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Evil and the no win situation

Watching a NGC show about the science of evil. In this part they are giving people MRI's while they ask them moral dilemmas, and they have to answer with a yes or no, no conditions or maybes, only yes or no. The real point of the stories is all the brain activity going on before they answer, but the the questions themselves are horrific.

Your village has been invaded. The soldiers have orders to kill everyone they find. You are hiding in a house with your family and neighbors. Soldiers have just broken in the door to loot any valuables they find. Your baby starts screaming. You cover their mouth to stop the noise. If you let go, you will be discovered and everyone in the room will be slaughtered. If you don't let go, you will not be found, but your baby will suffocate. Do you take your hand away?

If you leave your hand, are you evil? If you take it away and kill all your neighbors, your baby and yourself, but by someone else's hand, are you evil?.

ETA:  What's creepier about it on tv is they show it with a dramatized version of the problem, with a family in hiding and a woman holding a very small, crying infant in her arms.  The person in the MRI machine isn't seeing (or worse, hearing) it, but when you are sitting and watching the documentary, you do.

Answer Question

Asked by NotPanicking at 4:03 AM on Jun. 5, 2011 in Religious Debate

Level 51 (421,174 Credits)
Answers (9)
  • Do you take your hand away?

    That ones actually easy. You don't let go. Reason being though you can adjust your hand so the noise is muffled yet the baby breathes,

    You are right though that is a creepy show. Sorry my mind instantly works out scenarios that just popped in my head.

    Answer by hot-mama86 at 4:22 AM on Jun. 5, 2011

  • Those scenarios are horrific. I don't know what these MRI's are suppose to show, or what they are studying.  It seems peoples brains would react a lot differently if they were actually living out the event as opposed to hearing a scary story read to them.


    Answer by RyansMom001 at 7:12 AM on Jun. 5, 2011

  • I think I've seen that show. It's interesting to see how the brain's patterns seem to change with the varying situations.

    Accidentally smothering your baby to avoid being found and murdered is not evil. Sad yes, but not evil.

    Answer by SpiritedWitch at 8:27 AM on Jun. 5, 2011

  • All I can think about is the episode of M*A*S*H that deals with that situation.  


    Answer by beeky at 8:34 AM on Jun. 5, 2011

  • I instantly thought of M*A*S*H too beeky

    Answer by asmcbride at 9:05 AM on Jun. 5, 2011

  • Okay, since someone else (thanks beeky) mentioned M*A*S*H ... I immediately pictured Hawkeye sitting in the back of the bus.

    Answer by SpiritedWitch at 9:10 AM on Jun. 5, 2011

  • You're not evil in either scenario....the people invading your house have forced you to make this decision. No matter which one you make, it is not your fault. The only way you could be blamed for any death is if you killed the baby, or the other people, of your own free will without the pressure from the invaders.

    Answer by metalcowgirl34 at 9:43 AM on Jun. 5, 2011

  • It is not evil to make a split second decision about our own survival. we do the best we can in any situation. I would never label either of those evil. I would label the soldiers as "evil" for following such horrific orders of murder and theft and rape (as you know that would happen too)

    Answer by sahmamax2 at 9:57 AM on Jun. 5, 2011

  • I would actually not blame the soldiers either. They're brainwashed. They have to be. No sane human being would go into another country and slaughter its citizens just because some dudes in that county's govt did something (supposedly) wrong. All the blame goes back to the corrupt govt.

    Answer by metalcowgirl34 at 3:02 PM on Jun. 5, 2011

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