On Wed, Jan 2, 2013 at 8:55 PM, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:

>
> On 02 Jan 2013, at 13:08, Telmo Menezes wrote:
>
> 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.
>
>
> And a bad one, especially as a ruse. Everyone know what good is and bad
> is, for them. So it is better to do the good for the sake of the good than
> from anything coming from any "authority".
>
> I expect a person liking me to do the good to me by selfishness, and not
> because she or he fears some punishment or because they would feel guilty
> or something.
>

I remember an extreme case where I was in a long flight sitting next to a
representative of a given religion. At some point he asked for a blanket
and covered me with it when I was half-asleep, but he wouldn't talk and
seemed repulsed by me.


>
> The ruse is a diabolical trap.
>
>
>
> 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.
>
>
> Good and evil cannot be defined but there are many examples. Basically the
> good start when constraints are satisfied. If you are hungry and can eat,
> that's the good. Wandering on a field of mines might not be that good, for
> you, but (perhaps) good for your children and grandchildren.
>

You don't seem to have a lot of faith in the quality of my genetic
material! :)


>
> It seems to me that nature illustrates that selfishness and altruism are
> natural complement of each other.  I would oppose it to egocentrism, where
> a special kind of extreme selfishness develop as it rules out the
> selfishness of others in non reasonable proportions.
>
>
>
>
> 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.
>
>
> I am not so sure about that. Most humans would be more happier just
> knowing than more humans can be happier (if it is not their neighbors).
>

I agree. But will they pay the cost? Will they chose giving to charity or
buying the BMW?


> I think that some problem comes from too much altruistic dreams, and few
> awkward real practice, but they keep growing. Presently alas the 'natural
> altruism" is confronted to the usual fear sellers, and all this is
> aggravated by dilution of responsibility, motivated by will of control,
> motivated by the fear of the unknown, manipulated by minorities (not always
> aware of this, but I think some are).
>

I agree with all you say here. Fear is the mind-killer.
My point is just that we should not try to live in a system that assumes a
level of altruism that isn't there. For example, when people ask for more
government regulation, they don't consider that the legislators will likely
design that legislation with selfish goals in mind.


>
> Bruno
>
> *Man has the Good,*
> *He searches for the Best,*
> *He finds the Bad,*
> *And He stays with the Bad by Fear of*
> *finding the Worst.*
> (A french poet)
>
>
>
>
>
>
> 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
>>
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