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Defining Evil

matt8800
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5/24/2016 10:20:55 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
I saw a posting with this title in the philosophy section. I thought it was an interesting subject and decided to post in the religion section.

How do you know what is evil?

In my opinion, evil is determined by its effects on other conscious beings. If something has no direct or indirect negative effect on any conscious being, it cannot be considered evil. If a deliberate action produces a direct or indirect negative effect on a conscious being, that act could be considered evil depending on the degree of negative impact.

Can anyone provide any example to prove this wrong?
janesix
Posts: 3,491
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5/24/2016 10:25:14 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/24/2016 10:20:55 PM, matt8800 wrote:
I saw a posting with this title in the philosophy section. I thought it was an interesting subject and decided to post in the religion section.

How do you know what is evil?

In my opinion, evil is determined by its effects on other conscious beings. If something has no direct or indirect negative effect on any conscious being, it cannot be considered evil. If a deliberate action produces a direct or indirect negative effect on a conscious being, that act could be considered evil depending on tohe degree of negative impact.

Can anyone provide any example to prove this wrong?

I disagree. I think it is the intent to do harm that defines evil.
matt8800
Posts: 2,077
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5/24/2016 10:27:16 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
Sorry, I need to add some clarification to the above post...

When I refer to negative effect on a conscious being, the effect of the act on ALL conscious beings the act affects has to be considered. For example, I am an omnivore so animals have to lose their life to provide nutrition.

How do we determine which way the balance goes in each situation?
Sam7411
Posts: 959
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5/24/2016 10:27:53 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/24/2016 10:25:14 PM, janesix wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:20:55 PM, matt8800 wrote:
I saw a posting with this title in the philosophy section. I thought it was an interesting subject and decided to post in the religion section.

How do you know what is evil?

In my opinion, evil is determined by its effects on other conscious beings. If something has no direct or indirect negative effect on any conscious being, it cannot be considered evil. If a deliberate action produces a direct or indirect negative effect on a conscious being, that act could be considered evil depending on tohe degree of negative impact.

Can anyone provide any example to prove this wrong?

I disagree. I think it is the intent to do harm that defines evil.

What if it's harm to a decidedly evil person due to their actions
matt8800
Posts: 2,077
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5/24/2016 10:29:47 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/24/2016 10:25:14 PM, janesix wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:20:55 PM, matt8800 wrote:
I saw a posting with this title in the philosophy section. I thought it was an interesting subject and decided to post in the religion section.

How do you know what is evil?

In my opinion, evil is determined by its effects on other conscious beings. If something has no direct or indirect negative effect on any conscious being, it cannot be considered evil. If a deliberate action produces a direct or indirect negative effect on a conscious being, that act could be considered evil depending on tohe degree of negative impact.

Can anyone provide any example to prove this wrong?

I disagree. I think it is the intent to do harm that defines evil.

I intended on my description of deliberate act that produces a negative effect to mean intent but, it doesn't necessarily. I agree that intent is a factor.
matt8800
Posts: 2,077
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5/24/2016 10:31:08 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/24/2016 10:27:53 PM, Sam7411 wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:25:14 PM, janesix wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:20:55 PM, matt8800 wrote:
I saw a posting with this title in the philosophy section. I thought it was an interesting subject and decided to post in the religion section.

How do you know what is evil?

In my opinion, evil is determined by its effects on other conscious beings. If something has no direct or indirect negative effect on any conscious being, it cannot be considered evil. If a deliberate action produces a direct or indirect negative effect on a conscious being, that act could be considered evil depending on tohe degree of negative impact.

Can anyone provide any example to prove this wrong?

I disagree. I think it is the intent to do harm that defines evil.

What if it's harm to a decidedly evil person due to their actions

Wouldn't that be considered a net benefit to a greater number of conscious beings?
Sam7411
Posts: 959
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5/24/2016 10:34:14 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/24/2016 10:31:08 PM, matt8800 wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:27:53 PM, Sam7411 wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:25:14 PM, janesix wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:20:55 PM, matt8800 wrote:
I saw a posting with this title in the philosophy section. I thought it was an interesting subject and decided to post in the religion section.

How do you know what is evil?

In my opinion, evil is determined by its effects on other conscious beings. If something has no direct or indirect negative effect on any conscious being, it cannot be considered evil. If a deliberate action produces a direct or indirect negative effect on a conscious being, that act could be considered evil depending on tohe degree of negative impact.

Can anyone provide any example to prove this wrong?

I disagree. I think it is the intent to do harm that defines evil.

What if it's harm to a decidedly evil person due to their actions

Wouldn't that be considered a net benefit to a greater number of conscious beings?

Exactly
Geogeer
Posts: 4,296
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5/24/2016 10:40:22 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/24/2016 10:20:55 PM, matt8800 wrote:
I saw a posting with this title in the philosophy section. I thought it was an interesting subject and decided to post in the religion section.

