Nicholas Lukowiak

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What is evil?

*Back by popular demand"

Consider the following into your answers (If you want):

Is evil real?
Is it tangible?
Is it taught, learned, or absorbed?
Is it in nature or just in human nature?
Can you measure evil?
Are there evil people?
What is the opposite of evil? Is there one?
What creates evil?

"... it touches on ethics, morals, philosophy, perception, life, and many other things that we consider close to us" - Birdia Tak Wai Chan

Let's have a good discussion here. This question really can be tackled from every direction regarding thought.

**A side note: An idea worth spreading = thinking in open-ended terms can lead to a lot of different thoughts being connected, which is how a great thought is created. Being specific doesn't necessarily mean the answers are going to specific or good anyways nor any better.**

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    Apr 29 2011: Theres nothing called evil deed. Deeds are not evil, its the intend which can be evil.

    The intend behind a deed is more important than the deed in determining the evil involved in it.
    An the intend while doing that deed depends on the way we think.
    Again, the way we think depends on our ambience and pepoles arround whom we r brought up... It depends on what we have seen, heared, experienced and known in our life since then.

    So, what u call as an evil deed, is not about the person who does that or the convict... Its a product of the society.
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      Apr 29 2011: Suppose that I accept your theory ................. but why the society make products which are the evil itself ? , the society isn't made up from human beings?
      • Apr 29 2011: yeah I also think it's a bit too easy to dump all your responsibilities on society. We human beings tend to use a lot of scrapegoats to get rid of our culpability: God? Bad luck? Karma? Society? Society is shaped by each of us. If something's wrong with the world, it's just because we all didn't try hard enough as a whole.
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          Apr 29 2011: yes Ruining ............... I can tell I think without to wrong that we are the society and when we say that the evil:"Its a product of the society." we say in fact that the evil is the product of us.
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          Apr 29 2011: mr. Wang, i agree with you. If theres anything wrong its just beacos we didnt tried hard as a whole..
          We dont hv to dump the responsability on society always... Before doing that we have to contribute our part.
          As we know, a house is the smallest unit of a society. And to eliminate evil.... We should start from our houses, by eliminating evils in ourselves. Society as a whole cant do it for once.
          And simply implimenting a tough judiciary alone cant eliminate evils from society,..
          Fear of getting punished may prevent a few from beeing evil but not everyone.
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        Apr 29 2011: yeah, eduard..
        We made the society And everything that exist in a society..
        Evil and good are both its byproducts...i think.

        The term "evil" arise cos we belive that, everyone have the right to live in this world peacefuly as much as we have...
        and anything that denies a peaceful life for someone or anyting that becomes injustis according to our social laws is called as evil.

        On the other hand, in jungle...theres no evel no society or community. Its the survival of the fitest. U can do anything to survive, no matter how difficult will be the life of other creatures because of it.

        If we have to eliminate evil, we have to do good. We have to create a peaceful ambience for the generations coming. We have to talk and think good.
        Which seems impossible in todays world., where medias show more interest in spreading evil and criminal stories than good.,where there is an evil side for every movies made, where the vedio games and play stations offer kids to play action games wch mainly features killing...

        We are living in a world where everyone is intrested to hear evil stories and do evil things...unless they are at the receiving end.
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    Apr 16 2011: This was my previous post, that was very kindly recovered by the admin. Much thanks, I have a few things to add to this which I won't have enough characters in this post. So I will write a short one.

    I think in order to understand evil one has to look at morality, why is morality so culturally meaningful? I'd take a very intuitive guess and say that it somehow promotes the survival of a community. Moral restrictions tell you the limits of what a community values or tolerates. For instance these are two seperate cases but both of them promote survival but may widely be interpreted as good or evil based on their environment. I see my neighbours house on fire and a sense of solidarity prompts me to go in there and help, or call the fire fighters. If other neighbours acted like me. Then some would try and put out th fire, others would call the ambulence and othres would help me drag people out. The chances are that all of us as a unit working together ensures that each one of us has a greater chance of survival. Now we contrast that with wearing a burka. Well how does wearing a burka help anyone survive. The answer is the woman who wears the burka comes from a surrounding where if she doesn't she will get killed. In other words taking it off very plausibly can lead to negative consequences. However note that I am talking about the origin of morals. I am not talking about morals themselves because none of these are universal imperatives, they simply can't be but we make abstractions and codify them as being universal. And although most people will stick to these universals and claim that they are the most important thing in their lives few would be willing to give up their life for them. In a society where muslim women are killed for not wearing burkas will very likely take them down. In a instance where the house of a notorious serial killer is burning down, you wouldn't save him.
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    Apr 22 2011: Yes, evil exists and it is necessary. Necessary because we need evil for good to exist. That's the mechanism used by religions to keep their existence, God created hell because otherwise paradise wouldn't exist, God wouldn't exist. God depends on evil, good depends on evil. We need to know what evil is to know what good is, don't we?
    • Apr 22 2011: Dear Lucas Avelleda,
      evil is created to we can know good. good exist anyway.
      " God created hell because otherwise paradise wouldn't exist, God wouldn't exist": I disagree. existence of heaven does not depend on hell. heaven can exist if hell exist or not. like when Adam was in heaven.
      God not depend on anything.

      God said 3 reason for creating human (3 level)
      the lowest level is human examination.
      but final goal is to human know God.
      before creating human and world God was alone and Intended to be known.
      please note time is a creature of God and time is for human, not for God.
      but when we want to speak there is no way to not use such world.
      the true knowing of God is just possible by Intuition. you just know God (not entity of God) just when you see it by your eye of heart. and when you see it you can not describe it for people by worlds. each human should experience it himself and it is impossible to say that experience to others by words.
      as God has all good attributed unlimited so if some one want to know God, should know the attributes of God. and each attribute can be just by comparing to its opposite attribute.
      so God created a suitable environment to those attributes be known. that environment is our world and universe and all thing is universe is created for human needs. so human is center of creature and all other is for human use.
      so God created Satan (devil or bad attributes) to at opposite of bad attributes, good attributes (attributes of God) be known. and this is possible just when human have option.
      if human have no option like animals, then good and bad has no meaning. and doing good has no value and good (at ext ream God) can not be known. if there is no cruel, then merciful has no meaning.

