Author Topic: Evil - Dangerous concept / Concept we are better off without?  (Read 2022 times)

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Online Desert Fox

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Re: Evil - Dangerous concept / Concept we are better off without?
« Reply #75 on: May 09, 2017, 02:14:34 PM »
I can't think of a single situation in which I could not better express facts or opinion with words other than evil than with it.  Indeed, any use of the word 'evil' would necessarily have implications of a religious or philosophical nature that I would never intend.

I think that in 99% of cases when using a single word to describe anything there are better ways to express the thing. That doesn't mean that you make that word anathema. Can you effectively express what killing jews at concentration camps was in a single word? I don't think so and I don't think saying it was evil is out of line.

My point has nothing to do with whether the word is used singly or in conjunction with others; in either case it expresses ideas and has implications which I do not agree with and would not express.  No matter how few or many words I am using, I will always be able better to express by beliefs and views without the word evil, just as I am without the word God or miracle or any of dozens of other words with inescapable religious implications that I avoid using.

Spiritual is another word I avoid
"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 Shibboleth

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Re: Evil - Dangerous concept / Concept we are better off without?
« Reply #76 on: May 09, 2017, 05:13:41 PM »
I can't think of a single situation in which I could not better express facts or opinion with words other than evil than with it.  Indeed, any use of the word 'evil' would necessarily have implications of a religious or philosophical nature that I would never intend.

I think that in 99% of cases when using a single word to describe anything there are better ways to express the thing. That doesn't mean that you make that word anathema. Can you effectively express what killing jews at concentration camps was in a single word? I don't think so and I don't think saying it was evil is out of line.

My point has nothing to do with whether the word is used singly or in conjunction with others; in either case it expresses ideas and has implications which I do not agree with and would not express.  No matter how few or many words I am using, I will always be able better to express by beliefs and views without the word evil, just as I am without the word God or miracle or any of dozens of other words with inescapable religious implications that I avoid using.

Sure. At times I try to avoid using the "to be" verbs for the same reason. I rarely use the words  you mention myself except when playing games such as D&D. I still do not think that we need to anathematize the words or enforce writing entirely in E-prime.
common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.

Online Desert Fox

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Re: Evil - Dangerous concept / Concept we are better off without?
« Reply #77 on: May 09, 2017, 05:23:59 PM »
Sure. At times I try to avoid using the "to be" verbs for the same reason. I rarely use the words  you mention myself except when playing games such as D&D. I still do not think that we need to anathematize the words or enforce writing entirely in E-prime.

Even when I run a fantasy game, my "Bad Guys" are rarely evil for evil's sake.
"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 2397

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Re: Evil - Dangerous concept / Concept we are better off without?
« Reply #78 on: May 09, 2017, 07:26:50 PM »
The trolls are just hungry.

Offline The Latinist

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Re: Evil - Dangerous concept / Concept we are better off without?
« Reply #79 on: May 09, 2017, 08:57:42 PM »
Shib, you're the only one here who's talking about "anathema" (repeatedly and rather insistently—was it recently on your word-a-day calendar?).  Everyone else is just trying to have a discussion about whether we think it's a word/concept that is useful or even harmful.  Indeed, your insistence on making this about banning words rather than the real issue is just the kind of thing we're objecting to in the word 'evil.'
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

Offline Shibboleth

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Re: Evil - Dangerous concept / Concept we are better off without?
« Reply #80 on: May 10, 2017, 03:32:57 PM »
(repeatedly and rather insistently—was it recently on your word-a-day calendar?)

I don't see the need for insults.
common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.

Offline Shibboleth

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Re: Evil - Dangerous concept / Concept we are better off without?
« Reply #81 on: May 10, 2017, 03:40:29 PM »
Even when I run a fantasy game, my "Bad Guys" are rarely evil for evil's sake.

I agree that almost no one thinks of themselves as the bad guy. I do not know if motivation eliminates evil from an act. I define evil as anything morally reprehensible. You do not need a wicked person with wicked intentions to do a wicked act.
common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.

Offline The Latinist

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Re: Evil - Dangerous concept / Concept we are better off without?
« Reply #82 on: May 10, 2017, 04:09:53 PM »
I don't see the need for insults.

I do not believe I insulted you; I criticized your repeated use of a word that is irrelevant to the discussion and pointed out how it made you look: like someone who's just learned a word and wants to show it off.

I repeat: you're arguing against a straw man, and ignoring the very real problems with the use of the word that others have raised.
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

Offline Shibboleth

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Re: Evil - Dangerous concept / Concept we are better off without?
« Reply #83 on: May 10, 2017, 04:59:55 PM »
I do not believe I insulted you; I criticized your repeated use of a word that is irrelevant to the discussion and pointed out how it made you look: like someone who's just learned a word and wants to show it off.

I use the word on a fairly regular occasion when fitting. I commented on the portion of the question about if we should stop using the word "evil." or "are we better without it." I believe that we do not need to stop using the word or concept. Can we use other words or express ourselves better? Sure. We can do that in most cases and with most things.

Linguists talk about the rub noted by Desert Fox as, "Judgement Stops Thought". You have a conclusion based on a set of previously observed facts. Instead of writing or expressing an idea such as, "He is good." one should express the facts that lead to that judgement instead of the judgement itself.

While I agree that in an ideal situation we should avoid judgement type phrases such as, "That is evil." or "He was bad." there is a practicality that we should not ignore. If someone needs to express quickly what they think about a person I have no issue with them saying, "Joseph Mengele did many evil acts." Can one express that in a more concise way? Yes. Should we exclude ourselves from using the word evil because of that fact. I don't think so.

The word "evil" has some baggage when taken out of context but I believe that that baggage has decreased as the world becomes more secular.
common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.

Online Desert Fox

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Re: Evil - Dangerous concept / Concept we are better off without?
« Reply #84 on: May 10, 2017, 06:24:37 PM »
Another problem is how evil has been abused. . . Basically whomever the other guy is seems to be labeled as evil.
Saw that with how conservatives labeled Obama for the last eight years and how Clinton was labeled.
"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 arthwollipot

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Re: Evil - Dangerous concept / Concept we are better off without?
« Reply #85 on: May 10, 2017, 08:56:58 PM »
Not to mention how Trump is labelled now...

Online Desert Fox

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Re: Evil - Dangerous concept / Concept we are better off without?
« Reply #86 on: May 11, 2017, 05:15:12 AM »
Not to mention how Trump is labelled now...

There is some of that of course and Bush was labeled that way as well.
"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 Ah.hell

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Re: Evil - Dangerous concept / Concept we are better off without?
« Reply #87 on: May 11, 2017, 09:17:10 AM »
I have to bring up Bill Maher's monologue shortly before the election, basically, "I know we said this about every other republican but this time its true." 

Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Evil - Dangerous concept / Concept we are better off without?
« Reply #88 on: May 11, 2017, 06:55:37 PM »
Not to mention how Trump is labelled now...

There is some of that of course and Bush was labeled that way as well.

It doesn't matter who it is - if you don't agree with the leader, then that leader is "evil".

 

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