How do you know what is evil?

In my opinion, evil is determined by its effects on other conscious beings. If something has no direct or indirect negative effect on any conscious being, it cannot be considered evil. If a deliberate action produces a direct or indirect negative effect on a conscious being, that act could be considered evil depending on the degree of negative impact.

Can anyone provide any example to prove this wrong?

Cart before horse. Evil in an act against some intrinsic truth. Acts against the truth have negative consequences.
matt8800
Posts: 2,077
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5/24/2016 10:44:02 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/24/2016 10:40:22 PM, Geogeer wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:20:55 PM, matt8800 wrote:
I saw a posting with this title in the philosophy section. I thought it was an interesting subject and decided to post in the religion section.

How do you know what is evil?

In my opinion, evil is determined by its effects on other conscious beings. If something has no direct or indirect negative effect on any conscious being, it cannot be considered evil. If a deliberate action produces a direct or indirect negative effect on a conscious being, that act could be considered evil depending on the degree of negative impact.

Can anyone provide any example to prove this wrong?

Cart before horse. Evil in an act against some intrinsic truth. Acts against the truth have negative consequences.

That presupposes that you have an established truth. All religions have a little different twist but they all think theirs is the correct one. For a non-religious person, how do they know to believe a Christian over a Muslim or vice versa?
famousdebater
Posts: 3,943
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5/24/2016 10:45:18 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/24/2016 10:40:22 PM, Geogeer wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:20:55 PM, matt8800 wrote:
I saw a posting with this title in the philosophy section. I thought it was an interesting subject and decided to post in the religion section.

How do you know what is evil?

In my opinion, evil is determined by its effects on other conscious beings. If something has no direct or indirect negative effect on any conscious being, it cannot be considered evil. If a deliberate action produces a direct or indirect negative effect on a conscious being, that act could be considered evil depending on the degree of negative impact.

Can anyone provide any example to prove this wrong?

Cart before horse. Evil in an act against some intrinsic truth. Acts against the truth have negative consequences.

What would you classify as an intrinsic truth? The definition of that is subjective which negates the entire point about these truths being intrinsic.
"Life calls the tune, we dance."
John Galsworthy
janesix
Posts: 3,491
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5/24/2016 10:45:24 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/24/2016 10:27:53 PM, Sam7411 wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:25:14 PM, janesix wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:20:55 PM, matt8800 wrote:
I saw a posting with this title in the philosophy section. I thought it was an interesting subject and decided to post in the religion section.

How do you know what is evil?

In my opinion, evil is determined by its effects on other conscious beings. If something has no direct or indirect negative effect on any conscious being, it cannot be considered evil. If a deliberate action produces a direct or indirect negative effect on a conscious being, that act could be considered evil depending on tohe degree of negative impact.

Can anyone provide any example to prove this wrong?

I disagree. I think it is the intent to do harm that defines evil.

What if it's harm to a decidedly evil person due to their actions
Self protection isnt evil, or protection of others. Restraining someone in prison for their actions is t evil. Beating them as punishment would be evil.
matt8800
Posts: 2,077
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5/24/2016 10:47:15 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/24/2016 10:25:14 PM, janesix wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:20:55 PM, matt8800 wrote:
I saw a posting with this title in the philosophy section. I thought it was an interesting subject and decided to post in the religion section.

How do you know what is evil?

In my opinion, evil is determined by its effects on other conscious beings. If something has no direct or indirect negative effect on any conscious being, it cannot be considered evil. If a deliberate action produces a direct or indirect negative effect on a conscious being, that act could be considered evil depending on tohe degree of negative impact.

Can anyone provide any example to prove this wrong?

I disagree. I think it is the intent to do harm that defines evil.

How do we know how to determine what is acceptable intent versus unacceptable intent?
matt8800
Posts: 2,077
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5/24/2016 10:53:41 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/24/2016 10:40:22 PM, Geogeer wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:20:55 PM, matt8800 wrote:
I saw a posting with this title in the philosophy section. I thought it was an interesting subject and decided to post in the religion section.

How do you know what is evil?

In my opinion, evil is determined by its effects on other conscious beings. If something has no direct or indirect negative effect on any conscious being, it cannot be considered evil. If a deliberate action produces a direct or indirect negative effect on a conscious being, that act could be considered evil depending on the degree of negative impact.

Can anyone provide any example to prove this wrong?

Cart before horse. Evil in an act against some intrinsic truth. Acts against the truth have negative consequences.

