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The ethics of survival

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posted on Oct, 10 2014 @ 05:21 PM
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If you were in a spaceship with a broken engine that was drifting back to earth and you had 200 people on board, but only enough oxygen for 199 people to make it back to earth, and no one wanted to volunteer for death, would it be moral to execute one person so that the other 199 might live?

Would it be more moral to elect the person by vote, to have the leader select the person, or to have all 200 people draw straws randomly?

What if the number were greater than 1, how about 10% or 50% of 95%? At what rate should the entire ship just accept its fate and all go down together?

If it is immoral under any circumstances, is it justifiable to do the immoral things when survival requires it?




posted on Oct, 10 2014 @ 05:32 PM
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a reply to: Nechash

It is not necessary to kill one to save the others.

Just put one of them in a space suit, give them a parachute, and eject them just outside the atmosphere.

If a crazy Austrian can do it...



posted on Oct, 10 2014 @ 05:37 PM
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originally posted by: Nechash
If you were in a spaceship with a broken engine that was drifting back to earth and you had 200 people on board, but only enough oxygen for 199 people to make it back to earth, and no one wanted to volunteer for death, would it be moral to execute one person so that the other 199 might live?

Would it be more moral to elect the person by vote, to have the leader select the person, or to have all 200 people draw straws randomly?

What if the number were greater than 1, how about 10% or 50% of 95%? At what rate should the entire ship just accept its fate and all go down together?

If it is immoral under any circumstances, is it justifiable to do the immoral things when survival requires it?


This is one of the best questions I have heard in a long time.

And one of the best answers from true brit.

I would say could everybody breath less or put some under sedation to lower intake, failing that yes loose one to save the many.

How you would chose is the big question though. I would go for life expectancy minus inportance.



posted on Oct, 10 2014 @ 05:40 PM
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a reply to: Nechash

Everybody has their own line they don't like to cross. And sometimes that line is inverted (one death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic, etc).

I have a hard time believing there wouldn't be at least one person who would volunteer. Somebody old or wounded or just lost their spouse. If not, then I'd say it should be random, excluding anybody who's skill was critical in keeping the survivors safe. As far as if it were more than that many people? Well, it all depends on the people. You won't be able to talk a bunch of stingy egoists into offing themselves but if you had a group of like-minded and altruistic people who were spiritually secure in their own mortality, I'd say the problem would work itself out.



posted on Oct, 10 2014 @ 05:41 PM
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a reply to: TrueBrit

Captain Kirk! Nice to meet you in person.



posted on Oct, 10 2014 @ 05:43 PM
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originally posted by: Nechash
If you were in a spaceship with a broken engine that was drifting back to earth and you had 200 people on board, but only enough oxygen for 199 people to make it back to earth, and no one wanted to volunteer for death, would it be moral to execute one person so that the other 199 might live?


If there is only enough oxygen for 199 people, the 200th person will die on his/her own by lack of oxygen.



posted on Oct, 10 2014 @ 05:46 PM
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originally posted by: Cuervo
a reply to: Nechash

Everybody has their own line they don't like to cross. And sometimes that line is inverted (one death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic, etc).

I have a hard time believing there wouldn't be at least one person who would volunteer. Somebody old or wounded or just lost their spouse. If not, then I'd say it should be random, excluding anybody who's skill was critical in keeping the survivors safe. As far as if it were more than that many people? Well, it all depends on the people. You won't be able to talk a bunch of stingy egoists into offing themselves but if you had a group of like-minded and altruistic people who were spiritually secure in their own mortality, I'd say the problem would work itself out.


Could you ask for voulenteers and then pick the ones to go from those that chose not sacrifice themselves?

That would be an interesting way of going about it assuming they did not know that was the criteria?



posted on Oct, 10 2014 @ 05:51 PM
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originally posted by: nonspecific

originally posted by: Nechash
If you were in a spaceship with a broken engine that was drifting back to earth and you had 200 people on board, but only enough oxygen for 199 people to make it back to earth, and no one wanted to volunteer for death, would it be moral to execute one person so that the other 199 might live?

