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What is Evil?

Enter here to explore ethical issues and discuss the meaning and source of morality.
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Nirvanam
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Re: What is Evil?

#41 Post by Nirvanam » August 25th, 2010, 3:59 pm

Latest post of the previous page:

Nice topic...I should've noticed it earlier but anyway here I am.

I read the thoughts of the guys here on 'evil', also how religions, ideologies including Humanism talk about evil. I have some questions for the people who understand their religion and for Humanists as well: Why is God considered to be separate from evil? Why do atheists argue that if God was there then why does evil exist...that if God was this all powerful entity then why does he/she/it allow such evil people and evil acts to be done?

Is evil a necessity? You bet it is! Without evil, there is no good. Like I say many times...there is no evil or good (at least in absolute terms). Given that we live in a relative universe, and all our experiences are based on relativism, there hasto be evil for us to experience good. Similarly there hasto be good for us to know what is evil. Without everything else, I don't exist!

The words 'evil' and 'good' are associative terms as in they are used to qualify something...an act or an event or an object/subject (a,e,o,s). Inherently the (a,e,o,s) is neither evil nor good. They are being assigned the quality/attribute of evil/good. This is necessary for us to make meaning out of the (a,e,o,s). Associating meaning to a (a,e,o,s) is based upon our understanding of the universe and our own preferences of things in the universe. Since our own understanding of the universe is constantly changing which leads to our preferences also changing constantly, this leads to our own definition of evil/good changing constantly. The final outcome is that we perceive (a,e,o,s) as evil/good. So, you see, one particular qualitative attribute basically creates the illusory description of the (a,e,o,s). Essentially, the (a,e,o,s) just is...everything else is our "creation".

On Free Will...I am unable to understand why people say Free Will does not exist, that in a causal world there is no Free Will. Maybe it has got to do with how they define Free Will. So can someone please define Free Will so that it gives us a frame of reference to discuss it (Compassionist wanna have a go at it?).

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animist
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Re: What is Evil?

#42 Post by animist » August 27th, 2010, 10:19 pm

Nirvanam wrote:Nice topic...I should've noticed it earlier but anyway here I am.

I read the thoughts of the guys here on 'evil', also how religions, ideologies including Humanism talk about evil. I have some questions for the people who understand their religion and for Humanists as well: Why is God considered to be separate from evil? Why do atheists argue that if God was there then why does evil exist...that if God was this all powerful entity then why does he/she/it allow such evil people and evil acts to be done?

Is evil a necessity? You bet it is! Without evil, there is no good. Like I say many times...there is no evil or good (at least in absolute terms). Given that we live in a relative universe, and all our experiences are based on relativism, there hasto be evil for us to experience good. Similarly there hasto be good for us to know what is evil. Without everything else, I don't exist!
Not sure I understand all of this, and you do sound a bit like a theist who is claiming that a good God and the existence of evil are compatible because evil is necessary for there to be good. Well, maybe it is impossible to envisage absolute, continuous and eternal good (meaning harmony and happiness for all) - it would be boring, like the theist heaven. But do we need so much evil? Also, I don't agree that good and evil are sort of a matter of taste or fashion, if that is what you mean. Evil is connected with suffering, and good is its absence. I think that ethics/morality is objective because it is always wrong to inflict suffering (or otherwise abuse others, eg by deceit) unless absolutely necessary.

The words 'evil' and 'good' are associative terms as in they are used to qualify something...an act or an event or an object/subject (a,e,o,s). Inherently the (a,e,o,s) is neither evil nor good. They are being assigned the quality/attribute of evil/good. This is necessary for us to make meaning out of the (a,e,o,s). Associating meaning to a (a,e,o,s) is based upon our understanding of the universe and our own preferences of things in the universe. Since our own understanding of the universe is constantly changing which leads to our preferences also changing constantly, this leads to our own definition of evil/good changing constantly. The final outcome is that we perceive (a,e,o,s) as evil/good. So, you see, one particular qualitative attribute basically creates the illusory description of the (a,e,o,s). Essentially, the (a,e,o,s) just is...everything else is our "creation".

On Free Will...I am unable to understand why people say Free Will does not exist, that in a causal world there is no Free Will. Maybe it has got to do with how they define Free Will. So can someone please define Free Will so that it gives us a frame of reference to discuss it (Compassionist wanna have a go at it?).

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animist
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Re: What is Evil?

