Autobot/Human Ethics

Discussion in 'Transformers Robots In Disguise / Prime Discussion' started by Splintershot, Mar 4, 2011.

  1. Splintershot

    Splintershot Predacon?? ... Awesome

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    I was watching the latest TF Prime episode called "Convoy" when I came across a thought in this episode that surprised me. Part of the plot in this story reminds me of the ticking time bomb scenario. The Autobots had to safely take a highly radioactive bomb of mass destruction into military hands while a group of advance terrorists were trying to take it and. kill. everyone. At the end of the episode, the Autobots were able defeat evil (as usual), even while Decepticon interference held them back. They had been able to save the day once again...
    However, here is an interesting question... what if Prime had not recovered so quickly? And an even better question... what if the Autobots had to harm - or worse kill - the human terrorists to stop them from stealing the bomb. Everyone knows the Autobots have sworn to never ever harm any sentient beings... ever. But, the terrorists were trying to kill millions of lives... is that a big enough excuse to break their strict beliefs?
    As a result, I thought of two different possibilities (don't get too excited, I'm not Prowl or anything!)

    Possibility 1 (deontologist theory): Prime's team chooses not to harm the terrorists and fail to stop their mission. In retrospect, since Prime didn't stop the radioactive explosion, the death's of million would be technically caused by his moral bases, therefore harming the humans.

    Possibility 2 (utilitarian theory): Prime's team kills off (I know, unimaginable!) the terrorist threat and saves millions of lives. However, doing so would end their strict rule and would make them no better than the Decepticons they fight everyday....

    So what do you think of these situations TF fans?
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2011
  2. shroobmaster

    shroobmaster Well-Known Member

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    While it's certainly really odd for Autobots to kill humans, it does keep character.

    They're willing to kill Decepticons, humans with the same ideals getting offed fit as well.
     
  3. Honorbound

    Honorbound The Reclusive Semi-Lurker

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    Splintershot, I'm thinking that the ethical code the writers are forcing Autobots to operate off of is unrealistic and unfair to the Autobots; in the situation you describe, it would burden them between two impossible decisions, effectively paralyzing them. That's the problem with swearing to protect all members of a certain species: they are also swearing to protect the bastards as well. It's why, even though Optimus is my favorite character, I always rewrite his "freedom is the right of all sentient beings" motto.

    If I were writing the Autobots, and Optimus Prime specifically, that motto would be "freedom and life are the right of all innocents." It allows them to protect those that need and deserve protection while allowing them to provide a permanent solution to the threat that evildoers (whether they are Decepticons or MECH) pose.

    Back to your possibilities, I would run with the second one. However, your statement that killing the threat would make the Autobots no better than the Decepticons is flawed. The Autobots would have saved millions of lives from people who were threatening to kill millions. That's not reducing themselves to the level of the Decepticons, that is making sure that those who would behave like Decepticons don't hurt anyone. What separates the Autobots from the Decepticons isn't that they kill, it is what they are fighting for: the Decepticons want to conquer what they can and destroy what they cannot. The Autobots want to preserve innocent life. The two are nothing alike. It's a hard truth, but evil of that nature can only benefit the world by dying. Otherwise, that evil will always hurt and kill people.

    That's the "what" part of the flaw in your second possibility. The "why" part has to do with the fact that you didn't connect the morality of the Autobots' decision with consequences. Just stating that it is wrong to kill, without looking at any circumstance or consequence, completely ignores reality. As you yourself pointed out, if the Autobots had followed possibility one, they would have shared the blame in millions of innocents dying through their inaction. They would have ignored the consequences of their actions, resulting from their refusal to do what needed to be done*, which is pure cowardice. Sometimes, you have a moral duty to kill those who would kill the innocent, in order to prevent the would-be killers from succeeding. Is it an easy decision? No. Is it one that should be made lightly? Of course not. Is it one that must be made in order to preserve the lives of the innocent? Yes.

    *As a side note, the reason that so many fanatics use the "I did what was necessary" line is that they think they are doing the right thing. In terms of perception and belief, both the righteous man and the misguided fanatic think they are in the right and that they are doing what needs to be done. However, in reality, the good man is right and the fanatic is wrong.

    Edit: You're right, shroobmaster; these Autobots don't pull their punches; if you're out to hurt the innocent, you're going down.
     
  4. GWolfv2

    GWolfv2 Well-Known Member

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    I see it as a level of interference issue. Prime has made it clear that he'd rather not get too involved, so it makes sense that rather than passing judgement on these people when there is a legal system to take care of that, they would inhibit/capture them instead. It's pushing the interference to the point where the legal system of earth can decide their faith, but not reaching the point where the Autobots end up as judge/jury for another race, one which have its own way of dealing with things.
     
  5. SPLIT LIP

    SPLIT LIP Dry built

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    It's a moral question I'm sure the Autobots would rather not answer, but willing to kill =/= wanting to kill. Most people forget this, and think that if you take a life you're automatically an irredeemable phsycotic with no regard for anyone's well-being. This is, of course, not true. If Optimus had to, with no other option left, use lethal force, I'm sure he would have for the greater good. Afterall, it's war, and people die. They're not innocent bystanders, they're aggresive, dangerous terrorists with the intent to cause mass destruction.

    However Prime would've found another way. He always does. He's Optimus Prime. I don't think he even comprehends killing a human. The Decepticons seek to erradicate all human life, all any kind of life, simply because they don't like us. Killing one to save billions is not the same as universal genocide.
     
