Mankind: Are people inherently good or evil?

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Re: Mankind: Are people inherently good or evil?

Postby cezen » Fri Jul 15, 2011 8:44 pm

Multiverse wrote:
cezen wrote:
Multiverse wrote:No, I don´t think we are. Good or evil, that is. There´s no such thing as right and wrong, you know, but thinking makes it so. =J
Really, I think that the fact that we consider Good to be something, well, good (I don´t think I have the vocabulary to explain this, but try to hang on anyway) speaks for our common wish to be nice to each other - however, this is a secondary wish that will often be put aside to make place for our urge to survive/breed. So conclusively, I think mankind wants to be good, but it´s at a generally lower priority than our wish to survive.


This is one possibly true perspective. Right and wrong may be social constructs based on social norms.
However, if you support this view that right and wrong are what we make of it, then you are also saying that things like human sacrifices and slavery were right in their civilizations based on the social norms of those time periods.

Nontheless, many philosophers would disagree with your perspective.

Also, following the logic of your first sentence - doesn't the fact that we consider evil to be something, well, evil speak for our common wish to be evil to each other? I mean, from what I can tell, you're reasoning also applies to the concept of evil.


True, I hadn´t thought of it that way. I wouldn´t agree when it´s put like that, but then again - I have no means of telling whether or not that´s a result of today´s norms.

As for my first sentence, that´s not really what I meant... hence the remark about my limited vocabulary.
If I was to invert the statement, I would replace the second evil with a bad, which I believe would revert the point back to its original meaning ("Doesn't the fact that we consider evil to be something, well, bad, speak for our common wish to be nice to each other?"). The first 'Good' in my statement refers to the act of being good to another being, while the second 'Good' is supposed to be understood as 'Positive'. Sorry if I´m being a bit unclear here. =J

I´ve realized that my original post is somehow contradictory, though: I say that good and evil doesn´t exist, and then go right on to stating that we´re basically good.
To clarify, I think that sometimes the first statement is true (in that society often sets a norm for what´d be the proper thing to do), and at other times the second (in that we, in the aforementioned and other situations, often consider the moral value of an option as a valid, logical argument).

I must confess, I still don't understand your logic...Wait, now I do

The fact that we consider evil bad and good positive speaks to our common wish to be nice?
That's a very subjective idea. Some people consider slavery and prejudice good. You seem to be saying that it matters less the action and more the intention - and that all our intentions are to do what we consider good. In that sense, there's no way to categorize anything as good or evil, including the Holocaust, because the person may have thought they were doing something positive regardless of the action.

Nontheless, I think there are probably people who do evil things and recognize them as bad, but do it regardless.
Furthermore, there are probably people who do things, and ignore any sense of morals when deciding to do it. They may look at the necessity of the action. They may look at how it benifits them - survival of the fittest. In that sense, they don't have a wish to be good or do something good. They may not even look at the world through a moral lens.

Last, if we considered the moral value of something valid and logical, wouldn't it cease to have moral value at all? Please explain.
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Re: Mankind: Are people inherently good or evil?

Postby Multiverse » Fri Jul 15, 2011 9:20 pm

cezen wrote:I must confess, I still don't understand your logic...Wait, now I do

The fact that we consider evil bad and good positive speaks to our common wish to be nice?
That's a very subjective idea. Some people consider slavery and prejudice good. You seem to be saying that it matters less the action and more the intention - and that all our intentions are to do what we consider good. In that sense, there's no way to categorize anything as good or evil, including the Holocaust, because the person may have thought they were doing something positive regardless of the action.


Partially subjective, that is, because I´m not saying that everyone has the same idea of what good is - however, most of us share the thought that good actions result in effects that are in some way positive, and hence that the individual´s definition of good is closely and directly related to its definition of positive.

