1. Gangster Land
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    11 May '07 20:333 edits
    Consider the following scenario:

    You are the father/mother of an infant, and find yourself in a circumstance where, in order for one of you to survive, the other must be sacrificed otherwise you both die. It is guaranteed that if you allow one of the two of you to die the other will live.

    Do you sacrifice yourself for the infant? Why?

    I do not have kids and can only answer the question from my particular childless perspective. I would not sacrifice myself for my infant. I figure that I have more value to society, due to my social ties than my infant whose only social tie is to me and his mother. I have people who love me, people who count on me and I actively participate in my society. By any accounting I can think of, I’m more valuable.

    If I discovered my wife were in the same scenario and choose to sacrifice herself I can imagine myself being very angry because she would have more value to me than my infant.

    I have posed this question to parents before and I have yet to find one which would not sacrifice themselves for their infant, and I understand that were I to have children I would likely fall under the same spell.

    I wonder what causes an otherwise reasonably logical person to make such an illogical decision?

    P.S. -- You will notice I continually use the word infant rather than child because the older the child gets the more likely it is that I would choose his/her life over my own. Is it true that as one gets older they grow in 'value' and then at a certain age begin decreasing in value? Or am I just insane?
  2. Joined
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    11 May '07 21:051 edit
    Originally posted by TheSkipper
    Consider the following scenario:

    You are the father/mother of an infant, and find yourself in a circumstance where, in order for one of you to survive, the other must be sacrificed otherwise you both die. It is guaranteed that if you allow one of the two of you to die the other will live.

    Do you sacrifice yourself for the infant? Why?

    I do not ...[text shortened]... they grow in 'value' and then at a certain age begin decreasing in value? Or am I just insane?
    As one gains maturity one's value system changes. Or perhaps more accurately, as one's value system becomes less self-centered it can be viewed as a gain in maturity.

    Edit: Yes, I would sacrifice myself. I have no children.
  3. Gangster Land
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    11 May '07 21:101 edit
    Originally posted by ThinkOfOne
    As one gains maturity one's value system changes. Or perhaps more accurately, as one's value system becomes less self-centered it can be viewed as a gain in maturity.

    Edit: Yes, I would sacrifice myself. I have no children.
    Geez, I'm 31, when is this going to happen?

    I do not honsetly think of myself as a self centered person, although I don't suppose many self -centered people do. However, my decision to sacrifice my infant would be based (i think) on logical values of worth rather than my desire to live at all costs. I would without a doubt sacrifice myself for my wife, or my sister and some close friends, for instance.
  4. Standard memberNemesio
    Ursulakantor
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    11 May '07 21:17
    Originally posted by TheSkipper
    Geez, I'm 31, when is this going to happen?

    I do not honsetly think of myself as a self centered person, although I don't suppose many self -centered people do. However, my decision to sacrifice my infant would be based (i think) on logical values of worth rather than my desire to live at all costs. I would without a doubt sacrifice myself for my wife, or my sister and some close friends, for instance.
    What about a scenario in which a complete adult stranger were in the
    room with you? Would you sacrifice him/her or yourself?

    Nemesio
  5. Standard memberjoneschr
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    11 May '07 21:321 edit
    Hmm... I'm the parent of a 2 year old, and I can say I'd probably sacrifice myself for him now.

    To be completely honest, I'm not sure I would have said the same when he was an infant. I would have definitely gone to great lengths, but I don't think I had such a strong bond to have made that leap.

    If my wife ever reads this, I'm in serious trouble 🙂
  6. Joined
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    11 May '07 21:381 edit
    Originally posted by TheSkipper
    Consider the following scenario:

    You are the father/mother of an infant, and find yourself in a circumstance where, in order for one of you to survive, the other must be sacrificed otherwise you both die. It is guaranteed that if you allow one of the two of you to die the other will live.

    Do you sacrifice yourself for the infant? Why?

    I do not ...[text shortened]... they grow in 'value' and then at a certain age begin decreasing in value? Or am I just insane?
    It would depend ENTIRELY upon how much I loved the infant. If I loved the infant dearly then it is a no brainer. I would sacrifice myself. I would not bother quibbling about subjective notions of value based upon age/reason/etc.
  7. Standard memberjoneschr
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    11 May '07 21:40
    Originally posted by TheSkipper
    I wonder what causes an otherwise reasonably logical person to make such an illogical decision?
    [/b]
    What does logic have to do with it?

    I'm having trouble seeing why you think this is a decision based on logic. If there were a way to save both child and parent, and you choose to sacrifice both despite having the desire to save both, that would be illogical.

    But here, the decision seems more emotionally based than based on logic. If anything, I would think it would be more logical to save the child, who has yet to experience life, while the parent has already done so.

    This is really an ethical and emotional decision, not a logical one.
  8. Felicific Forest
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    11 May '07 21:462 edits
    Originally posted by joneschr
    What does logic have to do with it?

    I'm having trouble seeing why you think this is a decision based on logic. If there were a way to save both child and parent, and you choose to sacrifice both despite having the desire to save both, that would be illogical.

    But here, the decision seems more emotionally based than based on logic. If anything, I w ...[text shortened]... nt has already done so.

