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 Psychological experiment

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Caligula
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 9:48 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Hello all. Not so long ago I was presented with a famous dilemma in my ethics class in uni. (Don't worry, this is not a thread about the ethics of scambaiting, so don't go in that direction). I'd like to hear what your opinions are. The dilemma goes as follows:

1.Suppose you are standing next to a train track, where it splits up in 2. On the right way of the track there are 5 people, on the left just 1. You are standing next to the switch to make the train go left or right. If you don't touch the switch, the train will go right and kill all 5 people. If you do flip the switch, it goes left and just kills the one. There is no way to warn the people on the track, the ONLY thing you can do is flip the switch. Will you do it?

2.Now suppose you are standing on top of a bridge over those train tracks. Again, in the distance there are 5 people standing on the tracks, and you cannot warn them for the coming train. However, next to you there is an incredibly obese guy. If you give him a push he will fall on the tracks, and he is THAT heavy that the train will stop. As you aren't fat enough you can't jump yourself to save those 5 others. If you don't push him, the 5 will die. If you do, only the fat guy dies. Will you push the guy off the bridge?

Note - all lives are equally important. It's not that it could be 5 lads on the track and Mother Theresa Wink. They are all of the same value.

I'm curious for your answers and the reasoning (if any) behind it. There is no right or wrong answer, just be as honest as you can be about it. I'm just wondering who the people are that would act the same way as I would.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 9:56 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

i'll probably get a slap for being completely evil, but i'd actualy go for the 5 people, not out of spite or anything, but on the assumption that the 5 people are either a family, or really just shoudn't have been on the tracks in the first place (theres a train coming ya know, didn't they see it in the distance :/). IF it was a family, at least there'd be no one left to feel the pain of the rest of their famiy killed, and in losing one family, i'd be saving another family from being broken (after all, that one person is just as important to his/her family as the entire family is to each other)./ If they just weren't supposet to be on there in the first place, then sucks to be them.

Eitherway i'd have a guilty consience slapping me all the way to hell and back again Wink

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Nanny Ogg
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:02 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

1/ You are in danger yourself being so close to the track with a train speeding down.
Run for safety and hope the folk on the track catch the sight of someone fleeing and get away.
Mind you if they cant spot a thundering great train bearing down on them...

What if you divert the train onto the track with the one guy and its a siding where the train crashes killing all aboard?
The passengers chose to be on the train, the others chose to walk onto a train track, who am I to choose their fate?


2 /Pushing the fat guy is murder
If he's fat enough to stop a train I doubt I'd be able to push him off anyway.
Then if he's that bulky would the train not derail and possibly kill tens, hundreds?
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Caligula
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:05 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

To rule out the 'they're idiots for being on the tracks' arguement I will add that they were tied down there by a psychopath. They were just 6 innocent people he idnapped on the street. They aren't related to eachother whatsoever. Just 6 John Does.

Oh, and don't worry, I used the idiocy aswell in my very first answer Very Happy

And to reply to Nanny Ogg;

Nobody on the train would get killed. The train will get to his normal destination without a problem. The only ones in danger are the people on the tracks

And, the fat guy is struggling to keep his balance. He would just need a gentle push Wink He would stop the train without derailing it, it's a perfect situation.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:37 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I'm just glad I'm no longer in college! Very Happy

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:57 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I've studied this one before. It's a very interesting dilemma.

A lot depends on wether you see yourself as morally culpable by being active or inert.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolley_problem

As you can see, the problem can be expanded on even further and more variables can be added.

My personal opinion is to be active. I would choose the option that leads to the least loss of life.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:45 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

If all the lives are equal, then it doesn't matter if the train goes left or right, since they have the same value.

Personally, I'd track down the idiot that put me in charge of the switch.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 12:43 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I would go for the least loss of life.

To make the decision really easy I would picture the single guy on the tracks, and the fat bastard on the bridge, as SOOI.


For those that would take inaction and let the five die, it would be interesting to keep increasing the numbers. Now there are 6, 7, 45, 100, 4567 people on the doomed track, what would be their breaking point?

Edit: I would like to add a comment on this topic from one of the greatest philosophers of our time.

Quote:
Spock: "... logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few".

Kirk: "Or the one".

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Wurzgnubbel
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 7:47 am Reply with quoteBack to top

This dilemma ist often used in questionings for people who claim that they can't serve in the military (which is still required for young people in Germany) because their conscience forbids them to kill people. So they are "tricked" into admitting that killing people can eventually serve a good cause.

That's why I really don't like this kind of dilemmas, they are obviously trying to prove a pointless point.

There are several variations of this, too, each one suggesting that killing someone can really, really be a great idea for whatever reason.

