Understanding through Discussion


Welcome! You are not logged in. [ Login ]
EvC Forum active members: 85 (8914 total)
Current session began: 
Page Loaded: 06-26-2019 2:36 AM
26 online now:
AZPaul3, dwise1, Minnemooseus (Adminnemooseus), PaulK, Tangle (5 members, 21 visitors)
Chatting now:  Chat room empty
Newest Member: 4petdinos
Upcoming Birthdays: ooh-child
Post Volume:
Total: 854,793 Year: 9,829/19,786 Month: 2,251/2,119 Week: 287/724 Day: 12/114 Hour: 1/5


Thread  Details

Email This Thread
Newer Topic | Older Topic
  
1
234567Next
Author Topic:   Is Anything Evil? Does Evil Exist?
Rob 
Suspended Member (Idle past 4021 days)
Posts: 2297
Joined: 06-01-2006


Message 1 of 105 (398658)
05-02-2007 2:23 AM


In the thread: Miscellaneous Topics in Creation/Evolution Do we talk up or down to fundies?, a side issue developed that I think is worthy of a new thread.

The questions are these:
1. Is anything evil?
Does evil exist?

I believe it is absurd to label everything as natural. If we do, then we are positing an absolute that has horrific implications for our ability to protest anything with logical consistency. I would like to begin my support for that view, by addressing Razd's reply to a comment of mine in the other thread.

------------------------

Rob:Because if you are correct, then what exactly did Cho do at Virginia Tech which was unnatural?

Razd:

So how do you explain this to "fundies" ...

Of course it was "natural" - nature is neither good nor evil.

I wanted to establish that comment by Razd first... Now look at the next line.

Razd:

What Cho did was a result of impulses. The processing of those impulses may have been faulty (chemical or neurological imbalance due to environment, genetics or some combination), but that doesn't make it unnatural.

So these faults and imbalances are natural?
If so, why would we want to label them as faults or imbalances?

Nature appears to be imbalanced in many respects. But if it is all 'natural' and therefore just simply reality, then there is no difference between that which is 'in balance' and that which is 'out of balance'. It is what it is.

Perhpas the Cho's of our society, as well as the Bushes are only natures equivilant of a Black Hole. They clean up amongst societies as natures other destroyers clean up galaxies.

Please note that my arguments are offered against the idea of everything being natural. They are only constructed as a devil's advocate so as to make my point. I include the name of president Bush because he is seen as an evil by those who tend to believe that all is natural. I personally find no moral equivilent between the two.

Under your own philosophy, we have no basis upon which to judge Mr. Cho (or president Bush)other than some illusory perception created by our society (which itself is also perfectly natural). So there is no such thing as something illusory, or faults, or imbalances. There is no such thing as truth, and no such thing as a lie. You are Bush, and Bush is me, and I am a rock, and Hoot Mon is litterally an owl.

Rob: And consider this... if everything is natural, then from where did the idea of that which is 'unatural' (religion) originate?

Razd:

From the conceit that we individuals\humans are something special.

Razd, according to your own philosophy... conceit is perfectly natural. Yet... you imply fault or imbalance is contained therein.

Mis. Topics c/e


Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by kuresu, posted 05-02-2007 3:20 AM Rob has not yet responded
 Message 3 by Nuggin, posted 05-02-2007 3:24 AM Rob has responded
 Message 4 by Larni, posted 05-02-2007 3:45 AM Rob has not yet responded
 Message 5 by Archer Opteryx, posted 05-02-2007 8:46 AM Rob has responded
 Message 8 by Percy, posted 05-02-2007 10:05 AM Rob has responded
 Message 23 by Tusko, posted 05-02-2007 7:15 PM Rob has not yet responded

  
kuresu
Member (Idle past 685 days)
Posts: 2544
From: boulder, colorado
Joined: 03-24-2006


Message 2 of 105 (398662)
05-02-2007 3:20 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Rob
05-02-2007 2:23 AM


so your whole point of this is what, exactly? That the supernatural must exist?

you seem to have a problem here, rob.

