How are your morals: What would you do in this situation?
A train is hurtling along at 30 mph. Unfortunately, its brakes have failed and it is approaching the end of the line.
At the end of the line are 10 workers. They will surely get killed when the train crashes into them. You are a couple of miles up the track next to a big lever. You can pull this lever and the train will go down another track. But, at the end of this track, there is one rail worker.
Would you pull the lever to save the 10 workers on the mainline? Unfortunately, this action would kill one person. However, you have saved the 10 people on the main track.
So the big question is would you pull the lever?
Now a slightly different scenario
A train is hurtling along at 30 mph. Unfortunately, its brakes failed and it is approaching the end of the line.
At the end of the line are 20 workers. They will surely get killed when the train crashes into them. In this scenario, there is no lever for you to pull.
You are stood on a bridge overlooking the track. Next to you is a very well built chap. He is leaning right over the bridge to get a better view. You have an opportunity to push this guy over which would derail the train and stop it. This action would kill one person but would save the 20 workers at the end of the line.
Now the question is “Could you push the guy over the edge?”
I find the above questions fascinating. A lot of people would pull the lever in the first scenario. However, very few people would push the guy over in the second scenario. If you think about it logically there is not much difference between the two actions. Both of them kill one person but save quite a few more.
This is what I refer to as a persons “morality switch”. Because you are actually touching the chap it seems to stop you in your tracks. The No pun intended there 🙂