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Show ALL Forums  > Science/philosophy  > Is good and evil real? Do right and wrong exist?      Home login  
 AUTHOR
 Island home
Joined: 7/5/2009
Msg: 12
Is good and evil real? Do right and wrong exist?Page 2 of 3    (1, 2, 3)

jmars Msg15
I find your post on the history good and evil to be interesting

I also find it interesting that when that historical meaning is lost

Labelling some thing evil, can be presented or interpreted as something that has unknown intrinsic destructive powers, that is to be feared because it is uncontrollable
 Island home
Joined: 7/5/2009
Msg: 13
Is good and evil real? Do right and wrong exist?
Posted: 3/16/2010 10:56:16 PM
^^^That appears neither maximised nor minimised
Just about right imo
 Off the Deep End
Joined: 12/8/2008
Msg: 14
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History
Is good and evil real? Do right and wrong exist?
Posted: 3/16/2010 11:19:56 PM

Is good and evil real? Do right and wrong exist?


Only as human constructions ... not in any absolute or transcendent sense.
 JP1111
Joined: 4/13/2008
Msg: 15
Is good and evil real? Do right and wrong exist?
Posted: 3/18/2010 11:35:00 AM
Bible Thumper, I compare and classify your example as “it is what it is”, neither good or bad. Planes crashed into a building and people died, that's a fact; it is what it is. How you and each personv reacts to that fact will determine if it is good or bad to you and them but, it does not mean that the act was good or bad, it just means that's how you viewed it.
 nipoleon
Joined: 12/27/2005
Msg: 16
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Is good and evil real? Do right and wrong exist?
Posted: 3/18/2010 11:52:36 AM
How many times has something bad happened to you, but that turned out good after a while ?
How many time has something good happened to you, but that turned out bad after a while ?

There are many things which seem bad at first but turn out good in time.
There are many things which seem good at first but turn out bad in time.

Who knows what is truly good or truly evil ?
It takes a great deal of insight and wisdom to know the true difference between good and evil.

Just because something happens we don't like right now, doesn't mean it's not good for us in the long run .
Wisdom is the ability to see beyond what's right in front of us, right now.
 JP1111
Joined: 4/13/2008
Msg: 17
Is good and evil real? Do right and wrong exist?
Posted: 3/18/2010 7:30:39 PM
nipoleon, your example gives a great example of “it is what it is”. Considering the “it” happened, how do you react to that “it”? Regardless of how you react to it, you will consider it a good or bad thing but that still does not mean that it IS a good or bad thing, it just means that YOU reacted to it as being good thing.

Take an interview where 5 people are applying for and only 1 gets the job. THAT person will say it was a good thing but the other 4 will say it was a bad thing, so which is it? Again, it all comes down to each person reacts to that fact occurring in the way it did.

The same of course applies to good and evil; it is what it is. An armed bank flailing bank robber gets shot by the police and everyone is re-leaved, it is later discovered that this robber needed the money to stop a building from being blown-up and of course, the building blows-up and thousands of important people die.

Where is the good vs. bad and good vs. evil?

Again, it is what it is.
 JP1111
Joined: 4/13/2008
Msg: 18
Is good and evil real? Do right and wrong exist?
Posted: 3/18/2010 9:32:17 PM
monalee1, I mean you no disrespect but, your Higher Standards of course implies that there's a superior being and to believe that you first need to believe that there is an existence of that. If you choose not to believe that there is, how do you think your Higher Standards applies? Since like everybody knows, I only base my views, thought, opinions, beliefs etc... on concrete and factual things. The moment I need to include a leap of faith in something, you loose me.

Many people find themselves searching for “life answers” without realizing that those answers are actually within themselves the whole time or, there are no concrete answers, i.e. “why are we here?”, “how come I was not meant to be a multi-millionaire?”, “how do I find happiness?” etc... ALL of those questions and others like them are very easy to answer but because people in general find the answer to simple and expect a deep answer, they will not accept “my” answer which of course I am not saying IS the 100% truth since, it is just MY answer. But the very realistic answer to those questions are

“why are we here?”
Because we evolved from other living things

“how come I was not meant to be a multi-millionaire?”
Because you have not created the opportunity to become a multi-millionaire

“how do I find happiness?”
Do you know how to find it? The moment you will...

You see, things are so simple to answer once you look at the question from a very realistic perspective!
 flyguy51
Joined: 8/11/2005
Msg: 19
Is good and evil real? Do right and wrong exist?
Posted: 3/19/2010 10:19:18 AM
I mainly subscribe to Shakespeare's take on it: "Nothing is either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." In other words, they are as real as we make them.

