociopathy (or whatever you want to call it) has basically nothing to do with being a serial killer. There's some debate about exactly what results in serial killing behavior, but it's definitively not linked to any disgnosable wiring issues like antisocial personality disorder (aka sociopathy...sorta, sociopath is an obsolete term).

Oh, and you know what all serial killers universally have a history of? Being abused rather badly as children. So...if you go back in time and find Ted Bundy as a baby, putting him in a good home with nice adoptive parents is at least as valid a solution as killing him.

Most sociopaths are nonviolent, so you're right that sociopath and serial killer are far from the same thing. However, while it's true that most sociopaths are not killers (serial or otherwise), most serial killers are sociopaths.

And sociopathy is present since birth (or acquired physically, but not through abuse). The amygdala doesn't work, leaving a sociopath without conscience, empathy, and many other normal emotions.

Violent tendencies can definitely be acquired through abuse and other bad parenting, and due to that you can argue reasonably that getting baby Ted Bundy to different parents would be a nonlethal way to save the same lives-- though he'd still be destructive as a nonviolent sociopath.

As to whether psychopath/sociopath are outdated terms, it depends who you talk to. It's never been a DSM diagnosis, the closest being Antisocial Personality Disorder. Many mental health professionals use the terms anyway, and would say it's somewhat different from APD. Some see psychopath and sociopath as two different things, while others use them interchangeably.

Liberty's Edge

Oly wrote:

Not if they were nearly certain to grow up to be evil, which is the case in some PF-based universes. Killing the babies then saves many more innocent lives than it takes.

If a baby were 99% certain to become an evil monster when he grew up, it would almost be evil to let him live. That's not always true of orcs. It depends on the GM's setup of the universe. But if it is true, it's actually good to kill him.

If through time travel you came across (not even Hitler but let's say) Ted Bundy (notorious serial killer, for those who don't know) as a baby, it would clearly be the right thing to do to kill him.

If orcs were in fact incapable of making moral decisions or even understanding them, and were just psychotic killing machines driven by base instinct you couldn't reason with; not only would they not be Pathfinder orcs, but the children would have attacked the party on sight, making killing them an act of self-defence.

No, the right thing to do would be to not mess with history. If you had some sort of guarantee that you wouldn't mess up the future, the right thing to do then would be to change his life so that he doesn't grow up to become a serial killer (perhaps by taking him and raising him yourself). Killing him is the lazy thing to do.


Some other good examples of Sci-Fi species interaction

Ender's Game:
The Formics in Ender's game weren't intentionally aggressive and didn't intend to start a war with Humanity. Only post Xenocide did Humanity discover this.

Mass Effect Rachni also this has good contrast with Orc Baby dilemma.:
The Rachni wanted nothing more than the death of all other intelligent life in the system and the use of their planets. Only after the majority of them were slaughtered, leaving only one Queen, did they want peace. At this point you have the choice of denying or allowing the last Queen to escape and recreate her Species glory. This is a similar moral dilemma to the Orc discussion. The Queen in question was but a child and never took part in the War, but up till now the entire species has only violently and openly been at war with your faction with every intent to destroy every last one of you. Sure she is "sin free," but she could just be a wolf in sheep's clothing intent on going to war later or of destroying civilizations that aren't yours.

Mass Effect Batarians:
This race is very similar to Orcs actually. They're big, tough, vicious, sentient, and reasonably intelligent. The Batarians stay in their own "area" of the Galaxy and punish tresspassers. Many "pirates" hail from Batarian systems and can freely enter and leave Batarian space, effectively becoming immune to the other species laws when they reenter Batarian space. Orc raiding parties enjoy similar perks as they are immune to the playable species laws and nigh impossible to individually identify due to a lack of cooperation between the factions. EX: My village got raided by orcs and one stabbed me Mum! Which one? I don't know, he had a great axe and a scar on his face.


PrinceRaven wrote:
Oly wrote:

Not if they were nearly certain to grow up to be evil, which is the case in some PF-based universes. Killing the babies then saves many more innocent lives than it takes.

