• TheMadFool
    1.5k
    The struggle between Good and Evil is a cliche, with almost every facet of human activity being representations of this ultimate battle. Art, literature, science, everything, is measured on the scales of morality. So, the obvious question is ''Who wins? Good or Evil?

    Consider the world of truth and lies. Let's take the truth

    1. Trump is president in 2017.

    In relation to this truth I can think of 3 lies:

    2. Jane is the president in 2017
    3. Sarah is the president in 2017
    4. Vick is the president in 2017

    So, assuming life is random, there's a 1/4 chance of truth and 3/4 chance of falsehood. However, life isn't random - we have a moral compass. The point is that our morality is imperfect i.e. our moral compass is defective? How does a defective instrument compare to a random one? Obviously, a defective instrument is worse - the probability of error increases.

    So, it's more likely that someone will tell you a lie than the truth. Evil wins. Good loses.

    The same reasoning will perfectly apply to all domains of morality - (love, hate), (truth, lies), (kindness, meanness), (selfless, selfish), etc.

    In a nutshell, the number of ways one can be good are fewer than the number of ways one can be bad. To add, our moral compasses are incomplete and flawed.

    Therefore, it must be that Evil will, inevitably, win and Good lose.

    Your comments.
  • Rich
    1.9k
    Life is not a numbers game. It is a learning game.

    Trump it's merely a manifestation of middle America anger toward a government that is controlled by and serves the ultra-rich and itself - a mantra of both Sanders and Trump. It is an experiment in throwing chaos into D.C. and we will all learn what we learn from this experiment. Politics is highly unpredicable (as the last election demonstrated) but it is probable that the ultra-rich will stay in control.
  • Nils Loc
    234
    Maybe sometimes what is "good" is achieved by a collective lie. The good is relative to subjective and communal perspectives.

    It is good that the USD value of my bank account is currently real (or effective) in terms of what I can buy, despite the fact that the processes that conserve (and erode) it's purchasing power may be violent and exploitative from a certain point of view. What if the value of my bank account depended upon a bunch of insane and globally immoral expectations?

    I will conserve myself at the expense of others. We will cooperatively conserve ourselves at the expense of others.

    Lying is a means to achieve certain ends, just as pursuing delusion (fantasy) and conspicuous consumption is a means to anesthetize and distract ourselves from the angst and absurdity of life.
  • Bitter Crank
    3.7k
    I'm so glad we have another thread from the Pessimists United School (PUS) of Oozing, Mississippi.

    1. Trump is president in 2017.

    In relation to this truth I can think of 3 lies:

    2. Jane is the president in 2017
    3. Sarah is the president in 2017
    4. Vick is the president in 2017

    So, assuming life is random, there's a 1/4 chance of truth and 3/4 chance of falsehood.
    TheMadFool

    This is just arbitrary nonsense.

    In a nutshell, the number of ways one can be good are fewer than the number of ways one can be bad. To add, our moral compasses are incomplete and flawed.TheMadFool

    Evidence, please. Let's see the figures on possible ways to be good or bad.

    People usually act in their own self interest (which they define as good), and only a few attempt to shoot themselves in the foot (which is bad). Therefore good occurs more often than bad. You don't like that? IT's no worse than your argument.

    We don't know what you think is good and bad, which is an additional problem with your claim. Please list everything that is good, and bad in your opinion. What about the magnitude of acts? How many acts are largely consequential and how many are minutely consequential? Whose perspective are we using--the early bird feeding it's young or the worm?
  • TheMadFool
    1.5k
    So, you don't disagree with what I said.

    There are just too many ways to be bad and only few ways to be good. Even, if one were to act randomly, the chances of doing evil exceed the chances of doing good. So, given our moral guidance system is imperfect and flawed, it follows that evil will eventually gain the upper hand!?

    This is just arbitrary nonsense.Bitter Crank

    You disagree with math, you'll have to show why.

    We don't know what you think is good and bad, which is an additional problem with your claim.Bitter Crank

    This is central to my argument:

    1. There are more ways of doing bad than doing good. For instance, lies outnumber truths (see my OP). Similarly, bad deeds outnumber good deeds. One way of seeing the truth of this is to understand that humans are purposeful. Purpose may be varied e.g. purpose of satisfying hunger, lust, love, etc. BUT, in love, only ONE object will satisfy the emotion and likewise for other desires. This means there are, literally, countless ways to make somebody unhappy than there are to make him/her happy.

    2. Our moral guidance system is imperfect

    So,

    3.It naturally follows that evil will win.
  • szemi
    7
    Counter argument to original post:

    1.Trump is president.
    2.Trump is president.
    3.Trump is president.
    4.Trump is president.
    5. Szemi is president.