I would say it's a tragic situation, where whatever you do or don't do leads to a catastrophe. Aristoteles has described this pretty well ahead of the time or railroads, bridges and obesity. Almost every classic tragedy play has a tragic dilemma. So what do we all learn from this?

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Caligula
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 7:59 am Reply with quoteBack to top

It certainly wasn't my purpose to come to the conclusion that killing someone can serve a good cause. With the experiment almost all people answered the same thing; they would flip the switch but they would never push the fat guy off the bridge. I was one of the exceptions and said I'd push the fat guy off the bridge aswell, because I didn't see the difference between both situations.

I mean, both times I would be sacrificing the life of one, to save five others. I didn't quite understand why most people say that you would be less guilty by just flipping a switch.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 8:24 am Reply with quoteBack to top

What if you were the fat guy? Would you mind being pushed down? Would you jump?

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Caligula
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 8:29 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Good question! Laughing

I think, that if I was fat enough to stop a train on its tracks, my life would be pretty dull and worthless, so I'd jump.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 8:33 am Reply with quoteBack to top

My view is that you don't have the right to play God as an individual who has an option not to get involved. From a legal perspective too, the minute you intervene to make a decision you are actually getting involved in murder. Though there is a possibility that doing nothing can be construed as a criminal act, as both options involve loss of life, then I believe doing nothing would not make you liable to prosecution.

The same applies to the second option. If you are the pilot of a plane or a train driver, then the position is different. You would endeavour to take the option that you believe will lead to the least loss of life, whether your life is at risk or not.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 9:54 am Reply with quoteBack to top

GomerPyle wrote:
My view is that you don't have the right to play God as an individual who has an option not to get involved. From a legal perspective too, the minute you intervene to make a decision you are actually getting involved in murder.



The legal perspectives are questionable as well and there has been plenty of discussion about which way the law would swing. There's no right or wrong answer regarding legality just as there is with morality.
What I do find interesting is that your answer speaks a little about you - you're more interested in avoiding jail than saving lives, you selfish git!! Very Happy

Heh. But self interest is also part of the problem. How would you feel saving one and losing five or vice versa? How would you live with it? Would it affect your decision?
So I'd also have to question your statement about not being involved. As you are present at the scene, you are already involved. Therefore, you are going to be complicit whichever action you decide to take.

Another way of looking at this problem is to compare it with the bombing of Hiroshima in WW2. Conspiracies aside, it was an action that destroyed the lives of many human beings to avert the loss of many more (statistical analysis claiming that many millions of casualties would have occured if an invasion of Japan was required).
In the case of Japan, it was an enemy and not really comparible with the neutral figures given within the Trolley Problem, yet there are still many on the Allied side who say that dropping the bomb was morally reprehensible.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 10:31 am Reply with quoteBack to top

GomerPyle wrote:
My view is that you don't have the right to play God


Yes I do, as an Atheist I have that privilege. Sorry SOOI, off the bridge you go, you fat bastard.

Edit: So speaks an Atheist pragmatist.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 12:07 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Slightlyoutofit wrote:
I would choose the option that leads to the least loss of life.
Has someone taken over SOOI's account, this is just so not him! Smile
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 1:18 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

People may pick to flip the switch as they may feel in there minds that flipping the switch is a little less personal involvment then getting sweaty and pushing a fat man.


i would personally push the fat man! its funnier! Very Happy
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 1:58 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Hello.

Well, i'm new here, but just joined to participate in this conversation. Sorry. :p

Well, I read your topic, which did give me some thought, so I threw it up for though on a channel in the IRC. This is what I got so far.

