General Question

constabulary's avatar

Who would you allow into the lifeboat - the young or the old?

Asked by constabulary (25points) December 23rd, 2009

- Ship is sinking.
– 100 people on board.
– 1 lifeboat with room for 50 people.

Coincidentally, the 100 people have consecutive ages from 1 to 100.

Who goes in the lifeboat?

The youngest 50 or the oldest 50?

How would you choose?

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37 Answers

PandoraBoxx's avatar

The youngest 50. My rationale that the guarantee you have in life is that one day, you will die. Who knows what young potential is getting in that boat? Even those among the higher end (30 -50) are young enough to do something remarkable with the rest of their life as a result of the experience of being saved from a sinking ship.

constabulary's avatar

Is this because you believe young people’s lives are more valuable than old people’s lives?

delta214's avatar

no, but they have more left

Facade's avatar

The youngest

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Young people’s lives aren’t more valuable, but the potential to make something wonderful of their life is, because they have the gift of time.

dpworkin's avatar

If I get to pick, I pick by their intellect, their knowledge, how productive they are, whether they would be good company on a desert island (you never know with these lifeboat deals).
To me, losing a 50-year-old virtuoso violinist is a much greater tragedy than losing an unformed child.

Sarcasm's avatar

The young have a grater chance to add to society.

delta214's avatar

Pretty easy question tbh : /

constabulary's avatar

@delta214 The fact that you think so is what bothers me.

dpworkin's avatar

@Sarcasm I’m no slouch with a grater. I’d still pick the violinist and do the grating myself.

delta214's avatar

@constabulary why though? At least 15 of the older group would be dead within a year after.

constabulary's avatar

@delta214 Don’t they have just as much of a right to live that last year?

Tink's avatar

I’d rather save my grandma than the annoying kid sitting behind me.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

The youngest.They taste better ;)

delta214's avatar

@constabulary your also taking potential lives by killing the young. How many 51–100yo will have more kids and how many of 1–50yo

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

The value of a person’s life cannot be assessed by their age. Neither can it be adequately assessed in this and most other “lifeboat” scenarios. Despite any expertise I may possess, I would decline to participate in the decision-making process. Yes, that is a cop-out and I’d rather live with that than with the responsibility to cull the lives of other human beings.

constabulary's avatar

@delta214 I never said I wanted to kill the young. Don’t put words in my mouth.

delta214's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence well i believe that that is the wrong choice. Any choice whether it be young or old would be right because otherwise you’re pretty much killing them all.

@constabulary let me rephrase – One would also be taking potential lives

Blondesjon's avatar

Whichever looked the tastiest. It might be a long ride.

filmfann's avatar

Maybe you want a death panel set up to choose who doesn’t get on the boat.
You are also saying the 1 year old takes as much space/water/food as a 51 year old. That ain’t right.

Jeruba's avatar

The young won’t need the benefit of any knowledge or experience from the older folks. They won’t need to learn anything, seek any advice, or gain any comfort from wiser heads. The kids don’t need grandparents. There’s no advantage to a multigenerational society. So sink all the oldsters. They’ll never be missed.

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

The only fair way would be to pick them completely at random, (with the exception of the first 1–10 year olds, as it would be pretty inhumane to not include them).

CMaz's avatar

I have to go with @lucillelucillelucille on this one.

And, youngest and women first.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Children first, then teenagers, then young women, and finally young men. Any room left, older women.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Everybody gets onto the lifeboat. Everyone. “Capacity 50” means fifty adults of normal size. Obviously, infants and small children are not going to require the same space that an adult does. In addition, people in their 80s and 90s don’t have a lot of space requirements, either.

If anyone has to be left behind, it’s the captain and crew of the ship who didn’t prepare adequately for this emergency. In addition, without the passengers to worry about they can attempt to take more extraordinary measures to save the ship, and maybe manage that. Or they can build a raft with whatever is at hand to do that.

Next to be left out would be young, healthy adults… who can spend time swimming / floating and changing places with other young and healthy adults on the boat. This is non-optimum, of course, because that arrangement won’t last for long. They might opt instead to stay on the ship to aid the crew, or to make a raft with them.

But first on the boat are children and young women of child-bearing age. Then old people, and last the healthy young men. Last of all are the captain and crew.

There should be room, even if the boat is overcrowded. (They should be used to that, since the ship was also overcrowded.)

Tebiwa's avatar

OK people,,,lets get real. We have our emotions, we have reality..which dont always get along. Usually in these scenerios..the panicing people kill off each other trying to get to the boat. If YOU were the one deciding who would go…YOU would probably be the first one wiped out.

CMaz's avatar

@Tebiwa – I have to give you a GA for honesty. You crazy bastard!

Chikipi's avatar

25 young and 25 older- to keep the balance. The older ones have experience of life and can hopefully teach the young ones about life.

casheroo's avatar

The ones who couldn’t help themselves first. That includes the youngest children, the elderly, the disabled. Then people to help those people, and then I don’t know. I would hate to be in that situation, and no matter what I’d want my children saved even if I couldn’t be saved.

smartfart11's avatar

The oldest 50 would probably insist that the youngest fifty go in their spots. Why can’t they do a random draw?

Freedom_Issues's avatar

I would say the youngest. Sorry old people! :/

CMaz's avatar

The rich will get in the life raft. The poor will have to swim.

lillycoyote's avatar

All lives have value, at any age. But in a lifeboat kind of decision you have to decide fast. And, absent a crystal ball that would allow me to know that the if the 50 year can return to his lab, he only needs 8 more years to find a cure for cancer and that that obnoxious 7 year old is going to grow up to be a serial killer, I would have to say the youngest. If you can only save so many lives, if you save the youngest you’re saving more “life years” or whatever you want to call them

Chikipi's avatar

On second thought- in reality it would be the “first come first serve” motto-the first 50 who makes it to the boat first are the ones who get saved. I’m sure survival of the fittest would come into play regardless…plus I wouldn’t want to play “god” and decide who lives or stays behind.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@Tebiwa… interestingly enough, people tend to be quite noble on such occasions. IMHO, you are far too cynical.

randomness's avatar

It depends. Where is this ship? If we are within sight of shore, I would put the very old and the very young into the boat, as they would be the people who needed the most assistance in getting to shore. The rest of us can swim.

If we are in the middle of nowhere, days away from rescue, I would put the young, fit people into the boat. Not the very young children, but people who are old enough to look after themselves, but young enough to be strong and last for as long as possible.

If we are near a deserted island, and we will need to start a civilization of out own, I would put the young in the lifeboat. I would not include the young children, however. I would want people who were strong enough to help and pull their weight, helping the group survive and thrive on this new island. I would also include more women than men, as more women would be needed to keep our numbers from dwindling and dying. A woman can only produce so many offspring, while a man can produce a huge number.

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