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Is humanity inherently good or inherently evil?

Discussion in 'Polls' started by zerorelations, Mar 28, 2007.

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Is humanity inherently good or inherently evil?

  1. EVIL!

    11 vote(s)
    30.6%
  2. Good!

    7 vote(s)
    19.4%
  3. Neither

    18 vote(s)
    50.0%
  1. Burning Giraffe

    Burning Giraffe Well-Known Member

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    Both Hitler and Ghandi acted out of self-interest based on their experience and perspective. The acts of Ghandi were good for Man, and the against of Hitler were evil for Man - but the men themselves were neutral, like the rest of us.
     
  2. Dagoth

    Dagoth Member

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    still though they acted out of self interest like most mankind
    they both had a dream, and neither dream was neutral for all human beings~
     
  3. Burning Giraffe

    Burning Giraffe Well-Known Member

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    Rationally, people can only act out of self-interest with regard to their values. Your ethical parameters are defined by your values, so if you value yourself above all else, your morals will be different than whether you value the weak and helpless above all us, or those who value the community or family above all else. But there is no right thing to value. Everything you choose to value is arbitrary, just as your justifications are arbitrary.

    The important thing is to state your values and to argue for them - otherwise, it will be other people's values that gain power, both politically and culturally. We see this today amongst Christian evangelicals, Islamic Fascists, and secular humanists... all struggling against each other for power over government and culture throughout the world.
     
  4. 9sublime

    9sublime Well-Known Member

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    I think people confuse inherent evil with instict. Instinct can make us do terrible things, especially in a world which is so far removed from when we needed those instincts.
     
  5. vyo476

    vyo476 Well-Known Member

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    Outstandingly put. Tell me, are you familiar with the works of Erving Goffman and Max Weber? You might like them - or at least find their concepts interesting as their writing itself is terribly boring.
     
  6. icono1

    icono1 Well-Known Member

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    .....But there is no right thing to value. Everything you choose to value is arbitrary, just as your justifications are arbitrary...... from BGiraffe. Interesting comment. Care to expand on that. Some would see that as either instinctual behavior or calculated behavior.
     
  7. vyo476

    vyo476 Well-Known Member

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    The thing to bear in mind is that every individual's sense of "good" and "evil" is defined by society; everybody has a slightly different view of what those two concepts are and everybody's image of them is defined by the society they inhabit. There are no absolutes for good and evil.

    Think about this: the Romans had very different ideas about good and bad than we do. Who is to say that our view of good and evil is any more advanced than theirs? Are we? We're hardly an unbiased source for such a judgment, because as we adhere to our view of good and evil we also project it onto other cultures.

    We would need an unbiased judge completely outside the realm of collectivist thought to properly judge who, from throughout human history, got "good" and "evil" right. Unfortunately, someone or something entirely outside of any form of society would exist on a completely instinctual level and wouldn't have anything to say on the subject, since to that individual the two concepts do not exist.
     
  8. Burning Giraffe

    Burning Giraffe Well-Known Member

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    We value things out of self interest, that is, we choose our values based on experience. We don't value things accidentally or innately, we are not born with them. Values are not objective, factual parts of nature. They exist in our minds. So, how can something that exists only in our minds, that are a part of our personality be objective?

    Instinctual behavior isn't moral, as it doesn't relate to values or ethics. It's a biological response. Rational behavior is based on values, motive, expectations, etc.
     
  9. Castle

    Castle Well-Known Member

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    Of course it depends on your interpretation of evil but I have to say that I believe we all are all born rather savage which can be paired with evil if one chooses to view it that way.

    Think about it. It is very difficult for most people to be compassionate but all to easy to twist your boot heel on someone's neck. I remember back in high school some of the things that were said and done to other people were disturbing to put it mildly. I cringe when I think back to my conduct at times.

    Ever been stuck in traffic because of a terrible accident? Ever notice how the backup was made even worse because everyone needed to catch a glimpse of the mangled bodies even though they claimed to be horrified by the sight!

    I've seen an old man with no home, no family and no future huddled on the sidewalk in the middle of winter in Washington D.C. To everyone walking by him he didn't exist and for all tense and purposes was already dead. I guarantee if you threw a $100 dollar bill next to him you'd have people piling on.

    In the absence of morals and values we are left with our basic and savage impulses. Our conscience no longer tells us what we're doing or not doing is wrong. We only listen to our urges and follow only what pleases us.

    Is this evil....maybe not but it sure cast doubt on our evolutionary progress.

    -Castle
     
  10. Burning Giraffe

    Burning Giraffe Well-Known Member

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    Who says compassion is something that improves the specie from an evolutionary perspective?
     
  11. Justinian

    Justinian Well-Known Member

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    Hmm

    I say inherently human.
     
  12. Marina_

    Marina_ Member

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    Inherently feeling a need to be loved.
    Other features depend on whether this need is met or not.
     
  13. Napoleon

    Napoleon Well-Known Member

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    I say neither. I believe that humans are born with a "moral sense", i.e. the ability to distinguish between right and wrong, but I don't believe that we are innately good or evil. Our experience/choices in the external realm are what determine whether or not we are good or evil.
     
  14. Castle

    Castle Well-Known Member

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    Well okay. How does compassion erode the species from an evolutionary perspective?

    -Castle
     
  15. Justinian

    Justinian Well-Known Member

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    Hmmm

    I think Humans can be looked at as inherently evil because they are inherently dominant and greedy which brings upon vices. I will go far enough to say that human existance and social order is impossible without religion in one form or another. Liberals profess they are against religion yet to liberals, liberalism IS their religion .
     
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