Monday, October 19, 2009

Blog #24 - Evidence to show our world is / is not controlled by an Evil Genius?

Monday, we discussed the appearence of evidence in our world that we are or are not controlled by an Evil Genius (to borrow Descartes' term - also his rationale for the existence of God).

- Arguments for our world being controlled by an Evil Genius:

1. Anything we assume is faulty b/c we could be deceived by the EG - He / She / It could have tampered w/ our preconceived notions;

2. "Life isn't fair" - if there weren't an EG, life would be fair;

3. Crime and sociopaths, war, disease, genocide, ADD / ADHD and death by random events are all evidence of the EG;

4. Is God evil if He allows evil or an EG in the world?

5. We really don't have free will b/c it's really just an illusion created by the EG.

- Arguments against our world being controlled by the Evil Genius:

1. There's still too much good in the world to justify an EG;

2. If there wasn't any good in the world (in one controlled by an EG), then how would we know what evil is (and vice versa)?;

3. If you are a religious person, you already believe that God influences our world;

4. There are no references to an EG throughout history (except in Descartes' writing), so if the EG was really all that powerful, wouldn't we have heard of him before 1600 C.E.?;

5. If the EG is all powerful and influences us, then the EG wouldn't allow for a conflicting sense of values (good) to exist in its world.

My questions for you:

1. Pick any two arguments - one from each side and discuss how well or how poorly the arguments stood up to logic and reason.

2. How likely is it that we live within a computer simulated game, whether like the Matrix or created by some higher life form? Explain.

Due Tuesday, October 20th. 200 words minimum.

Please also read the "Spinoza" chapter in Sophie's World and check the class' website for additional homework.

How has the evil genius worked its way into our society?

- Descartes' proof of God's existence from Oregon State University -

- Evil genius t-shirts - and the Evil Genius Political Party -

Even get your own evil genius laugh - or this one
- A funny look at the Evil Genius concept by the band Eleventyseven with their song, "Evil Genius":


  1. Is the world run by an evil genius? I believe that there may be something, or someone that influences the evil in this world. But I also believe that there is someone or something out there that influences the good in this world as well. I believe this because with everything there is always an opposite. Just like Newton’s law, “for every action, there is an equal but opposite reaction”, and seen in magnets with a positive and negative pole, and ions, and atoms, and the north and south pole of the earth, batteries, everything around us believe it or not. Even though sometimes there seems to be so much evil in the world, there is also good being done. Most of the time good is not as easy seen than evil but it is out there. So I believe that there is a god and evil genius out there having a competition on whom can do the most good or evil. I believe that the chance that we live in a computer-simulated world is extremely low near impossible. I think this because the world itself is too complicated to be put into a simulation. How the size of atoms cannot be simulated or the size of space cannot either. There would just be too much information and the system would forsurely be overloaded. If we were in a computer-simulation, we would have no control over our lives. We would be at the mercy of the programmer and I believe that we have complete control over the decisions in our lives and how we live.

    Jason S
    2nd hour

  2. It is relatively likely that we live within a computer-simulated game. Seeing as the human race has been around for at least 6,000 years, and we have only come up with a few ideas about how we were created, it is pretty likely that we could be living in a computer game. The way I look at it, people generally either believe that man was created by a higher power, by evolution, or by evolution with the help of some higher life form. You would think that if none of these were the case, the human race as a whole would have come up with a few more theories as to how we got here. So if we look at the number of theories we have, 3, and say that they all have pretty equal probability based on the popular acceptance of each, then we could say that each one has a probability of about 1 in 3. Since two of the choices listed above involve some form of the higher power, we can conclude that the chances of a higher power having had something to do with our creation is 2 in 3. That is a pretty big probability. Now if this higher power, which we have concluded has a just over 66% chance of being there, created us, they created the world we live in. If they created the world we live in, then we are a lot like the Sims. Therefore, we live in a computer game. So the answer of how likely it is that we live within a computer-simulated game, using the above thought process is 2 in 3.