Nature is neither good or evil. It just is. This does not mean that we cannot call things "evil" or "good". Why? Because "evil" and "good" are what we make of something. I think that X is "evil", but Y is "good". This is based off of my view, the picture I have of what's around me, in a way. I fail to see how this is "logically inconsistent".

Nature appears to be imbalanced in many respects. But if it is all 'natural' and therefore just simply reality, then there is no difference between that which is 'in balance' and that which is 'out of balance'. It is what it is.

Asserting does not make it so. Of course there is a difference between what's balanced and out of whack (granted, this is relative to the viewer). Is there a difference between a cart with 2 apples and 2 oranges and a cart with 1 apple and 3 oranges (the latter would be unbalanced, in favor of the orange). I say yes.

Under your own philosophy, we have no basis upon which to judge Mr. Cho (or president Bush)other than some illusory perception created by our society (which itself is also perfectly natural). So there is no such thing as something illusory, or faults, or imbalances. There is no such thing as truth, and no such thing as a lie. You are Bush, and Bush is me, and I am a rock, and Hoot Mon is litterally an owl.

And this is all gibberish. There is a difference between something balanced and unbalanced. Both are part of nature. Ever hear of yin and yang?

It would be somewhat like me arguing that the Trinity cannot be three distinct things because they're all part of the whole!

Again, I really fail to see the whole point of this. I'm thinking it's just you rambling about nothing. You're asking for "evil" to be an absolute (unless I'm mistaken), when quite frankly, it's all dependent on the person. You have one idea of "evil", I another. If you're arguing for an absolute "evil" you're not going to get anywhere.

And now I should probably shut up. This post is getting way to rambled/jumbled. Oh well.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Rob, posted 05-02-2007 2:23 AM Rob has not yet responded

  
Nuggin
Member (Idle past 665 days)
Posts: 2965
From: Los Angeles, CA USA
Joined: 08-09-2005


Message 3 of 105 (398668)
05-02-2007 3:24 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Rob
05-02-2007 2:23 AM


What is evil?
Don't think you can ask "Does evil exist?" without first answering the question "What is evil?"

I don't mean, name an action or historical event or person which is an example of "evil". That's not going to forward the debate.

I mean, how do we define evil?

Here's dictionary.com's take:

1. morally wrong or bad; immoral; wicked: evil deeds; an evil life.

There's more definitions, obviously, but I'm taking the one closest to what you're talking about.

The problem is this def is really weak. "What is evil?" - It's stuff that's morally wrong. Well, then "What is morally wrong?"

Are we to say that "evil" acts are acts which contradict the accepted moral code of the society in which the act takes place?

So killing your neighbor in Denver - Evil.
Killing your neighbor in Teotihuacan - Not evil.

What's your take on "Evil"? Once that's locked down, you can start to discuss if it actually exists.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Rob, posted 05-02-2007 2:23 AM Rob has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 6 by Rob, posted 05-02-2007 9:55 AM Nuggin has responded

  
Larni
Member
Posts: 3976
From: Liverpool
Joined: 09-16-2005


Message 4 of 105 (398672)
05-02-2007 3:45 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Rob
05-02-2007 2:23 AM


Seems to me you are try to say that there are unatural things in existance. If this is so, would you care to point them out? I can't think of one unatural thing.

As for evil:

Evil is what ever you call it. What is evil from your point of view is not from mine. I concider filling childrens heads with religious nonsense evil, I bet you don't.

Seeing as we can't agree on what evil is in the real concrete world we can conclude it exist only as a subjective point of reference.

As for faults or imbalances:

These are differences: nothing more, nothing less. We may find them acceptable or not according to our belieifs about reality.

