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Are people inherently evil?

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I think the opposite, actually. People are inherently good. Even the most evil among us do things right the vast majority of the time.



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The only support for intrinsic evil would have to be from heritable traits. We know now that epigenetics also plays a role in passing along habits to offspring. Now this is a relatively new discovery and not much is currently known about how or why these are passed along, however it is a trivial leap to suggest that if one forms a habit of being mendacious or manipulative such behavior could be found in the progeny.

I should have said that is the only naturalistic way I could conceive of intrinsic evil, not that I believe in good/evil anyway, which seem entirely arbitrary.

The religious among us often claim that we are born evil, which I find totally absurd. But that is a side of the discussion worth entertaining I suppose...just not with me, I've better things to do.



I always think of a quote by George Carlin:
“People are wonderful. I love individuals. I hate groups of people. I hate a group of people with a 'common purpose'. 'Cause pretty soon they have little hats. And armbands. And fight songs. And a list of people they're going to visit at 3am...”



Aeolus451 said:
palou said:

These general rules are established by our emotions (which, in turn, serve to our collective survival). Just because we, as humans, feel that way, does not mean that it is an objective truth. 

 

If you want to name anything objectively evil, I require you to give a precise definition evil - we can, then, make a list of what applies, and what doesn't. 

No, they are not. They are established by reasoned thoughts and logic. Yes, they are usually common sense kind of things like don't steal or basically don't hurt others for unjust reasons. Emotions or emotional responses are for the most part are just a knee-jerk reaction to stimuli and a way for nature to ensure we form attachments to our young and to the people we care about. Emotions do give people an incentive or motivation of sorts but that's not how we created language or build society. Our emotions do not rule us, it's through reason that at least for most of us is how we decide to. 

I already gave my two cents on what I think evil and good really are in my post earlier in this thread. Your welcome to read it. I did create quasi list of things or type of people I think are evil. 

Ah yes, selfishness and selflessness are intersting principles, that I have considered myself. The problem I see with it is, however, that for all purposes everything we do ends up being inherintly, purely selfish in some way or form. We form bonds, which inspire desire to keep OUR people safe, because it makes us happier. 

 

Take the classic train dilemma, the train is heading towards someone you car, tied to the track, but you can choose to pull a lever to make it crush several other people instead

 

http://www.allthetests.com/quiz31/picture/pic_1416409939_5.jpg?1436189258

 

Many people would be tempted to do so - for reasons which can only be described as selfish. We hold desires benefitting others, following those desires doesn't make you selfless. No one is selfless, we just follow our desires, which have various residual impact upon others, to varying degrees of success.

 

I'll get back to you on all of this tommorow, it's a topic I've thought about quite a bit myself, but it's getting a bit late now...



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palou said:
Aeolus451 said:

No, they are not. They are established by reasoned thoughts and logic. Yes, they are usually common sense kind of things like don't steal or basically don't hurt others for unjust reasons. Emotions or emotional responses are for the most part are just a knee-jerk reaction to stimuli and a way for nature to ensure we form attachments to our young and to the people we care about. Emotions do give people an incentive or motivation of sorts but that's not how we created language or build society. Our emotions do not rule us, it's through reason that at least for most of us is how we decide to. 

I already gave my two cents on what I think evil and good really are in my post earlier in this thread. Your welcome to read it. I did create quasi list of things or type of people I think are evil. 

Ah yes, selfishness and selflessness are intersting principles, that I have considered myself. The problem I see with it is, however, that for all purposes everything we do ends up being inherintly, purely selfish in some way or form. We form bonds, which inspire desire to keep OUR people safe, because it makes us happier. 

 

Take the classic train dilemma, the train is heading towards someone you car, tied to the track, but you can choose to pull a lever to make it crush several other people instead

 

http://www.allthetests.com/quiz31/picture/pic_1416409939_5.jpg?1436189258

 

Many people would be tempted to do so - for reasons which can only be described as selfish. We hold desires benefitting others, following those desires doesn't make you selfless. No one is selfless, we just follow our desires, which have various residual impact upon others, to varying degrees of success.

 

I'll get back to you on all of this tommorow, it's a topic I've thought about quite a bit myself, but it's getting a bit late now...

I think moderate levels of selfishness is normal or rather it's okay but extreme levels of it, one could say easily that it's evil. I agree that every is selfish to some degree. On selflessness, I agree that no one is selfless or is able to maintain that state of mind but I think people can have moments of selflessness or commit acts of it such as saving a child from a speeding car and getting hurt from it or dying. 

The most interesting part of this is related to that train example but in a different context. For example, having to choose between saving one Albert Einstein (or someone of equal accomplishments) or 10,000 regular blue collar people from death? The gray area. Objectively, doing something really bad for good reasons or having to choose between bad choices. 



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Selfish people are usually worthless pieces of garbage.
I have worked hard, achieved success and I have given lots to charity and I can sleep well at night.



Evil is a moral concept. People aren't born with morals, it's a human invention. So no.

However most of human's base instinct can be considered evil in a society with high morals.



If you demand respect or gratitude for your volunteer work, you're doing volunteering wrong.

vivster said:
Evil is a moral concept. People aren't born with morals, it's a human invention. So no.

However most of human's base instinct can be considered evil in a society with high morals.









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No low age kid alway kindly, and alway try help other even if not reward at end, many study about this..... its society who make people evil, because modern society is all about money, and this corrupt most people.



by a certain age most people understand the concept of empathy, a very small percentage of people are born with mental illnesses that deprive them of emotions and some people prioritize their needs over others, which in both cases can lead to "evil" behavior. Would have liked to have seen a poll for yes or no on this topic.