Do you think people are born evil or made evil?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 30, 2014 9:11 PM GMT
    Do you think being evil is genetic or do you think it's more nurture and stimulus? Share your thoughts. icon_question.gif
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    May 30, 2014 9:19 PM GMT
    There is some evidence that oxytocin promotes ethnocentric behavior, incorporating the trust and empathy of in-groups with their suspicion and rejection of outsiders. Also can cause aggressive behaviours. So things like racism, xenophobia, sexism, etc are all built into us?
  • HottJoe

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    May 30, 2014 9:34 PM GMT
    Do you think people are born gay?

    My whole life I've heard people try to say people choose to be gay, and before Gay Rights tackled marriage the movement was simply gay people trying to say that it's not a choice. Many guys stayed in the closet.

    Murderers are oddly faced with the same scrutiny. Most are in the closet, as in they deny it, even after they're caught. Others say the devil made them do it, or society pushed them to do it. If you listen to all their excuses, and you look at how they treated people, how people respond to them by pushing them away, how they can't change, and how they're simply so unlike non-homicidal people, it's really hard to think someone would choose to be a self loathing, hate seething killer. Some people just are that way, and they'll rape a nun if she tries to help them.
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    May 30, 2014 9:37 PM GMT
    HottJoe saidDo you think people are born gay?

    My whole life I've heard people try to say people choose to be gay, and before Gay Rights tackled marriage the movement was simply gay people trying to say that it's not a choice. Many guys stayed in the closet.

    Murderers are oddly faced with the same scrutiny. Most are in the closet, as in they deny it, even after they're caught. Others say the devil made them do it, or society pushed them to do it. If you listen to all their excuses, and you look at how they treated people, how people respond to them by pushing them away, how they can't change, and how they're simply so unlike non-homicidal people, it's really hard to think someone would choose to be a self loathing, hate seething killer. Some people just are that way, and they'll rape a nun if she tries to help them.


    So you're saying that murderers are just mentally ill?
  • HottJoe

    Posts: 21366

    May 30, 2014 9:44 PM GMT
    kevex said
    HottJoe saidDo you think people are born gay?

    My whole life I've heard people try to say people choose to be gay, and before Gay Rights tackled marriage the movement was simply gay people trying to say that it's not a choice. Many guys stayed in the closet.

    Murderers are oddly faced with the same scrutiny. Most are in the closet, as in they deny it, even after they're caught. Others say the devil made them do it, or society pushed them to do it. If you listen to all their excuses, and you look at how they treated people, how people respond to them by pushing them away, how they can't change, and how they're simply so unlike non-homicidal people, it's really hard to think someone would choose to be a self loathing, hate seething killer. Some people just are that way, and they'll rape a nun if she tries to help them.


    So you're saying that murderers are just mentally ill?

    Not if it's anything like being gay, or anything else that is intrinsic to our beings, because I don't think gay people are mentally ill, or at least I don't think we can actually change. If you're gay you always will be gay. You can only repress yourself, or have weird science intervene, but even the weird science won't make you straight.

    Why would someone choose to be a hateful killer unless it's not a choice?
  • MikeW

    Posts: 6061

    May 30, 2014 10:00 PM GMT
    HottJoe saidWhy would someone choose to be a hateful killer unless it's not a choice?

    I basically agree with this. I say hateful killers are "insane" or "crazy" for lack of a better term because their mental processes and emotions at least seem to be beyond their reflection, questioning or control.

    The way I divide up the world isn't between "good" and "evil"… both of which are moralistic terms. I divide it up between those who ask questions and those who have answers. Obviously most of us are some mix of the two ('good' and 'evil', too, if you prefer).

    Questioners are self-reflective, they don't *assume* that what they think, feel and believe is accurate, at least not all the time. They do 'reality testing' to verify their thoughts, feelings and the actions that spring from them.

    Answerers are seldom self-reflective, seldom question what is 'true' for them in any fundamental way. Generally they 'have all the answers' and are most interested in getting (forcing if need be) other people to either agree with them or, often times, literally die.

