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Good vs Evil

Cyrano
Posts: 33
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2/14/2013 5:37:24 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
What is there that objectively makes "good" greater than "evil"? In this context "greater" does not mean from a moral or ethical point of view, nor from a religious point of view, but from a completely detached and un-empathetic stand point.

Obviously, for humans, evil (such as murder or rape) is less conducive to the overall best interests of the species, but for a maximally great being, what is it about "good" that is inherently better than "evil"?

Or to put it another way, consider that there were three distinct realities. Reality 1 had an MGB that was purely good, much like how atheists would see God. Reality 2 had an MGB that was purely evil, so anti-God. Reality 3 had an MGB that was capable of both ultimate good and ultimate evil (so for example it could cause gratuitous love and happiness in one world, and simultaneously gratuitous suffering and hatred in another).

Which of these 3 MGBs would we actually consider to be the greatest? (And again, "Greatest" does not mean "nicest", or most aligned to what our subjective human viewpoint would define as the best). Is God constrained by his obligation to be "good" and thus an unconstrained MGB would in effect be "greater"?
Connoisseur
Posts: 11
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2/14/2013 6:46:53 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I would think that the third is the one of our universe.

I would consider the third the greatest because I admire adaptability but you must realise that only the first two are morally debatable.
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Cyrano
Posts: 33
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2/14/2013 7:45:17 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/14/2013 6:46:53 PM, Connoisseur wrote:

... you must realise that only the first two are morally debatable.

Why would you say only the first two are morally debatable?

A common theistic argument for the existence of god is the existence of objective morals " that God instils in us a sense of good and evil.
Another theistic argument for the existence of God is the Ontological argument which says that if an MGB is possible then it exists.

But if we can show that the MGB from the ontological argument would, in fact, be capable of good AND evil (otherwise an even greater being is possible) then either (1) our sense of good and evil does not come from this being (since this MGB would not view evil as bad, but just as another action/viewpoint on the continuum of all possible actions/viewpoints), or (2) this being is not worthy of worship.

Or perhaps both (1) and (2).
ConservativeAmerican
Posts: 1,676
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2/14/2013 9:41:41 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/14/2013 5:37:24 PM, Cyrano wrote:
What is there that objectively makes "good" greater than "evil"? In this context "greater" does not mean from a moral or ethical point of view, nor from a religious point of view, but from a completely detached and un-empathetic stand point.

Obviously, for humans, evil (such as murder or rape) is less conducive to the overall best interests of the species, but for a maximally great being, what is it about "good" that is inherently better than "evil"?

Or to put it another way, consider that there were three distinct realities. Reality 1 had an MGB that was purely good, much like how atheists would see God. Reality 2 had an MGB that was purely evil, so anti-God. Reality 3 had an MGB that was capable of both ultimate good and ultimate evil (so for example it could cause gratuitous love and happiness in one world, and simultaneously gratuitous suffering and hatred in another).

Which of these 3 MGBs would we actually consider to be the greatest? (And again, "Greatest" does not mean "nicest", or most aligned to what our subjective human viewpoint would define as the best). Is God constrained by his obligation to be "good" and thus an unconstrained MGB would in effect be "greater"?

There is no such thing as good or evil in my opinion. There is only what the majority perceives as good and evil. Someone could justify rape or murder, unless they did it out of insanity. There are people who attempt to justify or deny the holocaust, they are not evil, they are simply ignorant. It is in the human nature to want what is best for society, when have you heard someone sincerely say they despise mankind and want to hurt/kill everyone? People do not want to commit evil acts, they only do so out of ignorance (or sometimes insanity). Think about it this way, if nazi germany won WWII, and the majority of people then became Nazis, would we still perceive the holocaust and German imperialism during the late 30's to mid 40's as evil? No, we would probably perceive it as justified due to propaganda. There is no good or evil, only what the majority justify as good or evil.
Cyrano
Posts: 33
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2/15/2013 2:01:36 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/14/2013 9:41:41 PM, ConservativeAmerican wrote:
There is no such thing as good or evil in my opinion. There is only what the majority perceives as good and evil.

Whether morals are objective or not is a topic I am quite interested in, but for this particular posting I was more wanting to see if there were any reasonable arguments for thinking that an MGB would view as "good" what we humans view as "good", and whether an MGB who was completely unconstrained by obligations to perform only "good" deeds would be greater than an MGB that was so constrained.
Illegalcombatant
Posts: 4,008
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2/15/2013 4:05:34 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/14/2013 5:37:24 PM, Cyrano wrote:
What is there that objectively makes "good" greater than "evil"? In this context "greater" does not mean from a moral or ethical point of view, nor from a religious point of view, but from a completely detached and un-empathetic stand point.

Obviously, for humans, evil (such as murder or rape) is less conducive to the overall best interests of the species, but for a maximally great being, what is it about "good" that is inherently better than "evil"?

