Morality Agonistes

Back to week in, an since it is some kind of shule break, there were no educationalists at gym this morning. Evidently they only need exercise when they have to actually interact (?) with students. The weather is miserable, morning starts all at or below the liquid -> solid dihydrogen oxide temperature, and there was some evidence of VERY diffuse snow in my motorcar lamp beams as I drove back from Scant City.

The podcast episode was one of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas” dealing with morality and science and I have to admit that it continued in their current current of whackedness. All of the morality tests they advanced were boggish, extrovert, and flawed. Some were so heavily flawed as to hurt one’s jaw. For example, one gave the choices of one doing nothing and a runaway locomotive car would (probability one!!) kill five track workers, or throwing a bystander under the car and killing one.

First of all, based on history, I think the probability of throwing a human on the rails in front of locomotive car is one, but of stopping the car is rather small, perhaps 0.01. So the outcomes of the two choices are kill five or kill six. Given reality, the proper answer is to do nothing but yell and scream and try to warn the track workers. If throwing a body across the tracks will stop the car, then the moral thing is to throw oneself on the tracks, not the bystander.

As I say, whacked. In fact, depressing.

I have to admit that I have always had difficulty understanding these bystander take action things. The either-or tests, like this one, are always warped and alien. Unreal. But then I suppose the questions are posed for bogs and not for rationals? More confusing are the legal matters. Evidently some places have laws that if you do not kill yourself trying to make an accident worse they will send you to jail. How is this not suicide, which is also legally punishable.

So the question of the day is which are more whacked, politicians who make laws or morality psychologists who pose these unreal questions?

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