Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

[Poll] To end all disease

  1. Wouldn't kill a single child

    24 vote(s)
  2. Would kill one

    0 vote(s)
  3. Up to 100

    0 vote(s)
  4. Up to 10,000

    2 vote(s)
  5. Whatever it took

    8 vote(s)
  1. Jul 28, 2005 #1


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I saw this question on Swordfish (awesome movie!) and wanted to ask a variation of it here.

    If you had the chance to permanently cure all diseases, but the price of doing this was that you had to kill a child, would you? How bout 100, how bout 10,000?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 28, 2005 #2

    Don't play God.
  4. Aug 2, 2005 #3
    No. Not even one, not even if everyone I dearly cared for would be cured.

    Disease is not Evil. Killing the child is.

    Unnecessary suffering is to be avoided when possible but not at the price of performing
    such a heinous act. The metaphysical value inherent in the child far
    outweighs the temporal inconveniences of disease and suffering.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2005
  5. Aug 2, 2005 #4
    Permanently cure all diseases? That’s an extremely unrealistic and hypothetical question. We kill children all the time. How many children were killed when the USA invaded Iraq? How many children were killed when the USA dropped atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima? Overall the USA doesn’t seem to mind killing children for small gains I’m sure they wouldn’t hesitate to kill them to cure all diseases permanently.

    I can only speak for myself. Had it been possible to cure all disease permanently by killing me when I was a small child I would be very upset to learn that they didn’t do it. Besides why is the life of a child any more valuable than the life of anyone else? I never did buy into that one. Would the question be any different if you could kill an adult to achieve your goal? I think the only difference is the assumption that the adult could either volunteer or refuse while a child isn’t likely to have a good grasp of the consequences.

    I could probably also offer up the idea that I would offer my child up for sacrifice for the result you’re suggesting. But ONLY if that’s result was guaranteed. I certainly wouldn’t offer the child up for trail and error laboratory experiments. That’s not at all what you have suggested here, your claiming that a permanent cure for all diseases will be the result. If that were the guaranteed result I think any decent human would volunteer their own life to achieve that goal. Many humans offer up their lives for much lesser goals already.

    But again, I remind you that you’re lofty goal is not at all the same as just doing scientific research in the hope of maybe coming up with half-baked medications for some diseases, you’re suggesting a permanent cure for all diseases that’s not at all the same as doing research for lame drugs or procedures for some diseases most of which won't even result in actual cures at all.

    Kind of late for that isn’t it? We have been in the business of playing God in a very big way for quite some time. We keep people alive on machines who would otherwise die naturally. We take body parts out of one person and put them in another to keep them alive. We help people who can’t naturally reproduce have babies. We play God all the time. Even many prescription medications are keeping people alive who would naturally die without them. Yep, it’s way too late to be telling humans not to play God.
  6. Aug 2, 2005 #5


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Hmm... 3 posts and its already into vile anti-american rhetoric... and this isnt even GD:PWF.
  7. Aug 2, 2005 #6
    I'm sorry you took it that way, my comments weren't intended as vile anti-American rhetoric as I myself am an American.

    I just happened to state a few historical cases that I knew to be true as examples. I'm quite sure that other countries are just as guilty. :yuck:
  8. Aug 2, 2005 #7


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Your right, I'm not sure how I could have taken that the wrong way.
  9. Aug 2, 2005 #8
    Meh, not even going to go there. But politcal bodies are generally much more evil than the people that create them. Most Nazi's were decent people just trying to get by, as is seen in studies of the Eichman trial, yet the bureaucratic nazi party was capable of great evil far beyond the measure of any man who made it up. It is the ability for people to distance themselves from their actions that allows things like this to happen. As thousands of people were needed to the extermination of the jews, yet the transport people, the gun makes, the bullet makers, the railroad engineers, none took resposibility for the deaths as they did not pull the trigger. The US I think is along the same lines, no person takes responsibility for the actions of the whole.
  10. Aug 2, 2005 #9


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Pengwuino : Your OP uses the word "would" while the poll uses "could". Asking how far you could go, is entirely different from asking how far you would go, and I think it's the latter question which is important. But that's just my opinion - so which one is it ?
  11. Aug 2, 2005 #10
    Neutron, you and the criminally negligent fools who suceeded in miseducating you disgust me.
  12. Aug 3, 2005 #11


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Oops, can you change all the coulds to woulds? I figured people would realize what the question is about based on what forum it is but I suppose it shoudl be clarified.
  13. Aug 3, 2005 #12
    I would not kill even one child.