#43 Post by animist » August 29th, 2010, 10:21 pm

animist wrote:
Nirvanam wrote:Nice topic...I should've noticed it earlier but anyway here I am.

I read the thoughts of the guys here on 'evil', also how religions, ideologies including Humanism talk about evil. I have some questions for the people who understand their religion and for Humanists as well: Why is God considered to be separate from evil? Why do atheists argue that if God was there then why does evil exist...that if God was this all powerful entity then why does he/she/it allow such evil people and evil acts to be done?

Is evil a necessity? You bet it is! Without evil, there is no good. Like I say many times...there is no evil or good (at least in absolute terms). Given that we live in a relative universe, and all our experiences are based on relativism, there hasto be evil for us to experience good. Similarly there hasto be good for us to know what is evil. Without everything else, I don't exist!
Not sure I understand all of this, and you do sound a bit like a theist who is claiming that a good God and the existence of evil are compatible because evil is necessary for there to be good. Well, maybe it is impossible to envisage absolute, continuous and eternal good (meaning harmony and happiness for all) - it would be boring, like the theist heaven. But do we need so much evil? Also, I don't agree that good and evil are sort of a matter of taste or fashion, if that is what you mean. Evil is connected with suffering, and good is its absence. I think that ethics/morality is objective because it is always wrong to inflict suffering (or otherwise abuse others, eg by deceit) unless absolutely necessary.

The words 'evil' and 'good' are associative terms as in they are used to qualify something...an act or an event or an object/subject (a,e,o,s). Inherently the (a,e,o,s) is neither evil nor good. They are being assigned the quality/attribute of evil/good. This is necessary for us to make meaning out of the (a,e,o,s). Associating meaning to a (a,e,o,s) is based upon our understanding of the universe and our own preferences of things in the universe. Since our own understanding of the universe is constantly changing which leads to our preferences also changing constantly, this leads to our own definition of evil/good changing constantly. The final outcome is that we perceive (a,e,o,s) as evil/good. So, you see, one particular qualitative attribute basically creates the illusory description of the (a,e,o,s). Essentially, the (a,e,o,s) just is...everything else is our "creation".

On Free Will...I am unable to understand why people say Free Will does not exist, that in a causal world there is no Free Will. Maybe it has got to do with how they define Free Will. So can someone please define Free Will so that it gives us a frame of reference to discuss it (Compassionist wanna have a go at it?).
In case anyone is wondering what is going on with the posts, I unfortunately mispositioned my response to Nirvanam so that it became embedded in his! (this does sound bad). Anyway, here is my response in the place where it should have been:
Not sure I understand all of this, and you do sound a bit like a theist who is claiming that a good God and the existence of evil are compatible because evil is necessary for there to be good. Well, maybe it is impossible to envisage absolute,continuous and eternal good (meaning harmony and happiness for all) - it would be boring, like the theist heaven. But do we need so much evil? Also, I don't agree that good and evil are sort of a matter of taste or fashion, if that is what you mean. Evil is connected with suffering, and good is its absence. I think that ethics/morality is objective because it is always wrong to inflict suffering (or otherwise abuse others, eg by deceit) unless absolutely necessary.

Nirvanam
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Re: What is Evil?

#44 Post by Nirvanam » August 30th, 2010, 12:08 am

I'll try to clarify some misunderstandings/misinterpretations
animist wrote:Not sure I understand all of this, and you do sound a bit like a theist who is claiming that a good God and the existence of evil are compatible because evil is necessary for there to be good.
I dunno about there existing theists who believe such and such or how to detect one. My point was this...
1. I notice ppl arguing that if god is good then why does he do evil
2. they point to hate-filled verses in abrahamic texts
3. I am saying its not an effective argument because we are assuming god cannot do evil.