      http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.qaribullah/11:7
      http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.qaribullah/65:12
      http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.qaribullah/11:118
      http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.qaribullah/51:56

      http://www.ted.com/conversations/2168/life_was_made_to_be_certain_no.html?c=2304
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        Apr 22 2011: If there was no hot water, cold water would just be water, right? If there was no evil, good things would just be things, right?
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        Apr 24 2011: SRA....................I think you are right about almost everything but evil. Good cannot create evil. God allowed for evil to be experienced but God did not create evil. There would be no evil if we had no concept of good. Peace
        • May 3 2011: Dear Helen Hupe,
          right.
          evil is created by human.
          human is free to select do good or evil.
          but from another view of point all of us are doing anything by power of God and we can consider all we do is do of God.
          it is like you have a knife at your hand and cut an apple.
          now the knife cut apple or you?
          we are like a knife at hand of God.
          without power of God we can not move even one millimeter.
          but as human has option it is done by human "select" and so it is a deed of human, not God. while at the same time it is deed of God.
          God punish and reward because of "wisdom"
          no animal has wisdom. just human
          the first thing God created was wisdom
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      • Apr 23 2011: Kathy K,
        cartoons and movie use symbol.
        how you can demonstrate a non-material thing?
      • May 3 2011: Dear Kathy K,
        I disagree soul and sprite are some kind of materials.
        they are completely non material.
        material has some limitations like time, place, dimensions,...
        if some thing is some just a much more subtle form which the human eye is unable to perceive, so it is steel material and still limitations of material.
        but at sleep you go to other city or country of other plant very quick. this shows your soul is not material at all. or you can go to past or future in sleep. so at sleep you are free from limitations of material. does not it enough to show soul is not material at all?
      • May 7 2011: Dear Kathy K,
        "'eyes that see' "
        our soul has eye.
        spiritual things are seen by eye of soul. not by eye of head. but this eye is not open for all people.
        the small example is dreams you see in sleep while your eye of head is closed. its by your eye of soul.

        "Kirlian photography"
        I am sure spritual things can not be detected by any kind of physical and material instrument. and I am not sure what they have photographed but I am sure it has not been a soul. the only way is perhaps spritual things can have some effects on some materials in special cases if they are allowed and may that effect can be photographed. effects like:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C3%A9ance soul of dead people can move objects in special board in Séance. the Séance is banned in Islam. but some people do it.
        please see:
        http://www.parapsych.org/

        "It is this ethereal body which travels"
        its soul, not any body. any kind of material is limited in time and place. just soul has not such limitation. soul is restricted in jail of body.

        why you make it such complicated and make consents like 'subtle' body?
        it is simply soul.
        each human has 4 soul. just some special people like messengers and close friends of God has 5 soul. this is the reason they can see what is in your home now. did you hear the story of Jesus (peace on him) that he could say to people what they did in their home and said to some one: you have hided extra fish in your home, give some of them to this poor woman.
        the 5th soul can see every where at any time.
        http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.sahih/2:87
        http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.sahih/2:253
        http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.sahih/5:110
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      Apr 23 2011: Nope Lucas........God is good and did not create evil. Evil is simply that something is not whole.
      good does not have an opposite.
      • Apr 23 2011: God created evil.
        please read my above post to know why God created evil.
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          Apr 25 2011: God created evil .................. you can't be serious
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        Apr 25 2011: I thought God created everything...
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          Apr 25 2011: you thought and perhaps think very wrong (look what I said below) .................. and you do not are rational when you say something like ........... man everything have a rational explanation
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          Apr 25 2011: I don't see the question Birdia :)
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          Apr 26 2011: Birdia have you read what I said below ? according to it God didn't create everything , He created only the good (and what I said explain the existence of the bad), from where do you have this idea that God created everything?
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        Apr 25 2011: Oh thank you Birdia, haha, sounds like a very rational explanation to me. If God did not created evil, Eduard my friend, we would be facing a huge paradox. There's a Disney short movie that ilustrates what we're trying to say, I'll try to find it and post here.
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          Apr 26 2011: I would like to know this huge paradox .........................
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          Apr 26 2011: God = infinite, omnipotent, and universal

          Had he not created evil to test life, he would not be all that people claim he can be. It is like the Bible and how fictional the stories really are; I mean God created man yet destroys them when they take advantage of what nature presents them? That is saying he made mistakes. God made planted seeds yet we make those same plants illegal. God made man and woman yet women seem to come second in the Koran. How can a man exist without his mother? Like saying you are better than the person who created you. these are all stories Ed. Believing in God to be an absolution cannot come from a book or a religion, it cannot. Religions, books, and people time after time limit the idea of which God can exist in constantly. I say God is love because love is a powerful thing, it can unite the world if placed first into our morality ideals. Not because the Christian think they know what universal love is, they are the biggest sinners in history and no one can deny that. Love is my faith, and I do not even need an almighty God to tell me what I should do or not do morally. I figured it out on my own through educations.

          Paradox = God created everything, but not this one thing.

          God = Reality (start there)
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          Apr 27 2011: About your paradox Nick: God created everything what's good , what's bad/wrong/evil is the perversion of what's good , and this paradox is very easy solved.(you can somehow say that God created the evil it comes implicitly but you see according to what I said He have no blame for it ).

          Sorry Nick but your judgments are utterly nonsense , look only one example : "I mean God created man yet destroys them when they take advantage of what nature presents them? " if God created everything (and of course the man and the nature) He have rights upon us and upon nature , don't you think so ? if God created everything, all is His property and He can destroy everything without no problem because as I've said everything is His.
          or this "God made man and woman yet women seem to come second in the Koran. How can a man exist without his mother?" it is really only nonsense , the answer is very very simple: God created the man(which is exatcly the idea with which you have started).

          Sorry Nick , i wanna be friendy with you but I really don't see how you think (if you think , of course)
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          Apr 27 2011: Ed,

          simply by saying God is unhappy with our decisions is limiting God to me. Making god a reflection of humans, so thus someone had to of created God at that point.
  • Apr 22 2011: "what is evil?" (Satan)
    evil has two meaning: one=bad doing and one=Satan
    Satan is a kind of creature called "Jinn". Jinns are creatures living in earth before human enter earth and now Jinns are living around earth. thy live like human and have their own societies.
    Satan can see human, but humans can not see or measure Jinns.
    Satan (evil) is who caused to Adam exit heaven.
    Satan is enemy of human and not want to any human enter heaven.
    for example when some one say you a damn, you become angry at a moment, at that moment Satan say you:damn him, but other thing say you: you should not be like him and should not damn him. the first is Satan and second is a messenger of God. or when you can have a money but with saying a lie. again evil and messenger of say you: say lie, not ay lie.
    so by obeying or not obeying Satan your deed become evil of good
    first time God coined good and evil and all people know them from God (religion)
    each human has both evil and messenger of God in his heart.
    Jinns have not limit of time and space as they are not material.
    some people has connection to Jinns and get some Information from Jinns, for example contacting to soul of dead people(seance, some people say they can do seance but they are cheater. but some really can), or saying some things about future, or finding lost things, and such abilities is by connecting to Jinns.
    for example:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C3%A9ance
    http://www.otherworldsociety.org
    http://parapsych.org/ (The Parapsychological Association is an international professional organization of scientists and scholars engaged in the study of psi (or 'psychic') experiences, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, psychic healing, and precognition. The primary objective of the PA is to achieve a scientific understanding of these experiences.)
    science still has no clear explain for such experiences.

