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View Full Version : Are people inherently Good or Evil?


Super Feen
27th Nov 2001, 10:07 PM
This has probably been done before just like everything else on these f0's, but hey, what do I care? :p

Well, I think that people are inherently Good but society caters to evil people and evil actions.

Pikachu
27th Nov 2001, 10:10 PM
I think that if people knew that if they did something, and they knew that they would NEVER EVER be found out for it, then they would do it.

Entropy|BuF
27th Nov 2001, 10:25 PM
Neither, because you just get into the argurment of what is good and evil. Both are supported on every individuals specific belief in faith and morals.
What I think is evil you may believe is good and vice versa.
So my answer is, neither.

qazix
27th Nov 2001, 11:28 PM
Does this question even need to be asked?


Evil/bad/violent/etc.

Pikachu
27th Nov 2001, 11:44 PM
but then the (slow!) poll results in what i say!!

pine
28th Nov 2001, 12:01 AM
People are inherently human, and the concepts of good and evil are human inventions. We're inherently both.

SUNRISE
28th Nov 2001, 12:36 AM
I think people are inherintley good as it has more social benifits and humans are a social species. If there were no society we couldn't control ourselves and chaos would ensue. Just try and think of life if society didn't exist!

Tarantella
28th Nov 2001, 01:20 AM
People are neither inherently good or bad but they are inherently incapable of thinking through the ramifications of what they do whether singularly or en masse.

SUNRISE
28th Nov 2001, 01:44 AM
I disagree. What you are saying is people aren't capable of looking at their actions based on the outcome? The choice is really based on the ramifications, that's how we make choices, and generally we choose everything we do. On a basic level weight the outcome; would this yield more positive then negative result, if so then it must be good, if not then is it worth it (does the one or two positives outweigh the many negatives). Now you could argue that just because it is a good outcome for you does not make the act just or good. To that I would say: In most cases (normal non-drain bramaged people) we know that causing others harm/discomfort ect. is wrong. Why you ask? Well by hurting someone or stealing or doing whatever random bad act you want we are openley showing others that this act is acceptable in our eyes. We are saying It's OK to murder or whatever. We are also telling ourselves it's ok. When we constantly tell outselves its ok we will become habitual (the act becomes a habit). We also look at the act from our own point of view. It's not OK to murder because I would not like someone to murder me (but that is a very self serving argument).
SUNRISE's CHALLENGE OF THE WEEK: Come up with an argument that tells us why "bad" acts are wrong.
Note This argument can't contain anything to do with society at large ie. laws, punishment ect. Base your anwser on a personal descicion only considering the person(s) you are acting upon. This could also get into defining vices and virtues but I don't want to get into that nast stuff unless I have to.

PS-It is worthy to mention that in doing good or bad acts we again become habitually good or bad.

Witty
28th Nov 2001, 01:46 AM
good; society and, to an extent, capitalism, teaches us to be greedy and stuff and junk.

Tarantella
28th Nov 2001, 02:08 AM
By my previous statement I meant that although people can see through to the short term outcome of their action, they rarely do the long term.Im trying to distinguish here between small acts of kindness and opportune moments of misconduct with say the way in which mankind treats the envirinment.




(departs for work 07.07 GMT)

[DTK]~*2FazE*~
28th Nov 2001, 02:25 AM
I have always thought it is easy to find good ppl. But lately I am wondering if everyone even me are EVIL central. The are good ppl but there either dead or in church.

Thrakhath
28th Nov 2001, 02:48 AM
Originally posted by Entropy|BuF
Neither, because you just get into the argurment of what is good and evil. Both are supported on every individuals specific belief in faith and morals.
What I think is evil you may believe is good and vice versa.
So my answer is, neither.

Well, then you head into a quandary that they is no good or evil and hence no right or wrong (universal right or wrong mind you). Then you get the problem of people doing whatever they want and then you have no basis for saying what they did was right or wrong. And thusly you really can't punish them, you can only force your right/wrong on them if you happen to be stronger.

Soon after all morals disintegrate and the only thing left is to look out for number one. This leads to a society which only looks after itself and there is no reason to contribute to the greater good of the whole.

Originally posted by SUNRISE
I think people are inherintley good as it has more social benifits and humans are a social species. If there were no society we couldn't control ourselves and chaos would ensue. Just try and think of life if society didn't exist!

You just contradicted yourself. If we are basically good, why would we degenerate to chaos if there were no society?

Allison
28th Nov 2001, 03:14 AM
I think you're going a little overboard there, Thrakhath. You seem to be forgetting that you currently live in a society that is not based on what you call a universal right and wrong. Instead it has been, and continues to be, a society created from a consensus of people with different views and beliefs. And so far, we haven't fallen into a state of moral chaos, as you describe.