A person acting badly might have been thinking they were acting positively, and some people might consider slavery or prejudice positive, but that´s unlikely given today´s norms, and (I think) irrelevant to the point I was trying to make, anyway. :)
I´m not saying that things can´t be evil per definition - I´m saying that when we´re capable of telling good from evil, the fact that an option is good counts as a reason to do that rather than doing the evil thing, and most people share that ideology, regardless of what they consider good/evil.
There might be enough reasons (as you state in the quote below) to do the bad thing instead of the good thing anyway, but I definitely think that the good option has some credibility simply in that it is the good option (or rather, what the person in question consider the good option).

cezen wrote:Nontheless, I think there are probably people who do evil things and recognize them as bad, but do it regardless.
Furthermore, there are probably people who do things, and ignore any sense of morals when deciding to do it. They may look at the necessity of the action. They may look at how it benifits them - survival of the fittest. In that sense, they don't have a wish to be good or do something good. They may not even look at the world through a moral lens.


Indeed they might. I´ll refer to my above statement - there can easily be enough reasons to pick the bad option instead, but the morality of something does have influence on one´s choice in given situations, and nobody (mental cases excluded, obviously) would do something they consider evil because they believe it´s what will have the more positive consequences.

cezen wrote:Last, if we considered the moral value of something valid and logical, wouldn't it cease to have moral value at all? Please explain.


I´m afraid I don´t really understand... why would it?
I might´ve been making a wrong use of the word 'logical', since something as loosely defined as good/evil can´t really be said to follow any given set of rules (and is therefore illogical), but once you´ve decided on the morality of something, it will most likely be used in your choices as something to navigate your decisions from - that making Morality a reason that´s both valid and logical. I don´t know whether that´s what you were asking, but I think it´s roughly what I meant.
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Re: Mankind: Are people inherently good or evil?

Postby cezen » Fri Jul 15, 2011 10:30 pm

Partially subjective, that is, because I´m not saying that everyone has the same idea of what good is - however, most of us share the thought that good actions result in effects that are in some way positive, and hence that the individual´s definition of good is closely and directly related to its definition of positive.

A person acting badly might have been thinking they were acting positively, and some people might consider slavery or prejudice positive, but that´s unlikely given today´s norms, and (I think) irrelevant to the point I was trying to make, anyway.
I´m not saying that things can´t be evil per definition - I´m saying that when we´re capable of telling good from evil, the fact that an option is good counts as a reason to do that rather than doing the evil thing, and most people share that ideology, regardless of what they consider good/evil.
There might be enough reasons (as you state in the quote below) to do the bad thing instead of the good thing anyway, but I definitely think that the good option has some credibility simply in that it is the good option (or rather, what the person in question consider the good option).

Yes, but my point is that you're putting emphasis on intentions, and this implies that - interpreted in the light of this thread topic - Hitler would be considered inherently good if he thought the intentions of the holocaust were positive. After all, if that was the case, despite the things he did - he was only trying to do positive in his own eye.

You know what they say about the road to hell being paved with good intentions.

Either way, while good actions may result in a positive to some people; they also may recognize that it also results in negative outcome for someonelse. While I feel like it was good/positive that I got into my university, I know that someonelse just as deserving could have got in in my place and spot.
Things are rarely as simple, as black and white as recognizing a good option as only being positive and not being negative in any way. Now, does it show man is inherently good if he did something good because of the positive results for him or someone, and ignored negative results for someonelse?

Indeed they might. I´ll refer to my above statement - there can easily be enough reasons to pick the bad option instead, but the morality of something does have influence on one´s choice in given situations, and nobody (mental cases excluded, obviously) would do something they consider evil because they believe it´s what will have the more positive consequences.

Your last sentence - why do you say that? Alot of people consider killing evil. And those people are equally likely to kill someone in self defense of themselves or their family, despite a feeling of moral wrongness for taking a human life. Doing something one considers evil may have the more positive consequence.

Most people consider cannabilism evil. My sociology book talked about people on a plane that crashlanded, who had to eat the other dead passengers(including relatives) in order to survive. While they were initially against it, they knew it was necessary to survive.

