Would you murder an innocent child with your bare hands to cure cancer?

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Sculptor1
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Re: Would you murder an innocent child with your bare hands to cure cancer?

Post by Sculptor1 »

How would brutally murdering a child with yout bare hands cure cancer?

Hypotheticals are only interesting if they are not absurd and ridiculous.
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Terrapin Station
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Re: Would you murder an innocent child with your bare hands to cure cancer?

Post by Terrapin Station »

Count Lucanor wrote: May 6th, 2021, 11:19 pm This is another version of the trolley problem. I have always said the trolley problem is a pseudo-problem, not very useful to elucidate matters of moral reasoning. How does one get to the circumstance of a major benefit to mankind being dependent on one particular act of yours? Who put you in that position? Why does it have to be with your bare hands and not with a painless lethal injection? What is at stake from a moral perspective, the death of the child or the method of execution? Too many what ifs...
Yeah, it's not very practical, because there's almost never a situation like it proposes.
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Jake4020
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Re: Would you murder an innocent child with your bare hands to cure cancer?

Post by Jake4020 »

That's a question that is a step down a road towards total irrational ends. I mean why not 10 babies? Or why not a hundred? Or a thousand? What's the forecast of cancer deaths for the next ten years? Let's say you killed one less baby than the 10,000' that will die? Doctors gave to decide the fate of people all the time so do courts and it ain't for the cure for cancer it's because the money the got in the bank. And they aren't some blank slate baby. They are people with family's who depend on them and lives they have carved out for themselves threw much toil and trouble. Wait minute here's an answer. I wouldn't strangle the baby but I'd leave him on the side of the road for somebody else to deal with. And the cancer, well I ain't got cancer so sure if you want makes no difference.
Darshan
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Re: Would you murder an innocent child with your bare hands to cure cancer?

Post by Darshan »

Earthellism answers this difficult question. Indirectly this type of question was what happened in Nazi Germany in the last century. Hitler used this type of question to justify a genocide. The answer to that question is no because only a demonic creature (not God) would put someone in that position.
Hitler used a similar analog but instead of curing cancer, Hitler substituted save Germany or Europe or the human race.
Earthellism is a philosophy that prevents future genocides by explaining that when you murder an innocent child. you are a human devil and not a human being, To start a genocide one has to begin killing innocent women and children based on their race or religion or nationality. Since we are all God's children, God forbids all genocides which are really the the work of human beings who have become human devils here on earthell.
Only a human devil who craves to see innocent blood shed and innocent children die. would make such a request. When one does what a human devil wants you to do, you yourself become a human devil.
The real answer to the question is that one would sacrifice their life and not of the child to cure cancer if the human devil agreed.
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Re: Would you murder an innocent child with your bare hands to cure cancer?

Post by Alias »

Do I believe in human sacrifice?
That's what you're really asking. The peoples who did believe in human sacrifice had no qualms whatever about carrying out the requisite rituals - were, rather, honoured to be officiating. In many, if not most cases, the sacrificial victims - or their parents if they were very young - felt the same way.

No, I do not believe that any blood-thirsty gods are waiting on me to kill somebody before they grant my community the help it needs. Not even if they show up at the last minute, yelling "Haha, I was just kidding. Here's a nice ram in the thicket; you can keep your little boy."
I do not believe it.

Do I believe in any sacrifice? No.
I would not kill a child, a man, that ram in the thicket, a lamb, a chicken or even a mouse, as a trade-off for some god's intervention in biology.
What I would do is support responsible scientific research.
AverageBozo
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Re: Would you murder an innocent child with your bare hands to cure cancer?

Post by AverageBozo »

No, I would not commit the act of murder on an innocent child, of any age by any means. This, of course, means that my inaction will allow cancer to remain uncured and incurable.

I know that I am responsible for the consequences of my inaction, yet to take action, such as murdering a child, involves a commitment of moral energy. To fail to take action bears responsibility as well, however exactly because it doesn’t involve an intentional expenditure of energy, it doesn’t incur the same anathemas. Intention is the key to the degree of responsibility.

As for not curing cancer, I am confident that cancer will eventually be cured, whether I murder an innocent child or not.
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Re: Would you murder an innocent child with your bare hands to cure cancer?

