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The End of Evil? Neuroscientists suggest there is no such thing. Are they right?
Slate ^ | Friday, Sept. 30, 2011, | Ron Rosenbaum

Posted on 10/07/2011 8:13:12 PM PDT by Jacob Kell

Is evil over? Has science finally driven a stake through its dark heart? Or at least emptied the word of useful meaning, reduced the notion of a numinous nonmaterial malevolent force to a glitch in a tangled cluster of neurons, the brain?

Yes, according to many neuroscientists, who are emerging as the new high priests of the secrets of the psyche, explainers of human behavior in general. A phenomenon attested to by a recent torrent of pop-sci brain books with titles like Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain. Not secret in most of these works is the disdain for metaphysical evil, which is regarded as an antiquated concept that's done more harm than good. They argue that the time has come to replace such metaphysical terms with physical explanations—malfunctions or malformations in the brain.

(Excerpt) Read more at slate.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: evil; faithandphilosophy; neuroscience; neuroscientists; science

1 posted on 10/07/2011 8:13:23 PM PDT by Jacob Kell
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To: Jacob Kell

no. and it’s the oldest lie in the book.


2 posted on 10/07/2011 8:14:49 PM PDT by the invisib1e hand (...then they came for the guitars, and we kicked their sorry faggot asses into the dust)
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To: Jacob Kell
They argue that the time has come to replace such metaphysical terms with physical explanations

In reality, evil is is still evil and is still present....regardless what it is called.

3 posted on 10/07/2011 8:17:32 PM PDT by umgud
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To: Jacob Kell
You have to realize, "neuroscience" is not what you think it is. It sounds profound, but is little more than drugstore paperback schlock like we have had for fifty years. Old stale horsepiss dressed up in new cans, like Bud Lite.
4 posted on 10/07/2011 8:19:33 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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To: Jacob Kell

“there is no such thing as “free will” with which to decide to commit evil. (Like evil, free will is an antiquated concept for most.) Autonomous, conscious decision-making itself may well be an illusion. And thus intentional evil is impossible.”

This claim surfaces from time to time in various forms. It’s always self defeating. If there’s no free will, then the scientists making that claim were destined to make that claim, and there can be no truth value in their claim.


5 posted on 10/07/2011 8:20:05 PM PDT by mkmensinger
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To: umgud

satan prefers to deceive some with this ruse...

Until he is chained ( the day is soon) he will spout this nonsense to the naive.

He’ll be loosed a little while after that ( a second purging), then we’re done with lucifer.


6 posted on 10/07/2011 8:24:52 PM PDT by One Name
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To: Jacob Kell

So WWII did not happen? Or do they just mean it was not a bad thing?


7 posted on 10/07/2011 8:25:56 PM PDT by Brilliant
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To: Jacob Kell

Just ask Hitler, he thought he was doing the German race a favor, no evil in that...


8 posted on 10/07/2011 8:26:07 PM PDT by dps.inspect (the system is rigged...)
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To: mkmensinger

Pure moral nihilism. They believe there is no evil, no free will, and even consciousness is an illusion. And of course they eventually want to “take people off the streets” based on MRI’s. Typical left wing efforts to excuse all wrongdoing and take away personal freedom.


9 posted on 10/07/2011 8:26:13 PM PDT by Williams (Honey Badger Don't Care)
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To: Jacob Kell

Haven’t they been saying this since the Enlightenment?


10 posted on 10/07/2011 8:27:10 PM PDT by Shadow44
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To: Jacob Kell

Evil has been with us since the beginning of time and is never going away.


11 posted on 10/07/2011 8:29:25 PM PDT by SECURE AMERICA (Where can I sign up for the New American Revolution and the Crusades 2012?)
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To: Jacob Kell

Gore’s got a bunch of ‘scientists’ too who believe in global warming... Liberal Universities are full of liberals ...


