Monthly Archives: February 2008

Lawrence Kohlberg

Another thought experiment (this one inspired very slightly by FloatyKatja‘s recent soup observations):

A woman was near death from a special kind of cancer. There was one drug that the doctors thought might save her. It was a form of radium that a druggist in the same town had recently discovered. The drug was expensive to make, but the druggist was charging ten times what the drug cost him to produce. He paid £200 for the radium and charged £2,000 for a small dose of the drug. The sick woman’s husband, Heinz, went to everyone he knew to borrow the money, but he could only get together about £1,000, which is half of what it cost. He told the druggist that his wife was dying and asked him to sell it cheaper or let him pay later. But the druggist said, “No, I discovered the drug and I’m going to make money from it.” So Heinz got desperate and broke into the man’s store to steal the drug for his wife.

Should Heinz have broken into the laboratory to steal the drug for his wife? Why or why not?

Katja was talking about soup, you see.  Heinz soup.  Get it?


Filed under Thought experiment


I’ve been forced to sing the wrong song twice today to my plebeian co-workers.  Let’s hope they don’t deserve a third such vocal thrashing.

If you doubt the merits of my punishment I should refer you to the reasons:

  1. Earthquakes are not caused by Teutonic plates bashing each other.
  2. Dan Brown did not invent the Knights Templar.

If anyone doubts that my singing is a punishment then you obviously haven’t heard me sing.


Filed under Reasons to be cheerful

Hanging’s too good for ’em

Apparently 99% of people want to bring back hanging.  It’s OK though because they’re Sun readers.

How does another act of violence, another grisly, sordid killing make the world a better place?



Filed under Bad things happen, Debate

Something for the weekend, sir?

In addition to spending the weekend writing an introduction for the eBay atheist I also spend some time writing some questions to ask my friend the Jehovah’s Witness and taking the kids for a walk in the woods.   I now have one more embarrassing story to tell if Tiny Tasha ever brings a boyfriend home.  It’s not just bears that go in the woods.

The thing that I spent most of the time doing though was trimming my hedge. It had become very overgrown and was in much need of cutting back. I’ve filled the composter and I’ve got nearly a dozen bags packed full of hedge trimmings.

After all the work I put in I’ve got quite proficient. I dare say I could trim anyone’s hedge or bush in next to no time.


Filed under Environment, Reasons to be cheerful

Off the Map – eBay Atheist

I’ve been asked by the lovely Helen to be a guest blogger on the eBay Atheist site because it is “important to have a non-zero number of atheist bloggers”.  I’m writing on someone else’s blog and therefore need to put more thought into it than the usual witterings than take the place of writing on my blog.  I have the Monday slot which is a good thing because it gives me a whole weekend to write something properly.

I’m also a guest blogger over at Friendly Christian but it’s less formal there so I just add something when I think of it.  Bill is almost entirely responsible for changing my attitude to Christians.  Hopefully that’ll make him smile. 🙂 I still have strong opinions but they’re a little more constructive now.

Now the begging part.  I need some topics to write about.  Something that will make me think and make others think.  As I am dense and have no ideas of my own I need the wonderful people of blog land to help me out.


Filed under Atheist

Friday’s Thought Experiment

Consider your gut reactions to the two following scenarios:

1st Scenario

There is a set of tracks which five repairmen are working on.  Around a bend there is an oncoming train. From your vantage point in a tower above the track you can see the train, but the five workers can’t (privilege of management). In a few seconds the train will hit and kill them all.  You can’t shout to them or warn them in any way because of the ear protectors they are wearing and their dedication to the task at hand that keeps them looking away from you.

Suddenly to realize that there is a lever nearby that you can pull that will divert the train onto some side tracks.  However, there is one repair man working on that track.  If the lever is pulled, the train will kill him.

Do you do nothing and allow five men to die, or do you pull the lever and cause the death of one man?

2nd Scenario

Same track. Same five men. Only this time, there is no lever.  However, there is a particularly large man at the edge of the tower, he’s the guy who would have been working alone on the other track.  If he were to fall, and hit the tracks below, it would stop the train.  He’s a very large man.  All you have to do is. . . give him a little push.

Do you do nothing and allow five men to die, or do you push the man and cause his death?

Assuming your gut answers were different . . . why?


Filed under Thought experiment

Work Your Proper Hours Day

You may not be aware that today (22nd February) is Work Your Proper Hours Day.

Normally I’d be up for leaving on time but the train was delayed and ended up getting to work late.  I don’t want to attract too much attention to the fact by leaving on time.  Leaving on time for me is almost the same as anyone else leaving early.

I’ll make sure I’m not the last one out.


Filed under You decide