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A War to End All Wars

 
 
Reply Thu 18 Dec, 2003 09:59 pm
Is it ethical to murder millions of people now so that our children won't have to suffer any more war?
Would you sacrifice one individual to save ten?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 809 • Replies: 11
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xifar
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Dec, 2003 03:04 pm
I would say that even if 20% of humans died, if it would prevent all future wars and conflicts, I would say that it was worth it.

Should one person die to save 10? It depends on the person. If it was my life in exchange for 10 people, I would have to give that question alot of thought. If it was someone that I didn't know, then I might not have to think as long.

Another interesting question: There is a group of 100 people. You have two options to try and save them. Would you take a 33% that you will save all of them or a 100% chance that you would save 33 of them and the rest would die.
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Eccles
 
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Reply Fri 19 Dec, 2003 05:41 pm
xifar: If the odds are even, toss a coin. :wink: Your system will probably be as rational as that used by a number of political leaders ( at least).
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Individual
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Dec, 2003 05:57 pm
I would go for the 100% chance.

Now think about this, there is a belief in judaism that killing one person is mass murder. You aren't just killing the person, you are killing his children and their children and so on exponentially. If you killed 20% of the world's population, that would be 1,300,000,000 people today. How many less people would we have in ten generations than if we hadn't killed anybody?

So, killing a fifth of the people is really an infinite number of people. Could you deal with that?
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Eccles
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Dec, 2003 06:28 pm
Thankyou for the interesting and beautiful expression of a belief system.

However, you've just killed 67 people (theoretically). They are likely to also have had children.


If you perceived the one hundred people as representitive of the global population (to return to your earlier question, Individual), then it would be logical to save the 33 people. From an evolutionary perspective, this would be the best way to preserve the human species. As well as preventing overpopulation, you ensure that some people will survive.

Also, you are not only killing an infinite number of people, you are also providing opportunity for an infinite number of people to live. Genetic variation is important and helps strengthen the population. However, there are other factors which influence the growth of the population. If there are fewer people (and more resources) then it is likely that more people would survive until adulthood and that large families could be supported more easily. Overpopulation is likely to also cause widespread suffering and death.
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Individual
 
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Reply Fri 19 Dec, 2003 06:31 pm
That is true, perhaps the mass-murder theory only works on one person.

Let me explain my reasoning for 100%, it is better to make absolutely sure that some will live than not be sure whether the entire population will perish or not. 33% is a pretty low chance of survival.
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xifar
 
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Reply Fri 19 Dec, 2003 11:18 pm
That belief system is something I have never had the oppurtunity to come in contact with. Thank you for explaining it. It really does put a whole new spin on how I will think about murder.
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Greyfan
 
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Reply Fri 19 Dec, 2003 11:44 pm
Having fought several wars to end all wars, only to find wars continually beginning anew, I would have to reject the hypothetical situation on the grounds that we cannot with certainty know the results of our action. Therefore, I would not sacrifice 1 to save 10, or kill millions to "end all wars" because we cannot know we will achieve the desired result--experience and history tell us that in fact we will most likely not achieve it.

However, by NOT murdering the one, or the millions, under any pretext, it seems we have a better chance of reaching the stated goal of ending war. Particularly if we can convince more people to feel the same way about it.
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Individual
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Dec, 2003 01:49 am
Greyfan wrote:
However, by NOT murdering the one, or the millions, under any pretext, it seems we have a better chance of reaching the stated goal of ending war. Particularly if we can convince more people to feel the same way about it.

Great answer, we should put you in the white house.
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Greyfan
 
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Reply Sat 20 Dec, 2003 06:59 am
I'm not really that optimistic, but it has to start somewhere....
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Centroles
 
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Reply Tue 6 Jan, 2004 03:29 am
how can you compare killing living breathing human beings to killing those that don't yet exist.

if you could, would you kill alexander the great, before he murdered tens of thousands in war? before you answer, think of how different the world would be today. for one, i can say with certainity none of us would exist. heck, had the act of sexual intercourse between your parents been delayed a mere millisecond by as little as a mosquito pricking at the skin, the sperm that fertilized the egg would probably have been different and you would have never come into being. we could well be infinately better or infinately worse off.

how can you know that the life you save will not be the next hitler. that the life you take wouldn't have launched the world into world war three. it took the assasination of one man, an assasination attempt that came very close to failing, to launch the world into world war I which paved the way for both world war II and the cold war, costing millions their lives.and yet, the world as a whole may be better off for it. the world seems to be improving for the better all over now.

of course, by challenging the notions of whether saving lives is always a good thing, i should probably atleast attempt to define what I mean by better.

perhaps the only truly noble pursuit in this universe is that of knowledge. perhaps humanity is destined to master science, understand the universe and someday perhaps act to prevent the heat death of the universe that will permenently make the universe in capable of supporting life.
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Individual
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Jan, 2004 07:47 pm
Centroles, the problem is that nobody can foretell the consequences of their actions-good or bad. Yet, there is a much greater probability that you will kill someone who can't do any harm at all than the chance that you will kill the one-in-a-billion potential Hitler.
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