If a baby were 99% certain to become an evil monster when he grew up, it would almost be evil to let him live. That's not always true of orcs. It depends on the GM's setup of the universe. But if it is true, it's actually good to kill him.

If through time travel you came across (not even Hitler but let's say) Ted Bundy (notorious serial killer, for those who don't know) as a baby, it would clearly be the right thing to do to kill him.

If orcs were in fact incapable of making moral decisions or even understanding them, and were just psychotic killing machines driven by base instinct you couldn't reason with; not only would they not be Pathfinder orcs, but the children would have attacked the party on sight, making killing them an act of self-defence.

What if they're capable of making not only moral but tactical decisions, but 99% of them choose to do evil?

PrinceRaven wrote:
No, the right thing to do would be to not mess with history.

I always disagree with this argument about theoretical time travel, because any history you might accidentally change, is just as likely to be changed for the better as for the worse.

In fiction, it's almost always changed for the worse in any accidental change, as that usually creates the story. But in reality, if time travel were possible, good and bad outcomes of any accidental effects would be equally possible.

PrinceRaven wrote:
If you had some sort of guarantee that you wouldn't mess up the future, the right thing to do then would be to change his life so that he doesn't grow up to become a serial killer (perhaps by taking him and raising him yourself). Killing him is the lazy thing to do.

Given he was born a sociopath, he was going to do evil. He probably wouldn't have become violent if raised right, but read Martha Stout's The Sociopath Next Door if you want an understanding of how nonviolent sociopaths may not take lives, but they ruin them.

You can still argue for sparing his life and seeing to it he's raised better, because then no one has to die, including him; though I think it would take a saint to choose to raise a sociopath, knowing what a sociopath is, that he'll never return any love you give him, that he'll do many things, even if nonviolent, that will disgust you, will never be genuinely helpful to anyone (except for his own gain), etc..


PrinceRaven wrote:

Second, pit bulls have no natural predisposition towards aggressive behaviour. They are very loyal and easily trained, and make great pets for families with children. The reason pit bulls are used in dog fighting rings is because their owners are taking advantage of their loyalty and training them to be aggressive. If you've ever met a pit bull who has been abused in that way you'd know that even then they still rarely show any signs of aggression towards humans. The most common responses a pit bull raised to fight has to a person are submission and fear. The plight of the pit bull is heartbreaking and the I find the ignorance of those advocating to ban the breed and immediately put them down when they end up in shelters disgusting.

My original point about pit bulls was to bring a current day monster to the comparison of orcs. Pit bulls were selectively BRED for combat. Wikipedia: "They were imported primarily, but not exclusively, for pit fighting". 200 plus years of selective breeding for a dog to enhance its aggression, durability, and deadly intent. Selective breeding means they culled the inferior members of the species. They made fighting dogs, and people kept the culls as family pets.

Don't try to put a shine on pit bulls, I'm sure you know one personally that never ate a baby, but I have dealt with dozens of them that were aggressive beyond defense of an area or person. They are the inner city version of a loaded handgun. Ask a pit bull owner if they think the dog will defend them if the owner is attacked. People want a dog that will kill for them. Also, they are put down in shelters because they are simply too numerous, abused, and unadoptable due to laws to protect the public. Want to see how fast you need new homeowners insurance? Tell them you got a pit bull. Ask a cop what he thinks of pit bulls, I bet it involves drawing his sidearm.

Just because they also have positive traits does not make them any less a land piranha.

Who knows, maybe orcs have 4-5 traits that make them decent creatures, but its that whole raping/killing/arson thing that keeps folks shooting them on sight. Remember, in LOTR the orcs were selectively bred as well.

Liberty's Edge

Oly wrote:
What if they're capable of making not only moral but tactical decisions, but 99% of them choose to do evil?

Then you will have the honour of raising the orc equivalent of Hellboy. If they are capable of making the choice between good and evil they have as much right to make that choice as any human, elf, dwarf, etc.

Quote:
PrinceRaven wrote:
No, the right thing to do would be to not mess with history.