    what's difference of evil and Satan? maybe evils are child's of Satan.
    http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.qaribullah/36:
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      Apr 22 2011: this is a fine response for the topic, but please keep GOD where GOD is asked for and no where else. I do not understand how you are still allowed to post.
      • May 3 2011: the root of good and evil is from God and religions.
        if no religion existed, no good or evil existed. all humans learned good and evil from God and prophets.
        if you do research find any good or evil had root in religion.
        without God good and evil has no meaning.
        good and evil are related to heaven and hell.
        do you know any other source for good and evil?
        how humans learned good and evil?
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          May 3 2011: I didn't ask nor care what you say anymore S.R

          You can never not talk God on TED.

          Did you even watch the documentaries I posted for you?
      • May 7 2011: Dear Nicholas,
        no, what documentaries you mean?
        here or other topic?
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    Apr 17 2011: I think that evil is primarily intentionally inflicting suffering upon others. That includes all manner of suffering (except when inflicted as in surgery to make someone better.)
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      Apr 17 2011: I think, you should read other peoples thoughts and expand yours Debra because I don't think your wrong but not entirely right either.
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    Apr 16 2011: I think that evil only exists conceptually; there is nothing that is inherently evil, and it's not a measurable quality like hardness or temperature. Whether or not something is considered evil by an individual depends upon their perspective--what seems evil to one person may seem completely legitimate to another.

    Evil isn't tangible.

    Since I don't believe evil really exists as a definitive quality, I can't say it is in nature, although I think that certain elements of human nature are often construed as evil in excess. Namely, these would be things like greed, lust, aggression, etc.

    I don't think you can measure evil, and I don't think that it is fair to call any person evil. We have to keep in mind that a person's motivations are shaped at least in part by factors outside of their control--think serial killers who commit horrible crimes, but do so because they are psychotic, or because they were beaten by sadistic parents during their childhood. It may be popular to refer to certain people, like Hitler, as evil, but I think a fairer term would be sociopathic, or psychotic, perhaps. These terms do more to describe the personalities of people popularly termed as evil.

    Anything that is has to have an opposite; the opposite of evil is good, naturally. Good, like evil, isn't an attribute that really can be said to belong to anyone or anything with certainty.

    People's perceptions create evil--they find it where believe it's appropriate to.
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    Apr 16 2011: I have a rather simple answer.
    Feel free to debate...or reasons why it is insufficient
    (there is a slight problem as the opposite of good can be either bad or evil in English, so this causes some confusion)

    1) There are things that can harm us, and things that can benefit us.
    1.1. things that harm us I shall call bad
    1.2. things that benefit us I shall call good
    2) Each action or event, can contain both good and bad at the same time and in different proportion for the different affected people
    2.1. I imply people, but you can extend this to animals and life in general.
    3) If an action or event that is bad is causally attributed to a human, then we call that bad evil.
    3.1. If an action or event that is good is causally attributed to a human, then we call that good good (hence my problem stated above)

    I might want to stress the social dimension necessary to give "good and evil" any sense at all. "good and bad" don't need a social dimension.
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      Apr 17 2011: So you need [good, holy, positive, or morally/ethically sound] actions to know that [bad, evil, negative, or non-morally/unethically sound] actions to exist?

      You do not cover external actions either. As such I find not doing something to help another being hurt by someone else to prevent/help the actions is contributing to the negative event as a whole. Doing nothing a problem or is it just nothing?

      Good answer though.
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        Apr 18 2011: I don't think I implied that.
        (where did I make such a claim?)

        We can label an action in terms of good/bad and good/evil

        I can imagine a world where there is only harm (though life would be unlikely to exist there) or beneficial (in which case only a few ever growing and unfolding developing entities have non-declining joy)...

        So it does not need to exist. I observe that what I call good and good and what i call bad and evil exist.

        What do you mean by external actions? I think my definition is applicable to any action

        helping: depending on the aid, I guess you are doing something beneficial to a person, so that is Good. If you at the same time (by your action) keep something negative to exist (as in: otherwise it would have ceased to exist), you also did something harmful, and evil (though not intentionally)


        Is doing nothing in a harmful situation for others good or evil?
        It depends on a lot of factors, but it can be both and neither.

        But we have something called reciprocity: If we assist when someone is harmed, they will assist us when we are harmed
        (I know this leads to a debate with a lot of nuances, as we can now come up with numerous cases and examples with different degrees of good, benefit, harm and evil in it)
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    Jun 15 2011: The New York Times had an interesting article[1] on empathy and evil today, and it contained a link to an online empathy test[2].

    Other very interesting online resources on this topic are Michael Sandel ethics course at Harvard[3], and a lecture[4] by Philipe Zimbardo that relates to for example his and Millgrams studies on authority and evil.

    The lesson I learn from many of these is that it don't take exeptionally bad people to make very bad things. It rather seems like evil deeds more often are done out of either ignoarnce, or by people with a small tendency towards lack of empathy and that themself are in a troubled situation at the moment.

    [1] http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/14/science/14scibks.html?ref=science
    [2] http://glennrowe.net/BaronCohen/EmpathyQuotient/EmpathyQuotient.aspx
    [3] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBdfcR-8hEY&feature=BFa&list=SP30C13C91CFFEFEA6&index=1
    [4] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUyDznt5V4I
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      Jun 15 2011: "It rather seems like evil deeds more often are done out of either ignorance, or by people with a small tendency towards lack of empathy and that themself are in a troubled situation at the moment."

      Great conclusion, I agree.

      Thanks for the links and the insight.
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    Jun 15 2011: Evil has no absolute meaning outside of human society. Nor does "good". If you define a God as the giver of moral good only, then he has a nemesis (the giver of evil) who is equal to God in power, and thus God's Godhood vanishes. He is no longer the sovereign of all creation. That is absurd, when the original goal was to conceptualize a being that was supreme in every sense. Such a supreme being cannot be a giver of either good or evil.

    Moral values are crisp reflections of self-preserving anxieties of humans. Stealing is bad because you want to hold on to your possessions. And so on. Rape is also a form of stealing. For the person raped, his/her sense of free will was stolen. For a moment, let's be brutally frank. If rape was such an absolute evil, how come so many people reveal that one of their deepest sexual fantasies was to get raped. Society suppresses the connection of our subconscious with our conscious selves. And then stigmatizes rape "victims", who are now ashamed of their "condition", because they are a part of society. Historically, rape of women of a tribe was seen as stealing of the community's property. The men would then avenge that "property damage" by further damage of actual property or rape of more women.

