The problem with Evil

Nick333

Honorary Master
Joined
Nov 17, 2005
Messages
34,500
Ah someone who thinks the way I do. Good and evil are human concepts/judgements. I will give a few examples. In animal species, often the weak and flawed offspring are killed or left to die. We see that as "the way nature intended it". If a human was to let a baby starve to death because it had a genetic defect, was blind, lame, missing limbs, mentally deficient - it would be seen as cruel - even evil. The difference ? The Bible tells us that we posses a soul and animals do not. But what proof is there - for either argument ?

Cannibals. For them it is not wrong to consume human meat. Even killing outsiders or weaker humans for food, is permitted, even encouraged. In the past, victorious humans in battle, would often eat the heart and other organs of their foes. This was believed to provide them with strength and health. We see it was wrong now, because we are more educated, sophisticated etc. A moral judgement.

In some cultures, killing criminals isn't seen as evil or wrong. It is a warning to others to behave. Other cultures view this practice as barbaric, evil even. Again a moral judgement.

Remove morals - and even cold blooded murder isn't evil. Only if you value human life does it become so.

If God exists - and was the creator of everything - he created everything, even those things/people you judge to be evil.
Plenty of people think the way you do, it's called moral relativism. Just because some culture thinks something is OK, doesn't necessarily make it OK though. I would think the downside of cannibalism for a society was obvious - average lifespan goes down, people have to die brutal deaths in order for them to be eaten, the human equivalent of mad cow disease( look it up). As for killing criminals, societies that do tend not to be particularly free or fair, tend to execute people for things like being raped or speaking out against their government, and (in the case of Muslim countries) also tend to treat their women quite badly.

In other words societies that are radically different from western societies morally, tend to suck for many individuals in those societies in various ways, so I'm inclined to think that western morality is possibly superior objectively speaking.
 

DMNknight

Expert Member
Joined
Oct 17, 2003
Messages
3,272
Nothing to do with free will.
You replied to my first post, before free will was part of the discussion
You don't read to good?

In the opening post...
...
Instead, I would like to explore the thought that maybe Good & Evil are necessary in the Universe we live in.
That the above logical premises are flawed in that the fail to take the outcome of Free will into account.
 

netcruiser

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2012
Messages
271
While "culture" is generally accepted as a Human concept, what about animals who appear to have a "culture of their own? Can we, therefore, say "culture" is only a human trait and not just another observable mechanism that is part of Evolution?

Humans might have refined the concept.
The culture could be human, animal or alien. It doesn't make a difference. The point is good and evil is relative to that specific culture and not a standalone law of the universe, like rietrot claims.
 

Gingerbeardman

Expert Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2018
Messages
4,336
Plenty of people think the way you do, it's called moral relativism. Just because some culture thinks something is OK, doesn't necessarily make it OK though. I would think the downside of cannibalism for a society was obvious - average lifespan goes down, people have to die brutal deaths in order for them to be eaten, the human equivalent of mad cow disease( look it up). As for killing criminals, societies that do tend not to be particularly free or fair, tend to execute people for things like being raped or speaking out against their government, and (in the case of Muslim countries) also tend to treat their women quite badly.

In other words societies that are radically different from western societies morally, tend to suck for many individuals in those societies in various ways, so I'm inclined to think that western morality is possibly superior objectively speaking.
Superior, how?

Your problem is that you'll have to prioritise a certain set of facts over other facts, and this prioritisation cannot be done in an objective manner.

I mean, it could easily be the case that our Western tendencies have transformed the species into a consumption monster that will render itself extinct within the next two centuries, wheras al those cannibals and rapists would never be able to refashion their cultures such that they cause their own extinction. Would you still think this is "superior"?
 

netcruiser

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2012
Messages
271
Causing suffering for your own pleasure? Fccking a baby? Are these things ever OK?
Obviously not. But that's the point, it is our human morals that decide these things are bad, it is our human nature, our human laws, our human norms, our human culture, etc. It is a human concept.
 

Nick333

Honorary Master
Joined
Nov 17, 2005
Messages
34,500
The culture could be human, animal or alien. It doesn't make a difference. The point is good and evil is relative to that specific culture and not a standalone law of the universe, like rietrot claims.
I think you're overstating the case you're arguing against there, and it doesn't help your argument. There are overlaps in morality between virtually every human culture that suggest that there is at least a basis for a universal human morality. A stand alone moral law of the universe is another discussion altogether that begs a lot of questions we're not in a position to answer.

