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Thread: Are evil people born or made?
06-25-07, 06:59 AM #1
Are evil people born or made?
A lot of people here have interacted with extremely evil people. What do you think caused them to be evil? Their own choices, certainly, but why did they choose to do evil things while others chose to do good or neutral things? Genetics? Birth defects? Childhood trauma? Video games? Bad parenting? Bad role models? Media images?
I’m wondering especially about those who commit monstrous, incomprehensible crimes—for instance, those who torture or murder innocent people for no apparent reason or benefit to themselves. Why would someone want to do that?
06-25-07, 07:28 AM #2
Here's a quote Jenna ~A debate that continues to spawn controversy in many scientific disciplines is on the topic of heredity and the influence genetics has on the overall character of a human being. More commonly referred to as the ‘Nature versus Nurture’ debate, scientists as well as the average citizen are intrigued as to what determinants shape personal character as well as individual behavior. There are several factors that impact an individual’s destiny and through various studies, explanations, and theoretical models it becomes very apparent that one isolatable factor is nearly impossible to distinguish
06-25-07, 08:06 AM #3
Perhaps the most despicably evil human being I've ever met was a Mother who conspired with her boyfriend to intentionally drown her four year-old daughter in a lake, assisted him in doing it, then turned State's evidence against him in return for immunity from prosecution, once the deed was done. She then collected on the $100K life insurance policy from her child's death, (since she wasn't prosecuted, the policy had to be paid to her as beneficiary), and walked away free to spend it.
What made her evil? I think the combination of a number of factors. I do believe that certain people are biologically programmed to be pre-disposed to certain things, but the overwhelming majority of the people that I deal with are those who simply choose to do wrong secondary to their own greed and self-centered nature. What creates that state, and the lack of a conscience which doesn't hold the temptation toward evil in check, I believe is due to a combination of conditioning (sociopathic tendencies can be programmed through primarily Pavlovian conditioning), and a system which fails to provide adequate deterrents (Operant conditioning).
I believe there's a ladder which leads to the depth of human depravity. Temptation is the rung which most stop on. Many descend to contemplation, but by then, the "internal policeman", or conscience if you will, kicks in and prevents further descent. The force of conscience is often bolstered by concern for the ramifications of being caught (deterrent factors). Deviant action follows for the small minority who lack that barrier, and is almost always followed by retrospect and remediation (covering up, or evasion).
I believe that the worst case scenario beyond that point is being caught, but not punished in a substantive way, which teaches (conditions) the person that repetitive actions will also not carry a heavy penalty. The subject then believes that there will always be a "deal" to strike, or a means to continue a deviant path without regard for the consequences.
Many elements of "the system" program them into a mindset which supports recidivism. Pavlovian conditioning in most correctional settings (incarceration) teaches only higher skill levels for the commission of further crimes, however there being no permanence to most incarceration allows the skills learned to be soon put to use in society.
I know of no person where a singular circumstance, i.e.: "childhood trauma" served as the lone factor in manifesting truly deviant actions. I believe it is a combinant path, which most often includes many of the factors you cited, the most common being poor parenting, poor role modeling, and a system which fails to provide the "operant conditioning" (and the isolation of the offender from potential victims).
Studying most criminal behavior, one commonality can almost always be found, that the human progresses into the depths of deviance over a given period of time, as the will to do evil (the drive for self-actualization in negative and destructive behavior) slowly erodes the inhibitions. Intervention, as it is currently known, rarely prevents that degradation unless the subject can resolve the desire to commit crimes within themselves. Rarely can external forces alone create more than transitory change in deviant behavior, the secondary goal can only be isolation of the offender from society.
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06-25-07, 08:06 AM #4
I think it's a combination too. I've seen evil people with great parents and upbringing but at the same time, I know a guy that had a horrible childhood, raised himself from the time he was about 16, and turned out to be one of the best police officers and family man that I know.*************************"It wouldn't take much for me to up and run...to another life somewhere in the sun."*************************"There's something inherently wrong with having to put on a bullet-proof vest and a gun to go to work."-(An old friend)
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06-25-07, 08:29 AM #5Are evil people born or made?
06-25-07, 08:40 AM #6Banned
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I know in our lines of work it is hard not to ponder what makes the truly despicable people we deal with tick, and I am in no way saying that all the people we deal with are evil, far from it, but there are some that are truly on this earth just to cause harm and pain to others, and it is hard not to wonder why they are what they are. But, I've found that it does nothing for me besides make me ill after a while.