Can you give an example of something that is evil yet would seem to most people that nobody is harmed? If not, no Bible is needed. If you provide an example that people disagree with (such as homosexuality), how is this not an argument that god did not, in fact, write the laws of morality on peoples hearts?
Geogeer
Posts: 4,296
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5/24/2016 10:54:11 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/24/2016 10:44:02 PM, matt8800 wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:40:22 PM, Geogeer wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:20:55 PM, matt8800 wrote:
I saw a posting with this title in the philosophy section. I thought it was an interesting subject and decided to post in the religion section.

How do you know what is evil?

In my opinion, evil is determined by its effects on other conscious beings. If something has no direct or indirect negative effect on any conscious being, it cannot be considered evil. If a deliberate action produces a direct or indirect negative effect on a conscious being, that act could be considered evil depending on the degree of negative impact.

Can anyone provide any example to prove this wrong?

Cart before horse. Evil in an act against some intrinsic truth. Acts against the truth have negative consequences.

That presupposes that you have an established truth. All religions have a little different twist but they all think theirs is the correct one. For a non-religious person, how do they know to believe a Christian over a Muslim or vice versa?

It doesn't presuppose that there is an established truth, it presupposes that the truth exists. A person who does something that only ends up directly harming himself (and indirectly everyone else as a result) and does so out of ignorance both of the action and the consequences has still committed an evil act.

Personal culpability is another matter...
matt8800
Posts: 2,077
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5/24/2016 10:55:23 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/24/2016 10:54:11 PM, Geogeer wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:44:02 PM, matt8800 wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:40:22 PM, Geogeer wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:20:55 PM, matt8800 wrote:
I saw a posting with this title in the philosophy section. I thought it was an interesting subject and decided to post in the religion section.

How do you know what is evil?

In my opinion, evil is determined by its effects on other conscious beings. If something has no direct or indirect negative effect on any conscious being, it cannot be considered evil. If a deliberate action produces a direct or indirect negative effect on a conscious being, that act could be considered evil depending on the degree of negative impact.

Can anyone provide any example to prove this wrong?

Cart before horse. Evil in an act against some intrinsic truth. Acts against the truth have negative consequences.

That presupposes that you have an established truth. All religions have a little different twist but they all think theirs is the correct one. For a non-religious person, how do they know to believe a Christian over a Muslim or vice versa?

It doesn't presuppose that there is an established truth, it presupposes that the truth exists. A person who does something that only ends up directly harming himself (and indirectly everyone else as a result) and does so out of ignorance both of the action and the consequences has still committed an evil act.

Personal culpability is another matter...

Can you give a specific example and explain why you think it applies?
Geogeer
Posts: 4,296
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5/24/2016 10:56:12 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/24/2016 10:45:18 PM, famousdebater wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:40:22 PM, Geogeer wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:20:55 PM, matt8800 wrote:
I saw a posting with this title in the philosophy section. I thought it was an interesting subject and decided to post in the religion section.

How do you know what is evil?

In my opinion, evil is determined by its effects on other conscious beings. If something has no direct or indirect negative effect on any conscious being, it cannot be considered evil. If a deliberate action produces a direct or indirect negative effect on a conscious being, that act could be considered evil depending on the degree of negative impact.

Can anyone provide any example to prove this wrong?

Cart before horse. Evil in an act against some intrinsic truth. Acts against the truth have negative consequences.

What would you classify as an intrinsic truth? The definition of that is subjective which negates the entire point about these truths being intrinsic.

Ultimately, the will of God is the intrinsic truth (it is the religion forum after all). However, the dignity and rights of humans are intrinsic truths as well.
Geogeer
Posts: 4,296
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5/24/2016 11:08:46 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/24/2016 10:55:23 PM, matt8800 wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:54:11 PM, Geogeer wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:44:02 PM, matt8800 wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:40:22 PM, Geogeer wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:20:55 PM, matt8800 wrote:
I saw a posting with this title in the philosophy section. I thought it was an interesting subject and decided to post in the religion section.

How do you know what is evil?

In my opinion, evil is determined by its effects on other conscious beings. If something has no direct or indirect negative effect on any conscious being, it cannot be considered evil. If a deliberate action produces a direct or indirect negative effect on a conscious being, that act could be considered evil depending on the degree of negative impact.

Can anyone provide any example to prove this wrong?

Cart before horse. Evil in an act against some intrinsic truth. Acts against the truth have negative consequences.

That presupposes that you have an established truth. All religions have a little different twist but they all think theirs is the correct one. For a non-religious person, how do they know to believe a Christian over a Muslim or vice versa?

It doesn't presuppose that there is an established truth, it presupposes that the truth exists. A person who does something that only ends up directly harming himself (and indirectly everyone else as a result) and does so out of ignorance both of the action and the consequences has still committed an evil act.

Personal culpability is another matter...

Can you give a specific example and explain why you think it applies?

Since I don't want to get into a deep debate I'll use a weak example. Let's say I own a cabin that only I will ever use. Not being too bright I install lead piping instead of copper piping. I slowly give myself lead poisoning over the years.