Standards of what is good and evil are different between cultures, time periods, and even different people-- even within the same cultures and time periods, but to a much smaller extent.

Sometimes there is no clearly good course of action; sometimes even the best course of action possible will have unwanted consequences.
 BonneyBones
Joined: 3/14/2010
Msg: 20
Is good and evil real? Do right and wrong exist?
Posted: 3/19/2010 9:45:51 PM
"evil" and "sin" are inventions of the church. right and wrong are just opinions, albeit opinions that we do have to consider when going about our lives, but only opinions nonetheless.
 BonneyBones
Joined: 3/14/2010
Msg: 21
Is good and evil real? Do right and wrong exist?
Posted: 3/19/2010 9:47:36 PM

Good must have an opposite...evil, otherwise there would be no defination of good, and vice versa
the opposite of good would be bad. just because you disapprove of what someone does, that doesnt mean it's evil.
 KapnKregg
Joined: 1/9/2010
Msg: 22
Is good and evil real? Do right and wrong exist?
Posted: 3/19/2010 9:52:45 PM

the opposite of good would be bad. just because you disapprove of what someone does, that doesnt mean it's evil.


Do you believe that there are people in the world, right now, who are doing things that they should not be doing?
 JustDukky
Joined: 7/8/2004
Msg: 23
Is good and evil real? Do right and wrong exist?
Posted: 3/19/2010 10:03:19 PM
I've long felt that good & evil are only concepts that we assign to "goodness" or "evilness" based on consensus. I'm feeling now however that they seem a bit more objective than I once gave them credit for. For instance, I doubt that any reasonable human being would say that murder for profit is "good". The prohibition on such an activity appears to be universal, so I dare say it could be (properly) defined as an evil activity.

I see good and evil in terms not unlike music; "goodness" is like a pleasant harmony that increases the general happiness & well being of an organism or a society. Evil then, must be discordant and counter to harmony. It might be said that evil detracts from the general happiness and introduces misery to an organism or a society.

If you ever heard Jack Benny fooling around on his violin (He was actually an excellent player, but he was at his best playing badly for laughs), you probably have a pretty good idea what evil might sound like if it were "put to music."
 LogicalDreams
Joined: 5/28/2009
Msg: 24
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History
Is good and evil real? Do right and wrong exist?
Posted: 3/19/2010 11:18:37 PM
JP1111,


I will choose to respect laws that put forth simply because by following them, I help maintain a certain level that everyone in society can rejoice in.


In regards to this, you personally believe in and value sacrificing your own desire to satisfy your self for the greater good of the majority. Do you think this belief is something all people should live by in order for an ideal environment/society to exist?


I will put my faith in what can be proven, period.


This is intriguing. Food for thought... Is there anything in regards to morale that can be proven? It's completely subjective. Some dare venture off into the objective realm and all that science likes to measure and observe being at the mercy of the subjective mind and perception. What can you believe in? Why and How?



How exactly is it wrong to live by your own determined standards of happiness? Say who? And what would make them so right and you wrong? It all comes down to YOU and what YOU believe in your life. If YOU think it’s NOT wrong then guess what?...


This is really what I want to get to. It leads into this very pertinent question: Is there any truth in moral? Do subjective facts actually exist? Is there anything, at all, that universally, all beings, living and otherwise, can agree on?
 LogicalDreams
Joined: 5/28/2009
Msg: 25
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Is good and evil real? Do right and wrong exist?
Posted: 3/19/2010 11:22:56 PM
amgreggor,

Acting out of love or acting out of hate...

That's interesting because some you wrote a key word that could bring this idea into the realm of psychology...


fear (acting out of hate).


Acting out of hate you find to be related to fear? Give me an example. I'm very interested. But I'm thinking love can also be fear motivated and hate can be "right" motivated.
 LogicalDreams
Joined: 5/28/2009
Msg: 26
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Is good and evil real? Do right and wrong exist?
Posted: 3/19/2010 11:30:20 PM
,

Heh. I love the sarcasm. What do you think gives us "talking monkeys" the desire to excuse our behavior? Especially if the behavior is interpreted as "positive?"

In terms of imprisonment, murder and war... My belief is this.. They are all justified if, indeed they are occurring over truly uncompromisable differences in belief. I believe this, you believe that = conflict. How do you resolve conflict? Compromising; Proving one or the other right; or Eliminating one or the other.

