The idea in this thread will be to construct the most preposterously unlikely moral and/or ethical dilemma; also, to solve the ethical dilemmas already posted, by any means you like. Real-world physics/economics etc optional.
To start us off:
You’re being held captive by a crazed madman who insists that you kill your best friend and eat his brain; on the plus side, you’ve always been curious as to what grey matter actually tastes like, but on the minus side, he’s your best buddy. If you don’t kill your best friend and eat his brain, the madman says he will kill you both and send a satyrical poem to the Home Secretary, whereas if you DO kill him, He’ll send your mother a bunch of chrysanthemums. You happen to know that your mother is dangerously allergic to chrysanthemums, but you also know that the satyrical poem will cause the Home Secretary to erupt in a fit of rage and deport twelve asylum seekers, which may result in them being tortured and/or killed in their home countries.
Furthermore, you also know that one of the asylum seekers knows of an unpublished brief solution to Fermat’s Last Theorem and is also in posession of key data that will make room-temperature superconductors possible.
You’re hanging from a cliff by your balls. You have a pair of scissors in your right hand, and a goldfish bowl in your left. The bowl contains the last remaining example of an extremely rare and valuable carp that produces a chemical that cures cancer. Below you is a small orphan child who you will surely crush to death if you fall. And your balls are on fire.
You arrive at your tourist hotel in a third-world hotspot after a gruelling flight from Charles de Gaulle airport and a fraught, hour-long ride in a 20-year old taxi with no suspension. You discover that, among other inconvieniences, the TV does not work but it doesn’t matter because all you want to do is have a shower, relax with a G&T then get some sleep - so you open your suitcase to get out your washbag, only to find … five ounces of plastic explosive!!!
What do you do?
Do you do the right thing and risk being sentanced to life in prison by a local judiciary who may just find it unbelievable that you have “discovered” this cache, or worse, execution by the terrorists who have obviously used your luggage to smuggle their explosives?
Or do you leave your luggage, with the possibility it may fall into the hands of child-slaughtering terrorist madmen, and run as fast and as far as you can?
Preposterous and unlikely, indeed.
“When faced with a choice between two evils, I always pick the one I haven’t tried before.”
The key to solving your dilemma, Mangetout, is whether I had sufficient thyme. Lacking that information, I’d probably just go with my instincts and shoot some kid.
Another: You’re a member of a fundamentalist sect that teaches life begins whenever a defective prophylactic rolls off the assembly line at the Trojan plant. Your best friend is a living severed head you keep in your basement, whose continued existence and all knowledge of the world depends entirely on you. The chemicals needed to keep your friend alive are expensive, illegal and highly toxic to yourself, measurably shortening your own life. There is a cheap and safe alternative to these chemicals, but the supply relies on the labor of blind (but cute) orphans held in fearful bondage. You might improve their lot markedly, however, if you could exert the influence of a major consumer of this substance, say 100 times what you presently require. You do have a lot of friends, and a machete, but only so much space in your basement. What do you do?
Pour the water on my balls, stab the scissors into the wall to get a grip, keep the goldfish alive in my mouth while I climb to safety.
A girl whom you’ve had a crush on for a long time, finally agrees to go out with you. She tells you she flying off the next day, and tonight is the last chance you’ll have of convincing her to stay. The same day, the head-girl of a really hot sorority group, asks your help in “breaking-in” some new intakes. This sorority group consists of the hottest girls in the university, sure to be future supermodels or Playboy bunnies.
Very simple: You are a male, alone in the house with your 14 year old child. A man breaks in, puts a gun to the child’s head, and states that unless you rape your child and let him watch you do it, he will shoot the child and make you watch him do it.
You are trapped in a cubicle. On your desk is a pile of work. On your computer is the SDMB. If you complete your work, you will be rewarded with a paycheck. If you keep doping, you will be rewarded with the same paycheck, but guilt will come creeping into your soul (eventually, or so I’m told.) If you never finish the work, someone will eventually notice and you’ll get fired. If you actually work, you might miss something good. What to do? What to do?
Use the machete to carve shelves into your basement’s walls. Then use the machete to kill all of the orphans (thus putting them out of their missery) and rob all of the chemical that you need (at machete point). As for the fundamentalist sect part… convert to the religion of warriors and conquerors! Worship Odin, Thor, Tir, Loki, Frey, Frigg, Baldur and all the rest that we dont have time to name here!
You stand twenty five feet from a man who is being robbed, and beaten (by one other man). You have traveled to the future, where a cruel, and evil dictator has siezed power, and began randomly executing people, setting up torture chambers, etc. You think the man who is being beaten is the future dictator, but can’t tell, because he is covered in blood(his own), and his face is partialy obscurred. You have a gun and one bullet. Do you kill the possible future dictator, or save someone who may be just some unlucky schmo? Also, all of this takes place in a bad part of town, where even the cops never go, so you wouldn’t get caught for murder, regardless of the situation.
You are a contestant in a quiz show. After half an hour of skillful play, you reach the final round. The host gives you four options:
[li]If you pick option A, 100 people will be killed and you win nothing.[/li][li]If you pick option B, 10 000 people will be killed (including 2 members of your family), but you will walk away with $5.[/li][li]If you pick option C, 100 000 people will be killed, but 100 000 other people will be saved, and you will walk away with $10.[/li][li]If you pick option D, the universe will come to an end, but you will walk away with $20.[/li][/ul]
You have 3 seconds to make a choice. If you fail to make a choice, you will be killed, but you will walk away with $1.
OK here’s my moral dilemma.
Your 12-yr-old daughter has decided that when she gets to 18 she wants to be a Page 3 model-that would be her dream come true. She goes down with a rare disease and is told will just live long enough to see her next birthday. You know a photographer who would be prepared to take some pictures,as long as you are there to supervise it and make sure that you are happy with them. He can publish them in a national paper as a birthday treat for her,but would face jail for publishing child porn and the probable closure of the paper.
Do you let your daughter have her dying wish and the joy of getting onto Page 3 even though it means sending your photographer and you to jail and closing down a major newspaper?
It’s 1960. You are at the bottom of the Mariana’s Trench. Your colleague has gone outside to adjust the bouyancy tank. Afterwards, while trying to get back in, the airlock has jammed. It’s time to go so you can either leave your buddy to die in the crushing cold and darkness, or you can instantly end his suffering with the external 1920’s style Death Ray. You have 20 minutes to decide.