Rob writes:

Under your own philosophy, we have no basis upon which to judge Mr. Cho (or president Bush)other than some illusory perception created by our society (which itself is also perfectly natural).

This is correct appart from the bit about illusory percpetion.

Rob writes:

There is no such thing as truth, and no such thing as a lie. You are Bush, and Bush is me, and I am a rock, and Hoot Mon is litterally an owl.

This is of course, bollocks.

Rob writes:

Razd, according to your own philosophy... conceit is perfectly natural. Yet... you imply fault or imbalance is contained therein.

Razd is correct, conciet is natural to human beings. Again however fault or imbalance is simply words used to desribe a sense of valance attatched to the character trait 'conceit'.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Rob, posted 05-02-2007 2:23 AM Rob has not yet responded

  
Archer Opteryx
Member (Idle past 1770 days)
Posts: 1811
From: East Asia
Joined: 08-16-2006


Message 5 of 105 (398699)
05-02-2007 8:46 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Rob
05-02-2007 2:23 AM


Your thesis is heading for a train wreck unless you can first nail down precisely what you mean, then build a coherent argument from that.

Please define evil and good as you use the terms.

Please define nature as you use the term. Then delineate between the two ideas of 'non-nature' you are putting into play: the unnatural and the supernatural.

_____


Archer

All species are transitional.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Rob, posted 05-02-2007 2:23 AM Rob has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 7 by Rob, posted 05-02-2007 10:03 AM Archer Opteryx has responded

Rob 
Suspended Member (Idle past 4021 days)
Posts: 2297
Joined: 06-01-2006


Message 6 of 105 (398706)
05-02-2007 9:55 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by Nuggin
05-02-2007 3:24 AM


Re: What is evil?
Nuggin:
Don't think you can ask "Does evil exist?" without first answering the question "What is evil?"

I don't mean, name an action or historical event or person which is an example of "evil". That's not going to forward the debate.

I mean, how do we define evil?

I ask that you listen very carefully. I am going to look at the logic of this and it requires that we prepare for tough and deep observation of issue. No flippancy need apply.

Evil is not something you can directly observed in terms of a definition (as you showed with Dictionary.com's defference to morality) because it keeps shifting to something else. That does not mean however that we can deny it's existence, because the same applies to 'matter' or light.

If you can deny evil based upon your argument, then I can deny the material universe and my own existence.

Very quickly (as Kuresus perceived) logic itself vaporously dissintigrates into muddled states of confusion.

Evil is something you cannot define emperically, but neither is 'matter'. Do you believe in atoms?

In both cases, to deny it's existence is to make a logically contradictory statement. Read this sentance and plug either of the two into it: [qs]If evil [/ matter] does not exist, then when you say 'evil [/ matter]', what exactly are you talking about?[/qs]

The denial of either (and we're focusing upon evil) is strictly 'unaffirmable'. And the fact that it is self defeating and contradictory, proves that it is false. I am of course assuming, that logic is our only valid tool in examining this philosophically. And my assumption is also self evident and inarguable, unless you are prepaered to embrace incoherence and contradiction as an acceptable argument. Yet all I see, is you demanding it from me.

You know... Ravi Zacharius tells the story of being on an airplane after leaving a major asian city that he did not name. He happened to be sitting next to a Dutch woman, and after some pleasantries discovered that she was also a Christian.

He asked her what she had been doing in that country and she told him she was involved in rescuing children from some horrible conditions that absoultely debased human dignity.

She said that on this trip she saw the worst thing she had ever seen. She said 'there is a place in the city we just left called Snake Alley. It is a place where the men come after work and are given a concoction of liquor and snakes blood. It ravages the mind. Then thay are treated to their hearts desire even though they make their request before consuming the beverage'.

She said, 'Mr Zacharius, I rescued an 18 month old baby girl from the hands of a man who was sexually devestating her.'

And in relating the story to the denial of evil, Ravi asked: 'You want to tell me there is no such things as evil?

