Book 3 - Page 297

Never a doll moment

Book 3 - Page 297
Comic - Book 3 - Page 297
Recent posts... (See full thread)
keybounce wrote:
I was thinking of Egyptian carvings on stone columns. Never mind.
Yeah, I know. I just didn't feel like discussing Egyptian culture. Too many IRL political associations, apparently.
Chiu ChunLing wrote:
As my felt response to a child getting a shot is that they are being deservedly punished for being bad.
I guess if this is confusing, then the inverse would work as felt response to disciplining a child's bad behavior is the same as to giving them medical care, I do it because it is necessary, not because it's fun. You simply can't afford to be strictly retributive with children, and it's not like it makes a difference with them anyway. On the other hand....
strange7person wrote:
Let's say some nasty chemical gets spilled into a reservoir of drinking water. If no action is taken, a hundred thousand people will be exposed. Of those exposed, roughly 1% will suffer any noticeable health problems at all, and of those measurably affected, roughly 1% will suffer horrible debilitation and/or death. That means statistically ten people will die, but it could easily be more or less if the numbers are a little bit off. If, in the planning stages, a hundred million dollars worth of cleanup could only push that down to nine statistical deaths, would you agree that was a bad use of public funds?
I don't believe that public funds should be used at all until after all the funds of the perpetrators have been expended in reducing the casualty toll (fatal and non-fatal) to zero. And by "all" I mean ALL, I'm not a fan of limited liability instruments (especially for government employees acting under color of law). With kids, you can't do this and it's not necessary, but with adults, failing to do this poses an ongoing danger to everyone. I get that you're making a different point, my point in response is just that the value of dollars isn't fixed (nor the value of human lives, if we're going to be honest).
strange7person wrote:
People who mainly want to save the lives of strangers don't tend to become soldiers in the service of genocidal dictators; firefighting and emergency medicine are more typical career choices.
Call. Dictatorial regimes rely heavily on propaganda, and tend to limit public service positions that do not involve force. By the time you've got a law-enforcement and military culture that really is dedicated to murderousness rather than saving lives, there are no emergency services outside of that culture, the state ones are part of the militarized forces and the private ones are outlawed.
strange7person wrote:
Among compassionate types who do become professional killers, I'd be astonished to find even one solid example of doing so on a strictly unpaid volunteer basis.
Kinda by definition, right? A professional who doesn't get paid is...not a professional.
strange7person wrote:
Does your 'non-recursive definition of altruism' at least exclude work-for-hire with hazard pay?
It doesn't exclude it, but it ranks it below unpaid work, certainly. People can do a job for less than it costs them personally without getting no pay at all. People can also use money altruistically. My point was that, until they give up everything, including breathing, they aren't completely altruistic.
strange7person wrote:
Who ever said I'm opposed to self-interest in general? I just don't think one dictator's interests align with everybody else's combined, no matter how smart that dictator happens to be.
Replace "one dictator" with "any individual" and we agree. It's true that dictators are more likely to be chosen specifically because society has given up on trying to reconcile all the competing interests of different individuals. But it's also true that military action is predicated on noticing that when you shoot people enough, they die.
strange7person wrote:
If Bob's benefit is only ten cents on the dollar, and Alice could reasonably have known that in advance, that's a "Gift of the Magi" situation, negative-sum transactions due to poor coordination.
Doesn't mean that it isn't altruistic.
strange7person wrote:
If Bob's 'benefit' is negative, that's somewhere in the blurry border-region between stupidity and malice.
Alice could still be altruistic...towards Mallory. This is a lot of the point of that book, that psychopaths take advantage of altruistic behavior.
strange7person wrote:
If I recall correctly you've said previously you'd be willing to kill, at least in self-defense, even against uniformed police officers, provided they were backed by a government you considered illegitimate. If such a thing were to become necessary, wouldn't it be better to closely emulate the relevant methods of those who do such things successfully, at least for the duration of the actual life-threatening crisis?
That's like saying that heart surgeons should emulate the knife-work of serial killers. Yes, a surgeon has to cut into people, but the difference in purpose necessitates a difference in techniques.
strange7person wrote:
In a situation where literally everyone already has everything they want, a LOT of common words would lose all meaning.
Keep in mind, psychopaths want to hurt other people and make them unhappy.
strange7person wrote:
If you go back and re-read that quote, you'll notice I limited it according to perception. "As soon as you see a way." Rather elegant solution to that whole can't-outsource-breathing issue, since the closer someone is to you, the easier it is to figure out how to help them without hurting yourself worse than is worth it.
That's nice but it also means that lack of helpful ability or insights makes for perfect altruism. It then becomes perfectly achievable by insensitivity. In other words, both rocks and sociopaths are perfectly altruistic, if you want to define it thus.
strange7person wrote:
That's the heart of the issue right there. Who are you, to tell me what I really want?
I'm merely pointing out what you're telling me you want.
strange7person wrote:
It's never going to be a simple, tidy, mathematically precise definition, because the matter is so highly sensitive to messy real-world factors, but there's definitely some big chunks of solid black and white to be found.
There are big chunks of solid black and white because there are some things humans basically have to want to stay alive long enough to have their opinions on the matter polled.
strange7person wrote:
Ask people what they want and they'll generally tell you; negotiate a way to get them more of it without anybody suffering a net loss (which IS possible, by comparative advantage and gains from trade) and they'll generally thank you.
Oh, dear. I'm afraid we just live in different universes at this point. This has...inadequate correspondence with my experience of humanity.
strange7person wrote:
The bizarre thing about how economies work in Erfworld is that alliances aren't normally beneficial to both participants.
Well, and that's not such a bizarre thing if you keep in mind that, in Erfworld, we don't get to see the productive economy at all, we only see the military economy. Militaries suffer economically from large-scale outbreaks of peace, and derive financial benefits from outbreaks of war, there is nothing unusual about that at all. The unusual thing (to us, it wouldn't have surprised anyone from a culture with a strict class distinction between military and civilian) is only that, in Erfworld, we are not permitted to see any of the civil economy.