    2nd hour

  3. 1)
    …WHAT! No offense to the discussion we had in class today, but there was nothing said by anyone that was backed by enough (if any) plausible logic or reason to validate a claim. Sure, they are all valid opinions, but nothing was proved in class today against or for the existence of an evil genius. Comment 2 that tries to justify the truth of an existing evil genius says: "Life isn't fair" - if there weren't an EG, life would be fair. Life isn’t fair is a clearly stated opinion and that it would be fair if there weren’t an evil genius is just a claim with no evidence. Comment 4 that for the argument against the existence of an evil genius says There are no references to an EG throughout history (except in Descartes' writing), so if the EG was really all that powerful, wouldn't we have heard of him before 1600 C.E. Still, at this point, there is no proof of anything, but there is at least a fact (maybe). This point employs the most rationale and if the only two choices were yes or no on the existence of an evil genius, I’d say no and this would be why.
    Man is too advanced for there to be any large possibility that we live within a computer simulated game and we don’t know it. We haven’t discovered any higher life forms yet, and if we ever do, we will certainly investigate and analyze it/them closely enough to know whether or not we are living in a computer simulated game they have created. It isn’t very likely that we live within a computer game.
    Nawar Dimitry 2nd Period

  4. Lisa and i talked together a bit in class about the ideas of the concept "if we were never told what good was, we would never recognize it or never value it". I’m guessing if you were to never experience “goodness” you’d recognize what makes you happy, and assume it was something good, and vice versa. Take the book Lord of The Flies for example. My teacher mentioned that if those boys would have never tasted meet before, they wouldn’t have turned into the vicious meat craving monsters they became. I don’t think there is a possible scenario where there would be just good, or just bad. Even if there is only evil in the world, some things would make you less sad than others. Would you consider those things that made you less sad good if you have never felt good before? If that makes sense, I’m kind of confusing myself.

    I wouldn't be able to even imagine how it would work out if life was fair. When you do something bad, and you know its bad, you're expected to be punished, and if you do something good, you'd except it to be rewarded. That’s fair. However, I guess it all depends on the individual’s definition of fair. Other people might not think what they did is bad. For example, the term "finders keepers losers weepers", the finder think its fair he keeps what he found, but primary owner thinks "well I had it first" (another common cliché). Both kids think their idea of fair are fair, so really there can never be a peaceful "fair way of life".


  5. Question 1:
    Arguments for: “life isn’t fair” - if there weren’t an Evil Genius, life would be fair.
    If I were to agree with the fact that there is an “evil genius” then I would believe that he is the one to make life “unfair.” If there was only good in life and no evil genius, then I would expect everything to be known as “fair.” In my opinion, this argument is very poorly stated. Who can determine what is fair and what isn’t? It is one owns opinion to decide weather something is fair in their eyes.
    Arguments against: There are no references to an Evil Genius throughout history (except in Descartes’), so if the Evil Genius was really all that powerful, wouldn’t we have heard of him before 1600 C.E.?
    The technology we have today was not discovered back in C.E. If there is such thing as an evil genius, it would be more likely to find out now then back then. Nowadays, people can figure out anything and find out information just by the click of a couple moves on your computer. I also think that this argument is poorly stated because no one knows of an evil genius. This talk could go on and on for days trying to figure something out, but still nothing will be accomplished. Since there are no REAL references, how are we supposed to know that there could possibly be an Evil Genius?
    Question 2:
    Anything is likely these days. We could live within a computer simulated game and not even know it. We could figure out how life worked after we died, or we could just pass away with what we’ve learned and believed in as we were alive. I am not one to believe that we are all in a simulated game, but it could be possible. Anything is possible considering the fact that we don’t know everything. Everyone has their own beliefs, which make us all unique. These beliefs map out what we perceive of life. I think that what you believe in is what life is to you. If you believe that life is some “simulate game” then it could be that, if you think everything happens for a reason, then it does. The human mind has so much power and it is in our hands to use it how we please.

  6. I think that it is a very slim chance that we live in a computer simulated game or anything that was created and controlled by a higher power. I believe that if we did that this person or computer that created this Matrix world they would have reprogrammed the people who wanted to make the Matrix movies so they wouldn’t want to make them anymore for this purpose. I’m sure after the movies were made there were people in the world who believed it all and are now wasting their lives away trying to figure out how to find the ‘Morpheus’ of the world. I think that if there was such a higher power that they would prevent the human race from finding out if they truly do exist. The whole Matrix movie is complete garbage anyway. I will say that I liked the action scenes and such, but for it all to be real world is not realistic. I’m sure people could argue that I would be the perfect example of someone that would be trapped in the matrix my whole life. But after that movie I’d rather be trapped in the matrix than in the real world. Just call me Cipher.

