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  1. #11
    LadyLazarus
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    I think the second one is worse as you are basically exterminating an entire race(culture?), whereas with the first one you are only severely lowering their numbers, yet that race remains and therefore may replenish itself in the future. However, it's obvious both are pretty horrible.

  2. #12
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    It depends on your ethical approach.

    • Utilitarian/Consequentialist? Then we're gonna try to max the positive outcome for the most people.
    • Deontological? Then typically neither answer is ethical. They're both crimes and should not be indulged in.
    • Virtue ethics? Then we focus on how the act of killing more people versus eradicating an entire culture properly reflects who we are or might change us to become less than who we are.


    Personally, I'm more postmodern ethically in that I need to know context. On the surface, it looks better to eradicate a particular culture and save 30 million random lives; on the other hand, depending on what benefits from that culture could be accrued by a BILLION people, maybe it would be better in the long run to sacrifice 30 million in order to benefit a billion. Depending on the specifics, consequential ethics would try to maximize [something] resulting in the greatest good.

    Ironically, these kinds of decisions are made all the time. Examine transportation, for example. It is projected that, in the United States, 3.5 million people have died from 1899 - 2012 in traffic accidents. Yet we would say it was worth it for those 3.5 million people to die, considering the benefits that all of us survivors have accrued.

    Also look at the interesting dilemma we've discussed on this forum before -- a train is out of control, and you are stuck with it either hitting five people in its way or you can divert it and kill one (usually cast as a relative or child). Many people will try to maximize the saving of human life by diverting the train to kill one person and save the five. YET.... let's say we have one healthy human being and five people who need organ transplants to avoid death; almost no one will suggest we should kill the healthy human being to harvest his organs to save the other five. It's interesting to see how situation and context can change our response.
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  3. #13
    Stansmith
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    I guess the latter would be better since there would be noone left to mourn..

  4. #14
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    70,000,000 obviously. I can learn about that culture from any number of sources. The ability to observe it firsthand is not worth 30,000,000 lives.

  5. #15
    The High Priestess Amargith's Avatar
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    Insufficient data as to why and how they are being killed.
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  6. #16
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    To you who ask for details about the culture: What would the culture have to offer to make you spare their lives?


    Quote Originally Posted by Stansmith View Post
    I guess the latter would be better since there would be noone left to mourn..
    Quote Originally Posted by fghw View Post
    70,000,000 obviously. I can learn about that culture from any number of sources. The ability to observe it firsthand is not worth 30,000,000 lives.
    I considered these things as well. The culture would't be totally eradicated but preserved in some way, be it only in history books, and if you kill all people of a certain group there would be a significantly less amount of people affected with sorrow than if a greater number of a certain population should die.

    Quote Originally Posted by Amargith View Post
    Insufficient data as to why and how they are being killed.
    I imagine the "why" is for no other reason than that you have to choose, and the "how" is instant death at the snap of your fingers.

  7. #17
    Senior Member Opal's Avatar
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    Both are good because population control.

    Just kidding. 70,000,000, I guess. All things are transient.
    ...on second thought, if the culture of 70,000,000 could overthrow the dominant culture calling for genocide, I guess their survival would be preferable.

  8. #18
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    30 million people dying is far worse than 1 culture being destroyed with 0 people dying.

    However, the question is unrealistic: any group of people powerful and evil enough to actually slaughter on a scale that makes the Holocaust seem small would not ask my opinion (or listen if I gave it) and would not be considering anything that could be identified as morality.

  9. #19
    The Dark Lord The Wailing Specter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rampant View Post
    I would keep the culture, assuming we're withholding judgment on the culture's value. Myself and I'm sure quite a few anthropologists would trade 30 million western souls for a couple of Egyptians.
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  10. #20
    garbage
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    Quote Originally Posted by unsung View Post
    Is it a question of what they contribute to the rest of humanity? Or you personal like or dislike?

    If the former, what could be so unique and valuable that it can only be preserved, and deserves to be preserved, by saving this culture?
    It's about their contribution, really. I can't pinpoint any particular culture that exists today that I'd outright eradicate. Some hypothetical (and maybe some historical) cultures, sure.

    The decision for me would be less about whether it's unique, valuable, and treasurable; but about whether or not it's detrimental. Seems like two sides of the same coin, but how it's couched matters. A culture would have to be.. well.. uniquely detrimental. "Depends on the culture" leaves room for an approach that's not just about an action's immediate consequences.

    Essentially,
    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Personally, I'm more postmodern ethically in that I need to know context. On the surface, it looks better to eradicate a particular culture and save 30 million random lives; on the other hand, depending on what benefits from that culture could be accrued by a BILLION people, maybe it would be better in the long run to sacrifice 30 million in order to benefit a billion. Depending on the specifics, consequential ethics would try to maximize [something] resulting in the greatest good.
    this.

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