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Morality Quiz

Do you consider yourself a moral person? How would you act if you were presented with a situation where you were forced to make a difficult choice, where depending on what you decide, someone will die?

Time Magazine blog has a Morality Quiz, where you can compare your choices to those made by other readers. For instance, take this scenario:

Scenario 3a: The Trolley
An out of control trolley is heading down a track toward five unsuspecting people and will surely kill them all. You could throw a switch diverting it to a siding, but an equally unsuspecting man is standing there and the train will kill him instead. Could you throw the switch, killing one to save five?

http://www.time-blog.com/graphics_script/2007/moralityquiz/index.html (Illustration by John Ritter) - via Scribal Terror


Meh like the world needs more people. I'd let the guy have his lucky day and let the natural order of things unfold, the trolly was going towards the 5 people anyway.
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i guess morality is determined by society itself. Like indians do not eat beef (not morally and spiritually correct) but but the non-indians have no such practices. So i believe we should respect one another and have tolerance :)
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I'd have a very hard time doing any of those things. In the lifeboat scenerio, I would get out of the boat for a time and have all the other occupants take turns getting out until the wounded person died. Then they'd go overboard to a watery grave. Hopefully I will never have to face anything like the choices given...
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I'd like to think that one of the morals of the quiz is to remind us there are other options to seemingly insane scenarios like the ones displayed. I mean really - do I have to toss the man beside me onto the tracks? How about I go onto the tracks? Does the baby really need to be smothered? How about just gaging it? Last I heard, babies can breath through their noses. etc
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Ditto redphone, this is in the box thinking, in the real world there are myriads of options not to mention God, as a Christian I get rather dismayed with all these stupid scenarios that leave out a higher power.
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Wow, what an incredibly morbid survey. I understand that things as this do happen, however you cannot truly judge what a person is going to do until the moment arrives. Sitting in an office chair placing decisions on terrible situations is a far cry from sweating in a basement. Understanding that you are going to die, and being told by a survey are two different things.
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I'm with redphone. There are obviously better options than those offered. And with Zandt too. How are you so certain that something else won't happen to prevent the deaths of the 5 people... Should you kill the one man assuming it's the only option, or not kill him and pray.
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Seriously though, none of these are even remotely realistic scenarios. Well, a couple of them might be somewhat realistic, but the extremely limited choices are not. And I'm a little troubled to see how many people would be willing to murder someone to save their own skin.
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First, question 3a can be re-phrased:

A healthy man checks into the hospital for a routine exam. During the exam, it is found that he matches the blood/organ type for 5 dying patients upstairs. Do you kill him and harvest his organs to save the lives of the 5 other patients?

Same situation, but people tend to answer that one differently.

Secondly, notice that the quiz asks COULD you do something, not WOULD you do it. :) Big difference.
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Well, i think the point of the quiz it to see if people are capeable of deciding of the fates of others - take the decision of who lives / who dies into their hands. The rest is just flavor text. (Figureing out alternatives - while practical in real life scenarios, defeats the purpose of the study).

That being said, I would, of course, try to figure out other options - for example, the baby would be unconcious but alive a lot sooner than it would die.

Personally, i said "could not do" to all except the 'throwing the switch' one to chance the train's course, but not the catapult one. I dont know why i'd be able to act in that scenario only. In the other cases where its 'more people would live' if something was done, I couldn't do it myself, but I would probably ask someone else to.
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You have to do the survey as if you weren't going to post a comment on Neatorama about it.

That way, you don't have to try and come up with a myriad of possibilities to make yourself feel moral. The people who actually do triage or fight in wars, and make these kinds of decisions, don't get that chance.

For them it's "Yes or No... Next!"
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"Ditto redphone, this is in the box thinking, in the real world there are myriads of options not to mention God, as a Christian I get rather dismayed with all these stupid scenarios that leave out a higher power."

wow that is so stupid. what do you want?, choice c: pray to god and he saves everyone...

I like how they made it more realistic to real life by leaving out a higher power
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The survey wouldn't be particularly accurate at determining a person's moral standing anyway as humans are notoriously bad at predicting their own future behaviours. One study shows that we are correct only approx. 7% of the time (obviously if there were more than 2 options).
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People "talk the talk" but when the Sh*t hits the fan, it's completely different.

Millions of years of evolution programmed the human species to SURVIVE - when you only have a few seconds to decide, and you haven't been trained to make those decisions, count on the majority of people saving their own ass and if it costs someone else's life (especially a stranger or strangers) - bad luck.
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I am with redphone, Zandt K, and Jake.

I'm a christian also and have seen him do amazing things, so why don't they include a higher power?
I agree that it is in the box thinking, and these are very unrealistic scenarios. And may I ask what the five very stupid people are doing on these tracks?

Just curious.
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This survey bothered me, not only because it was overly simplistic, but because it was basically the same question over and over again: "would you take the life of one to save many?" and the answer generally was "if I didn't actually have to touch him," right? How strange this was... And what was this supposed to prove anyway? Because I really got nothing out of it.
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I'd be curious to see a breakdown of sex and age when people are answering these questions. Would a 20-something mother be less likely to smother a child than a male teenager? Whilst the last few incidents seem utterly contrived, I think they raise an interesting point of "I'd be happier killing someone if I didn't have to do it myself" which is why for some electrocutions, they had 3 different levers and 3 people all pulling them, not knowing which was the "live" one, so the executioners would feel better about themselves.
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Yes there can be more than two options, but why is even the mention that one is a Christian relevant?
You often hear of people dying or being kidnapped on the news and they will mention "she/he was a good Christian... attended church every week", as though that makes them better people.
What options involving a “higher power” do you want?:
“The hand of God comes down and derails the car before it can kill anyone” or “God intervenes and the soldiers go away before they can hear the baby cry.”
Well I can tell you right now that at least the “smothering baby” scenario has happened in real life, and mothers have smothered their own babies, and no “higher power” has intervened.
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"I’m a christian also and have seen him do amazing things, so why don’t they include a higher power?
I agree that it is in the box thinking, and these are very unrealistic scenarios. And may I ask what the five very stupid people are doing on these tracks?"

They are having a prayer session that you'll pull the switch.
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What if there were your child instead of 5? In that case, could you stay with nothing done? or save your children? For me, I would barely pull the switch, sorry for that guy or even guys.
I hate to take this kind of test.
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