The Instigator
Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

Are we born good or evil? Pro = born good. Con = born evil

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/8/2019 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 days ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 138 times Debate No: 123416
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
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We are born good. Until we start walking, We haven't really done anything to be considered evil.

From the start we are born good, But as we grow up, We learn from those around us, Parents, Siblings, Grandparents, And Friends, And they teach us Evil. Even as we mature and get older, We are only surrounded by evil, So it falls under our parent's responsibility to make sure whether we stay good or not. Of course, When we reach the age of 16-18 years old, We make the decision of whether to stay good or become evil.

Of course, As young kids, We aren't quite ready to know right from wrong, But that's where Parents come into action, They need to guide us to the light. Such as my family, My mother kept me from going into the dark (becoming evil), As did my father, But my Grandfather, Taught me that it's ok to lie, Or do something bad every now and then, And that's where i learned to be evil.

As the world progresses, It becomes more and more corrupt, Making it harder to differentiate good from evil, And making it harder to guide our children away from the evil. As we do evil, Our kids will think it's ok, And do evil themselves.

To those who read this, What actions are defined as "evil, " What actions are considered "good"? Are actions we take because of our Instincts evil or are they good? Are the survival instincts (Keeping ourselves out of harms way or out of trouble) make us evil?


Hi, As I understand it, I will be taking the position that we are all born evil. An interesting debate and one which I hope will be informative for us all.
I will rebut for a bit then put forth my arguments. But first I will define 'evil' and 'good'.

As Pro attempts to define, There are certain things that may be considered 'evil'. Pro believes that something that has to do with 'going into the dark' is lying which is 'evil'. This is false as lying is not necessarily a negative thing to do. We lie to people who cannot or should not handle the truth for a variety of reasons. Children are coddled and told lies, So they may live a childhood full of giddy, Unknowing happiness. White lies are an example of 'good' lies, Meaningless ones like 'I'm sure you'll be okay' when you're not sure that someone's going to be okay is a part of this. Lies can be good.

What is 'evil' and what is 'good'? Well the literary definition of 'good' is to be 'morally excellent', 'righteous', And 'virtuous'. The definition for 'evil' is 'profoundly immoral and wicked'. Evil seems to be on the far end of the spectrum; the literary 'good' is however not exactly extreme, Whose adjectives are not restrictive and allow 'good' to mean a large variety of things.
You may be thinking, 'if good is at least towards the middle and evil is terribly corrupt, Then it would be hard to be born evil, Isn't it? '. However the dictionary definitions for 'evil' and 'good' also don't apply to the inherent nature of a person. A 'good' person is innately able to empathise with other people and to feel compassion for them, And to put your needs before yourself. A good person lacks self-centredness. 'Evil' people cannot empathise with others, And their actions and nature are inherently self-centred.

People are 'born' evil and good, But mostly evil, Should we abide by our given definitions. Humans, And organisms in general, Are selfish. It's a fact that 'survival of the fittest' is not just an analogy; we are genetically conditioned to survive as best as we physically can. That's how my layman's understanding of evolution works. This results in a lack of selflessness and a desire to improve oneself over others. Though these traits may go away with age, We would have to be naturally born selfish, Otherwise we would not have survived. Though humanity did succeed over cooperation and our ability to feel compassion, It remains that some survival traits were very much based around deception, And we are born without a big of a dose of empathy as we do apathy for little but our own survival.
Debate Round No. 1


I do agree with most of the 3rd paragraph and i feel that i'll taking the debate a different direction with the original question. However in your first paragraph, You did kind of contradict yourself "This is false as lying is not necessarily a negative thing to do. We lie to people who cannot or should not handle the truth for a variety of reasons. " Whether they can take the truth or not. Sometimes they will have to take it. Not telling them the truth could easily be the evil thing to do.

Think about it like this. If someone at your job has done something very wrong, And your boss doesn't notice it, And then you lie to your boss about the situation and keep your coworker at the job. They did something very wrong again. Would you lie about the situation again or get your coworker fired?