[DTK]~*2FazE*~
28th Nov 2001, 03:24 AM
Allison is right not all ppl go by the Yes this is right & no this is wrong, they do it coz they either need money or they need drugs or there just crazy. Whatever the case ppl do what they do coz there know it is wrong or coz the have too to feed there kids and family. There will never be a society that will be perfect, together, think on the same plain or think alike. That is what makes us "us".

Tetris L
28th Nov 2001, 04:45 AM
When humans are free to do what they want without social pressure or laws they are selfish and cruel. They steal, they rape, they kill, they even torture just for fun.

It's only education, ethnics and social pressure that turns (some of) us into 'civilized' beings. Take that away and we're still animals.

Tetris L
28th Nov 2001, 04:50 AM
It may sound funny, but one thing that reassured me that humans are evil is the internet and online gaming. In the anonymity of internet forums (w/o moderation) or online gaming server people are free to develop their private little Mr. Hide: Where nobody can punish them, they troll, they cheat, they give their best to piss everybody off and ruin the place, they code aimbots and viruses, they visit and post the most disgusting webpages you can think off. Really sick stuff.

Syri
28th Nov 2001, 04:52 AM
Humans are inherently neutral, and the world that we live in shapes wether we become good or bad. Someone's balance is judged by the path their life takes, it's not pre-determined

Sam_The_Man
28th Nov 2001, 08:42 AM
Evil, most definitely. If we're naturally good, why on earth do our parents and teachers have to spend years hammering it into us? If we're naturally good, why do we have to be threatened with the bears eating us up, or Mr. Scissorhands cutting off our thumbs, or God sending us to Hell for eternity?

Fluid
28th Nov 2001, 08:43 AM
Humans are inherently neutral and their morality is formed by their culture/education.

SUNRISE
28th Nov 2001, 11:32 AM
You just contradicted yourself. If we are basically good, why would we degenerate to chaos if there were no society
I was of course talking in terms of the present. I also used the word degenerate which means that we would turn evil (so we start off good) Nice try but no philosophical cigar.

Kokensu
28th Nov 2001, 02:02 PM
It seems to me that it's a personal trait. Everyone is good to some extent and everyone is evil to some extent. Even the most vile person may do kind and generous things for those he/she considers their friends or loved ones.

But just going on examples I've seen. I kind of have to agree with that Tetris Block. It seems that when no one is looking people tend to become more evil and think that since they can get away with it they will(Internet is the best example here). However on the flip side it seems that when in the spot light the average person tends to try and do good(look how many famous people give to charities). Would those same people have given to charity if they weren't famous(but still rich) ?

Bottom line is I don't think there is any black and white answer here. Different situations will change people. And I honestly don't think you're born going either which way. It's something you learn as you grow.

What you learn determines how you react to the situation. One person growing up with nothing but violence around him will become violent himself. While another person will look at all the pain that violence caused and will try to PREVENT it from happening again. It may depend greatly on whether that person was on the receiving or giving end of that violence. But in the end the choice is up to the individual. I don't believe in destiny much.

SUNRISE
28th Nov 2001, 02:48 PM
YA but, even if someone doesn't no murder is wrong and they do it then you explain to them that it hurts the other person and people around them they will go hey, maybe I shoudln't do that. They know in thier heart it's wrong. You can't explain it its just being inherintley good. "The heart has its reasons, which reason does not know"-Kierkegaard

Mute
28th Nov 2001, 02:54 PM
People are inherantly evil. from both scientific and philosophic views evil can be shown to be an evolved genetic trait / survival mechanmism. 'Evil' generally improves survival capabilities and the potential to breed through natural selection. (I'm classifying things like murder and rape and slavery as evil, which might seem obvious, but 'evil' is actually a subjective word... a different and more difficult question would actually be "What Activities Are Evil").

If you are willing to accept a religious definition of evil (which should support the non-religious case even more strongly...) check out Darwin's God: Evolution and the Problem of Evil (http://www.arn.org/arnproducts/books/b056.htm)

Kokensu
28th Nov 2001, 03:36 PM
Originally posted by SUNRISE
YA but, even if someone doesn't no murder is wrong and they do it then you explain to them that it hurts the other person and people around them they will go hey, maybe I shoudln't do that. They know in thier heart it's wrong. You can't explain it its just being inherintley good. "The heart has its reasons, which reason does not know"-Kierkegaard

You've obviously never seen a serial killer. Sure you can tell him murder or violence is wrong but I doubt they'll be so inherintely good and listen to ya. Everyone is different.

