Are people inherently evil?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by ??!!?!?_particlename, Jun 19, 2002.

  1. The Breaker Registered Member

    Can you elaborate? Why would it have been eliminated?
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  3. Oli Heute der Enteteich... Registered Senior Member

    If only certain individuals were altruistic and the rest weren't they the altruistic would be taken advantage of: to the extent that their numbers would reduce and altruism would kill itself off in a society of people who only cared for themselves.
    The altruistic would be the ones doing things for others, dying for others and there'd be no advantage to it.
    The species "cares" about the species: not individuals.
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  5. Killian_1_4 Registered Senior Member

    This is especially to Breaker:
    Building off this, just because your genes are "selfish" does not mean you are. Just because it feels good to help, love, and commit acts of altruism, and just because this good feeling incidentally helps the genes, does not mean you give and love for evil intentions.

    People do not mentally verbalize "Give to charity for reward system dopamine to kick in", we think "I want to help people." Perhaps this desire to help is created out of a subconscious or unconscious reasoning for the reward this action brings, but it certainly is not an overt, cynical, selfish thought/behavior, even though the ultimate cause and subconscious reasoning is indeed selfish.
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  7. Cyperium I'm always me Valued Senior Member

    People are like birds, they can fly up in the sky. But they can also dump shit on you.
  8. Challenger78 Valued Senior Member

    Yes, People are inherently evil. It's only our survival instinct that keeps us in balance, and prevents us from trying to kill everyone.
  9. swarm Registered Senior Member

    Actually we do it often enough that it has been noted as one of our odd traits.

    Its nice that you like believing this, but the evidence doesn't support it. People and even other creatures can sacrifice their own interests to further other causes.

    I'm glad you have found your religion.
  10. wesmorris Nerd Overlord - we(s):1 of N Valued Senior Member

    Hmm. What dichotomies apply to humans?

    Evil and good are perspectives. Everyone's some of each to someone.

    Is there evil with no humans?

    Is there good with no humans?

    Whatever either are to whomever, I think we bring them about.
  11. swarm Registered Senior Member

    Wait until there are no humans and then you will know.
  12. MysteriousStranger Banned Banned

    People must have an "evil-side" within themselves in order to identify what "evil" is.

    Now if having an "evil-side" makes you evil then the answer (to the topic question) is yes.

    If in order to be evil you must actually do evil things then no.

    Depends on the definition of "evil", I guess.
  13. glaucon tending tangentially Registered Senior Member


    Must I have a "square-side" to know what "square" is?

  14. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member


    Did you fabricate that absurdity on your own or did someone teach it to you?
  15. swarm Registered Senior Member

    You assume that being taken advantage of is necessarily a fatal disadvantage and that altruism has no innate benefits which would offset being taken advantage of.

    Although not directly related, it reminds me of a story. 3 monks were on a trip to a temple a good day's journey from their own on a hot day. The eldest monk soon tired of his pack and asked the youngest monk to carry it. With the enthusiasm of a novice he agreed and they continued. Soon the other monk tired of his pack and the novice was carrying all three.

    They came to the city and got on a ferry to cross the bay and the novice was so tired he quickly fell sound asleep. When he awoke he was greeted by a surprising scene. Every one was looking decidedly ill. Many were covered in vomit. It seems the ferry was caught in a sudden squall which being so tired, he had slept though.
  16. MysteriousStranger Banned Banned

    Fabricated it. What I mean by this is that you identify a part of yourself which is evil. Wrath. Greed. Lust. Whatever. Seems quite self-evident to be honest. I mean, if you don't have an evil part of you (that you might reject, nontheless) how are you supposed to identify if an act is evil or not?

    Unless of course you can be taught what evil is. But then really do you ever know what it is? Evil is being morally bad or wrong. Can a person be told what is morally wrong and know evil or must he first experience evil in order to know what it is? Is it enough to witness evil externally in order to identify it or must you witness it, atleast initially, internally?

    I think so, yes. A side of the mind that can correllate four equally size lines forming four perpendicular angles, sure. I mean, you require spacial awareness in order to do so which is definitely a side of the brain anyways.
  17. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

    Expand that to other facets of human life and you'll have a better perspective on evil (or anything else). You've limited your viewpoint, thus you fail to see the error of your thoughts.

    Baron Max
  18. MysteriousStranger Banned Banned

    I can't think of any other relevant facets of human life.


    You would be doing me a favour if you just gave me a quick example.
  19. glaucon tending tangentially Registered Senior Member

    While this would be off topic, how then could you ever account for any original thought? What you describe here implies the denial of imagination. What's more (and perhaps even scarier..) it implies some sort of 'innate' knowledge-set.

  20. MysteriousStranger Banned Banned

    I think you misconcieved what I said. I just pointed out that there's something that becomes before the square: the ability to distiguish between two points, spacial awareness. You can then go around and use that spacial awareness to learn things from the world, like what a square looks like. The square and that which comes before it; the part of the brain that allows the observer to comprehend the square. Logic and that which comes before it; the part of the brain that allows the observer to comprehend logic, etc.
  21. glaucon tending tangentially Registered Senior Member


    Perhaps I did; I interpreted what you wrote as implying some sort of 'truth'; some sort of universal standard against which our perceptions are 'measured'...
    Nonetheless, I disagree. The square (in this case) is our construction; there is no before..

    Again, I cannot support any 'before'...

    Regardless, we must somehow get this back on topic.
    Or, create some new thread.
  22. USS Exeter unamerican american Registered Senior Member

    As I'm concerned, most humans have a survival instinct. This does not necessarily make us do evil things, (although it can), but this instinct is almost a part of us everyday and we don't even know it.

    In addition, evil is just a word.
  23. MysteriousStranger Banned Banned

    I think it more of a launch pad. The launch pad is what allows us to comprehend the square. The rocket is our concious thought. The destination is the knowledge itself.

    To put this in the square example: The rocket, our concious thought, is what allows us to contruct the square. The destination is the knowledge retained on what the square is.

    Well to get back on topic: To decide wether people are inherently evil we must first assume that there is some sort of objective morality. Until we can prove the existance of such a thing this question has no determinable answer. Unless we define evil as going against an individual's own subjective moral code.

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