In my opinion, good and evil are just names we attach to brain processes we
all have in common. These brain processes make us pursue the best interest
of society instead of our own self-interest. I believe they have two main
sources:

1) Biological evolution. In the long term, the DNA of the species as more
chances of thriving if the individuals are altruistic to a degree. The
exact mechanism here is debatable, it could be kin-selection (affinity for
people with similar DNA) or group-selection, which is more controversial.
There is some compelling evidence to support this theory. Social insects
are extremely altruistic, and at the same time social insect females share
more DNA than most animals. Another clue that this is correct comes from
experimental psychology: we tend to associate physical beauty with goodness
and different races with evil.

2) Social constructs created to address the prisoner's dilema: for a
society to thrive, a certain level of altruism is necessary. From the
individual's point of view, however, it is irrational to be altruistic to
that degree. The solution: tell people that they're going to hell if
they're not good (or some variation of that theme). Religions have a
positive impact in our species success, and their main job is to solve the
prisoner's dilema. They are, nevertheless, a ruse.

All attempts to define "good" and "evil" as a fundamental property of the
universe that I've seen so far quickly descend into circular reasoning:
good is what good people do, good people are the ones who do good things.

Interestingly enough, left-wing atheists end up being similar to the
religious: they believe in a base line level of altruism in human beings
that is not supported by evidence.


On Wed, Jan 2, 2013 at 12:39 PM, Roger Clough <rclo...@verizon.net> wrote:

>
> ROGER: There are two opposing forces in the universe, those which enhance
> life, which we call Good, and those which diminish life, which we call
> Evil.
>
> CRAIG: I can't relate to cut and dried ideas of Good and Evil or enhancing
> or diminishing of life.
> It seems completely disconnected from reality to me. If it was that
> obvious, why wouldn't
> everyone just do the Good things and avoid Evil things? Obviously our
> experiences have
> many layers and qualities which change dynamically. Anything can be
> interpreted as
> enhancing or diminishing life. Chemotherapy Good or Evil?
>
> ROGER: Good people tend to do good things, evil people to do evil things.
> Chemotherapy is thought to do more good than evil.
>
> <SNIP>
>
> [Roger Clough], [rcl...@verizon.net <+rcl...@verizon.net>]
> 1/1/2013
> "Forever is a long time, especially near the end." - Woody Allen
>
> --
> You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups
> "Everything List" group.
> To view this discussion on the web visit 
> https://groups.google.com/d/msg/everything-list/-/ePt2Uf7MeNsJ.
>
> To post to this group, send email to 
> everything-list@googlegroups.com.<+everything-list@googlegroups.com.>
> To unsubscribe from this group, send email to everything-list+
> unsubscr...@googlegroups.com. <+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com.>
> For more options, visit this group at
> http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en.
>
> --
> You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups
> "Everything List" group.
> To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com.
> To unsubscribe from this group, send email to
> everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com.
> For more options, visit this group at
> http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en.
>

-- 
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com.
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com.
For more options, visit this group at 
http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en.

Reply via email to