There is no such thing as evil
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17-06-2014, 09:25 AM
RE: There is no such thing as evil
They are just terms we humans used to label two opposing subjective ideas. There are no entities or objective sources behind either one. If someone or something is deemed "evil", there are rational reasons behind why it is that way and why they are place in one bucket or the other. So yeah, fairy tale type terms indeed.

“Truth does not demand belief. Scientists do not join hands every Sunday, singing, yes, gravity is real! I will have faith! I will be strong! I believe in my heart that what goes up, up, up, must come down, down, down. Amen! If they did, we would think they were pretty insecure about it.”
— Dan Barker —
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17-06-2014, 09:52 AM
RE: There is no such thing as evil
(16-06-2014 10:21 PM)evenheathen Wrote:  --- You never boil babies in pots, only Irish atheists do that. You gotta slow roast to perfection! Drooling

Crock pot: get into it. Drinking Beverage

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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17-06-2014, 10:01 AM
RE: There is no such thing as evil
I think evil is a subjective term and as such can have many uses with varying degrees of definition. As a descriptive term, it may become less useful in language because of the various way it can be used.

That child is evil. He just spit in my face.
In this context, I truly don't mean the child is evil through and through, I'm actually referring to the temporary action of spitting and the seemingly intentional way in which it happened, but in language, at least for me, I often will say things that are meant to convey a temporary meaning, not a long lasting one.

These physics problems are pure evil.
In this context, evil is used as something that is harming me from a mental standpoint.

That man who tortured those children and then killed them one by one, slowly for several days is an evil man.
The intentional act of harming another person through torture and slow death, for me, easily fits into the bucket labeled "Evil".

I think there are some instances that acts such as the last one I listed that can have a useful and meaningful label when you call it evil.

Let me also say that by evil, I don't mean having any kind of religious origin, as if the person was possessed by something evil.

Defining the word to cover all usages would be very difficult, but in every day usage, I think we can understand the word if we are given the proper context.

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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17-06-2014, 10:31 AM
RE: There is no such thing as evil
So.... I can't be evil? WTF?


When I want your opinion I'll read your entrails.
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17-06-2014, 10:55 AM
RE: There is no such thing as evil
(17-06-2014 10:31 AM)WitchSabrina Wrote:  ... So.... I can't be evil?

Apparently not. You're limited to bad, badder and more badder.

Which is most goodest. Mae West expressed it best:

"When I'm good, I'm very good, but when I'm bad, I'm better."
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17-06-2014, 10:56 AM
RE: There is no such thing as evil
(17-06-2014 10:31 AM)WitchSabrina Wrote:  So.... I can't be evil? WTF?


There, there, there. Don't listen to the big old stupid theists, you can be just as evil as you want! Heart

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17-06-2014, 12:04 PM
RE: There is no such thing as evil
(17-06-2014 10:31 AM)WitchSabrina Wrote:  So.... I can't be evil? WTF?


You can do whatever you want to do, and we'll all sit around and subjectively judge you, calling you things like: good, evil, awesome, terrifying, pretty, crazy, pretty crazy, or witchy.
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17-06-2014, 12:34 PM
RE: There is no such thing as evil
The Yahveh character in the bible is definitive evil.
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17-06-2014, 01:46 PM (This post was last modified: 17-06-2014 03:03 PM by Stevil.)
RE: There is no such thing as evil
(17-06-2014 04:51 AM)Luminon Wrote:  So what would you do if I provided you an objective definition of good and evil?
I'd try to understand it, I would try to find weaknesses in your definition. I'd raise my concerns.

(17-06-2014 04:51 AM)Luminon Wrote:  What difference would it make in your life?
Probably none.

(17-06-2014 04:51 AM)Luminon Wrote:  Do you have a deep, almost religious desire to be a good person and to do good?
I have no interest in being good, unless of course, there a real tangible benefit in it for me personally, then I might consider being good. Actually, if there is a real tangible benefit in it for me to be evil then I would consider being evil. I think the good/evil distinction is irrelevant. I'm just interested in the benefits for myself.

(17-06-2014 04:51 AM)Luminon Wrote:  Is caution about definitions the last thing stopping you from spreading and teaching the message of good and fighting evil?
What stops me are the following:
1. I have no belief in good or evil
2. I have no incentive to care about good or evil
3. I think a distinction of good and evil increases the likelihood a person will justify violent behaviour, oppressive behaviour, possibly justify a war.
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17-06-2014, 03:10 PM
RE: There is no such thing as evil
(17-06-2014 05:31 AM)One Above All Wrote:  Incredible. So you were raised without a sense of morality, without even hearing the terms "good" and "evil", yet you arrived at a definition that just happened to be a generalized version of other people's definitions of "good"? You must have supernatural powers! Seriously, what number am I thinking of?
I wasn't raised without a sense of morality, I was raised in an outright evil way. Evil people are very well aware of what is good and they say it and teach it, they just choose to do exactly the opposite. It wouldn't be evil if all people were evil, in the same way that stealing wouldn't be a big taboo if everyone in the world were thieves. But one thief in a world of many non-thieves, that is what evil is about.