I made that word bold to emphasize that I did not make that causal connection.
animist wrote:Well, maybe it is impossible to envisage absolute,continuous and eternal good (meaning harmony and happiness for all)
Quite right because we exist in a relative universe. In a relative universe only one polarity cannot exist. For there to be one polarity, there necessarily has to be the opposite polarity otherwise there would be no basis to understand the first polarity because we don't have anything to compare it with. An example - suppose you want to experience the feeling of heat, you should've experienced the feeling of something that is not hot? So hot exists only if something that is not hot also exists...the experience of life is relative. Since "hot" itself is subjective, the fact is there is only an infinite continuum of temperature but for us to make meaning of temperature we have to necessitate the existence of at least 2 polarities which we do thru our societal values, sciences, etc, etc.
animist wrote:But do we need so much evil?
This question and such others as in "do we need polarity p" is the basis for my philosophy in life and fundamental belief - nothing is right or wrong, everything changes in time, space, perspective, and context. You see the universe has only a continuum in this case continuum of morality, we polarized that continuum by introducing a kind of scale and threshold on that scale for the continuum. We said anything to the left side of the continuum is good anything to the right is bad...we do this by establishing ideologies and belief structures for ex, Humanism, Christianity, Democracy, Vegetarianism, and other 'isms'. But intrinsically neither 'ism' is right or wrong. Plus, given that we are ever changing beings, our own scale and threshold keeps changing in the continuum so this poses a logical question - can we ever, in all time, at all space, with all perspectives, under all contexts claim something is right or wrong? This is the fundamental logical dileema.
animist wrote:Also, I don't agree that good and evil are sort of a matter of taste or fashion, if that is what you mean. Evil is connected with suffering, and good is its absence. I think that ethics/morality is objective because it is always wrong to inflict suffering (or otherwise abuse others, eg by deceit) unless absolutely necessary.
I just explained it above, if you still feel my CLAIM (lemme see how far I can go...if it breaks then its good coz I'd learn something new, if it doesn't it's also good coz the n+1th test also is confirming my opinion is logically strong) that evil/good are not absolute, I am willing to argue.

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Paolo
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Re: What is Evil?

#45 Post by Paolo » August 30th, 2010, 8:38 am

Nirvanam wrote:...the fact is there is only an infinite continuum of temperature...
[pedant]There is not an infinite continuum of temperature, there is a theoretical absolute zero point where there is no energy left in the system (−273.15°C or 0°K) and there is a theoretical maximum temperature which would have existed at very start of the Big Bang (the Planck time), when all energy was compressed in a tiny area - about 1032°K. You can't get colder than no energy or hotter than all the energy in the universe - at least not whilst in the universe.[/pedant]

As to evil - it only exists as a concept and it can be used to mean whatever people chose for it to mean, since it is entirely conceptual.

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Alan H
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Re: What is Evil?

#46 Post by Alan H » August 30th, 2010, 10:59 am

Paolo wrote:
Nirvanam wrote:...the fact is there is only an infinite continuum of temperature...
[pedant]There is not an infinite continuum of temperature, there is a theoretical absolute zero point where there is no energy left in the system (−273.15°C or 0°K) and there is a theoretical maximum temperature which would have existed at very start of the Big Bang (the Planck time), when all energy was compressed in a tiny area - about 1032°K. You can't get colder than no energy or hotter than all the energy in the universe - at least not whilst in the universe.[/pedant]
[pedant]The SI unit of thermodynamic temperature is the Kelvin, denoted by K. The degrees symbol is only used with celsius as in °C or [---][/---] God forbid [---][/---] °F.[/pedant] :D
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Paolo
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Re: What is Evil?

#47 Post by Paolo » August 30th, 2010, 12:23 pm

Alan H wrote:
Paolo wrote:
Nirvanam wrote:...the fact is there is only an infinite continuum of temperature...
[pedant]There is not an infinite continuum of temperature, there is a theoretical absolute zero point where there is no energy left in the system (−273.15°C or 0°K) and there is a theoretical maximum temperature which would have existed at very start of the Big Bang (the Planck time), when all energy was compressed in a tiny area - about 1032°K. You can't get colder than no energy or hotter than all the energy in the universe - at least not whilst in the universe.[/pedant]
[pedant]The SI unit of thermodynamic temperature is the Kelvin, denoted by K. The degrees symbol is only used with celsius as in °C or [---][/---] God forbid [---][/---] °F.[/pedant] :D
I did that deliberately... honest! :D [hangs head in shame]

Nirvanam
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Re: What is Evil?

