I have taken an alternative road to looking at the question by first thinking about the definitions of human and evil.

Human: An ape-like mammal that develops a model of the universe inside its brain, and upon physical maturity, moves its self inside the model and avoids the real universe at all costs.

Evil: An action taken based on unquestioned belief.

Now, for “good”: The term I like is “net future usefulness”. This is basically Evolution, but with a savings account to accommodate randomness in the environment. Every successful species has to contribute some net value to the future of its own environment that outweighs its consumption of resources, or the environment grows away from that species’ adaptation.

Such a net usefulness can manifest as extra offspring, biological balance, soil stability, diversity, predation, etc.

Humans tend to evaluate our instincts under civilized circumstances, but civilization is a tool that isolated us from natural selection. Ergo, we have to evaluate good or bad based on the collective result of our choices relative to our effects on the resources we will need in the future. Individuals are subject to the development of their individual models of the universe. Those models are the result of everything that a child is exposed to, as well as their genetic disposition. Since most are raised inside the bubble of society, it’s not surprising that few have any sense of being part of a natural whole, or any feeling of natural security. Civilization disconnected people from using their hands and skills to secure their own place in the world. Instead, they only have imaginary substance(money or power).

So, the answer is that people are inherently neutral, with aptitudes for good (survival, empathy, fertility, imagination), but the tools of civilization lean toward evil unless we actively question those who manipulate our natural instincts. Determining Good by anthropic principles is a fool’s game. It only works inside the walls of civilization, and our brains evolved outside in the rain and lions. In the big picture over the very long term, our imagination can contribute things that other animals can’t: protection from asteroids, environment management, spreading life to new environments in space, etc…but first we have to survive long enough. The question then becomes, can humanity learn to reign in its own intentions? All paved roads lead to Hell, because all roads are paved with good intentions. Humans truly need to stop following the easy paths. Our nature isn’t to be good or bad, but to eliminate the things that make us good (risks). Artificial environments (civilization) create artificial intelligence.

Reader. Fixer. Maker.

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