Yeah, I read your comments, and I know, guys... The Others seem like evil, evil, bad, bad people.
LOST ***SPOILER WARNING***
I'm not saying they are good.
But they could be not-so-bad. And we just won't know until we know. There's a lot of mystery, sure, but maybe that means there's an explanation. I think it would really make the story better, too, actually. It would thicken the plot substantially. Irony.
Imagine this situation: the Others weren't the jerks. The Losties were.
When "Henry Gale" is captured, he says that there's this amazing man who's in charge and that's who the Others are answering to.
Ok, so what if that man is some kind of mad scientist who has somehow brainwashed all of the Ohters. And he's not really great or amazing or good, but he is pretty powerful and brilliant, and somehow he has managed to get all of these incredibly competent people to become "Others" and dedicate their lives to working as scientists and staff on this Island for the better part of their lives. This man who's in charge (as a side note, I think it's likely to be Alvar Hanso, since his name "Hansø" means "his island" in Danish.) Anyway, whoever's in charge has these Others under his thumb. And he has them experimenting on the Losties in some f*ed up way. But the Others are even more of victims to his scheme than the Losties are.
So the Others are on the Island for about 10 years or something. By then they've developed their book clubs and lifestyles etc. And suddenly, Desmond gets preoccupied and doesn't press the button in time and this huge plane crashes on the Island. And Hansø makes them take the children because there's a "sickness" and the kids should be vaccinated. So the brainwashed Others take the kids and feed and bathe them etc.
Then the Losties start killing Others and keep getting all up in their space and stuff. Then Hansø tells the Others that they have to take Claire to vaccinate her baby (but they can't tell the Losties why because they don't want to freak everyone out). Charlie's annoying and won't stop trying to help out, so they tie him up knowing he'll be rescued but sending a clear signal that they mean business. They didn't want to hurt anyone, but they have orders.
I could go into more and more and more detail, ad infinitum, but I'm starting to get bored with it. I guess my point though is that maybe there's a big bad guy at the top of all of this, but that some of the intentions of this whole project are what scientists and your every-day animal tester likes to call "necessary evils". Of course as a social scientist myself, I can't advocate use of human subjects without their concent. And as a PETA member, I don't necessarily advocate animal testing. But the job on the Island is allegedly keeping the world going. So maybe the Others are just saving the world. If Bush can send your 18 year old virgin cousin to Iraq to die, Ethan can give Claire a few vaccinations. Doesn't make him evil.