It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


hypothetical ethical question

page: 1
<<   2 >>

log in


posted on Aug, 26 2010 @ 08:32 AM
With all the talk about climate change and renewable energies etc.....

Here is a hypothetical question to do with ethics of how far people would go in the name of the planet.

Now lets pretend that an alien civilization exists and makes contact with us.
The are so impressed by the work some are now trying to do to help the planet that they decide to share with us their power secret of free energy.

They construct theirpower plants all over the world, 1 in every city and ask us if we are now ready to turn it on, of course we would agree, now the question.

In order to produce the free power to each and every person in the cities, it requires 1 person to enter the power plant to be used as the fuel source.

1 person per week for the first year
2 people a week for the following year
the older they get, the more frequently people are required to enter.
each plant lasts for 10 years and can only be replaced after the first expires.

as the Alien civilization see the body and life differently than us, they have no problem with using their own as a power source.

Once the power plant is started it cannot be turned off and if it does not get a person entering as a source of fuel, the plant will release toxins and pollution into the atmosphere at 5 times the rate than they are now. causing a pollution blanket to envelope the globe restricting sunlight.
the power plant will only run if the person entering is still alive and we do not know what happens to the person in the power plant or even how it works.
all we know is that they don't come out.

so the ethical question is,
1. would we allow this type of power supply to be used in order to save the planet as it has absolutely no emmissions and in fact helps the atmosphere?
2. volenteers would start to dry up and then how would it be determined who is used to power the plant.

posted on Aug, 26 2010 @ 08:41 AM

Does the person have to be alive and remain alive the whole time they are powering the plant? If so do they have to be healthy?

posted on Aug, 26 2010 @ 08:43 AM
reply to post by munkey66

What a demonic power source. No I would prefer there be no energy clean or dirty because this would only place future generations in bad situations as you said once the power plants need more human energy and people dont want to go. Sounds like this idea was drafted directly from hell.. It would be better to just shut down all power sources with major solar activity and figure a way out like the days before technology became a need. WOW I am giving you a Star and Flag because your imagination spawned this idea....

It seems the plants are just recycling human energy and redistributing it to the Earth energy. Sounds very 4dish, playing with soul energy. Mabey why the ET dont mind volunteering, because its their way outta hell!!!!!!!

[edit on 8/26/10 by Ophiuchus 13]

posted on Aug, 26 2010 @ 08:43 AM
no one knows what happens to them in their.
It may be a painless death or a horrific painful death.

the person doesn have to be healthy, just alive

posted on Aug, 26 2010 @ 08:49 AM
Mankind had already progress far beyond and had left the spectre of ancient practices of human sacrifices such as nubile virgins into volcanoes, way behind into the myst of oblivon, and here you are reviving human sacrifices even though a hypothetical situation?

Need you even ask or know not what the answer will be?

posted on Aug, 26 2010 @ 09:14 AM
Would we be allowed to use corrupt politicians as fuel or are they hands off?
If we could...then I say yes,not a problem,and no skin off society's back if we could.

Even Bernie Madoff types could benefit from this new power source.
wink wink

[edit on 26-8-2010 by DrumsRfun]

posted on Aug, 26 2010 @ 09:26 AM
reply to post by munkey66


I just love hypothetical ethical questions!!!

1. would we allow this type of power supply to be used in order to save the planet as it has absolutely no emmissions and in fact helps the atmosphere?
2. volenteers would start to dry up and then how would it be determined who is used to power the plant.

1. Ethically speaking I think the only option is to just stop consuming energy without a substitute. Back to candles and campfires...( Whoooopie)

2. Ethically speaking I think the plant will not be used if volunteers dry up.

Mind you, this is only when we have to take ethics into consideration. Without.......well I think this why the aliens have not given us this technique, we are not that ethical!!

