The Trolley Hypothetical Made REAL

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Re: The Trolley Hypothetical Made REAL

Post by Poodle » Mon Aug 20, 2018 7:24 am

Emotional claptrap, EM - and you know it. Are you saying that each (individual but completely unknown) life is of equal value? Because I would counter that with a denial of any such equality without knowledge, which negates the claim that the death one unknown human is preferable to the deaths of five unknown people.
Isn't this kind of discussion the whole point of the problem? There's no easy way out - you CANNOT reach a morally correct conclusion.
However - back to the thread title. The point here is the questionable morality of putting people in the situation where they thought everything was real and they had a crucial decision to make. The pressure is tremendous and the possible psychological harm incalculable. The organisers should have been jailed.

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Re: The Trolley Hypothetical Made REAL

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:44 am

EM will respond on his own of course but I have to chime in that it is you Poodle so uncharacteristically caught in claptrap. YES====================================>EACH INDIVIDUAL HAS EQUAL UNKNOWN VALUE. That's how the whole hypo works. All you are denying is COMMON SENSE and math. Pure gibberish. I'd think less of you if you weren't joined by 3-4 others with the same sloppy viewpoint.

THERE IS AN EASY WAY OUT: the greater good for the greater number==>given you have no other options. YOU DO THE MATH.

You are also repeating your concern for psychological harm...even though I commented the researchers did expressly address that concern. Far worst has been done to lab rats. ….. but such a concern must have been cleared by the Universities Ethics Committee/Lawyers and so forth. Best bet: just a fringe red herring issue for you since the math and common sense are against you.

You never did answer different hypo re a loved one being either in the group of Five or being the "one." Does this get us back to the "Bank Holiday" issue which not many understood as well?

Ha, ha...…………...yes...………..Failure to take ACTION...……..then justify it. Just like politics.
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Re: The Trolley Hypothetical Made REAL

Post by ElectricMonk » Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:22 am

Putting people in a moral dilemma doesn't absolve them from avoiding making moral decisions. But even more important is to identify people capable of making any decision under such intense pressure.
It is of course true that the experimenters put their subjects under intense psychological stress. And it is possible that some of them suffer some harm from it. But that is why they involved an Ethics board prior to the experiment to weigh the value of the test vs. possible harm.
It is only a luxury of our times that we do not frequently have to make such harsh decisions and have to set up experiments to find out that, most of the time, people forced into such a dilemma will just freeze, unable to make any decision. That is vital information in planing for worse-case scenarios in predictably high-risk environments (such as deep sea or space exploration).

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Re: The Trolley Hypothetical Made REAL

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:47 am

heh......hehe...…………….I don't even see "any" pressure or stress. The issues are too simple and clear cut.

…………….Just call me an alpha trained, decision making, command pilot trained, steely eyed killer. You'all are cargo.
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Re: The Trolley Hypothetical Made REAL

Post by Gord » Mon Aug 20, 2018 11:21 am

ElectricMonk wrote:...I would argue that it is just a human bias to think that harm caused by inaction has less of a moral burden than harm caused by intervention.
I would disagree. For instance, I think it is more moral to do nothing and let five people die from organ failure than to murder a homeless person for his organs to save the five people who would have died otherwise. The moral burden of letting five people die is less (and I would say far less) than the moral burden of murdering the one person.
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Re: The Trolley Hypothetical Made REAL

Post by Poodle » Mon Aug 20, 2018 11:39 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:...EACH INDIVIDUAL HAS EQUAL UNKNOWN VALUE. .
And how, precisely, would you know that, bobbo? You needn't answer because it's as plain as the nose on your face that you have invented an imponderable. You argue as though there were only two options in the problem. There is a third, which is to take no part in it. The fact that so choosing has the same outcome as one of the other two is neither here nor there. Then again, you might choose to throw the switch repeatedly as fast as you can in an attempt to derail the train, knowing full well that such an action may kill the driver (who has to be blind drunk in that he can't see the impending slaughter from his cabin whereas you can see clearly). Another possibility - you might, depending upon your religious commitment, fall upon your knees and pray to your god to make the decision for you, thus passing the buck completely.
Or the stress of making or not making the morally-correct decision may drive you over the edge and turn you into a hopeless basket case and, in fact, right there is the main objection to this incredibly ill-thought-out and dangerously-conceived lunacy.

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Re: The Trolley Hypothetical Made REAL

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:56 pm

Poodle, you surprise me. So reasonable in all other things...…………………….. Lets go.

1.
bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
...EACH INDIVIDUAL HAS EQUAL UNKNOWN VALUE. .