    Who are you to make a life or death decision for that child, even if it would benefit the entire human race for the rest of its days? You're nobody but a human being looking for some moral justification to commit an evil act. The only person who could make such a decision would be the child itself. If the child chooses their own life, that would have to be respected for it is their decision and theirs alone.
  14. Aug 3, 2005 #13
    I think it would be wonderful to discover that I’ve been miss-educated.
  15. Aug 3, 2005 #14


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Antiphon and NeutronStar, if you must continue your internal dialogue here, please do so via PM. This thread is not the appropriate place to conduct your discussion of miseducation and so on.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2005
  16. Aug 12, 2005 #15
    Along the same principle, would you have supported killing Hitler as a child if you somehow KNEW what his future held? (Assuming killing him is the only option)
  17. Aug 13, 2005 #16
    I would not kill a single child, who am i to make such a decision controling the life of another, thinking that this would eb the solution of my problem, it's too selfish for my liking!
  18. Aug 13, 2005 #17
    I'm not sure if anyone has noticed it, but this offers a back-door approach into the 'Stem Cell' argument. All you need do now, is define (the Devil is in the definition) a Stem Cell as future Child, and you've enhanced the argument for many people.

  19. Aug 13, 2005 #18


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    "Ending all disease" is way far out, off the wall. It is unrealistic and would be competely unsustainable. Something akin to promise of eternal youth.

    The vegetarian/vegan equivalent poll:
    If it took to eat an animal to end all carnivorousity, would you do it? How about 10? 100? 10,000? :tongue2:

    P.S. The hypothetical underlying this poll sounds like a particular conspiracy theory one comes across now and then: "our current state of knowledge/technology is sufficient to end (your "favorite" scourge or medical anxiety here) forever, but we'll never see it happen because it'll eat into drug companies' profits."

    P.P.S. And maybe (just maybe) this is an appropriate place to recite part of the script from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life:
    The Miracle of Birth: Part 2: The Third World ("Yorkshire")
    MUM: Come on, now. Out you go. Now, uh, Vincent, Tessa, Valerie, Janine, Martha, Andrew, Thomas, Walter, Pat, Linda, Michael, Evadne, Alice, Dominique, and Sasha, it's your bedtime.
    CHILDREN: Aww, Mum!
    MUM: Now, don't argue! Laura, Alfred, Nigel, Annie, Simon, Amanda,--
    DAD: Wait! I've got something to tell the whole family.
    MUM: Oh, quick. Go and get the others in, Gordon.
    CHILDREN: What could it be? Shhh...
    DAD: The mill's closed! There's no more work. We're destitute.
    CHILDREN: [talking]
    DAD: Come in, my little loves. I've got no option but to sell you all for scientific experiments.
    CHILDREN: [whining]
    DAD: No, no. That's the way it is, my loves. Blame the Catholic church for not letting me wear one of those little rubber things. Oh, they've done some wonderful things in their time. They preserved the might and majesty, the mystery of the Church of Rome, and the sanctity of the sacraments, the indivisible oneness of the Trinity, but if they'd let me wear one of those little rubber things on the end of my cock, we wouldn't be in the mess we are now.
    CHILDREN: Ohh...
    DAD: ...me mind's made up. I've given this long and careful thought, and it has to be medical experiments for the lot of you.
    CHILDREN: Ohh. Oh. Oh...
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2005
  20. Aug 13, 2005 #19
    Disease represents predatory forms of life that do harm to our species. Yet, they are a part of a huge biomass that is also life. It might be thought that disease, resistance to disease, the existence of disease are part of keeping us hardy enough to interface with the huge, non human biosphere we inhabit. As I think of it respiration, food consumption, elimination and interaction with our biosphere, is life.
  21. Aug 14, 2005 #20


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    My children asked something similar - If I was given the choice of 'giving up my life' or the 'destruction of humanity' what would I do.

    Clearly, no doubt, I would forfeit my life without hesitation to save all of humanity. However, I would not make that choice for someone else, i.e. I would not take it upon myself to deprive someone else's life.

    But I don't think that will ever happen.

    Likewise, I don't think killing one person is necessary to cure all disease or illness.

    Rather, proper nutrition, education and proper utilization of the world's finite resources can go along way in preventing disease.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?

Similar Discussions: [Poll] To end all disease
  1. If there is a poll (Replies: 5)

  2. This is a poll (Replies: 10)

  3. A poll (Replies: 3)