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Thread: Thought Experiment: Would You Kill Baby Hitler?

  1. #31
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    Re: Thought Experiment: Would You Kill Baby Hitler?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lutherf View Post
    If you have a time machine and you die in an earlier time does that mean you can't have gone back in the first place because you're already dead? I mean, wouldn't you have to be invincible in earlier time periods?
    I figure it'd be the other way around. Hitler would be the invincible one... until 1945 anyway.
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  2. #32
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    Re: Thought Experiment: Would You Kill Baby Hitler?

    No.

    Not without a complete understanding of physics, including any temporal theory we might develop.



    Grandfather paradoxes and their inverse would have to be impossible. Strict linear causality would have to be illusion; else older-you destroys the reason younger-you went (to kill Hitler) by killing him. Then older-you doesn't go (to kill Hitler) because there was no
    Hitler for that older-you. But then the reason younger-you went "before" exists "again" (not being killed, Hitler exists). So older-you goes "again". But then older-you destroys the reason younger-you went. Then older-you doesn't go. But then the reason younger-you went "before" exists. So older-you goes "again". But then older-you destroys the reason younger-you went. Then older-you doesn't go. But then the reason younger-you went "before" exists. So older-you goes "again". But then older-you destroys the reason younger-you went. Then older-you doesn't go. But then the reason younger-you went "before" exists. So older-you goes "again". But then older-you destroys the reason younger-you went. Then older-you doesn't go. But then the reason younger-you went "before" exists. So older-you goes "again". But then older-you destroys the reason younger-you went. Then older-you doesn't go. But then the reason younger-you went "before" exists. So older-you goes "again". But then older-you destroys the reason younger-you went. Then older-you doesn't go. But then the reason younger-you went "before" exists. So older-you goes "again". But then older-you destroys the reason younger-you went. Then older-you doesn't go. But then the reason younger-you went "before" exists. So older-you goes "again". But then older-you destroys the reason younger-you went. Then older-you doesn't go. But then the reason younger-you went "before" exists. So older-you goes "again". But then older-you destroys the reason younger-you went. Then older-you doesn't go. But then the reason younger-you went "before" exists. So older-you goes "again". But then older-you destroys the reason younger-you went. Then older-you doesn't go. But then the reason younger-you went "before" exists. So older-you goes "again". But then older-you destroys the reason younger-you went. Then older-you doesn't go. But then the reason younger-you went "before" exists. So older-you goes "again". But then older-you destroys the reason younger-you went.

    Wanna be an eternal Ouroborus? Destroy reality?

    Sci-fi guessed this would be bad.
    Last edited by Mr Person; 07-06-20 at 10:24 PM.
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  3. #33
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    Re: Thought Experiment: Would You Kill Baby Hitler?

    Quote Originally Posted by lwf View Post
    The thought experiment usually proposes that you have absolute knowledge that he WILL grow up to be the Hilter we all know and despise, and your only two choices are to kill him right then and there, or do nothing. No other possibility exists. No taking him and raising him as your own, hoping he makes better decisions, or talking someone else into doing it.
    There can be no "thought experiment" absent of logic and/or reality. All experiments begin with a hypothesis and then must be PROVEN with facts/science. So since what you say isn't logical, then it isn't reasonable either.

    Bottom line: babies are innocent---all babies, including baby Adolph Hitler.
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    Re: Thought Experiment: Would You Kill Baby Hitler?

    Quote Originally Posted by VanceMack View Post
    When you seek to change the course of history, what comes next? Say you successfully stopped Hitler at birth. Who is to say someone worse doesnt come along? Or who is to say that because the world isnt embroiled in WW2, Stalin's power and reach isnt enhanced? Or the Mao's devastation isnt doubled...tripled?
    Exactly.

    World history moves along like a river. If one portion of the river dams up, other tributaries will emerge in some other place and the water eventually gets to where it was headed anyway. Had Christopher Columbus not have made landfall in the Caribbean, does anyone believe Europeans would not have eventually colonized the New World?

    Adolph Hitler was only one of several factors which eventually put Germany on it's course. Germany was in that period RIPE for some type of violent undertaking as the Wiemar Republic was in between two radical extremist ideologies; fascism and the Bolsheviks.
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  5. #35
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    Re: Thought Experiment: Would You Kill Baby Hitler?

    Quote Originally Posted by Schism View Post
    Maybe this has been hashed out before. There was an article out a couple years ago and I know it was widely discussed then. I'm thinking more along the lines of how things have changed and in light of current events. So...

    Knowing what you know today about history, WWII, Germany, Nazi's, Israel, Palestine, the Western world, former allies The Russians, etc...

    If you could be transported via time machine to 1889? Would you kill baby Hitler and alter the future?

    Discuss.
    Discussions like this really reveal peoples' moral character.
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  6. #36
    Excellent Point


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    Re: Thought Experiment: Would You Kill Baby Hitler?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lutherf View Post
    If you have a time machine and you die in an earlier time does that mean you can't have gone back in the first place because you're already dead? I mean, wouldn't you have to be invincible in earlier time periods?
    If you haven't seen it, there's a series on Netflix that delves into this called Dark. The series is a German science fiction thriller with English dub and subtitles. It starts with mysterious disappearances and deaths of kids which leads to a bunker and a cave that goes under a nuclear power plant. In this series, it's not just linear time, but parallel worlds where alternate realities change and blur. It's really, really good.

    Dark | https://www.netflix.com/title/80100172

  7. #37
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    Re: Thought Experiment: Would You Kill Baby Hitler?

    Quote Originally Posted by Court Jester View Post
    There can be no "thought experiment" absent of logic and/or reality. All experiments begin with a hypothesis and then must be PROVEN with facts/science. So since what you say isn't logical, then it isn't reasonable either.

    Bottom line: babies are innocent---all babies, including baby Adolph Hitler.
    Thought experiments used to examine morality and ethics need not be realistic or logical. That's what makes them thought experiments. Figuring out how to have your cake and eat it too is unnecessary: you can just not participate in it. That said: It sounds like your answer is that you would let him live to grow up and be responsible for millions of deaths. That would be my answer as well.

    My rationale: The blood on his hands is his responsibility to bear, not mine. The blood on my hands would be my responsibility to bear, and my choice is to never take another human life unless it is an imminent physical danger to my life or another's. A baby is not an imminent physical danger, even if he will be one day. When that day comes and if I was present when he was actively attempting to murder someone, only then would I opt to take his life.

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    Re: Thought Experiment: Would You Kill Baby Hitler?

    I'm not a very good person. My first thought was yes, I would kill the baby Hitler.

    But then almost immediately, I recalled what several on this thread have mentioned: history is a stream and our seemingly trivial or small actions can sometimes have surprisingly complex consequences. Actually, what I thought of first was the Christmas movie, It's a Wonderful Life.

    Taking one person out of the flow of history could completely change it.

    But I'm still thinking, despite all that, I'd kill the baby Hitler. Would life be better if he hadn't lived? I guess we can't guarantee it, but I'm not sure it could have been much worse.

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