"Should not handle the truth"? Who is the person to decide that they shouldn't handle the truth?

I understand as a parent, That you want to make sure your child is happy and cheerful, But even as kids they must learn the truth at some point. Childhood isn't always about "giddy, Unknowing" happiness.
If you keep telling someone those little white lies, And if they can't handle the truth, They will have a very tough time in the Real World. The real world won't really care if you can or can't handle the truth.
Tell me this, Are you truly benefitting someone by telling them something they wouldn't want to hear or by telling them what they need to hear?

I'm sure someone has said to you, There's a difference in "need" and "want, " Correct? You want the people around you to be happy, Cheerful, But they will need to hear the truth. They may not be able to take it, But it'll be needed.

I can agree of the idea that we're born both good and evil. However, Which is stronger? As a newborn, Going by our instinct to survive to receive the nurture we need. Would that be considered evil? Newborns cry to get food. Is this evil?
It wasn't so much that they wanted to work together to survive, They were required to do so. It is an instinct we share with every animal in the world. We only survived because of that instinct. The instinct to reproduce.


I guess a large portion of this round will be rebuttal and very little new substantive will be brought up, Which is fine.

Regarding the subject of lying, I said that it is not 'necessarily a negative thing to do'. It is true that white lies in their many forms are completely necessary in a variety of situations. You correctly define a situation in which sometimes someone has to have the truth, And sometimes lying is evil, As it was in your example. However, This still allows my point to stand, As you have not proven that lying can be a good thing to do. I believe that some people can decide who cannot handle the truth, But again, This isn't necessarily applicable to all situations, Which is what I believe I said in my argument in the first place. This is something I correctly exemplify in my example of preserving the innocence of children by shielding them from thoughts that may make them unnecessarily pessimistic or is a concept too harsh for them to comprehend. It is true that there are some things that some people are not mature enough to correctly interpret or act upon.

I understand that as a parent you understand that there is a limit to the application of white lies, But note that I did not say that all white lies were necessarily good. Again I reiterate that I said that white lies are an example of how lies aren't necessarily bad in my first argument in R1. So as an answer to this question:

'Are you truly benefitting someone by telling them something they wouldn't want to hear or by telling them what they need to hear? '

Yes/no, Depending on the situation. Maybe someone who has to concentrate to finish a monumentally important task could not afford to be distracted thus necessitating your telling them the death of a relative after they have finished the job. Or maybe, By doing so, That certain someone feels guilt about the situation as they feel as though they could've done something if you had just told them sooner. Unlike what you seem to be implying, There is not just one answer to the question of whether lying is good or not, As it can be used for good, But also for evil. My point stands.

Now onto the idea of 'literally being born evil'. You contend that our 'good' side is stronger since many key survival of people are inherently good. You mention crying as a instinct, Then asking whether newborns crying to get food is evil.
Let me reiterate my definition of 'evil', Which I am assuming is something that applies across this debate because even though you neither confirmed nor denied that you acknowledge the definition, It is something your last paragraph seems to agree with and abide by. Something that is 'evil' is apathetic and self-centred. So yes, Technically, A baby crying is an action it undertakes for its' own good and can be seen as self-centred, And absurdly, Evil.
Strangely enough all survival instincts are centred around a desire to survive and to beat other competitors. Though some unique to humans like large amounts of compassion and wide-scale cooperation can be seen as 'good' traits, These develop further on in a baby's life. If a baby is put in water and has the option of dunking another baby to survive, It will dunk the baby and sacrifice another life for itself, An inherently self-centred trait and an evil one too. You really can't deny that humans will commit self-centred actions to save themselves, Oftentimes over selfless ones.

I guess I'll look for substantive to offer in R3. This has been an eye-opening discussion so far.
Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Chtholly 1 day ago
Forgive me for not responding to the debate. A few things had come up at home that i had to take care of, So i was unable to respond
Posted by missmedic 4 days ago
Good and evil are not characteristics of a person but an action.
Like gods are not good or evil as gods do nothing however the "actions" of gods followers could be called good or evil.
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