    Remy Gijsbers

  7. 1. I agree with the side I was on in class, there is no evil genius that is controlling the world. All the points that argue against prove nothing other than what man is capable of. We are capable of both good and of both evil and it all depends on whether the person’s acts are of good or evil. In my faith, God isn’t evil. He gave man the gift of free will and that pertains to what I said about their capabilities.

    2. I don’t think we are in a computer simulated program. However I do believe that it is possible for us to be living in a computer program. It all depends on an individual’s reason or their trust with their senses. To me because of my religion, I believe my reason, which indicates according to me that this is the real world not a computer program. I believe in free will and if the world was some how a computer program than to me that would play into destiny. If we were in a program like the Matrix then we would be destined for mainly one thing and that would be fulfilling our responsibilities as the machine’s batteries.
    If the world was a simulated program, such as the matrix, then I believe that the world would be ran by an evil genius. The reason, because they are trying to deceive us from reality therefore making what we believe life to be, a lie. In the Matrix the agents were there to maintain the order or to make sure others to falter away from the system. That shows how evil the program was because they prevented most people from seeing the truth, and letting them continue to live in a lie.

    Collin Parson
    2nd hour

  8. I guess I would now have to put myself somewhere in the middle about if there was an evil genius or not. I believe in God and that there is more good then evil but at the same time I look at what the world has gone through and I think there had to have been some type of EG for things like 911 or the holocaust to happen. In my mind I kind of think of it like God against the devil; God brings the good and gives us free will to choose what we do with our life so we are able to make our own decisions weather good or bad, but the devil tries to tamper with our heads as much as possible and bring temptation and jealously into our lives as much as possible. I feel we have the free will to either be good or bad, or like most somewhere in the middle. No one controls your life and what you do accept for yourself. Maybe my theory is totally wrong but that’s how I’m looking at it. There is a good genius and an evil one, like an angel on your one shoulder and a devil on the other, but in the end you choose if you’re going to go with a good decision or bad one. And truthfully I have no idea if I should believe if there is an evil genius in the world because there is so much good compared to bad that I know of and until I know of all of the bad things total in the entire universe compared to all of the good then I feel like I cant side with either argument because I believe in both.
    I honestly don’t think that we live within a computer simulated game at all like the matrix or created by some higher life. I think this is as good as life gets and there is no outside life form or anything like that because we have done things such as go to space and made so many new discoveries. So I think if there was something even remotely close to that we would have known or found out by now.

    Chelsea Koz

  9. There were many good points made in class when discussing whether or not our world is controlled by an evil genius. For example, the argument made that since life isn’t fair there must be some force of evil acting upon us is a solid point. Without some evil influence (or Evil Genius), life would be completely fair and peaceful. We would never have any worries or stresses. That said, however, another good point was made on the other side: without evil there would be no good in the world, and therefore we would never experience any happiness or peace. These two counterpoints are both accurate in my opinion. Both are very logical and can easily stand up to reason. Some also think that we could be living in a fake world full of illusion, such as in the Matrix. I personally think this is not true. I think that our senses are too real for this all to be fake, and I have never known anyone who could fly. Although I don’t necessarily believe we are living in a fake world, I think it is possible that a higher life form (God) is not necessarily controlling, but overseeing what we do.
    Claire Hayes

  10. ONE.
    I wasn't in class yesterday, so I'm not sure what we talked about but this blog gives me enough info to answer the questions.
    I do not believe in an evil genius that controls the world. I do however; believe in an "evil genius", though I'm not sure thats what I would call him. I'm a Christian and for me God is the only one who controls the world. You know the whole 'I think I want to rule the world, etc.' story of Lucifer. So I guess he's the "evil genius" in this equation.
    My friends’ mother has cancer and I remember her saying, “God didn’t give my mother cancer, she has cancer because the devil was jealous of her relationship with him [God].” That’s just the way we choose to believe. That’s the way I have to believe.

