Who gets to survive the apocalypse?

“So we’ve ruled out anyone who has a disease that will be longer treatable after the collapse, anyone too old or too young to reproduce effectively, that leaves us with a bunch of people between the ages of 18-35. Anyone care to narrow it down a bit more? Come on now, don’t be shy.” The head scientist said to the group of his colleagues that he had assembled.

There were many different representatives from many different fields. There were the biologists and psychologists of course, as well as the philosophers and economists. The historians had insisted on sending a representative, and of course there were the doctors. Numerous other fields had requested to be present for this occasion, but the psychologists had pointed out that too many different opinions would prevent anything from getting done, so the selection had been made from these five.

The head scientist, a biologist, sat down, and gestured to the economist to have a stab.

“We must rule out anyone who doesn’t believe in small government.” He said. “There will be no government to support the people, so they must fend for themselves. We will look at voting records and rule out anyone who hasn’t consistently voted for the decreased size of government.

“Even if we accepted that as a plausible screening criteria, and even if we someone violated the privacy of billions to find out that information, historically it won’t work out.” The history professor said. “Whenever you separate people out a group of people based on a political belief, they tend to start a war with the people of the opposite belief. You can’t really think the world will accept a political agenda as a means to decipher survivability. As soon as word gets out, and it will, there’ll be a public outcry and the whole program will collapse on itself.”

“Alright, no political beliefs then.” The biologist said. “What else?”

“How about IQ or mental stability screens?” The psychologist put in. “Surely we should be saving the smartest and most secure people in order to rebuild civilization.”

“I agree.” The biologist put in. “Can we get a two thirds majority on the matter?”

“You have my vote.” The historian put in.

“And mine.” The economist added. All heads swiveled to the philosopher.

“Well, what have you got to say?” The biologist asked. “We have a majority, but if you’d like to say something for the record we’d be happy to hear it.”

“Did you know.” The philosopher said. “That there are routinely young men and women who IQs in excess of 150 who never make it to college? That puts them in the upper 1% of intelligence on this planet. They typically suffer no mental illness, and are reasonable physical condition. Can any of you tell me why this happens?” There was no reply.

“Because they had no motivation to.” The philosopher said. “Intelligence and physical fitness may be the engine which drives the human person forward, but motivation is the fuel. If someone has no reason to survive, because they have no friend, or family, or loved ones of any sort, then they will no doubt do what they are currently doing, sitting at home watching television, watching their lives slip away. If you really want to survive, you need a reasons to live, and those reasons must take the form of people. I propose you select those who care deeply for each their fellow man. This is a difficult task because you can’t measure it directly, but my friends the biologist and the psychologist can no doubt come up with a list of persons so equipped?”

The psychologist and the biologist looked at each other. “I think we will look at neurotransmitters in the blood, and screen for people with high levels of oxytocin.” The biologist said.

“And I say we start by examining newly weds, and those with young children.” The psychologist said.

“Any objections?” The philosopher asked. There were none


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