    Like I say, most of us exist somewhere between the two extremes.

    Thinking back about Elliot Roger again, one of the things I find so fascinating about him is that he was absolutely certain about the way he saw things. He had come to a conclusion about them and that conclusion was, by damn, the only *possible* conclusion.

    I take this observation as a real lesson. We all do this to some extent. It's made me think about how I do that for myself--literally box myself in with conclusions about myself and other people--and then never question those positions. These positions become the foundations for my actions in the world and if they are negative they are bound to have negative consequences for me and possibly others.

    There's so much to learn about life. Obviously we *are* born with certain traits where others we learn later on… nature and nurture. But why is it that not *all* crazy people, even very angry ones, actually act out their rage violently upon others? How does that happen? Where does that come from? Is it "evil" in the sense of an external spiritual influence that affects our psyches and causes us to harm others (and ourselves)? Is it just chemistry in the brain (testosterone or whatever)? I don't have the answers.
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    May 30, 2014 10:03 PM GMT
    HottJoe said
    kevex said
    HottJoe saidDo you think people are born gay?

    My whole life I've heard people try to say people choose to be gay, and before Gay Rights tackled marriage the movement was simply gay people trying to say that it's not a choice. Many guys stayed in the closet.

    Murderers are oddly faced with the same scrutiny. Most are in the closet, as in they deny it, even after they're caught. Others say the devil made them do it, or society pushed them to do it. If you listen to all their excuses, and you look at how they treated people, how people respond to them by pushing them away, how they can't change, and how they're simply so unlike non-homicidal people, it's really hard to think someone would choose to be a self loathing, hate seething killer. Some people just are that way, and they'll rape a nun if she tries to help them.


    So you're saying that murderers are just mentally ill?

    Not if it's anything like being gay, or anything else that is intrinsic to our beings, because I don't think gay people are mentally ill, or at least I don't think we can actually change. If you're gay you always will be gay. You can only repress yourself, or have weird science intervene, but even the weird science won't make you straight.

    Why would someone choose to be a hateful killer unless it's not a choice?


    What if it's an act of revenge? Somebody killed their family member and they want retribution. Does that make that person evil?
  • AMoonHawk

    Posts: 11406

    May 30, 2014 10:04 PM GMT
    Yes. .... both
  • MikeW

    Posts: 6061

    May 30, 2014 10:07 PM GMT
    kevex saidWhat if it's an act of revenge? Somebody killed their family member and they want retribution. Does that make that person evil?

    This discussion won't go well unless you define "good" and "evil". One thing is for sure, life isn't black and white. Even the best of intentions can have negative consequences. Besides, an act of rage in a moment isn't the same thing as someone who premeditates murder. Even the law recognizes this distinction, "crimes of passion," and all that.
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    May 30, 2014 10:08 PM GMT
    HottJoe said
    kevex said
    HottJoe saidDo you think people are born gay?

    My whole life I've heard people try to say people choose to be gay, and before Gay Rights tackled marriage the movement was simply gay people trying to say that it's not a choice. Many guys stayed in the closet.

    Murderers are oddly faced with the same scrutiny. Most are in the closet, as in they deny it, even after they're caught. Others say the devil made them do it, or society pushed them to do it. If you listen to all their excuses, and you look at how they treated people, how people respond to them by pushing them away, how they can't change, and how they're simply so unlike non-homicidal people, it's really hard to think someone would choose to be a self loathing, hate seething killer. Some people just are that way, and they'll rape a nun if she tries to help them.


    So you're saying that murderers are just mentally ill?

    Not if it's anything like being gay, or anything else that is intrinsic to our beings, because I don't think gay people are mentally ill, or at least I don't think we can actually change. If you're gay you always will be gay. You can only repress yourself, or have weird science intervene, but even the weird science won't make you straight.

    Why would someone choose to be a hateful killer unless it's not a choice?


