Something I wrote in answer to someone who posted about believing that humans were 'innately good' I thought it might be of interest....
Brett, I have to disagree with you on a very important point, humans do not have 'innate goodness' this is learned behaviour, all behaviour and reactions to everything around is learned.
I held some very odd (racist??) views when I was younger, losing those views was nothing to do with my innate goodness, it was to do with seeing the world and learning more about my fellow human beings.
I was brought up in Battersea, most of the people I associated with were, or knew, members of the NF, so their views were pressed firmly on the forefront of my mind at a time (mid to late teens) when I was most impressionable, one of my cousins constantly referred to black people as monkeys, this was a barrage of racism that you could not escape and it became accepted and normal behaviour as far as I was concerned. Getting away from these views was hard (and a long story) it also meant leaving behind a large number of people with whom I had been mates since I was little, not to mention relatives.
But I 'learned' that people are the same everywhere, I had to travel to learn it though.
People learn how to behave, they learn this as they grow up, all their mores, morals and beliefs are gleaned from there parents, their teachers, their peer groups, its only when we break out into the world we 'can' start to learn about 'truth' of the world, and the truth is that human beings are the most destructively vile creatures on this planet, we rip each other off, we fight for no reason, we look down on those we consider beneath us, if (and I hate to say this)we had no bible, no Koran, no religious book and teachers to present us with our moral code, the world may have been a far worse place than it is today.
Those moral codes, however we got them, at least gave us rules to live by, before those, order was kept by rulers who wanted peace and quiet, but that came at a cost, take a look at any of the older civilisations, they kept slaves, they treated people like pieces on a chess board, to be thrown away if not needed, how many slaves died in the building of the Pyramids? How many died on the voyages from Africa to the Americas?
The changes to laws regarding racism had nothing to do with 'innate goodness' we just grew up, as world communication grew we (humans) started to realise that we are a global community, as the information age flooded our homes we started to learn more about the world around ourselves and we saw for ourselves some of the truth. Not everyone because it is also easy to capture and mold young minds and then it can be impossible to change those ingrained beliefs.
Leave a group of humans to grow up without teaching them morals and I bet you end up with none of them having 'innate goodness', sorry mate I just dont believe that the human race has it inside them to be good, they have to learn to be good.