1. Unethically speaking some evil f*ck will probably claim the rights to this product and charge everybody double the price of what they are currently paying. (and it will be mandatory)

2. Unethically speaking they will probably go by bank account, those with the least amount of money get to go first!!!


[edit on 26-8-2010 by operation mindcrime]

posted on Aug, 26 2010 @ 09:30 AM
reply to post by SeekerofTruth101

We still seem to sacrafice individuals that we find dangerous to [revenge, justice, law, etc.]. People would probably justify using inmates as the source of fuel.

posted on Aug, 26 2010 @ 09:48 AM
Why would an alien race require people for fuel?

In a very condensed answer, your scenario is replacing the current globalized charge for capitalism with a so called “free energy”. We are already slaves to corporations today and this trend continues in the example set forth in the OP.

Only a natural solution will satisfy the needs on this planet. Destruction cannot trump creation.


posted on Aug, 26 2010 @ 10:20 AM
Nothing wrong with asking these types of questions, this isn't a Satanic plan out of "hell", as someone said already. Sheesh.

Hypothetical questions involving ethics can help us understand ourselves. The old classic was the game of "roulette", played with a revolver, with a single bullet.

The "roulette" question could go something like this: If you were going to be given a million bucks, would you put the gun to your head and squeeze the trigger? With a six-shooter, you would have a 5 out of 6 chance of just walking away with your million bucks.

Usually, the person says "No way!" But, it gets more interesting, depending upon who is answering the question. Ask a bum in the gutter, or the drug addict, etc., and some may jump at the chance.

Then, the question is "tweeked", and a person is asked, "what if" this theoretical "gun" had 100 chambers, and just one bullet? Would you go for it now? Interestingly, the lower the probability, the more will sign up for the million.

In thinking about it more, it's not actually unlike much of what we take for granted each day. There are "probabilities" in riding a train, or a bus, or a plane. Maybe there isn't a million bucks, but what if there is a "thrill" involved?

How about the skydiver who learns that one out of every 35,000 jumps results in death? Are they "immoral" for indulging in their passion, for essentially putting a "price" on that "thrill"??

There was a movie out not so long ago, about a box, with a button, etc. Surprised no one has mentioned it. But, my point is, these "thought experiments" are entirely legit, and I would hope people can give the OP a bit of slack, and at least be open to where these considerations can lead.

OK, so on a more "positive" note, treating of the specific question, perhaps one could imagine an advanced alien race, that could make such an offer.

We could further imagine that the offer itself, was but a "test", of our ethics. Would human ethics, be as advanced as their ethics? In other words, they only made this offer to see how we would respond.

We could imagine their response in each case:

We agree to their plan, as proposed. They respond by wiping us off the planet. They have tested us, and we failed. They have "proved" that we are not worthy to continue living, since we have shown so little regard for our own.

We refuse their plan. We demonstrate that as a species, we have noble inclinations, in spite of all appearances to the contrary. We therefore "pass" their test, and we are given the free power anyway, and then some, as we're welcomed into a greater "galactic" community.

S & F to OP from me. Nothing wrong with thinking about things folks!


posted on Aug, 26 2010 @ 11:01 AM
I would have to say I would decline. I wouldn't want people to die to have power (if that's what is happening to them)..I know that people die all the time for luxuries we have but I still wouldn't want it.

Well, I would probably change my mind if we could line up all the bankers, lawyers, judges, politicians, sex offenders, corporate aholes and religious leaders..we could probably power up for some time with all of those crooks. I would never want everyday people to give up their lives for me...and I certainly wouldn't give up my life for them.

posted on Aug, 26 2010 @ 12:42 PM
Dear OP,

I have a better idea, solar and wind.
They are clean renewable and best of all people rarely die from them.
Well unless they die due to Darwinian circumstances.
1 intentional death is too much, who would choose who to go and what kind of impact would that have on the family left behind?

posted on Aug, 26 2010 @ 12:43 PM
If the aliens have no problem with sacrificing their own people, couldn't we just ask them to send us the fuel to go with the generators.
I guess that just leads to another moral question though

posted on Aug, 26 2010 @ 06:27 PM
now the aliens are confused

they offer us a free fuel source which requires 1 person to enter every 7 days.
No one knows what happens to these people, all we are told is they vanish.