    Murder is also stealing. The person's life was stolen. But that's not what is "evil". The person's utility to others has been stolen. That utility might be physical, sexual, financial or emotional. How much do you really care about a dead person in the next city? You might condemn it to fulfill your inner societal obligation. By doing so, you are subconsciously contributing to your "insurance policy" against your own murder.

    Kids don't know "right" from "wrong" unless they are taught - this shows morals are not in nature. Of course Judaeo-Christian-Islamic religion denigrates nature, which is a separate topic.
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    Jun 9 2011: Evil is defined by society- one group may be fine with harming anyone who looks, thinks or belives in ways unlike theirs, another may find it ok to enslave others of 'inferior' qualities, others may decide evil is defined by their God and only their God. Evil is therefore very subjective in that way. Which to me implies that it changes according to culture, and therefore cannot be said to have any consistent defination that is universally applicable. Much like the saying that one man's meat is anothers poison. I think that anything that is so transient in its nature is not real. This position therefore poses the question- Is evil real? Or, does evil (or anything else for that matter) have to be universally applicable in order to be real? In my opinion, the answer to the latter question is YES, meaning I take the view that evil is not real. It is a verb used to describe a situation when something goes against the expectations of a certain culture or cultures and therefor is limited in application and understanding to that culture or cultures. In that way, it changes according to who is looking at it, i.e., it is a action or a state of being that gains or reduces in value and stature according to the belief of the observer. It cannot be eradicated because cultures are different & ever changing, and therefore even their own definations of what is "evil" will never be constant. However, if one takes the view that everything that happens has an equal possibility of having a positive and negative impact, then it would appear that evil, if we were to call it one of those outcomes, is just a natural consequence of events. It does not have a right or wrong value. If anything, all it does is tell you whether anything that happens brings to you a positive or a negative result and therefore helps guide you to either maintain the result or change it. And since everything changes constantly, then even that which we find positive or negative today will change.
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    Apr 28 2011: Good people...............Evil is not a stand alone. It is not a thing and cannot be created. One has to pervert good in order to experience evil. Good does not have an opposite. If evil existed you could not create good. You cannot fix evil. We don't need evil to experience good.
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      Apr 28 2011: Exactly, Helen a question for you.

      Do you feel a more 'enlightened' society would have less evil in it? I mean enlightened in the most widely accepted way, Wikipedia is excellent.

      I agree about the we don't need to experience evil to be value good. Bad things would still exist if we were all enlightened; tragedies (natural/human), deaths, attachment, and/or in my opinion lost love.
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        May 1 2011: Oh absolutely Nicholas.............If we were to better understand our own psychology, I do think that we would be much kinder to each other.
    • Apr 28 2011: Dear Helen Hupe,
      human has the option. human is free.
      human can select to create evil or good.
      all depend of decide of human.
      you can say lie or not and can create both. it depends on your decide.
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    Apr 18 2011: A question - Without humans, would there be any good OR evil?
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      Apr 18 2011: Hi Tim, I do not think evil exists independently of consciousness. There is, in my opinion, a strong element of intent in evil. Even under most legal systems there is the concept of 'intent'.
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        Apr 21 2011: Debra:

        I'll repeat a portion of my response to Helen:

        On the issue of intent. Must the act or thought be carried out with the knowledge that it may cause damage? Does simple lack of consideration or caring qualify? Or does any action/thought which might cause damage to others suffice?
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          Apr 21 2011: Hi Tim, these are excellent penetrating questions. For me, to be classified as evil, I think there has to be diliberate disregard for the well being of others. It goes back to the old Catholic concept of sins of omission or sins of comission. There are many unkindnesses in the world by thoughtlessness or selfishness that do not escalate to evil. For me there must be intent or at least wanton disregard to be classiifed as evil. Other stages are perhaps ones that everyone must grow past to be fully human.
          A goofball who drives too fast and runs over a child is not truly evil - nor is a drunk who in trying to cope with his own demons hurts the lives of others but someone who with malice and forethought commits a psychopathic act is evil.
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      Apr 18 2011: While it is instinctive natures (rationalizing, law making, etc) that allow what we humans would claim as evil or good, nature suggests survival of the fittest. However even animals prove in nature that unfavorable actions will be outcast-ed by the majority.

      Indeed, there would remain unfavorable acts in nature, but nothing as unfavorable as humans can do with intelligence behind them.

      So, yes and no.
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      Apr 20 2011: Tim...............Of Course not !
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        Apr 21 2011: Although I would argue that there could be evil relative to other animals, I've noticed that many people insist on a homocentric view on this one.

        In any case it seems we agree that evil is relative. That which may cause bad things to other humans is called evil.

        Where do you stand on the issue of intent. Must the act or thought be carried out with the knowledge that it may cause damage? Does simple lack of consideration or caring qualify? Or does any action/thought which might cause damage to others suffice?
    • Apr 22 2011: Dear Tim Colgan,
      "Without humans, would there be any good OR evil?"

      No, good or evil has meaning just for human.
      good or evil has no meaning when there is no option.
      the only animal with option of choice good or evil is human.
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    Apr 17 2011: wow, what an interesting and open question. i'll have a deeper think about this one.
    i do however like the following quote:
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (Edmund Burke)
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    Apr 16 2011: I want to mention that emotional development must precede morality, initially these were responses that helped humans survive, fear, love, empathy, etc. What happens with morality is that these emotional responses are used as the original source of value and they are further rationalized into specific imperatives. The emotional response is also something people easily get attached too, this could be the reason why ethics is not a straight forward rational approach that promotes survival.

    For instance the trolley ethical dilemma bothers us very much, if morality was a direct instinct to preserve our species the choice would be very obvious but it isn't. Here is the trolley problem:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolley_problem
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        Apr 16 2011: You and me are like Plato and Aristotle. You are pointing up and I am pointing down. I believe that the original source of value is emotion. And "material" attachment is necessary for any kind of philosophical or religious value to be developed.

        The Trolly Problem was my very first introduction into philosophical dilemma. I love discussing it. So can't the same thing be said about the five, what if one of the five had a cure for cancer instead of the one you are thinking about sacrificing?
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          Apr 28 2011: Kathy Brilliant. Aristotle and Plato right.

          Edited: don't push it, respond to my other comments first to prove that. You slipped up on Physics, but that is okay I slip up a lot also. It is learning. Ego must be worked on for me indefinitely.
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        Apr 17 2011: Yes, humans definitely have control over emotions and a sense of responsibility. That conscious layer of thought is what allows us to reflect on our actions. However this also gives humans the freedom to create any value and condition themselves to accept any value.

