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Old 03-11-2012, 07:09 PM
Balthier Bunansa Balthier Bunansa is a female British Antarctic Territory Balthier Bunansa is offline
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Arrow Do Good and Evil Exist?

Warning: Loyal Christians and whatever religion you serve in, remember this is Serious Discussion.

Throughout history, there have been 'evil' men and women. Sargon of Akkad was probably the first person, ever, to lust after another kingdom and take it for his own. As of today, we have Mr. Joseph Kony, who kidnaps African children and has special forces on his back. But I have a question: Are they really 'evil', or just another interpretation of our minds that deems them to be?

Evil, as we all know, is a nature which resides in us and comes out when we are especially greedy or nasty. That, at least, is what all concepts of evil boild down to. What we look at is us as the 'good' side, the side full of holy worshippers and hardworking people to keep our economy and our structure of life at peace. Anybody who denies us that right and works to prevent us from doing so is, in our eyes, 'evil.'

Let's take a look at ourselves for a minute. Are we all good people? No, we aren't, and people who can accept that are 'wise.' But are they really? Who laid the foundations for what is right and what is wrong? Was it God? Was it our leaders? Was it the people? No one an say for certain, which is why I ask, is there really such a base concept of the classic, "He's bad and his actions dictate so, so I, the good one, must go forth."

If you are a tl;dr type of person, read this:

"A man walks through the woods when he meets a hermit gathering sticks for a fire. The hermit attacks him, ties him up clumsily, and starts his true intention: Burning down the forest. The man could break free and stop the hermit, but should he? Does he appeal to man's 'darker' nature, which has never been confirmed, and does not stop the hermit, or will he apply justice, which is almost as corrupt as evil what with the stern judges of society? What would you do, if for some reason the fire would not hurt you but burn down the whole forest?"
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Old 03-11-2012, 07:47 PM
Jaime Lannister Sweden Jaime Lannister is offline
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Re: Do Good and Evil Exist?

good and evil are related to your morals.

morals are subjective.

what makes a person good and what makes a person evil will vary from person to person.
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Old 03-11-2012, 07:54 PM
John John is a male Canada John is offline
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Re: Do Good and Evil Exist?

Gamzee's pretty much got it.

Evil exists in the sense that there are people that do things that other people consider evil. However, different people will disagree on what is or isn't evil, so it isn't one thing.

It's like "heat". Heat exists, but what counts as "warm" will differ depending on quite a few things.
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Old 03-12-2012, 03:21 AM
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Re: Do Good and Evil Exist?

Good and evil are related to morality, which is applicable to all humans at all times since they have had self-awareness.

Morality is not relative; neither are good and evil. Evil can be identified as a violation of the moral order. What the moral order is is up for debate, but that does not make it inherently relative.
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Old 03-12-2012, 04:40 AM
Jordan Jordan is offline
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Re: Do Good and Evil Exist?

It is absolutely relative. Nobody really ever considers him or herself evil.
Last Edited by Jordan; 03-12-2012 at 04:42 AM. Reason: Reply With Quote
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Old 03-12-2012, 05:29 AM
Pendragon1995 Pendragon1995 is a male Canada Pendragon1995 is offline
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Re: Do Good and Evil Exist?

On an extension to what Gazmee brought forwards, I believe that good and evil varies not only from person to person, but from culture to culture. While the Western culture believes honour killings are wrong, other cultures might disagree (see Shafia murder trial).
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Old 03-12-2012, 06:41 AM
Great White North Great White North is a male Prussia Great White North is offline
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Re: Do Good and Evil Exist?

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Originally Posted by Hannelore View Post
If there is an objective morality, our minds do not have enough computing power to possibly ever comprehend it.
Not necessarily. We just lack the ability to identify it.
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Old 03-12-2012, 06:59 AM
Balthier Bunansa Balthier Bunansa is a female British Antarctic Territory Balthier Bunansa is offline
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Re: Do Good and Evil Exist?

If we can call men like Kony evil, we certainly have the power to identify it. But a concept of 'evil' may not exist, therefore we do not have the right and power to dictate your fate. But we do. Is that not as 'evil' as well?
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Old 03-12-2012, 10:00 AM
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Re: Do Good and Evil Exist?





