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may also occasionally contain implicit and explicit references to

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Friday, August 16, 2013

Things you might want to know about people who believe in pure evil

From The British Psychological Society's Research Digest, results of an interesting study:

Things you might want to know about people who believe in pure evil

Psychologists have devised two new scales for assessing people's belief in pure evil and pure good - characteristics they say have important links with broader attitudes towards altruism and the use of violence. ...

Scores on the two scales are entirely uncorrelated suggesting they are measuring distinct constructs. ...

Most revealing is the other attitudes and beliefs that went hand in hand with high scoring on the two new measures. Tests with over 400 students found that a strong belief in pure evil went together with more support for the death penalty, for torture, preemptive state aggression, reactive state aggression (if the USA were threatened by Iran), and racial prejudice, alongside belief in a dangerous and vile world, less support for criminal rehabilitation, and opposition to proracial policies and social programmes.

Belief in pure good tended to coincide with more empathy, a preference for diplomatic solutions and humanitarian wars, support for reactive aggression (if Iran threatened any of its own neighbours or threatened the USA), support for some prosocial programmes (for children), but less support for torture, and less belief in a competitive jungle world.

Dualism is metaphysically and ethically unsatisfactory, and has plagued Western cultures for over a thousand years.  I've been working on a post about Dualism as the Scourge of Western Societies for a while, but it's not ready for publication yet.

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