The Ethical Skeptic

Challenging Agency of Pseudo-Skepticism & Cultivated Ignorance

How to Detect an Evil Person

How does one go about detecting an evil person? How does one distinguish the true sociopath, from the honest person who is simply mistaken or having a bad day? These are the hints which should tip one off to the reality that the person they are dealing with is mired in habits of evil.

As my readers know, I seldom reference the Bible inside this blog. I view the Bible not as a single document, rather a series of thoughts put down by men over the ages. Some authors were sincere; while unfortunately some editors were not entirely sincere. Although I have read the assembly of writings from cover to cover probably six times, I find the collection to not be that dramatically superior to other philosophical works of men. In fact, I find the Bible lacking in many essential lessons of life and spirituality.

However there is one verse which I have heeded most of the days of my life, Proverbs 23: 6-7. A verse which pertains to the conduct and habits of an evil person. One who cares about only a single thing on this planet, them self.

6 Do not engage with him who has a selfish intent,
    neither seek his approval;
for as he thinks in his heart,
    so is he.
“Come, let us discuss together” he says to you,
    but his heart is not with you.

Proverbs 23: 6-7 (Modern English Version – Transliterated)

How does one go about detecting the evil person? How does one distinguish the true sociopath, from the honest person who is simply mistaken or having a bad day? Below is a list of the hints which should tip one off to the reality that the person they are engaging with, regardless of their credential or notoriety, is mired in habitually evil practice.

They enjoy watching others be in pain

Their first instinct is to seek symbolism, dominance or control

They do not engage to discuss the topic at hand, their focus is upon you

Every act is a manipulation towards an end/nothing is derived from objective neutrality

They conceal their inner nature/put on a veneer of virtue (the opposite of ethics)

They will habitually misrepresent what you say, often just to see if you will catch the straw man

They leave you with an uncomfortable dank feeling

They show no remorse nor respect for boundaries

They find entertainment in highlighting other’s errors or insulting them

They don’t take responsibility for their own actions

Deaths, virtue, justice, science, racism, migration, poverty – these are all mere bludgeons of choice

They are ‘non-violent’ as long as they cannot get away with violence

To them, everyone they target is a ‘narcissist’ (hint: see: 23 Signs You’re Secretly a Narcissist Masquerading as a Sensitive Introvert)

Their complete absence of any reference to self betrays an enormous conceit

They mock the misfortune of others

Their few friends, don’t really know them and are exactly like them

They are/were once cruel to animals or had ‘psychological issues’

They will obsess over made up quo facto malo offenses their victims have ‘committed’

They derive great joy in the authoritative cleverness of a lie, the larger and more intimidating the lie, the better

They fail to associate their poor state in life with their dark habits

They find joy in making people feel stupid

They don’t bear an ability to introspect

Aside from memorized pablum, they don’t really get philosophy/ethics

Even though they constantly fixate or maintain the focus upon others, everything is in fact about them

It does not matter how accidentally correct they are – if they bear these traits, even the things they are correct about, endure merely as an act they are putting on for your manipulation. They have no interest in truth or fellowship. Do not be fooled, their heart is not with you.

The Ethical Skeptic, “How to Detect an Evil Person”; The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 15 Oct 2020; Web,

October 15, 2020 - Posted by | Tradecraft SSkepticism |

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[…] How to Detect an Evil Person […]

Brian McKibben

Thoughtful post. Unfortunately, the evil-person factors sound like the job description for many self-serving politicians that are also most highlighted by fear-mongering, polarizing media. We desperately need open debates and ranked-choice or approval voting to encourage productive collaborations (not superficial or simplistic) within the rational midsection of the electorate. And to elect people who care more about the common good than themselves.

Brian McKibben

Litmus test. How to establish? Open debates and ranked-choice or approval voting would elect high-quality officials who would ensure removal of evil partisans from non-elected government offices. This feels like a root cause of self-serving, bloated, ineffective US governments at all levels. But not likely to be covered by superficial, self-serving mainstream media. What cause-and-effect metrics could highlight the problem (and opportunity for the common good) in a way that could not be ignored?

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