Seriously, I used to actively participate in the late night conversations in booking about the newest multiple murderer or child rapist/killer that was on Nancy Grace that night, but after a while it got really old. To the point where I get up and leave if the talk starts going that way now. I think that to ponder the likes of the Scott Petersons or the Cheu Sung Hois or the Charlie Mansons is an exercise in complete frustartion and futility because no one will ever truly know the inner workings of a madman no matter how hard they try.
06-25-07, 09:08 AM #7
I'd side with Born.To be born an Englishman, is to be a winner in the Lottery of Life.
I've Talked the Talk and I've Walked the Walk, now I Sit the Sit!
It's not until you look at an Ant through a magnifying glass on a sunny day, that you realise just how often they burst into flames for no reason!
06-25-07, 12:16 PM #8
I believe everyone is equally capable of great acts of violence and great acts of kindness. The hand that can hit, can also caress.
We choose to embrace either the good in us, or the evil. That is why I believe it's our actions, not our thoughts, that make us good or evil.
One cannot conquer evil in the world. Only evil within oneself as an example to others."If everyone is thinking alike, then someone isn't thinking." -Gen. George S. Patton
06-25-07, 12:33 PM #9
All people are born evil. Outside influnces helps us decide if we will supress the evil or act on it. Add the ACLU, Al Sharpton/Jesse Jackson, and all the other bleeding heart liberals who influnce our "justice" system to be leinient, and politicians who spout off about "it's not their fault" and persecute the "good guys", and you have an enviroment where you can act on your evil instincts with a reasonably belief that you can get away with it. <<end rant>>
06-25-07, 12:42 PM #10
I feel all evil people are born that way but some choose to control it while others let it run wild.
Some do not have that voice that tells them not to do something.
Those are the people I enjoy dealing with and putting behind bars. I would prefer putting them all on an island and letting them eat each other and do evil to each other.
Sounds like a good reality show to me.I don't like repeat offenders I like DEAD offenders-
Make the world a better place....punch a hippie in the face!
Former member of Cortinian Liberation Front and the JSA MACHATOC.
06-25-07, 12:58 PM #11
We are who we choose to be. Certainly there are factors of environment, DNA (or whatever) trauma etc. Everything we do is of a learned behavior of some sort. Most persons easily control this desire to act on that behavior. Some are not as fortunate. However, anyone born with the ability to reason has the ability to do one thing in common. The ability to make a decision. It seems some make decisions monstrous in nature. And if that is the case we need to make better decisons for them. Like isolating them from society. We just need to do a better job of it.Do not war for peace. If you must war, war for justice. For without justice there is no peace. -me
We are who we choose to be.
R.I.P. Arielle. 08/20/2010-09/16/2012
06-25-07, 01:50 PM #12
we all born with an equal opportunity to be good or evil. Its the choices we make that decide. As someone who comes from a broken home with an alchoholic abusive father and a mother who had to bust her ass at 3 jobs to put food on the table and therefor not around for all that loving nurturing crap, I think its a giant load of crap to blame who you are on those types of things.500 fights, that's the number I figured when I was a kid. 500 street fights and you could consider yourself a legitimate tough guy. You need them for experience. To develop leather skin. So I got started. Of course along the way you stop thinking about being tough and all that. It stops being the point. You get past the silliness of it all. But then, after, you realize that's what you are.
06-25-07, 04:05 PM #13
06-25-07, 04:52 PM #14
06-25-07, 08:39 PM #15
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06-26-07, 04:58 AM #16
Jenna, I think you mentioned a few of the major contributing factors. Like most things related to behavior, I feel it is a combination of genetics and environment. In order of importance I would rank it as:
1) Bad parenting... this covers a LOT of ground here
2) Genetics (hmm... parents are still the issue, I suppose).
06-27-07, 04:53 AM #17
06-27-07, 10:54 AM #18"If everyone is thinking alike, then someone isn't thinking." -Gen. George S. Patton
06-27-07, 10:03 PM #19
But, humans are not born with empathy, it has to be taught. So a child never taught empathy could grow into an evil person. And a child born with some brain defect, or genetic defect, that cause them to disassociate with humanity, could grow into an evil adult. Or, an adult who commits evil acts, because they can't empathize with their victim, or imagine the impact on the survivors.Molly Weasley makes Chuck Norris eat his vegetables.
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06-27-07, 10:17 PM #20
I was just talking about this about children. I truly believe that there are both types of people. Some have become bad due to environment a smaller percentage of the people are just evil, you can see it in there eyes there is something just not right.
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