I´m afraid I don´t really understand... why would it?
I might´ve been making a wrong use of the word 'logical', since something as loosely defined as good/evil can´t really be said to follow any given set of rules (and is therefore illogical), but once you´ve decided on the morality of something, it will most likely be used in your choices as something to navigate your decisions from - that making Morality a reason that´s both valid and logical. I don´t know whether that´s what you were asking, but I think it´s roughly what I meant.

That would be valid/logical in a formal logic sense, but not in a practical sense.

For example, this
All women are cats.
All cats are men.
Therefore,
All women are men.


is logically valid. Because, if you really thought each premise was true, than the conclusion would logically follow. Nontheless, since the premises are unproven, it is not logically sound.
http://philosophy.lander.edu/logic/tvs.html
What you're saying is that morality may be a premise/base from which one can logically decide what to do. Nontheless, since the truth of morality - good or evil - cannot be firmly established - morality is not logically sound.

That is why most people put morals in a different category than logic. Because, like you said earlier, they are inherently illogical. THis is an intrinsic property of morality. However, if we could logically determine that a certain morality is right, we would cease to be doing the "good or right" thing, and be doing the "logical" thing. Good and right have more to do with how you feel in your heart. Logical is more about your mind and rationality. That's why I said it would cease to have moral value.

I don't know if I made this clear enough.
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Re: Mankind: Are people inherently good or evil?

Postby opalkoboi » Sat Jul 16, 2011 8:21 pm

cezen wrote:Opal, I am really curious about your thoughts on how being guiltless or a murderer could be an evolutional trait for survival. Please go into more detail.


Well think about very basic ancient times. Or even middle ages kind of thing. People would kill those above them to take their place - to get ahead in life. If you have firm morals, clear sense of right and wrong, ect ect most wouldn't be able to murder someone under those circumstances. In animal packs this is fine, a lower member of the pack could kill another to become leader. Once people evolve and develop indepentant thought and presumably a conscience, guilt, it's a completely different situation. (A little more off-topic, but the human race will kill if they "find" a reason to. Think of many genocides. They were justified on the grounds the people they were killing are inferior and/or don't have the right to survival).

cezen wrote:On the other hand, you said "people will generally helps someone because they can".
There are psychology naturalistic observations that show that a good portion of people may not help or even stop for a man dying in the streets at a busy time. Though the most memorable time that occured was in New York, so I don't know how that factors in. There was also an event where a woman was assaulted twice in one night by a man; all the neighbors could hear, yet no one helped her.

Are you sure that people will generally help someone because they can?
Can you go more indepth about why you think that is true.

Btw- I noted how you seemed to classify slavery, elimination of LGBT, and religon in virtually the same category as things you think aren't right and true. Your bias against religon seems to permeate your posts. Please try to rein it in a little.


Ah yes but the thing with that is the 'someone else will do it' factor. If you have one person in trouble in a crowded place, the majority of people will just think someone else will help. This isn't generally because they don't want to or don't care. Another theory is that they don't think they would be able or could help, so they don't. There was an incident on a bus I remember hearing about, and two people got stabbed. One woman got up and helped them, and tried to stop the bleeding. She kept asking for help off others since no one else willingly got up and they all ignored the two victims and the woman. Why? I would be lead to believe they do care, but were in shock and didn't know what to do. Some people are just crap in these situations.

No, hardly. :eyeroll: I was saying about the instilation of morals and how what is good changes. I merely used religon as an example. Because if you tell a child this religon is truth they will believe it. Like they will believe if you tell any race of people are inferior ect. And I believe I said, 'some people believe the elimnation of LGBTs is good'. WHy? Examples that are well known. My personal opinion was not stated, nor was religous ones, and that was all I wrote on it.
Bias against religon? I just proved otherwise. And anyway, is it bias or my beliefs? You could say, by that logic, everyone is bias to themselves.
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Re: Mankind: Are people inherently good or evil?

