Pushing the Fat Man?

Fat man variation of the trolley problem—to push or not to push

You are on a footbridge over the trolley track where five people are tied down. A runaway trolley is rushing toward them. Near you on the bridge is a fat-man. If you shove him over the side he will fall on the track—stopping the trolley and saving the five, yet dying in the process. What should you do?

Possible answers to the trolley problem by ideology—

Philosopher: We will watch and analyze what happens—to push or not to push isn’t the right question…

Christian: Is saving lives Gods problem or mine? I hope they are all saved

Muslim: And so it was written…

Hindu: What did they do in their prior lives deserves this? This is an amazing act—Bravo!

Buddhist: Doing what is honorable can make pure intentions resemble psychopathy…Push

Jewish: According to halakhic tradition we cannot push one soul aside for another. But, er, um, are any of them Jewish?

Shaman: What is a trolley?

Democrat: Five taxpayers vs one? Push

Republican: I hope they were all saved

Conspiracy Theorist: I’m not interfering with the Illuminati…

Mormon: We really are Christians, people…



Author: jimoeba

Alternatives to big box religions and dogmas

36 thoughts on “Pushing the Fat Man?”

  1. The atheist … ahem, namely me … reaches into his holster and pulls out his gun and fires two shots into the air. People turn to see what the fuss is about, see the trolley and evade it. Then the atheist prepares to defend himself from a lawsuit brought by the fat man saying that the gun reports caused him a hearing loss.

    Yes, another case of hypothetical problem solved with a hypothetical solution.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Physicist: How much mass would be required to stop a trolley of any given mass moving over any given distance at any given velocity? Let’s find out.

    Fat people: Dafuq?

    Madeleine Albright: We think the price is worth it.

    Dennis: Come see the violence inherent in the system.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Kinetic energy of the trolley (KE = 0.5 x mv2) is certainly greater than the fat mans kinetic anything, especially with the diminishing fat mass caused by the friction of the tracks, which I don’t know how to calculate, all done in a split second where I’m happy not to be fat enough to consider jumping in front of the trolley myself.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Based on videos of trains hitting stationary vehicles stuck on the tracks, I’m inclined to say you’d need to push one helluva fat man onto the tracks– i.e., one too heavy for you to push. But assuming you had that capability, wouldn’t it be them be more ethical to step in front of the trolley and stop it yourself?

        Liked by 4 people

  3. Thought experiments are often ridiculous. This one is no better than most. There is no right answer than to recognize its meaninglessness of the situation and remember it is not real. Any fool who would tie 5 people to a track in front of an oncoming trolley is insane to begin with. That he is doing it to test how people are going to react is equally folly and sociopathic.
    Having said that, seeing as you chose to use a trolley instead of a train, I think you know a trolley is set up to brake and stop if it senses something on the track blocking its way. Nothing is going to happen to anyone, given everything is working properly.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. They run their own versions of the trolley problem in regards to abortion law. It’s been beaten to death, defining words in the Talmud. Catholics too have used this platform the same way.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. The Free-thinking Humanist: Two options:

    1) Determine whether the six humans are up above the trolley track (as written) on the footbridge; they are. No crisis. Six humans are safe for now. Panic avoided for now. Determine whether they can safely be UNtied without falling down to bottom trolley track. 😁

    Or 2) Based on results of #1 above, utilize two sub-otions: 1) jump inside your Tardis and remedy the broken runaway trolley car ahead of said (good or bad) accident. Or 2) test to see if Fat Man bounces from all his blubber and at what height and distance. If so, quickly rig a circus safety net on other side that can catch a small elephant safely. Charge admission for your Greatest Dare-devil Show on Earth, split 40% of profit six ways and the Free-thinking Humanist walks away richer and more renown! 🎪 😁

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I gotta go with Mak on this one. I’m not sure the fat man would stop the trolley, or where he would actually land if I pushed him. I probably don’t have time to do any saving of the people on the track (it wasn’t mentioned how far away the trolley is or how fast it’s moving,) if I was there to see it, I could make some quick assumptions. But it just sounds to me like there is no saving the people, and shit happens.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Synchronicity anyone? Saania Sparkle posted that philosophical problem yesterday (https://saania2806.wordpress.com/2020/05/28/the-trolly-problem/) Apart from that, I can say that a real “conspiracy theorist” among whom I keep being labeled, would never, not ever, say s/he would not interfere with the Illuminati. Whenever we present even opinions as to why some event is an official hoax, a corporate scam, false science, result of programming and etc., that is interfering with the Illuminati and that is why they fight so hard to make sure “everybody” knows that conspiracy theorists are certifiable.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Jo Also did one. Yesterday. https://godarke.com/2020/05/29/ice-ice/
      The vast majority of Conspiracy theory is endless chatter and no action. Worry, nobly called concern, that has been around since gossip was invented.
      I asked my baptist friend Bill, why none of the doomsday crap about Obama becoming the world leader and Antichrist failed? He said god answered the prayers of the faithful. It’s a neat game where either way you win.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. You’ll never convince a conspiracy theorist they’re wrong about a conspiracy because any counter-argument or counter-evidence is just more evidence that there are forces conspiring against them to conceal the truth.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Funny how “people” like to put down “conspiracy theorists” when the entire population of the planet living within its “civilization” is a willing participant and believer in the greatest conspiracy of all while that conspiracy, written and played out by the elites against the natural environment and sheeple, is openly destroying the planet, any and all claims to the contrary. The three main “forces” that operate this conspiracy are: Religion, Government and Finance/Big Business.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Wait! Were the tied up people African Americans killed by police officers kneeling on their necks and later placed in the trolley’s path so the coroner could put an alternative cause of death on the death certificates? Thought so.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Silly question and easily answered semantically. Being tied down is equivalent to being tied up. It a universe of “what if’s” this is a negation of direction. Therefore a reasonable solution would be to alert those directionally unencumbered people of the danger and request the other gentleman assess the unfolding tableau for his input. Two minds and all.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Alternate Realty Response:

    Philosopher: I need time to think, please stand by.

    Christian: I will pray for them.

    Muslim: Does the fat man eat pork?

    Hindu: Push, he will return.

    Buddhist: The universe will decide, it does not need me to do anything.

    Atheist: Push Push, wtf, why do you have to think about this?

    Democrat: 1 vote versus 5… Push

    Republican: Are the five people liberals?

    Mom: I will not push my baby.

    Dad: Push, my son’s a hero.

    Soldier: Only if ordered too.

    Scientist: I need a moment to run some calculations, please stand by.

    Gamer: Do nothing, more kill points.

    Wife: It depends on how long they were married.

    Liked by 2 people

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