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More fun with ethics

Austin Wells, Editor

(ROCKWALL, TX – Feb. 17, 2017) I’m going to keep this ethics and morality train rolling for this week by presenting some more fun scenarios I found while browsing the web.

Let’s say you find yourself in a position to rescue one of each of the following. As fate would have it, rescuing one means the destruction of the other. For the sake of this hypothetical scenario, let’s say you don’t have the option of choosing not to save either. So, which do you save? What’s the morally right answer in each case?

A. A child or an adult (both are people you don’t know)
B. A stranger or your dog
C. Hitler or Lassie
D. Your spouse/fiancé/girlfriend or a Nobel Laureate
E. A dog or a bald eagle
F. Your entire family or the entire canine species
G. A bottle with the cure for cancer or your brother
H. A bottle with the cure for cancer or your brother who just gave you one of his kidneys

Going through this list, I found that some of the items were easy for me to choose while others I was on the fence about my answer. But here goes.

For instance, in scenario A I would choose to rescue the child over the adult. The child is still so young and has a whole life ahead of him. Not that that necessarily makes his life more valuable than the adult’s. But honestly I don’t know how I could live with myself if I saved the adult and the child died. I would effectively be killing a kid. That’s horrifying to think about. I mean, either way I’m responsible for the death of another human being and that guilt would weigh heavily on me no matter who I chose to save. But somehow I think I’d feel less guilty for choosing to save the child. I think in this instance the morally right answer is to save the child. The adult more than likely has already had a chance to experience things in life that the child hasn’t even had the opportunity to experience yet, and in my mind, it’s just not right for someone to have to die before they even had a chance to decide who they want to be when they grow up.

Scenario B is a tough one. It’s basically asking what you think is more valuable – a human life or the life of your beloved pet? I think your answer for this one all depends on how one values the life of their pet. I think of my dog Max as a part of the family, a part of my own flesh and blood. I’d take a bullet for him just as I would for any loved one. Why? Because I believe he would do the same for me. Dogs have an unconditional love for their masters. The kind of love that never wavers, never questions, never doubts. That’s rare in this world. So my answer for this scenario is I would save my dog over a stranger, although I have doubts as to whether or not that’s the morally correct choice.

Scenario C – Lassie. Every time. No questions asked. I would be interested to hear the reasoning of someone who would choose Hitler. I mean, he was a very good public speaker with the power of persuasion. That could come in handy in certain situations. But he also was literally the devil.

For Scenario D I think the morally right answer is to save the significant other over the Nobel Prize winner. I would save my girlfriend over the Nobel Laureate any day of the week, because true love is way too hard to come by and some never even find it in their lifetime. However, it takes a very special individual to win a Nobel Prize. These individuals have made significant contributions to humanity in important fields like science and medicine, and I’d hate to think where these fields would be today without their discoveries. But I think we were put on this earth to love each other, first and foremost. I think there’s no greater gift a person can receive than another’s love.

Scenario E – Since I’m a lover of all dogs, I would choose to save a dog over a bald eagle, whether it’s the morally correct choice or not. It’s probably not, seeing as how bald eagles are an endangered species, although the last I heard their population has been increasing. If that’s true then it makes this decision all the more easy for me.

Scenario F – Okay I think my love for dogs can’t win in this case. I would definitely choose to save my family over the dog species. Granted, that would mean the world would have to live without dogs, which would be a very sad world indeed. I think I would save my family over most anything, because family is something you simply can’t replace. A dog would help with the loneliness, but losing my family would be a void no dog could ever fill.

Scenarios G and H are very tricky. I think for Scenario G I would have to save the bottle over my brother. I love my brother to death, and that’s not an easy decision by any means, especially for me because I’m a twin. But a cure for cancer? That’s a miracle right there. I’d be saving many, many lives as opposed to just one life. I think saving the cure for cancer over the brother is the morally right answer in this case. I think it’s also the morally right answer for Scenario H. Sorry bro, I know you just gave me your kidney but a cure for cancer is much too important to throw away. It’s bigger than you and I. It could save millions of lives not just now, but in the future.