I don't believe people are inherintly evil. I've known some people that do nothing but good all the time. Survival traits are not what I consider evil. Animals do not kill or attack other animals for the mere pleasure of it. They do so for reasons(to maintain their posistion as leader, or fight to attain it, or to eat or find food for others). Some people on the other hand will do violence soley for "fun". That in my opinion is evil. This isn't for survival purposes...But not everyone is like that either. I still think it comes down to the individual and it's something that is learned. At base the only inherint thing we have is the will to survive. That is neither good or evil IMHO.

Terminal {DTH}
28th Nov 2001, 03:46 PM
neither. has to do with the person's upbringing. genitics has a Little to do with a person's metality but not nearly as much and the enviroment one grew up in.

SUNRISE
28th Nov 2001, 04:23 PM
. People are inherantly evil. from both scientific and philosophic views evil can be shown to be an evolved genetic trait / survival mechanmism. 'Evil' generally improves survival capabilities and the potential to breed through natural selection.
I think you got statment from Darwin mixed up with animals lol and umm philisophical views don't look at genetics my friend, it's is scientist who use imperical data. Philosphers use reason. If we share and form relationships then we can HELP each other survive. Those who would do evil are shunned and force to survive on thier own (this includes animals) which they usually can't. So doing good and helping each other is what makes humanity survive, not evil. If you want to get in the whole genetics thing then we can but that's a whole other debate. Even if it were so, throgh generations of acting togeather humans would be genetically predisposed to helping each other, but again I think that genetics isn't a very good foundation for this argument.

You've obviously never seen a serial killer. Sure you can tell him murder or violence is wrong but I doubt they'll be so inherintely good and listen to ya. Everyone is different.
as I said before "Now you could argue that just because it is a good outcome for you does not make the act just or good. To that I would say: In most cases (normal non-drain bramaged people)". People llike serial killers can't properly reason, and it is reason that lets us make proper choices and it is our superior reasoning abilitys (most philosphers would say) that makes us the dominant species.

Instead of evil we should use the term bad as it is a bit more appropriate.

All these Darwinian ideals and who have you just look at evil from a survival point of view and from that point of view there is no evil actions, only actions that help us survive and actions that don't. Those types of views don't involve evil at all. I think evil is something that is unique to human beings due to our better sense of reason.

PS- let's see your own opinions here people. I can ring up a thousand quotes too, and I did use a few, but only to help clarify my argument, not as my argument.

Ming the Merciless
28th Nov 2001, 04:33 PM
I think people are inherently good. Some people do things for a laugh and do not realise what the consequences maybe, for example one person who was found to be sending hoax anthrax letters recently was actually a schoolboy (10 years old). At that age I think most people are good with the odd exception.

Kokensu
28th Nov 2001, 04:33 PM
Um I don't know if you're referring to me but I AM using my own opinions, and they're nothing more than that, opinions.

Are you saying evil/bad people are merely peole with brain damage? Thats a rather naive assumption. Alot of serial killers are VERY intelligent people. Most of them no good and well what they're doing and that most people don't like it(espeically the victims and their families...). It's a big mistake to assume that just because someone does something bad they have something WRONG with them. People make choices and must accept the consequences. Pushing the reason off as being some sort of mental disorder(although sometimes true) will not help anything. Instead of trying to see what's wrong with the person you should be trying to find out WHY they're doing it. Some of these people would be more than happy to tell you.

I still stand by what I said. Babies aren't born knowing good or bad. They learn these concepts as they grow up. Although I do agree that only people seem to have these traits. I've never seen an animal do something "good" or "evil". They do things based on instinct which is totally different. I.e. A dog rescuing people from a fire is more of an instinct(protecting the group) then a show of heroism.

AriTheDog
28th Nov 2001, 05:51 PM
maybe just inherently greedy?

people seem to do things which benefit them, be it good or bad. depending on how you learned, and what you were rewarded for as a child, different things make you happy.

"good" things make some people happy, "evil" things make some people happy. the words good and evil are pretty useless anyhow.

so, people will not do an evil thing because they would feel bad about doing it, not because they are good. and people would do an evil thing because it would make them feel good.

truly there are no pure shades of black and white.

Thrakhath
28th Nov 2001, 06:40 PM
To those who say man is inherently neutral, do you mean to say that if a person were left alone they would do nothing? See, the thing is, our environment has a huge affect on us, there is no denying that, but it is not the sole determining factor. The question is, if man were TOTALLY REMOVED from the influence of education, other people, government, etc etc etc. Put in a place where they could do ANYTHING without any pressure one way or the other would they choose evil or good? No man is neutral, ever, we all make choices one way or the other, do we inherently make good or bad choices?

As to what I said about society degenerating without a moral code, it is not an overnight process; yes we have abandoned absolute morals as a country, but not everyone has, and we still have some of those absolute morals in place to keep us from going too far until they are abandoned as well.