Post by Ecurb »

Darshan wrote: May 9th, 2021, 10:38 pm Earthellism answers this difficult question. Indirectly this type of question was what happened in Nazi Germany in the last century. Hitler used this type of question to justify a genocide. The answer to that question is no because only a demonic creature (not God) would put someone in that position.
Hitler used a similar analog but instead of curing cancer, Hitler substituted save Germany or Europe or the human race.
Earthellism is a philosophy that prevents future genocides by explaining that when you murder an innocent child. you are a human devil and not a human being, To start a genocide one has to begin killing innocent women and children based on their race or religion or nationality. Since we are all God's children, God forbids all genocides which are really the the work of human beings who have become human devils here on earthell.
Only a human devil who craves to see innocent blood shed and innocent children die. would make such a request. When one does what a human devil wants you to do, you yourself become a human devil.
The real answer to the question is that one would sacrifice their life and not of the child to cure cancer if the human devil agreed.
God sacrificed his innocent only begotten Son to save the people from their sins (or so the story goes). I suppose Jesus agreed to his role, although He did ask if this cup could pass from Him (and then said, "But your will be done").

Was this sacrifice "human devilry"?

In marigold's thread about writing a Universal Constitution she wants to forbid the participation of religious people in government, because they would insufficiently worship the State. The good of the State (or the Collective) is always at odds with the good of the Individual. The Nazis and Communists both punished heresy -- they were far worse in that regard than Torquemada and his Inquisitors. But if we are to think collectives are of supreme importance, their position is not irrational. World Revolution promotes freedom and happiness, so it's worth torturing and killing a few million people to achieve that goal. Heresy will influence people to renounce their Christian ways -- surely it's worth torturing and executing some heretics (who will all die anyway) to save even one immortal soul.

Classical liberalism empahisizes the individual and individual rights and freedoms. Perhpas Scott's libertarian approach denies the realities of human society. But the fanatacism that abhors heresy to such an extent that it will torture and murder denies the notion that the means can never justify the end when the means are cruel and evil. Everyone dies; not everyone kills. The Christians have this one right, however misguided their premises. Murdering a child involves the corruption of one's soul, and that's more important than all the deaths in history.
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Re: Would you murder an innocent child with your bare hands to cure cancer?

Post by Dave Winslow »

Hard to say I could do it, but I went through the whole end justifies the means long ago, and I say it can. It would not therefore be a moral dilemma for me. It would be a matter of just how much horror I would put myself through in order to bring about what I believe to be the best outcome . I am not so brave, could easily shy from so horrible a task.

While I think it is worthwhile to think in the form of principles, scientific or ethical, choosing what to do in a given situation is more a matter of practical judgement, for me. Would I torture a man who knew how to stop the bomb that is set to kill millions, yes of course.
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Sy Borg
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Re: Would you murder an innocent child with your bare hands to cure cancer?

Post by Sy Borg »

Dave Winslow wrote: May 11th, 2021, 5:58 pm Hard to say I could do it, but I went through the whole end justifies the means long ago, and I say it can. It would not therefore be a moral dilemma for me. It would be a matter of just how much horror I would put myself through in order to bring about what I believe to be the best outcome . I am not so brave, could easily shy from so horrible a task.

While I think it is worthwhile to think in the form of principles, scientific or ethical, choosing what to do in a given situation is more a matter of practical judgement, for me. Would I torture a man who knew how to stop the bomb that is set to kill millions, yes of course.
That sounds very relatable. It's one thing to say you'd solve this particular "trolley problem" in theory, it's another to look at those big, pleading eyes and still ruthlessly cut the sprog down. I'd have the same problem killing a dog for the same reason, possibly even more so :lol:
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Re: Would you murder an innocent child with your bare hands to cure cancer?

Post by Ecurb »

Sy Borg wrote: May 11th, 2021, 8:39 pm
Dave Winslow wrote: May 11th, 2021, 5:58 pm Hard to say I could do it, but I went through the whole end justifies the means long ago, and I say it can. It would not therefore be a moral dilemma for me. It would be a matter of just how much horror I would put myself through in order to bring about what I believe to be the best outcome . I am not so brave, could easily shy from so horrible a task.

While I think it is worthwhile to think in the form of principles, scientific or ethical, choosing what to do in a given situation is more a matter of practical judgement, for me. Would I torture a man who knew how to stop the bomb that is set to kill millions, yes of course.
That sounds very relatable. It's one thing to say you'd solve this particular "trolley problem" in theory, it's another to look at those big, pleading eyes and still ruthlessly cut the sprog down. I'd have the same problem killing a dog for the same reason, possibly even more so :lol:
If we are to always behave following moral precepts that can apply to all humans (per Kant), then killing and torturing have (among others) this problem: We might come to like it. Torquemada may have had rational justifications, but I imagine that he also got a perverse thrill from his tortures. He corrupted his soul with the act -- and many attracted to such acts are likewise destroyed. This destruction might be worse than death. Sadists are not born, but made. Torturing people is terrible for those being tortured and for the torturers. Same with baby-killing.
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Dave Winslow
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Re: Would you murder an innocent child with your bare hands to cure cancer?