You want to call that deviant...

aberant...

A SLIP?

We simply cannot deny the reality of evil, and that it is antithetical to peace, justice, mercy, truth, order, and God in all of it's levels of clever maneuvering. It's inane attempts to remain hidden and undiscovered reveal the desperate wickedness of your heart and mine that the Bible so clearly proclaims.

Edited by Rob, : No reason given.

Edited by Rob, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by Nuggin, posted 05-02-2007 3:24 AM Nuggin has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 12 by Nuggin, posted 05-02-2007 11:15 AM Rob has responded

  
Rob 
Suspended Member (Idle past 4021 days)
Posts: 2297
Joined: 06-01-2006


Message 7 of 105 (398707)
05-02-2007 10:03 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by Archer Opteryx
05-02-2007 8:46 AM


Peace and patience
Archer:
Please define evil and good as you use the terms.

Please define nature as you use the term. Then delineate between the two ideas of 'non-nature' you are putting into play: the unnatural and the supernatural.

Define matter for me Archer...

If you want nature and non-nature (in the ultimate sense beyond the material) read message 6.

But if you disagree, then perhaps you can explain to me how the illustration I gave to dramatize my theoretical logic, is actually an improper application to the every day world.

Everyone take their time. We're getting to the heart of the matter. We're euphamistically applying the 'scanning electron microscope' of logic, to observe the implications of denying the reality of evil.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by Archer Opteryx, posted 05-02-2007 8:46 AM Archer Opteryx has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 61 by Archer Opteryx, posted 05-03-2007 5:13 AM Rob has not yet responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 18494
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 8 of 105 (398712)
05-02-2007 10:05 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Rob
05-02-2007 2:23 AM


Evil is a subjective human assessment dependent upon the person. For example, most people in America view 911 as evil. Many in the Islamic world view America as evil and 911 as deserved retribution.

There are literally limitless examples of this type clearly showing that evil is a subjectively human construct.

Rob writes:

I believe it is absurd to label everything as natural.

As has been pointed out in another thread, "natural" has many definitions. You could try tidying up your definitions, but a better approach might be to eschew a focus on definitions and instead just explain your position in greater detail, which you're going to have to do eventually anyway.

I think what you're trying to argue is that qualities like evil, deceit, envy, greed, etc., are departures from what is natural. But if we're all evil, as you argued in another thread, then everyone is a departure from the natural. If no one actually conforms to your concept of what is natural, then it only exists as a sort of ideal and not as a reality.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Rob, posted 05-02-2007 2:23 AM Rob has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by Rob, posted 05-02-2007 10:24 AM Percy has responded

  
Rob 
Suspended Member (Idle past 4021 days)
Posts: 2297
Joined: 06-01-2006


Message 9 of 105 (398715)
05-02-2007 10:24 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by Percy
05-02-2007 10:05 AM


Percy:
I think what you're trying to argue is that qualities like evil, deceit, envy, greed, etc., are departures from what is natural. But if we're all evil, as you argued in another thread, then everyone is a departure from the natural. If no one actually conforms to your concept of what is natural, then it only exists as a sort of ideal and not as a reality.

So, you deny the purity of Christ, and therefore the resolution to these problems and questions that you proclaim exist and are insoluble for me?

It simply depends upon what you believe in.

This message encapsulates the difficulty: www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=12&t=462&m=7#6 -->www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=12&t=462&m=7#6">http://www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=12&t=462&m=7#6

Perhpas you can begin to perceive how interrelated these recent posts of mine are. I hope someone catches the Spirit of it, for it's purposes are honest and pure.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by Percy, posted 05-02-2007 10:05 AM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 10 by Percy, posted 05-02-2007 10:45 AM Rob has not yet responded
 Message 11 by Thugpreacha, posted 05-02-2007 10:52 AM Rob has responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 18494
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 10 of 105 (398717)
05-02-2007 10:45 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by Rob
05-02-2007 10:24 AM


Rob writes:

So, you deny the purity of Christ, and therefore the resolution to these problems and questions that you proclaim exist and are insoluble for me?