P.S. I like a lot of what Jaded Dragoon wrote, but I also think a lot of it needs correction. But the amount of both exceeds the scope of this forum. My simplistic answer is that pretty much everyone has different desires, and thus a different idea of "good" and "evil". The differences may be small in many cases, but they are big often enough that you have to pick a side.

For me, the key thing to understand is that certain of your own desires will inevitably result in the frustration of those desires. For instance, preferring short term gains to long-term ones...the problem with that is that we all live downstream of our own past actions. There are also desires that simply don't matter, no amount of desiring the thing is going to bring it about. You just end up torturing yourself.

Harping on desires that frustrate themselves and desires that cannot be satisfied are the main things people do to make themselves and others unhappy. But there are some people who don't really want anything else. And among people who do have other desires, there are still going to be conflicts.

Vanna stands guilty, in my view, of failing to consider the long term consequences of her actions. She also stands guilty of wanting something that is simply not going to happen no matter how much she or anyone else wants it. And, for some of the things that she does want that could happen through her efforts...well, she'd putting herself in conflict with others. Like Caesar.
I think that before this is all over, we're going to find out if you can decrypt a doll if it part of a unit's string attached.

Or maybe not.
@Chiu ChunLing

The more of your posts I read, the more, I think I agree with everything you're saying.
I think a lot of the desire stuff I think about differently, but I think our models are probably compatable, just different abstractions.

I'd like to respond, but time... and I've probably written too many walls of text already, but there's been a lot of really interesting stuff. Lots to think about too. I've sent a little tip your way, as a token of my appreciation.

JadedDragoon wrote:

lots of stuff

You've put a lot of time into that, and I want to do the best I can to offer the courtesy of a response.

In brief, I think our only real point of disagreement is that you think an objective standpoint on morality is theoretically achievable, and I don't.

Basically - and this is where I agree really strongly with Chiu ChunLing (*if* I understand them correctly, which I do *not* assume), avoiding or preventing harm is not enough. You need a positive objective.

If you want to avoid suffering, the most practical solution is to find a painless way to kill yourself.
In the reality that I observe, any lifestyle immune from suffering is just beyond plausibility, no matter how much future tech I allow for... and even if I'm wrong, I'm not sure I see the point of a life without suffering. If climbing mountains doesn't involve hardship then reaching the top doesn't mean very much. I know I prefer the view from the top of mountains I made an effort to climb, compared to those I just got a train up.

A definition of 'good' needs to include some positive thing - something you are striving towards, not just away from. And I think that's necessarily a personal thing... though, like Chiu ChunLing, I think love is deeply connected with it. What one cares about... gives one's life meaning.

I don't think you can derive a positive 'good' through analysis. I don't think you can ever show someone a chain of logic, and have them say 'yes, I care about that now'. What you care about is a revelatory truth, not a reasoned one - you can only discover it in your heart.

