Bad Thing

Antonym of a GoodThing.

There is no such things as "good" or "bad". There are just things. The rest is caused by our values, shifting from day to day as they will.

So National Socialism is not necessarily a Bad Thing? Just checking. (It did help with the economy)

Discussion below:

"There is no such thing as good or bad" - I disagree:

Some BadThings are actions or behaviours - as in this quote:

To me, it also sounds like I'm LecturingToIdiots, and that's a BadThing. Here BadThing is used to classify LecturingToIdiots as an action the writer chooses to avoid.

Some BadThings are objects or elements - Poison taken as food is a BadThing and it has nothing to do with changing value systems

Some BadThings are processes - A ComputerVirus or Worm is a BadThing.

Don't rob yourself of the usefulness of adjectives in the language, they help you in describing the nature of things as you see them. It is a GoodThing to welcome GoodThings and steer away from and avoid BadThings.

Yeah, but there definitely is such a phenomenon as "Too Much of a GoodThing".

Counterarguments to the examples above:

LecturingToIdiots is a GoodThing when you're using it to practice the lecture. How many times have you heard of people giving their presentations to pets as a warmup?

Practicing a speech on an audience that does not understand what you are saying is not a good thing, while rehearsing for the purpose of your hearing the speech may be.

Poison taken as food is a GoodThing when the goal is to die (presumably to save suffering from an incurable illness or similar). Also what is poison? the concept of poison itself is relative... chocolate, for example is good for us humans... and can kill a cat in an instant... therefore chocolate is a GoodThing? or a BadThing? and.. for who (or what)

Changing a goal is like the use of "not". not Bad -> good?

ComputerViruses and Worms can be GoodThings: they heighten awareness of security problems before a nasty exploit happens (CodeRedWorm version one warned us all nearly three weeks in advance of CodeRedWorm version II, which actually installed backdoors). There's also the theoretical possibility that a virus and/or worm could be specifically crafted to close the loophole it takes advantage of, without doing anything else. Also a virus could be used to stop SkyNet from starting WorldWarThree

Good things can sometimes result as a result of a bad thing happening, that does not change the bad thing to a good thing. (The recent 9/11 event is a strong example of that)

On the other hand, I still find the GoodThing and BadThing appellations useful, since they are indicative of my current thinking.

-- AlexPopiel

There are such entities as GoodThings and BadThings. If I make a normative judgement that something is bad, then it is a BadThing (at least as in relation to me). The original author's real objection seems to be to the idea of ObjectivelyBadThings?. This may be true, but in so far as "badness" is a relational property between the object and the judger, there are BadThings. -- PaulTevis

OK, I'll try. Genocide is a BadThing. (I can't wait for someone to argue that.)

Consider if we encounter a species that either by instinct or choice kills all other species and is bent on our total and complete destruction. Genocide would be self defence and the only rational course to take. (gee, somebody played star control II) The attempt to establish objective good or evil can always be countered with some scenario that will generally make you select the course you were avoiding, which is why ImaRelativist. -- AnonymousDonor

Allow me to throw this in: Extinction of the Human Race would be a GoodThing for the ecosystem of earth.

Rape, then.

Well, she was just begging for it going round dressed like that...

Rape. This is a bit more contrived... Let's say an EvilDoer said, "Rape this woman or the entire world will be destroyed." Would you rape her? -- AnonymousDonor

The term rape is a legal one which implies a lack of consent on the part of the woman. Given the scenario described, if the woman decided to go along to prevent the world from being destroyed, it is no longer a rape and the world goes kaboom anyway.

Let's say you come up with an example that has some conceivable application to reality. -- MikeSmith

I go on the one counter example is enough to disprove something. While the example is extreme, I can imagine a psychopath torturing someone by making them rape another person or they would kill their child/wife/whatever. -- AnonymousDonor

Even if such a ridiculously unlikely situation were to come about, it would merely illustrate that there can be degrees of good and evil. It would not automatically become a GoodThing to commit the rape, but in that situation it might be less of a BadThing than the alternative. It would still, however, be a BadThing. -- MikeSmith

I don't think the slightly whimsical terms GoodThing/BadThing can be applied to the heavy moral arguments we're getting into. "Rape", "Blow up the world", "Torture" are all MorallyBad? (and therefore also satisfy the weaker criterion of being a BadThing). There is no such thing as "more/less" bad (or good) when it comes to MorallyBad? (or MorallyGood?). Trying to reason "well it's better to rape this woman than to allow the world to blow up..." is not a sound moral argument. This is a very important topic that deserves its own page. - Oryx3

(I'm also sorry to say that some of these arguments betray the typical male perspective that getting raped "isn't all that bad - certainly not as bad as getting killed". It would be instructive to get some female perspective on that - perhaps even a victim's perspective. The problem is that men generally feel that rape is something that could only happen to a woman, and therefore (some men) cannot empathize with the victim. Perhaps we should use an example men can relate to better: "Suppose an EvilDoer said 'cut off this man's penis or the entire world will be destroyed. Would you do it?" Does that change your perspective? -- Oryx3)

Of course I would do it, if I were sure that the EvilDoer had the capacity and will to do it. I think that even more important element is what you would do 'to save yourself'.

