New Hobby: Giving Technically Correct Answers to Absurd Questions

The times they are a-changin’.

This post seems to be older than 16 years—a long time on the internet. It might be outdated.

There’s an interesting debate we’re having over on the DualBS emailing list:

Say your mother was facing impending death..

Would you murder a random cocaine dealer if it would save her?
Would you murder multiple random cocaine dealers if it would save her?
If so, how many, and do you find nothing ethically wrong with murdering random cocaine dealers in general?
Would you murder a random person if it would save her?
Would you murder a random 2 year old if it would save her?
Would you murder Jeff Towne if it would save her?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, don’t you know that murder is wrong?
If you didn’t answer “yes” to any of these questions, shouldn’t you have a little more respect for your mother?

Jeff Towne is the High School youth pastor at my church in Seattle. In any event, I asked some clarify questions and eventually came to the conclusion that this was unrealistic scenario searching for a realistic answer. So I finally gave in:

I choose to invoke quantum probability, thus saving my mother without having to kill anyone. My ethics are perfect, I have not killed anyone and I have saved my mother.

See, what it really boils down to is chance. Quantum probability is all around us. There is, in fact, a chance that if I push against a wall for a long enough time, my hand will go through the wall. Granted, such an event would require eons upon eons to even become remotely possible, but there is still a chance. However, what I was really aiming at was the necessity to actual impact an event for the event to even occur (aka Schrodinger’s Cat). There are other tests that have been carried out that actually prove this concept, although they don’t involve cats. The point being, by choosing not to witness an event (thus having an impact on it, there is no such thing as a passive observer), I can elicit all the outcomes I want: not killing anyone and saving my mother. Yes, it sounds messed up, and it’s really hard to wrap your mind around, but it’s science, baby.

And that’s my new hobby. So please, don’t ask me absurd questions unless you really want me to freak you out with the truth.