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  • (railroad crossing bell ringing)

  • (railroad bell ringing) - Uh.

  • (railroad bell ringing)

  • (dramatic music)

  • - [Voiceover] The trolley problem

  • is a moral dilemma designed to make people

  • consider the ethical implications of their decisions.

  • We sat some people down and asked them

  • to talk their way through it.

  • Scenario one.

  • You are a rail yard worker and you're standing

  • by a lever that switches the track.

  • Suddenly, you see a runaway trolley

  • barreling down the track.

  • Further down the line are five people

  • completely unaware of their impending doom.

  • If the trolley continues along the track

  • it will surely kill them.

  • Luckily, you can heroically intervene

  • and choose to pull the lever, (lever clicks)

  • switching the track and sending the trolley

  • onto a clear path. (train horn blows)

  • So, what do you do?

  • - I either kill five people or I kill no one, duh.

  • - I'm gonna switch it to the clear track.

  • If there's some sort of,

  • "Oh surprise, there's terrible news attac--."

  • That's it, there's no catch?

  • - Of course you'd like, switch it

  • and save the other people.

  • - Yeah, of course.

  • I'm not a robot.

  • - I mean, okay.

  • Well, no, it doesn't matter if they're drinking or not.

  • - If it was that obvious that one choice would save lives

  • and the other choice wouldn't kill anyone,

  • then I would pick the save life choice.

  • - Simple.

  • - Piece of cake.

  • - Ugh, it's gonna get crazy.

  • - [Voiceover] Scenario two.

  • This time there's one unaware person on the alternate track.

  • Do you choose (lever clicks)

  • to pull the lever and sacrifice the life

  • of that one person (train horn blows)

  • to save the other five?

  • (dramatic music slows)

  • - I can't answer this.

  • - Can I just turn around and pretend like (laughs)

  • I have no idea what's going.

  • - I flip the switch.

  • Is that bad?

  • Yeah, I'm gonna kill one person to save five people.

  • - Then I'm a murderer.

  • Right?

  • As soon as I choose to kill someone, I'm a murderer.

  • - You know, the good of the many

  • outweigh the good of the few, so.

  • I learned that from "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan."

  • - I think that any of these scenarios

  • probably end with me also killing myself (laughs)

  • because I couldn't live with what I'd done.

  • - [Voiceover] Scenario three.

  • Similar to the previous scenario,

  • you can choose to switch the track and sacrifice the life

  • of one person to save the other five,

  • but this time, I'm so sorry,

  • that one person is one (lever clicks)

  • of your immediate relatives. (train horn blows)

  • - Oh no, is my sister gonna be on the track?

  • - That makes it significantly harder.

  • - I either kill five people or I kill my little brother?

  • - Wondering what my brother's doing here.

  • And if he's here, he's probably here to give me crazy news.

  • 'Cause he knows I work here.

  • So I'm not gonna kill him before he gives me this news.

  • - I'm sorry to those five people

  • and those five people's families.

  • I hope that you have no one that loves you

  • and you're terrible people, but I can't kill my brother.

  • - Here's the thing though, if she dies

  • I'll probably get to take care of my niece.

  • - I do nothing 'cause it's not my fault

  • that the car is running at those five people.

  • Because I care about my brother.

  • - Well it's just, I know my sister

  • and I know my two nieces, so like, yeah.

  • They need their mom.

  • - I'm gonna stick to my guns here.

  • I'm gonna save five people.

  • I'm being a railroad Jesus, just bearing that cross.

  • - If the families of those five people

  • come up to me afterward, I would hand them a gun

  • and I would say, "shoot me."

  • And then my sister and her family could go live happily.

  • Yeah, they'd miss me a little, but they'd get it.

  • (dramatic music)

  • - [Voiceover] So what would you do?

  • (dramatic music)

(railroad crossing bell ringing)

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B1 US lever track trolley railroad dramatic music save

People Face A Terrifying Moral Dilemma

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    James posted on 2015/06/16
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