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Post Reply People Who Believe in Pure Evil May Support Harsher Punishment
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Posted 5/27/15 , edited 5/27/15
http://www.k-state.edu/media/newsreleases/may15/pureevil51415.html

I thought this was very interesting.

Do you believe in pure evil or good? Does your belief about crime and punishment seem consistent with the thesis of this article?

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Posted 5/27/15
pure evil and pure good doesn't exist since all of that is subjective in the eyes of the person doing it.

However, society itself has set up a construct that judges people objectively, Hitler for example is considered by most people as objectively pure evil... but to himself im sure he thought he was doing the world a favor in some twisted sense.

However to the rest of us, what he did was mindless slaughter.

However, it doesn't matter how "evil" or "good" someone is, they should be given the punishment they deserve for the crime they committed.

Good and evil is a human construct, it doesn't exist in nature.
Posted 5/27/15
"it may help explain how a court jury or judge is likely to assign punishment for a crime. While a belief in pure evil probably would not prompt a guilty verdict, it may influence the jury's sentence, Saucier said. For example, sentencing in the trials of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Colorado movie theater shooter James Holmes could be influenced by jury members' belief in pure evil.

Saucier said it's likely that life experience more than religion that influences a belief in pure evil. When investigating whether a religious upbringing was linked to a belief in pure evil, researchers found that people's belief in pure evil didn't necessitate a belief in pure good and vice versa."

Interesting.
Posted 5/27/15
This was, indeed, very interesting. Seems understandable - "demonizing" a person is quite an interesting concept that I think relates to the tendency I occasionally see for people to dehumanize criminals.

For me? I guess it's kind of consistent. I do believe in pure evil. I don't support capital punishment, however, I do support life in prison. So in that sense, maybe it's consistent?

I also believe in retribution for a crime (life for life, etc) ~ which probably seems odd considering my stance against capital punishment, but it might serve as further support.

However, I actively go out of my way to "not" demonize or dehumanize criminals. I think that is an extreme fault - criminals are people just like you and me unless they have a psychological illness. Any human is capable of great evil and great selflessness - and anyone can change.
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Posted 5/27/15 , edited 5/27/15
I don't believe that people can be good or evil. I also don't believe in any sort of universal truths about good or evil. But, even if we apply the old traditional notions of good or evil, I can only bring myself to label acts as good or evil, not the people who commit them. Although I don't believe in any grand universal truths about good or evil, I recognize that the beliefs are important in their own way. It seems easier to get people to behave well if you teach them morals. We don't want society to collapse so we need to slowly ease ourselves into a belief system that is more objective. A sudden change would be very jarring, so I'm usually not for any extreme and hasty changes.

I do, however, believe in the notion of fair punishment fitting for the crime. This is why I am an advocate of proportional punishment. For the sake of the society, we don't necessarily need punishments that are just as severe as the crime, but we DO need punishments that are proportional to the crime if we are to maintain fairness. Worse crimes should always be punished more severely than minor crimes, and the punishments should never be so disproportionate to the crime that they are unfair. I am okay with the death penalty but not with torture. Pain that is caused through a reliable, swift, and inexpensive method of execution is okay, but I don't usually believe people should be tortured.

These are pretty amorphous and hazy standards with no bright-line rules but this is the gist of what I believe.
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Posted 5/27/15
Well...

Isn't that obvious?

If you assume that people are generally reasonable (which, god damn it, they are), then there needs to a reason for them to be able to condemn others so harshly, and the belief that these criminals have a reduced capacity for "good" stands out as, far and away, the most obvious and reasonable one. Seriously, this seems blatantly self-evident, doesn't it?

Myself, I believe in hypothetical pure evil, and to me, that's more important than whether or not it could actually exist for a single person. Chances are, pure good or pure evil are so rare as to be, for all pragmatic intents and purposes, nonexistent. However, I do believe that the selfishness of people takes many forms, based on their priorities, and while most of these forms are beneficial to others in some way, some are destructive, and those who are inclined to these priorities will have a general predisposition towards "evil", because they won't feel fulfilled otherwise. While in a perfect world, I would be inclined to support everyone's motives, I can't abide goals that inherently victimize others. I'm forced to admit that in some cases (serial killers, for example), harsh punishment is the lesser of two evils, if you'll pardon the pun, so while I don't support it, I recognize that given the circumstances, it's our best option. Making a spectacle out of it, though, is completely barbaric.
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Posted 5/27/15 , edited 5/27/15

AzazelOfNexiumHowever, society itself has set up a construct that judges people objectively, Hitler for example is considered by most people as objectively pure evil... but to himself im sure he thought he was doing the world a favor in some twisted sense.


He was a nut in the purest sense, but have to realize, Germany was in full resentful tantrum mode after being "blamed" for WWI by the French treaties, looking for some easy scapegoat to blame for Germany's postwar division of wealth, and starting to get into persecuted hyper defensive fantasies that they were right and the rest of the world was wrong after their militarization and industry started to pick up. Just that he knew how to be more melodramatic, corny and manipulative about selling it.