#48 Post by Nirvanam » August 30th, 2010, 1:07 pm

Paolo wrote:
Nirvanam wrote:...the fact is there is only an infinite continuum of temperature...
[pedant]There is not an infinite continuum of temperature, there is a theoretical absolute zero point where there is no energy left in the system (−273.15°C or 0°K) and there is a theoretical maximum temperature which would have existed at very start of the Big Bang (the Planck time), when all energy was compressed in a tiny area - about 1032°K. You can't get colder than no energy or hotter than all the energy in the universe - at least not whilst in the universe.[/pedant]
I remember you said this before, and I had figured your explanation is slightly off the mark the very next day but did not bother to post that since the thread had moved further. Here it is...
absolute zero i.e. -273.15 exists in relation to a non absolute xero that is -273.15189999234657 or -273.2 0r -274 or -272...if at least one temperature value in the infinte set that is { (from infinity to -273.1-and-infinite-decimals-not-equal-to-5) < -273.15 < (-273.15-and-infinite-decimals-not-equal-to-5 upto infinity) } exists, only then can -273.15 exist.

I figure the word 'absolute' in absolute-zero is causing some form of psychological inertia which results in you perceiving -273.15 is an absolute temperature and less than that is colder than absolute, and more than that is hotter than absolute. It is basically a reference point on the continuum...in itself it is not absolute.
Paolo wrote:As to evil - it only exists as a concept and it can be used to mean whatever people chose for it to mean, since it is entirely conceptual.
True...and the concept is morality / ethics...on one side we say morality is evil, on the other side we say morality is good. Any event or thing in itself is meaningless...we associate meaning to it. That meaning depends upon our life-view i.e. what we opine to be good-bad, effective-ineffective, beautiful-ugly, etc, etc, etc. Also this life-view is constantly changing, hence what is ugly yesterday may become beautiful today, become "less" beautiful tomorrow...similarly,
what is morally good today in Pakistan would be
morally bad in India and,
morally good in England provided the context is such and such,
and morally bad in the USA provided the context is such and such and the perceiver chooses to view it with such and such perspective

Change is the only constant in the universe the way we experience it (not referring to physical constants like Newton's constant, etc....just ensuring the psychological inertia that the word constant may cause doesn't drag the mind to a different place)

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Alan H
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Re: What is Evil?

#49 Post by Alan H » August 30th, 2010, 5:41 pm

Paolo wrote:
Alan H wrote:
Paolo wrote:
[pedant]There is not an infinite continuum of temperature, there is a theoretical absolute zero point where there is no energy left in the system (−273.15°C or 0°K) and there is a theoretical maximum temperature which would have existed at very start of the Big Bang (the Planck time), when all energy was compressed in a tiny area - about 1032°K. You can't get colder than no energy or hotter than all the energy in the universe - at least not whilst in the universe.[/pedant]
[pedant]The SI unit of thermodynamic temperature is the Kelvin, denoted by K. The degrees symbol is only used with celsius as in °C or [---][/---] God forbid [---][/---] °F.[/pedant] :D
I did that deliberately... honest! :D [hangs head in shame]
I'm just waiting for the backlash from our over-the-pond friends who use the Fahrenheit scale! :retreat:
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Paolo
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Re: What is Evil?

#50 Post by Paolo » August 30th, 2010, 10:02 pm

Nirvanam wrote:
Paolo wrote:
Nirvanam wrote:...the fact is there is only an infinite continuum of temperature...
[pedant]There is not an infinite continuum of temperature, there is a theoretical absolute zero point where there is no energy left in the system (−273.15°C or 0°K) and there is a theoretical maximum temperature which would have existed at very start of the Big Bang (the Planck time), when all energy was compressed in a tiny area - about 1032°K. You can't get colder than no energy or hotter than all the energy in the universe - at least not whilst in the universe.[/pedant]
I remember you said this before, and I had figured your explanation is slightly off the mark the very next day but did not bother to post that since the thread had moved further. Here it is...
absolute zero i.e. -273.15 exists in relation to a non absolute xero that is -273.15189999234657 or -273.2 0r -274 or -272...if at least one temperature value in the infinte set that is { (from infinity to -273.1-and-infinite-decimals-not-equal-to-5) < -273.15 < (-273.15-and-infinite-decimals-not-equal-to-5 upto infinity) } exists, only then can -273.15 exist.

I figure the word 'absolute' in absolute-zero is causing some form of psychological inertia which results in you perceiving -273.15 is an absolute temperature and less than that is colder than absolute, and more than that is hotter than absolute. It is basically a reference point on the continuum...in itself it is not absolute.
You don't get less than absolute zero - that's the whole point. It doesn't matter what number you use to describe absolute zero - it is simply impossible to get colder than that because it's what you get when all energy is removed from the system. It's an absolute - hence the name "absolute zero". There is also a maximum amount of heat. Again, it doesn't matter what the temperature is, there is a simply a point where it is impossible for there to be enough energy available in the universe for it to get hotter. Therefore there are delimitations on heat determined by the amount of energy available in the universe, so your premise "the fact is there is only an infinite continuum of temperature" is incorrect - it is not infinite, there is just a vanishingly small number of integers that could potentially be used to describe temperature.