12 posted on 10/07/2011 8:29:46 PM PDT by GOPJ (Where is the headline that says: Obama Murders Hundreds of Mexicans! - freeper xzins)
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To: Jacob Kell

Is it evil to want to control other people by telling them you know what is best for them? I know the answer to that question and I suspect these scientists do too.


13 posted on 10/07/2011 8:30:06 PM PDT by vbmoneyspender
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To: Jacob Kell

Changing the definition of sanity does not cure insanity. Making everything a mental illness does not eliminate right from wrong, good from evil.


14 posted on 10/07/2011 8:42:58 PM PDT by tbw2
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To: Jacob Kell

Yes, there will be an end to evil....these clowns will be surprised at how it turns out.


15 posted on 10/07/2011 8:47:06 PM PDT by Some Fat Guy in L.A. (Go Steelers (what's the baseball team called again?))
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To: vbmoneyspender

If they say no, then they can’t complain about religions either.


16 posted on 10/07/2011 8:47:48 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (There's gonna be a Redneck Revolution! (See my freep page) [rednecks come in many colors])
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To: Jacob Kell

I have no doubt evil exists. I’ve dealt with evil people and with mentally ill people. Sometimes those conditions arrive together and sometimes they don’t.


17 posted on 10/07/2011 8:50:44 PM PDT by KJC1
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To: Jacob Kell

No.


18 posted on 10/07/2011 8:53:09 PM PDT by null and void (Day 989 of America's holiday from reality...)
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To: Jacob Kell

This is another attempt by scientists to claim they are the solution to all our woes, and that they are the GOD we should worship.

The ‘mind’ is much more than just the brain. It is a part they cannot dissect, nor control. Yet, they ‘believe’ they can.


19 posted on 10/07/2011 8:55:07 PM PDT by UCANSEE2 (Lame and ill-informed post)
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To: Shadow44

“Haven’t they been saying this since the Enlightenment?”

Since Eden.


20 posted on 10/07/2011 9:07:10 PM PDT by Psalm 144 (Voodoo Republicans: Don't read their lips - watch their hands.)
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To: Jacob Kell

“The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was to convince the world he didn’t exist”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnGo6Qm0Wt8


21 posted on 10/07/2011 9:10:36 PM PDT by combat_boots (The Lion of Judah cometh. Hallelujah. Gloria Patri, Filio et Spiritui Sancto.)
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To: Jacob Kell

Clockwork Orange time...


22 posted on 10/07/2011 9:12:06 PM PDT by Domestic Church (AMDG)
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To: mkmensinger

IMHO, most evil people are desensitized into it. Whether from things done to them, or by conscious escalation of actions, they gradually move into the evil realm.


23 posted on 10/07/2011 9:15:41 PM PDT by Marie (Cain 9s Have Teeth)
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To: Jacob Kell
Not surprising. When you begin with the premise that a human being is nothing more than a conglomeration of chemicals reacting in interesting ways, all sorts of notions get thrown out the window.

It also allows you to view the killing of a billion people as no big deal. If these people have their way, that's where it will all end up. Mark my words.
24 posted on 10/07/2011 9:19:31 PM PDT by Antoninus (Take the pledge: I will not vote for Mitt Romney under any circumstances. EVER.)
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To: Jacob Kell

Interesting how the author in describing the argument being made by the neuroscientists as to why there is no such thing as good and evil couldn’t manage to avoid using terms like “innocent” and “doing ill” which of course have no meaning without reference to good and evil.

These arguments always fail when pressed to their logical conclusion.

Ask the scientists who claim there is no such thing as good or evil, only “degrees of empathy,” why empathy is a desirable thing.

When they say because empathy tends to promote and benefit life, they have revealed that they have implicitly made a judgment that life is good and non-life is not, which is a moral judgment.

Indeed, even the purported use of this scientific theory in the example given with reference to Justice Breyer in which he cited neuroscience research for the proposition that video games reinforce neural pathways for violence, begs the question, why is violence undesirable if there is no such thing as good and evil?


