A what if question to everyone?

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A what if question to everyone?

It has been postulated in psychology. A national magazine article, Time or Newsweek, I forget which it was, postulated the following and of course I am paraphrasing. I want to expound on this example with something more long term as far as our species's future.

The article was not postulating a right or wrong answer but speculating what personality types would do what?

The example was if there was a train out of control barreling down the track and the passengers were sure to die, but the only way you could save them was to push a fat man off the bridge above to derail it to stop it from hitting another train, sure to kill more than the one person you shoved off the bridge? Would you do it?

Now, while I thought Bush was an asshole of a President, I myself, if it had been possible to do at the time, WOULD have given the order to shoot down the passenger liners on 9/11 to prevent them from hitting their targets.

NOW, that is just me, and the article never claimed right or wrong either way.

TO EXPOUND on this example.

Lets say as far as the future of humanity as an example.

If you knew the only way to save the species as a whole was to submit it to the likes of Kim Jong Ill, or have the entire species obliterated by a nuclear war, would you surrender?

Now, I am NOT postulating the permanent existence of such tyranny as a result of surrender. Just the thought that if it gave a future possibility for our species survival short term, would you surrender if it meant long term saving the species?

PLEASE PEOPLE, do not make this about labels or nationality. I am strictly talking about human psychology. You can replace Kim Jong Ill with Darth Vader, it is just a "what if" example.

 

 

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Yes.

Yes.

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I'm not sure I understand

I'm not sure I understand what question you are asking.

Two wrongs don't make a right...If the fat man volunteered to sacrifice himself, great. Pushing him off against his will is wrong. Imo.

No one can predict the future or, be 100% sure of the outcome of any (human controlled) event. Who's to say the train wouldn't have hit a rock and derailed anyway?

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Now I'm trying to think of a

Now I'm trying to think of a situation where I would willingly obliterate the human species to avoid a certain fate...hmm.  I can't really think of anything realistic.

Maybe A) Obliterate Humanity B) Humanity continues but trapped in a theistic hell concept/alien pain factory

 

I would pick A) at that point.  Anything less extreme and I would value the potential of life more highly than the avoidence of pain.

 

Now if you ask at what point I'd end my own life, the bar would be significantly lower.

 

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As for the first example,

As for the first example, well, to be selfish, it depends on the repercussions to myself.  If I would not be punished, I'd push the dude off.  If I would be punished...I don't know.  Without any direct emotional tie to any of the participants I'd probably value my own happiness over the suffering of the majority.

 

 

There is another part to your question though Brian.  The first question is:

"There is a train approaching a split in the tracks.  You are standing next to the lever that can re-direct the train.  If you let the train continue, it will kill three people stuck on the track.  If you pull the lever to re-direct the train, it will kill one person stuck on the alternate track.  Do you pull the lever?"

 

Then you follow up with your question.  Most people would pull the lever, but avoid pushing the fat man.  The exercise points out that our moral reactions are not logical, because the outcome of both situations is identical: Kill one to save many.  However, the second scenario makes it personal and so part of our subconscious balks at 'directly' performing harm, as if pulling a lever and pushing a man are actually different.  In the first example there is no direct connection so that part of our brain never kicks in and we perform a non-emotional cost/benefit analysis.

 

Someone had a youtube video of a talk about this on the forum a while ago.  A doctor talking about triage and euthanasia at a hospital during Katrina at some atheist conference.  I can't find it in search.  Sad

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Sandycane wrote:I'm not sure

Sandycane wrote:

I'm not sure I understand what question you are asking.

Two wrongs don't make a right...If the fat man volunteered to sacrifice himself, great. Pushing him off against his will is wrong. Imo.

And the psychologists they quoted made this point, and I think that either way life is a crap shoot. But what would you say to the family members of the passengers who died if you didn't do that? You are placing that one life as being more important than all the others.

The point to the psychology was not right or wrong, but more along the lines of what types of personalities would do what.

I see your point, but you are also making a life and death decision with the people on the train, not just that one person. Remember, it' isn't about wanting or not wanting to do it, but about what you would do.

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mellestad wrote:Now I'm

mellestad wrote:

Now I'm trying to think of a situation where I would willingly obliterate the human species to avoid a certain fate...hmm.  I can't really think of anything realistic.

Maybe A) Obliterate Humanity B) Humanity continues but trapped in a theistic hell concept/alien pain factory

 

I would pick A) at that point.  Anything less extreme and I would value the potential of life more highly than the avoidence of pain.

 

Now if you ask at what point I'd end my own life, the bar would be significantly lower.

 

Geeze, I like making multiple posts today.

That brings up another point.  If you're a theist, and you believe in Hell...*really* believe in Hell, the most moral thing to do would be to evaluate what parts of the world are likely to avoid adopting your faith and kill every child in those areas.  You'd be saving hundreds of millions of children from an eternity of torment.  Heck (haha), if you are someone who believes access to Heaven among adults is rare, wiping out humanity in general might be the most moral thing to do, just to be safe.

Or maybe even set up birthing factories where babies are killed as soon as they are born.  Shit, better yet, harvest all female eggs on the planet, fertilize them, then destroy them (3,000,000,000 women on the planet x 300,000 eggs = 900,000,000,000,000 lives to send to heaven!).

Better yet, set up a factory:  Female fetuses have 6-7 million oocytes, most of which are lost and never develop into eggs (http://www.merck.com/mmhe/sec22/ch241/ch241c.html).  So you fertilize eggs, develop them into fetuses, kill the males, kill the females then harvest and develop the oocytes into eggs, fertilize those, etc.  You'd be sending an endless stream of human life into eternal bliss and avoiding all but a tiny amount of suffering.  You'd have a small group of people running the thing who would go to Hell and an unfathomable number of people being sent to Heaven.  You'd be able to do it until something wiped out human life.  Shit, send robotic space-ship factories that run this process into all corners of the universe.

If you *really* believed in your religious stuff, how could you not justify that action?

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mellestad wrote:As for the

mellestad wrote:

As for the first example, well, to be selfish, it depends on the repercussions to myself.  If I would not be punished, I'd push the dude off.  If I would be punished...I don't know.  Without any direct emotional tie to any of the participants I'd probably value my own happiness over the suffering of the majority.

 

 

There is another part to your question though Brian.  The first question is:

"There is a train approaching a split in the tracks.  You are standing next to the lever that can re-direct the train.  If you let the train continue, it will kill three people stuck on the track.  If you pull the lever to re-direct the train, it will kill one person stuck on the alternate track.  Do you pull the lever?"