I always disagree with this argument about theoretical time travel, because any history you might accidentally change, is just as likely to be changed for the better as for the worse.

In fiction, it's almost always changed for the worse in any accidental change, as that usually creates the story. But in reality, if time travel were possible, good and bad outcomes of any accidental effects would be equally possible.

The problem is you create a paradox. By going back in time to kill Ted Bundy you remove Ted Bundy from history, thus removing your reason to go back in time to kill him. I don't know what effect that would have on you and the space/time continuum, but my guess is "something bad."

PrinceRaven wrote:
If you had some sort of guarantee that you wouldn't mess up the future, the right thing to do then would be to change his life so that he doesn't grow up to become a serial killer (perhaps by taking him and raising him yourself). Killing him is the lazy thing to do.
Given he was born a sociopath, he was going to do evil. He probably wouldn't have become violent if raised right,...

Most sociopaths do not end up as serial killers or do anything else significantly morally wrong.

Liberty's Edge

Odraude wrote:
A bit off topic but I thought it was psychopath that had become an obsolete term? Then again, the medical world does change alot in a year.

As I understand it, they're both obsolete, for various reasons including a great deal of confusion as to which is which or whether the two are synonyms. Antisocial personality disorder is the currently accepted

Oly wrote:
Most sociopaths are nonviolent, so you're right that sociopath and serial killer are far from the same thing.

Agreed entirely. :)

Oly wrote:
However, while it's true that most sociopaths are not killers (serial or otherwise), most serial killers are sociopaths.

This part is incorrect. It's not clear at all that there's any statistically significant link between sociopathy (or antisocial personality disorder, or whatever you wish to call it), and serial killing behavior (at least, any more than there is between it and any sort of violent behavior). I actually had an entire college class on serial killers and, based on what I learned in that, evidence seems to strongly suggest that serial killing is simply an addiction to the rush of power felt when the victim dies, and not remotely restricted to people of one particular brain abnormality.

Oly wrote:
And sociopathy is present since birth (or acquired physically, but not through abuse). The amygdala doesn't work, leaving a sociopath without conscience, empathy, and many other normal emotions.

This is absolutely true, but less relevant than it might be due to the problem with your premise mentioned above.

Oly wrote:
Violent tendencies can definitely be acquired through abuse and other bad parenting, and due to that you can argue reasonably that getting baby Ted Bundy to different parents would be a nonlethal way to save the same lives-- though he'd still be destructive as a nonviolent sociopath.

When talking about Bundy specifically, you're probably right. He was diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder, after all. This isn't true of all serial killers, however.

Though, to be fair, even someone with wiring issues like this can grow up to not be destructive, it's just more of a struggle, for both them and those raising them.

Oly wrote:
As to whether psychopath/sociopath are outdated terms, it depends who you talk to. It's never been a DSM diagnosis, the closest being Antisocial Personality Disorder. Many mental health professionals use the terms anyway, and would say it's somewhat different from APD. Some see psychopath and sociopath as two different things, while others use them interchangeably.

It does indeed depend on who you ask. My Psych professor specifically noted it as obsolete, and isn't alone in that opinion, but neither are those who disagree, I suppose.


Oly wrote:
PrinceRaven wrote:
If you had some sort of guarantee that you wouldn't mess up the future, the right thing to do then would be to change his life so that he doesn't grow up to become a serial killer (perhaps by taking him and raising him yourself). Killing him is the lazy thing to do.

Given he was born a sociopath, he was going to do evil. He probably wouldn't have become violent if raised right, but read Martha Stout's The Sociopath Next Door if you want an understanding of how nonviolent sociopaths may not take lives, but they ruin them.

You can still argue for sparing his life and seeing to it he's raised better, because then no one has to die, including him; though I think it would take a saint to choose to raise a sociopath, knowing what a sociopath is, that he'll never return any love you give him, that he'll do many things, even if nonviolent, that will disgust you, will never be genuinely helpful to anyone (except for his own gain), etc..