Well, I see you have very little interest in what I say. You want to get back at me verbally, not by actually understanding and de-bunking my arguments, so these are not the droids you're looking for.

(17-06-2014 06:15 AM)DLJ Wrote:  
(17-06-2014 04:51 AM)Luminon Wrote:  ...
Variability is maximal in a certain kind of order, which is a cybernetic hierarchical arrangement, the arrangement from the greatest complexity to the lowest.

Oh! That old one! How did I know you were going to say that?

Actually, I agree with what you wrote.


Ah! Except for the bit about good and evil.

That's just my my objective opinion though. Consider
Looks like you're the only one who understands me right away. How did I arrive at the good and evil? By testing. I took known examples of good and evil from history that have to be explained by my theory. My theory would be useless if it labelled Nazism as good and abolition of slavery as bad.

Nazism was bad because of a plenty known reasons. But how do we generalize these reasons so that they fit into some efficient theory? We could say that both Nazism and slavery were bad, because human beings were classified as less than human beings. How do we know that? Well, we could say slavery is valuing force, money, profit and cotton above human beings, which is what it was about. Well, but what if it was just a normal economic activity, necessary at this point of of technological progress?

Another test is, if something is wrong, it is not the natural state. It is not done universally. Humans are not species that naturally slave away at fields of cotton or who naturally jump into gas chambers. Not only this behavior is not voluntary, it's not universal either. Ask yourself, would everyone want to do that? Things that are not universal are extremely problematic, because someone gets to decide who does what. This non-universality or arbitrary split between human beings is a big red flag of evil. Evil is inconsistent, arbitrary, non-universal, special cultural rules.

Basically, it is about looking for things that restrict variability of humanity as a whole and for priorities that arbitrarily restrict variability of certain groups by subordination to other groups or objects (such as religions). This all the same human beings we're talking about, so we can make this kind of judgement. Then check for objective biological differences, such as childhood dependence, to shoo away the nitpickers.

(17-06-2014 07:13 AM)RobbyPants Wrote:  I'd ask you to prove that it's objective and not subjective.
Well, I'll try. I hope we mean the same thing by objectivity.
We see this kind of arrangement everywhere in nature. Complexity can exist only where order exists. And this order can only be built from greatest complexity and variability to less complex and more specialized extremities, such as the difference between brain and limbs. Computers are built in the same way.

However, natural elemental forces like volcanoes or tsunamis operate differently. They don't really have much choice. They're enormously powerful masses of earth or water. However, their variability is minimal. A tsunami can not be persuaded not to sweep cities. A volcano can not decide not to blow up. Their power has nothing to do with choice. Bacteria have more choice than that.
This kind of raw elemental power tends to destroy complexity, such as human life. Complexity, such as human brain and reason, can only exist when it is in control of things, when it is valued above brute force. A brain in control of nature leads to building civilization and great complexity. A nature in control of a brain leads to some big cat having a good dinner. Some arrangements of priority tend to lead to a more complex results, some don't.
In the final effect, a complex society may command greater forces than a volcano or tsunami, and safely. Wrong order of priorities always leads to loss of possibilities. Of course, complexity does not equal goodness. Complexity is sooner or later reduced into an abstract form. For example, having a lot of electronic devices is useful, but it is even better if all their functions fit into one small device, that is basically a computer with various software.

So the goodness is not in form, but in the order how everything is arranged, from the most abstract (general, free, variable) to the most specific and least free things. The greatest lesson of this is, things change, so we have to re-formulate this order every once a while, when new technologies arrive, so the order of abstraction remains the same. However, this kind of order makes it easier to make non-violent changes.

Does that make any sense to you? I use the force metaphor, because in the original theory I draw a lot of parallels to natural (electric) force, matter and so on.

(17-06-2014 07:13 AM)RobbyPants Wrote:  No. It's stopping me from conceptualizing the world in overly simplistic ways akin to the cartoons my daughter watches. I still think there are things we should strive to achieve and others to avoid. I just don't run around with a bucket of white paint, a bucket of black paint, and a brush to try and make my world more comfortable or easier to understand.
OK, so how do you feel about scientific method and Bible? Do you paint the scientific method all white and the Bible as a method of knowledge all black? Isn't that overly simplistic and too comfortable to just dismiss God's word about how the world was created?
Are you comfortable with an idea that sometimes things are black and white?

(17-06-2014 07:13 AM)RobbyPants Wrote:  So, I tend to evaluate things more based on concepts like harm, honesty, greed, charity, and selfishness. Sure, some of those labels might look more white or more black than others, but I'm not going to waste my time conceptualizing my actions with a man-made construct based on stories of an invisible cosmic battle just to make things simple or convenient.

These concepts will serve you good within your culture. You may encounter problems when you go to another culture, meet a politician or some annoying person asks you to define them objectively. No need to right now, just sayin'. That's where my job starts.
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