 

Then you follow up with your question.  Most people would pull the lever, but avoid pushing the fat man.  The exercise points out that our moral reactions are not logical, because the outcome of both situations is identical: Kill one to save many.  However, the second scenario makes it personal and so part of our subconscious balks at 'directly' performing harm, as if pulling a lever and pushing a man are actually different.  In the first example there is no direct connection so that part of our brain never kicks in and we perform a non-emotional cost/benefit analysis.

 

Someone had a youtube video of a talk about this on the forum a while ago.  A doctor talking about triage and euthanasia at a hospital during Katrina at some atheist conference.  I can't find it in search.  Sad

But, pulling a lever and pushing a man are different.

If you hadn't been there to do either (pull/push), the end result would have been the same. Maybe the best choice is to do nothing?

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Brian37 wrote:Sandycane

Brian37 wrote:

Sandycane wrote:

I'm not sure I understand what question you are asking.

Two wrongs don't make a right...If the fat man volunteered to sacrifice himself, great. Pushing him off against his will is wrong. Imo.

And the psychologists they quoted made this point, and I think that either way life is a crap shoot. But what would you say to the family members of the passengers who died if you didn't do that? You are placing that one life as being more important than all the others.

The point to the psychology was not right or wrong, but more along the lines of what types of personalities would do what.

I see your point, but you are also making a life and death decision with the people on the train, not just that one person. Remember, it' isn't about wanting or not wanting to do it, but about what you would do.

What I would say, I think, is that I'm not god, don't decide who gets to live and who gets to die and that their loved ones were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Another thing to consider...what if the man you decide to push off the bridge were Einstein and those on the train were crack heads? If that were true, wouldn't it better to save the one and let the many die?

'Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.' A. Einstein


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As a fat man, if I were

As a fat man, if I were faced with that option I'd probably go ahead and jump.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
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jcgadfly wrote:As a fat man,

jcgadfly wrote:

As a fat man, if I were faced with that option I'd probably go ahead and jump.

Good point...here's another scenario: what if it were not a fat man but a beautiful woman or, George Cluney? Would a woman react differently than a man, depending on who they had to push?

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Sandycane wrote:mellestad

Sandycane wrote:

mellestad wrote:

As for the first example, well, to be selfish, it depends on the repercussions to myself.  If I would not be punished, I'd push the dude off.  If I would be punished...I don't know.  Without any direct emotional tie to any of the participants I'd probably value my own happiness over the suffering of the majority.

 

 

There is another part to your question though Brian.  The first question is:

"There is a train approaching a split in the tracks.  You are standing next to the lever that can re-direct the train.  If you let the train continue, it will kill three people stuck on the track.  If you pull the lever to re-direct the train, it will kill one person stuck on the alternate track.  Do you pull the lever?"

 

Then you follow up with your question.  Most people would pull the lever, but avoid pushing the fat man.  The exercise points out that our moral reactions are not logical, because the outcome of both situations is identical: Kill one to save many.  However, the second scenario makes it personal and so part of our subconscious balks at 'directly' performing harm, as if pulling a lever and pushing a man are actually different.  In the first example there is no direct connection so that part of our brain never kicks in and we perform a non-emotional cost/benefit analysis.

 

Someone had a youtube video of a talk about this on the forum a while ago.  A doctor talking about triage and euthanasia at a hospital during Katrina at some atheist conference.  I can't find it in search.  Sad

But, pulling a lever and pushing a man are different.

If you hadn't been there to do either (pull/push), the end result would have been the same. Maybe the best choice is to do nothing?

 

How are they different?  In both cases your actions directly result in humans living or dying.  The only difference is your hand coming into contact with a person or a lever.  The single man on the other train track doesn't deserve to die any more than the fat man on the bridge.  Both would survive without your intervention.  The difference is purely your viewpoint, isn't it?

 

If you do nothing, could you rationalize the fact that you could have easily saved lives, but chose not to?  By not acting, you've let a greater amount of suffering happen...instead of one grieving family you've got three, in the second example you might have hundreds of grieving families, versus one.

 

Like Brian says, there is no, "right" answer...but maybe there is?  Why can't we quantify suffering?  Why can't we say that one hundred units of suffering is worth more than one unit of suffering, and act on that equation?

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Sandycane wrote:jcgadfly

Sandycane wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

As a fat man, if I were faced with that option I'd probably go ahead and jump.

Good point...here's another scenario: what if it were not a fat man but a beautiful woman or, George Cluney? Would a woman react differently than a man, depending on who they had to push?

That is a good point.  It exacerbates the problem...you don't change the rational outcome, but it makes the instinctual response to avoid the more direct action even stronger!  If we were truly rational, it wouldn't change the outcome at all.  But of course if would change the outcome.

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mellestad wrote: How are

mellestad wrote:
 

How are they different?  In both cases your actions directly result in humans living or dying.  The only difference is your hand coming into contact with a person or a lever.  The single man on the other train track doesn't deserve to die any more than the fat man on the bridge.  Both would survive without your intervention.  The difference is purely your viewpoint, isn't it?

There is a definite difference in your choice of 'weapon'... one is an inanimate object, the other is a living human being. Who can say the value of the life of one is any less than the accumulated value of many? See: Einstein vs. Crack Head reference.   

Quote:
If you do nothing, could you rationalize the fact that you could have easily saved lives, but chose not to?  By not acting, you've let a greater amount of suffering happen...instead of one grieving family you've got three, in the second example you might have hundreds of grieving families, versus one.
Maybe it is better for humanity as a whole that the herd be thinned by a train load of people instead of one fat man on a bridge. To assume it is better for many to survive an accident rather than one, is, well, being human. Hurricanes aren't particular in who or how many they kill.

 

Quote:
Like Brian says, there is no, "right" answer...but maybe there is?  Why can't we quantify suffering?  Why can't we say that one hundred units of suffering is worth more than one unit of suffering, and act on that equation?

I don't think you can...it comes down to one individual making a decision based on the circumstances at the time. There is an episode of MASH that comes to mind... where many people are hiding in a cramped space and a woman is holding her baby. The baby starts to whimper. She puts her hand over the baby's face and smothers it. Did she do the right thing? Only she can say.

 

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Sandycane wrote:mellestad

Sandycane wrote:

mellestad wrote:
 

How are they different?  In both cases your actions directly result in humans living or dying.  The only difference is your hand coming into contact with a person or a lever.  The single man on the other train track doesn't deserve to die any more than the fat man on the bridge.  Both would survive without your intervention.  The difference is purely your viewpoint, isn't it?

