Debate Info

Save the Criminal Save the Selfish Young Lady
Debate Score:51
Total Votes:57
More Stats

Argument Ratio

side graph
 Save the Criminal (16)
 Save the Selfish Young Lady (17)

Debate Creator

iamdavidh(4856) pic

Morality Test

Background: You are walking along the beach deep in thought, miles from any civilazation. You have neither a phone nor an iPad (nor any other means of communication) on you. It is just you and your sturdy walking stick. It's a nice stick, about your height and strong as any piece of wood, but basically it's you... and you're a good swimmer.

CONUNDRUM: 2 people are balanced on a scale and should one fall off the scale the other will drown in the quickly rising tide. The waves are coming in fast. You have time to swim there and back but you do not have the strength to save both and the waves would drown one surely before you could go back to save the second. They are both tied and surely will drown if the waves reach them. You know this, there's no sneaky way out of the fact that if you leave one there they will drown.

**There is only 1 correct moral answer to this question. WARNING: it takes great thought and I will be surprised if anyone gets it right.**

NOTE: I'll tell you the correct answer in a couple days, or let you know if someone gets it right. 

WHO THEY ARE: You know them both.

1 is a long time criminal who has been in and out of jail perpetually his entire life - he however has 3 kids who depend on him since their mother passed away and the worst thing he's been convicted of is stealing food. This he does often however and he's sceaming "save the girl." He's also an alcoholic and could hold a decent job if he would just stay sobber a while.

2 is a young lady, late teens. She is very attractive, but selfish. She's something of a bully in fact, teasing poor girls and ugly girls constantly. There are many who would be happy should she drown. On the other hand she is young, as mentioned, and is only acting as she's seen others her status act without much thought. Also, she's crying and screeming with little thought (as is her way) "Save me please, please save me I can't swim and he's a criminal!"

So again, who do you save? There is 1 and only 1 correct answer in the moral sense and all othe answers are morally wrong. It does take thought. Your first hunch is not right and I promise simply "guessing" will never get you the right answer, no matter your answer.

That is your only hint.



Enigmatic's answer was great, however in the act of untying the individual the scale would sink as you would need to climb on to it in order to untie him. If you could untie it quick enough it may work. You're assuming one or the other knows how to swim as well.

Ax was on the right track with the sturdy walking stick, as much as that may irk him :)

Use the stick to hold up one end of the scale by placing it beneath, than save the other and go back.

The main point is who different people deem more worth saving and why though. It usually says something about ourselves. 

Save the Criminal

Side Score: 27

Save the Selfish Young Lady

Side Score: 24

Thus four people are saved, at the cost of one.

But really, could one not just untie the man, take his place, and have him untie the girl? Then all parties could leave.

Side: Save the Criminal
3 points

Observe the tide and the lunar cycle and evaluate whether or not the tide could reach them. If it is that the tide could not reach them, await low tide or calmer waters and save them both. If it is that the tide would surely drown them both, I'll save the criminal, for his only crime known to me is stealing food, which in all likelihood was a necessity. And to what degree do we uphold the moral code imposed by the law if it is not sufficient to except individuals such as himself whom made the choice to not steal, but rather eat? From what right do we derive the excuse to label him as much of a criminal as any other? The young lady has not passed her genes or done anything of use on a societal value, and as such, as far as her use goes, is diminished. Note that the value of her life is no different, but rather the value of her.

Side: Save the Criminal
2 points

AHA! If I were to go out to the balance, and give the woman my walking stick, she could surely float back. At which point I'd save the criminal!

Side: Save the Criminal
2 points

Just becuase it is against the law don't mean it's wrong. There are immoral laws aplenty. In the movie Les Miserables, the moral is that people shouldn't have to go to jail for a decade for stealing a loaf of bread. It is immoral for society to condemn a person who is simply trying to survive.

Is it immoral for a woman to sell her body when food stamps run out at the end of the month to feed her baby? Personally I would rather steal, rob and create mayhem than have sex for money.

