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-   -   Going into a burning building to save a child (http://archives1.twoplustwo.com/showthread.php?t=522587)

xxThe_Lebowskixx 10-14-2007 05:44 AM

Going into a burning building to save a child
 
Hypothetical situation: You are walking down the street and see a child trapped in a burning building. Your father was a fireman and you quickly judge that by trying to rescue him you will have 50/50 chance of saving his life or both of you perishing. What would you do?

If you choose to try and save the child, why not instead focus your efforts on trying to save as many African babies as possible? Assuming that it is actually possible to save their lives by giving X dollars/month, you could save X babies over the next 50 years.

billygrippo 10-14-2007 06:59 AM

Re: Going into a burning building to save a child
 
you cant compare donating money to a specific charity with saving a human that will die immediately directly in front of you w/o intervention.

tame_deuces 10-14-2007 08:33 AM

Re: Going into a burning building to save a child
 

I can't answer the first question honestly. I do believe it would pending on the moment. I think I _could_ do it though, but you never know until you stand there.

As for the 2nd statement, I agree with the above poster. Closer to home is closer to home, and is also a perfectly understandable human chain of thought (even if not the most objective and logical). I do give some to charity though, but I have no interest in contributing my life to it no. There is also the timescale to consider.

Henry17 10-14-2007 08:36 AM

Re: Going into a burning building to save a child
 
Too many differences

1. This child is right there in front of you and is real while children you can't see and will never meet are just concepts.

2. Saving this child is based on your ability to do so (Assuming no one else is present). Not sending money though doesn't prevent someone else from sending money. That so many people can send the money leads to apathy and no need to act.

3. General distrust of charities given the vast majority are only quasi-legitimate.

qdmcg 10-14-2007 10:27 AM

Re: Going into a burning building to save a child
 
takes a lot of something to go save a child while your risk of death is 50%

foal 10-14-2007 10:46 AM

Re: Going into a burning building to save a child
 
First we care about our selves, then our family and close friends, then our acquaintances, then our community (or those who happen to be in our relative proximity), then our extended community or state or country. We care least about strangers in other parts of the world. That's just the way our emotional connection to tragic or dire events works and I can't see this as a bad thing. We are social creatures and we can't live a very functional life if we never do anything altruistic other than sending money at kids on the other side of the world.

bbbaddd 10-14-2007 11:38 AM

Re: Going into a burning building to save a child
 
I'm not going to save some random child if there is a 50% chance of my demise. Call me selfish but I'd be hard pressed to do this even if the chance was as low as 10%. I value my life wayyyyy more than somebody I don't know and am not particularly attached to.

bbbaddd 10-14-2007 11:47 AM

Re: Going into a burning building to save a child
 
[ QUOTE ]
you cant compare donating money to a specific charity with saving a human that will die immediately directly in front of you w/o intervention.

[/ QUOTE ]

Saying you CAN'T compare them is a stretch. African babies die all the time without intervention. Whether they are in front of you or not is irrelevant, which I believe is part of Lebowski's point. We are more inclined to save some random child simply based on proximity, but if you are willing to risk death for a kid that you share no genes with, why wouldn't you prefer donating to specific charities to help African babies? Far more utility and no risk.

Bork 10-14-2007 11:52 AM

Re: Going into a burning building to save a child
 
[ QUOTE ]
Your father was a fireman and you quickly judge that by trying to rescue him you will have 50/50 chance of saving his life or both of you perishing

[/ QUOTE ]
I think this kind of thing is a little more distracting then simply stipulating you know your approximate odds of success. If you are going to do this you ought to be able to do better than 'your father was a fireman'. [img]/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]




I'm neither putting myself in grave danger of burning to death or saving African babies. I'm ok with this.

We could do a lot of good for others with little sacrifice. Much more with large sacrifices..

To answer why some people would save the kid and not help Africans: people are inconsistent beings who do what they think will make themselves happy. They often don't consider many alternative actions, and obviously can't consider them all in most cases.

hitch1978 10-14-2007 12:34 PM

Re: Going into a burning building to save a child
 
I would like to think that I'd do it. Although it is obv impossible to know.

I am aware that the decision would be irrational, but I still would like to believe that in this, spur of the moment/no time to consider things, situation I would dive in. I will not try and justify the action as correct on any level, but I think that (with the proviso that under the stress of the situation your subconscious takes over and no thought is taken) being the type of person that dives into the burning builing says positive things about your morality.


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