Killing Hitler?

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Karpel Tunnel
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Re: Killing Hitler?

Post by Karpel Tunnel » September 4th, 2018, 5:51 am

If you kill Hitler and it is best case scenario . no Holocaust, no WW2, say, you will still be killing people who are now alive.

In the best case scenario many more people will be alive rather than killed by the killing.

But I am not sure I want that responsibility. And I just realized, given my parent's lives, they might very well have never met. So there is also a personal aspect.

Steve3007
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Re: Killing Hitler?

Post by Steve3007 » September 4th, 2018, 6:34 am

Karpel Tunnel wrote:If you kill Hitler and it is best case scenario . no Holocaust, no WW2, say, you will still be killing people who are now alive.
By that line of reasoning, we shouldn't do anything at all, ever, because every single thing you do, sooner or later, results in a whole load of people not being born who would otherwise have been born (and vice versa) if you had acted differently.
But I am not sure I want that responsibility.
You already have it.
And I just realized, given my parent's lives, they might very well have never met. So there is also a personal aspect.
We're onto the paradoxes of time travel now. Terminator or Bill & Ted? I prefer Bill & Ted.

Eduk
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Re: Killing Hitler?

Post by Eduk » September 4th, 2018, 6:34 am

Feels like the ultimate sunk cost fallacy there Karpel.
I don't think you are properly considering the great cost to the world that was the holocaust. Personally I would expect, if it hadn't happened, that in many aspects of life such as quality of life, art, music, science and so on that things would be measurably better than they are now. Perhaps that is just me being optimistic but can you imagine the lose of culture, family and damage.
Also the whole would I be me thing is with the benefit of hindsight. Personally I would say something like a holocaust would reduce the chances of me existing.

Karpel Tunnel
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Re: Killing Hitler?

Post by Karpel Tunnel » September 4th, 2018, 7:27 am

Eduk wrote:
September 4th, 2018, 6:34 am
Feels like the ultimate sunk cost fallacy there Karpel.
I don't think you are properly considering the great cost to the world that was the holocaust. Personally I would expect, if it hadn't happened, that in many aspects of life such as quality of life, art, music, science and so on that things would be measurably better than they are now. Perhaps that is just me being optimistic but can you imagine the lose of culture, family and damage.
Also the whole would I be me thing is with the benefit of hindsight. Personally I would say something like a holocaust would reduce the chances of me existing.
I looked up sunk cost fallacy - thanks for mentioning that - and I can't quite see how it applies. Further I was not arguing that is was moral or not to go back and kill Hitler, just saying that I would have problems with taking on the responsibility of kiling people who are now alive, including, very likely myself - though that is a separate issue.

I didn't raise an issue of would I be me. I think it is likely I would not be at all. My parents met twice in post-war Europe, both times purely by chance. My father served in the war and not having done that would likely have affected his choices and the timing of those choices, since he served a number of years after the war before they met. So it isn't would I be me, it's I would likely not be at all. Beyond that, it would likely NOT me. The chances that all the life changes for both of them - my mother's brother died in the war and this destroyed her mother - that even if they met both times and decided to meet the third time in the US, the chances that the same sperm would have hit the same egg seems astronomically small. Of course that's not a moral argument, but I would have a hard time killing Hitler for selfish reasons.

Back to the main issue. Right now those people are dead. They have nothing to lose. People are alive who would then be dead. I am sort of ressurecting a bunch of people - and creating their children, etc. - and killing others. I will not argue it is immoral, but I don't want to do that.

And this is best case scenario. That is, no other person comes in to Hilter's role - perhaps more slowly, perhaps more effectively, who knows.

I do understand the great cost of the Holocaust, but it has already happened. I don't know how to think about the rights of already dead people vs. the rights of currently living people. It all feels a bit like playing God.

Perhaps if we did this all the time, grew up managing time travel and rewriting history, that this was an ongoing thing I got used to, that would be something I could do. But as a magical exception, to suddenly ahve a kind of godlike power, I would rather pass.

I do think there is a kind of moral and prediction hubris in most consequentialism, though I am partly consequentialist mysefl.

Karpel Tunnel
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Re: Killing Hitler?

Post by Karpel Tunnel » September 4th, 2018, 7:34 am

Steve3007 wrote:
September 4th, 2018, 6:34 am
By that line of reasoning, we shouldn't do anything at all, ever, because every single thing you do, sooner or later, results in a whole load of people not being born who would otherwise have been born (and vice versa) if you had acted differently.
But they are already dead. I would be choosing to ressurect likely more people than I would be killing. But I would be killing people or unexisting people who are now alive. INcluding very likely myself, see my response to Eduk.
But I am not sure I want that responsibility.
You already have it.
No, I can't avoid affecting the future. Inaction also affects the future.

