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to think some people are just born evil?

(228 Posts)
themomentsinbetween Sat 29-Dec-12 16:49:45

Do you think some people are born bad?

Or is it there surroundings and people in their lives that make them bad.

For example, Thompson and Venables, were they just born bad?

Charles Manson?

Harold Shipman?

Good people don't just have a bad day and start killing people.

RowanTheRedNosedMumsnet (MNHQ) Sat 29-Dec-12 17:31:30

OK, if you're enjoying it we'll leave it up for now - do please report anything that seems odd to you though wink

AmberLeaf Sat 29-Dec-12 17:32:15


When people use the term evil they are rarely using it to describe some one who is narcissisistic.

They use ot to describe people like Jamie Bulgers killers.

pigletmania Sat 29-Dec-12 17:32:25

sorry head fuzzy as I have the flu

pigletmania Sat 29-Dec-12 17:34:04

I am thinking Ian Brady, Jeffery Dohmer, Myra Hindley

AmberLeaf Sat 29-Dec-12 17:34:06

I also have objections to 'evil' being used to describe a whole person who is experiencing poor mental health.

pigletmania Sat 29-Dec-12 17:35:23

All I think have certain personality traits such as narcissism that contribute to them being evil

AmberLeaf Sat 29-Dec-12 17:36:04

Someone upthread I think has said about people using the term so as to distance 'normal' people from the idea of being capable of doing bad things.

It is common for the media to talk about people who have done bad things in suh ways as to make them sound inhumane or monsters.

They of course are just people who due to many varying reasons have done awful things.

TheOneWithTheHair Sat 29-Dec-12 17:36:34

Oh good it's staying.

I stand by my long post then.

pigletmania Sat 29-Dec-12 17:38:02

Anders brevik, as well as the high school shooter

Moominsarescary Sat 29-Dec-12 17:41:04

Not sure about being born evil. However some people do evil things regardless of their background/upbringing

HecateQueenofWitches Sat 29-Dec-12 17:43:09

Re mental health - not all people with poor mental health are evil (I speak as one who has been an inpatient. And there's a lot of prejudice about mhp. Nobody in my rl knows any of that about me. Apart from my family who lived through it!) but do people think that all those who do evil things do so because of a mental health issue? Do people think that someone can be evil and not have an imbalance of the mind?

Because I think that's where people struggle and why so many people think evil = mhp / mhp = evil. Because they cannot believe, don't want to believe, daren't believe that a 'sane' person could do things which are evil.

If that makes any sense.

TapirAroundTheChristmasTree Sat 29-Dec-12 17:43:58

No-one is born evil, not even Brady or Hindley.

Some people are born without the ability to feel normal emotions, this does not make them evil.

Some people are born into horrible, terrible circumstances. This also does not make them evil.

There are a multitude of factors which affect each person in a completely different way which can result in them doing evil things. This still does not mean that they are evil.

pigletmania Sat 29-Dec-12 17:44:24

But Amber you cannt disguise the cold hard facts. The manner in which they killed those people. How they lacked any emotion or connection to their victims. Ian Brady is one of them. I am sure he knows full well where tat boy is burried, but refuses to tell anyone. the mum died not knowing where on Saddleworth Moore her son is buried. What sort of individual could keep something like that from a mother. Ahh affectionless psychopath comes to mind

BeyondStuffedWithXmassyGoodies Sat 29-Dec-12 17:45:22

I've nearly started this thread a few times after seeing someone referred to as evil...

The idea that anyone is "just" evil just sounds way too religious to me - a way of explaining something that noone has any idea about, but that actually we now have a few more ideas about, if not an actual answer (iyswim!?)
I don't know whether it is nature or nurture, but I believe that something must have happened to make them "bad"

I agree with the posts above that calling them "evil" is an attempt to distance them from "you and I"

AmberLeaf Sat 29-Dec-12 17:46:32

Because I think that's where people struggle and why so many people think evil = mhp / mhp = evil. Because they cannot believe, don't want to believe, daren't believe that a 'sane' person could do things which are evil

Yes that makes a lot of sense.

maddening Sat 29-Dec-12 17:48:02

There is the yy chromosome thing - some men apparently have yy instead of xy - in the high security prison population eg murderers, rapists, pedophiles etc. this occurs more than in the general population. Another group where there is a higher proportion is high ranking police. Can't remember where I read it though.

AmberLeaf Sat 29-Dec-12 17:48:41


As an athiest I see the use of the word evil as too tied up in religion and simplified for my liking.

AfterEightMintyy Sat 29-Dec-12 17:48:43

No, I absolutely do not believe anyone is born evil.

HecateQueenofWitches Sat 29-Dec-12 17:49:35

don't know what happened after this, but this is the john hopkins research I mentioned upthread

Viviennemary Sat 29-Dec-12 17:49:42

I think some people are born with a predisposition towards 'evil'. That is if they had been born or experienced a different set of circumstances they may not have turned out the way they did. And some people wouldn't do evil things no matter what they had experienced. So I don't think everything can be entirely blamed on upbringing or entirely blamed on inbuilt characteristics.

frogspoon Sat 29-Dec-12 17:51:22

I recently attended a talk, which included neuroscientific research which had been carried out in prisons. The research compared brain scans of psychopaths: people with severe antisocial personality disorder who were on the highest security wing for crimes such as murder, with non-psychopaths, who were convicted of less serious crimes e.g. theft.

It was found that the amygdala, which controls your emotions, was much smaller in psychopaths than in non-psychopaths. So perhaps people can be born evil, a result of an abnormality in the structure of the brain.

Alisvolatpropiis Sat 29-Dec-12 17:54:44

I don't know. It can't always be nurture because the more infamous evil people we know about,they had siblings who didn't grow up to be murderers.

The boys who killed Jamie Bulger may well have had awful upbringings but thousands of people sadly do as well. People raised in abusive families don't automatically grow up into child murderers.

People from perfectly average families also do evil things. The Bamber murders would be a case in point.

I think maybe some people are born evil.

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 29-Dec-12 17:55:21

'Not sure about being born evil. However some people do evil things regardless of their background/upbringing'

How on earth can you tell that any behaviour is 'regardless' of background/upbringing?

MoreCrackThanHarlem Sat 29-Dec-12 17:56:24

I absolutely believe that no baby is born evil. Imagine it- a tiny newborn cannot be 'evil'. What a ridiculous notion.

Most people who commit evil acts are a product of their environment, have serious MH issues, or are easily influenced by others who are similarly damaged.

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 29-Dec-12 17:56:35

'they had siblings who didn't grow up to be murderers'

do you think all sibling have exactly the same experience growing up?

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