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Press the button?

Would you press the button


  • Total voters
    92

grEEEn

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I answered the poll without reading the questions too, haha. I'd still push the button anyways. There's only a small chance that the dead person would even be in the same country as me, nobody lives here in Canada. Also keeping in mind that the man doesn't say that someone will die IMMEDIATLY. It could be that someone is going to die whenever they're supposed to die and you didn't influence the even by pushing the button. There really isn't enough detail in the question to make me think that it would be a bad idea. I think I would like to know who gets to die because I push the button, maybe the button opens a door to some restrained prisoner and I get to be all Hostel on them. That would be cool, killing the person with my own hands.
 

INTPINFP

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Hmm... I say kill the man who gave you the choice, then search the building for the money he was going on about. That way you get the money and probably save a few random people in the process. :)
Of course, this is probably the stupidest idea of the century, as he's probably deranged, there was no money, and you are now on the run from the United States government for killing a man. Oh well, worth a shot.

Most likely he is a just a phyciatrist trying to determine the state of your mental health. Or he could be from an independent study.

In truth, if this ever happened, the first thing I would do is ask "How the heck does this technology work?" That way I could use it to take over the world MUHAHAHAHAHAHA :cool:

A million dollars can go along way. You could probably feed 2 people for the rest of their lives with money to spare! No, if you took that seriously, I'm laughing inside. I made that up as a testament to deranged logic. If some one went up to me and said "If you press a button to kill someone I'll give you a million dollars", I would say I need evidence that you have a million dollars. If the money was in his jacket then I would: first ask him how the technology worked in order to determine if it was a hoax,
- If not a hoax, then I would greatly benefit from knowledge of the techonology.
Then, I would ask where is the money kept. If he says I have it with me I shoot him with a tranquilzer, then steal his briefcase,
-If the money is not in the case, I wait for him to wake up, then ask him for the password from the swiss bank account. After I obtain the password I then steal the technology and money from the swiss bank account.
I would have killed noone, gained 1 million dollars, and also prevented the device from ever killing anyone again.
 

Ritsuka

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Ashenstar

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Yes, I would push the button. Of course I would spend some time thinking on it, not out of fear of consequences more out of fascination.

I am pretty apathetic regarding death. It will come in some form for all of us whether it be at someone's hands, our own, or one of the myriad of possible scenarios resulting in death.

I also wouldn't take it personally if some random person killed me for money so I expect the person I randomly kill to not take it personally either. (doesn't seem very logical)
 

severus

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After consideration, YES I would most definately push the button.

Now: would you kill some random person (not of your choosing) that you don't know for a million dollars? Would you shoot them? Stab them? Strangle them? (all fatally, of course)

And if your answers differ between these and the button, why is that? Or rather, is it okay that they differ?

I would not shoot, stab, or strangle anyone for a million dollars. I'd be spending the money on therapy, so it'd be neutral in the end. Loss of time though. So, the psychological damage would be the reason between my differing answers. Buttons are just so ... impersonal.
 

Ashenstar

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After consideration, YES I would most definately push the button.

Now: would you kill some random person (not of your choosing) that you don't know for a million dollars? Would you shoot them? Stab them? Strangle them? (all fatally, of course)

And if your answers differ between these and the button, why is that? Or rather, is it okay that they differ?

I would not shoot, stab, or strangle anyone for a million dollars. I'd be spending the money on therapy, so it'd be neutral in the end. Loss of time though. So, the psychological damage would be the reason between my differing answers. Buttons are just so ... impersonal.


Interesting difference. You couldn't, perhaps convince yourself that stabbing someone is rather impersonal as well? Knife or button. Either way it's your hand using an object to cause this person's death, not directly your hands as is the case with strangulation.
 

severus

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The gun is slightly impersonal. But you're still watching the person die.

Stabbing I would find VERY personal. Physically pushing a blade into a screaming person's flesh? (I guess it depends on its sharpness...) The blood spraying out, likely onto you?

The button, just one quick tap and that's it. For all you know, the button doesn't actually do anything, no one actually dies. Or at least that's what you can tell yourself. It's a mystery. Something to ponder, maybe, but nothing to be traumatized over.
 