Or to put it another way, consider that there were three distinct realities. Reality 1 had an MGB that was purely good, much like how atheists would see God. Reality 2 had an MGB that was purely evil, so anti-God. Reality 3 had an MGB that was capable of both ultimate good and ultimate evil (so for example it could cause gratuitous love and happiness in one world, and simultaneously gratuitous suffering and hatred in another).

Which of these 3 MGBs would we actually consider to be the greatest? (And again, "Greatest" does not mean "nicest", or most aligned to what our subjective human viewpoint would define as the best). Is God constrained by his obligation to be "good" and thus an unconstrained MGB would in effect be "greater"?

The best answer you will probably get will boil down to some presupposed concept of God or definition move, something like Gods nature is good thus God does good and only good and/or it is greater to be and do good and only good than to do good and evil.

But yeah these don't really answer your questions from a more objective viewpoint.
"Seems like another attempt to insert God into areas our knowledge has yet to penetrate. You figure God would be bigger than the gaps of our ignorance." Drafterman 19/5/12
Sidewalker
Posts: 3,713
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2/15/2013 2:02:12 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/14/2013 5:37:24 PM, Cyrano wrote:
What is there that objectively makes "good" greater than "evil"? In this context "greater" does not mean from a moral or ethical point of view, nor from a religious point of view, but from a completely detached and un-empathetic stand point.

Obviously, for humans, evil (such as murder or rape) is less conducive to the overall best interests of the species, but for a maximally great being, what is it about "good" that is inherently better than "evil"?

Or to put it another way, consider that there were three distinct realities. Reality 1 had an MGB that was purely good, much like how atheists would see God. Reality 2 had an MGB that was purely evil, so anti-God. Reality 3 had an MGB that was capable of both ultimate good and ultimate evil (so for example it could cause gratuitous love and happiness in one world, and simultaneously gratuitous suffering and hatred in another).

Which of these 3 MGBs would we actually consider to be the greatest? (And again, "Greatest" does not mean "nicest", or most aligned to what our subjective human viewpoint would define as the best). Is God constrained by his obligation to be "good" and thus an unconstrained MGB would in effect be "greater"?

I think you are asking if "good and evil" have objective existence, which will always be problematic because "objective" existence implies an ontological of objects, necessarily located in time and space. They are better considered as directions in which to go, the dichotomy of good and evil are more like the dichotomy of east and west, we live on a sphere, east only have meaning from a specific point and in a specific context, and west is the other direction, it is the same with good and evil. Disassociating good and evil from context is like asking if "above" or "below" have objective existence, they are terms that are relational to a dynamic context rather than ontologically existing as independent entities. For good and evil to have any meaning at all they must relate to an absolute value that is related to human nature, which implies they exist in the context of free will and human agency. Asking if they objectively exist independently of human nature and consciousness is meaningless, they are terms that can have no meaning if you try to detach them from human nature which implies consciousness, free will, and human agency.

Once placed in context of the human condition, and recognizing that they have ontological existence as contents of human consciousness, then they do in fact have ontological existence by virtue of their ability to have causal effect in the word through our actions. The question then becomes can extract generalizations about the human condition that make good and evil something more than purely subjective judgments or societal norms, and I think we can. Good lies in the direction of what human beings generally find desirable and evil lies in the direction of what is undesirable.

Then it becomes a matter of determining what human beings generally find desirable and undesirable, and that isn"t all that hard to do, science can certainly speak to humanity"s physical and psychological needs, and there are things that almost everyone values. No list will be exhaustive or unanimously agreed upon, but certain things are generally desirable such as life, liberty, charity, freedom, love, dignity, justice and certain other things are undesirable such as harm, humiliation, pain and suffering. One way of looking at it is good actions are ones that produce consequences that contribute to well-being.
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
jambone
Posts: 25
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2/26/2013 3:22:02 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/14/2013 5:37:24 PM, Cyrano wrote:
What is there that objectively makes "good" greater than "evil"? In this context "greater" does not mean from a moral or ethical point of view, nor from a religious point of view, but from a completely detached and un-empathetic stand point.

Obviously, for humans, evil (such as murder or rape) is less conducive to the overall best interests of the species, but for a maximally great being, what is it about "good" that is inherently better than "evil"?

Or to put it another way, consider that there were three distinct realities. Reality 1 had an MGB that was purely good, much like how atheists would see God. Reality 2 had an MGB that was purely evil, so anti-God. Reality 3 had an MGB that was capable of both ultimate good and ultimate evil (so for example it could cause gratuitous love and happiness in one world, and simultaneously gratuitous suffering and hatred in another).

Which of these 3 MGBs would we actually consider to be the greatest? (And again, "Greatest" does not mean "nicest", or most aligned to what our subjective human viewpoint would define as the best). Is God constrained by his obligation to be "good" and thus an unconstrained MGB would in effect be "greater"?

All meaning is biologically dependent. In the absence of a conscious subject the world as object is utterly meaningless, god not being a world or an object means god is a meaningless term. All meaning is the property of a conscious subject never the property of the world as object, so, of necessity good and evil are value judgement of a biological subject as to what is good or bad for the welfare and continuance its own biology.