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Re: What is Evil?

#51 Post by Nirvanam » August 30th, 2010, 11:05 pm

Paolo wrote:You don't get less than absolute zero - that's the whole point. It doesn't matter what number you use to describe absolute zero - it is simply impossible to get colder than that because it's what you get when all energy is removed from the system. It's an absolute - hence the name "absolute zero". There is also a maximum amount of heat. Again, it doesn't matter what the temperature is, there is a simply a point where it is impossible for there to be enough energy available in the universe for it to get hotter. Therefore there are delimitations on heat determined by the amount of energy available in the universe, so your premise "the fact is there is only an infinite continuum of temperature" is incorrect - it is not infinite, there is just a vanishingly small number of integers that could potentially be used to describe temperature.
Alright...cool, thanks - I didn't know about that.
So, then if we look at it on the opposite polarity, there would be a point of maximum temp too? Since all energy together cannot heat up more than a certain temp, just like they cannot be colder than a certain temp? If this is true, then temp is really not infinite, correct? Similarly we may be able to find it for other physical quantities as well, like say speed - light speed is max and absolute inertia or state of rest will be other extreme.

So, physical universe is not exactly infinite? Can we infer that?

Edit: ps - I remember watching a program on NG/Discovery where some of the physicists were extending this viewpoint that the universe is not infinite but it does not have a boundary...like the surface of a sphere or of Earth...it is finite but there is no real boundary. But when I heard that I had a counter point that the moment we imagine space as a sphere we are causing a boundary and there is something that is not the sphere...so it comes back to infinity - would this be a good counter point?

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animist
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Re: What is Evil?

#52 Post by animist » August 31st, 2010, 10:43 am

Nirvanam wrote:I'll try to clarify some misunderstandings/misinterpretations
animist wrote:Not sure I understand all of this, and you do sound a bit like a theist who is claiming that a good God and the existence of evil are compatible because evil is necessary for there to be good.
I dunno about there existing theists who believe such and such or how to detect one. My point was this...
1. I notice ppl arguing that if god is good then why does he do evil
2. they point to hate-filled verses in abrahamic texts
3. I am saying its not an effective argument because we are assuming god cannot do evil.

I made that word bold to emphasize that I did not make that causal connection.
animist wrote:Well, maybe it is impossible to envisage absolute,continuous and eternal good (meaning harmony and happiness for all)
Quite right because we exist in a relative universe. In a relative universe only one polarity cannot exist. For there to be one polarity, there necessarily has to be the opposite polarity otherwise there would be no basis to understand the first polarity because we don't have anything to compare it with. An example - suppose you want to experience the feeling of heat, you should've experienced the feeling of something that is not hot? So hot exists only if something that is not hot also exists...the experience of life is relative. Since "hot" itself is subjective, the fact is there is only an infinite continuum of temperature but for us to make meaning of temperature we have to necessitate the existence of at least 2 polarities which we do thru our societal values, sciences, etc, etc.
animist wrote:But do we need so much evil?
This question and such others as in "do we need polarity p" is the basis for my philosophy in life and fundamental belief - nothing is right or wrong, everything changes in time, space, perspective, and context. You see the universe has only a continuum in this case continuum of morality, we polarized that continuum by introducing a kind of scale and threshold on that scale for the continuum. We said anything to the left side of the continuum is good anything to the right is bad...we do this by establishing ideologies and belief structures for ex, Humanism, Christianity, Democracy, Vegetarianism, and other 'isms'. But intrinsically neither 'ism' is right or wrong. Plus, given that we are ever changing beings, our own scale and threshold keeps changing in the continuum so this poses a logical question - can we ever, in all time, at all space, with all perspectives, under all contexts claim something is right or wrong? This is the fundamental logical dileema.
animist wrote:Also, I don't agree that good and evil are sort of a matter of taste or fashion, if that is what you mean. Evil is connected with suffering, and good is its absence. I think that ethics/morality is objective because it is always wrong to inflict suffering (or otherwise abuse others, eg by deceit) unless absolutely necessary.
I just explained it above, if you still feel my CLAIM (lemme see how far I can go...if it breaks then its good coz I'd learn something new, if it doesn't it's also good coz the n+1th test also is confirming my opinion is logically strong) that evil/good are not absolute, I am willing to argue.
To respond to the tiny fraction of what you say which makes any sense to me (ie not the stuff about polarity and continua), you seem to be proposing an ethical relativism which I cannot accept. Do you really believe that the murder of the Jews (and gypsies and Poles and intellectuals etc) in the Nazi extermination camps during World War 2 was not evil?