In the absence of some common 'this matters, we will optimise the system to maximise this' statement, you're left optimising to minimise harm... and that way nihilism lies. The only honest answer to that philosophy is to kill everyone.... and that's really not an approach I'm willing to sign up to.

JadedDragoon wrote:

As a self-professed misanthrope... I pretty much do believe the majority of humans are monsters. Quite possibly including myself. But none of us want to be. We just don't know a better way.


JadedDragoon wrote:

Ah, but they don't know they are being hypocrites. They honestly don't. Yes... I know it seems too obvious for them to not know. But the human mind is marvelous in it's capability for imagination and terrible in it's ability to replace reality with that imagination.

Agreed - good analysis.

JadedDragoon wrote:

Still... the lack of empathy and talent for charm and manipulation does make them very successful in the business world. As I've said before it's not that power corrupts... it's that corruption empowers.

Hmmm. I think this ties in tightly a lot to what you say below.
I think about the consequences of my actions quite a lot - probably a lot more than most people I know, though rather less than I probably should. And I am horrified at the amount of power I have already.

Anyone who wants more power than an average everyday human being has... probably already has something rather dangerous wrong in their reasoning.

JadedDragoon wrote:

I've marveled time and time again at how Rob captures this facet of self-deception that is so common and yet so rarely acknowledged. I often wonder if Rob is even conscious of it or if he's simply writing what he knows without recognizing the deeper significance.

The characterisation in Erfworld is so deep. It's one of the things that really makes it stand out. The motivations of all the characters a very rich, nuanced and complex. Even Stanley!

JadedDragoon wrote:

First off, you are focusing too much on definitions.

Intentionally. The UX director I used to work with had a favourite term, 'reification', where you apply a Name to something people don't understand, and make it possible for them to deal with it. Very very powerful technique in making complex concepts manageable in UI design.

...but it doesn't mean you understand the thing you just rei-ified. I've had a bit of a go at Heidegger's Being And Time, and while he's not easy to follow, what has really stuck with me is how little I understand simple concepts like 'is'.

We don't understand the words we use half the time... and even very simple words are holders for really complex stories. I like to question definitions, partly because by acknowledging the understanding we *don't* share, it makes it more possible to understand each other (assuming it is possible at all) - and partly because sometimes pointing out the gulf of all the things we think we know and don't can be valuable.

JadedDragoon wrote:

Define a sandwich while you're at it. I'll bet you can't... I'll also bet you think it will be easy. Because everyone knows what a sandwich is right? Two pieces of bread with edible filling... right? So then if I take two slices of pizza and put them cheese side together...


JadedDragoon wrote:

And yet... we all still know what is and isn't a sandwich. But if we can't define it... how can we know what it is? For more on that, you might want to look into the Socratic Dialogs. Plato was trying very hard to make the point that concepts don't always fit perfectly into definitions even though everyone still understands the concept clearly.

I'm not a big fan of Plato. I found Locke's theory of ideas very illuminating, though I think his simplest ideas were still far far too complex. I think a simple idea is something like the contraction of a single muscle in your arm.

I think we vastly underestimate the power of the human mind, and how hard it is working all the time - and thus vastly oversimplify what it is doing.

JadedDragoon wrote:

khamul wrote:

And, as you say, define 'avoidable'.

Sarcasm aside what you're asking for here isn't a definition of the word "avoidable." You are using a turn of phrase that really means "explain your usage of the word 'avoidable' in the intended context."

Thing is, I already did.

Yes: the 'as you say' bit of my sentence was supposed to be a reference to and acknowledgement of that.

JadedDragoon wrote:

It is, therefore, of critical importance to always seek the most complete understanding possible.

On this point, I could not agree with you more.

Understanding of consequences is what makes humans more (powerful) than animals. The less we seek it, the more animal we become. The more we seek it, the more chance we have to make decisions that are more moral than those in nature.

Because nature is beautiful, but it is brutal, and utterly without compassion or pity.

JadedDragoon wrote:

...the example of the world where the Nazis won, and the normality of their ethics in that world...

Yep. I agree with the point you're making.
The world we live in is not quite that extreme - but I am very much aware that many of the luxuries I enjoy are the result of a position Britain achieved through the slave trade, and an industrial revolution that paid not the slightest attention to human rights. We are here now, through what I would call evil, and who knows how much of that we have carried with us.

There is much about society that I am very uncomfortable with.

