Comment by alberto_gomez on Rationality Quotes 7 · 2008-08-19T13:57:27.000Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I traditionally suspect of opinions where what is supposedly rational coincides with what is fashionable. The conformity bias is too strong for not worth considering it.

Evil can have a precise meaning in evolutionary game theory. Even in the prisoner dilemma game; when considering groups instead of individuals, Evil groups are the ones that ever defect.

Good and evil has a precise meaning, just as cooperate and defect. Both depend on the game context. When doing communications, good means to "ever say the truth". Evil means "ever to lie". When respecting liberty, good is to ever respect freedom of others"; evil means not to respect at will. When life is concerned, good is to respect life ever. Evil is to kill at will.

As evolutionary game theorist Alex Axelrod demonstrated, against systematic defectors, that is, evil players, the only response is the "tit for that" strategy, that is, to retaliate.

So Robert Bruce Thompson is right, no matter if it is politically incorrect. You not only have the right but the absolute need to lie to systematic liars, private freedom of totalitarians and kill those that will kill you.

Against retaliators however, the best strategy is to cooperate. retaliators defect, but they are not evil, because they are not systematic defectors , in he game theory jargon. They cooperate whom may cooperate and defect to defectors. So cooperate with a retaliator is the way to obtain its future cooperation (Christianity recommend heavily this).

According with these precise definitions of good and evil, English were not evil. Gandhi cooperated by non-escalating from peaceful claim of independence to war (by using terrorism of whatever that give advantage by surprise). England response was a peaceful withdrawal. This was a good outcome of a Prisoner dilemma game.

Nazis were evil. They immediately escalate and kill any dissidence, even peaceful, so violence was the only option.