There is a definite difference in your choice of 'weapon'... one is an inanimate object, the other is a living human being. Who can say the value of the life of one is any less than the accumulated value of many? See: Einstein vs. Crack Head reference.   

Quote:
If you do nothing, could you rationalize the fact that you could have easily saved lives, but chose not to?  By not acting, you've let a greater amount of suffering happen...instead of one grieving family you've got three, in the second example you might have hundreds of grieving families, versus one.
Maybe it is better for humanity as a whole that the herd be thinned by a train load of people instead of one fat man on a bridge. To assume it is better for many to survive an accident rather than one, is, well, being human. Hurricanes aren't particular in who or how many they kill.

 

Quote:
Like Brian says, there is no, "right" answer...but maybe there is?  Why can't we quantify suffering?  Why can't we say that one hundred units of suffering is worth more than one unit of suffering, and act on that equation?

I don't think you can...it comes down to one individual making a decision based on the circumstances at the time. There is an episode of MASH that comes to mind... where many people are hiding in a cramped space and a woman is holding her baby. The baby starts to whimper. She puts her hand over the baby's face and smothers it. Did she do the right thing? Only she can say.

 

 

Yea, but your answers are now starting to be led by "assume".  To make a decision in this case, don't we have to assume that all participants in this little drama are equal?

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Brian37 wrote:It has been

Brian37 wrote:

It has been postulated in psychology. A national magazine article, Time or Newsweek, I forget which it was, postulated the following and of course I am paraphrasing. I want to expound on this example with something more long term as far as our species's future.

The article was not postulating a right or wrong answer but speculating what personality types would do what?

The example was if there was a train out of control barreling down the track and the passengers were sure to die, but the only way you could save them was to push a fat man off the bridge above to derail it to stop it from hitting another train, sure to kill more than the one person you shoved off the bridge? Would you do it?

Now, while I thought Bush was an asshole of a President, I myself, if it had been possible to do at the time, WOULD have given the order to shoot down the passenger liners on 9/11 to prevent them from hitting their targets.

NOW, that is just me, and the article never claimed right or wrong either way.

TO EXPOUND on this example.

Lets say as far as the future of humanity as an example.

If you knew the only way to save the species as a whole was to submit it to the likes of Kim Jong Ill, or have the entire species obliterated by a nuclear war, would you surrender?

Now, I am NOT postulating the permanent existence of such tyranny as a result of surrender. Just the thought that if it gave a future possibility for our species survival short term, would you surrender if it meant long term saving the species?

PLEASE PEOPLE, do not make this about labels or nationality. I am strictly talking about human psychology. You can replace Kim Jong Ill with Darth Vader, it is just a "what if" example.

 

 

We constantly either consciously or unconsciously deal with these moral conundrums. The classic example is what I call the hamburger dilemma. Every hamburger patty corresponds to a significant amount of CO2 emission ie. from all the steps from the dead cow to the meat section in the grocery store. By eating that delicious Big Mac I am contributing to global warming. Yet because we don't feel the immediate effects of global warming like an inflamed appendix, the moral outcome seems so far removed. Now let me come up with another example while I devour my Whopper......

Ah! let's modify the fat man example. Supposing a raft is sinking rapidly and on it are 10 newborn infants and a morbidly obese guy who literally requires a crane to move. You and a group of other samaritans have the choice of quickly rescuing the 10 infants and let the fat guy sink and die or vice versa. Those are your only choices. The vast majority of people would let the fat guy croak. In fact I would venture a guess that to think otherwise would be considered immoral.

Yet another example comes to mind. Supposing the only qualified Neurosurgeon who can successfully operate on your child's brain tumor is a Nazi. And the reimbursement for the surgery will go towards funding a Holocaust Denial Center. Would you let your child die for the sake of the greater good or look out for number one (ie. yourself and your family)?

Boy that Whopper was good.


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A more likely scenario is

A more likely scenario is forced submission to Islam and Sharia law. I think this will likely happen one day.

 

I may feign surrender because the alternative is death. But I would look for a way to escape or to attack the people enslaving me.

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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The people on the train are

The people on the train are going to die through no fault or action of your own, but if you pushed someone in front of the train you'd be a murderer. It's focusing on the fact that it's worse that more people die rather than less people, instead of the fact that it's worse to violate someone by pushing them than to allow them to make the decision to jump. While you have no moral obligation to intervene, you probably do have a moral obligation to refrain from committing murder. 

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ragdish wrote: We

ragdish wrote:
 We constantly either consciously or unconsciously deal with these moral conundrums. The classic example is what I call the hamburger dilemma. Every hamburger patty corresponds to a significant amount of CO2 emission ie. from all the steps from the dead cow to the meat section in the grocery store. By eating that delicious Big Mac I am contributing to global warming. Yet because we don't feel the immediate effects of global warming like an inflamed appendix, the moral outcome seems so far removed. Now let me come up with another example while I devour my Whopper......
True but, I am aware of the issue and I do eat very little meat. Next...

Quote:
Ah! let's modify the fat man example. Supposing a raft is sinking rapidly and on it are 10 newborn infants and a morbidly obese guy who literally requires a crane to move. You and a group of other samaritans have the choice of quickly rescuing the 10 infants and let the fat guy sink and die or vice versa. Those are your only choices. The vast majority of people would let the fat guy croak. In fact I would venture a guess that to think otherwise would be considered immoral.
  Easy. Save the babies...the fat guy should float long enough to get the crane.

Quote:
Yet another example comes to mind. Supposing the only qualified Neurosurgeon who can successfully operate on your child's brain tumor is a Nazi. And the reimbursement for the surgery will go towards funding a Holocaust Denial Center. Would you let your child die for the sake of the greater good or look out for number one (ie. yourself and your family)? Boy that Whopper was good.
Easy. Have the surgery. No one asks their doctor what they do with their income. Now, if I were asked to participate in killing Jews in order to be eligible for the child's surgery, that would be a much more difficult decision to make.

'Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.' A. Einstein


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Sandycane wrote:Brian37

Sandycane wrote:

Brian37 wrote:

Sandycane wrote:

I'm not sure I understand what question you are asking.

Two wrongs don't make a right...If the fat man volunteered to sacrifice himself, great. Pushing him off against his will is wrong. Imo.

And the psychologists they quoted made this point, and I think that either way life is a crap shoot. But what would you say to the family members of the passengers who died if you didn't do that? You are placing that one life as being more important than all the others.

The point to the psychology was not right or wrong, but more along the lines of what types of personalities would do what.