        That's why moral imperatives don't have to necessarily have a function, in the context of fact they can be completely irrational and absurd. But across cultures and between species there are some striking similarities. that at least gives evidence of specific inclinations in animal behavior from where morals could have predominantly originated although like I mentioned above these inclinations do not have to be the only source.

        Your notion of self sacrifice is evolutionarily adaptive, there are many cases of altruistic animal species. The idea is that although self sacrifice does not promote survival of the one being sacrificed, it does promote the survival of the species as a whole, I've mentioned this before many misinterpret the survival of the fittest to mean only competition but that's wrong.

        You mentioned love, love is an emotional response and a very adaptive one.
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          Apr 17 2011: I am on Budimir side, and one of my favorite answers thus far.
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          Apr 17 2011: Kathy,

          Surely you must agree emotions are in everything we as humans due, our intelligence is a reflection of our emotions. Higher emotional awareness can allow a person to either be able to manipulate emotions for good or for negative actions.

          This is why Budmir is correct, he started with emotions and not the result of emotions.
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        Apr 17 2011: Thanks Nicholas.

        Wow Kathy, Nicholas was not insulting you. If you are on my side that's cool, if you are being sarcastic which I suspect you are lets continue the discussion, it's only the internet at the end of the day you go back to your home I go back to my home like a bunch of drunkards stumbling in the dark. Why not play with the truth as oppossed to absolutely affirm with 100% conviction?
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          Apr 17 2011: Taking his side is agreeing with him, and agreeing with him would be taking his side.

          Ha, wow, seriously? Childish much.

          Edited: Kathy,

          I'm sorry I didn't know your feelings of people being one-sided on TED, but you cannot carry over emotion into every conversation you are going to have and expect the masses to know what you mean or how you feel about something. If you had read most of my comments you would have seen I am just as humanitarian as the next person and that I am very open to being wrong and understanding all points of perceptive. Also that my regards to being on Budmir's side was more so he is putting his thoughts in a very sensible manner with strong beliefs and facts not actually saying he is the better person, lol. So yeah childish is the world. Oh, and I missed the distinction because I am not childish, entirely.
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        Apr 17 2011: Hey glad you are back!!
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          Apr 17 2011: Birdia aren't you going to post?

          You were the original advocate for this question.
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        Apr 18 2011: I don't see it as a contest, it is a discussion so we do take sides but I don't see it as anything extremely competitive

        The only reason why I thought you were sarcastic is because you said you were in the minority. So I assumed you didn't agree with me but I saw it as a playful sarcasm and nothing spiteful.

        It's all a misunderstanding.
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        Apr 18 2011: Agreed.

        I like the cyrillic "lol" :-)
  • Apr 16 2011: Nicholas, Is good real?
    Is it tangible?
    Is it taught, learned or absorbed?
    ......go on
    Take the simple example of a curved arc
    CONCAVE ) CONVEX
    the line which creates the one also automatically creates the other ,each only exists by the virtue of the other.
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      Apr 16 2011: I am trying to define evil, not good here. I know there is good, but that does not mean good can't exist without evil. If everything was done with good intentions the bad would still exist in the form of accidents, tragedies, and uncontrollable events. Good is not the opposite of evil by no means. Because even truly great acts can have selfish reasoning, does that make them any less good?

      Expand on the arc ideal however, I am puzzled by that.
      • Apr 16 2011: What I was trying to say ,that " good " as well as " evil " are conventions,we need because of our ego limitation. If "good" does exist, inevitably it brings "evil" into existance.It's the point of judgement or separation.
        Contemplate on this, well worn quote " Tis nothing good or bad But thinking makes it so"

        Re arc: The two opposites, like all opposites , are not just indissolubly linked, "each only exists by the virtue of its partner "
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    Apr 15 2011: I believe evil lies within ignorance
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      Apr 15 2011: and ignorance roots in refusing information. you could not be more right.
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        Apr 17 2011: also ignorance roots in not seeking information. to add further, thank you Krisztián.
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          Apr 18 2011: How is ignorance evil Nicholas? It might be a condition that supports or encourages it but it is not evil in and of itself. People can be uninformed about a million things and never have the impulse to torture or inflict pain on someone else. Evil has an element of conscious intent in it.
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        Apr 18 2011: Debra,

        Did read the comment right below this one in which I agreed on?

        The first line is now important for two reasons 1. it started it's own bundle of comments and responses 2. It is now the parent of all the thoughts below it (so I cannot remove it even though I am wrong about it not being the entire answer).
    • Apr 16 2011: I diasgree. People can do evil things with full knowledge of their actions.
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        Apr 16 2011: Colby, you are right.

        Maybe evil is without wisdom and knowledge?
        • Apr 16 2011: I would say that evil is without wisdom, but not necessarily knowledge.
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        Apr 17 2011: So if we educated the masses to appreciate wisdom and to be wise, there would be almost no evil?
        • Apr 17 2011: Wisdom is not something that can be taught. Knowledge can be taught. Wisdom is obtained through experience. One can be extremly knowledgeable, but not wise.
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        Apr 18 2011: Now that is just not entirely true.

        However it neglects my question. But now I will rephrase to better suit your definitions. "So if we educated the masses to be knowledgeable which would heighten their experiences, evil would become less active?"
        • Apr 18 2011: Maybe...

          What in my statement is not true? Do you consider an elder gentleman to be wise? Wisdom is a function of age. Knnowledge is not necessarily a function of age.
        • Apr 18 2011: I think evil results from having a distorted perception of the world, which would imply evil is a product of not only ignorance, but also a lack of experience.
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        Apr 18 2011: @ Colby,
        No elder gentlemen do have experience but experience does not mean wisdom ultimately.

        @Austin
        Good point. So, yes to my question? Education would destroy evil ultimately?
        • Apr 18 2011: Yes, Nicholas. Hypothetically, if we could fully educate every person on earth. That's a daunting task... Plus, we would have to continue to properly educate every single newborn.

          This is also assuming that a fully educated individual would never want to intentionally create harm.
        • Apr 18 2011: @ Austin. I am just wondering. When you say evil is a product of ignorance, what do you mean ignorance? Do you mean ignorance of that which is good?

          @ Nicholas. I believe that we can reduce evil in the world. I cannot affrim that it can be entirely eliminated.
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      Apr 18 2011: Ignorance can make one make the wrong decision... so we can be harmful without knowing.

      Ignorance can lead to big mistakes.

      If you would know all consequences of an action, you could make the better decision... but if informed, you can still make the "naive" decision...

