• Question: Why is there evil?

    Asked by issi2001 to Blanka, Emma, Mike on 5 Jul 2012.
    • Photo: Michael Cook

      Michael Cook answered on 5 Jul 2012:

      That’s a hard question, and one that a lot of people through history have thought of for a long time! One reason is that what makes a society nice to live in isn’t always the same as what people naturally like to do. We’re all animals, even if we are very intelligent ones, and that means we want to best for ourselves – we want to take the most resources, and give ourselves the best chance at surviving.

      But society can’t work like that – it’s better for everyone if we stick together and share, agree not to hurt each other and agree to help out with work. The temptation to do what’s best for us rather than what’s best for everyone is one of the key reasons people do terrible things, I think!

    • Photo: Emma Trantham

      Emma Trantham answered on 5 Jul 2012:

      Wow you guys are really saving the tough ones for the end!

      I think when people are evil they are basically thinking about themselves only and don’t care what happens to anyone else.

      In a way we are biologically programmed to be a bit selfish because that helps us pass our genes on to the next generation. But we have also evolved to work together in groups and being selfish doesn’t work then.

      Why do some people only think of themselves and not others? Partly I guess it’s to do with how they grew up and the environment they were in and I think partly it’s to do with how their brains work. So there are certain psychiatric conditions where the people with them don’t (and possibly can’t) think about how other people might feel about something.