[2012-May-28] Ethics getting weird

Blame Quintushalls for this.

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Re: [2012-May-28] Ethics getting weird

Postby Guest » Wed May 30, 2012 8:35 am

You're making this much more complicated than it need be.

First, there's no such thing as "killing -2 people," and in no way is this implied.

Say Batman saves B lives. Implicitly, the assumptions are that B is positive and non-trivial. The first jump, which is tenuous, is that we can conclude that those responsible for creating Batman are also responsible for saving those same B lives.

If we were to ask how many lives the person who created Batman has saved, the answer would be B less the number of lives taken. Say the number of lives taken is M. The mugger is not a supervillian, and was not involved in any large-scale accidents which caused the death of many, so implicitly, B >> M. As far as I know (much is probably limited as I've watched the movies and little more), the only lives known to be taken by the mugger are those of Batman's parents.

And there is the crux of the joke. If B >> M (or just B > M, or even B >= M), then was it ethical (or at least neutral) for the mugger to have killed Batman's parents?

Yes, you can argue the accounting is overly simplistic, and that many decisions we don't have knowledge of may have caused other deaths or lives saved. But this argument fails on any point other than to dispute the precision of the measurement. As assumed above, B is large, and it would be expected that B is much larger than whatever effects of whatever actions have been made previously. Most people do not have the opportunity to case the death of people on the same order of magnitude as B, nor do most people have the opportunity to save on the order of B. It might even be expected that on the net, most people break even. It could be argued that the two people the mugger killed - Batman's parents - had more opportunity than most (wealthy, respected, well-known, etc.) and had a propensity to act towards the positive - but Batman has the same attributes and the potential to do the same good, in addition to what he does as Batman.

If you really want to attack the argument, the real problem is one of causality. There is only an ethical conundrum if the mugger, when acting to kill Batman's parents, had known that his actions would result in a (large) net saving. Without that knowledge, his choice is reduced to a net negative (killed two people) or a neutral (didn't kill two people - and ignoring lesser ethical points, e.g. the mugging, and focusing just on deaths avoided/caused). In retrospect, one could argue that it is fortunate that Batman's parents were killed by the mugger, but it still does not follow that the mugger's actions were ethical.
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Re: [2012-May-28] Ethics getting weird

Postby Oldrac the Chitinous » Wed May 30, 2012 1:22 pm

Guest wrote:You're making this much more complicated than it need be.

[Five paragraphs about the ethics of killing Batman's parents]
Police said they spent some time working out if they could charge the man with being armed with a weapon, as technically he was armed with part of a fish.
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Re: [2012-May-28] Ethics getting weird

Postby Kimra » Wed May 30, 2012 2:57 pm

I rolled my eyes at that, but closed the thread, because it was the only sensible response.
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Re: [2012-May-28] Ethics getting weird

Postby Guest » Wed May 30, 2012 5:16 pm

You failed to actually close the thread.

I do understand the irony about my post. But I tried to be complete and nip the problem where it was, instead of more back and forth (or at least cutting out part of it). That doesn't imply complexity.

Would you actually close the thread (if you have that power)? Because people aren't discussing the comic in what you think is the right way? Why do you keep coming back to the thread if you don't like it?
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Re: [2012-May-28] Ethics getting weird

Postby smiley_cow » Wed May 30, 2012 8:14 pm

Guest wrote:Would you actually close the thread (if you have that power)? Because people aren't discussing the comic in what you think is the right way? Why do you keep coming back to the thread if you don't like it?


Actually as a mod in this subforum, Kimra does have that power. But I'm pretty they just meant that they closed the window the thread was in after reading your comment. (And most likely came back to read Oldrac's). You're making this more complicated than it needs to be.
Last edited by smiley_cow on Wed May 30, 2012 9:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [2012-May-28] Ethics getting weird

Postby Lethal Interjection » Wed May 30, 2012 8:16 pm

Guest wrote:Would you actually close the thread (if you have that power)? Because people aren't discussing the comic in what you think is the right way? Why do you keep coming back to the thread if you don't like it?


Threads have been locked. Though usually because the arguments have become cyclical and regurgitant*.

*I don't think I've ever used that word before. I like it!
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Re: [2012-May-28] Ethics getting weird

Postby Kimra » Thu May 31, 2012 2:36 am

Smiley has the right of it, I shut the window the thread was in.

Why would you assume I would rob you of your right to over analyse things? You can do that. And I, equally, can spend my time skimming your replies and whining about how tediously complicated everyone seems to make things that are simple. I will complain at my leisure, I will read this thread (haphazardly) at my leisure, and I will be misinterpreted at your leisure.

Life is fun, or tedious, your call.
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Re: [2012-May-28] Ethics getting weird

Postby lukekh » Thu May 31, 2012 3:56 pm

OK wow, this is getting way off track to what I really was trying to point out.

I don't know if anyone is going to make it this far through the topic but I just want to clarify what I meant

People seem to think that it is intuitive to count killing Batman's parents as saving -2 lives.
It seems correct, but think about it a little harder:
If we relabel the people that the criminal has saved C = B-2 then Batman has saved C+2 lives.
Is this a correct statement?
Did Batman save his two parents?
Since he did not save his two parents surely the statement is incorrect and in fact B=C.

I know killing two people is totally different to being the victim of the crime, but no matter what side of the fence you are on you aren't saving anyone!
So the statement "lives saved..." in the comic is sort of on false pretences.

Does this make more sense now or am I just fighting for a sinking ship?
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Re: [2012-May-28] Ethics getting weird

Postby thejakeman » Thu May 31, 2012 5:58 pm

Man, this htread makes me want to go out and murder some rich couple in front of their douchey little kid.
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Re: [2012-May-28] Ethics getting weird

Postby Sandwiches » Thu May 31, 2012 6:07 pm

thejakeman wrote:Man, this htread makes me want to go out and murder some rich couple in front of their douchey little kid.


don't blame the kid he didn't ask to be born rich
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Re: [2012-May-28] Ethics getting weird

Postby Apocalyptus » Thu May 31, 2012 11:32 pm

Maybe he did in a past life.
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Re: [2012-May-28] Ethics getting weird

Postby Lethal Interjection » Fri Jun 01, 2012 1:10 am

Maybe he found a magic lamp.
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Re: [2012-May-28] Ethics getting weird

Postby Kimra » Fri Jun 01, 2012 2:25 am

Maybe, as a baby, he murdered another baby and took it's place.

That's not so much asking but I suspect it counts.
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Re: [2012-May-28] Ethics getting weird

Postby emulsifying agent » Sat Jun 09, 2012 11:08 am

I'm pretty sure I'm pretty sure that:

The amount of lives saved by the criminal by killing Batman's parents, C = B - 2
Thus, the amount of lives saved by Batman, B = C + 2

...would mean that Batman has saved two more lives than the criminal, regardless of whether those 2 lives were his parents' lives.
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Re: [2012-May-28] Ethics getting weird

Postby Guest » Mon Jun 11, 2012 2:56 am

lukekh wrote:If we relabel the people that the criminal has saved C = B-2 then Batman has saved C+2 lives.
Is this a correct statement?

yes

lukekh wrote:Did Batman save his two parents?

no

lukekh wrote:Since he did not save his two parents surely the statement is incorrect and in fact B=C.

idk how you jumped to this conclusion.

batman saved B lives; w/o batman, B more pple would currently be dead.
the killer saved B-2 lives; w/o the killer, batman's parents would currently be alive, but B-2 people would currently be dead.
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