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From: "Dan'l Danehy-Oakes" 
Subject: RE: (urth) TBOTSS and colonialism
Date: Fri, 24 May 2002 15:08:31 -0700

Alga wrote:

> > At the least, I'd say the inhumi are evil in the sense that a thing 
> > might be called evil (atom bombs, torture devices, pornographic movies,
> > crack coccaine, a computer virus)...

and Matthew Malthouse replied:

> I don't agree with you.  This suggest that evil can be inherant 
> in an object.  I don't believe that it can: evil may in the 
> intent of those who created such things or those wo employ them 
> but not in the inanimate and unaware.

Matthew: while I may (and in fact do) disagree with one or more of
the items in Alga's list, she's using a perfectly reasonable sense
of the word "evil" -- If you will consult your Funk&Wagnall ... 
well, all right, make it your online Merriam-Webster (conveniently 
located at http://www.m-w.com/netdict.htm), you will find the 
following (slightly edited by me to save space and improve

Main Entry: (1) evil 
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English yfel; akin to Old 
	High German ubil evil
Date: before 12th century
1 a : morally reprehensible : SINFUL, WICKED  
  b : arising from actual or imputed bad character or conduct 
2 a archaic : INFERIOR 
  b : causing discomfort or repulsion : OFFENSIVE  
3 a : causing harm : PERNICIOUS  
  b : marked by misfortune : UNLUCKY

Main Entry: (2) evil
Function: noun
1 a : the fact of suffering, misfortune, and wrongdoing 
  b : a cosmic evil force
2 : something that brings sorrow, distress, or calamity

Now, it seems to me that, of the adjectival senses, 1a is the
only one that can _not_ reasonably be spoken of an inanimate 
object or an animal (1b is arguable), and, in particular, to 
the inhumi (where, 2a is also arguable); while noun sense 2 
is clearly applicable to them, and noun sense 1b may also
reasonably be said of them.

Mind, this is not intended to suggest that dictionaries,
let alone this particular dictionary, should be prescriptive
for our use of the word "evil" -- but it is descriptively 
suggestive that the word is applicable in this case. 

"But," you may object, "I was specifically talking of evil
in the purely moral sense." Well and good; but even there,
the classic moral "problem of evil" does not merely apply to 
evil will but to "evils" such as disease and disaster that
cause suffering -- the "why do bad things happen to good
people?" side of the question. Certainly Wolfe, as a Catholic,
would be inclined to include this sense in any philosophical
discussion of "evil."

> The inhumi as animals should not be capable of evil.  It's 
> only after acquiring the ability to make moral judgements 
> that evil becomes possible.

No, Matthew. The word you are looking for is not evil; it is
"sin." Only a moral free agent can sin.

> That might also raise the question of whether it is 
> justifiable to judge inhumi in *human* moral terms.  

That question remains relevant. At what point is "doing what 
we must do to survive" sinful?

> But since their ability to make choices is aquired *from*
> humans then human moral terms are the only ones applicable.

I'm not at all sure that this is true. If the inhumi are to
have a 'morality' at all, it must be one that is applicable
to their biologic nature, including the necessity of drinking
the blood of living beings. 

> If the inhumi have souls would it not be due to the actions 
> of their parents?

As near as I can understand how the inhumi lifecycle works,
that would appear to be the case.

> Having souls they're capable of "evil", and presumably
> similarly capable of redemption. But unlike humans the
> concequences are imediate and deleterious.  It's like
> original sin with added catch 22.

I'm not clear what this paragraph means ... are you saying
that there are immediate adn deleterious consequences of
their choosing to do evil, or of their redemption?

> Also there's another proximity - each inhumu/inhuma's ability 
> to make moral choices is the result of it's progenitor's 
> actions - as if each generation were Cain and Abel - and their
> actions involve the next. 

Yes ... the sins of the parents are rewarded in the children.
Ugly, isn't it?

> To refrain from the "evil" of attacking humans would be to
> reduce their offspring, would that not be another evil?


> So I would suggest that the inhumu would be capable of 
> redemption but are trapped into circumstances where they
> can neither attain it nor would it benefit them if they did.

Well, except in the sense that redemption is in and of itself
a benefit...



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