Besides - this Jersey Shore Snookie is on the rag - as soon as she hits the water - sharks come! While she is freaking out she will drown. Why? Because fake boobs don't float! ever try to save a person who is fighting you? It's exhausting!

What I would do: Look around the place for a floater - use it as a surf board to get out there. Uh-oh! I have no knife to cut the rope! So all this effort for naught!

Wait! I see a fishing boat out in the water! I take off my white shirt and put in on the stick and wave for help at the fishermen. I catch the attention of the fishermen because of my naturally big white breasts and the fishermen save the wench & now newly deaf man who had to endure the screaming siren for the last two hours who was #*&%$! swearing constantly at the top of her voice....

(well she IS Snookie from the Jersey Shore!)


Side: Save the Criminal
bhavik(3) Disputed
1 point

ok .. sir ptosis(24) .. clearly you do not know what a debate forum means . for you it is all about your white breasts and snookie from jersey .

secondly , if the situation of survival from poverty arises , why does the criminal choose to have alcohol repeatedly. he could have used the same money to feed his children , secure their childhood ...

Side: Save the Selfish Young Lady
2 points

Isn't there some sort of Universal Code (at least in the movies) that states that you should always save the one who asks you to save the other?

Side: Save the Criminal
1 point

Hollywood morals? Isn't that a oxymoron? Like giant Shrimp or Business ethics?

If this is a Hollywood scenario such as 'Saw' then in reality the guy really is saving himself by yelling "Save the wench" because he knows something that neither you or Snookie knows - that there is a trap and the saver and the 'saved' both die horrible deaths while the guy is free when the counterwieght is gone and the sharks in the water are sated.

Side: Save the Criminal
2 points

My instinct would be to save the dude. The girl, to me, does not matter. I can't even depend on a lay at the end since she's supposed to be a deceptive bitch.

This guy is an alcoholic who goes to jail frequently. To me, he's doing a drug that people find bad and he's getting fucked over by the system... you know where my sympathies lie in this case.

And in the end, he has three kids who depend on him. Now, they could go off to an orphanage or maybe a rich uncle... you weren't descriptive enough about that thing, but I'm guessing that the end result for the kids won't be that good... since you said "dependent".

And I don't know about this stick, but could I place it on the scale that i take the person off of? since it's my height and strong... is it weighty enough? if not, oh well, i don't care about the chick.

But I'm not very moral in the first place.

Side: Save the Criminal

Who put them on that scale and why?

Do I have to think outside the box; and why am I in the box?

Is the selfish chic the criminal's daughter?

Does the selfish chic act as though she's got a stick up her ass?

Can I use the stick to wedge the scale in place until I find help?

Can I knock them both off and use the stick to pull them both to shore?

Can I use the stick to write S.O.S. on the sand, sit down and watch the show?

Can I just keep walking and pretend I don't see or hear them so I don't have to deal with it?

Can I pray for God to give me the power to part the ocean (like Moses) walk over and say, "Pretty cool trick, huh?"

Is there a pier I can walk out onto and use the stick to fish them out?

Am I Chuck Norris in this scenario?

Is the water cold? Do I have a wet suit?

Can I Google it?


Side: Save the Criminal
bhavik(3) Disputed
1 point

oh god ! joecavallry914644) are you on crack or what ? you are supposed to assume the facts are true . it is a morality test , not about " how literally you have to save them " have some respect for the person who has created the debate forum and spent time and effort . save your stupid thoughts to yourself . goodday !!

Side: Save the Selfish Young Lady

Ha! You just joined..., what..., four and a half hours ago? And You're giving ME advice? Do you know who I am ;)

Side: Save the Selfish Young Lady
joecavalry(39290) Clarified
1 point

Which one is the conservative? ;)

Side: Save the Criminal

I would untie the man so that he could save the girl (since he's so gun ho to save her anyway) and take the chic's place (so that she learns not to be selfish) and I pray for St. Peter to let me in through the pearly gates ;)

Side: Save the Criminal

Stealing is a sin. However, it is not wrong. I hope and assume that he is feeding his family. However, the intro is unclear about that. If the criminal dies, the eventually his children may die. Or they will grow up with the sense that their father is not going to be with them anymore.

