The Instigator
MyDinosaurHands
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
ThuggsyBogues
Con (against)
Winning
5 Points

Torture (See for specifics)

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
ThuggsyBogues
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/31/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 843 times Debate No: 45006
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (1)

 

MyDinosaurHands

Pro

Resolution: The United States Central Intelligence Agency should be able to utilize torture as a means of providing national security, in a restricted and controlled capacity.

My opponent shall make the case that the CIA should never be allowed to use torture.


First Round will be for Acceptance.
ThuggsyBogues

Con

I'll gladly take this. It sounds like a fun topic. Good luck!
Debate Round No. 1
MyDinosaurHands

Pro

It should be common knowledge that torture is not a 100% full-proof method of obtaining information. I totally agree with that idea, and I don't believe the US should just throw torture at their problems. I do however believe that groups like the CIA should be given restrictive rights to torture, given that there are certain circumstances where torture is the best method to obtain information, and save lives.

For instance, what if there is an impending terrorist attack on American soil, and you have in custody a terrorist who has a fair possibility of having information useful in stopping the attack? If the attack will be very soon, and other methods such as extensive questioning would not acquire the information soon enough, why shouldn't you torture that man? Even though torture is not 100% reliable, if you're on a short time table, and it's the only way you could possibly acquire the information in time, you should be able to use torture to prevent the attack, and save lives.

Another scenario: What if you've exhausted every information obtaining method that is an alternate to torture, and it hasn't worked? The person who has been able to resist extensive questioning and perhaps even chemical influence, may succumb to pain. The odds may not be very good, but they'd be better than if you just gave up short of using torture, and if lives can be saved, no stone should go unturned.

Those are my scenarios. I believe the CIA should have limited access to torture for scenarios like these.
ThuggsyBogues

Con

I won't bring any rebuttals yet, I'll just present a constructive (its gonna be pretty philosophy-heavy).

My value for this debate is the Categorical Imperative of the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. The C.I. (abbreviation for Categorical Imperative from now on) addresses the idea of universal morality, and deontology (the ends don't justify the means).

The two main maxims of the C.I. go as follows:
1: "Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law."
2: "Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, always at the same time as an end and never merely as a means to an end."

My First Contention is: the first maxim of the C.I. -Act only in such a way in which you can will that it should become a universal law. In short, actions can only be moral if it would be a good world if this action was made a universal occurrence. Torture being made a universal law would result in a worse world. This is because when tortured, people are robbed of their ability to guide their conduct, and are made subhuman. What gives human inherent dignity is the fact that they are rational beings, capable of making their own decisions and guiding their conduct by moral law. Rational beings are the embodiment of the moral law itself. The only way that moral goodness can exist at all in the world is for rational creatures to understand what they should do and do it. So, if there were no rational beings, the moral dimension of the world would simply disappear. The moral dimension of the world being gone is an objectively immoral and BAD thing.

---If torture became universal law, people would be robbed of their ability to be rational beings. If people were robbed of their ability to be rational beings the moral dimension of the world would disappear. Therefore torture, as per the first maxim of the C.I, is an immoral act.---

My second contention is the second maxim of the C.I - treat humanity as an end and never merely as a means to an end. A rational being cannot (rationally) consent to being used merely as a means to an end, so they must always be treated as an end. Kant justified this by arguing that it is a moral obligation to allow rational agents to act. Because rational agents want to be an end and never merely a means, it is a moral obligation that they are treated as such. If you restrict rationality, you come to the same conclusion that I reached before with the whole "restriction of ability to be rational" and "vacant moral dimension" stuff. TL;DR, YOU CAN'T JUSTIFY USING PEOPLE ONLY IN ORDER TO ATTAIN SOMETHING. Torture directly goes against this maxim because torturing people uses their pain tolerance, dignity and fear as a means to attain some sort of evidence or admission.

---Torture uses people as a means to an end because they are being used to gain evidence. Using the people as a means restricts their ability to be rational. No matter how important the admission or evidence the torture is meant to attain, it is not morally justifiable.---

I rest my case. Torture goes against the maxims of the C.I. ,and thus, it is an immoral and non-justifiable act.
Debate Round No. 2
MyDinosaurHands

Pro

Thanks for the quick response Con.