And how, precisely, would you know that, bobbo?
Because I watched the video and listened to the setup?....and so can you. I wonder? Did you watch the video or just go by descriptions of the THOUGHT EXPERIMENT that has been presented many times with many variations?


2. You needn't answer because it's as plain as the nose on your face that you have invented an imponderable.//// Sorry, I didn't invent anything. Just found the link and posted it. Must you personalize an issue so???? ((((Added points: Poodle: you claim there are additional factors/knowns? Name one.)))))

3. You argue as though there were only two options in the problem. /// Yes. The math is not difficult. Do nothing or do something. Many are frozen into doing nothing. More accurately as in the set up, I think it is to throw the switch or not to throw the switch. Not throwing the switch can involved all kinds of variation but all having the same outcome.

4. There is a third, which is to take no part in it. /// No....that is not throwing the switch. A decision as intentional as throwing the switch.

5. The fact that so choosing has the same outcome as one of the other two is neither here nor there. /// No....its right here. You cannot make such a false distinction. Heh, heh....staring to play games with the language. Approaching maximum cognitive dissonance............….

6. Then again, you might choose to throw the switch repeatedly as fast as you can in an attempt to derail the train, /// I agree, that is thinking outside the expected reactions. No one did it....so the expectations are well founded. Most experiments have "outliers" that get thrown out leaving the results that remain of interest.

7. knowing full well that such an action may kill the driver (who has to be blind drunk in that he can't see the impending slaughter from his cabin whereas you can see clearly). //// That's another good point......course, I know in a switching yard that trains are allowed to roll to their selected destinations without a driver. Lots of death when working for the railroad.

8. Another possibility - you might, depending upon your religious commitment, fall upon your knees and pray to your god to make the decision for you, thus passing the buck completely. /// There is no god, and the buck stays with the prayer: the switch is not thrown. This highlights there may be just ONE (good) reason to throw the switch: to save lives, but dozens of really stooped reasons NOT to throw the switch. I note: how stupid religion always is for any given challenge.

9. Or the stress of making or not making the morally-correct decision may drive you over the edge and turn you into a hopeless basket case and, in fact, right there is the main objection to this incredibly ill-thought-out and dangerously-conceived lunacy. /// That is your hypo/concern. What would you think if post experiment 100% of participants say they are happy and learned something useful about themselves from the experience? Huh? What if that were the case? Or do you use science to inform yourself only when it agrees with you?
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Re: The Trolley Hypothetical Made REAL

Post by Poodle » Tue Aug 21, 2018 5:59 am

I see the problem, bobbo. I point out that you can't claim equal unknown values, but you continue to assert that you can. All else springs from that.

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Re: The Trolley Hypothetical Made REAL

Post by ElectricMonk » Tue Aug 21, 2018 7:05 am

But can't you put upper and lower limits on comparatively values of human lives?
Can the life of a single individual, no matter how virtues and important, be worth more than the lives of five people, no matter how depraved and anti-social?

As a Utilitarian, I would say - yes.
But as a Humanitarian, I would have to say no.

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Re: The Trolley Hypothetical Made REAL

Post by Gord » Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:44 am

I don't know if I'm a humanitarian, but I do find it confusing to place any kind of value on people. My concern is mostly with the idea of sacrificing anyone for anything. Unless it's a self-sacrifice (which I tend towards accepting), I don't see how it could possibly be considered a "moral" act. Maybe I just don't have the proper definition of "morality"?

Or maybe I just don't like to commodify living beings. I mean, except chickens, of course. Those fekkers deserve to be commodities. Always clucking and chasing innocent young boys up trees and such. Also, squirrels.
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Re: The Trolley Hypothetical Made REAL

Post by ElectricMonk » Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:23 pm

I agree that it is immoral to sacrifice any life but your own (which might be immoral to do, too, but at least you are entitled to make the decision).
The Trolley scenario is about what is least immoral - not what is good.

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Re: The Trolley Hypothetical Made REAL

Post by Poodle » Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:31 pm

Well said, EM - but why does least immoral sound better then most moral? Strange.

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Re: The Trolley Hypothetical Made REAL

Post by ElectricMonk » Tue Aug 21, 2018 1:15 pm

Poodle wrote:Well said, EM - but why does least immoral sound better then most moral? Strange.
For me at least, it does.
There is no way to feel good about causing death to one, and the lesson learned must be to avoid ever having to make such a call ever again.
If, on the other hand, I were to feel good about my Moral Fortitude, I might be more willing to make similar decisions in the future instead of trying to save everyone.

