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Pthigrivi’s Moral Dilemma:


Pthigrivi
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The (mis)anthropic dilemma:  

27 members have voted

  1. 1. Which button do you press?

    • Red button — All non-human life erased, humans live.
      10
    • Green button — All human life erased, all non-human life lives.
      17


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You’ve been abducted by aliens and brought up into their ship and you’re in a doorless room with a giant viewscreen looking down on earth. The room is empty except for a console with 2 buttons on it: one red and one green. You are told that if you press the red button all non-human life in the solar system will be vaporized and replaced with a synthetic algae that produces oxygen and that humans can eat—meaning humans will live on but nothing else will. The algae tastes like unseasoned chicken. If you press the green button every human on and off earth will die instantly, but all non-human life will live on. If neither button is pressed in 10 minutes the earth and every living thing in the solar system will be destroyed.

Which button do you press? And more importantly, why?

Edited by Pthigrivi
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The red one, of course. Because humans, eating algae, look better than algae, eating humans.

Spoiler

Also because the great philosopher-cosmistTsiolkovsky was teaching that when the humans have colonized the Universe (the Universe was much smaller those days), they should eliminate all non-human animals and be vegans.

Because the human is the most perfect animal, and others are non-perfect and suffer. So, the humans must stop their suffering to decrease the sum of suffering in the Universe.

He proposed a lot of constructive ideas more (like the voluntary  euthanasia of the people enough aged to start suffering, like in Logan's Run), but some of them would violate the forum rules.

Edited by kerbiloid
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2 hours ago, kerbiloid said:

The red one, of course. Because humans, eating algae, look better than algae, eating humans.

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Also because the great philosopher-cosmistTsiolkovsky was teaching that when the humans have colonized the Universe (the Universe was much smaller those days), they should eliminate all non-human animals and be vegans.

Because the human is the most perfect animal, and others are non-perfect and suffer. So, the humans must stop their suffering to decrease the sum of suffering in the Universe.

He proposed a lot of constructive ideas more (like the voluntary  euthanasia of the people enough aged to start suffering, like in Logan's Run), but some of them would violate the forum rules.

well cannibalism is still an option so there is that. i wont have to give up my carnivorous existance. 

the problem is, im a cat person, and dont want to live in a world without cats. or bacon, or things to eat other than algae that tastes like chicken and humans. also think of the bacon!

i mean in the world without humans, the possibility exists that a pig will fall into the dead sea, drown, get appropriately salt cured, then washes ashore and gets struck by lightening to become bacon, which then later gets consumed by a cat. cats then later grow thumbs and evolve into the dominant life form on earth, build grand starships, and take over the known universe with their refined predatorial instincts. this is more grand than anything a bunch of algae (and human) fed humans could do. therefore i am obliged to hit the green button. 

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2 hours ago, Hotel26 said:

Neither.  (Why?  "Do no evil".  Besides, I don't trust these guys.)

Yeah, that's probably the right option. If not available, though...Kill all humans! Humans cannot survive without nonhuman life, and I don't trust your algae to perform ALL functions of EVERY lifeform. Meanwhile, there are several intelligent species present on the planet right now who all might have a crack at space travel and such in the next millions of years.

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The reason I find this question so funny is nearly everyone decides to destroy all humans. Maybe we're just living in very pessimistic times? I've made the argument that humans might be qualitatively different, that our ability to make and design might at some point give us the ability to rebuild life and still leave us with the ability to leave this planet and spread life to other worlds. Given our current treatment of the planet its hard to justify with a straight face. 

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45 minutes ago, SunlitZelkova said:

Inaction can be just as evil.

Quite true.

But in the face of giant evil, very often the only reasonable action is to state the evil and refuse to play.  It's also necessary in my view to target the perpetrators, not innocent bystanders.  In this scenario, no personal nuclear suicide vest (with a palm-held orange button) is mentioned, or else I'd happily press it.

 

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An excellent example of how far the mass-suicidal "humans-are-evil" "green" propaganda has gone.

Quote
  • Red button — All non-human life erased, humans live.  1
  • Green button — All human life erased, all non-human life lives.  9

Looks like just one from Russia is voting for the humanity survival.

Edited by kerbiloid
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Posted (edited)
48 minutes ago, kerbiloid said:

An excellent example of how far the mass-suicidal "humans-are-evil" "green" propaganda has gone.

Looks like just one from Russia is voting for the humanity survival.

Is it? Or is it simple existential humility given billions of years of biologically encoded physical resilience across 8.7 known species?

Edited by Pthigrivi
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We're the only beings on Earth that are certainly aware of the fact that we are here. The hard problem of consciousness is, well, hard, but even with some continuum of consciousness, the bulk is in the humans.