  6. Karhukjnsi

    Karhukjnsi Universal Wrestler

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    Nope, they've shown to kill plenty of Vehicons, I'm sure they're aware of their somewhat sentience through all the centuries. Team Prime hasn't made any mention of this "swear", but I doubt they'd go killing willy nilly, I think Optimus' have them put down if it was absolutely necessary.
     
  7. Splintershot

    Splintershot Predacon?? ... Awesome

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    Honorbound, yes you are right. Sometimes it is absolutely necessary to kill any threat that would harm a mass amount of people. As hard as it may be to believe, it is occasionally responsible to finish off any major threat to mankind. However, if this were always the case (which it isn't), it would most likely bring up controversy on our prison concept. Is it best to imprison criminals or kill on the spot? I'm sure (or hope) that most of you would agreed that the second choice ("kill on the spot") is ethically incorrect... so what makes it any different when acting this way for major terrorist? Is it not best to give any life - no matter whose it is - a second chance? But how many chances should one receive (e.g. Batman with the Joker)?

    Also, when I said that the Autobot's act would be no better than the Decepticon's, I meant that they may eventually begin to kill as they do. If the Autobots were to kill the terrorists to stop them from setting off the bomb, you must factor in the element that they may probably accept this new way of resolving issues. Eventually, the Autobot's judgment on who to kill will slowly decline.
     
  8. Pravus Prime

    Pravus Prime Sorcerer

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    Makes it really hard to fight a war with that ideology. You'd think the Autobots would've been wiped out by the Decepticons then, since they'd steadfast refuse to kill their enemies.

    Plus it makes them dirty rotten liers when they kill Eradicon/Terrorcon/Vehicon/Whatever drones.
     
  9. Alienbot

    Alienbot Well-Known Member

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    I'm curious as to whether Megatron or Starscream and Silas will form an alliance and Optimus will be in a real pickle when MECH soldiers are going after him. We know he's refused the help of the Pentagon because he doesn't want humans dying for him, but as it's become a multi-species war he may have to.
     
  10. General Magnus

    General Magnus Da Custodes of the Emprah

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    Wans´t there a comic where Prime killed a human? Ok, maybe killed wans´t exactly the thing he did, but he set his foot on the ground and the truck rammed his leg, killing the driver. I think it was during Devastation or Infiltration.
     
  11. Pravus Prime

    Pravus Prime Sorcerer

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    This thread is rather moot given that the Autobots killed some MECH people in Convoy.
     
  12. Suchus Prime

    Suchus Prime Well-Known Member

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    For the same reason why some of us would rather kill a serial killer then a puppy. Get the idea the bots see humans as small feeble creatures and cons as destructive killers.
     
  13. Kaymac

    Kaymac I'M REALLY FEELIN' IT!

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    Optimus called MECH "Decepticons in human skin", and said "Megatron preached the same ideology on Cybertron". There are a few parallels drawn between the Decepticons and MECH, and the Autobots are not above killing the human terrorists since they are no better than Decepticons, who resorted to terror in pursuit of their goals.
     
  14. Lord Shockwave7

    Lord Shockwave7 Xbox Live Dictator

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    Optimus swore to protect humans, but knows that sence the humans are sentient as the decepticons are, he would kill them because they are just as evil.
     
  15. Mako Crab

    Mako Crab Well-Known Member

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    I was gonna' say. This makes for a good excuse to watch the episode again! :D 

    1st MECH car: Bumblebee runs it off the road. The 2 MECH soldier survive.

    2nd MECH car: Prime runs it off the cliffside. Driver is shown to be alive.

    MECH soldier: Fowler grabs him. It appears that the MECH guy breaks free of Fowler's grip and throws himself to his death, as Fowler has a surprised reaction.

    3rd MECH car: Guy walking on hood is definitely dead after Arcee slams into him and launches him onto the highway. The car flips and is slammed into by the 4th MECH car. This car doesn't blow up, so there's a possibility that the driver lived.

    4th MECH car: Slams into the 3rd one and blows up. Most likely there were 2 MECH soldiers in this car as all MECH cars seem to come with 2 guys. These 2 guys are toast.

    So we have 3 MECH deaths with the possibility of a 4th. All these deaths were caused by Arcee, and she didn't seem to have any qualms about it. By the same token, none of the other Autobots said anything to the effect of, "Dial the carnage back a bit." I was actually surprised that Prime didn't take out Silas' helicopter at the end of the episode when it was just hovering there, and Prime was staring up at it for a good 5 seconds.
    But anyway, there you go. I don't think the Autobots have any objections to using lethal force where necessary regardless of the species. If you threaten to kill millions, then they pretty much don't care if you're metal or squishy.
     
  16. Joalro

    Joalro Well-Known Member

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    I figure if Silas had won and took the DNGS, Prime would have taken him down. But since the DNGS was in their possession, the threat of Silas at the very least has been delayed. Prime would only take him down if there was that absolute threat.
     
  17. Mako Crab

    Mako Crab Well-Known Member

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    Good point. That, and neither Silas nor his helicopter were armed. But wait! I'm suddenly reminded that Silas in his helicopter shot Fowler's plane down! Hm...
     
  18. Skottech

    Skottech Well-Known Member

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    & Silas did have that "Rocket launching rifle" (used on the tracks).
     
  19. Mako Crab

    Mako Crab Well-Known Member

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    Right! And thereby endangered the lives of the children. A simple fix for this scene would have been if Silas were already fleeing the area. He could still be looking at the schematics of Prime on his monitor, Prime could still be looking up into the sky, but now the helicopter would be a tiny blip on the horizon as it flies away.
     

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