The problem of evil has been a problem ever since mankind has realized that there are certain concepts of what is bad and what is good. In fact, the understanding of the nature of good and evil has erected a concept that is well into the annals of the great philosophers dating back as far as classical Greek thinkers even before Plato and Aristotle. Ever since, understanding the nature of good and evil has always played a central role especially in understanding what it means to be human. Also, an important point to realize is that the discussion of good and evil as moral constructs of mankind is not necessarily only associated to religion but actually encompasses and transcends such concepts as the dignity and faith. Philosophers have for a long time agreed that especially in the society, even not considering codes and laws that have been propagated by religion, public behavior should always be towards good and not evil. Eventually, and ask to be expected, in the identification of evil, philosophers have also for a long time wondered how to address the issue and especially in a society that seems to be run by selfishness, deceit, warfare, and other acts that have been classified as evil.
Resolving the problem of evil, therefore, requires that the first and foremost understand basic human nature. As philosophers and scientists of modern research has even indicated, those markers of what influence human beings to be evil could actually be traced back to either environmental issues, factors, and concerns to biological differences of individuals. For example, the actions of serial killers and mass murderers — actions which we could definitely consider evil — have been associated by scientists and researchers to be belonging to specific genetic markers which influence their actions and their desires causing them to perform such evil (Miller, 2000). Also, relevant research in the study of violence has been uncovered by biologists and neuroscientists to be elements that could be traced back to biological conditions of individuals such as basic mental operations and imbalance of chemicals in the pituitary gland and the right hemisphere of the brain. Research is now being implemented in order to develop medicine and inhibitors for making these genes and chemicals in active in the human brain (Myers, Husted, Safarik, & O’Toole, 2006). However, such research is still underway and it takes a long time before we are able to fully remove those chemical elements in the brain which makes individuals filing and serial killers perform such legal actions.
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However, biological and urological factors are not the only associations to what we consider evil in society. In research that has been made in the field, behavioral psychologists have discovered that parenting and the environment where one had grown in as significant influences on future actions and reactions to certain circumstances (Arrigo & Purcell, 2001). If, earlier, we had indicated that neurologists and biologists have found chemical factors influencing behavioral psychologists and social scientists have also discovered social factors in determining future behavior of individuals (Snook, Cullen, Mokros, & Harbort, 2005). Again, such negative behavior can be considered in popular convention of society to be evil, and such are one of the correlated causes for these actions. Therefore, as an application, behavioral psychologists are trying to identify key instances in the environment of individuals that government and social welfare can focus on in order to prevent future violence.
However, these two are only a very small percent of a probable solution in trying to resolve evil in the world. Evil, as a general category for definition, at least according to philosophers and popular social convention, can cover many different other aspects other than violence and murder. Perhaps, in the future, scientists, sociologists, and behavioral researchers may be able to identify such factors and create medicines for programs in order to solve them. However, until that time comes — a time that is well off into the far future — the problem of evil in society and how to solve it would always be a problem not only belonging to moral philosophers but also to other areas of studies and research as well. Perhaps solutions could indeed be found, as solutions have been found in other areas which we consider to be evil actions. The complexity of our world requires that we ourselves understand our own complexity — as well as the complexity of the society we live in. Scientists in order to do their jobs, need to segregate these problems one by one which is a very challenging task but is being faced by modern researchers.
Arrigo, B. A., & Purcell, C. E. (2001). Explaining paraphilias and lust murder: Toward an integrated model. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 45(1), 6.
Miller, L. (2000). 7 The Predator’s Brain: Neuropsychodynamics of Serial Killers. Serial offenders: Current thought, recent findings, 135.
Myers, W. C., Husted, D. S., Safarik, M. E., & O’Toole, M. E. (2006). The Motivation Behind Serial Sexual Homicide: Is It Sex, Power, and Control, or Anger?*. Journal of forensic sciences, 51(4), 900-907.
Snook, B., Cullen, R. M., Mokros, A., & Harbort, S. (2005). Serial murderers’ spatial decisions: factors that influence crime location choice. Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling, 2(3).