Ashenstar

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The gun is slightly impersonal. But you're still watching the person die.

Stabbing I would find VERY personal. Physically pushing a blade into a screaming person's flesh? (I guess it depends on its sharpness...) The blood spraying out, likely onto you?

The button, just one quick tap and that's it. For all you know, the button doesn't actually do anything, no one actually dies. Or at least that's what you can tell yourself. It's a mystery. Something to ponder, maybe, but nothing to be traumatized over.

*nods*
That is true. With the button you never can be sure. You get the comfort of lying to yourself/rationalizing or whatever you wish to call it. If you actually shoot/stab someone you have to watch them die. Watch them collapse and see the light leave their eyes.

Congrats, you're not a psychopath.
 

Misanthropy

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lol i instantly hit yes before even reading the full question. I then realized i killed a man.
Answer this: (what i had in mind reading the title)
There is a button. Do you press it?

The same thing happened to me.
 
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YEAH! my vote put 'No' in front! YES!

and fuck all 26 of the rest of you :beatyou:
 

Ilmlas

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If I were to press the button, and gain the 1 million, I would probably feel so disgraceful and dirty and downright disgusting that I'd do anything to get rid of the money, and I would. I would probably then watch the news and know that anybody on there may have just died because of a button I pressed. Maybe a house exploded, and a baby died. So instead of causing myself a torrent of self hate and loathing, I'd just stick with no.
 

juturna

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After consideration, YES I would most definately push the button.

Now: would you kill some random person (not of your choosing) that you don't know for a million dollars? Would you shoot them? Stab them? Strangle them? (all fatally, of course)

And if your answers differ between these and the button, why is that? Or rather, is it okay that they differ?

I would not shoot, stab, or strangle anyone for a million dollars. I'd be spending the money on therapy, so it'd be neutral in the end. Loss of time though. So, the psychological damage would be the reason between my differing answers. Buttons are just so ... impersonal.

I hadn't thought about this. You bring up a very profound point.
I would probably press the button in an instant, and be more interested in how the device works but just because the death would be impersonal.
 

transformers

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hmmmmmmm I had to think long and hard about this one. On the one hand, it's easy money with little residual guilt. This is very much like how world leaders escape the guilt of sending thousands of men to their deaths to fight in obscure wars overseas -- they de-personalize the decision. But on the other hand, every time I spend some of that money I'd be reminded of where it came from, and I'm not sure if my conscience could take that. Is it worth it? Perhaps. It would depend on how much I needed the money. Ironically, though, pressing the button for free would probably be easier to accept, since I could justify the decision by saying I did nothing but press a button and got nothing out of it. But that's pointless destruction then, and completely undeserved.

I probably wouldn't press it.
 

Van

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For all I know, the button does absolutely nothing. Maybe he is saying that someone will die purely to mess with my head. Of course someone will die if I push the button because people die all the time. He could just as easily say, if you push that button the sun will rise tomorrow. It doesn't mean that the button controls the rising of the sun, but it's still a true statement. He also didn't say what would happen if I didn't push the button. I'm gonna push the button.
 

420MuNkEy

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I would not push the button, however, I would study it long and hard because that kind of technology is fascinatingly advanced.
 

kantor1003

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Answered no before reading the thread. Reading the thread; yes, of course I'd push the button. Take a trip to Somalia and see how many would have refused there, probably 0. If a family member would have refused (which I can't imagine), one of the other members would probably shoot her/him and push the button himself.
 

walfin

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Just a side point - would pressing the button be murder? Is it manslaughter/culpable homicide? Do you have to know who your victim is in order to murder him/her?

I don't think the fact that death brings attendant consequences would be a greater bar to pressing the button than death itself.

Madoness said:
So you'd become the clown for him, leave your self respect in order to humour him?
Bleah. I haven't visited this thread.

A barbed response, intended to evoke indignation.

I actually feel sorry for loonies. That cannot be said to be leaving my self respect. I would dance a silly dance for a dying man (not in public); if I am ingenuous, so be it.
 

