CreateDebate


Debate Info

76
79
Yes No
Debate Score:155
Arguments:79
Total Votes:206
More Stats

Argument Ratio

side graph
 
 Yes (30)
 
 No (37)

Debate Creator

geoff(738) pic



Would you kill someone to save one hundred people?

Few for many.

Yes

Side Score: 76
VS.

No

Side Score: 79
14 points

Utilitarian morality has its limits. For example, most people will answer this question "Yes", but will be much more hesitant when a context is given. Ex. 5 people are dying in a hospital from organ failures. Is it alright to kill the man waiting in the lobby to give his organs to the 5 people in need, killing 1 to save 5? Most people say no, and that's because of rights theory. However, since this lacks a context, I still say yes.

Side: Yes
RevFred(347) Disputed
2 points

I can't think of an argument thats different enough from hams, to warrant making a new argument, so I'll just back him on this one.

Side: No
6 points

It depends on the nature of a specific case. For instance, I probably wouldn't kill a child to save 100 nonogenarians but probably the reverse. It's simply too general a question. Life just isn't black and white.

Side: Yes
5 points

Unless the one person was of great importance, it would be logical to save the hundred people. By not killing the one person, you are indirectly killing the hundred by negligence.

That, however, is a general answer to a general question. Factors could obviously play into this situation that could change my answer.

Side: Yes
4 points

Logically, it's a simple choice. Kind of like cost to benefit ratio, we're looking at the minimal amount of suffering to result from our decision. Statistically it makes sense to save a hundred lives by sacrificing one, however real-world context would complicate things. For example, would I kill an innocent person to save a hundred elderly, sickly humans who would die in a year or so regardless? No (depending on the age of the person in question).

Since there is no specific context given, I'd just say that the logical decision to make would be to kill that one person to save a hundred others, however I do not know whether I could actually kill the person myself. I doubt I could if the person was innocent and/or a child, but I'll vote yes since no details are given.

Side: Yes

I'd kill 100 bad guys for one good one.

Side: Yes
2 points

According to Immanuel Kant, the criteria for trading lives is "That a rational being should never be used as merely an unconsenting means to an end, even the end of benefiting others" (Taken from the God Delusion by Richard Dawkins).

What does this mean? If a person is sacrificed as a collateral consequence, i.e flipping a switch which would save the lives of people on a train by switching the tracks, but another person is on the set of tracks you are shifting the train on and can't escape in time, then it is justified.

However, if the person is sacrificed as a direct consequence,i.e pushing a fat man on the train tracks to slow a train that would otherwise careen off a cliff, then this is considered unjustified.

(Both examples also taken from The God Delusion)

Nevertheless, I would probably do the deed, since in strictly utilitarian terms, the hundred people would be able to do more in the world than the one.

Side: Yes
3 points

Very logical argument. Well Stated.

Side: No
2 points

Consent can be cultivated. Suicide bombers consent in that they have been conditioned to agree with what others might consider atrocious. Also, the one may have cured cancer whereas the many may have formed a crazed, totalitarian government. There are swings and roundabouts, cheques and balances. A pacifist decision may be just as consequential.

Side: No
3 points

And this is why there will never be a definite answer to this question.

The one person could be extremely important; the 100 could be jews that were sent to concentration camps. Each situation demands its own unique analysis.

Furthermore, like you said, "Consent can be cultivated." Everyones opinions are based on value judgments, so a utilitarians point of view would be different than a solider who is trying to save his buddy from a group of enemy soldiers.

Both of these tweak certain variables (or if you want to go Bayesian, priors), that will shift your opinion on this one way or the other.

Side: No
1 point

"Nevertheless, I would probably do the deed, since in strictly utilitarian terms, the hundred people would be able to do more in the world than the one."

Do what though? What if they all turn out to be genocidal maniacs? There are no hard and fast rules in my opinion, such events must be considered as they happen.

Side: Yes

Preservation of life is not the highest order of things on my list of causes. Everyone is going to die, no matter what we do, no matter how many lives we "save" in the present, everyone will die.