Forget the hypothetical child/time travel scenarios then: If you meet a diagnosed sociopath today, in real time, is the good thing to do just kill them? (Assume he has not actually been convicted of anything worthy of the death penalty. This is a pure Good/Evil question, not Law.)

Is that what the medical standard should be?

Liberty's Edge

Heimdall666 wrote:
My original point about pit bulls was to bring a current day monster to the comparison of orcs. Pit bulls were selectively BRED for combat. Wikipedia: "They were imported primarily, but not exclusively, for pit fighting". 200 plus years of selective breeding for a dog to enhance its aggression, durability, and deadly intent. Selective breeding means they culled the inferior members of the species. They made fighting dogs, and people kept the culls as family pets.

Yes, they were selectively bred for the traits of loyalty and trainability. Pit bulls have a strive to please their owners more than any other breed, this is what makes them good fighting dogs. Aggressiveness towards people is not a desirable trait in a fighting dog and has not been bred into the breed.

Quote:
Don't try to put a shine on pit bulls, I'm sure you know one personally that never ate a baby, but I have dealt with dozens of them that were aggressive beyond defense of an area or person. They are the inner city version of a loaded handgun. Ask a pit bull owner if they think the dog will defend them if the owner is attacked. People want a dog that will kill for them. Also, they are put down in shelters because they are simply too numerous, abused, and unadoptable due to laws to protect the public. Want to see how fast you need new homeowners insurance? Tell them you got a pit bull. Ask a cop what he thinks of pit bulls, I bet it involves drawing his sidearm.

I guarantee every one of those pit bulls was raised improperly. They learned that their owners wanted them to be aggressive and acted accordingly. I have also dealt with dozens of pit bulls and for every aggressive one there has been an owner responsible for it. I've seen pit bulls, staffordshires and other breeds taken from dog fighting rings, undergone desensitisation and counter-conditioning training, and get re-homed without any issue.

I've heard enough horror stories about trigger-happy American cops shooting chihuahuas, pomerians, or any other dog that barks or "charges" at them.

Don't hate the breed, hate the abusive owners.


This thread is doing a great job at convincing me that the human alignment in D&D and Pathfinder is "usually Neutral Evil", considering the amount of people wanting to justify killing not just sentient beings but also innocent animals.

Liberty's Edge

Icyshadow wrote:
This thread is doing a great job at convincing me that the human alignment in D&D and Pathfinder is "usually Neutral Evil", considering the amount of people wanting to justify killing not just sentient beings but also innocent animals.

A lot of people advocate on the internet, or when dealing with hypotheticals, things they would never actually do in practice.

I think that and the people arguing with them make it average out to Neutral.


That may be true, but my inner misanthrope disagrees.


Dr. Zimbardo discovered that, unlike most people, about 10% of people would stubbornly resist inducements to deliver dangerous (simulated) electric shocks to volunteer test subjects, so that I figure you can split that evenly between NG and CG, with a certain percentage of LG individuals also resisting. It's probably simplest to assume each Good alignment makes up about 5% of the population. Psychopaths make up about 1% of the population, with sociopaths being several times that. While psychopathy doesn't completely overlap with CE, it's a close enough stand-in to guess that we are looking at between 3 and 5% of humans as being CE.

Assuming a very strict reading of alignments, then, I would assume LG 5%, LN 20%, NG 5%, CG 5%, CN 20%, CE 5%, N 30%, NE 5%, LE 5%.

Now, a setting like Eberron assumes far less consistency in behavior, but a very metaphysic. In such a setting, you could probably a wider distribution of alignments. This is probably a useful way of thinking about an analog to our real world. Assuming half the Good people in Zimbardo's study simply lost their nerve, you would get something more like:

LG 10%, LN 13%, NG 10%, CG 10%, CN 14%, CE 10%, N 13%, NE 10%, LE 10%

However, if you assume low-level, realistic people are very inconsistent, and you focus on their espoused values, and what they would do when given encouragement to follow their inclinations, rather than situations of duress, I think you would find most people are LN, NG, or N. Most people either are oriented toward helping people, are conformist, or are basically looking out for themselves without any great malice toward others. In this model, people who experience very traumatic choices would frequently change alignment. So, a person might see themselves as NG, but after six months of committing routine genocide under orders, becomes NE or LE. This is somewhat consistent with some things we know about social psychology, and also neatly reflects high fantasy tropes of corruption and redemption.