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Re: What is Evil?

#53 Post by Nirvanam » August 31st, 2010, 3:46 pm

animist wrote:To respond to the tiny fraction of what you say which makes any sense to me
I am afraid you'll need to learn to open your mind up if at all you want to be tolerant to others' views, which will also help you to improve your sensibilities. The choice is always yours, its up to you if you choose to remain the way you are or try to understand what someone is saying.
animist wrote: (ie not the stuff about polarity and continua), you seem to be proposing an ethical relativism which I cannot accept.
Which is fine...nothing wrong or right about it. And just coz I choose to see life in diff colors instead of just black or white (good-bad, right-wring, good morals-bad morals, good ethics-bad ethics) like you do, it does not make my choice any greater than yours or any lesser than yours.
animist wrote: Do you really believe that the murder of the Jews (and gypsies and Poles and intellectuals etc) in the Nazi extermination camps during World War 2 was not evil?
Have I ever given you any such indication? But if you are asking me the question without believing that I have given you such an indication, I believe the Nazis were a bunch of mf's but that will not be a reason for me to claim any moral or ethical high ground. Like I keep saying, I believe my own values will change in time, space, perspective, and context. So today I may feel something is wrong, tomorrow I might not . Thing is, I acknowledge change is constant whether I like it or not, and I also acknowledge that fighting such a natural process will only end up in unnecessary moral dilemmas in my mind. If I change, I change....I am not going to try to cover up or pretend I have not changed even in professional situations.

Besides, on this Nazi thing, if it wasn't for the British a Hitler believing in some race called Aryan race wouldn't have even existed. The crimes that the British have done are as "evil" as the Nazis if not more. Let's talk about this and many more myths that European (mostly British or Brit-funded) scientists, archaeologists, historians, and philosophers conjured up (who unfortunately were funded by and under the influence of the missionaries of the 18th and 19th centuries).

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Re: What is Evil?

#54 Post by Gottard » August 31st, 2010, 4:16 pm

I am tolerant, I am tolerant to such an extent that I leave this subject to those wishing to fiddle over and over and over again. :dance:
The only thing I fear of death is regret if I couldn’t complete my learning experience

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animist
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Re: What is Evil?

#55 Post by animist » August 31st, 2010, 7:24 pm

Nirvanam wrote:I'll try to clarify some misunderstandings/misinterpretations
animist wrote:Not sure I understand all of this, and you do sound a bit like a theist who is claiming that a good God and the existence of evil are compatible because evil is necessary for there to be good.
I dunno about there existing theists who believe such and such or how to detect one. My point was this...
1. I notice ppl arguing that if god is good then why does he do evil
2. they point to hate-filled verses in abrahamic texts
3. I am saying its not an effective argument because we are assuming god cannot do evil.

I made that word bold to emphasize that I did not make that causal connection.

point 3 - well, that is the assumption in all occidental religions, so does your God do evil?

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animist
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Re: What is Evil?

#56 Post by animist » August 31st, 2010, 8:15 pm

Nirvanam wrote:
animist wrote:To respond to the tiny fraction of what you say which makes any sense to me
I am afraid you'll need to learn to open your mind up if at all you want to be tolerant to others' views, which will also help you to improve your sensibilities. The choice is always yours, its up to you if you choose to remain the way you are or try to understand what someone is saying.
animist wrote: (ie not the stuff about polarity and continua), you seem to be proposing an ethical relativism which I cannot accept.
Which is fine...nothing wrong or right about it. And just coz I choose to see life in diff colors instead of just black or white (good-bad, right-wring, good morals-bad morals, good ethics-bad ethics) like you do, it does not make my choice any greater than yours or any lesser than yours.
animist wrote: Do you really believe that the murder of the Jews (and gypsies and Poles and intellectuals etc) in the Nazi extermination camps during World War 2 was not evil?
Have I ever given you any such indication? But if you are asking me the question without believing that I have given you such an indication, I believe the Nazis were a bunch of mf's but that will not be a reason for me to claim any moral or ethical high ground. Like I keep saying, I believe my own values will change in time, space, perspective, and context. So today I may feel something is wrong, tomorrow I might not . Thing is, I acknowledge change is constant whether I like it or not, and I also acknowledge that fighting such a natural process will only end up in unnecessary moral dilemmas in my mind. If I change, I change....I am not going to try to cover up or pretend I have not changed even in professional situations.

