These “gotchas” from the pro-abortion crowd nauseate me. I’ll conjure up my best Ben Shapiro (italicized) in an attempt to answer your question:
The fact that I choose to save the five year old over the embryos does not mean that I see no value in those embryos. Ask me the question about your mythical embryo factory again, just replace the embryos with your own child and the original child with my own. I would save my own child before I would save yours. This doesn’t mean that I believe your child has no value- I’m basing my decision to save my own child based on my emotional response. My emotions tell me to save my own kid instead of someone else’s kid. Likewise in your original scenario, my emotions tell me to save the crying kid instead of the thousands of embryos because I can hear that this kid is in distress. Now, I don’t know how many of these embryos in here are even viable- but here in front of me is a kid who is clearly in distress, who wants my help, so I’m going to help him.
Ben (both “real” Ben and the “fake” Ben in my example) answers your question, somewhat. It’s an emotional response. We’re more inclined to help someone in obvious distress rather than someone who we can’t tell is alive, dead, or in any distress at all, because of our reaction to what we’re seeing. Furthermore, even if two parties are equally in distress, we’re more drawn to help someone we’re related to, such as our own child, instead of someone else’s kid. One of Ben’s own scenarios is that of a child and someone who’s elderly. He will still choose the kid, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t value the life of the elder.
The reason I’m disgusted by these thought experiments is that they aren’t meant to solve a moral problem. They’re meant to trap your opponent and make them look bad any way they respond. Therefore, I don’t think Ben was even obligated to answer to it. All he could have done was post the following scenario, and he would have equally “destroyed” the author of the thought experiment:
Your kid and someone else’s kid are in a house fire. They’re both in distress and begging you to help them, but you can only save one. Who do you save?
No matter how you answer, you come out looking bad, and as I said, that’s the entire point of these “experiments”. There’s no reason for us to take them seriously. The pro-abortion crowd is free to believe that this “destroys” the pro-life side, but as a simple turnaround proves, that simply isn’t the case.