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Dark_Arbitrator


This is a hard question that I thought of when I was just sitting around->

Would you kill an innocent child in cold-blood to cure mankind of all disease?
Carnal Malefactor
no.
Dark_Arbitrator
thats what i said, and also withount disease, there would be no population control.
hitokiri
depends..... do i get to patent the cure?
Carnal Malefactor
QUOTE(Dark_Arbitrator @ Jan 5 2005, 07:53 PM)
thats what i said, and also withount disease, there would be no population control.

Your question makes no sense, anyway.
Dark_Arbitrator
no sense?, simply fictional, would you kill a kid to save many other people.
Gashole
It's almost FMA-related. Would you kill people so you could make the Philosopher's Stone?
Dark_Arbitrator
yeah kinda.
Quistis88
QUOTE(hitokiri @ Jan 5 2005, 12:55 PM)
depends..... do i get to patent the cure?

laugh.gif

It's rather hard to answer, yes . . . but if I can kill the kid and save mankind, could I get someone else to do it for me? And furthermore, is there a guarantee that the disease will be cured after the death of the child?
Zio
Yes. Yes I would kill a child to save mankind from disease. That would be the ultimate cure for the Common Cold.

Got the cold? Kill a child! Got the flu? Kill a child! Got cancer? Ladies and Gentlemen, start your chainsaws!
ἀρχή
This is the classic ethics question that goes around everywhere. I hate answering it because if you were to investigate it realistically, you would find yourself wrestling with the answer.

It all comes down to whether the ends justify the means or whether one must do what is right just because it is right. Part of the issue here is that realistically humans do not have omniscience, which means there is no proof that whatever was necessary to save mankind would actually work. In addition to this, we don't know whether it's the case that the decision actually doesn't need to be made (i.e. the disease could be cured on its own through some mutation, but will change humanity forever).

So, to answer it using a utilitarian system, you have to be prepared for uncertainties. It may seem reasonable that those uncertainties are small risks, but on the other hand if you had a society where it's ok to kill one for many, you may find that many are getting killed for the greater many (where does it stop/who makes the decisions).

Anyway, that's part of the whole dilema. It's just a puzzle that I've always hated seeing and most answers don't fit the real question either. The ultimate question being asked is whether it's ok for the ends to justify the means even though you will never know what the ends actually are (no one here is omniscient I don't think - well, maybe quisitis and Kase, but no one else I'm sure).
Slashrose1010
I don't think the ends justify the means. Because the child has nothing to do with world disease. Did the child create ebola, smallpox, or anthrax? Why kill something so pure and innocent? Though, if it really did cure all disease... the reward (if you can even call it that) is so great. What is one child weighed against hundreds of thousands that will die here, Europe, third world countries and all other countries. I'm afraid I'd have to say.... yes. I would kill a child if it ended world disease "Permanently"! I don't want the diseases mutating and building up a resistance against our "miracle cure" and having us kill a child in vein.
hitokiri
oh and by the way i thought about it the and my answer is yes but only if i'm either guaranteed to get away with it or the authorities are ok with it. yeah yeah cure humanity is nice and all but prison....not so much.
mei-tenshi
Who decides which child would be sacrificed?

People in the old days sacrificed children, also for what they believed was the greater good. We look back on it now and it's considered barbaric. Would our descendants think the same of us if we sacrificed the kid?

But forget about what the descendants think. What's the worth of a cure if it's stained with blood?

Besides, cure one disease and there are countless others. Where do we stop?

But if it's absolutely necessary and there's an almost-guarantee that it would work, the kid should at least decide for him/herself if he/she wants to do it.

If it were up to me, though, then the answer's no.
Shou-chan
As long as all diseases are cured and authorities have no problems, I say yes. Call me cold-hearted but, the way I see it, the lives of all people who are affected by the diseases outweighs the life of one child.
Quistis88
Wow, I never knew there were so many utilitarians on this message board. biggrin.gif
mei_tenshi
^^ me neither, Quis, me neither.

Curing a disease doesn't make the world perfect for everyone, nor does it make us any better off. There's always something else to fill the void. Another disease will take the place of the one that's just cured, and would you take another life to cure that one? It's a continuous cycle.
ἀρχή
Yes, it's actually typical for people to be utilitarian, which is very sad. I wish people were more deontological in their ethics, but hey, utilitarianism feels good. Well it feels good until you're the child to be sacrificed ohmy.gif
Quistis88
Maybe we could counter this tendency to be utilitarian by teaching Kant early in school. huh.gif
ἀρχή
They first have to teach Kant at all. Schools don't teach philosophy anymore in secondary ed. They wait until college for at least the american system. It's a shame. Then you get all these people who would kill children for the hope of curing diseases - it's a scary world isn't it blink.gif
Quistis88
I still don't understand why Philosophy isn't taught earlier. sad.gif And it's because most people don't make it to college that they never receive this sort of education, which results all these utilitarians. Ugh.
ἀρχή
Technically studying philosophy won't solve utilitarianism, but at least people will think.