Besides, on this Nazi thing, if it wasn't for the British a Hitler believing in some race called Aryan race wouldn't have even existed. The crimes that the British have done are as "evil" as the Nazis if not more. Let's talk about this and many more myths that European (mostly British or Brit-funded) scientists, archaeologists, historians, and philosophers conjured up (who unfortunately were funded by and under the influence of the missionaries of the 18th and 19th centuries).
Well I give you this, Nirvanam, it is not boring with you around. Over the last two paragraphs of your post, calm down, we are not far apart and I dislike British imperialism too. I mentioned the Nazis in order to draw you out, and I am glad that you seem not to be a complete ethical relativist (at least not at the moment: maybe you will be tomorrow, but then maybe you will be an ant tomorrow - or maybe I will be my soulmate, the ancient ant, tomorrow). I do not think you are quite as fickle and shallow morally as you claim to be, but only you can know. You might be interested to read the excellent book by Peter Cave called "Can a Robot be Human?", as chapter 12 shows the logical problems that ethical relativists get into. On my alleged black-and-white moral judgements, this is not quite fair, as all I say is that I try to be consistent in my actions (on a roughly utilitarian basis); of course, real-life dilemmas are never clear cut. Where you really are unfair to me, and this is what bothers me, is that when I said that only a tiny amount of what you say makes sense to me, you reacted in a defensive way: you said that I should open my mind to others' (ie your) opinions. In fact, what I said was meant sincerely and literally: however long I gaze at your many words, and however much I would like to understand them, I cannot - and while I can't speak for anyone else on this forum, I suspect that others in dialogue with you feel the same way.

Marian
Posts: 3985
Joined: August 23rd, 2009, 2:25 pm

Re: What is Evil?

#57 Post by Marian » August 31st, 2010, 9:15 pm

Nirvanam wrote:I am afraid you'll need to learn to open your mind up if at all you want to be tolerant to others' views, which will also help you to improve your sensibilities. The choice is always yours, its up to you if you choose to remain the way you are or try to understand what someone is saying.
This strikes me as kind of ironic considering your last paragraph. I can understand that you might have a hate-on for the British imperialists who rode roughshod over India. Yes, they and every other nation who had the facilities to do so, dominated and decimated the populations over whom they established control. It's not just a British thing and it's not just India.
I can and do try to understand what someone is saying but does that mean I am tolerant of them. Yes and no. Depends on how you define tolerant, doesn't it? Let's just say that I am tolerant of your right to think what you want but not necessarily your right to say it.
The British no more created Hitler than I am his sister and wouldn't he be spinning around in his grave if he was related to me and my brown-skinned boy. :laughter:
Nirvanam wrote:Which is fine...nothing wrong or right about it. And just coz I choose to see life in diff colors instead of just black or white (good-bad, right-wring, good morals-bad morals, good ethics-bad ethics) like you do, it does not make my choice any greater than yours or any lesser than yours.
We might argue that ethical relativism is what allowed millions to be led to their deaths via death marchs to concentration camps in WWII and what allowed/and still does allow imperialists of all stripes to continue in their behaviour.
Nirvanam wrote: Like I keep saying, I believe my own values will change in time, space, perspective, and context. So today I may feel something is wrong, tomorrow I might not . Thing is, I acknowledge change is constant whether I like it or not, and I also acknowledge that fighting such a natural process will only end up in unnecessary moral dilemmas in my mind.
Your first statement gives me reason to question any trust I might have in the consistency of your behaviour. I'm not saying that people don't change their values but typically, it occurs over a period of time and after deep reflection. Not just based on circumstances, perspective etc. Simply caving in to whatever morals are expedient at the present moment does not reflect integrity, imo. Moral dilemmas and their possible resolution is somehting of what character building is all about. It's easy to just go with the flow.
Nirvanam wrote:Besides, on this Nazi thing, if it wasn't for the British a Hitler believing in some race called Aryan race wouldn't have even existed. The crimes that the British have done are as "evil" as the Nazis if not more. Let's talk about this and many more myths that European (mostly British or Brit-funded) scientists, archaeologists, historians, and philosophers conjured up (who unfortunately were funded by and under the influence of the missionaries of the 18th and 19th centuries).
Not only is this whole paragraph offensive but also untrue in that you've omitted important information. The whole world over there have been people throughout history who believed they were superior to another. Even people within the same country ie. Untouchables or Roma, as two examples. Hitler would have existed regardless maybe by a different name in a different place. If I were going to focus on Hitler, I'd have to look to the US to be a prime contributor and supporter both before and during the war.
Transformative fire...