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Re: The Trolley Hypothetical Made REAL

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Tue Aug 21, 2018 9:39 pm

Gord wrote:I don't know if I'm a humanitarian, but I do find it confusing to place any kind of value on people. My concern is mostly with the idea of sacrificing anyone for anything. Unless it's a self-sacrifice (which I tend towards accepting), I don't see how it could possibly be considered a "moral" act. Maybe I just don't have the proper definition of "morality"?

Or maybe I just don't like to commodify living beings. I mean, except chickens, of course. Those fekkers deserve to be commodities. Always clucking and chasing innocent young boys up trees and such. Also, squirrels.
Point is: you are either sacrificing one or five...….would you do the same with all lives in being vs one? If so....I assume that would be a mark of stubbornness rather than any insight or morality. The question doesn't change as we come down closer to one. Two vs one. Choose the One to die. ITS MATH FOR {!#%@} SAKE.

Now....one to one? No thrown switch. Let happenstance control.
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Re: The Trolley Hypothetical Made REAL

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Tue Aug 21, 2018 9:47 pm

ElectricMonk wrote:I agree that it is immoral to sacrifice any life but your own (which might be immoral to do, too, but at least you are entitled to make the decision).
The Trolley scenario is about what is least immoral - not what is good.
No. Morality is doing the most good for the most people. We can construct hypos where that math doesn't work as some smaller horrors just aren't acceptable. Not the case when there are no additional horrors added to the hypo: just numbers.

More than NO: It would be IMMORAL not to choose the one over the five: when nothing more is known. Not even a "values" question as this is pure numbers. Add any other factor, and now, we are talking morals and morality of contested appreciation. One old person vs one young person: the hypo is focusing on attitudes towards age/maturity/potential/lived experiences and so forth.

Hypotheticals ISOLATE the values presented. What is more or less important/cherished by people? Five strangers vs one loved one? The value of strangers vs people we know (and love).

Simple. Now: state the value presented by Five vs One. someone above said kill the Five because the world is overpopulated. Value identified. Frozen by considerations of unnamed morality?==>hooman tendency not to act when presented with new situations. its called socialization.
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Re: The Trolley Hypothetical Made REAL

Post by ElectricMonk » Wed Aug 22, 2018 4:06 am

Not for me, bobbo.
Doing something bad for a good reason isn't moral, but it might be the right thing to do - there is a difference.
If you are forced into a situation where you have to do bad to prevent worse, something has gone wrong beforehand (most of the time). The moral thing to do is to analyze the situation and take steps to prevent the occurrence of future dilemmas.
Example: when people from a sinking ship drown because there aren't sufficient lifeboats, the moral issue isn't who gets saved and who dies: some people will do anything to survive or help their loved ones in such a situation, and who are we to judge?
The moral issue is how there could have been a lack of boats in the first place, and making sure the next ship is properly equipped (and can deal with the extra load. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Eastland )

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Re: The Trolley Hypothetical Made REAL

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Aug 22, 2018 4:24 am

EM: on point, we both agree taking any innocent life is a bad thing to do. Your judgement stops there, mine continues until the equation is completed.

On a sinking ship, I don't think it is moral, initially or completed, to kill someone to take their life jacket to save others....or however you want to set it up. Heh, heh....kill one person who is blocking the way to releasing a 40 man life boat? Well, that's the trolley car hypo.
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Re: The Trolley Hypothetical Made REAL

Post by Poodle » Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:34 am

Bad analogy, bobbo ...
On that 30-man lifeboat there are already 40 people. The person blocking the way to any more is sacrificing him/herself to give those 40 people an outside chance of survival which would not exist if another 20 people crammed onto an already overloaded craft.
See? Abstract morality is easy. That's why the trolley hypothetical made real is amoral.

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Re: The Trolley Hypothetical Made REAL

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Aug 22, 2018 9:32 pm

Oh Poodle: you added different elements to the 40 vs One life boat hypo. Like so many conversations/disagreements: the parties have to be talking ABOUT THE SAME THING...…….and so often, we are not. another valuable lesson to be gained from hypotheticals: learning to stick to the subject.

Its enough to see RED I tells ya.
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Re: The Trolley Hypothetical Made REAL

Post by Poodle » Thu Aug 23, 2018 7:11 am

Nah - I've added nothing, bobbo. I'm merely pointing out uncertainties - the bits of nebulous possibilities which make all things like the Trolley Problem a complete and utter waste of time - although they are amusing. This particular thread, however, isn't about the Trolley Problem per se - it's about the morality of putting real-life people in what they have been led to believe is a real-life Trolley Problem situation (but not explaining what the Trolley Problem is all about). That - purely and simply that - is immoral and reprehensible.