Post by Dave Winslow »

I think before I let a cancer cure slip through my fingers, I would do my all to bring it about. That would include the risk that I might enjoy killing a child. I'm pretty sure such is very improbable.

I agree, sadists are not born, but in my opinion, neither do they come to be as a result of making the hard decision this question poses or following up by acting upon that decision. What could possible explain coming to like killing a child, (or a dog)? My guess is that sadists are all people badly damaged in childhood.
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Re: Would you murder an innocent child with your bare hands to cure cancer?

Post by Ecurb »

You might not be a potential sadist, Dave, but if we are to follow the Kantian principle I mentioned above, then we must take the potential for sadism into account. In any event, I wouldn't do it. Why is a cure for cancer so great? Aren't all the cancer victims doomed anyway? "Man was born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward." (Job)
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Re: Would you murder an innocent child with your bare hands to cure cancer?

Post by Steve3007 »

Would you murder an innocent child with your bare hands to cure cancer?
My answer is "no" mainly because I think I'd probably be incapable of doing it, for reasons given by Sy and Dave and possibly others. Too horrifying an experience. Likewise, when it came to it, I probably wouldn't be able to bring myself to torture information out of somebody to save millions from being killed by a bomb. If I managed to become somebody who could do that, I suspect it might well not stop there. Empathy, and the protective instinct towards children, isn't something that can be turned on and off as required by a cost-benefit calculation.

Given that we're talking about unrealistic hypothetical situations here, how about this: There's a whole load of children who are actually just about to die from cancer and a single healthy child. You can press a button to remotely kill the healthy child and you know with certainty that the result will somehow be that all those ill children are miraculously cured straightaway (we do live in an instant gratification world).

Could I do that? Maybe. That's more directly an "is action more morally significant than inaction?" scenario.
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Sy Borg
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Re: Would you murder an innocent child with your bare hands to cure cancer?

Post by Sy Borg »

Steve3007 wrote: May 12th, 2021, 10:51 amYou can press a button to remotely kill ...
Everything is easier to do if you only have to press a button. The humble button is Archimedes' dream - the ultimate lever.

But there is an obvious danger when consequences are so drastically decoupled from the action. To some extent, that's the key problem with tensions online. People are famously more polite and considerate in person. Each step away from personal interaction - phones, then private messages, then public messages, divorces us from the sensitivities (and sometimes, dangers) of physical presence.

With great power comes great responsibility. If I had a Killer Button in the 70s and 80s, I might have done all kinds of things, albeit with later regrets. However, since I did not have a button that allowed me to incinerate those who bullied me at school and in the workplace, I can today pretend to be a moral person who would not dream of doing such a thing. Weakness can be a blessing :)
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Steve3007
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Re: Would you murder an innocent child with your bare hands to cure cancer?

Post by Steve3007 »

Sy Borg wrote:Everything is easier to do if you only have to press a button. The humble button is Archimedes' dream - the ultimate lever.
Yes, because I think our main driver is empathy. That would be the reason why it would be difficult, when it came to it, for most of us to torture somebody to extract information about a bomb that is going to kill a load of other people, no matter how much we try to imagine the suffering of the people who will be killed or injured by the bomb. I think most of us would be incapable of not empathizing with the suffering of the human being who is actually in front of us. So anything that makes the infliction of pain and/or death more remote "helps".
But there is an obvious danger when consequences are so drastically decoupled from the action. To some extent, that's the key problem with tensions online. People are famously more polite and considerate in person. Each step away from personal interaction - phones, then private messages, then public messages, divorces us from the sensitivities (and sometimes, dangers) of physical presence.
Yes, I think that decoupling is what allows most of the terrible things in the world to happen. That's why a fighter jet pilot can bomb a residential building. That and the psychology of the chain of command.
With great power comes great responsibility. If I had a Killer Button in the 70s and 80s, I might have done all kinds of things, albeit with later regrets. However, since I did not have a button that allowed me to incinerate those who bullied me at school and in the workplace, I can today pretend to be a moral person who would not dream of doing such a thing. Weakness can be a blessing :)
Yes! I've sometimes speculated how many fractions of a second the human race would survive if everybody on Earth had a button like that.
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