The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Moral Dilemma Explained By Evolutionary Biology. Do You Agree ?  (Read 1823 times)

Offline blue_cristal

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 29
    • View Profile
I don’t remember the exact details of the “YouTube” story, but someone proposed this dilemma:

You are in the side of a road and suddenly you see a old woman, age 50, and two children, age 5 and 10,  caught in the middle of the road of intensive traffic and you realize that they are about to be killed. You have time to save just one of them. Who would you choose and why ?

A lot of people answered that they would choose to save one of the children but they were incapable to explain why.

Then a poster called “MysteriousMaskMan” posted a video explaining why most people would choose to save one of the children instead the old woman. He based his explanation on EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY.

Watch his video and tell us if you agree with his explanation or not. You can also register in the YouTube and answer there as well.

Here is the video:



  • Guest
Firstly, the video does not directly address the dilemma you have described.

It refers to a choice between saving an adult who has lived through at least part of their reproductive years, and does not suggest that the adult need be female, but further hints that the adult might still have some years of reproduction left.  A women of age 50 traditionally would have very few, if any (realistically, likely to be none) years of reproduction left.

I actually think that both the argument put in the video and the conclusion you draw above would be very different if the woman was of reproductive age than if the woman was beyond reproductive age.

Nothing so far has suggested the sexes of the children, and that too would be an important matter (nor the sex of the person being asked to make the choice).

It will also have to depend on what the practicalities of saving the children are (if you have to carry them, then how heavy is each child?  if the child/adult has to hold on to something, how strong is each person?  if they have to run, who looks to be the faster?  who looks to be the more disciplined?).

There are other flaws in the argument proposed in the video - not least, the assumption that in the natural world, all children near you are somehow related to you.  This might be true within your own tribe (although even this can only be true if the tribe is totally inbred, and if the tribe does occasionally bring in fresh blood, then that fresh blood would not be blood related to any but their own direct children); but it really does not address the issue of what happens if you see one of your own species but from a neighbouring tribe (traditionally, one tribe would as likely attack as defend members of a neighbouring tribe - which itself might be considered a genetic basis for racism, but certainly does not support the simple conclusion drawn above).

The Naked Scientists Forum


SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums