Would you save the dog or the human?

Discussion in 'Every Day Debating' started by Anir, Jun 7, 2009.

  1. Anir

    Anir New Member

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    If you are confused about why this is a debate, read this: (remember, this is a purely hypothetical situation)


    You are walking along the shore of a lake one day, when suddenly you hear a commotion on the water. When you look out across the lake, you see two figures drowning. One is your dog, (or cat, for you cat-lovers out there) and one is a man whom you've never met before in your life. Both are drowning, and you know that you will only be able to save one before the other one drowns. Who do you save?


    This was a question posed to me by my father a few years ago.
     
  2. Lord Yuan

    Lord Yuan Death-Thousand+

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    The other human, though I may know my pets well and be more kind to them, the human has more of a potential to do something, also they have a longer life span and other things that would make saving him more worth while...though I do respect animals and nature, I feel the human would put back more into society after being saved.
     
  3. The Chaos Engine

    The Chaos Engine Grumpy Old Git

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    I'd go for the man every time. However fond you are of a pet, I find the thought of equating their life with that of a human somewhat bizarre.
     
  4. Lord Yuan

    Lord Yuan Death-Thousand+

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    Yeah some animal rights activists scare me...sometimes I feel they would rather feed and shelter more dogs than they should be sheltering homeless people.
     
  5. Anir

    Anir New Member

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    Oh, I'm sure they would prefer it if homeless people died so they could have more room for their dogs. I mean, I read about this one guy who gave his private jet to these seals so that they could be taken back to their natural habitat. The whole operation took a couple million dollars. And they wonder why our economy is whacked.
     
  6. Lord Yuan

    Lord Yuan Death-Thousand+

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    Yeah...animals are cool but seriously, we are all people and we are in this together...
     
  7. The Chaos Engine

    The Chaos Engine Grumpy Old Git

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  8. KazeWarrior

    KazeWarrior Whoa what

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    This is actually quite a hard question. What if that man was a bad person, like he killed someone or something like that. A dog that cant swim probably couldn't kill someone... It's also probably easier to save the dog, you could die tryin to save ethe human... But, how would that man feel as he died, watching you save the dog? Ehs... this hurts my brain.

    People will call you a radical environmentalist if you tried to save the dog, yet, why should we save the human? I don't know him, don't trust him, and why the heck would a man who couldn't swim be out in a lake? It's all very suspicious to me...

    But there's just this little niggling in the back of my head. If I save the dog, my conscience would be killing for the rest of my life. I saved a dog, killed a man. It would be my fault, since I could have saved him, but instead choose to save a dog.

    Oh boy. I'd call for help. I probably couldn't save either.
     
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  9. Jorick

    Jorick Well-Known Member

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    I can't swim, so they'd both be screwed. :rolleyes:

    But if I could swim, and had to pick, I'd save the human. I value my own species above all others, therefore I would choose the member of my own species. That's all there is to it. Valuing a dog above a human is being evolutionarily retarded. It's survival of the fittest, and considering other animals worth more than you is certainly not being the fittest.
     
  10. Foinikas

    Foinikas Playing backgammon!

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    You know I used to be in a Final Fantasy forum years ago and there was actually a girl there I think she was Canadian,who actually prefered to save her cat,than an unknown man.I was like "what the heck are you talking about?" this shocked me.
     
  11. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    I always find it so strange that in debates such as this the human is always saved because he is human. I wonder swap the human for a cat and then we would really see a debate ;)

    Honestly though for an answer ask yourself which one the dog would save and you have your answer. Simple point in fact to me is that the human is a nobody - whilst the dog is a somebody. Sure its selfish thinking if your the human drowning - its not so selfish if your the dog.

    Also can someone explain to me why a human is more important than the dog - its confusing me greatly. So far I see a lot of people saving the "better" human but no real reasons as to why he is better?
     
  12. Turambar

    Turambar Harebrained Staff Member

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    Well, when you look at it, OR, it's probably something to do with the higher developed self-conscience and intelligence of the Human. It is, in short, less aware that it is alive. So yes, we can get away with placing humans above dogs.

    I believe, incidentally, that we recognise more of a personality in a dog then it trully has. Humans are designed to recognise one in other humans, but somehow it seems to spill over to other objects, including animals - whether false or not.

    Naturally, I would go for the human, regarding the statement above :)
     
  13. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    how does having higher intelligence determin that we can consider ourselves more alive? Is it just becasuse we got to the top of the food chain and found a lot of time to stare at the stars and wonder "I think therfore I am" ?

    as for emotion I can agree its a communication limitation between human and dog (in this case) though I think its very hard to set a fixed value on the amount we do and don't get and I see a lot of people sit only at one end of the line (eitherin complete denyal or in total reverance) with fewer people sitting in that middle zone.

    edit - I also wonder - of all the people saving the human - if it is not out of a personal desire to be saved yourself should you end up in a similar situation. Save one human and hope that in doing so others will come to save you should you need it.
     
