Author Topic: Evil - Dangerous concept / Concept we are better off without?  (Read 2446 times)

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Offline SkeptiQueer

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Re: Evil - Dangerous concept / Concept we are better off without?
« Reply #30 on: May 04, 2017, 03:46:26 PM »
Terrorists are just misunderstood.  Pedophiles? 
Not evil anymore apparently.  But people who vote differently than I do?  Fucking scum!

Isn't it best to understand what one's motivations are. . . .Terrorists have motivations even if we don't agree.
Now, this does not eman that such actions are not consequence free either.

The ability to "otherize" and remove empathy for a group is important for things like war.  I'm not opposed to the idea of evil, nor do I think that you can get rid of it.  I see in fact that groups that have attempted to do so eventually just end up creating new notions of evil that are fucking nuts, and make the unchanging conservative thinkers look sane by comparison.  I draw a few lines.  You want me dead?  Yeah that's a line.  At that point I don't care if it's some long "who started it?" conflict from decades ago or some complex perceived cultural sleight.  At that point I'm gonna kill you first and feel no remorse.  Any other approach is just asking to get killed.

It's really important for things like war crimes, genocide, and race wars too. Otherizing is the unskeptical thing to do because you're deciding to shut off everything about the other rather than trying to learn and understand.

Refusing to otherize is not refusal to hold anyone accountable or denounce stupid or harmful beliefs or actions, it's refusal to let ignorance, hatred, and fear reign in place of the more sane.

You talk a big game about killing without remorse from the comfort of your computer chair though. Real convincing.

It's like you're saying that if I really think that I'm stupid and an asshole, but also trying to insult me by saying I don't actually think that.  Putting action over critical thought in situation s where you're being threatened with death, yeah there's a time where saying, "Hold on let's think about this," is the wrong move.  Hatred is not a "negative emotion."  Fear is not a "negative emotion."  Emotions are heuristics.  Sometimes they are useful, sometimes they should be overcome.  That you display such obvious hatred, while speaking out against hatred.  Come on.  Who do you think you're fooling?  You're not enlightened.  I'm just honest about the lizard portions of my brain and clear on when they have value.

Well you're completely misunderstanding. I hold absolute contempt for the armchair warrior bullshit, because I've actually killed people and I know how that feels. I'm not philosophizing about how I would totally kill you like a super cool badass warrior, I'm mocking the utter lack of awareness it takes for that level of dickstroking.

That in no way interferes with the mandate to not intentionally blind yourself by deciding that we have to ignore the humanity of the other. I recognize that you have humanity and real motivations for acting like an edgy teenager. I don't just dismiss you as evil. I think my dad is an unsalvageable person, but I don't just dismiss him as evil outright.

What you think is honesty is ignorance. That's why you have to keep pretending everyone is saying we should just hug anyone who's attacking us rather than engaging with the actual idea that we should try to understand those who make themselves our enemy rather than just immersing ourselves in propaganda or deceiving ourselves with the veil of the alien.

Blow my mind though, if you can. Regale me tales of how you've steeled yourself in combat. Blow my mind by telling me how what we really need is to just draw stark dividing line of Good and Evil and refuse to attempt any understanding of the others, completely contrary to the outrage you've expressed in the past at partisanship. Wow me my something mind-changing.
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Offline Andrew Clunn

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Re: Evil - Dangerous concept / Concept we are better off without?
« Reply #31 on: May 04, 2017, 03:48:32 PM »
Your struggle with PTSD isn't my problem.  Stop projecting.
I'm just the victim of my cognitive privilege

Offline SkeptiQueer

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Re: Evil - Dangerous concept / Concept we are better off without?
« Reply #32 on: May 04, 2017, 04:04:16 PM »
Your struggle with PTSD isn't my problem.  Stop projecting.

I'm not sure if you read and didn't understand, or if you're secretly plotting to prove my point about why it's important to understand others before deciding how to interact or react with them.
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Offline Andrew Clunn

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Re: Evil - Dangerous concept / Concept we are better off without?
« Reply #33 on: May 04, 2017, 04:22:09 PM »
Your struggle with PTSD isn't my problem.  Stop projecting.

I'm not sure if you read and didn't understand, or if you're secretly plotting to prove my point about why it's important to understand others before deciding how to interact or react with them.

No.  I'm not making an effort to understand you.  I honestly don't care to understand you.  You are not emotionally stable.  I don't want to get into your head.  Get some help.
I'm just the victim of my cognitive privilege

Offline Desert Fox

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Re: Evil - Dangerous concept / Concept we are better off without?
« Reply #34 on: May 04, 2017, 04:26:45 PM »
It's really important for things like war crimes, genocide, and race wars too. Otherizing is the unskeptical thing to do because you're deciding to shut off everything about the other rather than trying to learn and understand.

Refusing to otherize is not refusal to hold anyone accountable or denounce stupid or harmful beliefs or actions, it's refusal to let ignorance, hatred, and fear reign in place of the more sane.

You talk a big game about killing without remorse from the comfort of your computer chair though. Real convincing.

Thinking of Pol Pot, Rwandan Genocide, present attacks against male homosexuals in Kyrgyzstan, etc, I think it is best to understand in order to come up with an avenue of attack. 
"Give me the storm and tempest of thought and action, rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith. Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge."
— Robert G. Ingersoll

Offline SkeptiQueer

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Re: Evil - Dangerous concept / Concept we are better off without?
« Reply #35 on: May 04, 2017, 04:34:23 PM »
Your struggle with PTSD isn't my problem.  Stop projecting.