JadedDragoon wrote:
And yet we know objective reality does exist. The past several hundred years of scientific discovery and technological advancement essentially proves that where you stand and which direction you look doesn't change how the world works.

Hah! My background is a fairly robust science degree, in chemistry.
So, on the one hand, I am absolutely with you with regards to an objective reality.

On the other hand, I am fairly uncomfortably aware that at the scale of individual electrons determinism... is not how things work.

JadedDragoon wrote:

Since causality is objective... consequences is objective. And because consequence is objective... morality is objective. We cannot directly perceive the chain of cause and effect that makes up the consequences of our actions. But we can make observations about these things, form hypotheses, and perform tests which we then also observe the results of. There are a _lot_ of variables... so we can't experiment directly... and it probably wouldn't be ethical to do so... but we can analyze statistically. We can eliminate things we know aren't moral and slowly work our way closer and closer to the unattainable perfection of objective morality.

One might be able to perfectly characterise the system. Which would give you the power to perfectly optimise the system.

But what would you optimise it for?

JadedDragoon wrote:

And one of the things we know is immoral, again, is the rejection of valid information.

Immoral? I'm not sure. But problematic - sure! We both agree it's a bad thing.

JadedDragoon wrote:

The best we can do is analyze, analyze, and analyze some more. And when the actions we are analyzing has survived countless attempts to prove them immoral... then we call it moral.

I don't agree that this is how you find morality. I do, however, very strongly agree that it is a Good Plan.

JadedDragoon wrote:

But if I had to give a specific example? Giving an employee a raise is a beneficial act. Giving them a raise that they may not have earned because you know they desperately need the money would be a morally good act (avoidable benefit).

In a company I previously worked for, a manager hired someone who really was not well suited to the job, because, I think, he was in a tough situation. The manager was being 'charitable'. As a result, the guy was miserable, stressed, and did bad work. It couldn't continue indefinitely, and in the end it was one of my friends there - who was the guy's line manager - who had to tell him he was being fired. The poor guy had a heart attack and died in the meeting room - and my friend, who'd done everything he could to try to help the guy succeed in a role he just was never going to be good for, has to carry that experience with him for the rest of his life.

I am not fond of charity with someone else's money. You want to help out someone who's in trouble? Do it out your own income.

...not quite what you were saying, I know. But close enough that I wanted to make the point.

Also, businesses don't give raises because they're being moral - they do it because the financial benefit of retaining staff is greater than the financial cost of the raise. And only for that reason. Directors can be sent to jail for being nice with company money, instead of giving it to shareholders. ...oh, and prevalent thinking is that money doesn't actually motivate people beyond a very short time, though what evidence that is based on, I'm not sure.

JadedDragoon wrote:

khamul wrote:
If you didn't bother to think what the consequences might be? ...well, I have children. So I'm more than a little familiar with that scenario. One learns to be a little more careful with time (the easy way... or the hard way...) but I'm not sure 'evil' is the word we're looking for here.

Then I must most adamantly disagree. I think you just don't realize how much harm comes from this. So I'll be blunt: very nearly all of it.

I think I agree with you that the vast majority of... well, bad stuff, however you choose to group or define it... comes from willful ignorance and lazy thinking. And I definitely agree that working against that, to whatever extent one can, is important.

But I think the world is getting better in that regard - maybe not fast enough, but heading in the right direction. So I prefer to reserve my sense of outraged justice for the people knowingly heading in the other direction.

JadedDragoon wrote:

Here's also something that's evil... launching every single nuclear missile on earth with the express goal of killing all of human kind. But just because that's evil doesn't mean there aren't any less harmful things that are also evil. Likewise, the scenario you give is evil... but there are less harmful things that are also evil.

I think pulling the wings off flies is evil. I think mocking the girl in your class about her red hair, because you know she's sensitive about it, is evil. I think that what lies behind these things is the same drive that lies behind steering the train onto the crowded platform just for the hell of it... and I agree, in retrospect, that a less extreme example would have been better.

JadedDragoon wrote:

The Final Solution didn't happen because the Nazis thought it would be cool to see a bunch of people die. They honestly thought it was necessary for the world to become a better place than it was. Which means, by your own overly specific definition... they would not be evil for doing so.

No. I don't think so. I really don't think you look at a socio-economic problem and come up with an answer like 'I know, let's just kill them all', unless your thinking is dominated by threatened false pride and fear. I think it meets my definition of evil very accurately.