The real difference, what we can actually change, is how we live. Sacrifices of human beings for the sake of other human beings is completely permissible to me for the following reasons:

1. To save a very large number of people from death by natural disaster, war, terrorism, or man-made accident. This is in order to both preserve human life and for the sake of national stability. We must, at all times, try to keep our people as prosperous and secure as possible.

2. To save very important people whose use to humanity, and to the nation, are astronomical. We have to save the Edisons, the Einsteins, the Roosevelts, the Madame Curies, the General Pattons, and the Mozarts of our world. They better our lives, protect our people, lead our nations to prosperity and prestige, and advance our scientific powers and knowledge.

These people, individually, will end up saving millions to billions of lives over the years. (Just think about the uses of electricity and how they've formed the backbone of everything from refrigerators to CAT scans).

3. In the name of equality, freedom, Democracy, Socialism, Communism, or any other liberating ideology which serves to improve the lives, economic situation, and happiness of the greatest number of people. This includes national liberations which achieve these ends as well as racial, gender, sexual orientation, and other equality struggles.

Side: Yes
2 points

Assuming everyone involved is an "average" person, and they are all "worth" the same, then yes, of course. The maximum amount of lives should be preserved.

Side: Yes
2 points

If you don't kill that one person, you are, in effect, killing 100. So the question could be rephrased as, "Would you rather kill 1 person or kill 100 people?" I think the answer is obviously 1 person.

Side: Yes
geoff(738) Disputed
0 points

By that reasoning, if you don't kill 49 people and fail to save 50, are you killing someone through inaction?

Side: No
2 points

yes i would surely do this if that person is criminal or terrorist

Side: Yes
Cuaroc(8332) Disputed
2 points

What if it's not?

Side: No
Arya30(74) Clarified
1 point

Then we will have to think if he is worth killing or not.

Side: Yes
2 points

I would kill a human to save my dog................................................

Side: Yes
1 point

hmm...would you kill 100 people to save one very close person??

Side: Yes
1 point

This is too relative.

Who is the one, and will this person kill or let 100 people die to save a 1000? What if the 100 people are against your set of morals? What if the 100 are against you? Would you give up your life for the 100? Even if there were 100,000 that agreed with you, and 100 wanted to kill you? Would you fight the 100 to save yourself? Even if it meant killing the 100?

It's completely subjective and I don't know how anyone could have answered this with a yes or no.

Side: Yes
1 point

I believe the value of one life to 100 is a big diffrence trying to save the life would be a smart try but if there is no way to save him then kill him, now if it's a man with an intet to destroy or plans to take over and make a dictatorship kill him save everyone else from problems.

Side: Yes
1 point

Killing one man to save one hundred is the right thing to do.

Side: Yes
1 point

Of course I would it just seems like the right thing to do. If what I did saved the lives of 99 people then I do not see why not.

Side: yes
1 point

depends on who that one person iscause i dont think i could kill someone i careed about

Side: yes
1 point

If they are a threat to other people i think it would be ok to kill them but i think it should go through a judge first

Side: yes
1 point

If a human dying isn't justified then i would obviously since more people will die if I don't. I will definitely pick yes because of the simple ratio kills 1 compared to: 100 and kills 100 compared to: 10,000 and kills 10,000 compared to: 1,000,000 kills 10,000,000 compared to: 1,000,000,000 which is one seventh of the WORLD population. XD

Side: Yes
1 point

This comes down to the Trolley Problem, 'the general form of the problem is this: Person A can take an action which would benefit many people, but in doing so, person B would be unfairly harmed. Under what circumstances would it be morally just for Person A to violate Person B's rights in order to benefit the group?'

Side: Yes
1 point

I would kill 100 to save one I care about .

Side: Yes
1 point

It's a pretty simple question. No matter who the person is, you're still saving 100 more people.

Side: Yes
1 point

say for instance there was a killer on the loose running around killing innocent people for the fun of it and there was a chance that u could kill that person to save everyone around you including your loved ones. i know i would but its not the wrong choice especially if theres loved ones at stake. 100 PEOPLES LIFES ARE FAR MORE IMPORTANT THAN ONE LIFE THAT DECIDES HE WANTS TO KILL INNOCENT PEOPLE. know i know what death is like ive seen it all throughout my family ive lost alot of loved ones and it just crushes you to know that you couldnt do anything about it but knowing that u could save a hundred lifes well thats a different story. I WOULD FIGHT TO MY LAST BREATH EVEN IF IT MEANT SACRIFICING MY OWN LIFE TO KEEP THE PEOPLE THAT HAVE DONE NO WRONG SAFE SO THAT THEY CAN LIVE ON KNOWING THAT THERE FAMILY IS SAFE.