My opponent uses the Categorical Imperative to show why torture is always wrong. My rebuttals will consist of me showing why my opponent has come to the incorrect conclusion on torture with C.I. to a certain degree, and I will be showing why other parts of C.I. should not be applied to this issue.


Maxim One
This maxim requires that we only take actions that we think would make the world better if the entire world followed this action as law/standard. My opponent states that the world would be a worse place if torture was allowed. The reason he gives for this can be summarized in this statement of his:

"This is because when tortured, people are robbed of their ability to guide their conduct, and are made subhuman."
I'll agree with my opponent that a person being tortured is being made subhuman. But what is worse, one man being made temporarily subhuman or being killed? Because that's a part of the criteria that I advocate torture under: the ability to save life.

Maxim Two
I disagree completely with this Maxim, especially when applied to the scenarios I have proposed. I do not deny that torturing a man is treating him as a means to an end, but let's consider the end. The kind of torture I advocate has an end of saving lives. Imagine, you followed Kant's second Maxim, and failed to seize the opportunity to save many lives. How would you justify your inaction to the families of the people who lost their lives? It is morally justifiable to torture, as long as it saves lives.
ThuggsyBogues

Con

I'll start off with rebutting my opponents original constructive and then move on to defend my case.

"I do believe that groups like the CIA should be given restrictive rights to torture, given that there are certain circumstances where torture is the best method to obtain information, and save lives."
-----I only highlighted this quote because it seems to highlight major voting issues in my opponents case: that is, obtaining information and saving lives.-----

"For instance, what if there is an impending terrorist attack on American soil, and you have in custody a terrorist who has a fair possibility of having information useful in stopping the attack? "
-----I highlighted this segment because my opponent has outined something known as the "ticking time bomb" scenario, again emphasizing the information obtaining and life saving. The ticking time bomb proposes a situation where a terrorist knows the location to a bomb and hasn't revealed it. -----

"If the attack will be very soon, and other methods such as extensive questioning would not acquire the information soon enough, why shouldn't you torture that man? Even though torture is not 100% reliable, if you're on a short time table, and it's the only way you could possibly acquire the information in time, you should be able to use torture to prevent the attack, and save lives."
----- In the ticking time bomb scenario, my opponent allows torture because of the POSSIBILITY ("not 100% reliable") of obtaining information that MIGHT save lives. To rebut this argument, I will prove that not only does the ticking time bomb scenario NOT HAPPEN, but even in that scenario torture WILL NOT WORK, and actually WORSENS THE CHANCE TO SAVE LIVES.

1) "Ticking time bombs" happen so rarely, it is not worth allowing for torture just in case we encounter it. The only two examples the US government has given that portray a T.T.B. is Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. These are the only actually T.T.B situations on record.

2) In T.T.B. situations, torture doesn't work. Zubaydah and Mohammed were both tortured in order to reveal the location of bombs. The US government reported that the torture returned valuable information, but a closer investigation of CIA memos reveals that the information revealed by Zubaydah and Mohammed had no actual value to it, and the bombs were found in D.C. and Los Angeles without using any info obtained through torture.

3) Torture worsens the chance to save lives. In point 2 I showed that torture doesn't reveal valuable information. To further that, not only does torture not reveal valuable information, but it encourages lying. When placed under extreme psychological pressure, the incentive for the terrorist is not to tell the truth, but rather, to simply tell the torturer whatever he wants to hear. This leads to misinformation and a worse chance to save people in such a TTB.---

3B) This is a subpoint to my previous one, but it is arguably the most important point in my rebuttal. TORTURE LEADS TO MORE LIVES LOST THAN SAVED. I have sufficiently proven that torture is not an effective method to save lives/obtain information (points 2 and 3) but torture ALSO further instigates terrorism. There are two examples that torture has 'worked' (even though it really revealed no valuable information) but almost every released guantanamo bay torture victim returns to terrorism, in the long run, causing more death than before. Even if we take a completely consequential/utilitarian view, torture causes more death than saved life. -----