I see your point, but you are also making a life and death decision with the people on the train, not just that one person. Remember, it' isn't about wanting or not wanting to do it, but about what you would do.

What I would say, I think, is that I'm not god, don't decide who gets to live and who gets to die and that their loved ones were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Another thing to consider...what if the man you decide to push off the bridge were Einstein and those on the train were crack heads? If that were true, wouldn't it better to save the one and let the many die?

That is what makes these examples neither right or wrong. What if you didn't push that same guy off the bridge and he went on to have a kid that grew up to be a cereal killer? What if you were an abortion doctor and you gave Hitler's mother an abortion?

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Gauche wrote:The people on

Gauche wrote:

The people on the train are going to die through no fault or action of your own, but if you pushed someone in front of the train you'd be a murderer. It's focusing on the fact that it's worse that more people die rather than less people, instead of the fact that it's worse to violate someone by pushing them than to allow them to make the decision to jump. While you have no moral obligation to intervene, you probably do have a moral obligation to refrain from committing murder. 

Exactly.

ps, I've never seen an avatar quite like yours before.

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Sandycane wrote:jcgadfly

Sandycane wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

As a fat man, if I were faced with that option I'd probably go ahead and jump.

Good point...here's another scenario: what if it were not a fat man but a beautiful woman or, George Cluney? Would a woman react differently than a man, depending on who they had to push?

If it were Rush Limpdork it would be a no brainer.

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Brian37 wrote:Sandycane

Brian37 wrote:

Sandycane wrote:

Brian37 wrote:

Sandycane wrote:

I'm not sure I understand what question you are asking.

Two wrongs don't make a right...If the fat man volunteered to sacrifice himself, great. Pushing him off against his will is wrong. Imo.

And the psychologists they quoted made this point, and I think that either way life is a crap shoot. But what would you say to the family members of the passengers who died if you didn't do that? You are placing that one life as being more important than all the others.

The point to the psychology was not right or wrong, but more along the lines of what types of personalities would do what.

I see your point, but you are also making a life and death decision with the people on the train, not just that one person. Remember, it' isn't about wanting or not wanting to do it, but about what you would do.

What I would say, I think, is that I'm not god, don't decide who gets to live and who gets to die and that their loved ones were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Another thing to consider...what if the man you decide to push off the bridge were Einstein and those on the train were crack heads? If that were true, wouldn't it better to save the one and let the many die?

That is what makes these examples neither right or wrong. What if you didn't push that same guy off the bridge and he went on to have a kid that grew up to be a cereal killer? What if you were an abortion doctor and you gave Hitler's mother an abortion?

So, maybe the next questin is:

Is there such a thing as Karma, Fate or Free Will?

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Brian37 wrote:Sandycane

Brian37 wrote:

Sandycane wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

As a fat man, if I were faced with that option I'd probably go ahead and jump.

Good point...here's another scenario: what if it were not a fat man but a beautiful woman or, George Cluney? Would a woman react differently than a man, depending on who they had to push?

If it were Rush Limpdork it would be a no brainer.

Agreed. But, it would still be murder.

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Sandycane wrote:Gauche

Sandycane wrote:

Gauche wrote:

The people on the train are going to die through no fault or action of your own, but if you pushed someone in front of the train you'd be a murderer. It's focusing on the fact that it's worse that more people die rather than less people, instead of the fact that it's worse to violate someone by pushing them than to allow them to make the decision to jump. While you have no moral obligation to intervene, you probably do have a moral obligation to refrain from committing murder. 

Exactly.

ps, I've never seen an avatar quite like yours before.

That's my favorite avatar. It's so inappropriate it's almost scary.

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geeze louise

It don't matter how fricking fat the guy is, he ain't stopping no train no how.  Maybe if he were pushing a 1/2 ton (1,000 pounds US, a little less than 500 Kilo) he would slow the train down.  But even if he were that large, he would almost certainly be little pieces of fat flying through the air and all the people are going to die anyway.  They may die from vomiting at that point.  You could derail the train by putting a rail road spike on the rail - my father-in-law actually did that when he was a kid.  But then, some people would still be at least injured and there is a possibility someone might die when the train derailed.  Better than deliberately killing a fat guy, IMNSHO.

The boat and kids and fat guy.  Tie a rope around the fat guy's ankle, attach it to your boat.  Save the kids.  The fat guy will float - fat floats real good - and he has lots of insulation.  Row like hell for the nearest rescue boat.

The problem with these stupid ethical dilemmas is they always assume two actions when there are usually a couple of dozen floating around.  You just need a little imagination.  Someone holds a gun on you and says - "jump off into the Grand Canyon or I'll shoot you".  My response is always, so I drop and roll, knock the guy's feet out from under him and whomp his ass.  Or maybe I start whacking him with my walking cane.  I don't have to jump off the cliff and I don't have to stand there and allow him to shoot me.

Imagination - creativity - don't think outside the box, throw the stupid box away.

 

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cj wrote:It don't matter how

cj wrote:

It don't matter how fricking fat the guy is, he ain't stopping no train no how.  Maybe if he were pushing a 1/2 ton (1,000 pounds US, a little less than 500 Kilo) he would slow the train down.  But even if he were that large, he would almost certainly be little pieces of fat flying through the air and all the people are going to die anyway.  They may die from vomiting at that point.  You could derail the train by putting a rail road spike on the rail - my father-in-law actually did that when he was a kid.  But then, some people would still be at least injured and there is a possibility someone might die when the train derailed.  Better than deliberately killing a fat guy, IMNSHO.

The boat and kids and fat guy.  Tie a rope around the fat guy's ankle, attach it to your boat.  Save the kids.  The fat guy will float - fat floats real good - and he has lots of insulation.  Row like hell for the nearest rescue boat.

The problem with these stupid ethical dilemmas is they always assume two actions when there are usually a couple of dozen floating around.  You just need a little imagination.  Someone holds a gun on you and says - "jump off into the Grand Canyon or I'll shoot you".  My response is always, so I drop and roll, knock the guy's feet out from under him and whomp his ass.  Or maybe I start whacking him with my walking cane.  I don't have to jump off the cliff and I don't have to stand there and allow him to shoot me.

Imagination - creativity - don't think outside the box, throw the stupid box away.

 

Lol, I think you're missing the point cj.

*Edit* Well, I doubt you are 'missing it' Smiling  Come on, be a sport!

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It seems like the cut worm

It seems like the cut worm doesn't forgive the plow after all. They don't bother asking if you would jump in front of the train yourself because of course nothing could be worth so much. If the greater good is so good I wonder why only others need to die for it.