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Re: The Trolley Hypothetical Made REAL

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Aug 23, 2018 7:36 am

How could it be immoral and reprehensible 'IF" all participants are glad they went thru it? You know: In college to learn about themselves?????
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Re: The Trolley Hypothetical Made REAL

Post by Poodle » Thu Aug 23, 2018 7:58 am

Hindsight (and possibly about as wrong as they could be). The retroactive acceptance of participants is neither here nor there.

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Re: The Trolley Hypothetical Made REAL

Post by ElectricMonk » Thu Aug 23, 2018 8:36 am

The fact that time isn't reversible is amoral.
I blame Congress.

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Re: The Trolley Hypothetical Made REAL

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Aug 23, 2018 2:54 pm

Poodle wrote:Hindsight (and possibly about as wrong as they could be). The retroactive acceptance of participants is neither here nor there.
Poodle: I do hope you are inebriated. The participants hindsight is totally influenced if not controlled by the foresight of the testing protocol which AGAIN I SAY: was very cognizant and protective of possible negative impact on the test subjects.

Pay attention to the actual facts, and not your unhinged talking point.
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Re: The Trolley Hypothetical Made REAL

Post by Poodle » Thu Aug 23, 2018 3:21 pm

Bobbo - Rule 1
I am always inebriated. If the time ever comes when I realise that I am not inebriated, the world ends. Your task is to keep me inebriated. My state of inebriation, though, has no bearing whatsoever upon the trulling epthilticlaet.

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Re: The Trolley Hypothetical Made REAL

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Aug 23, 2018 5:28 pm

Gee Poodle, how can two doppelgangers hold opposing views?...…………..Makes no sense. Evidently, more than alcohol is at issue.....…………………………..
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Re: The Trolley Hypothetical Made REAL

Post by Poodle » Sat Aug 25, 2018 6:42 am

The reality is, bobbo, that several people were put through the emotional mincer without being told the facts. Retroactive acceptance is far too late. Irreparable damage could easily have occurred and no amount of pointing to other participants having survived unharmed excuses the utter irresponsibility of the organisers. Do tell me how this time machine works ... "The participants hindsight is totally influenced if not controlled by the foresight of the testing protocol ...".

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Re: The Trolley Hypothetical Made REAL

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Aug 25, 2018 6:48 am

You don't know any of that Poodle. Just making stuff up. Bad Poodle.
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Re: The Trolley Hypothetical Made REAL

Post by Poodle » Sat Aug 25, 2018 8:01 am

Which bit have I made up? If the participants had any foreknowledge then the whole exercise is pointless. Are you saying it was all set up?

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Re: The Trolley Hypothetical Made REAL

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Aug 25, 2018 10:58 pm

You are making up the notion that ANY participant was traumatized or even troubled by their participation in the study. You have NO foundational facts for this: the screening and selection process (I would be shocked if there were none===its not how studies are conducted)...and you continue to ignore the immediate information given to the participants that it was all a set up and no one was ever at risk or injured.

How much of a snowflake do you think people are? YES...…...some people could be affected....but I wager not most, and nearly none at all in a controlled responsible university study. When you know nothing at all: bet on the most.
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Re: The Trolley Hypothetical Made REAL

Post by Poodle » Sun Aug 26, 2018 5:26 am

No, I'm not, bobbo. I'm saying that the producers of the video (and, let's face it, that's what it was - a cheap mass entertainment video) had no idea what any of the participants' reaction would be and, what's more, didn't care. What do you think the disclaimer they all signed looked like? What my post facto opinion is about anything to do with it is irrelevant and doesn't alter the fact the producers hadn't thought about any related PTSD or didn't care about it. This thread, I suppose, carries the double morality issue - the one in the problem and the one ridden roughshod over by the producers. I think I know where any responsibility actually lay.
This ... "and you continue to ignore the immediate information given to the participants that it was all a set up and no one was ever at risk or injured ..." is a hindsight cop-out.

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Re: The Trolley Hypothetical Made REAL

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sun Aug 26, 2018 10:43 pm

Well Poodle….you are just creating your own conclusions. The video doesn't go into the particulars. The comment at the end of the video that the participants were told immediately it was all staged shows they did care about negative reactions.

I'll say again: I'd be shocked if the study protocols didn't screen for personality issues...…….its how you get a valid study to begin with.

"Mass entertainment?"...….please. Its very academic, that trying to put meat and bones (sic) on what there to fore had only been arm chair speculation. Its how science proceeds...acceptable risk for gained knowledge.

ymmv.
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