Kill them all anyway. There are too many evil humans, so we can't take the risk of sparing even one!


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Yeah, I'm done with this thread. Some of you folks just scare me.


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An intriguing thread, but one where there are some misconceptions available.

Regarding the sociopath/psychopath tangent, might I point out that sociopaths/psychopaths are not necessarily completely devoid of shame, guilt, love, compassion, or similar feelings, although these functions are ALWAYS impaired, to some extent. That is far different from them being absent entirely. Some lack it completely, but not all. Just clearing that issue up.

Regarding the 'giving primarily evil humanoid toddlers the opportunity to choose' notion, there are a few sticky questions that come up.

First of all, the Orcs are robbed of free will by being placed in a society and expected to conform to it, so that 'liberty' is an illusion. Of course, the same could be said of any sort of sociological view of morals, and culture in Pathfinder and elsewhere, but the fact stands that, in trying hard to break the child of its violent tendencies which the canon states most Orcs have, you are forcing the child into a mindset that is foreign to it. This is little better than brainwashing, since it removes that choice of liberty by imposing behavioral constraints along with the positive and/or negative reinforcements that are used to 'guide' that proper behavior. That seems Asmodean to me, given how closely the concepts line up quite nicely (Obey/conform and be rewarded, disobey and be ostracized/punished). Hence the inevitable question: is it better to slaughter the adults in an Orc village and then raise the children while expecting them to conform to what you view as 'right' or is it better to kill them and not risk endangering others? Either way, you deprive them of their freedom to choose, through differing methods. The question that then occurs is this: do you choose to kill beings that are predisposed to violence or do you allow them to grow up and hope that their violent tendencies do not assert themselves? What if their violent tendencies DO arise? Is the blood on your hands for being illogically altruistic, since you could have stopped these events from occurring in the first place?

Second, knowing that the race they were raised with killed their parents, what percentage of Orcs do you believe will grow up with a positive mindset of their 'saviors' and their mores/cultures? My guess is not so much. And, in hating their saviors, they will likely idolize their 'native culture', hence making them killers anyway.

Then, in speaking to the issue of nature versus nurture, I will ask: does it truly matter? Every sentient being, by virtue of sentience, has the ability to choose what they do. If 99% of Orcs practice the violent, marauding lifestyle considered typical of their kind, then it stands to reason that if they do indeed possess the capability of overcoming their nature, most of them choose not to exercise it. Hence, they are evil monsters as a rule. Which is not to say that there are exceptions to the rule, but see below.

In any case, the notion of 'allowing them the opportunity to make a choice' becomes a matter lacking in relevance, given that their race has overwhelmingly shown that they favor barbarism and evil. Just because a few do not showcase the evil their race is known for does not mean that it is not present in the majority of it. Those who are not barbaric killers are anomalies. Due to their natures as anomalies, it is logical to assume that they do not normally occur. Hence, it is perfectly reasonable to assume that every Orc is an evil monster. For those who disagree, see the previous posts by people saying that 'demons are always evil' because, in a certain AP, that is not true. And yet, is it not logical to assume they are all evil? They are all sentient and have the power of choice, so it cannot be said that they are non-sentient (With very few exceptions).

As for the arguments of 'but in the real world', bear in mind that the real world bears little resemblance to the world of fantasy. It is an intellectual fallacy to assume that the two bear any sort of correlation beyond that which is envisioned by each individual person, unless the fantasy world is explicitly modeled after the real world and shown to be such.