    You can never compare sexual orientation with violent behaviour. I personally believe it's more stimulus than nature. It's in our nature to protect ourselves and get angry but not to kill others just for fun.
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    May 30, 2014 10:09 PM GMT
    Both? The Bad Seed and In Cold Blood.
  • MikeW

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    May 30, 2014 10:13 PM GMT
    Here's a thought for everyone to contemplate: Human history is a history of human violence. Violence is intricately connected with survival (of the fittest and all that). The point being that humans have been violent toward nature and toward one another forever. In fact, it was *far more common* in the past than it is today. (Not saying it isn't common today, but in the past it was worse!)

    So violence is in our genetic history. All of us alive today have ancestors who were violent (at one time or another for one reason or another) and literally killed other people--sometimes rather a lot of them.

    We come from a very brutal past. All of us.
  • HottJoe

    Posts: 21366

    May 30, 2014 10:18 PM GMT
    kevex said
    HottJoe said
    kevex said
    HottJoe saidDo you think people are born gay?

    My whole life I've heard people try to say people choose to be gay, and before Gay Rights tackled marriage the movement was simply gay people trying to say that it's not a choice. Many guys stayed in the closet.

    Murderers are oddly faced with the same scrutiny. Most are in the closet, as in they deny it, even after they're caught. Others say the devil made them do it, or society pushed them to do it. If you listen to all their excuses, and you look at how they treated people, how people respond to them by pushing them away, how they can't change, and how they're simply so unlike non-homicidal people, it's really hard to think someone would choose to be a self loathing, hate seething killer. Some people just are that way, and they'll rape a nun if she tries to help them.


    So you're saying that murderers are just mentally ill?

    Not if it's anything like being gay, or anything else that is intrinsic to our beings, because I don't think gay people are mentally ill, or at least I don't think we can actually change. If you're gay you always will be gay. You can only repress yourself, or have weird science intervene, but even the weird science won't make you straight.

    Why would someone choose to be a hateful killer unless it's not a choice?


    You can never compare sexual orientation with violent behaviour. I personally believe it's more stimulus than nature. It's in our nature to protect ourselves and get angry but not to kill others just for fun.

    But some people do kill others just for fun, and because it's in their nature. They are not just reacting to stimulus. They are stimulating themselves by killing people. Most people would not be capable of receiving pleasure by killing another person. For anyone who wants to commit murder, who thinks about it day and night, who doesn't care who they kill, as long as they get to kill, I don't think they can change. There's simply no evidence that they can change. Any serial killer will say they can't change, and if they say they have changed, don't trust them!!!
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    May 30, 2014 10:23 PM GMT
    So serial killers, pedophiles, terrorists, etc. should be kept in jail forever until they die? How can society fix those people or at least prevent people from turning "evil"?
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    May 30, 2014 10:25 PM GMT
    kevex saidSo serial killers, pedophiles, terrorists, etc. should be kept in jail forever until they die? How can society fix those people or at least prevent people from turning "evil"?



  • MikeW

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    May 30, 2014 10:28 PM GMT
    HottJoe saidBut some people do kill others just for fun, and because it's in their nature. They are not just reacting to stimulus. They are stimulating themselves by killing people. Most people would not be capable of receiving pleasure by killing another person. For anyone who wants to commit murder, who thinks about it day and night, who doesn't care who they kill, as long as they get to kill, I don't think they can change. There's simply no evidence that they can change. Any serial killer will say they can't change, and if they say they have changed, don't trust them!!!

    But the question relevant to this thread is "is the ability or inability to change" inherent or learned? Interesting question.

    I'll take the risk of confiding that when I was in my teenage years I was very depressed and very angry (for a lot of reasons), and I contemplated mass murder (of family and people in my neighborhood) whenever I got very upset. Now, these were violent fantasies that never got acted out (thank goodness!) but I'm confessing they existed in my warped little brain.

    FOR ME, what made the difference was moving away from where I'd grown up (small rural community, very narrow minded) *and* got the psychological help I needed to come to terms with myself. Again, thank goodness! I consider myself very fortunate to have been able to get out of my own 'stuck' psychological/emotional world.