Yup, they do.
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Old 03-12-2012, 10:23 AM
Left4Cuccos Left4Cuccos is a male United States Left4Cuccos is offline
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Re: Do Good and Evil Exist?

It is not up for dispute that people will disagree on what is good and what is evil. But we shouldn't just assume that this fact of the matter makes what actually is good and what actually is evil dependent upon the opinion of the person asked. Morality is a very obscure subject, and there isn't consensus among moral philosophers.

Just because people before Newton didn't understand the mathematics of physics at all doesn't mean that everyone's opinion was equally correct.
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Old 03-12-2012, 10:30 PM
theunabletable theunabletable is a male United States theunabletable is offline
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Re: Do Good and Evil Exist?

Quote:
Not necessarily. We just lack the ability to identify it.
Why would we think it exists, then haha?
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Old 03-13-2012, 01:59 AM
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Re: Do Good and Evil Exist?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Left4Cuccos View Post
Just because people before Newton didn't understand the mathematics of physics at all doesn't mean that everyone's opinion was equally correct.
Indeed. But science in general is a very factual matter, whereas morality is not.
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Old 03-13-2012, 02:20 AM
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Re: Do Good and Evil Exist?

Good and evil exists in your mind. You can form your own ideas of what is "good" and what is "bad," or you can refuse to believe the ideas entirely.
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Old 03-13-2012, 04:28 AM
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Re: Do Good and Evil Exist?

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Originally Posted by Hannelore View Post
I will say however, that just because morality cannot be objectively deduced. I do not share a belief that relativism is something that should be respected in its extreme form. There are many cases in the world in which I do not believe a culture should have a right to perform actions which I perceive as being wrong.
Oh indeed. I don't advocate the "extreme" form of moral relativism either, where we are to tolerate atrocities that are committed because it is acceptable within that community.

Having said that, the "extreme" form of moral relativism is somewhat of a paradox, as it basically states that "nobody is right when it comes to morality" (which is what all kinds of moral relativism state), but then turns around and says "that other person is right and you are wrong when it comes to morality".

Here's a quote of mine I dug up from an earlier thread on the topic:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Double penetrAtion View Post
Saying "he believes he is justified, therefore I shouldn't act against him" is the exact opposite of moral relativism, as it implies that I should adhere to another's set of rules instead of my own, that [a criminal] is some kind of moral arbiter (which moral relativists don't believe in).
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Last Edited by Double A; 03-13-2012 at 04:39 AM. Reason: Reply With Quote
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Old 03-13-2012, 07:16 AM
Valhelm Valhelm is a male United States Valhelm is offline
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Re: Do Good and Evil Exist?

While I personally believe that thousands of persons throughout history have been evil, just as Gamzee said, all moral labels are subjective. A more compelling question would be if people deemed evil by society consider themselves to be so. I doubt Adolf Hitler considered himself evil, but what about a completely sane serial killer?
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Old 03-13-2012, 11:19 AM
Left4Cuccos Left4Cuccos is a male United States Left4Cuccos is offline
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Re: Do Good and Evil Exist?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Double penetrAtion View Post
Indeed. But science in general is a very factual matter, whereas morality is not.
In what ways? It could just be that the facts of morality are much more difficult to isolate and analyze, as they don't deal with physical objects (other than humans, trivially, but I don't mean in that sense).

Btw, for everyone my last post was directed at, the current (as of 2009) leaning of moral philosophers is toward moral realism (at that link, go down to the Meta-ethics section), which Wikipedia describes thusly:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wikipedia Moral Realism article
Moral realism is the meta-ethical view which claims that:

1. Ethical sentences express propositions.
2. Some such propositions are true.
3. Those propositions are made true by objective features of the world, independent of subjective opinion.

This makes moral realism a non-nihilist form of cognitivism. Moral realism stands in opposition to all forms of moral anti-realism, including ethical subjectivism (which denies that moral propositions refer to objective facts), error theory (which denies that any moral propositions are true), and non-cognitivism (which denies that moral sentences express propositions at all). Within moral realism, the two main subdivisions are ethical naturalism and ethical non-naturalism.