Poisoning someone is an evil. It affects me and it affect my interactions with society and possibly my early death. However, if I don't know the effects of lead, my culpability is non-existent. If I knew the effects of lead beforehand it could be an objectively evil act to intentionally poison myself in this manner (if there were no mitigating circumstances).
matt8800
Posts: 2,077
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5/24/2016 11:17:38 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/24/2016 11:08:46 PM, Geogeer wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:55:23 PM, matt8800 wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:54:11 PM, Geogeer wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:44:02 PM, matt8800 wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:40:22 PM, Geogeer wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:20:55 PM, matt8800 wrote:
I saw a posting with this title in the philosophy section. I thought it was an interesting subject and decided to post in the religion section.

How do you know what is evil?

In my opinion, evil is determined by its effects on other conscious beings. If something has no direct or indirect negative effect on any conscious being, it cannot be considered evil. If a deliberate action produces a direct or indirect negative effect on a conscious being, that act could be considered evil depending on the degree of negative impact.

Can anyone provide any example to prove this wrong?

Cart before horse. Evil in an act against some intrinsic truth. Acts against the truth have negative consequences.

That presupposes that you have an established truth. All religions have a little different twist but they all think theirs is the correct one. For a non-religious person, how do they know to believe a Christian over a Muslim or vice versa?

It doesn't presuppose that there is an established truth, it presupposes that the truth exists. A person who does something that only ends up directly harming himself (and indirectly everyone else as a result) and does so out of ignorance both of the action and the consequences has still committed an evil act.

Personal culpability is another matter...

Can you give a specific example and explain why you think it applies?

Since I don't want to get into a deep debate I'll use a weak example. Let's say I own a cabin that only I will ever use. Not being too bright I install lead piping instead of copper piping. I slowly give myself lead poisoning over the years.

Poisoning someone is an evil. It affects me and it affect my interactions with society and possibly my early death. However, if I don't know the effects of lead, my culpability is non-existent. If I knew the effects of lead beforehand it could be an objectively evil act to intentionally poison myself in this manner (if there were no mitigating circumstances).

OK, I agree with that but that is pretty much what I said in the above posts.

Intentionally caused negative effects to a conscious being is evil.

Are there any situations in which something is evil yet does not fit the above definition?
janesix
Posts: 3,491
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5/24/2016 11:25:52 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/24/2016 10:47:15 PM, matt8800 wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:25:14 PM, janesix wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:20:55 PM, matt8800 wrote:
I saw a posting with this title in the philosophy section. I thought it was an interesting subject and decided to post in the religion section.

How do you know what is evil?

In my opinion, evil is determined by its effects on other conscious beings. If something has no direct or indirect negative effect on any conscious being, it cannot be considered evil. If a deliberate action produces a direct or indirect negative effect on a conscious being, that act could be considered evil depending on tohe degree of negative impact.

Can anyone provide any example to prove this wrong?

I disagree. I think it is the intent to do harm that defines evil.

How do we know how to determine what is acceptable intent versus unacceptable intent?
We can only know our own intentions.
Everyone else we have to judge by their actions.
Geogeer
Posts: 4,296
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5/24/2016 11:28:21 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/24/2016 11:17:38 PM, matt8800 wrote:
At 5/24/2016 11:08:46 PM, Geogeer wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:55:23 PM, matt8800 wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:54:11 PM, Geogeer wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:44:02 PM, matt8800 wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:40:22 PM, Geogeer wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:20:55 PM, matt8800 wrote:
I saw a posting with this title in the philosophy section. I thought it was an interesting subject and decided to post in the religion section.

How do you know what is evil?

In my opinion, evil is determined by its effects on other conscious beings. If something has no direct or indirect negative effect on any conscious being, it cannot be considered evil. If a deliberate action produces a direct or indirect negative effect on a conscious being, that act could be considered evil depending on the degree of negative impact.

Can anyone provide any example to prove this wrong?

Cart before horse. Evil in an act against some intrinsic truth. Acts against the truth have negative consequences.

That presupposes that you have an established truth. All religions have a little different twist but they all think theirs is the correct one. For a non-religious person, how do they know to believe a Christian over a Muslim or vice versa?

It doesn't presuppose that there is an established truth, it presupposes that the truth exists. A person who does something that only ends up directly harming himself (and indirectly everyone else as a result) and does so out of ignorance both of the action and the consequences has still committed an evil act.

Personal culpability is another matter...

Can you give a specific example and explain why you think it applies?

Since I don't want to get into a deep debate I'll use a weak example. Let's say I own a cabin that only I will ever use. Not being too bright I install lead piping instead of copper piping. I slowly give myself lead poisoning over the years.