Side: Yes
1 point

This really comes down to either the teleological or deontological approach. From a teleological point of view you would kill the one person, as the total amount of happiness at the end outweighs that of the other approach of sparing the person. From a deontological perspective, even if the hundred people die, you are not in the moral wrong, as you have not directly killed anyone. Whatever way the hundred people are killed is not an issue if it is not by your hand but the one who performs it, even if you are able to stop them.

Making the choice between the two approaches is the difficult part.

Side: Yes
instig8or(3310) Disputed
0 points

There is a very simple solution, you kill the 100 and turn around to the one you saved and say 'you are now my slave or I kill you too'.

Side: No
10 points

As previously stated, this is far too general a question, but I would still have to say no, at least in most cases. Now obviously, if the person was a tyrant, or a serial killer, or a "heaven-bent" terrorist seeking to kill a hundred people, I would probably say yes. But the question is, where does it stop? Do we then start killing innocent people for the benefit of others, would one group of a hundred constitute more deaths than another? As Hollywood has portrayed, do we start cloning people for body parts? Do we start killing the elderly to allow for more food for starving people?

No, killing the few to save the many only leads to more and more justification for taking a human life. Before you know it, you end up with a genocide.

Side: No

I agree. And by the same line of arguing we also shouldn't be in the business of torturing people.

By the way, check out the "trolley problem" a thought experiment related to this debate topic.

Supporting Evidence: The trolley problem thought experiment (en.wikipedia.org)
Side: No
jessald(1915) Disputed
0 points

"No, killing the few to save the many only leads to more and more justification for taking a human life. Before you know it, you end up with a genocide."

This is an unfounded slippery slope argument. Killing one person to save another in no way causes disregard for human life, quite the opposite in fact -- we would be acting to preserve as much life as possible. Of course we would need to draw a line somewhere, but killing one person to save a hundred is clearly on the "good" side of the line.

Side: Yes
lieutenant24(11) Disputed
-1 points

I agree that the question is far too general, but it asks "would you," not "would you always."

Side: Yes
3 points

I couldn't personally kill someone, no matter what the outcomes of my action will be. I don't actually think I have it in me, and I hope I never ever will.

Side: No
3 points

I agree with no you should not. Now, why? If you do kill that one person are you saying that that persons soul was not worth enough? In the Ten Commandments it says:

6.Thou shalt not kill.

6.You shall not murder.

6.Do not murder.

No matter what religion you follow you should NOT kill, no matter how many people it's going to save. Like in the trolley situation, you should not kill that one person to save those five, it wasn't your fault that the train broke and that those people are going to die but it will be your fault that you killed one person to save five, but let me tell you that a soul is worth more than five souls if they were destined to die. But you CANNOT KILL it is stated in the BIBLE!!!! now many say it was also your destiny to be there and change the route, but if you do you killed somebody and if you don't it's not your fault about anything that happened to the train before. But if you do switch to killing that ONE PERSON JUST ONE you have made a mistake for you cannot kill and you weren't responsible for what happened to the train before so you aren't killing those five people.

Side: No
1 point

Without any context I'd have to say no however I think with certain situations I might say yes.

e.g. If a suicide bomber was about to take out 100 innocent people, and I was certain about this I think I could find it in myself to shoot him. But I'm not sure I could justify killing an innocent person.

I only selected no because it was the loosing side lol.... i think any sane person could take either side of the argument with no context to work from.

Side: No
1 point

First you should ask if you would give up your own life to save others.

It is relatively easy to recommend sacrificing an anonymous person "in the hospital lobby" to save "five persons needing organ transplants". But consider that the life of the person in the lobby has value, too. Suppose he happens to be a great scientist or a parent or the surgeon that's supposed to do the transplant surgery, etc.

