Originally posted by avalanchethecat
It related to a discussion I was having elsewhere. I was surprised at how many people were able to justify taking a human life depending on circumstances and wondered if that was a general tendency. Looks like it might be.
Hmmm. Ok, well I would suspect that the number of people who believe it is never
wrong to take a human life under any circumstances are going to be a small minority.
I can't speak for everyone, but I can give my reasons for not being a part of that minority.
First, Killing a human being is a bad thing, we should try if at all possible to avoid doing
However, where circumstances lead to a situation where not killing a human or humans
would lead to greater harm than not killing them then I would contend that the best
moral choice in that circumstance is to choose the lesser evil and kill the person/s.
And the example/argument I give goes like this.
In the run-up to the London 2012 Olympics Surface to Air Missiles [SAM] were deployed around
London as a defence against people flying planes into the Olympic stadiums during the games.
For it to be morally correct that it is never ok to kill another human being in any circumstances
then it would have to be the case, that if there was a terrorist hijacked plane heading in towards
the Olympic main stadium during the opening ceremony when it was full to brimming with
[and for our purposes here you know beyond reasonable doubt that the plane is hijacked and being flown at the stadium]
that the morally best choice is to allow the plane to fly into the stadium
and not to shoot it down. Now lets say that this plane is a cargo plane, and has nobody
[alive] on-board who isn't a terrorist.
So to come to the moral conclusion that you can't shoot down the plane...
You have to conclude that it's as bad, or more likely worse, to kill the [lets say] 5 people
on the plane than it is to allow the plane to hit the stadium and kill tens of thousands.
I don't think it's possible to justify not shooting down the plane in the above circumstance.
It cannot be the case that it's better to allow thousands of people to die at the hands of a few
simply to avoid killing the few.
Once you then accept that there are extreme circumstances where it is morally right to kill, then
the discussion is not IF it's sometimes ok to kill but WHEN.
That's a much more complicated question, on which there is much disagreement.
If you disagree with the above, then i would be fascinated to know why.