Quote:
<Zephyr> A trolley is running out of control down a track. In its path are 5 people who have been tied to the track. Fortunately, you can flip a switch, which will lead the trolley down a different track to safety. Unfortunately, there is a single person tied to that track. Should you flip the switch?
<MrBloodworth> yep
<Zephyr> As before, a trolley is hurtling down a track towards five people. You are on a bridge under which it will pass, and you can stop it by dropping a heavy weight in front of it. As it happens, there is a very fat man next to you - your only way to stop the trolley is to push him over the bridge and onto the track, killing him to save five. Should you proceed?
<MrBloodworth> yep.
<Zephyr> Intresting.
<Zephyr> A brilliant transplant surgeon has five patients, each in need of a different organ, each of whom will die without that organ. Unfortunately, there are no organs available to perform any of these five transplant operations. A healthy young traveler, just passing through the city the doctor works in, comes in for a routine checkup. In the course of doing the checkup, the doctor discovers that his organs are compatible with all five of his dying patients. Suppo
<Zephyr> se further that if the young man were to disappear, no one would suspect the doctor.
<MrBloodworth> next?
<Zephyr> Pardon the spam.
<Zephyr> What would you do?
<MrBloodworth> Buh bye traveler.
<thorgot> There are five hostages held by the Joker at an abandoned carnival, but only two held by Two-Face at a pair of banks. As Batman, which do you save?
<LastAndroid> Both
<thorgot> correct
<Zephyr> Bloodworth, so you're viewing it from a completely utilitarian point of vieW?
<MrBloodworth> The ones held by the joker. Two-face is less likley to kill the hostages.
<MrBloodworth> I usually do.
<thorgot> no, last got it MrBloodworth. You're Batman, so you are prepared in some way to save them all.
<Zephyr> Bloodworth, what if you were the traveller?
<Zephyr> Bad luck?
<MrBloodworth> As the traveler, i dont think i have a choice.
<Zephyr> Assuming the doctor asked nicely, what would you say?
<MrBloodworth> Thats a whole town VS. one guy who dosnt know why everyone is buying him drinks =)
<MrBloodworth> The doctor would not ask.
<Zephyr> Assuming.
<Zephyr> "Dear sir, Your organs are compatible with all 5 of my dying patients"
<MrBloodworth> If it was just a part that i had two of mabye, but 5 parts..chances are i need atleast one to live.
<Zephyr> You would die if you donated.
<Zephyr> Would you do it, knowing that if you refused, all 5 would die?
<MrBloodworth> Nope.
<Zephyr> And why not?
<MrBloodworth> Self preservation.
<LastAndroid> Depends on the specifics, most likely they wouldn't last too much longer anyway
<Zephyr> Don't get me wrong, i'm just trying to see the results of this thought experiment
<Zephyr> Bloodworth, so as long as it's not you, you can kill to save other people?
<MrBloodworth> Correct.
<Zephyr> So you are saying you can play God, and take control of other's lives, even without their choice?
<MrBloodworth> Correct.
<MrBloodworth> I am a human.
<Zephyr> That reminds me eeriely of Jigsaw.
<Zephyr> Actually, on to that.
<Zephyr> Have you watched the SAW series?
<MrBloodworth> Humans are complicated creatures. And hypocritical by nature.
<LastAndroid> the instint of self preservation usually overides the thought of doing things for the greater good
<MrBloodworth> Just the first. the rest were not good.
<Zephyr> Could you be jigsaw?
<MrBloodworth> Correct android.
<MrBloodworth> No. He killed for ideals that i do not beleave in.
<MrBloodworth> His own.
<Zephyr> But the basis of what he did. Putting people through traumatizing experiences to better their lives from your point of view. Would you do it?
<LastAndroid> I haven't seen those movies, but it sounds like an extreme way to do it
<Zephyr> But why?
<MrBloodworth> Thats what he thought he was doing.
<Zephyr> According to your answer with the doctor experiment, won't the logical method be to do that?
<MrBloodworth> Not the same.
<Zephyr> What's the difference?
<MrBloodworth> The doctor situation is a baseline truth. Jigsaw was one mains personal truth.
<LastAndroid> you try to do the most help with the least amount of hurt
<Zephyr> Android, what would be your answer to the Doctor thought experiment?
<Zephyr> @Bloodworth, thanks for your answers.
<LastAndroid> I don't know if I can answer it that simply
<Zephyr> I don't mind paragraphs.
* Scoth apparently missed a lot since he has no idea what y'all are on about Smile
<LastAndroid> It would depend on many variables and specifics that I don't have, so I can't really make a good call
<Zephyr> Last, go on. What variables, what specifics.
<Zephyr> Scoth, the trolly thought experiment
<LastAndroid> However I would say that from what I would guess most likely the 5 people are not too healthy and are either old or ill, so they most likely wouldn't last too long
<-- Niallite has quit (Connection reset by peer)
<LastAndroid> The traveler has a chance for a long healthy life
<MrBloodworth> Not if he goes through that town. =)
<MrBloodworth> Fate is a bitch.
<LastAndroid> Without knowing the health of the people or how they would contribute to society it's hard to decide though
<Zephyr> Lastandroid, assuming that all 5 would be perfectly healthy after an organ transplant, and they would live same long, healthy lives. x5, since there are 5 people.
<MrBloodworth> Yeah, i only answered with the info given.
<Zephyr> Bloodworth, you wouldn't mind me quoting you?
<MrBloodworth> Then again, i have always ruled with a socialist monarchy.
<MrBloodworth> For what?
<MrBloodworth> lol
<LastAndroid> well, if your going to simplify it then 5>1, but I have a hard time doing that
<Zephyr> Android, and what's the dilemma you're having? Could you elaborate?
<Zephyr> Bw, shh. P:
<LastAndroid> Given only what you posted I would choose to save the 5 people, but expanding that and using my experience and knowledge I would choose the travler since I don't have enough information to make a real choice
<Zephyr> What information do you need?
<MrBloodworth> You dont h ave time to make a "real" choice.
<Zephyr> Bloodworth, but now, you have the time to stop, and think.
<LastAndroid> this is why I hate hypothetical questions
<MrBloodworth> I wouldn't change my initial response.
<Zephyr> Android, they're meant to be for you to hate :p
<MrBloodworth> Feelings an morality are complications that only worsen the situation.
<-- Annalise ([email protected]) has left #wurm
--> Annalise ([email protected]) has joined #wurm
* Fo gives channel half-operator status to Annalise
<MrBloodworth> wow, that was very Vulcan.
<Zephyr> So no morals, then?
<Zephyr> To make your life easier?
<MrBloodworth> No time for morals.
<MrBloodworth> Not my life we are talking about =)
<Zephyr> And we're back to self preservation. :p
<MrBloodworth> The right thing can, and commonly is, devoid of human created morals.
<Zephyr> So, Lastandroid?
<LastAndroid> Real life is infinately more complicated, like what if you knew that one person
<Zephyr> You don't.
<Zephyr> New guy, new arrival to the town.
<MrBloodworth> Preservation of loved ones always trumps strangers.
<LastAndroid> Like I said, given what you said save the 5 people
<MrBloodworth> The 5 would die if i knew the stranger.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 4:24 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