Similarly, I keep hearing the Right portray Al-Qaeda as "Evil people who want to see American freedom destroyed", when any government anti-terrorist expert will tell you that Bin Laden's goal was the destruction of the Saudi royal house, and that America was just a cheap attention-grabbing publicity-button symbol of our alliances over the oil money. (Thus answering the old question of "Why the international-commerce center of the WTC twice, and they never once touched the Statue of Liberty?")

Basically, apart from Republicans, there is one people who believe that someone can be "pure" evil or good without motivation or other contributing factor--In a word, it's what children believe.
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Posted 5/27/15
I personally don't believe in pure good/evil. The terms good and evil just seem too broad to me, as values and morals vary from person to person. Sounds really goofy to me. I believe we act based on our personal justification of right and our own interpretations of wrong. What is right or wrong is how we identify how "good" or "evil" something is. I'd like to believe that in some right, there is wrong and in some wrong, there is right.

For somebody to commit a crime, there must be a reason as to why they committed the crime. The act of committing crime is wrong but not necessarily "evil" to me, vice versa, as we can never know the hidden agendas of the person who committed said crime, etc. In this case, the crime was murder. I believe punishment should be of equal value in relation to the crime they have committed. It should be expected for people to take responsibility for their actions...
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Posted 5/27/15
Different people consider different things to be good and evil. Of course, there are some things that are definitely wrong such as rape, peadophilia, murder etc. and so we have the law to protect us. In my personal opinion, I think anything that harms someone else is wrong. All humans have the right to live without being harmed. But I also believe that if you harm someone, then you no longer deserve those rights. So I would be totally okay with somebody murdering a serial killer or a rapist. I'm sure many other people would too.
Posted 5/27/15

Ejanss wrote:


AzazelOfNexiumHowever, society itself has set up a construct that judges people objectively, Hitler for example is considered by most people as objectively pure evil... but to himself im sure he thought he was doing the world a favor in some twisted sense.


He was a nut in the purest sense, but have to realize, Germany was in full resentful tantrum mode after being "blamed" for WWI by the French treaties, looking for some easy scapegoat to blame for Germany's postwar division of wealth, and starting to get into persecuted hyper defensive fantasies that they were right and the rest of the world was wrong after their militarization and industry started to pick up. Just that he knew how to be more melodramatic, corny and manipulative about selling it.

Similarly, I keep hearing the Right portray Al-Qaeda as "Evil people who want to see American freedom destroyed", when any government anti-terrorist expert will tell you that Bin Laden's goal was the destruction of the Saudi royal house, and that America was just a cheap attention-grabbing publicity-button symbol of our alliances over the oil money. (Thus answering the old question of "Why the international-commerce center of the WTC twice, and they never once touched the Statue of Liberty?")

Basically, apart from Republicans, there is one people who believe that someone can be "pure" evil or good without motivation or other contributing factor--In a word, it's what children believe.


I think the pure evil believe is something like believing that some people are just truly bad to the bone and it would extend beyond murder and even towards judging someone's motive.

Hitler, depending on how you tell his story, can be painted as having been extremely evil or less so...that would not for the benefit of people who believe in pure evil.

And from the highlighted, could say that people who don't believe in pure evil are the type to make irrational judgement because of their desire/motive which may shape the amount of information they'd gather to be consistent with this.. So they will act on a presumption and a need to avoid doubting at every turn by accepting a degree of vulnerability..like you said, Germany was in pure resentment mode.

f it were true, would you then say, people who believe in pure evil would make more rational decisions?
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Posted 5/27/15
Nothing is black and white, good and bad, sweet and sour, hell and heaven, an accurate judgment is a shade of different perspectives.
That's why religion is so popular, because it's really convenient to put your decision making on auto-pilot, you just decide if it's good or bad and you move on with your life, there is such thing as mental fatigue, the more decisions you make throughout the day your mind gets tired, even little things like " should i get coffee or tea" " should i wear a white t shirt or an orange jacket".
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Posted 5/27/15 , edited 5/27/15
I don't think pure good or evil exists. it depends on who is doing it. an example is what the US does. We do things that further our gain so this would be seen as good in the eyes of the US but others would see this as evil. It all depends on where you stand. Some see same sex rights as a good thing while others see as wrong or bad. So really pure evil or good really is a matter of opinion
Posted 5/28/15
no such thing

like you wouldn't call a little kid who shot someone evil. it just didn't know any better. morality is developed as cognitive thinking is developed. if someone's cognitive thinking is impaired or not developed yet... then they can't tell what is right or wrong as dictated by society.

They're not necessarily evil.
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Posted 5/28/15
Pure evil is a religious concept and should not be applied to secular law..
Posted 5/28/15

Saucier is following up both studies by looking at how people who believe in pure evil and people who believe in pure good would punish the leaders of the Islamic State group.



I do believe that
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