Do you believe behavior has no moral? Is giving behavior moral or defining it as "good" or "bad" a way of putting a mask over something that is truly neutral? -1, 0, 1?
 LogicalDreams
Joined: 5/28/2009
Msg: 27
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Is good and evil real? Do right and wrong exist?
Posted: 3/19/2010 11:41:30 PM
davdo,

Do you believe this is the case for all things that can be considered right or wrong? Your example of the morale of incest is biologically based/originated. Does every instance of morale have some biological backing? I'm wondering if all morals do. I've never thought of this.

Let me give you an example of moral conflict that I feel has nothing to do with the


continued survival of our species.


Example: It is wrong to eat your food with your hands. It is right to eat your food with a fork.

Does this actually relate to the continued survival of our species? Or does it relate more towards the continued survival of one culture (out of many) that is believed to provide the right way for our specie to survive?
 KapnKregg
Joined: 1/9/2010
Msg: 28
Is good and evil real? Do right and wrong exist?
Posted: 3/20/2010 7:57:29 AM

There are no such things as good or evil, right or wrong.......just human opinions.


Well there you go folks - the Holocaust was just another opinion. Nothing wrong there I guess.


Such odd concepts didn't exist in nature until humans came along


What we would refer to as "moral" behavior has been exhibited withing the animal kingdom too - especially among chimps, baboons, and lab rats (because they are the most studied).
 bluezoot_riot
Joined: 5/21/2007
Msg: 29
Is good and evil real? Do right and wrong exist?
Posted: 3/20/2010 11:17:02 AM
People "sin" in order to reach happiness.


People act in order to reach happiness.
Sin actually means "to miss the mark," in ones actions or even sometimes ones thoughts.
In a way then, if people can only rationally choose the "good," then choosing the "bad" while supposing it is "good" is a mistake of ones reason. A sin.
Sin bonds us to these bad actions, and dissolves our ability to see the good action.

While it is true that sin often "feels" good in the moment--lust, vengeance; they lead to the death of our inward selves, and sometimes even our bodies.


Further, before the resurrection and before belief man can only live in sin, that is, it is his nature to be selfish and sin; post-resurrection/belief allows one to please God, to live "in the good" and move beyond selfishness into selflessness, through faith.


But how can someone acting to achieve hapiness be called a sinner. They are doing a GOOD thing. They are making themselves happy.


If I have to cheat at cards to win the game and the money, ergo making myself happy, does the end justify the means?
 JP1111
Joined: 4/13/2008
Msg: 30
Is good and evil real? Do right and wrong exist?
Posted: 3/20/2010 2:19:08 PM
Bible Thumper, don't forget that good/evil comes down to what you as person thinks of an occuring event. It does not mean that the event was good or evil since it just means that it is what it is and YOU have reacted to it in the way that you did.

Why would that lead to confusion, chaos, and violence between folks? Because I see as winning the lottery as good thing but since you didn't, you would create havoc?
 JP1111
Joined: 4/13/2008
Msg: 31
Is good and evil real? Do right and wrong exist?
Posted: 3/20/2010 9:09:33 PM
MetDBlck, you sure know how to take something simple and make it overly complex.

Right off the get-go, you see two major forms: MORALITY and POWER

I would agree that if you believe in God, you will be thinking about all that you said and then, draw your own conclusions. Regarding power,


God is the POWER of the universe


But what if you don't believe in God? Personally, I see that we ALL have the power of our own lives. God can be whomever and whatever you want and can have whatever influences in your life but ultimately, you are still the God of your life.

Who decides the morality? Each one of us will. There is no 1 way of pre-determined “rule” to follow, if you don't believe in God. Of course if you do, then you may very well be spending many sleepless nights thinking about your complex questions... that don't have answer to except for, YOUR own answer.

The morality problem in this case is also incredibly simple. It comes down to what we all choose to view as the problem and how we choose to or not to react to it. This will be based on your morals and ways of thinking.


Good and evil can't apply in an objective sense because the power foundation is non-transcendent. You get agreement only upon a a number of behaviours as to "what is good and what is evil" (see Holocaust) but even then exceptions exist. The terms good and evil pale here and become useless and should be replaced with, as a poster above said "Constructive and Destructive" behaviours.
Good and Evil and words imply succintly a moral objectivism which would be a bizzare thing to believe in if you didn't believe in God.


That again is taking something very simple and over complicating it. I simply remove good/evil out of the equation and look at it from a realistic perspective. So I give them $1 and if not, how do I help or, do I even bother? You see, it all comes down to you.
 KapnKregg
Joined: 1/9/2010
Msg: 32
Is good and evil real? Do right and wrong exist?
Posted: 3/20/2010 10:01:16 PM

I would just say they were empowered by a misled populace who didn't have the presence of mind to make the right choice.