      I would say:
      the naive decides to do something; makes mistakes and causes harm
      the informed man decides to do wrong and causes harm

      the latter one does evil.
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        Apr 18 2011: "So if we educated the masses to be knowledgeable which would heighten their experiences (and ultimately their wisdom), evil (the usage/label) would become less active?"
      • Apr 18 2011: I feel more confident agreeing that fully educating everyone would dramatically decrease evil, but not necessarily rid all evil.
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        Apr 18 2011: @ Chris, great conclusion then for this thread.

        @ Austin, exactly
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    May 4 2011: maybe evil was just the first to be disagreed with?
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    May 4 2011: Tim............Thanks for your good wishes...............We have used reward/punishment for eons, but it does not seem to deter us very much, if at all. What I mean is that the time allotted as prison time would be better spent if we were using it to rehabilitate/restore people to sanity.
    Vengeance has no place in our lives. In my opinion heaven is heaven because vengeance is never practiced there Peace (Of course I am not suggesting that we allow sociopaths to run loose in our society. Sometimes we have to lock people away from others and even themselves)
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    May 2 2011: Thank you Debra...........How nice of you to care..
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      May 14 2011: Hi Tim, My response is very delayed because I did not see your question but I still hope you find it down here. I am not sure why you are linking Kohberg and the MRI studies with the monkeys watching a person eat nuts. Is this the study you are referring to. I think those studies are far more about the capacity to link as Bandura taught for learning. IN the Albert Bandura studies it became clear that people learned very well from watching someone else perform a task. The more like you the person was the better. If you want to clarify your question, I'll be happy to elaborate especially on Kohberg.
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    Apr 25 2011: what is evil? ......... is the perversion of what is good that is to say is a perverted good , if the good wouldn't exist we couldn't talk about the evil .

    If you can destroy what I said you would be a god !!!!!!!!
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  • Apr 23 2011: Going through most of these remarks, I think that there is a misconception between some key terms.

    Moral Ontology discusses the questions about about the reality of moral values
    and
    Moral Epistemology discusses the questions about how we come to know moral values.

    I feel that people are making the mistake that human society defines what is moral. Hence, this is why there are many comments about the evolutionary nature of morality. We are aware of the reality that there are moral values (I think everyone can agree on that). However, how we come to know these moral values, is where the diasgreemnt arises. Because how we come to know these moral values is the inherent difference between moral objectivism and moral subjectivism.
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      Apr 27 2011: Hi Helen. Sorry, I lost track of the thread. I looked a bit at what you recommended (Lawrence Kolhberg and Jean Piaget). Sounds a lot like Maslow's hierarchy.

      I still think that at the foundation our social system is a basis in pain/pleasure (reward/punishment). Yes, as we develope we think longer term and we grow in empathy for others, but still we feel no hunger like our own and when we do things for others that aren't appreciated we tend to stop doing those things.
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        Apr 28 2011: Tim.................Reward/Punishment is our basis for justice as I see it. But I think that justice should be rehabilitative and restorative and not punitive. As for your last sentence...............that does not apply to everyone. There are a few...Peace
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          Apr 28 2011: Ah, Helen you are finding good and evil to be an intrinsic value. As was denoted by me by a fellow TEDster.

          Indeed Tim is most correct as another TEDster explains elegantly further.

          Evil deeds are never intentional…
          “Good point, I will assume your definition of evil to include what most western societies consider to be evil in their norm.

          So here is the rule of thumb that I use to distinguish the nature of the act.

          For individually committed "evil" acts it is essential to consider the underlying psychology of the act.

          For mass "evil" acts that span entire communities. It's essential to consider the underlying economics of the act.”
          - Budimir Zdravkovic
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          Apr 29 2011: Helen:

          You may be misunderstanding me. It's not that authoritarian impositions of rewards/punishments are what establish the foundation of our society. It's that life has it's inherent rewards and punishments which motivate our actions.

          Even the case of altruistic behavior. We do it because it feels good.
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        Apr 30 2011: you know Tim , what you said sounds to me more like the selfishness , and if it is truly I perfectly agree with you: that at a foundation of our society is only the selfishenss.
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          May 2 2011: Eduard: Yes, in the end it can all be seen as selfishness.

          But at the same time, we can be empathetically selfish. Which is to say, our genetic make up gives us empathy to others in order to preserve our selves, our group, our species.
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          May 1 2011: Hey Helen! I missed you! Take care of yourself so that you heal completely!
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          May 2 2011: Hi Helen. Sorry to hear about your accident. Glad to hear you are still here. Hope you are well soon.

          Yeah vengeance can be destructive. That's why we need the reward/punishment system to moderate it (both social constraints and legal constraints).
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        May 3 2011: Tim : I agree and in my opinion what you said share us not only that we are selfish but that we are very selfish because generalizing we discover that we use the most unselfish things (like the empathy) for selfish purposes........your words are perfect :"in order to preserve ourselves, our group , our species"....................paradoxically but this is the height of selfishness , we can't be more selfish than you said.
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          May 4 2011: I feel that there is a significant difference between Maslow (whose work has never been supported by research even though it is intuitively attractive and taught everywhere) and Kohberg. Kohberg's thoughts of morality are deep and penetrating and consider moral development and the stages of growth acknowledging that many people are at very different places in their moral developmentt without a religious perspective.

          Tim my best example of altruism in real life is a young child who continues to allow herself to be sexually abused in the face of the threat of the same being done to a younger sibling. Having considered the concept of altruism and self interest pretty deeply - in light of the fact that most people do not believe it even exists due to self interest. I can say that the child that I refer to is not getting any satifaction out of the experience, is not promoting the continuation of the species and simply loves the younger sibling. There are other examples of young children demonstrating such courage.
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          May 5 2011: Debra: I assume you're familiar with the experiments using MRIs where one person (I think the original was a chimpanzee) sees another doing something and has the same brain patterns. How do you interpret that?
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        May 17 2011: @ Nick...............When you understand it all there may be nothing to forgive.
  • Apr 21 2011: It is sort of an odd view I know, but I think evil is just whatever the majority is persuaded to believe is evil.
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      Apr 21 2011: You mean perspectives create what evil and good are considered?

      That was already concluded if that is not what you mean.
      • Apr 21 2011: Sort of but it's a little deeper than that because then you have to ask where the perceptions came from.
        Maybe it's just me but searching for the underlying evolutionary benefit in most things is pretty interesting. I say the majority because after the majority has made up it's mind about how things should be, you are either in or you are out. Of course we have a little more luxury in stance these days, but the underlying premise still remains somewhere in our thoughts I suppose. Although I believe someone made a point close to that previously as well but...
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          Apr 21 2011: excellent,

          you must expand, simply because it is a thought I had without being able to dictate such.

          Now a question for you. The result of America's actions in Iraq and Afghanistan killing over a million civilians, does this make Americans evil for their ignorance of these deeds? Are we in bad nature for not being fully aware of these actions of great destruction?