I won't save the lady because she is selfish. However, i am not sayiing that saving her may change her attitude. The word is "may" meaning possible chances. Anyway, she was selfish in the past meaning that she once she dies, there will be less people who will cry after her death. However, her victims may be happy and grow healthier (bullying affects health) because the bully is gone from their lives.

One thing bothers me tho. What if the criminal continues to steal. The problem with be that he will go to jail and that is "death" in a sense for their children. And if he continues to drink, then there are chances that he may die. However, maybe after i save his life, he will see life in a whole new way. Maybe he will stop drinking and get that decent job.

Ultimately, i am going to save the criminal.

Side: Save the Criminal
ptosis(243) Disputed
1 point

God works in mysterious ways and uses every person in the world towards the goal of his plan. I know because IN REAL LIFE - I was saved by a complete asshole jerk. trust me - he was doing an self centered thing at the time and and there was no altruistic motivations.

In my early twenties in Poughkeepsie NY at the intersection of Vasser College and the bar across the street I was jaywalking in front of a truck at about 4pm. Hell - he could've stopped - he had the red light and honked his horn and hit the gas - only to brake because it was already red light 50 feet away at the intersection.

Well - that selfish MoFO basturd delayed me two whole seconds. Whatta Jerk.

I finished jaywalking across walking down the pavement when two seconds ahead of me a 15 foot length of drainage pipe broke off the building right in front of me.

I was shaking - I went into the building and told them what happened - then I left and went to the bar. I was still shaking and I tried to tell the people there what happened . Nobody reacted. the flat-line response from the bar flies. Right there i never went to a fruugen bar ever again. i just won't step into one.

Unless it's a cafe-bar with food and a view.

Side: Useful Idiot
1 point

I would save the criminal.

The criminal is someone who has done wrong - and there is no escaping that fact. However if someone were to let him drown then it would surely negatively affect the lives of his children - and they do not deserve to suffer because of what he has done in his life. His children must live their lives and must not be negatively affected by this trauma that will surely be aroused. Not only would it be bad if he was chosen to be the person to drown, but it would also negatively affect the rest of his family, and I don't think that's really fair. The question then becomes whether or not you would rather save four people (one dead, three mentally harmed) or one person that people actually would like to drown.

The other person who isn't the criminal is someone who is not liked by society. They may be young but allowing them to live is immoral and unfair on the other man and his family. She is someone who most people would like to have drowned anyway, so maybe it's a good idea. If she's lucky it will be quick when she falls off the platform. If she isn't lucky then I am sure that the rest of society and those who dislike her will be pleased.


The man has a family and the other person is hated by society. Some of society would like it if she drowned. Therefore it becomes a moral obligation to save the criminal, as long as he doesn't stab you.


You could just save neither, that may actually help society even more.

Side: Save the Criminal
2 points

Question: given morality's subjectivity... whose moral code are you basing this on? And this stick I have...

Side: Save the Selfish Young Lady
iamdavidh(4856) Disputed
2 points

lol, you don't have to base any moral code on anything, but there is 1 and only 1 correct answer based on any moral code... just about any moral code within reason at least.

That's all I'm giving you. Interesting you mention the stick though.

Side: Save the Criminal
Axmeister(4317) Disputed
2 points

"Interesting you mention the stick though."

You better not reveal the answer as the fact that because you had a stick they could both be saved.

Side: Save the Selfish Young Lady
2 points

Alright... First of all.. I'm in the beach. I'm tired. And I'm sure that I've hardly energy left to save one. So I'm gonna swim and hope to be satisfied with whoever I can save. Next... I'll find that man who put them in the balance and drown him.

I know that the man there is a criminal who was bent down with the Worldly badness. That little girl is only what her age has taught her. But, this incident will most likely change the way she thinks. I'll save her first and since she is young and more energetic... I and she will help save the criminal.

I'm sure two of us can can get it better.

If we fail to save.. She will understand the value of life and help his family a little initially, emotionally or with jobs and stuff and take over the responsibility later.