Here’s a question, what is good and what is evil? How do you know the difference?

_Zd_Phoenix_
28th Nov 2001, 06:47 PM
Man is inherently self-centered, good or bad just depends on what sort of an environment is applied to this.

Kokensu
28th Nov 2001, 07:28 PM
That's what I mean Thrak. You DON'T know. When I was 2 I didn't know what was "evil" and what was "good". I don't think man is born inherintly anything. You're born with a clean slate.

If a man(or woman) was born into an environment that had no HUMAN interaction at all he would most likely develop into more of an animal. He wouldn't know evil or good. He would do things based on his NEEDS. I'm hungry so I'll eat. I can't find food, so my instinct tells me I can kill that pig and eat it. Simple as that.

Evil and Good are man made creations( I think this was said already) thus only men can pass these ideas on to our children.

Allison
28th Nov 2001, 08:01 PM
Heehee, Thrak......this sounds all too familiar. I believe that people can have good, strong morals in the absense of an abolute. You do not. We disagree on that fundamental point. No use debating it again. :) Oh and, let's call a duck a duck. Absolute morals = God's law. Correct me if you meant something other than that. :)

As to the inherent good or evil of man--man will do whatever is necessary for survival. It's neither good nor evil. The fact that most of us live in a reasonably safe environment isn't the result of man being good. It's the result of man realizing that he is safer and more secure in a social structure with laws and boundaries than he is in an "every man for himself" environment. Morality is learned, not inherent.

AriTheDog
28th Nov 2001, 08:20 PM
Originally posted by Thrakhath
To those who say man is inherently neutral, do you mean to say that if a person were left alone they would do nothing? See, the thing is, our environment has a huge affect on us, there is no denying that, but it is not the sole determining factor. The question is, if man were TOTALLY REMOVED from the influence of education, other people, government, etc etc etc. Put in a place where they could do ANYTHING without any pressure one way or the other would they choose evil or good? No man is neutral, ever, we all make choices one way or the other, do we inherently make good or bad choices?

well, totaly removed from everything, man would probably masturbate until he starved to death. :D

SUNRISE
28th Nov 2001, 08:39 PM
Evil and Good are man made creations( I think this was said already).
I agree 100% with Kokensu, but I still think people are inherintley good.

Kokensu
28th Nov 2001, 09:40 PM
/me winks at Allison.

Terminal {DTH}
28th Nov 2001, 09:57 PM
No man is neutral, ever, we all make choices one way or the other, do we inherently make good or bad choices?

i disagree once again. in many instances we are. and as for your postulation again ild have to say that it GREATLY matter's that person's envroment in how he/she grew up! good experances, bad experances and how we deal with each determine WHO and WHAT we are.

THeologicly if you took a child and raised it in a false or made up society (something simular perhaps to that movie that was done not so very long go with Jim Carry) teaching that killing people FOR ANY REASON is ok, well then if he/she went out onto the REAL world and comitted murder then to That person, yes in the eyes of god, it wouldnt have been a sin since that person didnt know any differant.

and yes, human beings are inherantly selfish. THAT is ultmiatly what leads to most "evil" but selfishness in and of itself is not.

ice_viking
28th Nov 2001, 10:21 PM
Goodness is white and evil is black ... I travel in the gray areas, besides if I was all good i'd be lonely!

"Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly;
Man got to sit and wonder 'why, why, why?'
Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land;
Man got to tell himself he understand."
Cat's Cradle
Kurt Vonnegut

:p

AriTheDog
28th Nov 2001, 11:10 PM
where i said greedy, and others said selfish or self centered, it really comes down to this. man strives for pleasure, which in the past has been a struggle to survive. it's a continuation of the same need.

Allison
29th Nov 2001, 12:06 AM
Originally posted by Kokensu
/me winks at Allison.
Don't let your girlfriend catch you doing that. ;)

Super Feen
29th Nov 2001, 01:47 AM
dang, double votes for evil:p well, I think that you all made some good points which is cool so I can see it from some different points of view:tup:

but I stick by my original opinion with a little twist: I believe that most people are inherently good (they understand the difference between Good and Evil and they would like to do the right thing) but society makes that much easier for "evil" actions to excel over "good" actions

Kokensu
29th Nov 2001, 10:48 AM
Man striving for pleasure and man striving to survive are two TOTALLY different things. You don't try to find food when you're starving because it's "pleasurable". You find whatever you can get and eat it to LIVE.

I think the reason you see so much "good" and "evil" now-a-days is because most men don't HAVE to struggle to survive. They become complacent and this is where you see things like greed come into play.


Allison it was just a wink jeese :rolleyes:

Not like I said
/me grabs allison's bum or anything :D