Rob, a few points:

  1. The words "purity" and "Christ" do not even appear in my message. I was making no such comment.

  2. Since I'm not a Christian, I would be unlikely to introduce the issue of the purity of Christ.

  3. Since this is a science thread, the issue of the purity of Christ is off-topic. Would you like this thread moved to Faith and Belief where you could explore such issues?

Returning to the actual topic, I was only explaining that the concepts you've mentioned, evil and so forth, are subjective human assessments. And if we're all evil, as you argued in another thread, then everyone is a departure from the natural. If no one actually conforms to your concept of what is natural, then it only exists as a sort of ideal and not as a reality.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by Rob, posted 05-02-2007 10:24 AM Rob has not yet responded

  
Thugpreacha
Member
Posts: 12445
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 11 of 105 (398720)
05-02-2007 10:52 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by Rob
05-02-2007 10:24 AM


Worldviews and Creation/Evolution
Rob writes:

Perhpas you can begin to perceive how interrelated these recent posts of mine are. I hope someone catches the Spirit of it, for it's purposes are honest and pure.

Rob,in my thread writes:

And that has been my most difficult struggle; to realize that I cannot persuade anyone. That the truth is nonsense to them. It absolutely kills me, and seems so unfair...

But are you sure that the truth is nonsense to Percy? I do not see him as an unwitting tool of Satan...after all, were it not for him, you and I would not be able to have a soapbox for Gods cause!

Belief in evolution tends to produce worldviews that say that humans are a product of their environment (nature)
Belief in a Creator tends to produce worldviews that say that humans are a product of their decisions (nurture)

Does that make any sense? If humans were evil by nature, evil would be natural and God would be a human construct or a reality that everyone will face one way or another.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by Rob, posted 05-02-2007 10:24 AM Rob has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 35 by Rob, posted 05-03-2007 12:47 AM Thugpreacha has not yet responded

Nuggin
Member (Idle past 665 days)
Posts: 2965
From: Los Angeles, CA USA
Joined: 08-09-2005


Message 12 of 105 (398724)
05-02-2007 11:15 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by Rob
05-02-2007 9:55 AM


Re: What is evil?
You've made a poor arguement when you said that "evil" is like "light" or "matter".

Obviously, both light and matter can be empirically observed. Where as "evil" can not.

An action can be observed, it can be labelled "evil", but the action is still the action. It's the opinion of the observer about the action that makes it evil.

Here's an example -
During the Inquisition, heretics were often killed and that was good. Ask any of the inquisitors.

Your better argument, one that you almost made, would be this:

Evil is like pornagraphy, we know it when we see it. (a la the supreme court's definition of porn).

(Please note I am NOT claiming the pornagraphy is evil)

It seems from your examples and reasoning that you feel evil is subjective. That is fine, but then the debate becomes "what do think charactorizes evil and why?"

If on the other hand you feel that evil is objective, you should be able to give a rock solid efinition.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by Rob, posted 05-02-2007 9:55 AM Rob has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 13 by Taz, posted 05-02-2007 12:41 PM Nuggin has responded
 Message 20 by Dr Adequate, posted 05-02-2007 2:59 PM Nuggin has not yet responded
 Message 31 by Rob, posted 05-03-2007 12:25 AM Nuggin has responded

  
Taz
Member (Idle past 1464 days)
Posts: 5069
From: Zerus
Joined: 07-18-2006


Message 13 of 105 (398740)
05-02-2007 12:41 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by Nuggin
05-02-2007 11:15 AM


Re: What is evil?
Nuggin writes:

An action can be observed, it can be labelled "evil", but the action is still the action. It's the opinion of the observer about the action that makes it evil.