    Here, four different people say the truth, and one person says a lie.

    Therefore the truth is four times more likely to be heard than a lie.

    Therefore good is inevitably going to triumph over evil.

    -----------------

    Same argument, different spin.

    OP's argument is a fallacy, because it uses statistical evidence not found. It is using statistical evidence that has not been established.
  • Rich
    1.9k
    So, you don't disagree with what I said.TheMadFool

    I thought I did? In the future, I'll be more explicit.
  • TheMadFool
    1.5k
    Let me be clearer.

    There's only one truth to 2 + 2, which is 4 but an infinite number of wrong answers. Each situation allows only limited number of truths but many falsehoods.

    Your example is mere repetition of the same truth so doesn't work.
  • Nils Loc
    234
    Suppose we believe that being alive is good in most circumstances.

    As it goes with natural selection, there are very few ways of being alive than there are ways of being dead.

    The same maybe true of being good (ie. there are fewer ways of being good than bad) but what is good is relative to the needs and wants of those who benefit from goodness. Again, what is good? Says who?

    Are planets with life on them better than planets with no life on them?
    Is it good that we exist at all?
    Is it good that I don't have malaria (do you care)? Parasites will eat.


    This is just like Borges library of unintelligible books (a library of all possible random combinations of letters in an arbitrary format). There are more books in that library than there are atoms in the entire universe (this is mindblowing). Such quantities make finding intelligible books vanishingly small. Good books are intelligible books but they might as well not exist the way the library is organized (randomly).
  • Srap Tasmaner
    1.1k
    There's only one truth to 2 + 2, which is 4 but an infinite number of wrong answers.TheMadFool

    This part is right and interesting. It's entropy. There are more possible ways for your car not to work than for it to work.

    Not obvious that this applies to morality though. You can divide moralities broadly into two "styles": those that forbid certain things (don't kill, don't steal) and those that specify a standard (be this way) any deviation from which is forbidden. Wouldn't be a big surprise for deviation to be rare for a type 1 morality, but it's basically inevitable for a type 2.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    322

    I think there is a confusion of categories. The opposite of truth is untruth or falsehood. The opposite of lie or dishonesty is honesty. One can be untruthful, and yet not lie. Truth and untruth belong in epistemology. Honesty and dishonesty or lies belong in morality.

    I agree with your argument that it is more probable to uncover untruth than truth. This is why the onus of proof is on he who makes the claim. But I disagree with your argument that it is more probable to have dishonesty (lies) than honesty. These are acts of the will and we are in full control of it at all times. I can never be mistaken about my intentions. Now, will the moral good win over the moral evil? I think that is entirely up to the individual.
  • TheMadFool
    1.5k
    It's entropySrap Tasmaner

    I was thinking of that. You, more or less, agree with me.

    But I disagree with your argument that it is more probable to have dishonesty (lies) than honesty. These are acts of the will and we are in full control of it at all times. I can never be mistaken about my intentions. Now, will the moral good win over the moral evil? I think that is entirely up to the individual.Samuel Lacrampe

    But you can't deny our moral system is imperfect, which means it's more likely you err. That translates to evil.
  • Srap Tasmaner
    1.1k
    You, more or less, agree with me.TheMadFool

    Except for the part where I didn't.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    322
    But you can't deny our moral system is imperfect, which means it's more likely you err. That translates to evil.TheMadFool
    Good point. But I can show that our moral compass is perfect, by the nature of morality and honest intentions.

    We can err in the sense of a rational mistake, but logically, the mistake is either honest or dishonest. A dishonest mistake is immoral, but an honest mistake is not. As stated previously, honesty is a matter of intentions, and I can never be mistaken about my own intentions. As such, we can never err in the sense of morality. Example: I invent a cure for diabetes and share it with the world for free. We later find out that this cure has the side effect of giving cancer. Clearly, I made a rational mistake. But I did not know that at the time I shared the cure; and had I known that, I would not have shared it. Thus it was an honest mistake, thus it was not an immoral act.
  • TheMadFool
    1.5k
    As you can see, you're appealing to a certain moral paradigm (deontology if I'm not mistaken). There's a certain limit to such a theory e.g. the crime of manslaughter applies to death due to negligence. Your diabetes cure example comes very close to manslaughter. As a good person the onus is on you to consider ALL the consequences of your actions. If you fail to do that then you're responsible for all the bad that results. This is the consequentialist approach, a very reasonable way to evaluate morality, and it goes against tge moral theory you propose.