          I feel this goes into what you are saying but correct me if I am wrong I am intrigued.
      • Apr 22 2011: If we are subject to the will of the majority as social creatures, and the majority is making uniformed and even sometimes ignorant decisions then that's certainly a bad thing.

        Being the only self-aware animals we really should consider ourselves sort of ambassadors.Neglecting that responsibility is like neglecting our children, and being uninformed about issues that have such wide consequences is exactly that.
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    Apr 19 2011: Tim................My reason is that reward and punishment is the first stage of development in a child's learning process. Many people are stuck in this stage although they are chronologicaly adults. Lawrence Kolhberg and Jean Piaget explain this much better than I ever could so if you are interested please Google Lawrence Kohlberg and you will find "Developmental stages of chilhood thru adult learning social skills.. Its a good read and not very long.
  • Apr 19 2011: Goethe's Faust asked the Devil, "Who art thou? and Devil offered the paradoxical reply, " I am part of that spirit which always wills evil and always creates good"

    What does it mean?
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      Apr 17 2011: So evil is riding the roller coaster again and again without realizing it is just a ride?

      You must enjoy Bill Hicks lol.

      Good answer
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        Apr 19 2011: Nic..............Nobody does evil for evil's sake. There is a pay=off in the action....somewhere, somehow.By judging whether the person is guilty of good or evil, all we do is display our own convictions. Please don't think I am for letting sociopaths run loose in society. But a justice system such as we have based on reward/punishment is ridiculous.
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          Apr 19 2011: Good point, I will assume your definition of evil to include what most western societies consider to be evil in their norm.

          So here is the rule of thumb that I use to distinguish the nature of the act.

          For individually committed "evil" acts it is essential to consider the underlying psychology of the act.

          For mass "evil" acts that span entire communities. It's essential to consider the underlying economics of the act.
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          Apr 19 2011: Helen:

          I'm confused as to why you think that a social system based on reward/punishment is ridiculous.

          Isn't that what all social systems are based on?
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        Apr 20 2011: Kathy......Amen !
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        Apr 20 2011: The only thing I am going to dispute here is Karma being the law of Nature.

        That is just non-sense, the law of nature was discovered by humans long before Karma was.
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        Apr 20 2011: You are redefining Karma for your own usage fine. But that is not the traditional use of Karma. Karma involves "action" or "deed" to go outside of human behavior is to say the law of physics. Disputes? post a link would do nicely. Would be good for this thread if you feel Karma is of value involving the topic.
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        Apr 21 2011: I read all of those links, and Karma does not go beyond the human experience.

        Human understanding creates and broaden ideas of self in relation to the universe. Nature is the only absolution, what effects nature is nothing, what works within nature is everything.

        "... is the concept of "action" or "deed", understood as that which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect." Yeah I stop at action or deed because actions or deeds is human not universal. Cause and effects are physics which is universal. Indeed you need the actions and deed prior to the cause and effects when dealing with Karma.

        Lol, nice try to making me seem like a total idiot. But really I read enough literature on Karma to know what I am saying. I am into that stuff you know... religion, literature, spirituality, and humanities.

        Maybe you are the one who should have educated yourself on Karma first eh?

        Even in your explanation of Dharma you only speak of human actions or deeds not universal. Physics is universal cause and effects. Karma is human.

        P.S - relax, just because you clearly do not like me does not mean you cannot be civil, I dislike S.R more than anyone on TED, but he still deserves some respect. Get over yourself.
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        Apr 21 2011: No PHYSICS DEFINE CAUSE AND EFFECT, Karma defines an ideological idea that was created by man to account for bad and good actions.

        I been trying to tell you nature has causes and effect but not by KARMA standards KARMA involves good and bad ideals. NATURE does not have good or bad, NATURE involves survival of the fittest on subatomic to astronomical scales.

        I never disagreed on your original point, I wanted to correct you on Karma now before you continue believing false information. Humans are apart of the universe the universe is not a part of us. We are the result of cause and effect, we can change cause and effect, and even create cause and effects. HOWEVER Karma involves good and bad within human nature, not universal nature.

        I have no idea what you mean by your last statement.
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        Apr 22 2011: Now, you got yourself a good argument.

        Indeed cause and effect was first developed in Karma before physics was developed/discovered, however not being able to understand the universe beyond human experience and perspective does not mean you can generalize Karma as being nature although the founders of Karma chose to, which is purely faith based. It is like suggesting the creationism, whose foundation was created by goat-herders 3000 years ago, is correct even though people then didn't know anything involving the cosmos and biology.

        "The only difference, is that physics limits the laws to 'observable' nature"

        So doesn't that make the principles, laws and relationship not entirely the same?

        "We are beings of light (energy) and as such, ever bit as vital to the universe as the universe is to us. Everything in nature is dependent upon something else. To claim otherwise is to refuse the vital principle of your own nature."

        Yes, we are components of chemicals, atoms, cells, and many non-living opponents. That which is not alive constructs life, is obvious. I do agree many causes create the effects in which we are developed on today. I may have been stretching it in saying the universe is not apart of us, as I just been expressing I agree with that. Metaphysics is also an interest of mine. The study of "relations in relation to relationships" is exceptional to consider due to the fact it is nature.

        Like I said to you energies do exist and maybe humans cannot comprehend them, but what we can comprehend as of now is that we are just animals with an amazing intelligence. To think beyond what we are is good for thought experiments, but not for science. To not consider we are what we are today due to the meaning of all universal life (survival) is carelessness. Cause and effects got us here, not karma.

        Do I still not understand?
  • Apr 16 2011: Evil is an idea and an opinion. Some people who see an action as evil and some see it as good. The only true evil is when you don't see the action as either, for that is a disgrace to the human nature. Humans are naturally going to disagree and the subject of evil and good will be an argument disputed throughout time. I joined TED to teach people my side of arguments, and as i see it, my side is the good side. You can see my reasons as evil, but that's all that evil is, an opinion that can be changed
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      Apr 17 2011: I know there is good, but that does not mean good can't exist without evil. If everything was done with good intentions the bad would still exist in the form of accidents, tragedies, and uncontrollable events. Good is not the opposite of evil by no means. Because even truly great acts can have selfish reasoning, does that make them any less good?

      Darkness does exist therefore it is the level in which light is lacking. Absolute darkness may not exist but darkness does.

      Evil is a level of perception, okay so the more intelligence, the more understanding, the more wisdom we as a race have, the less evil? I can wrap my head around that thought nicely.

      So you would suggest evil is tangible but we as humans do not have the sensory awareness to detect it beyond conclusive evidence? Also interesting claim.

