(Original post by Dmon1Unlimited)
i like to think we are blank canvases when we are born.... we get stained as we grow older... as in.... one cannot be born good nor bad. how you are raise impacts this. if not, that means good and bad has genetic factors and its hard to believe that all criminals/bad people have criminal/bad kids.... (and vice versa)
But maybe the criminal part of the parent doesnt get passed down to the child
I think most people are born programmed with behaviour that we would call being a "good" person. I presume most of us are kind, friendly, generous, empathic, sociable people because it offers an evolutionary advantage, so it's written into our genes. I imagine we're driven to repeat that behaviour because acting that way lights up the pleasure centres in our brains - so we've got that incentive to be nice to each other.
Last edited by SnoochToTheBooch; 25-03-2012 at 14:36.
(Original post by lightburns) Some people are born with mental disorders that make them bad - brain parts important for morality not functioning, and that kind of thing.
I think that kind of finishes off one extreme of the OP's question (all the people answering according to the blank slate model, saying it's all experience).
Really? I thought the current thinking was that there are genetic propensities that make someone vulnerable to psychopathy, but it was the interaction between this and the social environment that was the determining factor.
(Original post by Snagprophet)
Don't see how anything is objectively good or bad. Committing a genocide is not wrong. Just because the concept of genocide, or helping people, is not born into kids doesn't make them born good or bad.
(Original post by Simple Symphony)
Now define bad.
Ask your friend to do the same and he/she will define the two terms differently.
The concepts of "good" and "bad" are mere social constructs. Nothing is inherently good nor bad until somebody interprets the action and labels someone as such, so no there is no such thing as a "bad seed" , better yet, an evil gene!
Just because something is a social construct, doesn't mean it doesn't have an existence.
(Original post by shyamshah)
Basically, i was wondering what everyone thinks about this question 'are we born neither good or bad?' I consider this to be true for most people but on some occasions not, for example some serial killers, or can you argue that they only commit the crimes they do because of their upbringing etc?
I did an extended project on this and found it was a mixture of the two. Scientifically, it has been supposedly argued that the brain composition of a serial killer for example is different from that of an 'average' person, so to some extent, perhaps it is natural. Also, a lot of serial killers have supposedly been affected by mass loads of testosterone (supposedly encouraging raging behaviour), which is also natural, so to some extent, I suppose so. Although at the same time, I did notice that in the case of Harold Shipman for example, he administered 'lethal injections' to the early, just as he had once seen his mother receive daily when she was dying of cancer, obviously showing some form of psychological harm and repetition later on. In the case of John Wayne Gacy also, himself and his father were both alcoholics and his father was abusive, whilst Gacy was sentenced for his abuse and killing of children. This is true of the Jamie Bulger (a 3-year-old boy being killed by two 10-year-old boys) case too. Venables, one of the boys involved in his murder, has now been convicted by paedophilia, which you could argue is not related, but at the same time, it could just not be a coincidence, and could be something that stemmed from his younger days.
I would say people are born a blank slate and it depends on upbringing but then there are cases where children have had a terrible upbringing and weren't taught any sort of values by their parents but have turned out to be very good people (and vice versa). That said, this Lockean concept allows for rationality i.e. this child can inherently reason and so they are perfectly aware of what's good or bad (however subjective this may be) through applying logic. This is arguable though.
But with the subjectivity of what is good or bad, it cannot be measured whether an individual is born good, bad or neutral. Perhaps people are predisposed to be good or bad, perhaps it all depends on their upbringing, perhaps it's a bit of both.
This will descend into a Rousseau/Hobbes/Locke triangular argument, I'm sure...
I think it's a bit of a silly question because the interpretation of good and bad are fundementally subjective. Morals are social constructs that exist only as abstract justification for physical action.
A more interesting question could be, is there a stronger sense of self, or a stronger sense of community within a child. As the former could rationally lead to 'bad', whereas the latter would lead to 'good'.