    I’m not sure if I believe we live in a computer simulated game. Mankind is too opinionated for a small group of people to corroborate something that big and intense. In order for us to be in a Matrix-like game God would have to be the computer person and I just don’t believe he would deceive us that way. I do however; believe in the analogy of the cave. All the beauty and light is out there, we just have to find our way to it.

    Diarra Robinson

  11. Well, the first argument for the side promoting the idea of an evil genius is solid in its nature. There is no way you can prove that there isn’t an evil genius because he/she/it would deceive your thoughts, because that’s what he/she/it dose. The downside to this argument is obvious, of course. Why would the EG allow us to make a definition for the fact that he exists, when his/her/its objective is to prevent our learning of his/her/its existence? Countering that debate, he/she/it could lend the idea of his/her/its self to somebody (Descartes) so that there could be arguments as to whether or not the EG even exists, which would lead people to thinking that the idea of an EG is foolish.
    The world as a computer game is an interesting idea. In fact, I have pondered this idea many-a-times. In one of them, my brain took me to a realm where every one of our actions we part of the processing power of a computer program. The entire universe we live in is just an intricate program, busily figuring out the answers to problems unknown to us by the very fact of doing what we are doing. This, unfortunately, implies that there is no free will, one that I am not fond of. So just by my fingers typing these words and the thoughts zooming across your brain as your eyes scan the page, some being is out THERE shooting up a bunch of zombie aliens. Adam Sadler

  12. Does an "Evil Genius" really exist? Are we deceived by he/she/it? I absolutely do not believe that the world is ran by an evil genius. Everyone is responsible for themselves and should know right form wrong. If you are speeding down the street and kill someone or yourself it is your fault because you know the consequences of speeding, death or a pricey ticket. The world is full of people that make their own choices. If there was an "Evil Genius" I think he/she/it should be visible. Most geniuses are visible such as Einstein. No one3 is responsible for anyone but there self’s. If the world was controlled or ran by and evil genius I think everything would be corrupted and crazy. Evil means bad, corrupted, destroy etc. All those descriptive words would take place in the world if there is a such thing as a evil genius. Bad things happen daily because they where suppose to happen. I believe that God is in control of everything and he has no evil within in him. Whatever he wants to happen it will happen regardless of anything in the world. So with all these things said I do not believe there is a evil genius I believe that that everyone is responsible for themselves.
    Jasmine Cain 2nd hr

  13. There are no references to an Evil Genius throughout history. And even if there was an Evil Genius that was really all that powerful, wouldn't we have heard of him. Historically there may be a thousand references to an EG but always under another name, because evil genius is just a symbol for the pure concept of evil itself and we know throughout history, that concept has been applied to the devil and others. Additionally, by the very existence of his ‘alleged’ powers, the EG would be able to conceal his identity. "Life isn't fair" - if there weren't an EG, life would be fair. Life is not meant to be fair. It seems that life is built on a series of random disconnected events that sort themselves out through natural selection and survival of the fittest. Whether or not there is an EG, has nothing to do with fairness. I have always believed that much of what we do is orchestrated by people in power. Just like the Matrix, I feel that we are truly living in a manipulated environment, where decisions that we think are freely made, are in reality, pre-determined. People in power have access to all forms and expressions of media and mass communication, and use their access to control us.
    Annie Sovran

  14. Daniel Sherwood

    I don’t think that you can make a decision on either side of the coin for this one. And to be honest, I don’t really think that it matters because if we know that there is/ is not a an evil genius it won’t really change how we act and etc. I chose to break down the logic and reason for the arguments against there being an evil genius.

    1. There's still too much good in the world to justify an EG;

    What quantifies good? As I brought up yesterday in class, I’m not sure if anyone knows what’s good and what’s not.

    3. If you are a religious person, you already believe that God influences our world;

    The devil? Heloooo

    4. There are no references to an EG throughout history (except in Descartes' writing), so if the EG was really all that powerful, wouldn't we have heard of him before 1600 C.E.?;

    Not if his objective was to deceive, he would try to stay in the shadows and lurk about being evil

    5. If the EG is all powerful and influences us, then the EG wouldn't allow for a conflicting sense of values (good) to exist in its world.