If it were actually me at the switch. I would use my cell to contact the yard to stop the train before the switch. Trains are required to slow (to approx. 25-30 mph) for switch spots (at least in the US) for safety to ensure the switch light is accurate. In addition, the fools on the track would become aware of the trains approach due to the frantic blasts of the air horn (another safety reg) and would no doubt move off the tracks. Therefore saving all of the foolish sheep standing on the tracks anyway. Idiots. By the by, I would get my sweet ass out of dodge hella fast while making the phone call.

They were not indicated as tied down becuse of the fact I could not warn them indicating the ability to warn them would effect their movement. The question is rife with errors and can be defeated by knowledge and logic.

I bet we could safari a bunch of lads to recreate this on real tracks somewhere? For scientific purposes of course.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 4:30 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I would do nothing simply because if I pushed the fat guy it would be murder. I would probably go to prison, then hell. And then I would feel like an idiot for doing something nice (trying to save the family) and screwing up the rest of my life. Smile
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 4:40 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Question two.

Knowing what it takes to stop a train (average loaded out at 120 [email protected],000 lbs. a piece at 35-40 mph = 1 or so miles to stop completely) the obese man would be unmoveable by myself or by any living being short of herd of bull elephants. The people would be able to move at the blast of the whistle, again. Very odd surroundings having people wandering the tracks around a switch and below a bridge. It in itself doesn't sound right.

Sounds like the writers of the questions were involved in an accident involving an improbability drive. Anyone ever bait for one of those yet?

edited- I misread the question, but the man is still too big to push if he can stop the train. Therefore unless another means of warning the train or persons on the tracks is available all die (except the fat guy, well maybe congestive heart failure later).

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Tastysnack
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 6:03 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

The "Test" is that more people feel comfortable with pushing the switch that kills 1 person versus the 5.

However the problem becomes more difficult if the participant has to activly "push" the fat man into the path of the train.

Same result for both tests. But mentally, people find that is easier to use the switch.

This is similar to the rational of a firing squad. Not ALL the rifles are loaded, thus giving each participant in the execution a small degree of flexability to decided if in fact they "participated" in the execution.

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Badgerbait
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 6:37 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Members of a firing squad usually volunteer, as one could not be summarily selected (you are talking civilian, right? cause in the military firing squads shoot those who would kill or cause them to be killed and that is justification enough for a soldier), thus implying the members of said squad don't mind shooting a convicted murderer.

Trivia Question! Last execution by firing squad of a convicted murderer in the U.S. occured when and who was it?

Also, prefectly innnocent people and convicted murderers are like apples and oranges. People have differing resolutions based on that alone, that is changing the value of bystanders.

If the scenario with the fat man were to change to say I could move the man large enough to stop a train, then the resulting answer would be to stop the train with my great strength and save all.

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I have arrived in Moscow. Has gone to bank and to me have told that there is no such transfer for me!!!!
What does it mean? You played with me? If it so that you very much the cruel man and I am assured of that that the god will see your cruelty.
Explain to me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! - Alena Byk0va
-----------
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Klaasvaak
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 7:06 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

If we shoved all obese men in front of trains the world would be a better place

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HitchHiker
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 7:09 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

The answer to the OP is

Save the girl with the biggest T....

Embarassed
Sorry. Tasteless and sexist all in one go.
I shall now retire and subject myself to a good flogging.

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