Poisoning someone is an evil. It affects me and it affect my interactions with society and possibly my early death. However, if I don't know the effects of lead, my culpability is non-existent. If I knew the effects of lead beforehand it could be an objectively evil act to intentionally poison myself in this manner (if there were no mitigating circumstances).

OK, I agree with that but that is pretty much what I said in the above posts.

Intentionally caused negative effects to a conscious being is evil.

Are there any situations in which something is evil yet does not fit the above definition?

Well evil always has an effect, but it is not the effect that defines the evil. The effect occurs because of the evil. It is like equating harm to stopping a car. Evil is the application of the brakes, the fact that there is a consequence to the application of the breaks does not make the deceleration the cause, but rather the result.

The closest thing you could get to evil without obvious consequences would be wishing evil on someone else. You have not harmed them, you have only harmed your ability to love.
matt8800
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5/24/2016 11:41:51 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/24/2016 11:28:21 PM, Geogeer wrote:


Intentionally caused negative effects to a conscious being is evil.

Are there any situations in which something is evil yet does not fit the above definition?

Well evil always has an effect, but it is not the effect that defines the evil. The effect occurs because of the evil. It is like equating harm to stopping a car. Evil is the application of the brakes, the fact that there is a consequence to the application of the breaks does not make the deceleration the cause, but rather the result.

The closest thing you could get to evil without obvious consequences would be wishing evil on someone else. You have not harmed them, you have only harmed your ability to love.

OK, I think we agree, for now, on a definition for determining evil.

So far, we have:

Intentionally caused negative effects to a conscious being is evil.

Lets look at 2 different scenarios:

1. Israelites invade neighboring peoples, kill all the males and females that have ever slept with a man. The invading men take the virgins for themselves. (note: Since many girls married soon after they are sexually mature in those days, most virgins would probably be considered around 13 years old or younger).

2. US troops invade Afghanistan, kill all the males and females that have ever slept with a man. The invading men take the virgins for themselves. (Since girls marry very young in that culture, many virgins would be somewhere around 13-15ish)

Would you say that both, one or neither scenarios are immoral?

If one or neither, how would you propose changing the verbiage of our current definition of evil to fit your conclusion?
ken1122
Posts: 499
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5/25/2016 12:57:48 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/24/2016 10:20:55 PM, matt8800 wrote:
I saw a posting with this title in the philosophy section. I thought it was an interesting subject and decided to post in the religion section.

How do you know what is evil?

In my opinion, evil is determined by its effects on other conscious beings. If something has no direct or indirect negative effect on any conscious being, it cannot be considered evil. If a deliberate action produces a direct or indirect negative effect on a conscious being, that act could be considered evil depending on the degree of negative impact.

Can anyone provide any example to prove this wrong?

Often the same act that causes direct harm to one group will cause direct benefit to another. Evil is just a subjective term people use to describe actions they find bad.

Ken
matt8800
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5/25/2016 3:28:18 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/25/2016 12:57:48 PM, ken1122 wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:20:55 PM, matt8800 wrote:
I saw a posting with this title in the philosophy section. I thought it was an interesting subject and decided to post in the religion section.

How do you know what is evil?

In my opinion, evil is determined by its effects on other conscious beings. If something has no direct or indirect negative effect on any conscious being, it cannot be considered evil. If a deliberate action produces a direct or indirect negative effect on a conscious being, that act could be considered evil depending on the degree of negative impact.

Can anyone provide any example to prove this wrong?

Often the same act that causes direct harm to one group will cause direct benefit to another. Evil is just a subjective term people use to describe actions they find bad.

Ken

I think that's a good point and one that makes a strong argument for subjective morality.

Can you give a specific example in which the classification of good/evil could be controversial? I would like to see if we could classify it with the current definition we have discussed on this thread and if not, if we can adjust the definition of evil to apply to the specific example.
bulproof
Posts: 25,308
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5/25/2016 4:38:27 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/24/2016 11:08:46 PM, Geogeer wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:55:23 PM, matt8800 wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:54:11 PM, Geogeer wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:44:02 PM, matt8800 wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:40:22 PM, Geogeer wrote:
At 5/24/2016 10:20:55 PM, matt8800 wrote:
I saw a posting with this title in the philosophy section. I thought it was an interesting subject and decided to post in the religion section.

How do you know what is evil?

In my opinion, evil is determined by its effects on other conscious beings. If something has no direct or indirect negative effect on any conscious being, it cannot be considered evil. If a deliberate action produces a direct or indirect negative effect on a conscious being, that act could be considered evil depending on the degree of negative impact.

Can anyone provide any example to prove this wrong?

Cart before horse. Evil in an act against some intrinsic truth. Acts against the truth have negative consequences.

That presupposes that you have an established truth. All religions have a little different twist but they all think theirs is the correct one. For a non-religious person, how do they know to believe a Christian over a Muslim or vice versa?

