META: The problem of "Good vs. Evil"

Martin Phipps martinphipps2 at
Tue Feb 19 03:04:55 PST 2008

On Feb 19, 4:34 pm, Tom Russell <milos_par... at> wrote:
> On Feb 19, 3:05 am, Jamas Enright <t... at> wrote:
> > We are products of physical and chemical reactions, which build up (in
> > ways, yes, that we don't understand) to produce consciousness and, at
> > least, the illusion of free will. To that end, what we do is a product of
> > those reactions, and so we don't "choose" in any higher-order sense of the
> > word.
> I understand this basic idea-- that we're all machines that only act
> according to our programming-- though ancedotal evidence tells me it's
> not true.  That's the problem, though, with ancedotal evidence, and
> that's why it's not valid for scientific inquiry-- it can't
> objectively prove anything.
> It's like the question, Does love really exist?  Or is it just an
> ingrained desire to reproduce, to survive, to have some kind of
> comfort or proximity to other living things?  Harry Harlow aside, it's
> not possible to "prove" love.

True love is better than chocolate: it won't make you fat.

> But I believe in it.  I've felt it.  It's not just endorphines and
> dopamine and whatever else.  I believe there is such a thing as a
> soul, and emotions-- something beyond synapses and neurons.
> To some, that makes me naive.  And maybe I am.

The good news is that anger doesn't exist either, that it is merely
just a question of outside stimuli stimulating the hypothalamus and
causing it to release hormones which cause the body to prepare for
fighting, so we really shouldn't blame somebody when they get angry
and start attacking us because the attacker didn't really have free
will.  Then again, I don't have free will either so I'm going to fight
back anyway. :)


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