Are bad people born bad or influence by their surroundings?

Freedom of choice dictates a person’s life character

Stephanie Lingenfelter
Editor in Chief

Are humans born with a choice or are they born naturally good or bad? It’s one of the most widely debated philosophies. Some believe people are born good or bad and the world changes them, while some believe people are born neutral and then the choices they make determine their character. The ideology that makes the most sense is people are born with a choice when considering the educationalist theory, how babies act and free will.

According to the University of Michigan, the educationalist theory most supported by John Locke states that, “a child’s mind must be educated before he is instructed, that the true purpose of education is the cultivation of the intellect rather than an accumulation of facts.” Along with the belief that children should be taught things like wisdom and virtue instead of just facts, they believe tabula rasa. Tabula rasa, or blank state, is Locke’s idea that everyone is born neutral, “until experience in the form of sensation and reflection provide the basic materials out of which most of our more complex knowledge is constructed.” Basically, they believe that no one can be good or bad until they have enough intelligence to make decisions. They want education to be teaching more wisdom, so that once children are old enough, they choose their fate. People aren’t born with morals because they have to be developed, taught and learned through experience. No one can be born good or bad until they have morals to know the difference.

Babies are also a perfect example of this because, according to PragerU, they aren’t good or bad and instead do what they have to for survival. Babies whine when they’re in need of something, such as food or a diaper change. While babies make people happy, they aren’t born with a heart of gold and perfect, like the belief that everyone is born good would provide. Instead, they’re just born with the knowledge that they have to cry for survival. Babies aren’t capable of speaking, so the only way they can communicate is through crying. Babies are born neutral and do what they can to survive until they are old enough to decide if they want to be bad or good.

If free will is existent like 60 percent of people in a survey by Scientific American believed in 2015, then it doesn’t make sense for anyone to be born with their character already determined. Free will reflects the idea of choice. The choice for anyone to be who they want to be based on small decisions in their life. Obviously things that happen in someone’s life impact their choices, but they don’t automatically determine one’s character. People also change, so it’s almost impossible to say if one person is bad or good, at birth. Someone could’ve struggled when they were a teen, but after growing up, they might turn their life around and start making better decisions. It’s their choice to change their character.

People’s good will corrupted by world around them

By Halie Wingo
Staff Reporter

Human nature is to be sinless, but the world corrupts us. Everyone is intrinsically good, but society can corrupts our mind and make us “bad” people instead of good. Children don’t fully understand the difference between right and wrong; they can’t control the influences around them.

Many people, including Janet Cameron, who has a Bachelor of Arts with the Open University in philosophy and literature and is the author of “Decoded Past”, believe that people are born good and turn bad with age and experience. Cameron believes that when children are born, they lack necessary communication skills and influence that makes them a good or bad person.

“Babies’ minds are a wonderful showcase for human nature. Babies are humans with the absolute minimum of cultural influence,” Cameron writes on decodedpast.com. Education also plays a part in the development of people’s good and bad qualities. On decodedpast.com, it lists, “Education from nature itself, the limitations of which are outside of man’s control, the education of man, for example, what we are taught, and experience of things, for example, the objects around us. These three elements should be consistent.” This means education from nature can cause drawbacks because no one is in control of the influence other people have on themselves.

Evil comes from weaknesses and because children are so impressionable, they can be corrupted from a young age. Children do not know what adults know and that is a weakness for them. They are easily susceptible to influences beyond their control and it can make it hard for them to stay innocent for a very long time in the wrong environment. They don’t have enough knowledge to make their own moral decisions.

Tom Stafford from BBC believes people’s education from the world around them can affect their behavior and nature in life.

“Rousseau believes the education of man commences at birth and that experience is the forerunner of the precept,” according to Stafford’s article on bbc.com.

Children can be born into a bad family and that influence from a young age can affect them later in life. Also, some people have illnesses causing poor behavior and nature, which can lead to corruption after birth. Though most people don’t have a mental illness to cause poor behavior, people can’t help being born into a bad family and being raised by poorly behaved parents.

Although there are people who face mental disabilities that some say make them corrupted, they can still learn the difference between right and wrong and can be good natured and become corrupt by people in their life.

People are born good and corrupted by their surroundings. Children learn from a young age to act the way they are told and children are impressionable and that is why people become bad but are born good.

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