It doesn't presuppose that there is an established truth, it presupposes that the truth exists. A person who does something that only ends up directly harming himself (and indirectly everyone else as a result) and does so out of ignorance both of the action and the consequences has still committed an evil act.

Personal culpability is another matter...

Can you give a specific example and explain why you think it applies?

Since I don't want to get into a deep debate I'll use a weak example. Let's say I own a cabin that only I will ever use. Not being too bright I install lead piping instead of copper piping. I slowly give myself lead poisoning over the years.

Poisoning someone is an evil. It affects me and it affect my interactions with society and possibly my early death. However, if I don't know the effects of lead, my culpability is non-existent. If I knew the effects of lead beforehand it could be an objectively evil act to intentionally poison myself in this manner (if there were no mitigating circumstances).

Stupidity is evil? WOW
Geogeer
Posts: 4,296
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5/31/2016 7:05:36 AM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/24/2016 11:41:51 PM, matt8800 wrote:
At 5/24/2016 11:28:21 PM, Geogeer wrote:

Sorry about taking so long to get back to you. Work has been intense recently.

Intentionally caused negative effects to a conscious being is evil.

Are there any situations in which something is evil yet does not fit the above definition?

Well evil always has an effect, but it is not the effect that defines the evil. The effect occurs because of the evil. It is like equating harm to stopping a car. Evil is the application of the brakes, the fact that there is a consequence to the application of the breaks does not make the deceleration the cause, but rather the result.

The closest thing you could get to evil without obvious consequences would be wishing evil on someone else. You have not harmed them, you have only harmed your ability to love.

OK, I think we agree, for now, on a definition for determining evil.

No we don't. I noted earlier that evil is an action against truth. You have been intent on reducing it to the consequences of that action.

So far, we have:

Intentionally caused negative effects to a conscious being is evil.

You have intentionally strawmanned what I've been saying.

Lets look at 2 different scenarios:

1. Israelites invade neighboring peoples, kill all the males and females that have ever slept with a man. The invading men take the virgins for themselves. (note: Since many girls married soon after they are sexually mature in those days, most virgins would probably be considered around 13 years old or younger).

First of all they never did kill all the people. The way the ancients wrote was not obsessed with historical accuracy in the way we write. Additionally, the spiritual meaning behind these passages is the true importance.

Now that being said, the people of the land were evil having abandoned even natural law. These people worshipped Moloch and performed child sacrifices by burning their children alive to gain favour from the god in addition to their numerous other sins of adultery, beastiality, incest, idolatry, etc...

These people had violated that which was true and had committed evil. The punishment they received was that which they deserved for their actions.

2. US troops invade Afghanistan, kill all the males and females that have ever slept with a man. The invading men take the virgins for themselves. (Since girls marry very young in that culture, many virgins would be somewhere around 13-15ish)

The people living in Afghanistan were generally not the ones guilty of violating God's natural laws and as such are subject to the same degree of punishments. It is rather a specific group that is guilty of such.

Would you say that both, one or neither scenarios are immoral?

If one or neither, how would you propose changing the verbiage of our current definition of evil to fit your conclusion?

I have already explained that your verbiage was not my verbiage.
bulproof
Posts: 25,308
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5/31/2016 7:53:51 AM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/31/2016 7:05:36 AM, Geogeer wrote:
Now that being said, the people of the land were evil having abandoned even natural law. These people worshipped Moloch and performed child sacrifices by burning their children alive to gain favour from the god in addition to their numerous other sins of adultery, beastiality, incest, idolatry, etc...
I keep asking the proponents of these claims to provide evidence that these claims are valid, they never do.
It's your turn, provide evidence that the claims you have made in the above quote are true. The bible is not evidence, have at it.
matt8800
Posts: 2,077
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6/1/2016 2:11:47 AM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/31/2016 7:05:36 AM, Geogeer wrote:
At 5/24/2016 11:41:51 PM, matt8800 wrote:
At 5/24/2016 11:28:21 PM, Geogeer wrote:

Sorry about taking so long to get back to you. Work has been intense recently.

Intentionally caused negative effects to a conscious being is evil.

Are there any situations in which something is evil yet does not fit the above definition?

Well evil always has an effect, but it is not the effect that defines the evil. The effect occurs because of the evil. It is like equating harm to stopping a car. Evil is the application of the brakes, the fact that there is a consequence to the application of the breaks does not make the deceleration the cause, but rather the result.

The closest thing you could get to evil without obvious consequences would be wishing evil on someone else. You have not harmed them, you have only harmed your ability to love.

OK, I think we agree, for now, on a definition for determining evil.

No we don't. I noted earlier that evil is an action against truth. You have been intent on reducing it to the consequences of that action.