25 posted on 10/07/2011 9:30:24 PM PDT by Meet the New Boss
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To: Jacob Kell
If you had to boil down liberalism and conservatism to their essences, Liberals do not believe evil exists. Conservatives do.

It is because most liberals do not believe in God.

In a world without evil, in their view, God is not necessary. So that is their utopia. They try to explain away evil as your past determining who you will be in the future and the choices you will make.

In their view, if you fix your past so there are no "root causes" for evil, then...you won't be evil.

Whittaker Chambers said it best in his foreword to his seminal book Witness, in his letter to his children:

"It is not new. It is, in fact, man's second oldest faith. Its promise was whispered in the first days of The Creation under the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil: "ye shall be as gods." It is the great alternative faith of mankind. Like all great faiths, its force derives from a simple vision. Other ages have had great visions. They have always been different versions of the same vision: the vision of God and man's relationship to God. The Communist vision is the vision of Man without God."

It is a brilliant statement of the vision of Communists and Liberals.

26 posted on 10/07/2011 9:36:21 PM PDT by rlmorel (9/11: Aggression is attracted to weakness like sharks are to blood, and we were weak. We still are.)
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To: Psalm 144

We think alike. See my post at #26.


27 posted on 10/07/2011 9:39:11 PM PDT by rlmorel (9/11: Aggression is attracted to weakness like sharks are to blood, and we were weak. We still are.)
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To: the invisib1e hand

Indeed... “I hate therefore evil does not exist and the keys can be mine”

This is not neuroscience but a scheme for psychology pimps.

The given is us and we cannot claim to know it, lest we err. Thus science is always to be used carefuly. Inherent good vs. evil is thus a good question.

But whether it is for good or evil, a dead body to be manipulated by science is still dead. The rebuke becomes compounded in doubles or exponentials.


28 posted on 10/07/2011 9:49:27 PM PDT by JudgemAll (Democrats Fed. job-security Whorocracy & hate:hypocrites must be gay like us or be tested/crucified)
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To: Jacob Kell

Not too far away from where I live a father intentionally dropped his infant girl twice, killing her, because she wouldn’t stop crying.

Is there evil in this world?


29 posted on 10/07/2011 10:01:34 PM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: tbw2
Changing the definition of sanity does not cure insanity. Making everything a mental illness does not eliminate right from wrong, good from evil.

It worked for homosexuality -- so why not?

30 posted on 10/07/2011 10:22:06 PM PDT by Publius6961 (My world was lovely, until it was taken over by parasites.)
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To: Jacob Kell

The greatest success that Satan ever achieves is when people, especially influential people, deny his existence. Satan exists, evil exists.


31 posted on 10/07/2011 10:29:39 PM PDT by RobinOfKingston (The instinct toward liberalism is located in the part of the brain called the rectal lobe.)
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To: Jacob Kell
Not secret in most of these works is the disdain for metaphysical evil, which is regarded as an antiquated concept that's done more harm than good.

Oh, so they are the *experts* now, is it? G-d scoffs at their vanity, and hold them in derision...

They argue that the time has come to replace such metaphysical terms with physical explanations—malfunctions or malformations in the brain.

Now, where have I heard *this* one before? Oh, yes, now I recall... A 'science' they used to call phrenology, wasn't it?

the infowarrior

32 posted on 10/07/2011 10:33:54 PM PDT by infowarrior
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To: Williams
I totally agree!

I had this nasty little leftist psychology teacher in college that repeatedly preached there was no such thing as free will.

He started the class by giving the students 2 choices on how we would be graded and then we had a vote. He dramatically revealed that we had chosen the syllabus that he had already typed out, proving our lack of free will.

Sure! If you give paying students a really stupid option and a normal one, they will choose the one that isn't a total waste of time and money. Dumbest class ever.

I told everyone he lived with his mom and I saw him crying in his office.