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Gauche wrote:It seems like

Gauche wrote:

It seems like the cut worm doesn't forgive the plow after all. They don't bother asking if you would jump in front of the train yourself because of course nothing could be worth so much. If the greater good is so good I wonder why only others need to die for it.

The point of the question is the person next to you has some attribute that you don't have.  In the example it should be made clear that you are unable to sacrifice yourself (The man is fat enough to derail the train, you not).  I think the train de-rail example is pretty cludgy, maybe you can think of a better one.  The moral question is simply, "Is it better to kill one and save many or let many die".  The scenario just tries to make it plausible somehow.

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 We dealt with the fat man

 We dealt with the fat man question before my hiatus. And whether or not to push fatty depends on who is in the train. If it is a bunch of kids fatty is dead, if it is someone in my family fatty is dead, if it is some random people I'm not going to commit murder (unless I already had some reason to want fatty dead).

 

The President has to order the plane to be shot down. Me? I don't want to be President. 

 

As for the tyrant example, well if I was absolutely certain that resistance was futile and would lead to my destruction I would surrender in the short term but that would not stop me from attempting some sort of revolution over the long term. 

 

 

I just usually go with my own taste. If I like something, and it happens to be against the law, well, then I might have a problem.- Hunter S. Thompson


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Beyond Saving wrote: We

Beyond Saving wrote:

 We dealt with the fat man question before my hiatus. And whether or not to push fatty depends on who is in the train. If it is a bunch of kids fatty is dead, if it is someone in my family fatty is dead, if it is some random people I'm not going to commit murder (unless I already had some reason to want fatty dead).

 

The President has to order the plane to be shot down. Me? I don't want to be President. 

 

As for the tyrant example, well if I was absolutely certain that resistance was futile and would lead to my destruction I would surrender in the short term but that would not stop me from attempting some sort of revolution over the long term. 

 

 

What about this one?

"There is a train approaching a split in the tracks.  You are standing next to the lever that can re-direct the train.  If you let the train continue, it will kill three people stuck on the track.  If you pull the lever to re-direct the train, it will kill one person stuck on the alternate track.  Do you pull the lever?"

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mellestad wrote:Gauche

mellestad wrote:

Gauche wrote:

It seems like the cut worm doesn't forgive the plow after all. They don't bother asking if you would jump in front of the train yourself because of course nothing could be worth so much. If the greater good is so good I wonder why only others need to die for it.

The point of the question is the person next to you has some attribute that you don't have.  In the example it should be made clear that you are unable to sacrifice yourself (The man is fat enough to derail the train, you not).  I think the train de-rail example is pretty cludgy, maybe you can think of a better one.  The moral question is simply, "Is it better to kill one and save many or let many die".  The scenario just tries to make it plausible somehow.

The question is usually coupled with a second question about pulling a lever that will lead to less deaths (again never your own) so I think it is a valid point because the implication is pretty clear. This question isn't really that confounding from a moral standpoint though. If someone will meet with harm that you didn't cause you would be kind of a dick not to intervene at no cost to yourself, but it's universally accepted that you have no obligation, moral or otherwise. If you did you'd be  mass murderer already. 

This hypothetical situation presents not only no reason to intervene aside from the desire to be a good person, but also a very good reason not to intervene and to think you would be a bad person for doing so.

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Gauche wrote:mellestad

Gauche wrote:

mellestad wrote:

Gauche wrote:

It seems like the cut worm doesn't forgive the plow after all. They don't bother asking if you would jump in front of the train yourself because of course nothing could be worth so much. If the greater good is so good I wonder why only others need to die for it.

The point of the question is the person next to you has some attribute that you don't have.  In the example it should be made clear that you are unable to sacrifice yourself (The man is fat enough to derail the train, you not).  I think the train de-rail example is pretty cludgy, maybe you can think of a better one.  The moral question is simply, "Is it better to kill one and save many or let many die".  The scenario just tries to make it plausible somehow.

The question is usually coupled with a second question about pulling a lever that will lead to less deaths (again never your own) so I think it is a valid point because the implication is pretty clear. This question isn't really that confounding from a moral standpoint though. If someone will meet with harm that you didn't cause you would be kind of a dick not to intervene at no cost to yourself, but it's universally accepted that you have no obligation, moral or otherwise. If you did you'd be  mass murderer already. 

This hypothetical situation presents not only no reason to intervene aside from the desire to be a good person, but also a very good reason not to intervene and to think you would be a bad person for doing so.

I don't know, we've already had one volunteer for martyrdom.  I think the questions don't ask about sacrificing yourself because it isn't as interesting a question, plus most people have thought of those questions plenty of times on their own.  These questions are about getting people to think about morality in ways they have not approached before more than getting an actual answer.

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Well, the "right thing to

Well, the "right thing to do" may be a dubious concept but even assuming that it's not, I still don't think it is a good question because it implies one should measure others lives to determine the correct course of action  and that it's somehow forgivable to cause harm if it's in pursuit of what you consider to be a better outcome. But it's really a question of how hypocritical you are because while 9 out of 10 are willing to kill others for this great outcome only 1 out of 10 would kill themselves.

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mellestad wrote:Gauche

mellestad wrote:

Gauche wrote:

mellestad wrote:

Gauche wrote:

It seems like the cut worm doesn't forgive the plow after all. They don't bother asking if you would jump in front of the train yourself because of course nothing could be worth so much. If the greater good is so good I wonder why only others need to die for it.

The point of the question is the person next to you has some attribute that you don't have.  In the example it should be made clear that you are unable to sacrifice yourself (The man is fat enough to derail the train, you not).  I think the train de-rail example is pretty cludgy, maybe you can think of a better one.  The moral question is simply, "Is it better to kill one and save many or let many die".  The scenario just tries to make it plausible somehow.

The question is usually coupled with a second question about pulling a lever that will lead to less deaths (again never your own) so I think it is a valid point because the implication is pretty clear. This question isn't really that confounding from a moral standpoint though. If someone will meet with harm that you didn't cause you would be kind of a dick not to intervene at no cost to yourself, but it's universally accepted that you have no obligation, moral or otherwise. If you did you'd be  mass murderer already. 

This hypothetical situation presents not only no reason to intervene aside from the desire to be a good person, but also a very good reason not to intervene and to think you would be a bad person for doing so.

I don't know, we've already had one volunteer for martyrdom.  I think the questions don't ask about sacrificing yourself because it isn't as interesting a question, plus most people have thought of those questions plenty of times on their own.  These questions are about getting people to think about morality in ways they have not approached before more than getting an actual answer.