Now we are hypothesizing a miraculous exception where I am granted godlike powers - not Godlike - but some minor Greek diety at the least.

I think a little caution about thinking-hey I can weigh all the effects of this-would be good regarding current tech - nano, ai, gm.

Steve3007
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Re: Killing Hitler?

Post by Steve3007 » September 4th, 2018, 7:47 am

Both sets of my grandparents met and had children as a directly result of WW2, so i wouldn't be here either. But, then, I strongly suspect neither would anybody else in the world. They'd all never have been born. I think this would be true of even the ones who were born before WW2 because the chain of events leading to that war either happening or not happening didn't start there and then.

Eduk
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Re: Killing Hitler?

Post by Eduk » September 4th, 2018, 8:01 am

I looked up sunk cost fallacy - thanks for mentioning that - and I can't quite see how it applies.
Perhaps not a perfect fit. I was trying to say just because a bunch of really bad stuff happened and took us to this exact point doesn't really legitimise all the really bad stuff.
I didn't raise an issue of would I be me.
Talking past each other here slightly, I meant the same thing as you. My argument is that this is with the benefit of hindsight. Without hindsight such as knowing you exist if you pick scenario A (with holocaust) then the potential you would be better off picking scenario B (without holocaust).
Back to the main issue. Right now those people are dead. They have nothing to lose. People are alive who would then be dead. I am sort of ressurecting a bunch of people - and creating their children, etc. - and killing others
Yes, well fortunately time travel makes no sense. After all if you changed the past so that you no longer existed then you wouldn't exist to change the past and so on infinitely. I certainly don't want to get stuck in an infinite loop. To be honest I wasn't considering the time travel aspect, more what would be the right course of action if you had been there at the time.

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ThomasHobbes
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Re: Killing Hitler?

Post by ThomasHobbes » September 4th, 2018, 8:08 am

Steve3007 wrote:
September 4th, 2018, 7:47 am
Both sets of my grandparents met and had children as a directly result of WW2, so i wouldn't be here either. But, then, I strongly suspect neither would anybody else in the world. They'd all never have been born. I think this would be true of even the ones who were born before WW2 because the chain of events leading to that war either happening or not happening didn't start there and then.
So a pretty much empty reflection since none of us, born after 1940, would here here if Hitler had not started operation Barbarosa, and kept allied with Russia.
Of if The USA had not been attacked by Japan, or any number of petty things.

You would not have been born if your Dad farted 10 seconds before ejaculating as a different sperm would have made it.

I reckon that the slightest difference, say a bus breaking down in London in 1935 would have changed things sufficiently to have changed the trajectory of micro-history such that no one born after 20 years later the world over would have been conceived at a slightly different time. This change would continue to accelerate differences.

Karpel Tunnel
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Re: Killing Hitler?

Post by Karpel Tunnel » September 4th, 2018, 8:13 am

Eduk wrote:
September 4th, 2018, 8:01 am
Perhaps not a perfect fit. I was trying to say just because a bunch of really bad stuff happened and took us to this exact point doesn't really legitimise all the really bad stuff.
I don't think I am legitimizing, for example, the Holocaust.
Talking past each other here slightly, I meant the same thing as you. My argument is that this is with the benefit of hindsight. Without hindsight such as knowing you exist if you pick scenario A (with holocaust) then the potential you would be better off picking scenario B (without holocaust).
Ok, sure. I am using hindsight.
Yes, well fortunately time travel makes no sense. After all if you changed the past so that you no longer existed then you wouldn't exist to change the past and so on infinitely. I certainly don't want to get stuck in an infinite loop. To be honest I wasn't considering the time travel aspect, more what would be the right course of action if you had been there at the time.
Ah, Ok, perhaps I took us on a tangent. That's a whole other can of beans.

Karpel Tunnel
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Re: Killing Hitler?

Post by Karpel Tunnel » September 4th, 2018, 8:19 am

Steve3007 wrote:
September 4th, 2018, 7:47 am
Both sets of my grandparents met and had children as a directly result of WW2, so i wouldn't be here either. But, then, I strongly suspect neither would anybody else in the world. They'd all never have been born. I think this would be true of even the ones who were born before WW2 because the chain of events leading to that war either happening or not happening didn't start there and then.
Yes, this is a good point. I didn't extend my different sperm argument far enough. It is likely given all the small and large effects that at the very best the same parents would have genetically different children. So yes, a huge percentage of those alive today would not be. Just the changes in the news.