Free will made me do it.

33 posted on 10/07/2011 10:53:02 PM PDT by Casie
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To: Jacob Kell

Who the hell came up with this? The Son of Sam?


34 posted on 10/07/2011 11:17:31 PM PDT by Darren McCarty (Perry and Cain I can support, but no Romney)
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To: umgud

Whatever its merits, or whatever they think about it, neuroscience shmience, a couple terms amongs others may be mentioned:

1. Power button or drunk
2. Override

There, the existentialism, the playing dead, the indeterminist “darwinism”, is the evil.


35 posted on 10/07/2011 11:18:56 PM PDT by JudgemAll (Democrats Fed. job-security Whorocracy & hate:hypocrites must be gay like us or be tested/crucified)
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To: Meet the New Boss

They want their cake and the money that pays for said cake. Liberals do not want violence and evil turned on them, but when it is them doing it, we must not see it as so. It’s a self serving “art” of pimping, a scheme hoping others will play dead while they get molested. These folkes are necrophiliacs and tell us there is no such “evil” thing.

They play gods of the dead, but they are irrelevant to life as a passing impotent black cloud of snake poison that only affects those meant to be affected in “belief” of it.

However the bureaucrate loves the word science, the salient “order excuse” from which Nazis or communists never “deviated” from, thus condemning billions to death in the name of words like peace and love.


36 posted on 10/07/2011 11:37:30 PM PDT by JudgemAll (Democrats Fed. job-security Whorocracy & hate:hypocrites must be gay like us or be tested/crucified)
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To: Jacob Kell

For atheist materialist secularists, of course they’d say this.


37 posted on 10/08/2011 12:12:20 AM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
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To: Jacob Kell

All said to try to escape the wages of sin!!


38 posted on 10/08/2011 2:26:04 AM PDT by timetostand (Ya say ya wanna revolution -- OK!)
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To: Jacob Kell

The brain is only a computer that we use to process incoming data and outgoing actions.


39 posted on 10/08/2011 5:43:06 AM PDT by RoadTest (For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.)
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To: Jacob Kell
The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he doesn't exist
40 posted on 10/08/2011 6:27:03 AM PDT by Donald Rumsfeld Fan ("Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts." Richard Feynman father of Quantum Physics)
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To: JudgemAll
The rebuke becomes compounded in doubles or exponentials.

well said.

Talk about alchemy: Science is managing more and more to make L Ron Hubbard seem mainstream.

41 posted on 10/08/2011 7:12:38 AM PDT by the invisib1e hand (...then they came for the guitars, and we kicked their sorry faggot asses into the dust)
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To: Jacob Kell

Actually, this has a biblical basis. According to Jesus, the heart of man is evil. There really is no difference between a mass murder and a man so angry he wants to scream at you according to Jesus.

However, their conclusions are wrong. It is not that there is no such thing as evil, there is no such thing as a good man. Only God is good.


42 posted on 10/08/2011 7:20:43 AM PDT by Raycpa
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To: daisy mae for the usa

read later


43 posted on 10/08/2011 7:59:58 AM PDT by daisy mae for the usa
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To: rlmorel
Liberals do not believe evil exists.

It's a form of projection, casting off uncomfortable thoughts. Being caught up in a cycle of vanity, envy, and hate, leftists are evil incarnate. If evil can be imagined away the heavy load of personal responsibility is off their shoulders.

44 posted on 10/08/2011 9:41:32 AM PDT by Reeses
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To: Antoninus
a conglomeration of chemicals reacting in interesting ways

The operation of the human brain involves much more than the electron interaction of chemistry. Quantum entanglement and other supernatural quantum behaviors are thought to be involved in human consciousness. Subatomic particles oscillate between our universe and the spooky unknown. Where the go when they leave our universe or what they do there we have no clue.

45 posted on 10/08/2011 10:09:19 AM PDT by Reeses
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