Whose truth? The Catholics truth? The Protestants truth? The Muslims truth?

Can you at least agree that it is wrong under all circumstances for warring men to kidnap virgins for their own use after killing their family? This is so straightforward for a irreligious person but so far, I have not gotten a straight answer from a theist yet.

If not, can you finish this sentence:

It is wrong for men in war do kidnap virgins for their own use, except when _______________________.

So far, we have:

Intentionally caused negative effects to a conscious being is evil.

You have intentionally strawmanned what I've been saying.

Lets look at 2 different scenarios:

1. Israelites invade neighboring peoples, kill all the males and females that have ever slept with a man. The invading men take the virgins for themselves. (note: Since many girls married soon after they are sexually mature in those days, most virgins would probably be considered around 13 years old or younger).

First of all they never did kill all the people. The way the ancients wrote was not obsessed with historical accuracy in the way we write. Additionally, the spiritual meaning behind these passages is the true importance.

Yes, obviously ancients were not obsessed with accuracy. On that point, we agree. Have you pieced it together that you are deriving all your spiritual meaning from people who were not concerned with accuracy? These are also the same people that claimed god told them to kill innocent people and kidnap the virgins for their own use yet that is the book to which you believe we are supposed to use to set our moral standard.

Now that being said, the people of the land were evil having abandoned even natural law. These people worshipped Moloch and performed child sacrifices by burning their children alive to gain favour from the god in addition to their numerous other sins of adultery, beastiality, incest, idolatry, etc...

These people had violated that which was true and had committed evil. The punishment they received was that which they deserved for their actions.

Do you feel US soldiers should kill small children and the elderly if they are related to someone that did something evil? Why or why not?

2. US troops invade Afghanistan, kill all the males and females that have ever slept with a man. The invading men take the virgins for themselves. (Since girls marry very young in that culture, many virgins would be somewhere around 13-15ish)

The people living in Afghanistan were generally not the ones guilty of violating God's natural laws and as such are subject to the same degree of punishments. It is rather a specific group that is guilty of such.

What natural laws did they violate? What are your methods to determine that Afghanistan, on average, does not violate the same laws to the same degree? What are your sources for this information?

Would you say that both, one or neither scenarios are immoral?

If one or neither, how would you propose changing the verbiage of our current definition of evil to fit your conclusion?

I have already explained that your verbiage was not my verbiage.

OK, no theist has been able to define when someone should kidnap and rape virgins and when they should not. If it was determined that my neighbor committed all the (unknown) atrocities that you say the "evil" people in the bible committed, can I morally kill the whole family who did not participate and keep his 13 year old virgin daughter for my own use? How is this any different than what the Israelites did?
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
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6/1/2016 5:52:00 AM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/24/2016 10:20:55 PM, matt8800 wrote:
I saw a posting with this title in the philosophy section. I thought it was an interesting subject and decided to post in the religion section.
How do you know what is evil?
In my opinion, evil is determined by its effects on other conscious beings.
Yes, Matt, I agree.

I like the definition of psychologist Philip Zimbardo, author of the notorious Stanford Prison Experiment in which ordinary students became Abu-Ghraib style bullies in a matter of days. [https://en.wikipedia.org...] He describes evil as the deliberate use of power to hurt, harm or destroy another thinking being.

Such a definition doesn't itself distinguish necessary evils, or dichotomies regarding the lesser of two evils. It's a moral assessment, not an ethical evaluation or a moral imperative.

Zimbardo points out something he observed in the Stanford experiment: that evil is produced not so much by rotten apples in the barrel, but rotten barrels -- that is, barrels that make it easy to use power malignantly undetected, unchallenged and unaccountably. He also points out how easy and effective it can be to point out when evil is occurring, since most people don't want to see themselves as malignant.

If his contention is true, it means that the organisation and governance structures we create enable a great deal of the evil that is done. Or put another way, we have an ethical obligation to create and maintain the best organisation and governance we can, rather than live with the ones we have.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
-- Edmund Burke, 1729-97
Geogeer
Posts: 4,296
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6/3/2016 7:12:56 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 6/1/2016 2:11:47 AM, matt8800 wrote:
At 5/31/2016 7:05:36 AM, Geogeer wrote:
At 5/24/2016 11:41:51 PM, matt8800 wrote:
At 5/24/2016 11:28:21 PM, Geogeer wrote:

Sorry about taking so long to get back to you. Work has been intense recently.

Intentionally caused negative effects to a conscious being is evil.

Are there any situations in which something is evil yet does not fit the above definition?

Well evil always has an effect, but it is not the effect that defines the evil. The effect occurs because of the evil. It is like equating harm to stopping a car. Evil is the application of the brakes, the fact that there is a consequence to the application of the breaks does not make the deceleration the cause, but rather the result.

