Belial wrote:They show, more broadly, that people aren't as moral as they think they are. Given proper circumstances, and a proper way to justify it to yourself, what you think is right goes out the window.
Also, can we do away with the "WILLING TO KILL!!!!11!!" construction? You don't know if they were willing to kill unless they killed, you just know that they were willing to pretend to be willing to kill. That's called bluffing. That's like saying the US was willing to reduce the world to a radioactive cinder in the 50s.
Eh, not necessarily.
Replications of the Stanford prison experiment were not always identical. There is some indication that one of the guards may have precipitated much of the cruelty by both starting it and being an influence. We already know about peer pressure. The other guards could have also been susceptible. It certainly is indicated that social role and structure (such as dominance) can have an effect on worldview, and that what we view as moral this second is not necessarily how we will always view it. Well, unless we understand this and can account for it, maybe. It's untested as far as I know, however (though, predicted in a limited way by behavioral complexity models supported as valid in countless other instances). I personally find myself to be unbending sometimes where it counts. Though, with enough cowardice I am sure I could do anything terrible. I am sure you can train someone to ignore their cowardice (or someone can train themselves), however. One can do the same for other fears, and anger. I know it is possible. I don't know if it is demonstrated experimentally in a social setting. It is demonstrated observationally in people dying for their beliefs.
Replications of Milgrim reinforced the original proposition. People, in general, are even in moral decisions beholden to the guidance of authorities to some degree. Note that there are theoretical complications to this rule. In modern society, most people are of the order of behavioral complexity (10) where they are particularly beholden to rules and authority. Behavior differs depending on subjects. I am not sure of the particular samples of every Milgrim replication (in particular, whether the distribution could have been affected by a bias in age). I know that this was not examined as a variable, however (more than that, the modern theories did not exist. Without postformal "stages" in particular, this seems less necessary to test). Keep in mind that when you look at the actual Milgrim data, the effect does not appear huge (though it is extant). I surmise that the effect is huge among order 10 individuals, and smaller in others.
The other problem with the "willing" proposition is that it untestable if "will" caused someone to kill, or something else. A clear, testable definition of will is basically nonexistent. Philosophers have also made it worse. Free will can mean many different things. For most people, it means basically nothing, as far as I can tell. I suppose most people mean that they have full control of themselves and can do whatever they want. We certainly know that that isn't true, lol. Free will won't grow bones, for example (it may allow you to be happier, or something else, so that your bones heal better. In some cases, perhaps drastically so). There is a great deal of flexibility in brain development, and with various ways of controlling one's own behavior one can accomplish many behavioral changes. Still, nothing is limitless, and people hit dead-ends that may or may not be resolvable. Certainly they are not always resolvable by themselves, and even if resolvable by someone else, they may never find that person. People also can give up early, though. At some point one does have to "call" things, however. One doesn't live forever.
sourmìlk wrote:Why should I have sympathy for somebody who consciously made the decision to attack another person with their money, particularly without evidence that their circumstances coerced them into doing it? Living a crappy life isn't an excuse to attack somebody.
He just said why. This is my personal summary of the point: not everything is within someone's control, especially at 16. I think most people would consider themselves at 16 to not have had their life very under control at all. Yet, you're expecting every 16-year-old to have been capable of incredible feats of defiance of their situation. If we ignore all personal knowledge, and look only at research, it's still (or especially) clear that 16-year-olds can't always avoid their life history or supercede their age.
If this is a personal insult to you, let it be known to you that when I found out you were 16, I was entirely surprised (you were 16 at that point, at least).
Perhaps people have been major dicks to you, and that's why you are still promoting this viewpoint. I think you should feel no need to do so. Instead, you should use that defiance to create a viewpoint that accounts for theirs (even by accepting it, if it is truly right), and better than theirs.