What confuses the Aliens most of all is that we send people into mines in search of coal which accounts for hundreds of deaths evey year.

This free energy will replace oil as well as coal so no one will die in the search or extraction of these fuel sources ever again.

so once again they will ask the question.

we offer this free fuel source which is 1,000 times more efficient than any technology man will come to any time soon.
no more mining deaths
no more pollution
no more costs
your planet is on the brink of collapse due to pollution, will you now accept the gift?

posted on Aug, 26 2010 @ 06:40 PM
reply to post by munkey66

It is unethical to kill any life for fuel, look at the gulf right now! Do you think it is ok to kill so many fish so you can drive a car when we could have drilled in a more safe place? People wont let drilling go on in Alaska so now we have dead fish and a messed up food supply! I have been in Louisiana a long time, the dead fish that washed up are NOT due to the lack of oxygen in the dead zone! So the aliens can take their offer and go home! NO LIFE FOR FUEL EVER!

posted on Aug, 26 2010 @ 06:59 PM
reply to post by munkey66

What confuses the Aliens most of all is that we send people into mines in search of coal which accounts for hundreds of deaths evey year.

Brilliant Munkey 66! I was pretty sure you were headed this way when I first spotted your thread, but I thought I'd wait and see, let you get it all set up.

Excellent job, I just hope someone gets what you're saying, so far, a lot of stumbling replies, not sure they saw where you were going.

The costs, in terms of human lives, under the present energy "regime", are staggering. We could look at the many costs, from so many different angles, and the body-count would just keep stacking up.

But there's much more ahead I'm sure, and I'm not about to steal your thunder, I think you've got it well under control.

Thanks again Munkey!


posted on Aug, 26 2010 @ 07:54 PM
I get what your trying to point out, but isn't there a difference both morally and in law between accidental death and deliberate murder. To say the two are morally equivalent is just wrong in my opinion.

It's equivalent to pushing someone under a car and then defending yourself by saying, well they might well have died in a road accident anyway

posted on Aug, 26 2010 @ 08:23 PM
reply to post by munkey66


When concerning other people's life I would still say chance is acceptable, choice is not. I.e. if people die by accident it is acceptable, if people die by choice of others then it is not acceptable........ethically speaking that is.


posted on Aug, 26 2010 @ 08:39 PM
First, there was hanging.

Then, the firing squad.

Then, the electric chair, lethal injection and gas chamber.

Then, the alien power plant.

There would be an endless supply of criminal fuel wouldn't you say?

posted on Aug, 26 2010 @ 09:57 PM
During the third year, does the plant require three people per week or four people? It's not clear if the amount doubles or it's just one more every year.

If it's one additional person per week every year, the total people needed for the ten year run of a plant is 2,860.

If it doubles each year, the total is 53,196.

And what constitute a city? How many of these plants are there? I quickly tried looking up how many cities are in the world and I've found four different numbers. Understandable, the definition varies. None of the answers I've found offer any sources.

Let's go with 32,000. Two answers I found were in the 30,000 range, so for simplicity's sake let's roll with it. Also, let's go with this world population counter, round it up to 6.9 billion and, for simplicity's sake, say that aside from deaths it doesn't change.

An additional person a year for ten years in 32,000 cities= 91,520,000 people used as fuel. In that case, it would take around 750 years to deplete the population.

If it doubles it comes to 1,702,272,000 people in ten years. We'd all be gone in about 40 years.

So, the numbers really are a big factor in the answer, even in a hypothetical. And assuming my math is right.

Also, what a terrible design. You try to shut a plant down and it KILLS YOUR PLANET. That's a huge flaw, you think the aliens would've hammered that kink out. I know, I know, hypothetical, but I had to say it.

[edit on 8/26/2010 by SaulGoodman]

[edit on 8/26/2010 by SaulGoodman]

<<   2 >>

log in