Josh, I understand where you are coming from with this.

People can be manipulated to do crazy things through organizational power structures. Like the Milgram experiment in the 60's: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment

It seems like you are saying "good" and "evil" are just a dogmatic way of saying "right" and "wrong". If people influenced by power can be coerced to do things that they would never do as individuals, than who is actually making the choice between what is right or what is wrong? Is it the individual or the group as a whole? Where does responsibility lie?

These answers aren't as easy as they may seem when you start looking at the social research.
 bluezoot_riot
Joined: 5/21/2007
Msg: 33
Is good and evil real? Do right and wrong exist?
Posted: 3/21/2010 1:31:37 AM

Bible Thumper, don't forget that good/evil comes down to what you as person thinks of an occuring event. It does not mean that the event was good or evil since it just means that it is what it is and YOU have reacted to it in the way that you did.


I'm not sure if this is directed at me but I will confront it.

Ever since the trend of nihilism destroyed our ways of viewing good/evil, the modern person says "good/evil is relative---we create our own values."

while this may be true on the surface, one must look harder.

If I picture an object, or event, or moral action, and judge it as good/evil, where is that judgement come from? If it comes from me, as what the pof populace seems to say, I ask again, where does that judgement come from? My values? My values based on what? In relation to what? In relation to myself? How can a judgement of another thing be based on its relation to myself without the other thing in question? Certainly there are criteria intrinsic to a thing which prompts me to judge something, or else my judgement would hold no water. Qualities of a thing/event/action. While it is true we judge these qualities as good or bad, that doesn't mean we create our own values out of thin air.

To go further down the rabbit hole, what prompts us as to how we judge a thing? "It's what we've been conditioned by society/religion/evil empire of dull critical thinking" Forget how we judge even, but why we judge. Can it be so simple as knowing there is good and evil however fuzzy those terms may be? Many here have proved they have a conception of it even if they say its relative....it comes from a feeling. Logic may guide us, but its the feeling which justifies it and makes it real. It's true that it effects oneself, but thats not all it is.

All who seek to know, read the Bible with an open heart you will see the spiritual side of things, it is guaranteed.

But I suppose I will be dismissed as a Bible thumper.

All is well in the cosmos.
 JP1111
Joined: 4/13/2008
Msg: 34
Is good and evil real? Do right and wrong exist?
Posted: 3/21/2010 10:47:31 AM
nowheretogobuteverywhere, it was directed to Bible Thumper.

I read you comment and I must admit, I understand none of it. The judgment you will feel regarding an event occurring will entirely be based on what YOU as individual will think of it and make it out to be; it's as simple as that. Granted for some people, that can very well be too simple of an explanation and they may very well choose to set it asside and keep searching for something much more complex with no actual real answer, just to find themselves back to square one and think “it all comes down to what YOU think”.

Again, your values are based solely and entirely on you and what you feel is right to you DESPITE what others may think or feel. EVERYTHING that touches or concerns you in any way will be up to YOU to evaluate and ascertain for yourself based on what you think.


All who seek to know, read the Bible with an open heart you will see the spiritual side of things, it is guaranteed


Your comment will be dismissed by some people (like myself) and agreed with by others. But I greatly value your insight and wanting to enlighten us so, thank you!

ChaseThatCrumpet!, I'm glad to see that we agree :) I of course will NEVER say that “I'm right and you're wrong” regarding anything since we cam all have our own way of thinking and acting.

If you do to add more words then, what you are saying is that even you see that you like to over-complicate things too when you try to explain/define things. You can try this, think about somethinf you over-complicate by adding more words and take a step back and ask yourself “What are the facts and what is just fluff-fluff?”. As you figure out your own answer, base it on the facts and don't let yourself be swayed by the fluff-fluff.

Since you admit that it's a thin line when it possibly touches the subject of Theodicy, yu may very well be putting yourself in the position where many others who have a strong view on the matter will try to make you see and believe there way of thinking. Many have tried with me but have ALWAYS found themselves barking up the wrong tree since I will not sway away from MY belief system. So if you can't prove something to me and want me to make a leap of faith, you loose me.
 slybandit
Joined: 7/10/2006
Msg: 35
Is good and evil real? Do right and wrong exist?
Posted: 8/18/2010 1:48:53 PM
@ PennyForThisGuy:

1. From what I can see, your theistic scenario is off the mark.

1a) Most of the serious theist thinkers that I have read (not all), state unequivocally that G-d does not choose, declare, or cause certain actions to be good, or evil. G-d *informs* us that certain actions *are* good, or evil, *because* those actions inherently *are* good or evil, in an immanent sense. Another way of putting it is that the qualification of the actions as good or evil is an element of G-d's omniscience, not G-d's omnipotence. To the skeptic who asks, well, *how* does he know, the answer is, (roughly) G-d's smarter than us.