But we will never really know: what we do know is that it was stupid and pathetic. It didn't work, and history has proved - very pointedly, in the case of Einstein - just how much Jewish culture has to contribute to the world, and how dumb trying to extinguish it was. From a purely practical viewpoint, it was indefensibly bone-headed, and that's the best light it could be put in.

But it's hardly the first attempted genocide in human history.

JadedDragoon wrote:

This world will not improve so long as we are saying it's not wrong to attempt genocide simply because you thought it would make the world a better place.

I can't imagine a scenario in which it would!

Okay... in Tolkein, the Orcs are literally twisted and mishappen by Morgoth to be incapable of feeling anything but suffering and pain, and incapable of creating anything but suffering and pain.

One could argue that in such a situation, genocide is the only answer. But that is the voice of despair: you don't know there are no other answers. So, I would fight to preserve, not to destroy, not wanting a unique voice to be lost.... I hope.

JadedDragoon wrote:

That voice is called a conscience. That's the thing psychopaths don't have.

How could one possibly know?!

I mean... what's a conscience? Because if it is the thing that helps you choose between good and evil, well, as Chiu ChunLing points out, Free Will is not something that sits comfortably with a scientific method built on the assumption of cause and effect. If a choice has a cause it's not very free, is it?

So I find it difficult to see how Science can make statements about that kind of conscience. If, on the other hand, what you are saying is that in a psychopath the bit of the brain that should light up when you feel guilty, doesn't, is that because they don't feel guilt - or they do, but they just don't give a shit? What are emotions, and how do they work, exactly? And when an emotion happens, and the brain lights up, exactly what are you seeing?

For that matter, if Joe and Judy both say 'I feel happy', and the same bit of brain lights up - how in the hells do you know if they're feeling remotely the same thing?

How on earth do you do any sort of science on anything so utterly subjective?

JadedDragoon wrote:

khamul wrote:

But why - why is Vanna like that? Why does she makes those choices? What is the motivation that drives her? That, I think, is the interesting question.

No. The answer isn't that interesting. It's mundane. Worse, it's pathetic and trite.

Any system you can understand you can control.
The first step to making the world better is understanding it.
If willful ignorance of the consequences of actions was the thing that I thought was the leading cause of harm in the world, then understanding why people acted that way would be my highest priority.
It's human nature, sure - but Parson is also human, so's Maggie, so's Jack. And they make different choices. So why does Vanna make the choices she does, unlike them, and what one change could you make to the system of Vanna to give her the chance to make better ones?

That question is the root of ethics.
Everything else is noise. which point, people - thank you, I've really enjoyed being part of and following this, and I've got some new perspectives which I will really enjoy thinking about, but I need to put my time into other things. Thank you, all!
khamul wrote:
Basically - and this is where I agree really strongly with Chiu ChunLing (*if* I understand them correctly, which I do *not* assume), avoiding or preventing harm is not enough. You need a positive objective.
I would finesse this by saying that we cannot define "harm" until we know what desires it would impede. It's easy to say that stabbing someone in the chest harms them because you assume they want to live and being stabbed in the chest frustrates that desire. Even if you knew they didn't want to live, a common reason to not want to live is to avoid suffering (which you touch on as well), and being stabbed (nearly anywhere, but especially in the chest) is really painful.
khamul wrote:
If you want to avoid suffering, the most practical solution is to find a painless way to kill yourself.
I would nuance this as well, because 'pallative care' doesn't have to have death as an objective, even when it is understood that death is an inevitable result. But certainly, without the ability to desire things that we currently don't have, and strive to obtain those things, we are less alive, even short of being dead. To be really alive is to want things enough to put an effort into obtaining them, and that wanting and effort combined is, to some degree or another, suffering. But I also believe that there can be undue suffering, pointless frustration, whether from defective desires (things where desiring them won't bring them to pass or will actually make them not happen) or from malicious interference. Thus while we shouldn't try to eliminate suffering entirely, it makes sense to distinguish pointless or counterproductive desires and extinguish them, or at least insulate them. We also need to watch our malevolent interference with others, lest their just response frustrate our desires.

Lest I be accused of preaching love (and I'll frankly admit I'm guilty to an extent), let me say that while I believe love to be a significant piece of the puzzle of reconciling as many individual desires as possible, I don't believe that all desires can be reconciled, even among the desires that are not inherently futile.