Isn't being less of a bad thing a good thing? (No, I'm afraid not.) These situations happen frequently enough that the approach cannot be dismissed. It's unlikely on a plane you would have to decide between crashing a plane and killing everyone versus letting the plane fly on to unknown fate. Yet it happened and people had to make the decision. -- AnonymousDonor

You keep using emergency situations as examples. Does your life consist of an uninterrupted string of catastrophes? Do you find yourself trapped on a plane about to crash, only to be kidnapped by a psychopath who coerces you into raping random women? Ethics are the guidelines for all of our actions, day in, day out. Emergencies are just that - isolated instances, to be dealt with the best that we can. The fact that one's ethics may be stressed in an emergency situation does not invalidate the concept of ethics - because the overwhelming majority of one's life is not an emergency situation. -- MikeSmith

There's usually not much debate about the middle cases. It's kind of like a normal form curve. It's only at the edges do you really test the base principles. I'm not challenging the concept of ethics at all. But like any system an ethical system must be applied to all situations to see the result. It's of interest why things break down at the edges and what people do there. Quantum mechanics is only useful when you get to the edges, but it does provide a deeper understanding even though Newtonian physics works for a majority of one's life. -- AnonymousDonor

Actually there is quite a lot of disagreement and debate. For example in the US if an adult has sex with a 17-year-old with consent in the US it is "statutory rape" whereas in the UK it is legal. In some countries it is not possible to rape a marriage partner (I think Ireland, and it used to be the case in the UK a decade ago). There are large grey areas, such as when a care worker has sex with a mentally retarded patient who consented, under what circumstances would this be rape?

We are talking about morality and ethics. Not the law. There's a difference ;-)

Agreed, but in most cases the law reflects the country�s ethics. For example most people in the UK are reasonably happy with the "age of consent" being 16, whereas I assume that most people in the USA are happy with it being 18. Many people in the UK find the fact that the age of consent is 12 in some Scandinavian countries repulsive, whereas I assume that those countries are happy with their laws.

When the country's ethics change then there will be pressure for the law to change, and in democratic countries it usually will. This is why the UK now accepts that a married man can rape his wife, and why homosexual relationships are now legal. I still contend that there is a lot of disagreement about acts that some people would classify as rape.

MarthaStewart never speaks of BadThings, and I suggest you follow her example.

You could take the road of some XPers and call things "smells". Then if something doesn't stink quite as bad as something else, it doesn't "smell".

It is interesting that morality and ethics in this day and age are controversial and people can get all excited about others who may expose their repressed guilt. Billy Graham once said that we suffer from failing to live up to whatever morality we have accepted for ourselves. Perhaps that is why some find it convenient to dismiss any value concepts and accept instead a MoralAnarchy?.

It's not that morality and ethics are controversial, it's the imposing of your goofy morality on me that creates controversy.

-- AnonymousDonor

It is not an imposition of my morality on anyone. It rather a reminder of the place of a morality in a society which is to survive. When a society is influenced by the self-imposed morality of its members, it is much more likely to succeed. The only morality about which it can be said ItWorks, is a self-imposed and sustained morality. In that way you do not impose your morality as the standard for others, merely a standard for yourself. How much better it would be if we all would do this? Is it possible that we can do things which are opposed by no-one and are against no laws or moral principles, and still be happy? I think so.

''I misread your second sentence as [paraphrase] "the place of morality in society is to survive"; in other words, you meant society survives, but I heard that morality survives. Which brings up the question: is amorality considered moral/immoral (aka Good/Bad) by moral (not Good/Bad, but using those concepts) people? Or is that an amoral topic? Once you get a meta question they tend to breed...:/

Probably we have assumptions about good and bad. For some societies, living together with another person without marriage is morally wrong. On some it is accepted. Similarly, it might be that some civilizations have genocide/aggression tolerate both within and without. What we are arguing is only what we consider good or bad. I agree with the argument that Good and Bad is relative to the society/culture. -- VhIndukumar

It is apparent from history that societies and cultures who elevate what most consider bad and devalue at the same time those things most consider as good, do considerable damage and inflict suffering and destruction on many, but in the long run, they become self-destructive and either reform, disappear, are conquered or destroyed, or become insignificant.

Will a society ever evolve that encourages the murder of individuals by other individuals on a random or otherwise non-systematic way?

Possibly, although it's likely that its impact on other societies will be minimal, because it probably won't be able to stay cohesive for very long after it reaches that point. In other words, it may have already happened, but we probably wouldn't know about it except in archaeological terms.

It's as simple as this. Every "bad" thing you put up for example has an opposing argument. Rape is bad? Yes, to you. How about to the rapist? From his perspective it may well be a good thing. The point is, that which you consider bad is only bad because of the value YOU ascribe to it. What may be bad to you, may be good to another. You say genocide is decidedly bad thing. I bet you might get the opposite opinion if you were to ask one of the Jews in the concentration camps of world war II, where they watched their children gassed to death, then each other. Only to have the gold fillings yanked from their corpses to fund the German offensive. It's all about perspective. Without that jaded, subjective perspective, there is no good or bad.

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