According to Richard Boyd,[1] moral realism means that:

"Moral statements are the sorts of statements which are (or which express propositions which are) true or false (or approximately true, largely false, etc.);
"The truth or falsity (approximate truth...) of moral statements is largely independent of our moral opinions, theories, etc.;
"Ordinary canons of moral reasoning—together with ordinary canons of scientific and everyday factual reasoning—constitute, under many circumstances at least, a reliable method for obtaining and improving (approximate) moral knowledge."

Most philosophers today accept or lean towards moral realism, as do most meta-ethicists, and twice as many philosophers accept or lean towards moral realism as accept or lean towards moral anti-realism.[2] Some examples of robust moral realists include David Brink, John McDowell, Peter Railton,[3] Geoffrey Sayre-McCord,[4] Michael Smith, Terence Cuneo,[5] Russ Shafer-Landau,[6] G.E. Moore,[7] John Finnis, Richard Boyd, Nicholas Sturgeon,[8] Thomas Nagel, and Plato. Norman Geras has argued that Karl Marx was a moral realist.[9]
I haven't been able to place myself firmly in any camp yet, but moral philosophy is a lot more complex than I've seen many people on forums make it out to be, and I like to make people aware of said fact. Disagreement on what is moral and what is not shows, without a deep investigation, only that the issues are difficult to resolve, not that they resolve differently depending solely, partly, or perhaps even at all, on the opinion of the subject.
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Old 03-13-2012, 12:22 PM
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Re: Do Good and Evil Exist?

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Originally Posted by Axis View Post
Good and evil exists in your mind. You can form your own ideas of what is "good" and what is "bad," or you can refuse to believe the ideas entirely.
I disagree, if someone kills thousands of people due to a difference in opinion regarding religion or politics, surely that person is evil? They are taking life away from a real person, Chairman Mao, Stalin and Hitler are evil people who massacred thousands upon thousands of their own people simply due to a difference in opinion.

However, I think Good is harder to identify and can often be overlooked.
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Old 03-13-2012, 01:04 PM
Double A Double A is a male New Zealand Double A is online now
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Re: Do Good and Evil Exist?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Left4Cuccos View Post
In what ways? It could just be that the facts of morality are much more difficult to isolate and analyze, as they don't deal with physical objects (other than humans, trivially, but I don't mean in that sense).
It could be, but the burden of proof is on you to demonstrate this. I made the claim that morality isn't a factul matter simply because we've been given no reason to believe it is. No examples have been given of moral "truths".
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Old 03-13-2012, 03:28 PM
Momo Momo is a male Sweden Momo is offline
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Re: Do Good and Evil Exist?

Nothing is so black and white. While I hate using the words "good" and "evil" because I find them so relative to the person, there are some things in this world that I do find evil. Rape. Cold blooded murder. Probably other things but those I think are the most heinous. Child abuse. And I think those are just things written into my DNA, those feelings.

People who we consider "evil" though almost always thought they were doing the right thing. This is controversial, but Hitler thought he was doing the right thing and started off as a frieking failed artist. I definitely think he was evil, but he thought he was doing good.

Also, I believe we are able to recognize things in stories that we are not able to recognize in real life because it would be too..difficult? In Star Wars we see Anakin Skywalker's life, as a young child, A teen, a young adult, and a middle aged man. We see his rise and we see his fall. For me, I sympathize and even empathize with Anakin even if I wouldn't make the same choices he made, but I could see myself doing so under certain circumstances. I feel for him. Yet he is this evil villain by the end, yes redeemed somewhat (up to debate in the end), but I think this is an example where in fantasy people can sympathize with someone we consider to be "evil", but in real life the thought of doing so in incomprehensible.

That's just IMO at least. And I'm not trying to turn this into a Star Wars discussion just using it as an example in my personal experience. So I don't mean to diverge the thread. I have friends who think drinking is evil, that masturbation is evil, and I think those two notions are ridiculous. They are hardcore Christians though (no offense meant).
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Old 03-13-2012, 03:41 PM
Aenglaan Aenglaan is a male United States Aenglaan is offline
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Re: Do Good and Evil Exist?

As it's been stated before, good and evil are relative not absolute. As it's been stated before, many people such as Hitler or Mao, etc, who have committed atrocities such as genocide believed they were doing the right thing. If I were to say what is truly good or bad, I would base it on what sort of actions benefit or hurt individuals and groups.
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