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The Button - April 30, 2010
Rating: 4.8/5 (110 votes cast)
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Spiked Math Comic - The Button title=



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32 Comments

Uhm, thats like ethics of responsibility versus ethics of conviction.

Also, if he had pushed the button, he would be at least as responsible for the persons death as now, probably even more (that depends on his ethitcs, though).

ROFL that was kewl... I enjoyed this to the fullest. Is Tom Smith your professor?? I know must've been some nasty guy for you to kill him here

lol yeah taht was always weird
For those of u hu r confused i think its making fun of how truth operators work in symbolic logic
let p and q be boolean values
the statement "if p then q" is only considered false if p is true and q is false

Technically it's not "as a result of your decision" if they were going to kill him in either case. Shouldn't he just say "Tom Smith has just died"?

No, because if he pushes the button, they will still kill someone.

Maybe if he had pushed the button, they would have killed someone else. So Tom Smith in particular died as a result of his decision.

I enjoyed that far too much...

The point is that just because the if isn't true, doesn't mean the then part of the statement can't happen.

For example: If the sun explodes in 2 seconds, you will read this sentence.

LOL! If-then, people. Not if and only if!!

Thanks for the Mathematical Logic humor! I loved that class in college!

If (PushButton == true) then
KillSomeoneSomewhere;
GetOneMillionDollars;
else
KillSomeoneSomewhere;
end
:D

He should have pinned them down to an iff statement: If and only if you push the button, then (1) someone will die as a result, and (2) you will receive a million dollars.

Had he said that, he could still kill Tom Smith if the guy didn't push the button.

ah but what they dont tell you is if you choose to push the button it will always be you who is killed

Did you get this idea from reddit?

I'm just noticing that the comments generally fall into one of several groups here:

(1) Those who don't understand, and explanations to them.
(2) Those who try to be witty or otherwise add to the humor.
(3) Those who took too much math in College or Grad School and are stuck on "Prove or Disprove, and Salvage if possible".

Any others I missed?

Hee, hee, click, click, click!

exactly what i think whenever presented with this hypothetical. is it a million per push?

Hypothetical?

well theres also the occasional person who is apparnetly all offended or soemthing

Of course. You missed two categories. Yours and mine. While yours is the the one that states what is obvious, you may be a vulcan. And due to this very sentence, the attempt of this post being witty is reversed, it falls therefore in the Heisenberg category. Does it not?

I am in agreement with the first group. Tom Smith died regardless of the man's action or inaction. The man only would have been responsible for Tom's death had Tom's death been caused by the man's pushing the red button. We also have no way of knowing that Tom Smith would have been the target of the button away.

The true if-then statement here...

If you do or do not push the button, Tom Smith will die.

Or nobody died and the true result of not pushing the button is that the man is being lied to. Our universe isn't necessarily consistent with the information available to us. Now that's reading into it.

nah, he says, two things will happen ... but he does not say, that both are caused by pushing the button.

Comic is a reference to The Box.

the twilight zone epsiode from the 80's of the box was way better than the movie

Implication is not causal.

I'm afraid that 'someone who die' would be me...

It made me think of this short video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QrKnhOJ-R80

hmmm... i enjoyed it a lot... very interesting...

Why not press the button? People die at such a fast rate anyway, that pressing the button wouldn't make a difference. http://www.worldometers.info/

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