"What if you've exhausted every information obtaining method that is an alternate to torture, and it hasn't worked? The person who has been able to resist extensive questioning and perhaps even chemical influence, may succumb to pain. If lives can be saved, no stone should go unturned."
-----My opponent said "if lives can be saved, no stone should go unturned" but in my points addressing the TTB I proved that lives are not only NOT SAVED by torture, but DEATH is actually caused MORE through torture. Because torture leads to more death, as my opponent said in his final sentence, it is a stone that should be left unturned. -----

--DEFENDING MY CASE--
Maxim One
"'This is because when tortured, people are robbed of their ability to guide their conduct, and are made subhuman.'
I'll agree with my opponent that a person being tortured is being made subhuman. But what is worse, one man being made temporarily subhuman or being killed? Because that's a part of the criteria that I advocate torture under: the ability to save life."

Maxim Two
"I disagree completely with this Maxim, especially when applied to the scenarios I have proposed. I do not deny that torturing a man is treating him as a means to an end, but let's consider the end. The kind of torture I advocate has an end of saving lives. Imagine, you followed Kant's second Maxim, and failed to seize the opportunity to save many lives. How would you justify your inaction to the families of the people who lost their lives? It is morally justifiable to torture, as long as it saves lives."
-----My opponents rebuttals did not address torture being wrong in the C.I. My case still proves that through the C.I. torture is wrong.

Example A) "I'll agree with my opponent that a person being tortured is being made subhuman."

Example B) "I do not deny that torturing a man is treating him as a means to an end"

My opponent has accepted that my contentions connect to the maxims of the C.I. itself. Judging this case through the Categorical Imperative therefore leads to a negative vote.

He instead chose to promote a utilitarian value over my ethical value. He emphasized "It is morally justifiable to torture, as long as it saves lives" As I showed in my 3.5 points in my rebuttal, torture does not lead to save lives, and in fact, it would save more lives to not torture because of its role in instigating terrorism. Therefore judging solely through my opponents own criteria of saving life, a negative ballot would still be cast.

---TO SUMMARIZE---
1) My opponent accepted that my case connects to my value of morality through the Categorical Imperative

2) A negative vote further accomplishes my opponents value/ criterion of Saving Lives

I urge a negative vote due to the fact that I accomplish both my own and my opponents value through my case. Thank you

SOURCES:
https://www.fas.org...
http://www.nytimes.com...
http://media.miamiherald.com...
http://www.dailymail.co.uk...
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by black_squirrel 3 years ago
black_squirrel
In a ticking timebomb scenario one should only torture, when it is obvious that this is the only way to obtain information that will save lives. There is no need to make this legal, because one can just simply break the law. If its is beyond a reasonable doubt that this is the only way to obtain information to save lives, then the President of the United States will pardon all interrogators involved. If the interrogators are not willing to take the risk of jail time for saving peoples lives, then it probably wasn't a true ticking timebomb scenario in the first place.
Posted by MyDinosaurHands 3 years ago
MyDinosaurHands
Me too. I'm sorry it was only 3 rounds, I had a major lapse in concentration when setting this thing up, I guess.
Posted by ThuggsyBogues 3 years ago
ThuggsyBogues
nice debate bro. i'd love to go at another resolution with you
Posted by ThuggsyBogues 3 years ago
ThuggsyBogues
Oh stop it you I'm gonna blush. I'm at a real Lincoln Douglas tournament right now lol so I'll start working on this at like 3
Posted by MyDinosaurHands 3 years ago
MyDinosaurHands
That's the biggest bro-move I've ever seen or experienced on DDO.
Posted by ThuggsyBogues 3 years ago
ThuggsyBogues
i wont be replying tonight just in case you've been checking
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 3 years ago
whiteflame
MyDinosaurHandsThuggsyBoguesTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Con's moral imperative argumentation essentially went conceded, so what this led to in the debate was an assessment of whether the possible ends of torture (saving lives) justify the means (dehumanization). I think Con does a good job of stating why, from a purely ethical standpoint, we should not accept this as a frame of mind for engaging in any action. More importantly, however, he also does a good job of mitigating Pro's arguments, thus reducing Pro's case to a very minimal chance of helping people. Con's scenarios for more death were far more plausible. Hence, I vote Con. Also, since Con is the only one to source, and since those sources are reliable, Con gets those points as well.