There is no doubt there are evil people that exist in the world. People that cause serious harm to others and the planet for personal gain. And from
their acts many people believe that the human race is an evil one. You don’t have to look very hard on this very website to find such sentiment much
like agent Smith in the Matrix comparing humanity to viruses.
My personal belief is that this view of humanity is simply wrong. I wouldn’t even say that the human race is neutral because I believe there is
plenty of evidence which suggests that in fact we are “good”.
I will now try to put the case forward for this belief and hopefully the people reading it will take something from it. I can’t include everything
on this topic as there is a lot of information so I have chosen some points which I find interesting.
1. Cognitive bias
As we all know the news is not generally good. Indeed, most of the news we consume is rather depressing and it seems that is all news outlets have to
offer us (with the occasional cat rescues a toddle story thrown in at the end). The simple reason for this is bad news sells. It’s an evolutionary
defence mechanism that humans have that bad news/outcomes have a stronger impact on our thinking then good news/outcomes do. Study after study have
proven this to be true. Generally, when a person loses $100 it has more of an effect on their cognitive function and decisions then if they were to
win $100. So in other words we have a negativity bias which skews our view of the world but just because we have this bias doesn’t mean that a view
of negativity is the correct one.
2. Where are all the Neanderthals?
Neanderthals are human’s closest cousins and were living when early humans were. While many people think that Neanderthals interbred with humans and
therefore never really “went instinct” that fact is that they are not here anymore and humans are. So what made humans more successful than our
early cousins? Our social structure. Humans are extremely social beings and early evidence from the time suggests that different tribes learned to
trade with one another. With the development of social structure, the concept of morality became part of the human experience. It is safe to say that
without the cooperation of (majority) good peoples we would not be where we are today.
3. Empathy towards animals
What do you feel when you see an animal in pain? In the brilliant documentary by Richard Dawkins - Sex, Death and the Meaning of Life, Dawkins makes
the point that we have no idea what it is like to be a dog yet we project our experience onto them. We empathise with them to the point that if they
suffer we also feel suffering. Dawkins suggests that this is a window into the true human nature and morality. Why do we do this? Because we feel
love. Love is the total opposite of evil and it is everywhere throughout the human experience and by putting the negative bias beside, love far
outweighs the amount of evil in the world (loving people you know vs evil people).
4. What gives?
Humans do. Charity is prevalent around the world and comes from all levels of society. While there have been ethical violations and questionable
intents, mostly charity organisations do good deeds. So why do we give our hard earned cash? Only the most cynical would argue it is for self-benefit
and maybe some of it is but the real reason is because we want to improve the planet. We have deep empathy for others in worse position then our own,
and have a deep sense of justice. What would the world look like if there was no charity?
In conclusion the world if filled with good people. Societies success are forged by good people working in cooperation by helping each-other. Sure
there are a minority of people that do bad things but the human nature of love and wanting to be loved far outweighs the bad. I welcome any and all
debate on this topic.
Thanks for taking the time to read this.
(BTW let’s keep this site going)
Richard Dawkins - Sex, Death and the Meaning of Life