This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Comment

← From the Heavens or From Nature: The Origins of Morality

ANTIcarrot's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by ANTIcarrot

"Take a step back. It's exactly the same problem."

That has to be one tof the stupidest things I have ever heard. It's not a question of morality. It's basic highschool physics.

Throwing the switch can realistically be expected to have an effect on the train. Pushing a 300 pound mass (of anything!) in front of a train that probably weights at least TEN THOUSAND pounds and may be going at 20 or 40 mph will not realistically affect the train.

One has a hope of success. The other doesn't. Even if the fat man coudl somehow magically stop the train I still wouldn't push him because I wouldn't and couldn't know the fat man's death could magically break the laws of physics and actually stop the train.

Expending further (based on the *end* of the video...)

Dr Thompson contradicts himself. At the start he says (paraphrasing) "This is what your brain goes through, providing you've never seen this scenario before." Then later he says (paraphrasing) "Your brain always does this. Anything else you think your brain is doing is simply a justifacation masquerading as an alternative process."

One of these statements has to be wrong. And I think it's the second. If he asks the same audience the same question, I think at least some of their brains will be mentally lazy and pull the answer out of memmory rather than bothering to think about it. (In fact it's possible they'd still do this after you resolve their objection, but that's a well known behaviour.)

I'm an aerospace engineer. I have also been involved in a serious car accident where someone was killed. Therefore I know a lot about the mechanical forces involved in large meavy moving objects, and the practical limits of the human body. Is it possible that my personal experience is contaminating my 'virgin' exposure to this scenario - and hence I'm making a decision based upon that personal experience, rather than the moral process he presents here?

I think it's a possibility at least worth considdering. And it's one that is certainly not disproven by the evidence he presents here.

Fri, 16 Oct 2009 17:22:00 UTC | #405993