Evil, Bad, Naughty, or Taboo?

This is a past event

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There are various degrees of awfulness. It’s hard to imagine anything more horrendous than drowning every living being on the planet with 40 days of torrential rain. That would be omnicide and would be the worst thing ever, if it had actually occurred. Not far behind it is something that has happened, and more than once: genocide, the systematic murder of an entire racial, ethnic, religious, or national group.

Murder, torture, and rape are purely evil actions, but further down the scale are things that are simply bad, including crimes like theft, kidnapping, and arson as well as legal but offensive behavior such as lying, adultery, and smoking.

We generally use the term “naughty” to refer to the kind of mischief and minor damage that little kids do or bad words they might say (even if they first heard them from you).

Which brings us to this month’s topic: things that are taboo, even tho they don’t cause any obvious harm to anyone, even oneself. Think cannibalism, incest, eating shellfish, etc. Why are some things taboo and others not? Maybe you think it’s OK to eat shrimp but disgusting to lick your fingers afterward. Why is that? What triggers our sense of revulsion to the point of wanting to make it socially unacceptable? And are those things universal?

The Atheist Lounge will tackle this question on, as usual, the last Thursday of the month. Order food and drink at 7 PM, with short presentation starting about 30-45 minutes thereafter, and plenty of open discussion after that.