More Evil, Less Good

John Zande, a colleague blogger has authored a book titled “On The Problem of Good.” It’s a bold and an eloquent exposition premised on the hypothesis that “there is no good, everything degenerates into evil” according to the author. It’s hardly a book for the regular reader because it’s highly philosophical or abstract and it’s backed by scientific facts. Many of you already know my position on Science.

The founder of Christianity asserts that there is none that is good except God (Mathew 19:17), so the author may not be far from truth except that he claims evil is the basis of existence, good is illusionary, hence there is nothing wrong with the world. Here I disagree. There is everything wrong with the world. When we speak of life or existence, we speak of living things and how they percieve their environment. I believe humans, in spite of all the evil in this world, gravitate towards good. No sane person dreams of war, violence, hate, death etc.

How could such virtues as peace, unity, love, compassion, genuine altruism etc be evil? What about people who devote their lives to taking care of orphaned children, the homeless, the sick, victims of abuse, the vulnerable etc. This acts appear good to me and contradict the Darwinian notion of “survival of the fittest”. The instinct to help eachother when in trouble, to form and maintain social ties, to strive for morality and fairness etc that’s one tiny way us humans are different.

I have personally witnessed good. I have seen mothers risk their lives to save their children from harm. I have seen fathers sacrifice their future so that their children could have one. I have seen strangers offer refuge to the afflicted. I have seen people donate all their wealth to the needy after their death. I have seen strangers pull out a trapped person from under a rubble without asking to be paid. I have seen a crowd carry an accident victim to a hospital without requesting anything material. What is responsible for such altruistic acts if all there is is evil? These acts tell me humans are equally capable of good. However, agreeably, there is more evil and less good.

Now I have two questions for the Author concerning his hypothesis of a maximally evil, omnimalevolent universe.

1. Is the world a case study for testing his hypothesis?
2. If the world is his case study, then his hypothesis cannot be proved.

Reason:
1. There is both good and evil in this world according to the experiences of the vast majority of people. This is irreducible to an all evil world. So John, if you are reading this how did you prove your hypothesis to be true? Forgive me but was it through confirmation bias?

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Primitive Perspectives

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Excerpts From “The Gods Must Be Crazy I”

 

“For the first time there was something that could not be shared because there was only one of it. Suddenly everyone needed this thing and the thing became a necessity. Unfamiliar emotions began to stir – a feeling of wanting to own and not wanting to share. And other things came: anger, jealousy, hate and violence.”

 

Xi (pronounced “key”) was angry with the gods. He shouted,

“Take back your thing we don’t want it. Look at the trouble it brought.”

 

 

But the gods did not take it back. He shouted again,

“You must be crazy to send us this thing, take it back!”

 

The gods did not take it back so Xi carried the thing and buried it away from the shelter.

“That night the family was very unhappy. A strange feeling of shame had come upon them. They began to talk about this thing which had come into their lives. They did not have a name for it. They called it the evil thing.

 

Gaabu said:

(a) Perhaps the gods were absent-minded when they dropped the evil thing on the earth.

 

(b) They have always sent only good things like the rain, trees, roots and berries to eat

      because we are their children and they love us.

 

(c) But now they’ve sent us this evil thing.

 

 

Xi said:

(d) The thing does not belong on the earth. Tomorrow I will take it to the end of the earth

     and throw it off.

 

 

Goobu said:

(e) I think the end of the earth must be very far. I think you may have to walk for twenty

    days, perhaps forty.

 

 

Xi said:

(f) I will start walking tomorrow.

 

Here, one will notice how the primitive men dealt with the problem of evil. If there is a single benevolent God, from where, then, comes evil? The bushmen believed that the gods who gave them good things also occasionally sent evil unto the earth. Their gods were dual-natured and to me it sounded like even they, detected, something of the internal dialectic in matter. In behaviour, they were also far more humane than their civilized counterparts. If you watch the full movie, you will agree with me. I have often felt that to understand the universe, one must trace the evolution of the human thought from the earliest Neanderthals to us. If only that’s possible. I am not even sure if the stories told by these discoverers are accurate.

The interesting is this: since the “evil thing” was interfering with their happiness, they didn’t blame or wait for the gods. They figured a practical solution was to get rid of the thing at the end of the earth themselves. To them, the end of the earth was a steep valley where the evil thing, once thrown in, could never come back again.

One other question which had always been on mind was this: why was it always necessary to ascribe human qualities to the gods or God if they are different entities from us?

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