      Now, last question, is there such a thing as total selflessness?
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      Apr 15 2011: It was too "vague" by an Admin's determination please repost and I am sorry if you had a long comment on it, it will not be removed again I promise.
  • Apr 15 2011: Great to hear this topic was able to come back.

    As I said before, evil does exist in the world. It is extremely esay to see it or find its presence and effects. Evil is the lack of due good. What that means is that an act, action or being has no capacity of good.

    Morality is absolute. There is moral objective truth in the world independant of human opinion. An example that I have heard used is "that Nazi anti-Semitism was morally wrong, even though the Nazis who carried out the Holocaust thought that it was good; and it would still be wrong even if the Nazis had won World War II and succeeded in exterminating or brainwashing everybody who disagreed with them." If morality was not absolute, then there would be no evil.
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      Apr 16 2011: Colby,
      Do me the favor and expand on the following parts for me:

      "Evil is the lack of due good. What that means is that an act, action or being has no capacity of good."

      "Morality is absolute.There is moral objective truth in the world independent of human opinion."

      The Nazi party, great example of what influential propaganda can do to brainwash people with religion, thoughts of power, and fantasy thoughts. Hitler knew and the party (the party's supporters) understood what it took control people or were completely mad and it worked. Regardless, their actions were ill influenced and the education was also propaganda filled. I'm sorry not great example, perfect example.
      • Apr 16 2011: In regards to my first comment:

        According to St. Thomas Aquinas, "Evil is not something positive: strictly speaking, it is not a thing at all, but rather the lack of a thing - lack of a thing that ought to be there." Commiting an act of evil occurs when one DELIBERATELY violates the code of morality. This must not be confused with the intention to do good. If one commits a wrong act, it is not necessarily evil. If they have the intention to do good, then they have the capacity to do good. They were just misguided in how they went about accomplishing that.

        In regards to my second comment:

        Moral values are objective and binding independant of human opinion. So, the Holocaust is objectiviely evil, regardless of what people think or believe. We know that rape and murder have always been immoral and always will be immoral. These are wrong regardless what anyone else might think. I believe anyine here on TED will agree with that statement. If there were no absolute moral values than someone like Genghis Khan would be someone to admire (very successful individual), because there is no code to measure his actions against. But, he did morally reprehensible things and we can make this distinction because there is an absolute moral code.

        I hope this clears it up.
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          Apr 16 2011: 1. This code of morality comes from where? I imagine it has to be learned and declared a value by society more than it would be rationalize out of common sense. Survival is more instinctual than doing the right thing. Unless humans are exempt from that, if so, intelligence?

          2. Interesting, "absolute moral code" however cannot be absolute because of my above argument thus far. You only explained absolute evil as being something that is considered evil by the masses, although 99 percent would agree (I hope) the one percent may not see it right away and fully. You have to explain why it is wrong, you have to explain morals.

          I don't think morals are absolute or set into anytime of code, they are learned. Ignorant evil is subjective yes, but it is evil none the less because if it is not corrected it will only continue to practice evil. Evil is tricky.
      • Apr 16 2011: I am confused by your statement " it is evil none the less because if it is not corrected it will only continue to practice evil."

        As I understand it, you are saying that if no one is taught morality than they will just continue to practice evil? Are you saying that humans are inherently evil creatures?
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          Apr 16 2011: The said evil acts of the Nazi Party would have continued if not stopped by the allies of WWII. It is inexcusable evil whether or not it was done so ignorantly.

          I am saying humans are instinctive creatures, if nature called for us to act immorally to survive it wouldn't be immoral because it would be for survival. the fact we have intelligence and we have created general understanding of what is a crime against humanity (moral codes) we are able to agree upon said morals. However education must be applied to morals, not simply just saying the Golden Rule and ending the conversation there.

          Intelligence created the moral code, the moral code is not part of our intelligence.
      • Apr 16 2011: Nicholas,

        In response to you above comment, objective mroal truth comes from God (So, yes intelligence did create the moral code). From how I understand your statement you affirm that there is objective moral truth, because you said "It is inexcusable evil whether or not it was done so ignorantly."

        I agree with you that morals ae learned. They are taught to us from our parents and society as we grow up. Yes, that is true. This is called moral progress. Progress implies that there is some standard being progressed towards (i.e. the objective moral values). Look back on you own life. ou have probably doen things in your youth that you consider to be wrong/immoral right now, at an older age. Or you can look through history and you can see that humanity has progressed towards this objective moral truth.
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          Apr 17 2011: Okay I agree intelligence created the moral code, continues to enhance it and as such evil is less and less capable to exist. Agreed.
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      Apr 21 2011: "Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys." 1 Samuel 15:3

      Colby: Was this good or evil according to your absolute standards?
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        Apr 21 2011: Tim,

        remove this, immediately, to quote a bible and ask if it reflects a concept and/or phrase is very little minded, especially when Colby was not quoting the bible for his explanations. He quoted a philosopher priest. Which there are many and well respected in philosophy academia.
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          Apr 22 2011: "Let's have a good discussion here. This question really can be tackled from every direction regarding thought. "

          But no quoting scripture?
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          Apr 22 2011: Nicholas: Colby raised the point of absolute moral truth. Stating "Morality is absolute. There is moral objective truth in the world independant of human opinion."

          This is a central issue in the discussion of evil. Is it absolute? The purpose of the biblical quote is to illustrate the possibility that perhaps it is not absolute. That in other places and other times what is considered evil is different then what is considered evil now.

          Now if you want to censor arguments in your topics please let me know and I'll make it a point to avoid your discussions
      • Apr 22 2011: I agree, moral value is clearly evolving. What happened to slavery?, didn't women start working and voting not too long ago? didn't the British establishment just indirectly kill Alan Turing less than 60 years ago for being gay even though he saved countless allied lives by decoding the enigma machine and in the same process invent the modern computer? I mean absolute moral value is ridiculous and nothing but. There's an idea we can rightly forget about.
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        Apr 22 2011: Again Colby didn't use a quote from scripture to defend his argument if he had then I would of never said anything. He used a philosopher, if you done so also, I would of never said anything

        Anti-fundamentalism is only okay when the person's only arguments are formed on their fundamental beliefs involving religion. Colby argument may be based on his beliefs but he did not make that apparent it was assumption based, yes, it is easy to know Colby is religious because of other threads, however to attack a claim that is not being directly defended by religion and to use a scripture of religion to disclaim it, is not the best way to change minds.

        Leave the comment, but morals and ideas of evil do go beyond religion and if they begin there that is not necessarily bad.

        I am not about censoring unless it can be interpreted as offensive on a personal level.

        I know you can argue "morality as an absolution" without having to use scriptures that to me is obvious from what you put out in regards to other threads, and your threads.