Reverse Transcriptase

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I'm suspicious of Jules... I keep on wondering if he's really an adbot for "The Box"
YouTube- The Box - Official Trailer [HD]
This new movie is coming out, "The Box", where the main characters are asked if they want to press a button, which will cause 1 person to die and they will receive 1 million dollars.

It looks like a really shitty movie, and I was kind of insulted that they would use the question as a basis for a movie.

Of course, she doesn't press the button. I would say that she has moral strength, but Cameron Diaz's character seems like a stereotypical leading-actress-role weakling.

*sigh* I can't wait for Dagny Taggart...
 

Waterstiller

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My favorite part of this thread is the decision to make the votes public. It's kind of an interesting way to split up a forum.


What if it was a button that would anonymously kill one of the people that live on your street that you had never spoken to? What if the amount was lowered to $50k?


What if instead of a button, you are the CEO of a corporation that could make additional profits by using a new technology that was very dangerous to your overseas workers. If you used the new tech, one person would die per 1 million extra in your bank account and your corporation would never face consequences. Would you do it?
 

Sirian

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I was told about this movie by my sister, because i sometimes ask this kind of questions to my family.

I would not press the button, not because i don't want to kill someone, but because i think it would be bad for me to have that much money without working for it. So even if there was no killing involved, i would not accept 1 million, because i know how it would destroy me.
 

Nicholas A. A. E.

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I am honestly worried that so many people answered 'yes.' Have you no moral conscience? It's unjustifiable.

I'd compare it to several ethically equivalent scenarios, like just shooting a guy for a payoff, but that's elementary. Y'all are intelligent people.

Sincerely,
me
 

Polaris

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I'd give the manager my instant resignation. And the bird. Then go and get a job for a newspaper.
 

GarmGarf

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I am honestly worried that so many people answered 'yes.' Have you no moral conscience? It's unjustifiable.

I don't conform to the concept of "the right to life". No one chose to be born; no one deserves life.

What must be considered here is the pain which will be experience by others due to the death. Yeah, ok, some individuals might be pained by the death (there is a chance no one will care, however), but there is a chance that the person to die could be in immense pain, and this could trump the pain that would be experienced by others due to the death alone. One must also conciser that I could do a lot of good with $1 million, and cause a lot of pleasure.


Furthermore, the world is overpopulated as it is, and the individual who dies will be relieved from the pain of existence.


And anyway, Nicholas A. A. E., "assassin" is listed as one of the ideal occupations for INTPs on SimilarMinds.com for a reason...
 

Causeless

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Okay...

Say you press the button, use about a 10th of the cash to buy a child with failing (insert random vital organ here) an operation that saves their life, then pocket the rest?

Life lost, life saved, $900,000 profit!
 

420MuNkEy

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I don't conform to the concept of "the right to life". No one chose to be born; no one deserves life.

What must be considered here is the pain which will be experience by others due to the death. Yeah, ok, some individuals might be pained by the death (there is a chance no one will care, however), but there is a chance that the person to die could be in immense pain, and this could trump the pain that would be experienced by others due to the death alone. One must also conciser that I could do a lot of good with $1 million, and cause a lot of pleasure.


Furthermore, the world is overpopulated as it is, and the individual who dies will be relieved from the pain of existence.


And anyway, Nicholas A. A. E., "assassin" is listed as one of the ideal occupations for INTPs on SimilarMinds.com for a reason...
I agree with you on the grounds that there is nothing inherently sacred about human life.

What is needed to make a rational decision about this is to not assume too many unknowns. Pushing the button could kill you, Bill Clinton, your mother (if she's still alive), or some starving kid in Africa, but there is no way to know as it's wholly random.

What pushing that button is really saying is that everyone deserves to die (including yourself), as it was pushed with the full knowledge that had an equal chance of killing anyone.

As you have stated, you think no one deserves live, but I'm curious if you would then push that button if it was a 50/50 chance of killing everyone or giving you $1,000,000
 

GarmGarf

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I agree with you on the grounds that there is nothing inherently sacred about human life.