    This is really an ethical and emotional decision, not a logical one.
    Hear, hear !!

    I would like to add to your remarks that the decisionmaking in question does not exclude, but rather transcends (should transcend ?) logic.
  9. Joined
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    11 May '07 21:491 edit
    Originally posted by joneschr
    What does logic have to do with it?

    I'm having trouble seeing why you think this is a decision based on logic. If there were a way to save both child and parent, and you choose to sacrifice both despite having the desire to save both, that would be illogical.

    But here, the decision seems more emotionally based than based on logic. If anything, I w ...[text shortened]... nt has already done so.

    This is really an ethical and emotional decision, not a logical one.
    Its the same logic that dictates that aborting the unborn is justifiable due to lack of development. Throw out the notion of love for the unborn and substitute skewed logic in regards to how the unborn has value to ME/MYSELF/and I.
  10. Felicific Forest
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    11 May '07 21:57
    Originally posted by TheSkipper
    Consider the following scenario:

    You are the father/mother of an infant, and find yourself in a circumstance where, in order for one of you to survive, the other must be sacrificed otherwise you both die. It is guaranteed that if you allow one of the two of you to die the other will live.

    Do you sacrifice yourself for the infant? Why?

    I do not ...[text shortened]... they grow in 'value' and then at a certain age begin decreasing in value? Or am I just insane?
    There are many situations in present thinking ( ... and practise !) in which people will chose to sacrifice the other even in case they do not have to die in order to save the other.
  11. Joined
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    11 May '07 22:222 edits
    Originally posted by TheSkipper
    Geez, I'm 31, when is this going to happen?

    I do not honsetly think of myself as a self centered person, although I don't suppose many self -centered people do. However, my decision to sacrifice my infant would be based (i think) on logical values of worth rather than my desire to live at all costs. I would without a doubt sacrifice myself for my wife, or my sister and some close friends, for instance.
    One can still think of it in terms of "logical values", however what changes are the weights one places on given values. Most don't see themselves as self-centered because they can run through their values logically to come up with an answer. What they fail to see is that the weights that they've placed on their values lean heavily toward their own point of view.

    Try looking at this statement you made earlier:
    If I discovered my wife were in the same scenario and choose to sacrifice herself I can imagine myself being very angry because she would have more value to me than my infant.

    You'd be angry with your wife because she so loved your child that she'd rather cut her life short in order for him to live. You see this in terms of yourself rather in terms of your wife and child. So much so that you'd actually be "angered". You'd be angry because she left YOU instead of understanding how beautiful it is that she loved your child so.

    We're all born self-centered. It's up to the individual to gain sufficient understanding to not remain so.
  12. tinyurl.com/ywohm
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    11 May '07 22:31
    Originally posted by joneschr
    Hmm... I'm the parent of a 2 year old, and I can say I'd probably sacrifice myself for him now.

    To be completely honest, I'm not sure I would have said the same when he was an infant. I would have definitely gone to great lengths, but I don't think I had such a strong bond to have made that leap.

    If my wife ever reads this, I'm in serious trouble 🙂
    The difference is that your wife (potentially) sacrificed herself for that child from the moment of conception, so her bond with the infant was stronger. Millions of women still die from complications during pregnancy and childbirth, so she faced the life-and-death thing all along. She also may have made sacrifices during pregnancy such as not drinking alcohol or not smoking. She may feel the child is more a part of herself and less of an "other." These things all contribute to her willingness or earlier willingness to sacrifice herself. This isn't about your wife in particular really, but more about the difference between how some women and some men see the issue.
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    11 May '07 22:58
    Originally posted by whodey
    Its the same logic that dictates that aborting the unborn is justifiable due to lack of development. Throw out the notion of love for the unborn and substitute skewed logic in regards to how the unborn has value to ME/MYSELF/and I.
    Yeah, because something as ethereal and transient as love is clearly the best reason for doing things...
  14. SubscriberAThousandYoung
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    12 May '07 00:241 edit
    Originally posted by TheSkipper
    Consider the following scenario:

    You are the father/mother of an infant, and find yourself in a circumstance where, in order for one of you to survive, the other must be sacrificed otherwise you both die. It is guaranteed that if you allow one of the two of you to die the other will live.

    Do you sacrifice yourself for the infant? Why?

    I do not ...[text shortened]... they grow in 'value' and then at a certain age begin decreasing in value? Or am I just insane?
    Not only will the child have all those same social connections when he gets to your age, he will have all the years before then to contribute to society, live, love and be happy. Imagine your infant to be you plus all the years you've already lived. Thus the infant is more valuable.

    The child will be even more likely to grow up as a noble, good person if he knew his father gave his life for him.
  15. Gangster Land
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    12 May '07 12:13
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    Not only will the child have all those same social connections when he gets to your age, he will have all the years before then to contribute to society, live, love and be happy. Imagine your infant to be you plus all the years you've already lived. Thus the infant is more valuable.

    The child will be even more likely to grow up as a noble, good person if he knew his father gave his life for him.
    Not exactly, for every argument that can be made that suggests my infant will grow up to be happy and good a counter argument can be made that suggests my infant will be a miserable a$$.
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