Side: Save the Selfish Young Lady

"Here's the thing... I don't give a ten-penny fuck about your moral conundrum, you meat-headed shit-sack... That's pretty much the thing" - Gangs of New York.

It's arrogant to presume that there is only one answer to a moral dilemma. To demonstrate this, I'm going to assume the guise of Attila the Hun before Answering.


I would beat the man to death with a stick for being weak and incompetent. I would untie the girl, drag her to the shore and rape her. I would then bind her and bring her to my yurt as a harem. When I tired of her, I would give her to my men for amusement, then sell her into slavery.

See, its the subjectivity of morality, innit?

Side: Save the Selfish Young Lady
1 point

Reason's I would save her:

1)She's a lady, and thus it would only be proper to rescue her.

2)Both of them voted on saving the lady and as a supporter of democracy I'ld have to go with her too

3)She's young and the near-death experience will probably change her attitude

4)The other man is a criminal, and in the eyes of the law is the more sinful of the two

Side: Save the Selfish Young Lady
1 point

Why was this downvoted?!

Side: Save the Selfish Young Lady

I would obviously save the lady.

First, she is a woman, and two, she is selfish.

Side: Save the Selfish Young Lady
1 point

The criminal is basicly a good man, and as such will be welcomed into heaven. The spoiled girl is headed the other way. By saving the girl she has a chance to change her life and repent her selfish ways, so in effect they both could be saved.

Side: Save the Selfish Young Lady
1 point

using the information aforementioned .. a general character analysis of the two can help solve the problem . the basis of my explanation is the fact that i would save a person who will live to be a better person .

1 . the criminal : being alcoholic , and charged several times we can derive that the man has little potential to change , something that he doubts himself . his obsessions have gripped him too hard . he cannot act on his own accord

2. the lady : having a trouble past , she emulates the pain inflicted on her . saving her life might inspire her to be a better person .

hence the lady !

Side: Save the Selfish Young Lady
1 point

The real answer is there is no answer, at least not how presented. These are cute little riddles, sure. But they involve equality, trading one for the other, 1 life lost, 1 life gained. All the little details just help us identify what is more important within an individual's moral framework, how they prioritize things. But the only immoral answer is to not save either. If someone can figure out a particularly clever way to save both, it just shows that are pretty smart, not unusually moral.

For the record, I put it under the lady because the man asked me to. This does not make me more moral than those saving the man.

Side: either one
0 points

I would help the "Selfish Young Lady":

1. She is a minor. Her caretaker(s), most likely parents, would suffer much emotional damage from her death. The criminal has been in and out of jail. His children have already found a way to live with him gone, so they must not be overly-dependent on him.

2. "There are many who would be happy should she drown." This pushes me emotionally to prefer to save her. These people or at least one of them most likely took part in creating this situation.

3. They both have told me to save the girl. The criminal wants the girl to survive and would be upset with himself and me if I saved him instead.

"There is 1 and only 1 correct answer". Of what type answer do you seek, something like "the criminal" or "the girl" or do you want the kinds of things others are thinking such as the creative ideas on how to save both?

Side: Save the Selfish Young Lady
ptosis(243) Disputed
1 point

So the guy with four kids may be older but not necessary. Maybe he was very busy as a teenager father and could be in his late twenties himself.

What if you know both people?

What if the food stealer stole not a mere crust of bread to survive but embezzled truckloads of UN starvation relief and hundreds died from his misdeeds? And the selfish female is Amy Winehouse.

I would keep walking past them while flipping both the bird!

Besides it will be a super high tide and the breaker waves will be crashing upone the treacherous sharp rocks of doom instead of the soft beach sand. Killing yourself for sure in the attempt.

Side: Neither
0 points

You have a good point with his stealing. It had to have been a larger job than just stealing a few crusts of bread, otherwise why would he get in actual trouble with the law?

Side: Save the Criminal

She's very Young and the man wanted you to save her. The man's children would survive in an orphanage.

Side: Save the Selfish Young Lady