Postby cezen » Sat Jul 16, 2011 10:16 pm

Well think about very basic ancient times. Or even middle ages kind of thing. People would kill those above them to take their place - to get ahead in life. If you have firm morals, clear sense of right and wrong, ect ect most wouldn't be able to murder someone under those circumstances. In animal packs this is fine, a lower member of the pack could kill another to become leader. Once people evolve and develop indepentant thought and presumably a conscience, guilt, it's a completely different situation. (A little more off-topic, but the human race will kill if they "find" a reason to. Think of many genocides. They were justified on the grounds the people they were killing are inferior and/or don't have the right to survival).

While I'm sure some people killed others to get ahead or rule, there were probably others who didn't and still got ahead in life. Either way, I don't think evolution is supposed to work that way.
Morals, guilt, ect. all have corresponding areas of the brain that enable us to experience them and other higher cognitive functions.

I kinda doubt that people didn't have those areas of the brain in say the middle ages or ancient times(depending on how ancient you're talking about), and that it only recently developed for us, and that guiltless people and murderers are just displaying possible survival traits from centuries past. That would be more like a de-evolution, since it would be counter productive to functioning properly in society.

Ah yes but the thing with that is the 'someone else will do it' factor. If you have one person in trouble in a crowded place, the majority of people will just think someone else will help. This isn't generally because they don't want to or don't care. Another theory is that they don't think they would be able or could help, so they don't. There was an incident on a bus I remember hearing about, and two people got stabbed. One woman got up and helped them, and tried to stop the bleeding. She kept asking for help off others since no one else willingly got up and they all ignored the two victims and the woman. Why? I would be lead to believe they do care, but were in shock and didn't know what to do. Some people are just crap in these situations.

That woman is probably an altruist. Altruist are really the only people who fit your idea of generally helping someone simply because they can.

Either way, the cause of them not helping for the majority is simply the fact that they don't feel it's necessary and that they have to. They only feel it's necessary if they're the only one there, and thus the responsibility and guilt would fall solely on them.
What this means is that, aside from altruists, people are really only helping so that they will have a clear conscience. Not because they simply can.

If there are other people, they can still help. But they most likely won't, because there is a
Diffusion of Responsibility. If a lot of people are not helping, people are going to look around at how everyonelse is behaving in the situation, and act the same way.

My point is that this contradicts your idea "that people will generally help someone simply because they can."
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Re: Mankind: Are people inherently good or evil?

Postby bluealice » Wed Sep 21, 2011 8:37 am

Man is good. For me... because God is good, making us inherently good. However, there's always an opposite. you can never identify what's right if there's no wrong... Imagine a world with only one color... let's say white. will we know that there's a color black?
Therefore, we are inherently good, but since life is not life without obstacles, We acquire sins. These obstacles are what we call evil.
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Re: Mankind: Are people inherently good or evil?

Postby cezen » Sun Sep 25, 2011 8:30 am

bluealice wrote:Man is good. For me... because God is good, making us inherently good. However, there's always an opposite. you can never identify what's right if there's no wrong... Imagine a world with only one color... let's say white. will we know that there's a color black?
Therefore, we are inherently good, but since life is not life without obstacles, We acquire sins. These obstacles are what we call evil.


"All have sin and fallen short of the glory of God"
God being good does not equate to us being good after alienating ourselves from him through sin.
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Re: Mankind: Are people inherently good or evil?

Postby bluealice » Mon Sep 26, 2011 3:29 pm

I think, we have an innate intellect, which gives us a freedom to choose... between what is right from what is wrong.
From the moment we were born, we have no conscious whatsoever. Which means to say, man is what he chose to be. Goodness and badness are simply factors of life but not one can become genuine with it.

Therefore, we are not inherently good, nor inherently bad. We chose who we'll be, and what we'll be.
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Re: Mankind: Are people inherently good or evil?

