Would You Save A Dying Child?

altruism |ˈaltro͞oˌizəm| the belief in or practice of disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others
My friend Ann passed along this Ted Talk given by Pete Singer entitled Effective Altruism. I spent 17 minutes watching Singer speak about radical ideas like sharing our time and monetary resources to cure blindness. Or to prevent malaria. Or to not let kids die.

I admit, the first 7 minutes I thought Singer’s lecture was pure common sense. Of course we would all want to stop children from dying! 

I pondered further. I guess I do know people who don’t share time or money, believing everything they have is just that; theirs. 

Find 17 minutes this weekend, pour a cup of coffee, and watch this Ted Talk. (Warning: the beginning scene shows a child’s tragic death. It is uncomfortable, but I feel necessary to take us into the reality of the world around us.)

Do you agree with Singer? It’s easy to say yes because it seems like the right thing to do. If you disagree with him, will you share why?

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  1. Ryn says

    Given that Peter Singer accepts the infanticide of disabled infants, (see http://www.princeton.edu/~psinger/faq.html, part III where he says, among other things, "killing a newborn baby is never equivalent to killing a person", I find it impossible to accept him as an expert on altruism. What he says may sound good, but in the end it is ultimately based on the faulty premise of "the greatest good for the greatest number" and fails to see every human as uniquely created in the image of God. Please do some more research on his many, many disturbing philosophical positions before endorsing anything he says.

  2. says

    I'm glad you shared this link. It gives me insight I didn't have before. I'm sure there are many views Peter Singer and I do not share. When I watch TedTalks, I'm always focused about what is said in the 17 minutes and rarely do background research.

    It's also worth being said that I don't think this talk is for everyone. His audience is definitely toward an affluent crowd, the population that makes up most of my surrounding community. I wanted friends of mine to experience the shock I felt when watching people pass by the dying child and become motivated to do something about it.

    There are many messages on altruism on the internet, I'm sure. Do you have a favorite you'd like to share?

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