    Maybe that is just another form of deception or that could be the good power that is in constant battle with the EG. Or maybe it’s a yin and yang type situation.

    In regards to the probability of us living in a computer simulated game I think that that is absolutely ridiculous. I mean if fossils are just simulated rocks that have been placed by the software makers and classic literatures are all just works of fiction that have been developed by some veil person sitting in a room on his computer to harvest our energy like batteries than we’ve got a lot of problems on our hands. However, I don’t think that’s the case, I feel like it’s a cool idea but not worth stressing out about, because really how plausible is it that that’s the case.

  15. We really don't have free will b/c it's really just an illusion created by the EG.
    This argument can go either way. I think that if we didn’t really have free will because it’s just an illusion created by the Evil Genius, then is everything in life an illusion created by the Evil Genius? I don’t think that there is an Evil Genius controlling the world, if we did, everything would be made up. There really isn’t any logic that goes into this because there isn’t a good enough reason that there is an Evil Genius. If we didn’t have free will because it is an illusion, then what is our free will now? Our decisions that we make every day is caused by our will to do what we think is right.
    If you are a religious person, you already believe that God influences our world;
    For the second argument, I do not agree with this at all. For instance, my grandmother is very religious when it comes to Judaism. She has Shabbat dinner every Friday night and she goes to temple every Saturday morning. She does not believe that G-d is the reason for everything and we are all here to worship g-d.
    2) I do not think that we live in a stimulated world. I think that mankind is way too advanced for everyone to be living under someone else. If the world was under a computer game, I do not believe that we would be where we are today in the world.
    Becca- ABSENT

  16. 1. The argument that stands out as the poorest is number 2, life isn't fair. Who is to say that life isnt fair. I find life to be extremely fair. Other cultures base their entire belief system on the sole fact that life is fair. For instance, the idea or karma as well as cosmic balance. Life may not be great at times, but it is definitely fair. the second argument that contradicts itself is Free will is an illusion created by the evil genius. Lets say we were to say that there was an evil genius that created this entire world, and planned out everything that was meant to happen, and he had us all under some sort of trick, then wouldn't he be able to keep us from discovering the illusion. by simply stating that there is an illusion proves that there isn't one.

    2. I can believe that we are part of something more, but i do not believe that it is a computer program. We discovered computers, and programs. If we are a part of something, it is beyond what our mind can imagine. Its beyond anything we have ever come across. Like a 5th dimension. But a computer program seems to simple to be logical.

    Chelsea Rosenbaum

    *never went through last night*

  17. I always have problems with my faith because I always say that if a God really existed that he wouldn’t let some of the bad things that happen, happen. Some things are just TOO BAD. Babies get molested, AIDS virus spreads, Domestic Violence thrives, and Drugs are a commodity, Kidnapping is so normal that we when see kids in the newspaper we don’t even care, Serial Killers are constantly in the news, World Hunger exist in lots of places, Priest and other church personnel using their authority to take advantage of people. It forces me to believe that either God is an Evil Genius or God doesn’t exist at all. If there is a God he may be evil and he may be letting us rule our own lives until mankind leads to their own downfall. IF you are a religious person you’re probably just focusing on all the good things in the world like butterflies, waterfalls, the beauty of child bearing, the unity of mankind (sometimes), the patriotism of America, and other stuff. You probably believe that God is good and he created everything that is good. BUT what about the bad stuff? This is where the question of should we question everything comes into play. RELIGIOUS people don’t wanna talk about the bad stuff. They just wanna point out the good or give a broad answer like “the end is near” that’s why the world is crazy. NO! THE world has been crazy because it’s ruled by an evil genius…whether it’s God or not.

    - Shar Rogers

  18. I believe this is no such thing as an evil genius for one. There is definitely not an evil genius that controls us. If there is an evil genius controlling me why is it I try to do good overall and haven’t been able to successfully do something that would cause destruction to good people and good things? I know that on many occasions people have given me thing that I haven’t deserved because out of the goodness of their heart. If the evil genius was true why that is the philosophy of most humans is that there has to be some type of goodness in everyone. Although there are plenty of evil things that are done, slavery, killings, starvation, and many more example with everything evil done there are people who try to make up for the lack of sense for many others. I consider myself spiritual and I truly believe in a higher power that’s intention is to do good, but in certain circumstance he must punish the people so that they ultimately see who is in power. My God is a good God and love his people but shows us suffering so that we appreciate the good and realize how it can be taken away that is why he must test our belief by doing what some may consider evil. The only that is controlling humans is ourselves I take full responsibility for my actions. And I refuse to blame my “evil deeds” on a higher power such as a Evil Genius. Alanna Albritton 2nd.

