Also, one other thing about this debate. As an analogy, imagine you are cooking noodles. But the only thing you acknowledge is that it's "bad to not cook them long enough". I then argue that it's possible to overcook noodles. If you say that we don't need to think about overcooking noodles because we can follow the instructions on the box exactly, or have some deus ex machina device that tells exactly when they are cooked you are actually agreeing with me 100%.
If I'm absolutely certain that I must kill 20 million to save all humanity ... then I'm insane and I should not press the button. (You could make the argument that in the Watchmen, Adrian is a homicidal megalomaniac without to much difficulty.) I don't think this violates the premise of the original question. It posited two positions: kill 20 million or let all of humanity die, but I think the third, unspoken but always possible consideration is that you are insane, deluded into believing that your intellect is capable of extrapolating all the variables of human interaction and drawing a valid conclusion as to what the future holds.
If my next door neighbor told me that he's become absolutely convinced that he needs to kill his wife to protect mankind from destruction, I would not tell him to push the button.
You would let the only truly species capable of understanding the marvels of our incredible universe die out simply because you lack the spine to kill one or many?
The difference being is that we can go through a clear and rational thought process that details why we think it is both rational and moral to push the button.
Quote:You would let the only truly species capable of understanding the marvels of our incredible universe die out simply because you lack the spine to kill one or many?
Yeah. Capable of understanding the universe. And capable of killing every lasting one of ourselves just because we can and because we have to show the world that our balls are as big as their balls. Oh yeah, I'm gonna save that species...when pigs fly.
Quote:Not really that much of a difference. Your rationale may be clear to you, but then people convince themselves of all kinds of crazy things, like buying lottery tickets.The difference being is that we can go through a clear and rational thought process that details why we think it is both rational and moral to push the button.
I dislike the idea of moral absolutes
instantaneously massacre twenty million people worldwide, and destroy some of the greatest cities on earth
Ahh, you make a good point, and so I shall restate my opinion. I dislike the idea that any action is inherently wrong.
Yes, I do have a moral absolute, but it's form differs immensely. For example, while you might say "killing is bad," I believe we should consider the morality of everything on a case by case procedure, where everything is isolate from everything else. Thou shalt not kill is stupid.