To state my personal view on killing 'mostly evil' race toddlers, it is firmly in the neutral zone, leaning towards LN or TN. Sure, it's not the best way to go, but it is not, in my opinion, evil, given the race's overwhelming tendency towards darkness. Would it make a paladin fall from grace if he kills them to prevent evil? No. Would it make a paladin fall from grace if he did it because he hates Orcs or just wanted to kill something? Probably so. I don't believe in penalizing PCs for making logical choices that serve a greater good.

A far more pressing issue is how exactly do some Qadirans, known for brutal slavery and the killing of 'non-believers', still receive the blessings of Sarenrae? A question for another thread, but one that is far more important in the discussion of 'world morality' than whether to euthanize the offsprings of an overwhelmingly evil race, no?

Liberty's Edge

Regardless of racial predisposition, you're still condemning an innocent creature to death for the crime of being born. According to the rulebook, even neutral characters have compunctions against killing the innocent, therefore it must be an Evil act.


PrinceRaven wrote:
Regardless of racial predisposition, you're still condemning an innocent creature to death for the crime of being born. According to the rulebook, even neutral characters have compunctions against killing the innocent, therefore it must be an Evil act.

If he is near-certain to become evil and violent, it's far more important and good to kill him before he can kill many other innocents. Protecting large numbers of innocents is worth killing one who has yet to become guilty but is near-certain to.

If it's just a predisposition, and a fair amount of orcs are neutral or good, then you can't kill him as a baby because he may not become a killer or evil.

If he may not become an evil killer if raised in a different culture (but will if raised among orcs), then his life should be spared but he should grow up in a better culture.

But in a universe where orcs are, say, all violent sociopaths (or 99% are), even if raised in another culture, you kill all orcs to save the innocent lives they would take if allowed to live.


Sociopaths are people with a handicap regarding their mirror neurons. For whatever reason, they don't work as well as they do for others. Brain surgery that puts in new functions in the brain? Right. Seems that ethical quandary is quite a bit into the future. As it is, we can destroy functions through removal of tissue, such as with surgical treatment of excessive epileptic disorders, but shaping new functions? Not yet.

Second, it's not sociopathy or not, just like autism-spectrum disorders, it's a sliding scale. Empathy is not the only important part of a human brain. Some have too much to be able to act effectively. Others have too little to function well with others. Most have a reasonable level. However: The primary goal of health care is NOT, nor should it ever be, making sure the individual functions well in society. Primum est non nocere. First, do no harm.

Why? If you don't, well, how much does one handicapped child cost in health care during his life? Killing him would free resources enough to save several other people. Schizophrenics, hemophiliacs, people with rare diseases, genetic disorders, the elderly, there is a pretty sodding long list of "costly people" around. Putting those to sleep (humanely of course) would be a GIANT WIN in economic terms for the rest. So, be grateful that it's still the first principle that primum est non nocere.

Liberty's Edge

Oly wrote:
PrinceRaven wrote:
Regardless of racial predisposition, you're still condemning an innocent creature to death for the crime of being born. According to the rulebook, even neutral characters have compunctions against killing the innocent, therefore it must be an Evil act.

If he is near-certain to become evil and violent, it's far more important and good to kill him before he can kill many other innocents. Protecting large numbers of innocents is worth killing one who has yet to become guilty but is near-certain to.

If it's just a predisposition, and a fair amount of orcs are neutral or good, then you can't kill him as a baby because he may not become a killer or evil.

If he may not become an evil killer if raised in a different culture (but will if raised among orcs), then his life should be spared but he should grow up in a better culture.

But in a universe where orcs are, say, all violent sociopaths (or 99% are), even if raised in another culture, you kill all orcs to save the innocent lives they would take if allowed to live.

Let's go with the whole "99% of orcs are evil" thing. How many orcs would you say are on Golarion? 10 million? That's 100'000 non-evil orcs. Is that a fair amount to you? It seems like a lot to me. I'd also say that being raised in a good (or at least neutral) society would substantially improve the odds of them not being Evil. Even if they do end up Evil, do people have free reign to go around murdering everyone that detects as Evil?