My favorite is when people think that Vulcan logic is actually logic. It's not a logical necessity to say, "the good of the many over the good of the few or one". It's just as logical technically to say, "the good of the one is greater than the good of the many" tongue.gif.
alchemist349
QUOTE(Zio @ Jan 5 2005, 01:44 PM)
Got the cold? Kill a child! Got the flu? Kill a child! Got cancer? Ladies and Gentlemen, start your chainsaws!

God,you're an evil bastard.
Quistis88
QUOTE(alchemist349 @ Jan 5 2005, 06:14 PM)
QUOTE(Zio @ Jan 5 2005, 01:44 PM)
Got the cold? Kill a child! Got the flu? Kill a child! Got cancer? Ladies and Gentlemen, start your chainsaws!

God,you're an evil bastard.

Actually, I found that comment quite funny. biggrin.gif Is there something wrong with me?
Ailuro
QUOTE(Quistis88 @ Jan 5 2005, 05:17 PM)
QUOTE(alchemist349 @ Jan 5 2005, 06:14 PM)
QUOTE(Zio @ Jan 5 2005, 01:44 PM)
Got the cold? Kill a child! Got the flu? Kill a child! Got cancer? Ladies and Gentlemen, start your chainsaws!

God,you're an evil bastard.

Actually, I found that comment quite funny. biggrin.gif Is there something wrong with me?

Not at all. I was actually laughing when I read it. tongue.gif
Slashrose1010
Well sorry. I never said it was ethically correct, but people are likely to die by some disease anyways: Cancer, aids, hepatytus, malaria, etc. If theyare likely to die by disease I don't see how this is EXTREMELY terrible. I wouldn't kill them unless they volunteered anyways. I couldn't bear the guilt. I see what you guys mean, and if it really helps soooo many people how can it be bad. I would kill myslef if it cured all diseases.

I do see that there are other problems and there will be new ones to come along... If all disease was wiped off the face of the earth than longevity would definitely go up. Population would soar and there would not be enough houses, food, water and other materials for everyone.... I guess I shouldn't kill that person. But you can't blame the people that would (not entirely) they are looking at the broader picture.

None of this really matters because man will destroy himself (woman, herself smile.gif) Global warming will probably kill us. The ice caps are melting and Bush isn't exactly environmental friendly. Also, our eating habbits (at least the Americans) are terrible. We are taking from nature but we take more than we give back. Our resources are limited and we take the atmosphere for granted. We will be our own undoing, not disease.
alchemist349
No,but i'm watching my ass.I 'm only 12.
Slashrose1010
No at what?
Quistis88
QUOTE(Ailuro @ Jan 5 2005, 06:18 PM)
Not at all. I was actually laughing when I read it.  tongue.gif

Oh, good. Then I'm not alone. laugh.gif Or is it just us?
Falling_Man
When I first read this, I thought about Jesus dying to save all, even though he was innocent. (no sin committed)
(yeah, I might be stepping over boundaries, or on some toes, but so be it.)

Then I thought about it. Hard decicion. unsure.gif

...

Spared the child. Even if he did cure everyone, I don't have a guarentee on it.
It's not like I can check every single person for sickness. And killing 'em would weigh on mind too much.
ἀρχή
QUOTE(alchemist349 @ Jan 5 2005, 08:20 PM)
No,but i'm watching my ass.I 'm only 12.

You'd better with all these utilitarians around laugh.gif
Quistis88
QUOTE(arche @ Jan 5 2005, 06:32 PM)
You'd better with all these utilitarians around  laugh.gif

laugh.gif

Yes, who knows what they're capable of . . .
ἀρχή
They might come after the old folks

*hides*
Slashrose1010
We're capable of a REVOLT (JK™)

I converted in the past 20 minutes tongue.gif
ἀρχή
Here's a hard question for you?

Do you save your child or your spouse/significant other if only one of the two can be saved.

In this case all things are equal - it takes the same amount of time to save either one and there is no possibility of saving both. Let's say it's from a burning building to give it context. Also you have no physical limitations on being able to save either one, so each one is as easy/difficult to save. You are also guaranteed to be able to save only one if you try, but you can also save neither with inaction.
Thievesvinegar
Deontology gets all screwy with mankind. Thank god there are natural causes.
Slashrose1010
Errrr.... I suck at questions like these.... I suppose. Well how old is my child. My wife. I suppose. Because she is my spouse. I don't think I could learn to love anyone as much as the person I will marry. I know, it sounds terrible that I left my child for dead. Why must you torment me with such questions?
ἀρχή
Most of it depends on if there's moral objectivity. That's a hard issue to deal with also, but I typically appeal to theology on that one as my cop out answer.
Carnal Malefactor
Killing children is an inevitable part of life.

