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Is Evil Born Or Made?

Updated on July 13, 2017

Is evil born or made? The way you answer this question may depend on your general outlook on life, are you a glass half full or a glass have empty kind of person? Do you believe humans are inherently good, or inherently bad?

This long debated question has confused many people for decades, even those who have a psychological or scientific background. Over the years, experts have collectively developed multiple theories in attempts to answer this highly controversial question, but unfortunately we still don't have a definitive answer as to why some humans are capable of committing the most heinous of crimes.


What Makes Someone ''Evil''

Some people will interpret ''evil'' differently than others as our ideas of what can be defined as moral or immoral may conflict. But there is a chemistry behind morality which allows us to somewhat understand why the majority of people will behave morally (at least most of the time) and some people won't. When we are nurtured we release the hormone oxytocin which allows us to feel empathy and in turn behave morally.

Those categorised as evil often portray the same negative behaviours, such as the inability to socialise in a way we would deem normal. Being socially impaired is usually a tell tale sign of an abusive or neglectful childhood, but not always.Though most children who are raised in these detrimental environments will go on to lead stable adult lives, some will not. The cause of this is believed to be due to oxytocin as without being nurtured the oxytocin levels produced by these individuals is limited which can cause them to lack empathy.

A lack of empathy is a common trait associated with psychopathy which increases the likelihood of the individual going on to commit deleterious acts.

The Killer Gene

Studies in Sweden led by Professor Jari Tiihonen suggest that killers are born. The tests he performed were conducted on 895 Finnish inmates and the results he concluded show that the majority of these offenders all share the same gene we know as MAOA and CDH13 giving them a higher potential than those without the gene of committing violent offences.


Charles Manson

Taking a look at the early life of Charles Manson it is clear to see where things went terribly wrong. As a child born into a dysfunctional and abusive family it is fair to conclude that Manson was very much molded by his home environment, thus making it unsurprising that he became responsible for the loss of seven lives.


Jeffrey Dahmer

Contrastingly, Jeffrey Dahmer is one of the most infamous serial killers talked about to this day and has like many others, inspired a multitude of books as a result of how despicable his crimes were. Yet, we know from looking at his early childhood and home life that he grew up in a healthy household where he was surrounded by a supportive family network.

Do We All Have The Potential To Commit Evil Acts?

So does this mean that we all have the potential to commit such terrible acts? Yes, and no. Some people believe the suggestion that genetic makeup is what causes a person to become evil, is alleviating the blame of those who commit these abominable acts and therefore sympathising with criminals because ''It's not their fault.''

Regardless of your genetic makeup, the choices we make in life can be influenced greatly by our experiences, our surroundings and our relationships but having autonomy ultimately means we are completely free to make our own decisions.

Nurture AND Nature

With there being just as much evidence to support both opposing views, there is always the chance that we will never be able to make a definitive conclusion, but perhaps the answer doesn't lie with one more than the other. It is highly likely that both are just as equally valid responses and reasoning's when it comes to questioning the motives of those who perpetrate such malevolent acts.

Do You Believe Evil Is Born or Made?

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As always feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below or share any of your experiences related to the subject. Remember to take part in the polls to see how many others agree with your views.

Do you think scientists and psychologists should be working harder to find out?

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