Martyrdom would imply I gave a rip about being remembered. The question I answered was simply the use of resources I happened to have.

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mellestad wrote:Beyond

mellestad wrote:

Beyond Saving wrote:

 We dealt with the fat man question before my hiatus. And whether or not to push fatty depends on who is in the train. If it is a bunch of kids fatty is dead, if it is someone in my family fatty is dead, if it is some random people I'm not going to commit murder (unless I already had some reason to want fatty dead).

 

The President has to order the plane to be shot down. Me? I don't want to be President. 

 

As for the tyrant example, well if I was absolutely certain that resistance was futile and would lead to my destruction I would surrender in the short term but that would not stop me from attempting some sort of revolution over the long term. 

 

 

What about this one?

"There is a train approaching a split in the tracks.  You are standing next to the lever that can re-direct the train.  If you let the train continue, it will kill three people stuck on the track.  If you pull the lever to re-direct the train, it will kill one person stuck on the alternate track.  Do you pull the lever?"

Again, depends on who the people are. I will direct priority towards those I love, then will come any kids.

I just usually go with my own taste. If I like something, and it happens to be against the law, well, then I might have a problem.- Hunter S. Thompson


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mellestad wrote:What about

mellestad wrote:

What about this one?

"There is a train approaching a split in the tracks.  You are standing next to the lever that can re-direct the train.  If you let the train continue, it will kill three people stuck on the track.  If you pull the lever to re-direct the train, it will kill one person stuck on the alternate track.  Do you pull the lever?"

 

Back to -- put a railroad spike on the tracks, the train will derail and every one is saved.  Tah-DAH!

 

Here you go - the scale in the background is in inches.  The full story is my father-in-law was young back in the 1930s in Nevada.  A lot of railroad traffic then and that line is one of the major ones that crosses the Rocky Mountains.  So the fun thing to do among the boys was to put a 10 penny nail on the track and the train would run over it and you would have a cool dagger or letter opener when the nail was flattened.  He thought a spike would make a cool sword.  The train was derailed when it tried to run over the spike.

 

In the US, nails are still sized as penny - based on the old English system.  10d or 10 penny is about 3 inches (76 mm) long and stout enough it is commonly used in construction of frames for houses, etc.  So imagine why a 10d nail at 3 inches long makes a good dagger while a railroad spike 10 inches long and many times thicker derails the train.

I get pissed about these kinds of ethical dilemmas because they aren't - ethical or a dilemma.  You really aren't being asked to think, you are being asked to make a choice based on a false dichotomy.  Sound familiar?

 

 

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Gauche wrote:Well, the

Gauche wrote:

Well, the "right thing to do" may be a dubious concept but even assuming that it's not, I still don't think it is a good question because it implies one should measure others lives to determine the correct course of action  and that it's somehow forgivable to cause harm if it's in pursuit of what you consider to be a better outcome. But it's a really a question of how hypocritical you are because while 9 out of 10 are willing to kill others for this great outcome only 1 out of 10 would kill themselves.

I don't understand why it is hypocritical to ask a hypothetical question.  The president question is exactly the same.

It is easy to create a situation where it is 'right' to kill some to save others, like shooting down a hijacked plane, but 'wrong' to kill a fat man to save a train full of starving orphans.  The 'fun' part is getting people to justify the differing reaction when the ultimate choice is exactly the same, no matter how you try to rationalize it: Kill few to save many.  Our culture and empathetic instincts make a simple equation very confusing and when pressed far enough you see how much of our moral sense is based on pure instinct first, *then* rationalized later.

Besides, I think it is a fair question...many people in positions of power are put into situations where they have to make these calls...soldiers, political elite, doctors, rescue and aid workers etc.  Like I said, the train scenario is sort of silly, you could get better examples.  The problem with better examples is when you give the problem within the context of something we're conditioned to have a response to people don't think the same way.  Everyone expects doctors to perform triage, but triage in some situations isn't any different than the hijacked plane, or the train example in fact, it is just different in our familiarity and how physically attached we are.

The problems are exploiting the psychological flaw of humans where our empathy works differently when we are standing next to another human.  A fighter pilot can drop a bomb that kills 500 people, but most would have a much harder time killing 500 people with a pocket knife.

 

My favorite morality discussion is animal rights, because most people's morality when it comes to animals has no basis in logic whatsoever.

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Given time to consider it

 

I might negotiate with this rotund gent for his sacrifice on behalf of the passengers but in the instant of decision I would not push him off. I'd probably ask him for a hug.

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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I didn't say that asking the

I didn't say that asking the question makes one a hypocrite, I was suggesting that ones answer may reveal that they are. If one is willing to jump in front of a train and push others then they are not hypocritical, they're a killer.

However, the question of what a president, soldier, doctor or police officer should do is a very different question because these people are contractually obligated to act.

It's not a good question as a moral question because it's not really about the right thing to do. Look at the response of another posters. If their friend was on one side then they would save their friend. That's fine, most people would but morality isn't a question of protecting your friends above others. What if your friend was on the track because they were drunk and the person on the other track was working? How would it be moral to kill someone who is just doing their job to save someone who is being irresponsible? It's a great question for determining what prejudices people have but not so much for determining the "correct" course of action from a moral standpoint.

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Gauche wrote:I didn't say

Gauche wrote:

I didn't say that asking the question makes one a hypocrite, I was suggesting that ones answer may reveal that they are. If one is willing to jump in front of a train and push others then they are not hypocritical, they're a killer.

However, the question of what a president, soldier, doctor or police officer should do is a very different question because these people are contractually obligated to act.

It's not a good question as a moral question because it's not really about the right thing to do. Look at the response of another posters. If their friend was on one side then they would save their friend. That's fine, most people would but morality isn't a question of protecting your friends above others. What if your friend was on the track because they were drunk and the person on the other track was working? How would it be moral to kill someone who is just doing their job to save someone who is being irresponsible? It's a great question for determining what prejudices people have but not so much for determining the "correct" course of action from a moral standpoint.

I think we can come up with examples where people in those professions have choices they are not obligated to make, either way.

How are those examples not morality?  Most of us don't believe in objective morality...can we argue that it is moral to let your family die to save strangers when we base our morality on enlightened self interest?

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mellestad wrote:I think we

mellestad wrote:

I think we can come up with examples where people in those professions have choices they are not obligated to make, either way.