Would it be more moral to elect the person by vote, to have the leader select the person, or to have all 200 people draw straws randomly?

What if the number were greater than 1, how about 10% or 50% of 95%? At what rate should the entire ship just accept its fate and all go down together?

If it is immoral under any circumstances, is it justifiable to do the immoral things when survival requires it?


This is one of the best questions I have heard in a long time.

And one of the best answers from true brit.

I would say could everybody breath less or put some under sedation to lower intake, failing that yes loose one to save the many.

How you would chose is the big question though. I would go for life expectancy minus inportance.


In reality there is always one person in any group that just has a negative, nasty, pushy, arrogant personality. There would be plenty of people volunteering and willing to kill that SOB; no questions asked.



posted on Oct, 10 2014 @ 05:52 PM
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a reply to: smithjustinb

If everyone refused, most likely everyone would die, or very few would survive in the end.



posted on Oct, 10 2014 @ 05:53 PM
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a reply to: olaru12

Absent from the body, present with the Lord! Or so I hear. ;p



posted on Oct, 10 2014 @ 05:56 PM
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a reply to: TrueBrit

I'm....not Kirk, I....just look great...in red velour!

Honestly though, even if there was just barely a snowflakes chance in hell that it would work, I would volunteer to do the human meteorite routine myself. I would never expect anyone to do anything that I just would not.



posted on Oct, 10 2014 @ 06:07 PM
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a reply to: TrueBrit

They do grade this life thing on a curve, don't they? Because I think I just figured out who is top of the class and if you're setting the bar, I'm screwed. Dude, channel the 1970s a bit and tone it down. I expected to be able to cross out entire sections of this test due to personal shortcomings. ;p



posted on Oct, 10 2014 @ 06:17 PM
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originally posted by: Nechash
a reply to: olaru12

Absent from the body, present with the Lord! Or so I hear. ;p



or as in the case I illustrated....old scratch!!!



posted on Oct, 10 2014 @ 06:19 PM
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a reply to: olaru12

Well, you can't hardly be afraid of yourself, now can you? I doubt someone that awful would worry about meeting a brother in hell.



posted on Oct, 10 2014 @ 06:22 PM
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originally posted by: smithjustinb

originally posted by: Nechash
If you were in a spaceship with a broken engine that was drifting back to earth and you had 200 people on board, but only enough oxygen for 199 people to make it back to earth, and no one wanted to volunteer for death, would it be moral to execute one person so that the other 199 might live?


If there is only enough oxygen for 199 people, the 200th person will die on his/her own by lack of oxygen.


Although your comment brings nothing to the question in an ongiong sense I can not fail to agree with your logic and thank you for making me laugh a lot harder than I have done in a long time with a true statement of fact.

Thats the king of thing that makes you laugh 3 days later at a bus stop and scare people.



posted on Oct, 10 2014 @ 06:29 PM
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a reply to: Nechash

Well if it makes you feel any better, I drink more than I should, and I used to be a homeless wanderer. I have a foul mouth in person, and I have bad feet. I also have a liking for sharp objects. There is something about a keen edge that really sets my spine to tingling.

Bar lowered!



posted on Oct, 10 2014 @ 06:37 PM
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a reply to: TrueBrit

Shwew! I thought I was going to have to rectify myself there for a minute.



posted on Oct, 10 2014 @ 06:43 PM
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a reply to: smithjustinb

Ok. I get what you are saying now. Either way you go about it, the 200th person was going to die anyway. Killing them only changes the fate of the other 199. Sorry, my brain gets stuck on stupid 99.9999% of the time and then I have these sudden flashes of normalcy. I'll get there eventually if you allow me to meander.



posted on Oct, 10 2014 @ 07:05 PM
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Rock, paper, scissors.

It's the answer to all of lifes conundrums.



posted on Oct, 10 2014 @ 07:27 PM
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a reply to: CranialSponge

It could be interesting. The most likely to die would be those least lucky, worst at statistics and worst at anticipating the actions of others. Repeated over generations and you would give rise to a bunch of anointed mathematical empaths.




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