Orcs and psychopaths, let's take orcs for now. The Tolkien version of orcs simply don't have any redeeming qualities worth the risk involved to innocents of sparing their lives. D&D alters this considerably, reflecting a consciousness of the severe information problem we suffer in real life, which is treated only once in Tolkien, when the Riders of Rohan have wiped out a group of orcs that had Merry and Pippin captive. The solution in that case is that Pippin and Merry have escaped by stealth, but what if they hadn't? In other words, even if a genocide of a particularly evil species were justified, how much collateral damage are you willing to accept to achieve it? How much collateral damage can you avoid while still having a confidence of accomplishing the objective?

Tolkien implies at a number of places that, though there were efforts to kill as many orcs as possible, they eventually mixed with humans and became part of the continuum of "good" and "evil" within humanity. When does it cross the line between an information problem, and become a matter of always having to kill a human being along with the orc?
Solzhenitsyn wrote:
If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?
I see great value in identifying those parts of our own desires that are evil, and I'm guilty enough of the love preaching thing to believe in exhorting others to do the same. But even if there were some point at which humans could be neatly divided into "good" and "evil", and the latter exterminated, that possibility has long since fled far beyond human capacity.

The people most likely to even attempt it seem to be more evil than not, at this point. Which kinda undermines the whole purpose.

I think that a more useful dynamic is looking at characters in terms of what it would take for them to redeem themselves. Rather than saying a character is irredeemable, let's ask whether a character is willing to do some possible action that we would find acceptably redemptive. Like Charlie and Shirley. I think that Shirley could redeem Charlie...if Charlie wanted to be redeemed.

Sometimes redemption = happens (even to mostly "good" characters, stories are especially full of situations where someone already good has to lay down their life for a higher cause in order to stay good). Still, there is a difference between a redemptive death and a villainous end.

Or at least you need to believe that if you're going to be redeemed rather than a villain.
JadedDragoon wrote:

Hypothetical: you are at a train track. Ahead of you the track splits into two separate tracks side by side. Next to you is a switch that controls which track the train will go down. On the left track a family of four... A father, mother, their 8-year-old girl, and the little girl's grandmother. On the right track a family of three... a single mother and her two boys age 9 and 7. A train will pass you in seconds and can't be stopped. One group will die by being hit by the train. You have seconds to decide which one. (Spoiler alert if you aren't up to date on The Good Place (and really, why aren't you?))
cu wrote:
eumario wrote:

First point, only two towers have been awakened. Charlescomm, and GK.

Make that three: Charlescomm, Spacerock (capital of GK the side) and ICFYS (formerly known as GK the city).

I stand corrected. Forgot that ICFYS was awakened.
khamul wrote:
@Chiu ChunLing

The more of your posts I read, the more, I think I agree with everything you're saying.
I think a lot of the desire stuff I think about differently, but I think our models are probably compatable, just different abstractions.

I'd like to respond, but time... and I've probably written too many walls of text already, but there's been a lot of really interesting stuff. Lots to think about too. I've sent a little tip your way, as a token of my appreciation.

Why do you think I never have anything intelligent to say? It's cause ChunLing's already filled that niche.
Also it'd come out sarcastic coming from me.
the real answer to the whole which track question: I don't touch the switch.

If you are telling me that a trolley is coming, and must kill one of two groups, then why is it my responsibility to make a decision and decide which group to kill? someone else was responsible for putting the groups there, someone else was responsible for setting the switch, someone else was responsible for running the trolley.

besides, let's say that I do put it onto another track, avoid killing anyone, and then the trolley runs into another trolley and has a head on collision killing two whole train loads worth of people.
keybounce wrote:
the real answer to the whole which track question: I don't touch the switch.

If you are telling me that a trolley is coming, and must kill one of two groups, then why is it my responsibility to make a decision and decide which group to kill? someone else was responsible for putting the groups there, someone else was responsible for setting the switch, someone else was responsible for running the trolley.

If you think there's a real answer to the trolley problem, you don't understand the trolley problem.
Other questions that you need to ask with the Trolley Problem:

What is a shopping trolley doing on the train tracks in the first place, and why is everyone treating the situation that the trolley (of all things) is going definitely kill the folk it runs over? What, is the shopping cart filled with pickle jars or something?

What kind of rail-system are we dealing with? Is it light-rail, heavy-rail, mono-rail? These details matter, but I am presuming we're all talking about a heavy rail system since that seems to be the most common kind of rail in Sydney.
If it's heavy rail, then in all likelyhood the trolley would either grind to a halt or spill-over, since trolleys aren't built to travel over wooden-planks seperated by a foot or two of gravel inbetween.

Also I'd really like to see someone try to tie someone else up to a monorail.