Toward the Psychology of Malefaction This is a book about human wickedness. I would like to identify two obstacles in the path that this book seeks to traverse. One obstacle is an inappropriate scientism; the other is an inappropriate moralism. There is a kind of scientism that prevents us from seeing that human beings are responsible for what happens on the planet. It is a view that, in the name of science, downplays the role of human beings as agents in what takes place. This view is often expressed in a paradigm that regards human conduct as the "e;dependent variable,"e; while anything that impinges on the human being is considered the "e;independent variable."e; The paradigm further takes the relationship between the dependent and independent variable to be the result of natural law. It charac- teristically ignores the possibility that individual or collective deci- sion or policy, generated by human beings and not by natural law, is and can be regulatory of conduct.