I'm not sure if you read and didn't understand, or if you're secretly plotting to prove my point about why it's important to understand others before deciding how to interact or react with them.

No.  I'm not making an effort to understand you.  I honestly don't care to understand you.  You are not emotionally stable.  I don't want to get into your head.  Get some help.

You're illustrating my point beautifully. By failing or refusing to understand me, now you think I'm emotionally unstable and need treatment. Surely failing to understand the problem could never lead to bad solutions when dealing with extremist groups though, right?
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Offline Desert Fox

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Re: Evil - Dangerous concept / Concept we are better off without?
« Reply #36 on: May 04, 2017, 05:58:22 PM »
One other thing I see is that the evil label often allows religious people to just to the label of demons.
Often also evil is uses as a label to convict people when there is no real evidence of somebody involved in a crime - Amanda Knox and the West Memphis 3 are great examples of this.
"Give me the storm and tempest of thought and action, rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith. Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge."
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Offline Louie

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Re: Evil - Dangerous concept / Concept we are better off without?
« Reply #37 on: May 04, 2017, 06:00:07 PM »
Moderator Comment This is either getting dangerously close to breaking the rules or has already done so. We're currently deliberating about which it is. In the meantime, we strongly suggest steering clear of ad hominem territory entirely.
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Online Noisy Rhysling

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Re: Evil - Is it a dangerous concept?
« Reply #38 on: May 04, 2017, 06:08:10 PM »
Serial killers typically have little to zero empathy for their victims. The worst ones like to experiment to see how much pain a person can take, or how long they can live with a lung full of iron filings, etc. That's not "caring what happens" to the victim, it's just interest in the experiment.

A virus isn't evil, because there is no intent there. But if you intend to cause living beings suffering, or to test their nervous system or whatever way the interest can be described, that is as evil as it is good to give someone medical treatment to alleviate suffering.

Or are we going to define the words in a way that it's only possible to care what happens to someone if you want to improve their condition and level of comfort?
I won't use YOUR special definition, that's for certain.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2017, 06:10:21 PM by Noisy Rhysling »
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Offline Shibboleth

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Re: Evil - Dangerous concept / Concept we are better off without?
« Reply #39 on: May 05, 2017, 07:45:59 AM »
Like almost every single label that we use to put on someone or someone's actions we have to be careful and also understand that just because we label someone doesn't mean nuances do not exist.


Take a rich evangelist that uses his charisma and power to get struggling families to donate large sums of money to his purse. While that person may have very real reasons why they act the way they do based on their past I have no problem labeling his behavior as:
1. Dishonest
2. Selfish
3. Evil

common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.

Offline SkeptiQueer

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Re: Evil - Dangerous concept / Concept we are better off without?
« Reply #40 on: May 05, 2017, 10:31:33 AM »
Like almost every single label that we use to put on someone or someone's actions we have to be careful and also understand that just because we label someone doesn't mean nuances do not exist.


Take a rich evangelist that uses his charisma and power to get struggling families to donate large sums of money to his purse. While that person may have very real reasons why they act the way they do based on their past I have no problem labeling his behavior as:
1. Dishonest
2. Selfish
3. Evil
What does evil mean in this context? To he first two are fairly discreet and could easily be backed up. What does Evil mean?
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Offline Johnny Slick

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Re: Evil - Dangerous concept / Concept we are better off without?
« Reply #41 on: May 05, 2017, 11:01:14 AM »
I think that people with ASPD who choose to stay untreated and harm those around them are close enough to evil that I don't have a lot of problems with calling them such. Otherwise I kind of prefer directing the word "evil" at behavior rather than at people, not because people can't be evil per se but because everyone has got a little bit of evil in them and all that pointing that out does to a lot of folks is make them reflexively shut down (the way the Bert did in this thread). That being said, war is evil. Sometimes it's a necessary evil but make no bones about it, it's evil and wrong and terrible and we should avoid it whenever we can.
Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day.

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Offline D4M10N

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Re: Evil - Dangerous concept / Concept we are better off without?
« Reply #42 on: May 05, 2017, 12:03:29 PM »
I've never really understood the argument against calling someone evil when they deliberately cause avoidable harm to other people for their own pleasure.

AHCA, for example, or 9/11.

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« Last Edit: May 05, 2017, 12:06:06 PM by D4M10N »

Offline Desert Fox

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Re: Evil - Dangerous concept / Concept we are better off without?
« Reply #43 on: May 05, 2017, 12:29:08 PM »
The problem isn't that that there are not truly horrid things humans do to their fellow man. That is no the argument.  The argument is how the concept is evil is used.

One item that I have seen in court cases, which echoes ancient witch trials, is a prosecutor using the argument of evil when they have a lack of evidence. As I argue earlier, there was effectively no evidence of guilt with the West Memphis Three yet the prosecutor used that as an argument.

Another one, George Bush and his Axis of Evil speech. Before his speech, the US and Iran were covertly working together to fight Al Qaeda. The speech shut that down however when Iran was made part of that Axis of Evil.

Finally, a major problem which I had not articulated earlier is that it leads to black and white thinking.
"Give me the storm and tempest of thought and action, rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith. Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge."
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Online The Latinist

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Re: Evil - Dangerous concept / Concept we are better off without?
« Reply #44 on: May 05, 2017, 01:29:51 PM »
The black and white thinking is my biggest issue with it, aside from its religious baggage.
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

 

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