What is needed to make a rational decision about this is to not assume too many unknowns. Pushing the button could kill you, Bill Clinton, your mother (if she's still alive), or some starving kid in Africa, but there is no way to know as it's wholly random.

What pushing that button is really saying is that everyone deserves to die (including yourself), as it was pushed with the full knowledge that had an equal chance of killing anyone.

Actually, the question states that no one I know would be the one to die.

As you have stated, you think no one deserves live, but I'm curious if you would then push that button if it was a 50/50 chance of killing everyone or giving you $1,000,000

If everyone died instantly (including me), ignorantly and painlessly together, then yes. I'd do that for nothing with a 100% chance (would end human suffering). But I am a bit selfish so 1 million would buy me out of executing that ideal of mine.

If in your situation, all humans die over a period of time in an apocalyptic manner, then no way. I couldn't justify risking that much suffering upon the world for a 50% chance of 1 million.
 

Cobra

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Yes, I'd do it. Hell, if I was in a sour mood I'd press it for free.

But I might also be suspicious that it was some kind of test and that there would be some kind of punishment for pressing the button or reward for not doing so.
LOLapaluza.
 

sniktawekim

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why do we need the money offer to press the button?
id type the dicitonary in morse code on the thing.
 

Cobra

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why do we need the money offer to press the button?
id type the dicitonary in morse code on the thing.
It would be interesting to watch the news that night, if someone used the button to learn Morse code.
 

ckm

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I wouldn't press the button. Self-hate would eat me up for killing for personal gain.
 

Nicholas A. A. E.

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I don't conform to the concept of "the right to life". No one chose to be born; no one deserves life.

What must be considered here is the pain which will be experience by others due to the death. Yeah, ok, some individuals might be pained by the death (there is a chance no one will care, however), but there is a chance that the person to die could be in immense pain, and this could trump the pain that would be experienced by others due to the death alone. One must also conciser that I could do a lot of good with $1 million, and cause a lot of pleasure.


Furthermore, the world is overpopulated as it is, and the individual who dies will be relieved from the pain of existence.


And anyway, Nicholas A. A. E., "assassin" is listed as one of the ideal occupations for INTPs on SimilarMinds.com for a reason...
Do you accept any unalienable, natural rights?

The overpopulation is bad science. We haven't hit that problem yet. No, our issue is underpopulation. But that's a different discussion.
 

Inappropriate Behavior

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Underpopulated?

Considering the measures we have to take to feed the people here and it's enviromental damage plus the fact that fresh water supplies are dwindling....We need to get the population down to about a billion. I keep waiting for a real pandemic.
 

Nicholas A. A. E.

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I don't want to derail the thread here but hunger is a political problem, not a production problem. It was my understanding this was also the consensus among modern thinkers, though I can't really speak to that.
 

Inappropriate Behavior

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I'll look into it and maybe start a thread in a few days.

/end derail

To the OP, I'd press the button if I were in a sour enough mood. If I have to decide quickly then there is at least a 90% chance I wouldn't.
 

Nicholas A. A. E.

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What right, then, has the state to protect non-existent rights? Protecting rights is essentially illegalizing actions that would violate them. Illegalizing actions unnecessarily is an imposition on all citizens.
 

Döden

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Naw. What would I do with the money? It would be incredibly obvious that I suddenly acquired a fortune and I'm sure an investigation would ensue.
I'd rather do my own thing and make my own money and not be responsible for ending another person's life. Take it as you will.
 

GarmGarf

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What right, then, has the state to protect non-existent rights? Protecting rights is essentially illegalizing actions that would violate them. Illegalizing actions unnecessarily is an imposition on all citizens.

The state has power, and in this day and age, that type of power is sourced by the people's favour, and at the moment, the people, overall, support these concepts of rights which the state enforces.

As I stated before, these "rights" are a convention, which the people are, for the most part, quite happy to conform to.

However, these rights are not absolute truths. If one day, humans no longer required to eat, "the right to food" will probably be abolished. Furthermore, for all we know, "the right to Internet access" may become a world-wise accepted right.