1b) The problem of evil is a completely separate issue. From the assumption of a Summum Bonum (omni-benevolent) G-d, it becomes difficult to square the existence of evil in the world with the assumption of an omnipotent G-d. If G-d was/is/always will be all powerful, why does G-d (apparently?) allow evil to persist in the world?

One answer is the "G-d works in mysterious ways" hand-waving, which is basically stating that we're too dumb to figure it out, but G-d knows why the evil is there. Somehow, the world had to be created with the capacity for evil (and lots of it) because there was something incompatible with the maximum good, to have created the world as incompatible with any evil at all. Again, it's a bit like math-- you accept the notion that there are numbers larger than you can imagine.

The Christians, Muslims and Jews each give you some variant on "It's All Our Fault" that the world is like this, and when the skeptic asks, well, why did G-d design us like this, to be capable of that, we wind up back at the incompatible-with-maximum good hand waving.

And from one point of view, the whole problem of evil only makes sense if you assume something is good or evil independently of whether G-d declares it to be so. On the other assumption, the problem becomes why G-d declares certain things in the world to be evil, or good, when he has the capacity to declare them to be otherwise. Why would G-d declare good or evil to exist at all, when G-d had the option to declare neither?

2. The atheism scenario is off the mark too.

Once you accept the notion that transcendent good and evil even possibly exist, G-d becomes a completely unnecessary postulate. Actions are good, or evil, independently of whether any particular humans, or even most of them, think they are good or evil or even understand the concepts.

No 'power foundation' is necessary because no one, not even the G-d who does not exist, is "deciding" if this or that action is good or evil. They are *saying* whether it is good or evil, and either getting it right, or getting it wrong, but their saying so, does not make it so, any more than G-d's saying so, would have made it so, if G-d existed, which G-d does not (thank G-d).

In fact, it is simultaneously believing in moral objectivism and three-omni's theism and trying to seriously reconcile them that causes this whole "problem" in the first place-- along with the "mysterious ways" hand-waving. And that hand waving, viewed from one angle, comes perilously close to saying we are incapable of determining whether something really is good or evil because we cannot really see the long term consequences or all the causal ramifications of any given action.

Personally?

If you think about the problem seriously, there is at least one line of reasoning following which, the whole distinction between theism and atheism actually collapses.

It has to do with the question of omniscience.

This would require G-d to have knowledge of literally everything, including knowledge of G-d's knowledge. For anything to 'have knowledge' in any way that would make such an expression intelligible, it would have to express, store or retain information.

But to express, store or retain literally ALL the information, no matter how that is accomplished, how can G-d be anything BUT co-extensive with All that exists?

Atheism and theism wind up expressing nothing intelligibly different: The World (as in, Everything) Is. And if you are talking about something distinct from The World, what can you possibly be talking about? How can you possibly say anything meaningful about [that] [whatever] which is not the World?

Anything you could possibly say about [that] would have to be expressed in some sort of language or means of communication and thus would be inherently inadequate to the task.

And as for All of Existence being "good", "evil", "all good", "good and evil" it is just an incoherent question. It's like asking what a rock thinks about Shakespeare-- the question is senseless.
 ispeakthetruth
Joined: 6/13/2009
Msg: 36
Is good and evil real? Do right and wrong exist?
Posted: 9/2/2010 2:01:28 PM
Doing something good for your own self-interest = self satisfaction
eg. eating a whole container of ice cream yourself, buying that expensive car that you can't afford, having that mind-blowing one night stand, punching the guy who stole your lunch, vandalizing public property for fun and not get caught...

Well this is also true:
Doing good and giving to others = self satisfaction
eg. donating to the Red Cross, volunteering at your local men's shelter, showing random acts of kindness, bringing flowers to your gf for no reason, opening the doors for others, giving change to panhandlers...

All of the above can provide happiness and self-satisfaction to oneself, but in the first category some of the examples I listed without a doubt infringe on other people's rights. When others are involved, be it people or property....your sense of happiness and self-satisfaction does not hinge on you alone - unless you are without an ounce of conscience. With this said, the people with a conscience would fall into the second category - of giving.
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