Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Are Some People Born Evil?

Perhaps its too simplistic a claim that one has a genetic predisposition to evil acts.

"It is easy to identify individuals who willfully degrade and destroy other human beings as "evil." Starting with the Biblical characterization of Lucifer as God's favorite angel transformed into the dark force of the devil and cast into hell, scores of evildoers fill history's hall of shame. In recent times, Hitler, Stalin, Mao and many others stand out as mass murderers. However, as a social psychologist I prefer to identify situational conditions that can facilitate or seduce good people into becoming perpetrators of evil, such as adherence to destructive ideologies, rules, roles, uniforms, group norms, along with processes of dehumanization, deindividuation and moral disengagement."

- Philip Zimbardo, Ph.D., President, American Psychology Association


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