How are those examples not morality?  Most of us don't believe in objective morality...can we argue that it is moral to let your family die to save strangers when we base our morality on enlightened self interest?

Those examples are moral questions but they are much different ones, and what one should do when they are obligated morally or contractually or otherwise doesn't tell us what others should do when they are not. It's a red herring. If you somehow caused the train to be out of control in the first place then it might be relevant.


 

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Ah, the trolley problem (

Ah, the trolley problem ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolley_problem ). A classic in the field of ethics Smiling

It isn't really important how you answer the question, because there is no "right" answer. Kind of reminds me of the Kobayashi Maru scenario *fg* The difference is, the purpose here is not to observe the reaction of the participant to a no-win-situation. And it is no examination of your creative thinking either. Instead, it is about how you reason your decision. The dilemma is a test which confronts a code of rules with different situations - and when you aren't willing to accept the result, then it shows you that your ethics are faulty. The strength of this thought experiment lies in the many aspects that can be addressed by innumerous variations: individual case vs. general rule, lifes of many vs. lifes of few, family members vs. strangers, criminals vs. innocents, adults vs. babies, responsibility for actions vs. responsibility for neglect, intent vs. outcome, personal ideals vs. laws of the society, certainty vs. probability and many more.

So the dilemma isn't meant to find the "best" solution for the scenario, but it is rather a quite useful tool to check on which values your moral system is based and whether it is logically consistent or not...


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Brian37 wrote:If you knew

Brian37 wrote:

If you knew the only way to save the species as a whole was to submit it to the likes of Kim Jong Ill, or have the entire species obliterated by a nuclear war, would you surrender?

 

Uh, of course.  You wouldn't have to threaten me with nuclear war either- Kim Jong is probably better than somebody like Bush, IMO; N. Korea primarily got screwed by sanctions and its loss of sustainable agriculture- and their hostile behavior has primarily been reactive in the past.  That's not to say their hostile actions are excusable, but they have reasons (and neither are the U.S.'s hostilities excusable).

It's hard to postulate on what would have happened had N. Korea not had agricultural problems with the war, or if they had better support in terms of food from Russia.

That kind of tyranny is a response primarily to supply limitations, poverty, and inadequate education and living standards- particularly in an unstable region that is still technically at war.

Stabilize the region, improve living conditions and education, slowly eliminate government corruption, and the tyranny can resolve on its own.

N. Korea is seriously f*cked up in some ways, but that's not all on the leadership- nor is it the likes of Bush's shining competence that makes the U.S. what it is.

 

Whether it's Kim Jong, Darth Vader, George Bush, or Osama bin Laden, the nature of a country's political atmosphere is largely derived from the socioeconomic conditions and the people, and not the whims of its rulers.  If you handed me N. Korea on a silver platter, I'd rule it with an iron fist too (deferring most of that to my generals)- if you gave me the states, likewise I'd mostly sit on my ass and do approximately jack shit.

 

Brian37 wrote:

PLEASE PEOPLE, do not make this about labels or nationality. I am strictly talking about human psychology. You can replace Kim Jong Ill with Darth Vader, it is just a "what if" example.

 

Doesn't have to do with labels or nationality; it has to do with the conditions matching, well, the conditions.  It is what it is.  The best and worst leaders can only augment that slightly, affecting minorities, or driving gradual change or catalyzing revolutions that were already on the brim of occurring. 

No offense, but your perception of the relationship between rulers and the countries they rule seems almost cartoonish :P  You talk about the world like it's ruled by James Bond villains.  Sure, that's a fantastic and 'sexy' way to imagine these 'powerful' people, but it's just not very realistic.

 

If you phrased your question in a realistic way, it would stop being a question.

 

"If the species as a whole was to be in poverty, would we be poor?"

 

So, I'm not really sure what you would be getting at here...


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What if virgins were on one

What if virgins were on one side of the track and sluts were on the other side? Sure either side would be grateful but who really wants the gratitude of virgins? I'd throw that lever twice just to be sure, but I guess that's why virgin sacrifice isn't that big of a sacrifice.

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mellestad wrote:My favorite

mellestad wrote:

My favorite morality discussion is animal rights, because most people's morality when it comes to animals has no basis in logic whatsoever.

 

The only time it doesn't have a basis in sound reason is where people aren't thinking about it, or are in denial / basing it on some mistaken belief such as a religion/souls.  I don't know that you can say it has no 'basis in logic' at all or not- depends on what you mean- most of those are just founded on faulty premises.

 

Usually comes down to:

A. "I have empathy for animals, so I give a shit, therefore I don't want to hurt them for personal gain."

 

Or:

B. "I don't have said empathy to an appreciable degree, so I don't give a shit, therefore give burger nao."

 

 

Where are either of these illogical?  Either you give a shit or you don't- those are the premises under consideration, and they're perfectly consistent and chemical ones, and have no bearing on the soundness of the logic.

 

The only major inconsistencies come in where somebody gives a shit, and engages in compartmentalization and elective ignorance. 

There's a small subset of, *usually* tween and teenage girls, though occasionally men and older women too, who campaign for animal rights (against animal testing, fur, hunting, etc.) and then go eat a McBurger.  That's really a minority, though (maybe 33% or so of the population, at most, in the states) so I don't think you can say "most" there.  Add up vegetarians and people who approve of hunting (presumably those who are at least somewhat internally consistent), and they far outweigh those who are highly inconsistent by some two to one.


Atheistextremist
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This is an interesting thread

 

 

in that there are such clear variations in what many of us strongly feel are baselines of our morality on the same issue.

No doubt these variations would apply equally to christians and I s'pose the feelings of rightness going on inside all our brains would remain generally similar.

I suggest these moral inconsistencies represent strong evidence that the Wholly Ghost is not doing his job.

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Gauche wrote:Well, the

Gauche wrote:

Well, the "right thing to do" may be a dubious concept but even assuming that it's not, I still don't think it is a good question because it implies one should measure others lives to determine the correct course of action  and that it's somehow forgivable to cause harm if it's in pursuit of what you consider to be a better outcome. But it's really a question of how hypocritical you are because while 9 out of 10 are willing to kill others for this great outcome only 1 out of 10 would kill themselves.

I had a drill instructor who's rule was "Homicide not suicide" The reasoning being that when you are in a war zone the person you are killing probably isn't Osama Bin Laden. Your killing some poor bastard who is doing the same thing for his country that you are doing for yours. In a different scenario it might be someone you would share a beer with. I think it is natural for us to put protection of ourselves and loved ones above the lives of others.