Not necessarily. I've been trying for years now to find a common definition of evil that we could all agree on. It's probably a futile attempt, but nonetheless I think I've come close to it. And note, I did not come up with this on my own. Someone in my distant past suggested it to me.

Can we agree that evil is simply the lack of empathy?


Disclaimer:

Occasionally, owing to the deficiency of the English language, I have used he/him/his meaning he or she/him or her/his or her in order to avoid awkwardness of style.

He, him, and his are not intended as exclusively masculine pronouns. They may refer to either sex or to both sexes!


This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by Nuggin, posted 05-02-2007 11:15 AM Nuggin has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 14 by Percy, posted 05-02-2007 1:10 PM Taz has responded
 Message 16 by Nuggin, posted 05-02-2007 1:35 PM Taz has not yet responded
 Message 21 by Tusko, posted 05-02-2007 4:45 PM Taz has not yet responded
 Message 22 by ringo, posted 05-02-2007 5:10 PM Taz has responded
 Message 24 by Archer Opteryx, posted 05-02-2007 8:19 PM Taz has responded

Percy
Member
Posts: 18494
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 14 of 105 (398752)
05-02-2007 1:10 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by Taz
05-02-2007 12:41 PM


Re: What is evil?
Tazmanian Devil writes:

Can we agree that evil is simply the lack of empathy?

Sure we can, but a precise definition of evil isn't the issue. The real issue is the relative nature of evil, or of empathy. Rephrasing my earlier example in terms of empathy rather than evil, Americans view 911 as reflecting a lack of empathy in the Islamic world, while many in the Islamic world view 911 positively and see America as having a lack of empathy regarding the Islamic world. No matter how you define the term, it's still a subjective human concept whose identification is in the eye of the beholder.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by Taz, posted 05-02-2007 12:41 PM Taz has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 15 by Taz, posted 05-02-2007 1:23 PM Percy has responded

  
Taz
Member (Idle past 1464 days)
Posts: 5069
From: Zerus
Joined: 07-18-2006


Message 15 of 105 (398757)
05-02-2007 1:23 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by Percy
05-02-2007 1:10 PM


Re: What is evil?
Hm... I see what you mean, but I still kinda want to see if there's any way evil can be defined in such a way that we all can agree on.

Percy writes:

Rephrasing my earlier example in terms of empathy rather than evil, Americans view 911 as reflecting a lack of empathy in the Islamic world, while many in the Islamic world view 911 positively and see America as having a lack of empathy regarding the Islamic world.


Ok, so we Americans view 911 as reflecting a lack of empathy in the Islamic world... but more precisely just a lack of empathy in a few individuals who came from the Islamic world. You kinda lost me on the second part of your sentence there. Perhaps you meant that how we treat the Islamic world can be described as having a lack of empathy for them, which I completely agree.

Maybe I'm just a moron, I just don't see how 911 can be a relative thing. I don't think those in the Islamic world who thought 911 was just retribution for all the bad things we've done would disagree with me when I say flying a plane into a building to kill thousands is evil. Unless you are a sociopath (and I don't mean this as a put down) such an act, regardless of the cause or purpose, is evil. Now, whether it is a just retribution or not is another matter.


Disclaimer:

Occasionally, owing to the deficiency of the English language, I have used he/him/his meaning he or she/him or her/his or her in order to avoid awkwardness of style.

He, him, and his are not intended as exclusively masculine pronouns. They may refer to either sex or to both sexes!


This message is a reply to:
 Message 14 by Percy, posted 05-02-2007 1:10 PM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 17 by Nuggin, posted 05-02-2007 1:42 PM Taz has not yet responded
 Message 18 by Percy, posted 05-02-2007 2:20 PM Taz has not yet responded

1
234567Next
Newer Topic | Older Topic
Jump to:


Copyright 2001-2018 by EvC Forum, All Rights Reserved

™ Version 4.0 Beta
Innovative software from Qwixotic © 2019