IS EVIL REAL? OR, LIKE GOD, A HUMAN INVENTION?
April 16, 2018 at 3:14 am #8770
Humans are primates. An animal. Religion pretends that we are a special animal, endowed by our creator as a soul and the gift or curse of knowing good and evil and having to male the right choices. However, animals don’t judge each other creatures as good or evil as species OR individuals. Are we somehow qualitatively different from squirrels, amoebae, porpoises, or elephants?
But isn’t Evil a sort of thing just like God that people invented? Not real, but just something we think (or hope) is real, just as we think goodness is real?April 16, 2018 at 3:57 am #8773
What makes ya think nonhuman animals don’t judge each other?April 16, 2018 at 6:07 am #8774
Some non-human animals eat and/or fuck each other and some non-human animals don’t.April 16, 2018 at 7:35 am #8775
The missing ingredient(s) that humans have that all other species don’t, is cooperation, and a thing which it probably caused – symbolic language. Cooperation is necessary for survival in the environments and niches that humans live in.
Obligate cooperation leads to religion, to knowing good or evil, and to judging each other.
It leads to organised religion as there is a need to organise cooperation on a large scale when groups grow too large to manage on a personal basis. This is done by various ways: mainly showing that someone can be trusted if they follow X god or religion.
It leads to knowing good or evil because other people’s behaviour suddenly becomes very important to the individual, since the individual now depends on the others for personal survival, and benefit/harm, and good treatment. In turn, standards, rules and expectations are put in place over time.
It leads to judging each other because there is now a buyer’s and seller’s market of cooperation, where each person is offering themselves as a good cooperator. So, we all need to be able to size up others, and know that others are sizing us up at the same time.April 16, 2018 at 7:58 am #8776
Simon, and cooperation is not selected for by environments of nonhuman animals?
Many animals cooperate.April 16, 2018 at 9:12 am #8777
Reg the Fronkey FarmerModerator
All pack animals, bird species, fish and insects co-operate in order to survive. Many will even sacrifice themselves on “sentry duty” to protect the rest. Sometimes they will issue false alerts and steal food for themselves and be judged by the others – mistrusted in future – if caught out. Many species could not survive without co-operating. Think wolves, dolphins, eagles, ants etc.
If there was a creator god she certainly preferred insects to humans. They represent over 1/3 of all species and over 2 million species of insect have been described. She would have had a special affinity for beetles as they make up about 1/4 of all animals and they have been around a lot longer than us. They will most likely out live our species too who will most likely perish from a collective bloated ego.April 16, 2018 at 2:35 pm #8778
It’s the degree of sophistication of human coopertion, together with its absolute necessity for survival, that lead to all the special abilities and instincts that humans have (sense of right and wrong, reputation, religion, for example, also rationality and probably language).
Wolves, elephants and dolphins also cooperate, but they don’t have to do so to survive. When they do, the things they do are not very sophisticated. But the cooperative species are also the friendly ones.April 16, 2018 at 3:35 pm #8779
Evil’s definitely a human construct, but I think that ‘judging’ is not an all or nothing thing amongst animals. There are degrees, but humans can certainly amplify it with groupthink or other emotionalisms or intellectualisms.
Just thought I’d add another aspect behavior-wise in higher animals, play. Play is how we learn behavioral boundaries, sometimes with risk. Here’s a cross-species angle that’s kind of funny, with an aggressive bonus to it:April 16, 2018 at 4:01 pm #8781
No Simon, i think y’aar in for a shock if you begin to read about animal behavior. The sophisitication of cooperation is quite remarkable not only intra-species but among different species.
Animals also have sense of right and wrong, culture, reputation and language, perhaps even a hint of nascent religion in case of chimps.April 16, 2018 at 5:13 pm #8782
@unseen – I think “good” and “evil” are real and not constructs. Hitler’s Germany was an evil place where people did evil things. Evil reigned for a number of years. Isis are evil, and where Isis reign, evil reigns.
@jakelafort – “The sophisitication of cooperation is quite remarkable not only intra-species but among different species.”
– it might be quite remarkable, but each individual can still survive without it. Also, compared with in humans, it’s loose and uncoordinated.
@popebeanie – “‘judging’ is not an all or nothing thing amongst animals”
– it’s been found that chimpanzees can be choosy about who they pick for a collaborative partner, based on past performance.April 16, 2018 at 5:29 pm #8783
No Simon. Yes, in the same sense we can survive on an individual basis but not so as to the species without evolving.April 16, 2018 at 6:31 pm #8784
The proper antonym of ‘good’ is ‘bad’. The term ‘evil’ is a giving up of the possibility to make the ‘bad’ become less so, or even good. It’s populism can most probably be linked to religion or group thinking. There is no real antonym to ‘evil’ I don’t believe in ‘evil’, I think it’s a perjurative term.April 16, 2018 at 8:03 pm #8785
Some of the things that people I know have been through at the hands of others can only be described as evil. Where someone wants all their own pleasure at someone else’s expense, this can only be described as evil.April 16, 2018 at 8:08 pm #8786
Not really. Bad, awful, mean, unkind, spiteful, hateful… there’s no need for ‘evil’ because you endow the act with some kind of superpower. People can be arseholes.April 17, 2018 at 11:55 am #8790
“some kind of superpower”
– not a superpower, but an energy – the competitive side of human nature that thinks only of “myself” and will either use or abuse others to get what they want. This is separate from the prosocial cooperative side of human nature that thinks of “you” or “us”.
I’m coming to the conclusion that psychopaths usually hurt others because they are just in the way, or it’s necessary to in order to get what they want. Narcissists hurt others because it gives them pleasure to do so.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.