A Morality Play
Date Added: Nov. 15, 2003
This little morality test is very popular because it appears to demonstrate that you can't judge people mearly by their deeds or character alone. What it really demonstrates is how you can twist the facts prove virtually any point you want by dropping the context and cleverly wording your arguments.
TWO TOUGH QUESTIONS
If you knew a woman who was pregnant, who had 8 kids already, three who were deaf, two who were blind, one mentally retarded, and she had syphilis, would you recommend that she have an abortion?
Read the next question before looking at the answer for this one.
It is time to elect a new world leader, and only your vote counts.
Here are the facts about the three leading candidates.
Candidate A -
Associates with crooked politicians, and consults with astrologists. He's had two Mistresses. He also chain smokes and drinks 8 to 10 martinis a day.
Candidate B -
He was kicked out of office twice, sleeps until noon, used opium in college and drinks a quart of whiskey every evening.
Candidate C -
He is a decorated war hero. He's a vegetarian, doesn't smoke, drinks an occasional beer and never cheated on his wife.
Which of these candidates would be your choice? Decide first, no peeking, then scroll down for the answer.
Candidate A is Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Candidate B is Winston Churchill.
Candidate C is Adolph Hitler.
And, by the way, the answer to the abortion question: If you said yes, you just killed Beethoven.
Pretty interesting isn't it? Makes a person think before judging someone.
Never be afraid to try something new. Remember: Amateurs built the Ark. Professionals built the Titanic.
Some versions of this chain have attached to it a similarly misinformed bit of "fact" about the U.S. Congress.
Let's look first at the argument that abortion, had it been available in the eighteenth century, would have deprived the world of its undisputed musical geniuses. In Beethoven's time, high instances of infant mortality were the norm. Those who survived often barely did so and ran the risk of severe, lifelong health problems and disabilities. While Ludwig was one of eight births by his mother, Maria Magdalena Laym, he was only her third child. Only he and two siblings survived beyond their first few years. This question tries to apply 20th century morality to a much, much different time.
On to "Question 2:" This particular bit demonstrates what can be accomplished when you skillfully pick the facts that prove your point and ignore any that detract from it. Most of the statements made about Roosevelt, Churchill and Hitler are true in a technical sense, but provided without context. While the author tried to prove that a man's public persona may not match his true character, what he really proved is that you should never believe an argument that sounds too perfect. Break this chain.