    That's what I mean when I say moral theory is imperfect. There are many moral theories and they don't agree with each other to the extent required to counter my argument.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    322
    As a good person the onus is on you to consider ALL the consequences of your actions.TheMadFool
    Not all. Only those consequences that are reasonably foreseeable, because it gives ground to suspect dishonest intentions. If a man dives in front of my moving vehicle and gets killed, then my act of driving is one of the causes of his death, but I am not guilty because I could not have foreseen it, thus there is no ground to suspect dishonest intentions on my part.

    Back to my cure example. I agree with your manslaughter idea, but it does not contradict my point because my moral theory can explain it. If I fail to foresee the side effects when these were reasonably foreseeable, then yes, I am guilty, because I chose not to take the best possible course of action; and this translates to not-fully-honest intentions. On the other hand, if I fail to foresee the side effects when these were not reasonably foreseeable, then I am not guilty, because I took the best possible course of action; and this does not translate to dishonest intentions.

    To sum up, I claim that my moral theory is compatible with the legal justice system, and that both are based on intentions, not on acts. The act may be the trigger, but the intention is the decisive factor.
  • TheMadFool
    1.5k
    To sum up, I claim that my moral theory is compatible with the legal justice system, and that both are based on intentions, not on acts. The act may be the trigger, but the intention is the decisive factor.Samuel Lacrampe

    One problem I see with basing morality on intentions is it's inacessible. We eventually fall back on evaluating actions off of consequences, which are visible and, sometimes, measurable.

    We can ignore intentions but not consequences. For instance, x intends to harm y and pushes y. In the process a bullet misses y. In this case, y should be thankful to x, despite x's intent. Even legally, y has no basis for a case against x.

    However, if x intends good for y, but in the process harms y, then y is clearly justified, legally, to charge x for any loss or injury.

    Anyway, what I want to say is that basing morality on intent is flawed (as shown above). That means we're susceptible to error and, subsequently, evil.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    322
    We can ignore intentions but not consequences. For instance, x intends to harm y and pushes y. In the process a bullet misses y. In this case, y should be thankful to x, despite x's intent. Even legally, y has no basis for a case against x.TheMadFool
    Attempted murder is more punishable than accidental homicide, although you are right that if there is no evidence, then x cannot legally be charged. In truth however, x is guilty of having harmful intentions.

    However, if x intends good for y, but in the process harms y, then y is clearly justified, legally, to charge x for any loss or injury.TheMadFool
    It still depends if the harm was reasonably foreseeable or not. Say x plants a tree in y's yard as a gift. One day, y crashes his car into it and gets injured. Objectively, x is one of the causes of y's injury; but legally and morally, x is not guilty. I will concede that professional liability seems to fit what you describe. But even then, a professional is liable only to things he has (or should have) knowledge about.

    According to the Bible, God judges the heart of men; and 'heart' in that sense means intentions. Unfortunately, as you said, this info is inaccessible to us (except for our own intentions), and so our justice system must rely on acts and other facts to determine intentions based on probable or reasonable cause.
  • TheMadFool
    1.5k
    According to the Bible, God judges the heart of men; and 'heart' in that sense means intentions.Samuel Lacrampe

    Yes, I think that's a great foundation for morality - intentions because the consequences of our actions are shaped by so many variables we can't control but we have absolute power over our intentions (determnists may disagree). However, in practical terms, such a moral theory is bound to fail because intentions are inacessible to direct examination.

    The point, in favor of my argument, is the very fact that you propose intentions for a moral theory. Consequences are beyond our control, thus making it highly likely that our best intentions can go awry - the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    322

    Let's differentiate between moral good/evil and physical good/evil. The moral good is about intentions, and the physical good is about events. If your OP "Why Good must inevitably lose" refers to the true moral good, then it is entirely in our power, since the moral good is based on intentions and we have absolute power over our intentions (though we have zero power over the moral good of others). If it refers to the physical good, then you are possibly right. I am personally optimistic that if we are somewhat rational, our good intents will result in good events most of the time, but I could be wrong.

    the road to hell is paved with good intentions.TheMadFool
    I have heard this before, but it is false relative to the christian definition of hell. Hell is not a physical place but a state of relationship between the individual and moral goodness or God (for moral goodness is part of the essence of God). That state of relationship is due to the heart or intentions of the individual; and a good heart leads to heaven, not hell. Therefore hell would not result from good intentions. Maybe by 'hell', the author means 'physical evil', although I dispute this as well, for this hell is still more likely to result from evil intentions than from good intentions.
  • Nils Loc
    234
    we have absolute power over our intentions — Samuel Lacrampe

    This is a suspicious claim, unless your saying it is necessary or good to believe it. What is the implication of having absolute power over intention as opposed to conditional power or partial control over our intentions. It's like saying we have absolute power over our will (?).
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