OK as an example of a moral value that is both universal and that we are able to judge objectively: all cultures agree that murder is wrong, but disagree on the killing of who constitutes murder. Some cultures might no consider the arbitrary killing of someone of a different tribe or nation as murder, but all would agree that the arbitrary killing of someone of your own tribe or nation is murder. Some cultures might not consider killing someone because they insulted your honour as murder. Western society extends the definition of murder to the arbitrary killing of anyone and considers honour killings to be murder, therefore it is morally superior.
 

netcruiser

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2012
Messages
271
I think you're overstating the case you're arguing against there, and it doesn't help your argument. There are overlaps in morality between virtually every human culture that suggest that there is at least a basis for a universal human morality. A stand alone moral law of the universe is another discussion altogether that begs a lot of questions we're not in a position to answer.

OK as an example of a moral value that is both universal and that we are able to judge objectively: all cultures agree that murder is wrong, but disagree on the killing of who constitutes murder. Some cultures might no consider the arbitrary killing of someone of a different tribe or nation as murder, but all would agree that the arbitrary killing of someone of your own tribe or nation is murder. Some cultures might not consider killing someone because they insulted your honour as murder. Western society extends the definition of murder to the arbitrary killing of anyone and considers honour killings to be murder, therefore it is morally superior.
I'm not arguing against a universal human morality. I'm just saying all morality is human.
 

rietrot

Honorary Master
Joined
Aug 26, 2016
Messages
15,410
Superior, how?

Your problem is that you'll have to prioritise a certain set of facts over other facts, and this prioritisation cannot be done in an objective manner.

I mean, it could easily be the case that our Western tendencies have transformed the species into a consumption monster that will render itself extinct within the next two centuries, wheras al those cannibals and rapists would never be able to refashion their cultures such that they cause their own extinction. Would you still think this is "superior"?
We are probably past peek superiority and it's all downhill from here on. But yes. You can most certainly make that value judgement.

The survival of the species isn't the only measure of success. If we had a good run and go extinct then so be it. We had a good run.
 
Last edited:

Nick333

Honorary Master
Joined
Nov 17, 2005
Messages
34,500
Obviously not. But that's the point, it is our human morals that decide these things are bad, it is our human nature, our human laws, our human norms, our human culture, etc. It is a human concept.
And so. Are we not humans?
 

Nick333

Honorary Master
Joined
Nov 17, 2005
Messages
34,500
I'm not arguing against a universal human morality. I'm just saying all morality is human.
And...?

Edit: I'm going to assume that you're saying human vs Godly. That's not an argument that works with Judea-Christian theists, because they believe that humans are made by God in His image. You're basically just saying there is no God to someone who believes there is a God. Well ok then. Thanks for playing.
 
Last edited:

SauRoNZA

Honorary Master
Joined
Jul 6, 2010
Messages
34,094
You get it, yet you still don’t. Why sould anyone want to be 100% good?
It does not about want so much as one can't.

Even the most altruistic tree-hugging organic vegan can't be 100% good even though they tell themselves that.
 

netcruiser

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2012
Messages
271
And...?

Edit: I'm going to assume that you're saying human vs Godly. That's not an argument that works with Judea-Christian theists, because they believe that humans are made by God in His image. You're basically just saying there is no God to someone who believes there is a God. Well ok then. Thanks for playing.
The point is that good and evil is human made construct. Rietrot claims good and evil is not human made, but it exists independently of humans, like gravity or other such law of the universe.
 

Nick333

Honorary Master
Joined
Nov 17, 2005
Messages
34,500
The point is that good and evil is human made construct. Rietrot claims good and evil is not human made, but it exists independently of humans, like gravity or other such law of the universe.
How have you proven that assertion? That sounds like an opinion to me.
 

rietrot

Honorary Master
Joined
Aug 26, 2016
Messages
15,410
It does not about want so much as one can't.

Even the most altruistic tree-hugging organic vegan can't be 100% good even though they tell themselves that.
Most definitely. People are flawed. That's what makes us special, nobody can be 100% good. That would be to boring. You just need to be good enough to not irritate the people around you so much that they want to kill you or lock you up.

As for the religious bit that I think your original post had. Goodness isn't a requirement. Goodness, as in, don't be an ******* to other people is an ideal to strive for, but it is accepted that nobody can really reach it.
 

