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a button dilemma

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by holy king, Mar 12, 2012.

  1. holy king

    holy king Deity

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    so you are abducted by aliens. they bring you into a room where there are two buttons.

    the red button will kill a 60 year old woman who spent her life working for doctors without borders in ghana and is now suffering of breast cancer which has already developed metastases that were recently found in her lymph nodes.

    the blue button will kill a 15 year old boy that you, since the aliens gave you psychic future telling powers on the way to the room, know has a 48 percent chance of running over and killing the woman mentioned above at the age of 16 while drunk driving. you also know he has a 0.5% chance to invent a cure for the common cold later in his life.

    the aliens make you press one of these buttons with their mind force ray, which leaves the decision which of them you press to you, but absolutely denies you the ability to not press a button.

    which one do you press and why?
     
  2. Silurian

    Silurian Deity

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    Red button because the woman is likely to die soon anyway and the chance of curing the common cold which would save some lives.
     
  3. Brighteye

    Brighteye intuitively Bayesian

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    The woman has at least a 48% chance of survival until next year. That's not bad, but I'd still kill her, for Silurian's reasons.
     
  4. SS-18 ICBM

    SS-18 ICBM Oscillator

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    She has lived a full life. Red.
     
  5. Yeekim

    Yeekim Deity

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    This.

    Also, how do you come to invent such hypotheticals? :crazyeye:
     
  6. Silurian

    Silurian Deity

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    If I knew nothing about the people, apart from age, I would just flip a coin.
     
  7. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    I'd press both buttons to be a jerk and mess up their experiment
     
  8. Cheetah

    Cheetah Deity

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    Haha. Aliens don't exist! Stupid question. :lol:
     
  9. NickyJ

    NickyJ Retired Narrator

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    *cough*

    Because I want to get rid of that bad cough, red.
     
  10. Mise

    Mise isle of lucy

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    I can't see a reason not to kill the teenaged boy.

    Also:


    Link to video.
     
  11. Benefactor

    Benefactor Beneficial

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    Am I missing something, it seems whichever button I press will result in a 0% chance of the boy running over the old woman (as I will kill one of them first.) Doesn't that make that part of the hypothetical kind of redundant, or is it just meant to give the impression the boy is a reckless drunk, prone to running old ladies down?
     
  12. Quackers

    Quackers The Frog

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    I hate both of them, can I push both of them?
     
  13. aimeeandbeatles

    aimeeandbeatles watermelon

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    I'd push them both to see what happens.
     
  14. IdiotsOpposite

    IdiotsOpposite Boom, headshot.

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    Definitely the red one. The woman has a year at most to live, and she's already lived a full life. The youth has a relatively good chance of curing the common cold.
     
  15. Verarde

    Verarde Pondering Wearing A Hat

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    I think I would push the red. 0.5% chance of a cure is slim, and there is a 52% chance the woman will survive the car hit.
     
  16. rugbyLEAGUEfan

    rugbyLEAGUEfan Deity

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    Well spotted

    Red , obviously
     
  17. Glassmage

    Glassmage The Desert Flame

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    Kill the woman. Breast cancer AND 48% chance dying from car? No matter how much good you did for the unfortunate bye bye!
     
  18. Save_Ferris

    Save_Ferris Admiring Myself

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    WTF are these aliens even doing?
     
  19. Benefactor

    Benefactor Beneficial

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    Out of interest; when pushing the button do I have to watch the consequence of my action, or do they just die quietly somewhere out of the way where I can't see them?
     
  20. Cheetah

    Cheetah Deity

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    I know, I know.

    I'm allowed to be intentionally stupid from time to time, right? :)

    Anyway, I would, like most people, push the red button. The reasons have already been given by others.
     

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