  19. Shar and others,

    I was in the same existential boat floating in a sea of angst when I tackled these subjects like why do bad things happen to good people. It took me years to come to an acceptable answer that satisfied both me and my sense of justice.

    In the examples you gave, Shar, most of those horrible things occur b/c of man's free will. Sure, there are freak accidents, and there are natural disasters, but the intensity of those random acts could be lessened, I believed, if we were more prepared for those kinds of things.

    God didn't allow those bad things to happen, in my opinion. People did those things. If God exists and He's out there watching us, who knows what He's thinking? I don't have a hotline to God, so I'm not privy to His thoughts. So who knows?

  20. I would have to say that I don’t believe that there is an Evil Genius who controls the universe. For the most part, with a few exceptions, I need to see things to believe them. I don’t think that it’s possible because a genius makes me think of a scientist or a person. Not only is this “Evil Genius” a non-physical being, but there hasn’t been any reference to such a person with THAT much power. Yes, there have been awful dictators like Stalin, Mao, and Hitler, but they didn’t control the universe, just a portion. When people in class were discussing the opposing side- that there was an Evil Genius, it was hard to grasp my mind around it because I felt like it should have asked if there was an evil spirit. Even still, I wouldn’t believe it. Personally, I think that there are way too many good things that people genuinely do for others which make’s it impossible that an Evil Genius could influence evil upon the universe as a whole. In class, I think it was Remy who said some people do good things for other people with good intentions other than to just benefit themselves. I agree with this, because my best friend Dane this year just moved to Bosnia for two years to go to school as well as community work. Obviously, this will look great on her resume, but I don’t think that even crossed her mind when she decided to go on this two year long trip. Clearly, there are people in this world who do things to benefit themselves, I know I do for some things, but I don’t think that’s an Evil Genius.
    -Casey H Hr 2

  21. When it comes to deciding if the world is ruled by an evil genius, I would have to say no, it’s not. Yes, there are so many horrible, events that happen in the world, but on the other hand there are many good things that happen. For example when that baby fell into the deaths path as a speeding train came trucking its way, and the baby came away with just a few minor bumps and burses. Now, if the worlds was controlled or ruled by an evil genius, a miracle like that wouldn’t have happened. That day could have ended horrible for that mother, as she went home planning her babies funeral and having that guilt follow her for the rest of her life, knowing if she could have held on to that stroller for a little bit longer. Or when that plan didn’t crash and landed safely on the water, with all the passengers being able to walk away from the event without any harm. That’s why I say that the world could not be rule or controlled by a evil genius. But on the other hand, I can understand where the other party was coming from when they say that the world is controlled by an evil genius, with all the natural disasters, crime, and bad in this world. But in my eyes the good always rules out the bad. For example, the glass of milk I half full, rather than half empty.

    -Jasmine Smith

  22. I think is it highly unlikely that we live in a computer simulated game. There are many reasons I believe. For example, if we lived in a computer simulated game, science fictions movies such as the Matrix would not be allowed to exist in our world. This is because The Matrix film is a cause for us to wonder and think if our world is a computer simulated game or not, and if we are being controlled from the standpoint that the creator doesn’t want us to find out, than he wouldn’t allow The Matrix film to exist. Our creator would seem to be an entity of great intellect and wisdom to have created this simulation. Therefore, if the creator does not want us to find out, we can assume that he would not allow causes for us to wonder if we are being controlled like avatars in a computer game. Also if we lived a computer simulated reality like the Matrix, then mankind wouldn’t be allowed to advance in intellect and wisdom. Again, if the creators do not want us to find out, the advancement of intellect and wisdom wouldn’t be allowed because we would develop those traits eventually to an extent where we are able to find out and realize that we have been controlled in a computer game throughout our whole entire lives.

    John Cassetta
    2nd Hour


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