The discussion quickly becomes complicated when we try to compare the values of individual human lives.

Side: No
1 point

its easier said than done, first of all if you ever killed someone your chest would feel empty, you'd feel a pain inside you because you actually took another persons life, and plus its destiny, no one can stop it, if a hundred people have to die so be it, and also that person that you have to kill might be someone you really love...

Side: No
1 point

to kill that one person is murder, anyway you look at it. when you kill that one person the blood and guilt will be on your hands and you will have to live forever thinking about the life you took that wasnt yours to take in the first place. atleast with the 100 lives that were threaten to be taken away, you wouldnt be held responsible for them dying,because you didnt have to take a knife or a gun to their head and they might have their own fighting chance, but who gives you that right to take a life away from someone else?

Side: No
1 point

Looking at this question from a deontological perspective, the answer is quite clearly no.

Under a deontological belief system, actions are judged ethically (and by extent, morally) correct not based on their end result (in the case of consequentialism, and by extent utilitarianism) but instead by their adherence to a set of rules and respectfulness of rights. In this case, the obvious laws, along with social contract, prescribes that murder is an obvious moral wrong, despite its end results, because in order to achieve those end results a set of rules must be broken. In a society where you allow people to arbitrarily decide when a rule deserves to broken, there is a rule breakdown, and with it the entire system goes. So I am squarely on the side of no with this question.

Side: No
1 point

i wud never kill som1 to save 100 people.

God created us,but he did nt give any of us right to take anyones life.

killing som1 violates gods commandments. killing is unjust and unethical and inhuman.

Side: No
namrata16(65) Clarified
1 point

Evryday we atleast read 1 to 2 news sayin sum1 killed sum1..blah blah....maybe in 40 to 50 yrs there will be news sayin that sum1 walkd 1km without gettin killed.....we dont wnt this ,do we????

v the future generation shud spread peace n love mong each other....

Side: Yes
1 point

Depends who is the person I kill and who are the people i save

Side: No
1 point

Killing another person for the betterment of a hundred other people. Promoting the survival of a species, in Darwinian terms. I believe that every human life is important. To me, this is a very selfish act. The person may kill himself, but do you believe that the law is going to leave you free. No. Nobody has the right to kill another person. Now if he is pointing a machine gun at a crowd of hundred people, shouldn't he be killed? Well, I would rather kick his ass than kill him.

No. I wouldn't kill another man. Everything happens for a reason. If Hitler hadn't been born, modern human rights organization's wouldn't have come in to being, right?

Side: No

Never, not buying into the kill one save hundred bullshit.-------------------

Side: No
1 point

The problem with utilitarianism is its calculating. It bases its moral decisions on numbers. It does not consider the rights of the minority. As humans, we all have rights. However ones rights stop where another's begin. An utilitarian could argue that welfare drains tax money and the country would be better off if (A) didn't provide for the poor, or (B) shipped them somewhere else so that we didn't have to provide for them. Either way it dehumanizes people. John Rawls argues that moral decisions should be based on the " Original position", In other words moral decisions would be made under the assumption that no one knew where they would end up in society. They may be poor or rich, black or white, healthy or disabled.

Side: No
1 point

No, what right or superiority do you have to make that decision? This puts the thought that it is okay to kill a person as long as more benefit from it.

Side: No
Cartman(18205) Disputed
1 point

Aren't you responsible for killing the 100 people by not doing anything?

Side: Yes
Jace(4530) Disputed
1 point

No. Whatever kills the one hundred people is responsible for killing them.

Side: No
1 point

I'd kill all 101 to save my own ass.

Side: No
1 point

if the person whom we have to kill is worth the 100 people and plays more important role in the progress then leaving the 100 people to their own fate would be better.

Side: No
1 point

No. Utilitarianism is flawed ideology. All of reality exists in every human being.

Side: No
0 points

There is no justice in killing anyone. It is murder.

Side: No
Arya30(74) Disputed
1 point

Then would it be injustice even to kill a murderer or a really destructive minded person?

Side: Yes
0 points

If we kill people to save people, there will be no way of progress in future. We will simply know that to save 100 people we have to sacrifice one, reminds me of some ancient times

Side: No

Not without an appropriate context.

Side: No