park to justify the cost of building the shelter Mueller said. Hes working on a book about taboos. But on questions about assistance, such as who should receive a life-saving medicine, participants were more discriminating.
In particular, Landy and Goodwin focus on the way that age affects our assessment of a human life. Scott Alexander explains it better than I can. It takes the number of remaining years someone would be expected to live, and, if that person is expected to live in perfect health, multiplies it by oneand by a smaller number if the person will be, say, paralyzed. I see this happen all too frequently.
The Value of a Life
They consider the frequency of hurricanes that hit, the number of people who live nearby (worth around 5 million each and the cost of building and maintaining the shelter for the period of time from one hurricane to the next. Some of us work in the mines to make the dragon's tax. Furthermore, it is important to care not only about the lives we save, but about the lives we live. (And some villagers, deep underground, far from the dragon's prying eyes, are designing weapons.). Such questions probably shouldnt be left to people answering surveys; moral philosophers remain useful (and in need of a living). So in their third year, the surviving villagers came to bitter terms with their situation, and set to hunting and gathering and growing stronger, accepting that they had to take care of themselves before they could take care of their friends. The scientific literature and the news are both rife with examples of how unequally we value life young over old, those like us over those who are different, the identified victim over the faceless masses. Close to zero would die if the government reduced the speed limit to 13 miles per hour. Other human beings were bought and sold for far less. Indeed, there were no lengths to which the villagers would not go in order to save one of their fellows from unwanted annihilation. The villagers begged and pleaded, they wept and raged, but the dragon was unmoved. Some of the questions addressed the right not to be harmed, asking, for instance, whose murder would be more wrongthat of an infant, or that of an elderly person?
Calculating the Value of a Life
Arthur Kornbergs Scientific Life Woks
The Most Special Person in My Life