Eliminating all humans eliminates the only consciousness we know certainly exists in the universe. The universe without consciousness is no more interesting than a parking lot.

EDIT: Forgot the aliens are in the mix. But they are evil, so I still want consciousness that is not that awful to continue.

Edited by tater
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21 hours ago, Nuke said:

the problem is, im a cat person, and dont want to live in a world without cats. or bacon, or things to eat other than algae that tastes like chicken and humans. also think of the bacon!

You could ferment the algae and make whiskey with it.

Minus humans most cats die as well, depends on where they live. Most domesticated animals die, actually.

12 hours ago, Pthigrivi said:

The reason I find this question so funny is nearly everyone decides to destroy all humans. Maybe we're just living in very pessimistic times? I've made the argument that humans might be qualitatively different, that our ability to make and design might at some point give us the ability to rebuild life and still leave us with the ability to leave this planet and spread life to other worlds. Given our current treatment of the planet its hard to justify with a straight face. 

That result seems completely pathological to me. I'd push the red button even just to save a subset of humanity.

 

16 hours ago, Hotel26 said:

Neither.  (Why?  "Do no evil".  Besides, I don't trust these guys.)

Stated that everything dies if neither.

Also, humans are not just "humans," we are a multitude of other life on, and in our bodies. All that fauna on/in us is required for life. I would imagine algae requires some other complexity to be self-sustaining. All those critters are sources of evolution. All those have DNA that we can use—and genomes we have completely sequenced we could fabricate, and possibly bring back given time.

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15 minutes ago, tater said:

Stated that everything dies if neither.

(Everything always dies.)

Not my doing.  And not my choice.  I'd prefer there be no kidnapping, murder, corruption and deception, but I don't go around killing indiscriminately to prevent it...  (I leave that to the authorities.)

Philosophy is great only to make people think, I suppose.

In the scenario, there are three choices, but one wasn't listed in the poll.

Edited by Hotel26
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A madman breaks into your house with a gun. He demands that you choose if he will shoot your wife or your child. You instead demand that he leave your house without shooting anyone. So he shoots your wife. This is your fault.
 
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Just now, Hotel26 said:

(Everything always dies.)

True but this is extinction. Not finite deaths, all living things, and all that ever will live going forward.

Just now, TheSaint said:
A madman breaks into your house with a gun. He demands that you choose if he will shoot your wife or your child. You instead demand that he leave your house without shooting anyone. So he shoots your wife. This is your fault.
 

The relevant mistake of the madman (or the aliens) is letting ME live. Cause I will then hunt him down and kill him. Humans live, and our mission becomes exterminating those aliens. Worth keeping humanity alive just for that.

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Just now, tater said:

True but this is extinction. Not finite deaths, all living things, and all that ever will live going forward.

Thank you, Tater.  I know.

(Not the aliens, of course.  Perhaps they're clearing the way for a new intergalactic wormhole.  They do seem to be the authorities in this situation, too.)

Edited by Hotel26
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Just now, tater said:

The relevant mistake of the madman (or the aliens) is letting ME live. Cause I will then hunt him down and kill him. Humans live, and our mission becomes exterminating those aliens. Worth keeping humanity alive just for that.

But that is the logical fallacy of the OP's question. That this is your moral choice, and not the aliens'.

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13 minutes ago, tater said:

You could ferment the algae and make whiskey with it.

Minus humans most cats die as well, depends on where they live. Most domesticated animals die, actually.

That result seems completely pathological to me. I'd push the red button even just to save a subset of humanity.

 

Stated that everything dies if neither.

Also, humans are not just "humans," we are a multitude of other life on, and in our bodies. All that fauna on/in us is required for life. I would imagine algae requires some other complexity to be self-sustaining. All those critters are sources of evolution. All those have DNA that we can use—and genomes we have completely sequenced we could fabricate, and possibly bring back given time.

most house cats die, but there are a large number of wild cat species, as well as feral cats that will do just fine. so the prospects of a future stellar empire dominated by cats with a profound hatred of sicoms still sounds like a good idea. no chicken flavored algae whisky could compare. 

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6 minutes ago, TheSaint said:

But that is the logical fallacy of the OP's question. That this is your moral choice, and not the aliens'.

The madman analogy would need to be he will kill your wife, your kid, or if you don't decide, all 3 of you. The morality of the killing at that point doesn't matter IMO, it's a value choice between 2, or everyone dies anyway, you have no choice as framed.

In the madman case, I'd have to say my wife—because if it was her being asked, I'd want her to pick ME, and I am sure her decision would be to protect the kid(s) first as well.

I agree though that this shows the aliens to be depraved (and hence deserving of extinction ;) ). We need to live to build the Star Destroyers and Death Stars to facilitate them being expunged.

Edited by tater
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