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Which would be the more ethical choice? (read description)

Say you are watching a bike race, and all of a sudden you see a hot dog stand rolls down a hill towards the bike path where the race is taking place. It can not be stopped. At this rate it will stop in the center of the track, killing nine bikers. However you can push it so that it passes the track and instead hits the audience, saving the bikers but killing five bystanders.

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You've given us specific numbers of dead that would result from either action but a person faced with this dilemma would not have that information in advance.

So, the stand is moving toward the track? I'd let it go, knowing that cyclists are at skilled at avoiding accidents, in making instant decisions, and in knowing how to fall when a spill is inevitable. To divert it into an unsuspecting crowd of spectators, many of whom would be children, is begging for disaster.

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I read an article in a magazine with this question. It said that the majority could to let it roll onto the track. I was just curious as to what the fine people of ask would say. Mm, I didn't get quite the type of answers I hoped for (besides a few which are good, including yours.)
Thank you for participating in a kind of... Social experiment?
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I'd assumed the question (and probably the original article) was, in plain terms, "Would you sacrifice several lives to save many?" In other words, does the end justify the means?

I avoided that by pleading advance ignorance. I have no answer.

But it's the question Churchill faced (and people are still debating) over whether he should have tried to evacuate Coventry when he knew the Luftwaffe was planning a major bombing raid. Thousands died rather than let the Germans know that Bletchley Park had broken the Enigma code. Yet keeping that secret made it possible for England to stand against Germany alone (except for Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the odd remnant of its old empire) until Pearl Harbor brought the US into the war.

It was a hell of a decision to have to make but may have been the difference between winning and losing the war. The German invasion was very close at that time and except for a succession of German blunders, England would have fallen before Japan shot themselves in the foot in 1941.
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Thanks for the comment. I love it when people use relevant examples from history. It's a tough concept. Heck, I've been in bed the whole weekend and I still don't know what I would do if I had such a choice.
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What then if the hot dog cart was careening towards unsuspecting bystanders, but could be diverted into the cyclists?
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Then, Nov, I would pray and ask God to send a miracle.
;-)
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Wht da heck? Wht does it matter? No 1 cares.

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Ummm....that was random

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best thing to do would be to..YELL..Look out !!!...maybe save them all..

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It's too noisy.
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too noisy ?..to save a life ?...ok..
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Well it ruins the whole point of the question.
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Turn around,close your eyes, plug your ears, and repeat lalalalallalalalalalalaaa

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Still_Phil

Question can't be answered, because you cannot know how many people will be injured or killed in any situation like this. You can't explain/prove that you saved four lives by your actions, you can only go to jail for 5 counts of manslaughter. Do nothing and no matter how many are injured it's not your fault unless it was your hotdog cart.
you can put yourself in harm`s way trying to stop it, that would be acceptable regardless of the outcome.

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Well.....darn... Watch Final Destination... Thanks for the answer though.
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Still_Phil
Nah, I won't watch that I don't think - I`ll look it tho.

meanwhile, for an older version of this dilemma, read *The Brothers Karamazov*

“‘Tell me yourself, I challenge you – answer. Imagine that you are creating a fabric of human destiny with the object of making men happy in the end, giving them peace and rest at last, but that it was essential and inevitable to torture to death only one tiny creature – that baby beating its breast with its fist, for instance – and to found that edifice on its unavenged tears, would you consent to be the architect on those conditions? Tell me, and tell the truth.’"

Perhaps this is a better answer.
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Thanks for the suggestion, conveniently tomorrow is library day. I will read it.
Now about the question. I probably would have it tortured, while not caring if my system collapsed. The only problem is I'm not a good person to answer, I have found a slight apathy for mankind. However the torture of this one creature, would spare the torment of thousands others. Perhaps If I didn't torture it riots would form... Imagine it. Thousands, maybe even millions of men, women and children demanding that a single baby be tortured. Why wouldn't I be surprised?
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Still_Phil
There's no right or wrong answer.

My apathy for mankind is perhaps even stronger than yours, and the answer different: why would I torment an innocent child in order to save a society that seems perfectly happy, and indeed predisposed to choose to murder and torment each other by scores?
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