Sunday, August 17, 2014

"The Needs of the Many Outweigh the Needs of the Few"

One of the famous lines said by Spock in Star Trek II is that, "The needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few."

I've been having a forum discussion that relates to this topic, and is regarding the logic of this argument.

First, let me propose a scenario:

There is a cataclysmic event about to occur which will bring widespread disaster. Yet you have the ability to stop this disaster from happening! There's only one thing you have to do: sacrifice/kill a completely innocent person(s).

Would you be able to kill the innocent person(s) to save other lives and prevent the disaster?

Some people were unwilling to sacrifice the people for they couldn't morally follow through with doing so.

And at the same time, there were those that said it didn't matter who had to be sacrificed. If it prevented the disaster it must be done.

Now here enters Spock's logic: "The needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few."

If you remove all morality from the equation, and look at the situation from a pure rational and logical perspective, then it is neigh impossible to ignore his logic.

But, is it logically correct?

Buckle up, as we are going to go down philosophy lane.

There is a fundamental flaw in the argument that Spock makes. In logic there can be no divide between logical actions and acts of human nature. Furthermore, the needs of the individual(s) are what drive the needs and the potential for "value" judgments.

As human beings, our capability to even rationalize and think logically stems from us simply being human. Yes, we can be irrational and illogical, but that, once again, is part of human nature. Without them, we cannot define what logic is and is not.

This leads to our ability to have the volition to do or do not, think or think not.

We also experience emotions. Yes, they can be powerful, but they are not a means for knowledge. In fact, they can be described as simple automatic reactions. These reactions occur due to our value in the judgments we make.

We create knowledge based upon reason, which is the direct use of experiences and logic.

All right, we are exiting philosophy lane.

Now, back to the heart of the argument.

"There is a cataclysmic event about to occur which will bring widespread disaster. Yet you have the ability to stop this disaster from happening! There's only one thing you have to do: sacrifice/kill a completely innocent person(s)."

If you use Spock's logic, it is flawed. Therefore you cannot depend upon it.

Which decision you choose does not matter in the end, as there is no right or wrong answer. Each judgement is of equal value and consequence. The choice you make will be based upon your knowledge, which leads back to your direct experiences and logic.

Your emotions are what make you human, and they are the ultimate factor in this argument. Therefore, your choice will always be emotional, and will never involve logic.