Deviant behaviour might be seen as evil – but it’s also a force for good

A few years ago I found myself teaching a university class on evil. It was for third-year criminology students to help them contextualise theory and research within controversial current topics. It was a huge success. The debates were heated and interesting. I could see people’s views change within the course of a single lecture.

Over the past 13 years, as a student, lecturer and researcher, I’ve enjoyed discussing the science of evil with anyone willing to listen. What I relish most is destroying the lazy clichés of good and evil, and replacing them with nuance and scientific insight. We need a more informed way of discussing behaviour that at first we cannot, or should not, begin to understand.

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