    BUT, not everyone can, that's a fact. Roger is an example.
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    May 30, 2014 10:28 PM GMT
    no such thing as evil people but evil choices

  • AMoonHawk

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    May 30, 2014 10:30 PM GMT
    kevex saidSo serial killers, pedophiles, terrorists, etc. should be kept in jail forever until they die? How can society fix those people or at least prevent people from turning "evil"?

    I'm pro death penalty in cases of murder. The victim never had a chance at any more life, so why should the murderer. As far as I am concerned, when they chose to murder someone, they ended their own life.
  • MikeW

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    May 30, 2014 10:30 PM GMT
    OH… and I want to add, that I had a friend I grew up with who was NOT so fortunate. He was a couple years older than I and more seriously 'disturbed'. He ended up beating the shit out of his mother (actually his foster mother, he being a foster kid raised by her), setting fire to the family home (which burned to the ground), with him committing suicide within it.
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    May 30, 2014 10:36 PM GMT
    So morality can be seen as a gradient just like sexuality? We are all capable of doing harm but only to certain degrees? Example: Some people might just be rude, some are bullies and some are mass murderes. If that's so, can those "evil" people also be capable of doing good? I really doubt it but I would like to know your opinions.
  • MikeW

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    May 30, 2014 10:42 PM GMT
    kevex saidSo morality can be seen as a gradient just like sexuality? We are all capable of doing harm but only to certain degrees? Example: Some people might just be rude, some are bullies and some are mass murderes. If that's so, can those "evil" people also be capable of doing good? I really doubt it but I would like to know your opinions.

    Well, IMO, due to the way civilization is set up, we *all* do *far more harm* to this planet and other people than most of us are willing to think about. Violence like what happened in SB gets a lot of attention but it is presented as an aberration. But that isn't exactly accurate. Around 90 people are killed in motor accidents in the US every day. About 300 people are shot every day (not all to death). But all this pales compared to the consequences of living our lives as we do. Take the war in Iraq for example. It was premeditated murder of (uncounted) thousands of Iraqis, and why? No, it wasn't because of 9/11. It wasn't because they had WMDs (they didn't). It was because we wanted to control their resources for OUR (and Europe's) use. And that is just one glaring example. There are thousands more.
  • HottJoe

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    May 30, 2014 10:47 PM GMT
    kevex saidSo morality can be seen as a gradient just like sexuality? We are all capable of doing harm but only to certain degrees? Example: Some people might just be rude, some are bullies and some are mass murderes. If that's so, can those "evil" people also be capable of doing good? I really doubt it but I would like to know your opinions.

    Anyone is capable of doing good, even a violent person. No one is perfect. We all hurt each other and get hurt, even just by accident. But good deeds aren't redeeming qualities if you're murdering people.

    Why do you think we have a war? It doesn't matter if your county does good deeds. If your country is killing people the other country will kill you back. All violence is evil. And some people are born with an actual sadistic pleasure in inflicting violence on people.
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    May 30, 2014 10:51 PM GMT
    I think we all have potential for evil some more than others. Then our upbringing can shape us either away from evil or deeper into evil.

    I once saw video clip of terrorists training young boys to hate Americans. That's nurturing evil for sure.

    I witness my friends who are siblings going through the same tragic background. One came out messed up (got into drugs, got pregnant with many guys, etc.) while the other still chooses to live an orderly life (caring for mom, pursuing higher education, holding a steady job, etc).

    We humans are just very complex. icon_confused.gif
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    May 30, 2014 10:56 PM GMT
    I recommend you all watch this. It's an episode from the show Through the Wormhole. It talks about the nature of evil and hypothetical ways to eliminate it.


    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1k2mdu_through-the-wormhole-s03e07-can-we-eliminate-evil_shortfilms
  • MikeW

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    May 30, 2014 10:57 PM GMT
    HottJoe said...And some people are born with an actual sadistic pleasure in inflicting violence on people.
    And the horrifying reality is that some of them aren't just 'lone nuts' who kill a few random people. They are in positions of power and authority in government, business and military (not to mention organized crime).