Nirvanam
Posts: 1023
Joined: April 15th, 2009, 11:29 pm

Re: What is Evil?

#58 Post by Nirvanam » September 1st, 2010, 1:57 pm

animist wrote:Well I give you this, Nirvanam, it is not boring with you around. Over the last two paragraphs of your post, calm down, we are not far apart and I dislike British imperialism too. I mentioned the Nazis in order to draw you out, and I am glad that you seem not to be a complete ethical relativist (at least not at the moment: maybe you will be tomorrow, but then maybe you will be an ant tomorrow - or maybe I will be my soulmate, the ancient ant, tomorrow). I do not think you are quite as fickle and shallow morally as you claim to be, but only you can know. You might be interested to read the excellent book by Peter Cave called "Can a Robot be Human?", as chapter 12 shows the logical problems that ethical relativists get into. On my alleged black-and-white moral judgements, this is not quite fair, as all I say is that I try to be consistent in my actions (on a roughly utilitarian basis); of course, real-life dilemmas are never clear cut. Where you really are unfair to me, and this is what bothers me, is that when I said that only a tiny amount of what you say makes sense to me, you reacted in a defensive way: you said that I should open my mind to others' (ie your) opinions. In fact, what I said was meant sincerely and literally: however long I gaze at your many words, and however much I would like to understand them, I cannot - and while I can't speak for anyone else on this forum, I suspect that others in dialogue with you feel the same way.
I think the disconnect is that you feel that if someone believes in the existence of relativist ethics/morality, then they necessarily do not hold ethical or moral values. They will have ethics... I guess no one can not have ethics because ethics are a necessity to act...to do, to contemplate and analyze actions, events because ethics give a framework with which to analyze and make meaning of events.

On the tiny amount of sense thing...I guess I misinterpreted you...sorry about that...I wouldn't have known until you clarified coz we just started interacting and I haven't yet formed a decent rounded-perception of you and your style of interaction

Nirvanam
Posts: 1023
Joined: April 15th, 2009, 11:29 pm

Re: What is Evil?

#59 Post by Nirvanam » September 1st, 2010, 2:00 pm

Marian, I was wondering where you are lol...you were so silent thru out this thread...guess you were not around. Anyway, I haven't read your post (just saw your name and the smiley)...will respond (if necessary) a lil later

Marian
Posts: 3985
Joined: August 23rd, 2009, 2:25 pm

Re: What is Evil?

#60 Post by Marian » September 1st, 2010, 6:02 pm

Nirvanam wrote:Marian, I was wondering where you are lol...you were so silent thru out this thread...guess you were not around. Anyway, I haven't read your post (just saw your name and the smiley)...will respond (if necessary) a lil later
Oh, I can't see you not having some kind of reaction to my post. I just felt the need to give you a hard time. :D

I've been around here and there but mostly I've been perfecting my evilness................ :wink:
Transformative fire...

Nirvanam
Posts: 1023
Joined: April 15th, 2009, 11:29 pm

Re: What is Evil?

#61 Post by Nirvanam » September 2nd, 2010, 1:20 pm

Marian wrote:
Nirvanam wrote:Marian, I was wondering where you are lol...you were so silent thru out this thread...guess you were not around. Anyway, I haven't read your post (just saw your name and the smiley)...will respond (if necessary) a lil later
Oh, I can't see you not having some kind of reaction to my post. I just felt the need to give you a hard time. :D

I've been around here and there but mostly I've been perfecting my evilness................ :wink:
Aww Marian, you laid such a big trap for me, you really are perfecting The Art of Eviling (there's this society formed by this chap, very nice genuinely happy go lucky chap as many of my friends who communicate with him say. The society/community is called "The Art of Living" so yours is the reverse - live and evil) that I ain't getting sucked into it... :wink:

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