The closest thing you could get to evil without obvious consequences would be wishing evil on someone else. You have not harmed them, you have only harmed your ability to love.

OK, I think we agree, for now, on a definition for determining evil.

No we don't. I noted earlier that evil is an action against truth. You have been intent on reducing it to the consequences of that action.

Whose truth? The Catholics truth? The Protestants truth? The Muslims truth?

There is only one truth. There may be disagreement, but there is only one truth.

Can you at least agree that it is wrong under all circumstances for warring men to kidnap virgins for their own use after killing their family? This is so straightforward for a irreligious person but so far, I have not gotten a straight answer from a theist yet.

Who said they kidnapped them for their own use? They took them in and made them part of their families. If someone is executed, does that mean their children should be abandoned or taken care of?

If not, can you finish this sentence:

It is wrong for men in war do kidnap virgins for their own use, except when _______________________.

It is not wrong to execute justice and take care of those who will be left without means to take care of themselves.

So far, we have:

Intentionally caused negative effects to a conscious being is evil.

You have intentionally strawmanned what I've been saying.

Lets look at 2 different scenarios:

1. Israelites invade neighboring peoples, kill all the males and females that have ever slept with a man. The invading men take the virgins for themselves. (note: Since many girls married soon after they are sexually mature in those days, most virgins would probably be considered around 13 years old or younger).

First of all they never did kill all the people. The way the ancients wrote was not obsessed with historical accuracy in the way we write. Additionally, the spiritual meaning behind these passages is the true importance.

Yes, obviously ancients were not obsessed with accuracy. On that point, we agree.

No, they wrote according to the style of the times in which they lived, just as we do.

Have you pieced it together that you are deriving all your spiritual meaning from people who were not concerned with accuracy?

I am understanding that these texts were written by men in the style, culture and language of the times as inspired by the Holy Spirit.

These are also the same people that claimed god told them to kill innocent people and kidnap the virgins for their own use yet that is the book to which you believe we are supposed to use to set our moral standard.

Yes people that sacrificed their first born by burning them to death in order to earn the favour of their gods. People guilty of all sorts of immorality.

One again what would you propose to be done with the innocent girls left alive? Starve to death, how compassionate.

Now that being said, the people of the land were evil having abandoned even natural law. These people worshipped Moloch and performed child sacrifices by burning their children alive to gain favour from the god in addition to their numerous other sins of adultery, beastiality, incest, idolatry, etc...

These people had violated that which was true and had committed evil. The punishment they received was that which they deserved for their actions.

Do you feel US soldiers should kill small children and the elderly if they are related to someone that did something evil? Why or why not?

What you are failing to understand is that the bible is to be read in a spiritual sense. They represent the evils that the Israelites were to reject and we are to reject in our own lives. Where the Israelites didn't reject these people they themselves became corrupted. Exactly how much is exaggeration of the actual events is difficult to tell.

As far as I know US soldiers have not been given charged by God to exact justice.

2. US troops invade Afghanistan, kill all the males and females that have ever slept with a man. The invading men take the virgins for themselves. (Since girls marry very young in that culture, many virgins would be somewhere around 13-15ish)

The people living in Afghanistan were generally not the ones guilty of violating God's natural laws and as such are subject to the same degree of punishments. It is rather a specific group that is guilty of such.

What natural laws did they violate? What are your methods to determine that Afghanistan, on average, does not violate the same laws to the same degree? What are your sources for this information?

Child sacrifice, adultery, beastiality, incest, idolatry, etc...

Would you say that both, one or neither scenarios are immoral?

If one or neither, how would you propose changing the verbiage of our current definition of evil to fit your conclusion?

I have already explained that your verbiage was not my verbiage.

OK, no theist has been able to define when someone should kidnap and rape virgins and when they should not. If it was determined that my neighbor committed all the (unknown) atrocities that you say the "evil" people in the bible committed, can I morally kill the whole family who did not participate and keep his 13 year old virgin daughter for my own use? How is this any different than what the Israelites did?

Please show me where it was said that they were to rape virgins. Your hyperbole is completely unsupported except by your mind.
bulproof
Posts: 25,308
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6/4/2016 2:24:59 AM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 6/3/2016 7:12:56 PM, Geogeer wrote:

At 5/31/2016 7:53:51 AM, bulproof wrote:
At 5/31/2016 7:05:36 AM, Geogeer wrote:
Now that being said, the people of the land were evil having abandoned even natural law. These people worshipped Moloch and performed child sacrifices by burning their children alive to gain favour from the god in addition to their numerous other sins of adultery, beastiality, incest, idolatry, etc...
I keep asking the proponents of these claims to provide evidence that these claims are valid, they never do.
It's your turn, provide evidence that the claims you have made in the above quote are true. The bible is not evidence, have at it.