People Face A Terrifying Moral Dilemma


(railroad crossing bell ringing) (railroad bell ringing)
– Uh. (railroad bell ringing) (dramatic music) – [Voiceover] The trolley problem is a moral dilemma designed to make people consider the ethical
implications of their decisions. We sat some people down and asked them to talk their way through it. Scenario one. You are a rail yard
worker and you’re standing by a lever that switches the track. Suddenly, you see a runaway trolley barreling down the track. Further down the line are five people completely unaware of
their impending doom. If the trolley continues along the track it will surely kill them. Luckily, you can heroically intervene and choose to pull the lever,
(lever clicks) switching the track
and sending the trolley onto a clear path.
(train horn blows) So, what do you do? – I either kill five people
or I kill no one, duh. – I’m gonna switch it to the clear track. If there’s some sort of, “Oh surprise, there’s
terrible news attac–.” That’s it, there’s no catch? – Of course you’d like, switch it and save the other people. – Yeah, of course. I’m not a robot. – I mean, okay. Well, no, it doesn’t matter
if they’re drinking or not. – If it was that obvious that
one choice would save lives and the other choice wouldn’t kill anyone, then I would pick the save life choice. – Simple. – Piece of cake. – Ugh, it’s gonna get crazy. – [Voiceover] Scenario two. This time there’s one unaware
person on the alternate track. Do you choose
(lever clicks) to pull the lever and sacrifice the life of that one person
(train horn blows) to save the other five? (dramatic music slows) – I can’t answer this. – Can I just turn around
and pretend like (laughs) I have no idea what’s going. – I flip the switch. Is that bad? Yeah, I’m gonna kill one
person to save five people. – Then I’m a murderer. Right? As soon as I choose to kill
someone, I’m a murderer. – You know, the good of the many outweigh the good of the few, so. I learned that from “Star
Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.” – I think that any of these scenarios probably end with me also
killing myself (laughs) because I couldn’t live
with what I’d done. – [Voiceover] Scenario three. Similar to the previous scenario, you can choose to switch the
track and sacrifice the life of one person to save the other five, but this time, I’m so sorry, that one person is one
(lever clicks) of your immediate relatives.
(train horn blows) – Oh no, is my sister
gonna be on the track? – That makes it significantly harder. – I either kill five people
or I kill my little brother? – Wondering what my brother’s doing here. And if he’s here, he’s probably
here to give me crazy news. ‘Cause he knows I work here. So I’m not gonna kill him
before he gives me this news. – I’m sorry to those five people and those five people’s families. I hope that you have no one that loves you and you’re terrible people,
but I can’t kill my brother. – Here’s the thing though, if she dies I’ll probably get to
take care of my niece. – I do nothing ’cause it’s not my fault that the car is running
at those five people. Because I care about my brother. – Well it’s just, I know my sister and I know my two nieces, so like, yeah. They need their mom. – I’m gonna stick to my guns here. I’m gonna save five people. I’m being a railroad Jesus,
just bearing that cross. – If the families of those five people come up to me afterward,
I would hand them a gun and I would say, “shoot me.” And then my sister and her
family could go live happily. Yeah, they’d miss me a
little, but they’d get it. (dramatic music) – [Voiceover] So what would you do? (dramatic music)

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