  14. Turambar

    Turambar Harebrained Staff Member

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    Interesting observation, OR. You might very well be right in that...

    I also think it just about settles it.

    After all, if there would be an alien (the type from outer space) of much higher potential and intelligence drowning next to a human, I'd still go for the human. No hard feelings for the alien, but the human simply is one of my own (and yes, I would want to be saved in a similar situation) - even though you could, morally, get away with saving the alien (in fact, saving the alien might prevent an intergalactic war and all the casualties that come with it, but that's another story entirely ;))
     
  15. Meteorain

    Meteorain Magical & Mystical

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    I see no reason to place the human over the dog or the dog over the human in terms of "right to live". Reflexively I would most likely save the human because he'll be screaming and drawing more attention than the dog.

    As a higher brain function being I see no logic in "save the human because he is of our species". So what if he is of our species because in my opinion I don't particularly see him having more right to life than any other living thing. Sure other things may seem insignificant but most animals contribute to a natural order of things in the world and it all works well, humans seem to actually be a negative factor and screw up the whole balance of things.

    Then according to that logic the inept human with his inability to swim in the water isn't particularly much fitter than the dog now is he?

    There is no evolutionary retardation of valuing a dog over a human in that one instance. Put it into perspective, it's just one life. There's not really going to be any evolutionary advancement by saving that one man.

    Personally though I take to animals much more easily than most humans and prefer them aswell to most other people.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2009
  16. Kaine999

    Kaine999 ┼╫£ §₧£§╫µ⌠

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    Hmm, interesting point, I dislike the dog we have, intensely, wakes me up all the time when I'm trying to sleep, but still, I would rather save my dog than the human, if you want to place a higher value on the human, than if the human was a smart one, it would be able to swim, and not be out, drowning, personally, I wouldn't try and save either, mainly though, because my dog can swim, as I am sure most dogs can, if not all, still, my basic point is, if this human is of more value than my dog, why can't he swim?
    Serves the stupid human right really.
    Edit: I agree with you there Met, a life is a life, actually, a dog's life holds more value, since there is less of it's species, it is more rare than the human, so from that standpoint, it makes more sense to let the human drown >.>
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2009
  17. Kally

    Kally Driving my own destiny.

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    Exactly. If it was you and a complete stranger drowning in a lake. Your dog is going to save you. Because he's your loyal friend and thats what friends so (i suppose). And I would do the exact same thing.

    If Lincoln (my dog) was drowning in a lake, and a man I'd never met before in my life was too, no doubt about it I'd get my dog out. I'm sorry but I couldn't sit back and watch something I love dearly drown for something I have no feelings what so ever. For all you know, if you went to save the man, in my case he'd most probably be bigger than me. And he could use me as a float to stay above the water. Im not meaning that to be a joke, but its instinc, if you're in the water and panicing, you're going to be looking for something to keep your head above water. And you're gonna have water in your eyes, so you cant see, you're gonna grab the nearest thing to you. And that could potentially kill you in the longrun, and even if you did die trying to save the man, theres no guarantee the man will be safe.

    In the dogs case, although it will be wriggling and moving, it will be easier to hold and constrict it so you could get it out. The dog (maybe) has a collar the you could grab and drag the dog out. The dog may well be scared and try and bite you, to hold on. Fair enough it will hurt, but chances are it wont kill you.

    Either way... If none of this were the case, I'd still get my dog. I couldn't sit back and save a man I've never met over a dog I've loved and watched grow.
     
  18. Mem

    Mem Mosh Warrior

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    the dog,cos i dislike humans.^^
     
  19. clouded_perception

    clouded_perception clouded_perception

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    Human. I'm stuck with that sapiens-centrist bias that seems to be the norm for our species.
     
  20. Jorick

    Jorick Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to respond to both of the above at once, because I feel like it, heh.

    The reason it's more evolutionarily sound, or "better," to save a human over a dog is simply that the human is of your own species. I'm coming from a pragmatic point of view here. Emotional attachments and feelings for each species aside, it is smarter to save one of your own kind than a different animal. Survival as a species is all about making sure your species lives, regardless of what other ones do. The reason this kind of question has any power is that we're such an overabundant creature that the loss of a single life is no big deal.

    If we could communicate this kind of problem to a "lower" animal and get a reply, ten times out of ten they'd save their own kind. Why, you might ask? Because they don't have all our technology and such that makes us much more likely to survive and reproduce. For most animals it's still a survival of the fittest fight to survive and pass on their genetic material, to make more of their own kind. It would be moronic to think that, for instance, an elephant would save a giraffe over another elephant. It would go for it's own kind out of simple species identification. And that's survival instincts for you. :p