These rights exist to keep society running smoothly, and they do their job well, and for the most part, people are happy with them.

However, they are, as I stated, not absolute truths, and are rather more of conventions.
 

420MuNkEy

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Thoughtful

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A man walks up to you and introduces himself as the general manager. He points to a single button on the machine on your desk and says: "If you press that button some random person you don't know will die. If you push that button now you will receive $1 million, and nobody will ever know you did this."
Would you press the button?

No.

First of all, I know the man is lying to me: "...nobody will ever know you did this."

I will know, he will know, the random person it kills will know, and deity might know. If the button really does not do what this "manager" claimed, he's still lied to me, and is therefore not to be trusted.

Instead, I'd try to find the power source of the button. and try to figure out what definition of random the device uses to determine killing someone, and then how it kills them. if I can disable the "killing random person" part of the machine, then I can safely press the button and get the best of both choices.

If I cannot disable the killing device, I'll try to find somebody who can, and then split the reward with them.
 

Anthile

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I find it interesting how almost everyone here fails at this thread. It's simply about "Would you commit a crime [murder] for personal gain if you could get away with it?". The constellation is absolutely irrelevant. Whether it is a button or dancing the robot that triggers it, that doesn't matter. There is only "Yes" or "No", no third option.
Geez... :rolleyes: Sometimes I really wonder about this forum.
 

Thoughtful

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There is only "Yes" or "No", no third option.

"I don't believe in a no-win scenario." If the simulation does not allow you to win, reprogram the simulator so that you can. :p

Also: "Only a sith deals in absolutes."
 

GarmGarf

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I find it interesting how almost everyone here fails at this thread. It's simply about "Would you commit a crime [murder] for personal gain if you could get away with it?". The constellation is absolutely irrelevant. Whether it is a button or dancing the robot that triggers it, that doesn't matter. There is only "Yes" or "No", no third option.
Geez... :rolleyes: Sometimes I really wonder about this forum.

Yeah, I agree that nit-picking at the practicalities and attempting to cheat the hypothetical situation into a win-win state aren't so commendable.

People who do that are not benefiting from the exercise. They aren't coming to a conclusion about their own morality and philosophy. They are just putting off making that decision and hence revelation about themselves.


However, I do release that the practicalities are actually relevant to a certain degree; i.e: that fact that no one will know and that the method is so impersonal, are relevant. The degree at which the practicalities are relevant is debatable though (a good indication at when someone has gone to far is when someone makes a post like the one I've quoted).


You stated that this thread is about the question: "Would you commit a crime [murder] for personal gain if you could get away with it?". Well, you must consider that some might not consider this murder, and some would justify their (and possibly others') gain in different angles.

Furthermore, this situation is out of society's domain. It isn't quite the same thing as "murdering, cashing-in, and getting away with it", because of the practicalities. Since society can't deal with people who do this (especially because it is unable to know about it), society can't brand them as bad citizens, and the "yes" voters would have less stimulus to feel bad about. Are the ones who voted "yes" on this poll (intentionally) bad citizens? I don't think society has a say to determine that or not.


"Tl; dr": practicalities of the situation matter somewhat, but: "I want to analyse the mechanics of the button, disable the guy and take the money" - I mean common! Feel as witty as you want, but you haven't benefited from this exercise to the degree I have.
 

Thoughtful

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Perhaps I wasn't clear enough. I would not push the button, unless I believed I could cheat the system.

However, I know I would try to cheat the system, and might end up killing someone if I failed. The interesting thing being that I would probably never know If failed or succeeded. If I find any pursuit worthy of time, I will by my nature "play to win", even if "winning" isn't possible.

"...you haven't benefited from this exercise to the degree I have. "

Perhaps not, but I said exactly what I would try. If I did not answer truthfully, I don't think I would have benefited from the exercise at all.

EDIT: Put another way, I would want to press the button, but would refrain unless I could trick myself into thinking that either no one would die as a result of my action, or that if someone died, I would not be accountable for their death. If I choose the money, one could say that this is somehow "greedier" than merely taking the money, since I not only take the money, but actively try to feel good about doing so.
 
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