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What would you do in the situation outlined below?
Surrender yourself 30%  30%  [ 3 ]
Surrender the prisoner 50%  50%  [ 5 ]
No surrender and open fire! 20%  20%  [ 2 ]
Total votes : 10

ladyrain
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20 Sep 2010, 9:29 pm

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
Surrender the prisoner.

Logically, of course, one person rather than a hundred makes sense. If that were the genuine choice, then asking for a volunteer, picking straws, or going yourself, would solve the problem. "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one (or the few)." Very Vulcan.
Sending the prisoner smacks of personal vengenance.

I just don't think sadistic and logical go together. And I don't really think the first resort of a highly advanced race (unless that just means firepower) ought to require a sacrifice.
In reality, some poor schmuck would get told he was being temporarily assigned as a liaison, and wouldn't have a clue what was in store. And no doubt someone else would be trying to do a deal, to supply as many lab rats as needed, in exchange for power, riches, technology or whatever.

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
ladyrain wrote:
"A very advanced" - then presumably they can take what they want without asking.
Not necessarily. Capturing people alive could be more difficult. Certainly there seems to be a contradiction in this statement and "if all else fails, take them with you", as presumably an enemy that can disable you to take what they want also could not be taken out by a kamikaze strategy.

True. But it works in films. :)

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Heck, it could really be that they are doing this mostly to force that decision and desire you to live knowing that you did what you did.

Perhaps, but if you're capable of making that decision, then tormenting yourself about it afterwards is self-defeatist.

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Ok, but the issue is that if you don't turn in the prisoner, you will certainly cause the deaths of 100 people. Even further, it isn't as if the prisoner is an ally, but rather an enemy, and it is difficult to say that killing an enemy in a position where their death increases your survival is highly evil.

Maybe. Or maybe the choice is 'is one human life, any human, worth more or less than the whim of an alien?'. It really depends what you actually think is at stake. Clearly I don't expect the aliens to keep their word.

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I mean, perhaps sacrificing a prisoner lacks the idealistic vigor of the various forms of suicide, but honestly, surviving is a better tactic in most regards.

Running away is probably a good choice, if possible. Or another way of thinking of that - just because you've only been given certain options doesn't mean you can't look for other choices.



Awesomelyglorious
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20 Sep 2010, 9:58 pm

ladyrain wrote:
Logically, of course, one person rather than a hundred makes sense. If that were the genuine choice, then asking for a volunteer, picking straws, or going yourself, would solve the problem. "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one (or the few)." Very Vulcan.
Sending the prisoner smacks of personal vengenance.

The prisoner is a more legitimate choice than a volunteer. The prisoner is one's enemy, not an ally. Even further, the future of the prisoner likely includes a lot of punishment, which is a waste. Using the prisoner to secure an advantage is just the best option if the goodness of one's cause are assumed.

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I just don't think sadistic and logical go together. And I don't really think the first resort of a highly advanced race (unless that just means firepower) ought to require a sacrifice.

I don't think that the two qualities are opposing each other either. Secondly, I don't see "highly advanced" as meaning anything BUT technology. Requiring the sacrifice could be for any number of reasons. The race is described as sadistic, but also alien.

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In reality, some poor schmuck would get told he was being temporarily assigned as a liaison, and wouldn't have a clue what was in store. And no doubt someone else would be trying to do a deal, to supply as many lab rats as needed, in exchange for power, riches, technology or whatever.

Context is lacking. I do not understand the meaning.

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Heck, it could really be that they are doing this mostly to force that decision and desire you to live knowing that you did what you did.

Perhaps, but if you're capable of making that decision, then tormenting yourself about it afterwards is self-defeatist.

Psychological torment is usually a sub-conscious process that is the result of violating certain norms or values causing a sort of dissonance. Saying it is "self-defeatist" doesn't mean that living beings wouldn't do that, or that sadists wouldn't expect that.

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Ok, but the issue is that if you don't turn in the prisoner, you will certainly cause the deaths of 100 people. Even further, it isn't as if the prisoner is an ally, but rather an enemy, and it is difficult to say that killing an enemy in a position where their death increases your survival is highly evil.

Maybe. Or maybe the choice is 'is one human life, any human, worth more or less than the whim of an alien?'. It really depends what you actually think is at stake. Clearly I don't expect the aliens to keep their word.

I wouldn't put the probability of aliens keeping their word at 0 though, and would assume that the possibility is somewhat high. The human life could be for experimentation. The human life could be just to mess around with somebody. It could be that the aliens ask that we watch as they torture the human. The possibilities are large, and frankly, I would probably put the probability of escape at at least 33% for doing this, and 1% for not(just complete guesses). So, if the question is whether the painful end of a prisoner is worth the cost of approximately 32 lives and an expensive piece of equipment, then I would have to say yes, the trade-off is fine. Frankly, a small opportunity bought at the life of a person who is not an ally in the first place does seem worth it, particularly if everybody is going to die otherwise. Even more so if kamikaze tactics would work. If a kamikaze tactic would work, then I wouldn't hesitate to send the prisoner, as if the aliens do keep their word, then the option taken was best, and if they don't, then the final outcome is the same as the expected outcome of not cooperating.

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I mean, perhaps sacrificing a prisoner lacks the idealistic vigor of the various forms of suicide, but honestly, surviving is a better tactic in most regards.

Running away is probably a good choice, if possible. Or another way of thinking of that - just because you've only been given certain options doesn't mean you can't look for other choices.[/quote]
Well, right, but I would assume that running away was not meant to be part of the set of possibilities. Philosophical questions usually try to curtail options so that way people can see the trade-off. Being so creative undermines the philosophic intent.



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21 Sep 2010, 5:12 am

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
Well, right, but I would assume that running away was not meant to be part of the set of possibilities. Philosophical questions usually try to curtail options so that way people can see the trade-off. Being so creative undermines the philosophic intent.


They'd either immobilise you or just chase you round the galaxy. That was how I imagined it. Though you're right, I did want to limit the possibilities to see which one people thought would be the most ethically acceptable. If people could vote on one and then offer their other possibilities, though, I'd be very interested to hear.



ladyrain
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21 Sep 2010, 5:40 am

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
Well, right, but I would assume that running away was not meant to be part of the set of possibilities. Philosophical questions usually try to curtail options so that way people can see the trade-off. Being so creative undermines the philosophic intent.

Yes, you're right. I chose no surrender, from the options given. But since I can't curtail creativity, I prefer DeaconBlues option 4, no surrender, but no attack, until all possibilities had been explored.



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21 Sep 2010, 7:13 am

My thoughts....

How do we know the aliens will keep their word and spare everyone else if one is sacrificed?

If they have the power to threaten a ship full of people for gaining one, why believe they won't just take all of us anyhow?

I'd be inclined to hand over the prisoner and see what happens. As captain, if I offer myself and they try to back out of the deal, my ship's lost the most experienced commanding officer.