You say that the lives of the many outweigh lives of the few, and that you should do whatever is necessary to protect them from theoretical dangers. I say that "the ends justify the means" is something an Evil character would say to justify murdering children. The fact remains that, according to the rulebook, killing the innocent is an Evil act.


Sissyl wrote:

Sociopaths are people with a handicap regarding their mirror neurons. For whatever reason, they don't work as well as they do for others. Brain surgery that puts in new functions in the brain? Right. Seems that ethical quandary is quite a bit into the future. As it is, we can destroy functions through removal of tissue, such as with surgical treatment of excessive epileptic disorders, but shaping new functions? Not yet.

Second, it's not sociopathy or not, just like autism-spectrum disorders, it's a sliding scale. Empathy is not the only important part of a human brain. Some have too much to be able to act effectively. Others have too little to function well with others. Most have a reasonable level. However: The primary goal of health care is NOT, nor should it ever be, making sure the individual functions well in society. Primum est non nocere. First, do no harm.

The combination of a lack of empathy with a lack of conscience creates a particular lack of morality in sociopaths. Autistic people have low empathy but are usually as moral as others and definitely can feel love. Narcissists lack empathy and are often very harmful people, but not always and not to the same extent as sociopaths, as they still have consciences and are capable of love.

Your saying it's a spectrum may be true, and in fact it's possible that those who use "sociopath" as a subset of "Antisocial Personality Disorder" use "sociopath" as someone at the extreme end of the spectrum-- no conscience or empathy, and no capacity for love-- whereas ASPD can just mean it is impaired. I don't know that for sure, but it may be.

I do believe that eradicating evil is good unless you get to the point of killing the nonviolent and the like, and that sociopaths (maybe not all with ASPD) lack the ability (or desire) to be anything other than evil.


Oh lord, now someone's going to advocate killing the sick and the crippled...


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PrinceRaven wrote:

Let's go with the whole "99% of orcs are evil" thing. How many orcs would you say are on Golarion? 10 million? That's 100'000 non-evil orcs. Is that a fair amount to you? It seems like a lot to me. I'd also say that being raised in a good (or at least neutral) society would substantially improve the odds of them not being Evil. Even if they do end up Evil, do people have free reign to go around murdering everyone that detects as Evil?

You say that the lives of the many outweigh lives of the few, and that you should do whatever is necessary to protect them from theoretical dangers. I say that "the ends justify the means" is something an Evil character would say to justify murdering children. The fact remains that, according to the rulebook, killing the innocent is an Evil act.

I don't think you count as innocent if you're 99% likely to become evil (and violent), and absolutely believe that the lives of the many outweigh the lives of the few. What if it's 100%? Suppose this baby, if allowed to grow up, absolutely will attack innocent peasants, no doubt at all. I don't count that as innocent.

And I already said that if raising the child in a good or neutral society is enough to give him a good chance not to become evil, then that's the preferable alternative.

Liberty's Edge

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I have met several people who have been or would be diagnosed as sociopaths that would be less likely to fall under an Evil alignment than several people on this thread.


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Icyshadow wrote:
Oh lord, now someone's going to advocate killing the sick and the crippled...

Where does anything anyone, myself or anyone else, said suggest that?

I advocate for the forced rehabilitation of sociopaths (whenever that becomes medically possible). I don't even support forcing rehabilitation on others. I specifically rejected killing nonviolent sociopaths.

And if you equate sociopathy with being sick, you miss that sociopathy has a unique moral dimension, and you should read about it before you deny that.


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PrinceRaven wrote:
Regardless of racial predisposition, you're still condemning an innocent creature to death for the crime of being born. According to the rulebook, even neutral characters have compunctions against killing the innocent, therefore it must be an Evil act.

Having compunctions doesn't mean you can't, or won't ever, do something. Good alignment requires you to respect life, it doesn't require you to defend it unconditionally. To put a fine point on it, there is no Good alignment problem with killing an adult orc who is participating in a war campaign against your village. It is simply prudence, and prudence is Neutral.

To say any particular killing is Evil, you have to be able to say that it is unjustifiably selfish.

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