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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. invest07

    invest07 Well-Known Member

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    At the deepest core, humans are seflish and arrogant. This means that humans are evil at the core.

    The purpose of laws is to limit behavior so as to not infringe on other people's rights. One of the functions of religion is to present a means to overcome one's own evil core.

    All of us struggle throughout our entire life to overcome our evil core. Some of us are more successful in this than others and it seems to me that some people don't try. Most of us will be successful in some areas and failures in other areas of our nature but it is the trying that gives pleasure and promise to life.

    Absolute success in overcoming our basic nature is not possible. Improving is very achievable.
     
  2. vyo476

    vyo476 Well-Known Member

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    Why is this "evil?"

    The purpose of laws and religion over time has been to bring order to society.

    Once one looks upon the concepts of "good" and "evil" as absolutes it becomes easier to identify how the concepts apply to everyday life and is therefore easier to live a life of "good" despite an "evil" core. In other words, the limiting of one's perception also limits the constraints of said perception. It's easier to be "good" or "evil" when the definitions of both are limited.

    Yet more limitation. The concepts of "total success" and "limited improvement" are necessarily constrained by the constrained concepts of "good" and "evil."
     
  3. JavaBlack

    JavaBlack Well-Known Member

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    I'm gonna go with Justinian on this one.
    Who can argue with that?

    Humans are born with a predisposition toward selfishness... but also with a predisposition toward altruism and empathy. It varies from human to human, and both things by large help us survive.
    Most of our evil comes from our innate cluelessness and the limits of our brains to make sense out the universe... while being inclined to do so.

    We must learn both emotionally and cognitively to be good. But we also must learn to be evil.
    Without learning either, we are generally just ignorant and unthoughtful. The undersocialized human doesn't mean to hurt anyone... but doesn't understand
    how not to... and to some extent, we're all like this. We always do dumb things and don't understand just how dumb it is until we are called on it...
    Then we either rationalize it away or learn a lesson.

    Truly evil people are a rarity, both of genetic mind disorders and terrible social circumstances.
     
  4. numinus

    numinus Well-Known Member

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    Inherently good.

    All human actions are calculated to bring about some sort of good.

    It is the calculation that is defective.
     
  5. invest07

    invest07 Well-Known Member

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  6. invest07

    invest07 Well-Known Member

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    One of may favorite original Star Trek episodes deals with this theme.

    Kirk is split into 2 Kirks by the transporter. One is totally evil and the other is totally good. The good Kirk is non-functional as he is incapable of making even simple decsions and is a blubbering wimp. The evil Kirk is functional but terminally self destructive to himself and everyone around.

    The moral for me: People have different natures and we are a combination of those natures. Some good and some evil are in the mix. It is the mix that makes each person unique and the mix that results in us being functional in society.
     
  7. JavaBlack

    JavaBlack Well-Known Member

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    Absolutes can be useful in some cases, but not all defined absolutes are equal. "Our side is always right" is a pretty lousy absolute (but common) when it comes to moral depth. Even killing and theft are not perfect absolutes... ? Even if all are bad, not all cases are equally bad.
    I think the only absloutes that make moral sense are those based on motive. Malice is the ultimate evil... but unfortunately that is based on the person's beliefs, understandings, and mental processes.
    So I guess what we really have is a form of evil that is based on bad things that happen and a form of Evil that stems from malice and disregard of others. The former evil is not always the result of Evil.
     
  8. Force-of-the-Truth

    Force-of-the-Truth Member

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    Neutral

    I don't think that we are inherently good or inherently evil. I think that individuals choose to be good and evil. Claiming that we are inherently good ignores genuine malice, while claiming that we are inherently evil unintentionally eliminates personal responsibility. If we are all innately evil, there are no logically consistent grounds for any ethical code. No matter what evil a person committed, they could always make the excuse that they were born bad and that so was everyone else, meaning that their actions were as justified as any other. This is a problem with any outlook that downplays the importance of free will. It is equally important, moreover, not to view certain people (but not others) as innately evil apart from the decisions that they make, because doing this is the basis of all forms of prejudice.
     
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