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Thought experiments

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1 Thought experiments on Tue Mar 18, 2014 2:13 am

I don't know if this should go here, or in the serious board, but I've always been fond of thought experiments. You know, questions or games where there is no right or wrong answer, just ones that make you think.

Here, I'll give you an example of a thought experiment I like. Answer it and post your own.

Let's say you're a brilliant transplant surgeon with 5 patients. Those five patients are going to die from different organ failures. One needs new lungs, another needs kidneys, another needs a new stomach, another needs a new heart, and the last needs a new liver. Some got sick because of their own bad actions, others just had a bad stroke of luck. Either way, you need these new organs, or they'll all die. You tried every channel you could think of, every hospital in the country, anything at all, but either you couldn't find any available, or they were incompatible with the patient.

Then, you notice the file of a young traveler currently in your hospital, who came in for a routine check up and who will be leaving in a few hours. Lo and behold, this traveler is in perfect physical health, and all of his organs are perfect matches with the ones your patients need. He's young, with a full and exciting life ahead of him, and out on the road by himself. No one would even notice if he suddenly "disappeared", and, if he did, no one would suspect you had anything to do with it, even if your dying patients made a recovery.

So, Mr (or Mrs) brilliant surgeon, do you let your five patients die, or do you invite the young traveler to your office and kill him to save your patients?

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2 Re: Thought experiments on Tue Mar 18, 2014 6:31 am

Do I really have to answer this?

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3 Re: Thought experiments on Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:38 am

I wouldn't kill someone who's perfectly healthy, the traveller would be safe if it were up to me.

I wouldn't kill anyone at all really, but since they're all matches, if I had to do something, I'd ask some of the 5 patients (preferably the ones who got sick by their own bad actions) to donate their healthy organs to the other patients, so maybe only one would have to die?

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4 Re: Thought experiments on Tue Mar 18, 2014 8:22 am

yeah i think we should play some organ juggling to try and get at least a couple of the patients to live, and no i wouldn't kill that traveler.

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5 Re: Thought experiments on Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:23 am

What if they were all incompatible with one another? Only the traveler's organs can save them.

Or, as an extention to your idea, how do you determine who gets to live and who gets to die? What if none of them want to give their healthier organs?

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6 Re: Thought experiments on Tue Mar 18, 2014 1:49 pm

again, do I REALLY have to answer this? cuz you know.... pretty obvious what I would do.

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7 Re: Thought experiments on Tue Mar 18, 2014 2:44 pm

Stef, we all know you poisoned a few of your patients and invited a young traveler to your lab to kill them all in some weird cloning experiment I told you that you weren't allowed to do in the first place. You don't need to answer

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8 Re: Thought experiments on Tue Mar 18, 2014 3:19 pm

are any of these people clowns?

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9 Re: Thought experiments on Wed Mar 19, 2014 12:11 am

They are all fervent clown haters

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10 Re: Thought experiments on Wed Mar 19, 2014 5:12 am

someguy3657 wrote:They are all fervent clown haters
damn that makes it difficult....
i think i'd still let the traveling clown hater live so that he can spread the news of how evil clowns are.

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11 Re: Thought experiments on Fri Mar 21, 2014 2:16 am

I wouldn't be able to kill the traveler, I have to hold up my Hippocratic Oath, or I loose my license.
However, I would see if there is a way I can clone their organs or maybe the traveler's organs. If that couldn't work and there wasn't the Hippo in the way, I'd probably kill the traveler if I had the guts to do it. 1 life for 5. Not really fair for him, but it's the best option in this already morally grey situation.

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12 Re: Thought experiments on Fri Mar 21, 2014 2:07 pm

i like how everyone in this thread is trying to clone, use another form of science, or otherwise cheat there way outta this.

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13 Re: Thought experiments on Sat Mar 22, 2014 9:23 am


Also, start posting thought experiments, people

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14 Re: Thought experiments on Wed Apr 02, 2014 12:49 pm

I would let the traveler live (regardless of age). I would have less regret in life if I let a healthy person go and try to keep the others alive or have a comfortable death, then if I killed someone to save 5 patients. I think this for a lot of reasons.

1.) The traveler is young, he still has a long life ahead of him.

2.) The patients are already on death's door (this does seem cold considering that I can save them if I kill someone)

3.) Some of the patients are there due to their own stupidity.

4.) The loved ones of the patients are probably aware that the patients are dying and are coming into terms, and if I kill the traveler, I am the one breaking the traveler's loved one's hearts, not nature.

5.) I'd much rather hands of a healer who failed to save people through good means, than someone who saves people by taking lives (that's the military's job)

6.) I'm afraid of what I would become if I ever killed anyone. (I know letting people die can be considered that, but still...)

This is really a situation in which I see no right answer (I acknowledge that this is part of the point for these questions), just a cruel, twisted, and unfair event given to the involved by life itself. Many situations like this happen, and, in my opinion, everyone who had the choice will always think "did I make the right choice?" and live with a terrible amount of regret. I feel like if this happened to me, I would leave with terrible amounts of unavoidable regret that would permanently change who I am. The question presented to me isn't "What's the right choice?" but instead "Which do I believe I would regret the most?" and "Who will I be after this is over?".

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