And now I see that my take on the OP included time travel, which might not have been the intention. But when it says that 'you'would have a chance, I could only interpret this as time travel. I weren't living then

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Re: Killing Hitler?

Post by Eduk » September 4th, 2018, 8:26 am

Ah, Ok, perhaps I took us on a tangent. That's a whole other can of beans.
Perhaps you should start a new thread :)
This is a bit like altruism. Let us say that I altruistically die while attempting to save the life of someone else. With hindsight it feels like a bad choice for me personally. You might question whether altruism actually is of personal benefit.
I would argue that it is. If you are prepared to risk your life altruistically then you increase the chances of existing in the first place, given that others also have altruism. Ideally we all would and this would give us the best potential chance of existing and be the best possible thing to do for personal benefit. In this sense altruism can be seen as purely selfish. By the way I am not arguing altruism is selfish, just arguing that it of personal benefit. It is only with hindsight that you can pick cherry pick the 'bad' results.

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Re: Killing Hitler?

Post by Karpel Tunnel » September 4th, 2018, 8:46 am

Eduk wrote:
September 4th, 2018, 8:26 am
Perhaps you should start a new thread :)
I'm glad I did, because I think I can now refute the morality of going back in time to kill Hitler. But actually I went back to the OP. It says if 'you' could kill Hitler between 1930 and something. Well, that has to be time travel. I claim innocence.

This is a bit like altruism. Let us say that I altruistically die while attempting to save the life of someone else. With hindsight it feels like a bad choice for me personally. You might question whether altruism actually is of personal benefit.
I would argue that it is. If you are prepared to risk your life altruistically then you increase the chances of existing in the first place, given that others also have altruism. Ideally we all would and this would give us the best potential chance of existing and be the best possible thing to do for personal benefit. In this sense altruism can be seen as purely selfish. By the way I am not arguing altruism is selfish, just arguing that it of personal benefit. It is only with hindsight that you can pick cherry pick the 'bad' results.
Well, if we are talking about the time travel scenario, I think with all the small and large effects, you are effectively eliminating the current populations of much of the world. A different sperm would have reached the eggs in all those wombs. Dad and Mom, even if they met, would likely have that critical sexual encounter at a slight different time, different position (if slight) and so on. You might still get a net gain, but that is taking on a huge responsibility. Most of Europe, The US, Russia, much of Asia, Australia canada, and heck even the news would affect people in countries less directly affected by the war.

Yes, General, I will head into the machine. Tell everyone in the US and Europes and...to say goodbye to their loved ones. Soon they will no longer have existed.

As far as me personally. I am certainly not saying it is wrong to sacrifice yourself for some greater good.

But again, in the time travel scenario, I get this monkey's paw don't mess with the universe and raise the dead warning bells.

Karpel Tunnel
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Re: Killing Hitler?

Post by Karpel Tunnel » September 4th, 2018, 8:47 am

Eduk wrote:
September 4th, 2018, 8:26 am
Ah, Ok, perhaps I took us on a tangent. That's a whole other can of beans.
Perhaps you should start a new thread :)
And I am not sure what can of beans it is. Do I know the future, that is the results of Hitler's actions?

Eduk
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Re: Killing Hitler?

Post by Eduk » September 4th, 2018, 9:04 am

But actually I went back to the OP. It says if 'you' could kill Hitler between 1930 and something. Well, that has to be time travel. I claim innocence.
Funny but I saw it as me existing in the past, but without time travel, more like an alternate timeline. Of course your interpretation is equally valid.
Yes, General, I will head into the machine. Tell everyone in the US and Europes and...to say goodbye to their loved ones. Soon they will no longer have existed.
Yes. Not something to be done lightly. I too would be inclined to damn the past and hold on to what I know. Time travel would perhaps cheapen life. This reminds me of a star trek voyager episode - year of hell (good episode by the way).

Karpel Tunnel
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Re: Killing Hitler?

Post by Karpel Tunnel » September 4th, 2018, 9:06 am

Eduk wrote:
September 4th, 2018, 9:04 am
more like an alternate timeline. Of course your interpretation is equally valid.
LOL, I thought of alternative timelines also, but that would require a whole new thread. The nice possible option with that is win win. Our timeline goes forward witht he Holocaust etc. in place, the other now goes forward without. Win Win. Best case, that is. Who knows if WW2 somehow prevented a nuclear WW2 later on. Our WW2 certainly might have made the Russians less trigger happy.

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