Now I would do something suicidal to save someone I loved but for a perfect stranger I would require at least a chance of my own survival. I think most people are probably the same way. For example, I could go to Sudan and save some lives but it would most likely lead to my own death so I'm not going to do it. Because I do value my life more than most others so I guess JC is a better man than me. Now if a bus is going to hit someone and I can push them out of the way I'm going to try. Yes it might lead to my death but I have a chance of survival as well and I am a gambler.

I just usually go with my own taste. If I like something, and it happens to be against the law, well, then I might have a problem.- Hunter S. Thompson


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Blake wrote:mellestad

Blake wrote:

mellestad wrote:

My favorite morality discussion is animal rights, because most people's morality when it comes to animals has no basis in logic whatsoever.

 

The only time it doesn't have a basis in sound reason is where people aren't thinking about it, or are in denial / basing it on some mistaken belief such as a religion/souls.  I don't know that you can say it has no 'basis in logic' at all or not- depends on what you mean- most of those are just founded on faulty premises.

 

Usually comes down to:

A. "I have empathy for animals, so I give a shit, therefore I don't want to hurt them for personal gain."

 

Or:

B. "I don't have said empathy to an appreciable degree, so I don't give a shit, therefore give burger nao."

 

 

Where are either of these illogical?  Either you give a shit or you don't- those are the premises under consideration, and they're perfectly consistent and chemical ones, and have no bearing on the soundness of the logic.

 

The only major inconsistencies come in where somebody gives a shit, and engages in compartmentalization and elective ignorance. 

There's a small subset of, *usually* tween and teenage girls, though occasionally men and older women too, who campaign for animal rights (against animal testing, fur, hunting, etc.) and then go eat a McBurger.  That's really a minority, though (maybe 33% or so of the population, at most, in the states) so I don't think you can say "most" there.  Add up vegetarians and people who approve of hunting (presumably those who are at least somewhat internally consistent), and they far outweigh those who are highly inconsistent by some two to one.

Most people will decry animal abuse, but are willing to be meat eaters.  I don't think there is any rational middle ground, morally.  Either animals are resources to be exploited, or they are beings with rights.

If the former, eat them, kill them, kick them, have sex with them, experiment on them, do whatever you want.  Be as nice as you want to when you have personal empathy, but don't whine about it when someone else does something that makes you feel bad.

If the latter, then they have to be treated humanely, which probably doesn't include murder factories and genetically modified dairy cows with painfully large udders waddling around in their own crap all day, right up until they get too old, *then* off to the murder factory.  Although you do have the problem of where to draw the line...mammals?  Brain capacity?  Bugs?  Fish?  Bacteria?  Why?

 

I'm of the former opinion, but I can respect the latter if they have some consistent reasoning.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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mellestad wrote:Most people

mellestad wrote:

Most people will decry animal abuse, but are willing to be meat eaters.  I don't think there is any rational middle ground, morally.  Either animals are resources to be exploited, or they are beings with rights.

If the former, eat them, kill them, kick them, have sex with them, experiment on them, do whatever you want.  Be as nice as you want to when you have personal empathy, but don't whine about it when someone else does something that makes you feel bad.

If the latter, then they have to be treated humanely, which probably doesn't include murder factories and genetically modified dairy cows with painfully large udders waddling around in their own crap all day, right up until they get too old, *then* off to the murder factory.  Although you do have the problem of where to draw the line...mammals?  Brain capacity?  Bugs?  Fish?  Bacteria?  Why?

 

I'm of the former opinion, but I can respect the latter if they have some consistent reasoning.

 

The latter opinion logically leads to Jainism where swatting mosquitoes is not allowed.

There is a middle ground, I like to think.  Most livestock is not bred for intelligence.  Who wants a cow that can open gates.  Some livestock is incredibly stupid and could not survive if released into the wild.  I have no problem with burgers - but I buy raw hamburger from a shop where they grind it on the premises from free range grass fed local beef.  True, the steers the meat comes from are castrated - but they also get to enjoy open pastures and real live grass before they are offed in as humane a fashion as it is possible.  How do I know?  Because stress causes the meat to be tougher.  So since it is considered "gourmet", I know they want the meat to be as tender as possible.  So they actively try to keep the stress to a minimum.  I do try to minimize fast food in general - not just hamburgers - and purchasing meat from unknown sources.  I know I'm not 100% successful but no one is perfect.

It is a similar reason for buying organic milk and milk products.  You have to pay attention to your cows' health if you want to get a reasonable amount of milk from them without using artificial hormones.  You can not give them bad feed and lousy living conditions and expect to get milk.  I am concerned about my intake of hormones, but the clincher is the way the cows have to be treated to get organic milk.  Oh yeah, pasteurization doesn't bother me because I am not interested in risking listeria or tuberculosis.  The very slight loss of nutrients doesn't compete with the very real consequences of catching any disease.

I rather agree with a few fantasies I have read.  Someone is given - in some fashion - the gift of speaking to animals.  For a few days they are strict vegetarians.  Then, they really start listening to what the hens and cows and so forth are saying - and they go back to eating meat.  I've raised chickens for eggs and meat for my personal consumption.  They really are that stupid.  I see no reason to be needlessly cruel, so I try to buy local chickens from local farms I at least know of their reputation.

Haven't we had this discussion before?  And you guys will argue over it until hell freezes over.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


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cj wrote:Haven't we had this

cj wrote:

Haven't we had this discussion before?  And you guys will argue over it until hell freezes over.

Smiling

-------

You are right, Jainism seems like a fairly rational path if you allow the initial assumption.

I agree, and personally I'm nice to the animals I care about.  I'm actually a big, pathetic softie and it makes me feel bad to see something suffer, more if it has big mammal eyes.  But I can't actually justify criticizing someone who, say, likes dog fighting.  If it doesn't make them feel bad, how can I criticize for having somewhat differing empathy when I base my animal treatment purely on how it makes me feel?

 

Lately I've been toying with the idea that violence against animals encourages the lowering of human life too, which might be a valid argument if someone could back it up with data...not sure how you would though.  Hard to compare crime rates between vegans and non-vegans because of the socio-economic disparity you'll find.  Is there a meat eating group that is as hipster as vegans?  I don't know.  And if you find out that say, dog fighting proponents, lack some capacity for empathy, what then?  You'd have to show that dog fighting was actually causing a change to behavior...and then I'd be interested to know how that change compared to, say, watching boxing.

I think even if you found such a thing though, it probably wouldn't compare to other sources of conflict, and so might not be worth the effort when there is other low hanging fruit that would have more of an impact.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.