Geoff.D

Honorary Master
Joined
Aug 4, 2005
Messages
10,751
Most definitely. People are flawed. That's what makes us special, nobody can be 100% good. That would be to boring. You just need to be good enough to not irritate the people around you so much that they want to kill you or lock you up.

As for the religious bit that I think your original post had. Goodness isn't a requirement. Goodness, as in, don't be an ******* to other people is an ideal to strive for, but it is accepted that nobody can really reach it.
consistently all the time. We are "human" after all. :D
 

DMNknight

Expert Member
Joined
Oct 17, 2003
Messages
3,272
Hi riet, firstly, congrats on hitting your 11k post count :eek:

I do indeed believe we all have a fate set out for us. However, we only feel as though we have control to change a specific outcome. I can make as many decisions as I like, but ultimately not one of them will have been my own will. "Man is free to do as he wills, but not to will what he wills".

It's not something one consistently thinks about, but it has a sort of meditative, "everything's going to be okay" idea to it. If you know that everything is not in your control, you can essentially do anything, at any time for any reason. You know that whatever the outcome, it's just what it is. You're not being punished for anything and you're also not to be praised for anything.

If we're speaking in terms of every day, waking life, then being praised by your boss and being scolded by somebody, being angry or sad etc, you will always re-act as you would have. I'm not saying, for instance if your boss praises you, you should say something like, "You're wasting your time praising me or scolding me, because the universe doesn't care about our feelings and it's all just for naught in any case" - I am going to accept the praise and respond kindly because I know it could be beneficial to me to do so. I still need money and care and love and shelter etc. Not sure if that makes more sense?

It's something to keep in the back of your mind at all times :) I think it's quite beautiful and astounding and magnificent and I don't need some devine being included in all this for it to make any sense.
How do you measure benefit?
Benefit is subjective meaning relative to the information in the meaning of "beneficial". Implied meaning of benefit relative to non-benefit, which is a subjective comparitive measurement of benefit over non-benefit, which requires you to make a choice.
Do you choose benefit or do you choose to act against your self interest and choose otherwise and tell your boss to shove it because it's meaningless?

According to you, the outcome of "deciding" to accept praise is predetermined, you always will and would have done exactly what you did.
The relative measurement of beneficial against non beneficial would therefore lack any meaning whatsoever.
Without meaning, there is not information (for comparison) and therefore no choice.

So how is it that you're conscious of subjective meaning and comparative information, if you didn't choose to be benefitted?
 

DMNknight

Expert Member
Joined
Oct 17, 2003
Messages
3,272
...

"According to determinism, if someone knows the precise location and momentum of every atom in the universe, their past and future values for any given time are entailed; they can be calculated from the laws of classical mechanics." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laplace's_demon
Unfortunately, that is now quite dated and subject to the the Black & White Fallacy. Trying to put forth that the standard physics model as the only model available to measure all of the universe.
You've neglected to take General Relativity and Quantum Gravity into account.

Also Illogically, were you to "observe" all of the universe, you would inevitably use so much energy to observe it, you would change the entire universe by changing the energy signatures all over the universe, which would then change all of the universe... which means you changed the universe by making it all known, in turn making it unknown again.

Now, the funny thing about The standard physics model and General Relativity, is that they don't work together... at all, but they do... because otherwise we would not exist which is kinda hard to disprove seeing as we're starting at manufactured screens, reading the words of another agency not within our immediate reality.

Which is where Quantum Gravity (or emergence theory) comes in and has been quite successful at not only explaining reality, but predicting reality too.
 

Prawnapple

Senior Member
Joined
May 18, 2015
Messages
789
How do you measure benefit?
Benefit is subjective meaning relative to the information in the meaning of "beneficial". Implied meaning of benefit relative to non-benefit, which is a subjective comparitive measurement of benefit over non-benefit, which requires you to make a choice.
Do you choose benefit or do you choose to act against your self interest and choose otherwise and tell your boss to shove it because it's meaningless?

According to you, the outcome of "deciding" to accept praise is predetermined, you always will and would have done exactly what you did.
The relative measurement of beneficial against non beneficial would therefore lack any meaning whatsoever.
Without meaning, there is not information (for comparison) and therefore no choice.

So how is it that you're conscious of subjective meaning and comparative information, if you didn't choose to be benefitted?
Yes
 
Top