Er... wait...
Quistis88
Hmm, hard indeed. We could turn this into an ethical dilemma thread. biggrin.gif

I'd choose to save my significant other. There must be a reason why I married him, right? And it'll be quite hard to find another I would love in that way, and if he survives, we can always have more children.

It's similar to this one question where if you have to choose to save your mother or your significant other. In that scenario, I would've chosen my mother, because I can only have one biological mother, whereas I can always choose to have another husband.

Of course, in both cases, it depends on the level of attachment you have to each person, I suppose. Correct me if I'm wrong.
ἀρχή
YOu see, for me it's my daughter I would save I believe. Either that or I'd lose both due to inactivity (shock).

A child is very attaching, so it's hard to rationalize that you can always have another. In the same way you can still love another (it happens all the time).
Quistis88
That's true. I still cannot completely comprehend that aspect of the solution though, as I've never had any children of my own.
Carnal Malefactor
I hate vague questions.

I wish I could kill people for asking them.
Slashrose1010
I agree. The level of attachment is definitely what I would base my actions on in an instant dilemma. I think I might save my child though because a grown woman can escape easier than a child.
Thievesvinegar
QUOTE(arche @ Jan 5 2005, 05:41 PM)
Here's a hard question for you?

Do you save your child or your spouse/significant other if only one of the two can be saved.

In this case all things are equal - it takes the same amount of time to save either one and there is no possibility of saving both. Let's say it's from a burning building to give it context. Also you have no physical limitations on being able to save either one, so each one is as easy/difficult to save. You are also guaranteed to be able to save only one if you try, but you can also save neither with inaction.

You also can consider their abilities to benifit mankind, the one with the most to offer should be saved. Using the burning house cliche, a priest and women are trapped. Considering their abilities in relation to benifiting mankind, the priest ought to be saved. Then other issues come into play, who actually has the authority to decide and deem another dead, if the priest, still a human being is better than the women who might be considered more holy, et cetera. But then again, should the means or the end, or both be taken into consideration.

One World By Peter Singer is a excellent book for this.
ἀρχή
This isn't vague at all. It's in fact quite specific.

The problem is that there is no rationality involved here. Notice your own responses. There's nothing that you can do to actually reason one over the other. In all, you make an emotive decision probably based on your gut feeling at that time.

It's a no win/lose situation. You cannot be judged right or wrong for it, but you can at least realize that you are being irrational regardless of which decision you make. The only losing decision is to do nothing, but that is a decision many would not choose, but would do.
Slashrose1010
Philosophy is soo hard.. Your questions are never answered and more always arise.
Quistis88
Is that not what Philosophy is mainly composed of? Questions and more questions?
Carnal Malefactor
QUOTE(arche @ Jan 6 2005, 01:56 AM)
This isn't vague at all. It's in fact quite specific.

The problem is that there is no rationality involved here. Notice your own responses. There's nothing that you can do to actually reason one over the other. In all, you make an emotive decision probably based on your gut feeling at that time.

It's a no win/lose situation. You cannot be judged right or wrong for it, but you can at least realize that you are being irrational regardless of which decision you make. The only losing decision is to do nothing, but that is a decision many would not choose, but would do.

No. It is vague. There are no details in the parameters. I mean, is the child the patient zero of some deadly and highly communicable disease that threatens to wipe out humanity if he/she leaves his quarantine? If that's the case, then yes, I'd slash the brat's stomach open if I was all that stood between him and a crowded city street, without a second thought. If not, then hurting an innocent child wouldn't even cross my mind.
ἀρχή
Both child and significant other are simply helpless beings about to die. They are nondescript. That means the only real choice is between old or young. It's specific enough for the question - which boils down to irrational decision anyway.

Even if you take the consideration of someone who is "valued" in society and someone who isn't. How do you rate value and then do it at the same time you are stuck watching a burning building. It's more emotive than rational. On the other hand, if you rationalize too much, you could be wrong anyway. There's no guarantee that the "worthless" person isn't someone who solves all the worlds problems or inspires the events to solve the worlds problems.

Anyway, whoever created the topic asked for this! I hate these discussions too, but I'll get into them when they're offered.

What's philosophy? It's just about thinking hard about the world. It's nothing more than that. If you think about things, then you are doing a sort of philosophy.
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