Postby Tenzen12 » Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:06 pm

Thing is when we try be good we fail in some point, but we never fail when we try in being bad that is like mankind work.
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Re: Mankind: Are people inherently good or evil?

Postby bluealice » Thu Sep 29, 2011 1:20 pm

Thing is when we try be good we fail in some point, but we never fail when we try in being bad that is like mankind work.


Precisely. 8)
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Re: Mankind: Are people inherently good or evil?

Postby Tenzen12 » Thu Sep 29, 2011 1:49 pm

My aesop is that people are inherently evil though :lick:
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Spoiler:
Criminal: Who are you guys!?
Tiger: You mean us? We're-
Blue Rose:We're the heroes of this town! [Steps on criminals face] My name is Blue Rose. We keep the peace in Sternbild at all times!
Tiger: ...What she said.
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Rorschach: Weren't all the X-Men movies about you?
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Heroic Blue screen of Death
Spoiler:
Artemis: I don't like lollipops...

Venkman: Ray has gone bye-bye, Egon... what've you got left?
Egon: Sorry, Venkman, I'm terrified beyond the capacity for rational thought.
—Ghostbusters

Antonio: Hey, Blue Rose, help us out!
Karina(Blue Rose): Daughter... Wife... Haha. Hahaha... *eye twitch*
Antonio: It's no use! We broke her!
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Re: Mankind: Are people inherently good or evil?

Postby bluealice » Sat Oct 01, 2011 5:44 am

really? I don't believe that. I'd be needing a lot of explanation...
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Re: Mankind: Are people inherently good or evil?

Postby Tenzen12 » Sat Oct 01, 2011 6:11 am

It is simple we failing in being good cause it isn't natural. If it was otherwise we would stadily improve ourself but our nature didn't changed for several hundreds years much. Racism, crime, cheating partners, gossips. And many thing that are biblicaly clasified as sin became everyday ocurance and even with support of law which should serve as scale of good our society.
Spot light steeling squad
Spoiler:
Criminal: Who are you guys!?
Tiger: You mean us? We're-
Blue Rose:We're the heroes of this town! [Steps on criminals face] My name is Blue Rose. We keep the peace in Sternbild at all times!
Tiger: ...What she said.
—Tiger and Bunny

Wolverine: Stay on topic, bub! This movie's about me!
Rorschach: Weren't all the X-Men movies about you?
— I'm A Marvel... And I'm A DC: Wolverine and Watchmen

Heroic Blue screen of Death
Spoiler:
Artemis: I don't like lollipops...

Venkman: Ray has gone bye-bye, Egon... what've you got left?
Egon: Sorry, Venkman, I'm terrified beyond the capacity for rational thought.
—Ghostbusters

Antonio: Hey, Blue Rose, help us out!
Karina(Blue Rose): Daughter... Wife... Haha. Hahaha... *eye twitch*
Antonio: It's no use! We broke her!
—Tiger and Bunny (get know her crush better... he is widower, though)

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Re: Mankind: Are people inherently good or evil?

Postby bluealice » Sat Oct 01, 2011 11:35 am

For me, we're inherently good because God never did anything evil. NEVER. We're the ones creating our own sins... and that's because we have a freedom to choose. Although your aesop has got a good point. 8)
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Re: Mankind: Are people inherently good or evil?

Postby opalkoboi » Fri Oct 07, 2011 10:17 pm

What about if you're not religious? I know a lot of you are here, but just exclude religion for argument's sake. Pretend it doesn't exist. Then what? Are we good or bad?

Tbh I don't even know how to answer this question myself, but the thing about good and bad depends on your personal morals, and how you were brought up. it's considered fact that you get your core beliefs from your parents, so it's really environmental. I think the best way to look at it is to look at animals - working off instinct, neither good nor bad. They protect their own genes, and they stay alive, and don't harm other things unless threatened or for survival. Therefore, surely, man is inherently good. Unfortunately this human independent thought screwed everything up.
So I'm going to say we're inherently good but can chose to become or become otherwise.
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