The Instigator
Freeman
Pro (for)
Winning
25 Points
The Contender
Sniperjake1994
Con (against)
Losing
7 Points

Torture can be morally justified

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
Freeman
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/30/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 18,526 times Debate No: 9085
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (12)
Votes (5)

 

Freeman

Pro

Torture can be morally justified in extreme circumstances. In the case of a ticking time bomb that could destroy a city and potentially kill millions of people the use of coerced interrogation to extract information can be justified. I am not arguing that torture should be made legal. Torture, like theft, could be ethical under certain parameters and still be against the law. Nor am I arguing that a general practice of torture can be made from the scenario I outlined above. What I wish to argue is that torture, as unsavory as it may be, has utilities which in rare situations far outweigh its negative attributes thereby rendering it moral.

In order to demonstrate that my position is incorrect then there must be an argument that categorically repudiates the use of torture at all times. Indeed a plausible argument must be outlined which shows why torture in and of itself is morally wrong regardless of what benefits or utilities may be achieved by using it.
Sniperjake1994

Con

Please vote according to our arguments not opinions that way this is a fair debate. Thank you. Good luck Freeman.
Disclaimer: I'm not here to advocate terrorism, Muslim supremacy, Guantanamo Bay is unjustified etc. These are just examples.

I negate the resolution: Torture can be justified.

Definitions (oxford dictionary):
Torture-the action or practice of inflicting severe pain on someone defenseless as a punishment or to force them to do or say something, or for the pleasure of the person inflicting the pain.
Justified-having, done for, or marked by a good or legitimate reason, or moral.

Observations:
1. Torture includes very inhumane actions such as stripping prisoner's clothes off, forcing male prisoners to have sex with each other; etc is inflicted on a defenseless and innocent person.
2. Because both my opponent and I live in the U.S we'll justify the torture techniques used in the U.S as the grounds of this debate.

AFF Rebuttal: My opponent has not given any moral reasons why torture is moral thus there is no reason to support his claim. THERE IS NO REASON TO JUSTIFY TORTURE. His example about the ticking time bomb cannot be confined because that is one hypothetical example that has a very low chance of success. Please see contention 2.

Neg Case:
Contention 1: Morality can only be achieved through non-primitive actions and torture is just the opposite because torture practices very inhumane techniques that are often nearly fatal and causes the torturer to become increasingly bloodthirsty. As the torturer devolves into a more primitive being, he practices even more lethal techniques that threaten humanity's ethical standards. Washington Post states: "Torture is never justified. Torture dehumanizes the torturers, even more than the victims, and demoralizes the society that condones and allows it." In any extreme situation the interrogator must have previous experiences, but as described above this will only cause the interrogation to become excessively violent and out of hand without the guarantee of gaining useful information. How is this justified? It's not.
Contention 2: Torture is rarely effective in an extreme case for several reasons:
1. Torture cannot guarantee the suspected is always guilty. Usually the suspected is an innocent. Torture an innocent that has done no wrong contradicts the human ethical standards therefore it isn't justified. What harm has the innocent done?
2. The suspected usually isn't highly involved in the conspiracy; it's like taking an unimportant part of a car, such as a windshield wiper, the car still runs fine without it. Usually the suspected is a pawn of the conspiracy, thus his connection with the leader is weak and the leader can simply change his plans and detonate the "bomb" earlier at the slightest notice such as a massive search of the "bomb", so by torturing the suspected victim it does more harm than good because it gives notice to the leader thus he may change plans, the guy doesn't know anything else except his part, there's already a massive chaos and riots on the streets so this will lead to deaths anyway, and the guy may give useless or perplexing information that leads to a wild goose chase. The suspected was most likely threatened death of his family to do his job, so by torturing him we wouldn't gain anything because if he talks his family dies and/or the information wouldn't solve for the "bomb" that explodes anyway killing thousands of lives.
3. After a series of torture the suspected (if he knows or doesn't know) will give out an arbitrary answer just to get relieve the pain. A large majority of these answers are false. The interrogator is under pressure during an extreme circumstance, therefore he will use any intensive torture techniques, that doesn't guarantee the answer and may kill a life, to get the accused to talk; usually under stress people make fatal mistakes and if the interrogator makes the mistake then a life or lives could be lost at his hands. Washington Post states: "Torture does not produce safety or security or even accurate information. Under torture, people will say anything, implicate anyone. The use of torture undermines our moral credibility and makes a lie of any claims that we stand for democracy or even decency." "In reality, under physical torture, people will lie and say anything to make the pain stop. This results in a mountain of incorrect information that wastes time and resources. It also sends investigators on wild goose chases. Worse, it does damage to our country's image and undermines our credibility. As USA TODAY pointed out, the perception that the U.S. government abuses prisoners has helped al-Qaeda recruit members. The Army's Field Manual 34-52, a field manual on interrogations, tells commanders that the "use of force is a poor technique, as it yields unreliable results, may damage subsequent collection efforts, and can induce the source to say whatever he thinks the interrogator wants to hear."
Therefore torture is unjustified and a waste of time under extreme cases.
Contention 3: Torture is unjustified because it favors racism. The U.S simply tortures a suspected Muslim because we hate Muslims involved in 9/11 and we believe they are the roots of terrorism. For example: when the U.S hears a bomb has been placed in a train, what is the first race/group we think of is responsible? Be honest please. There are numerous examples that torture favors racism in the U.S such as Al-Queda at Guantanamo Bay, Virginia Tech Massacre we don't trust Asians for some time, WW2 we sent Japanese into camps, slaughtering Native Indians, and torturing slaves in the South. Justification is the result of equality yet racism destroys it. Therefore torture isn't justified.
Contention 4: Torture creates more enemies than allies. When we torture prisoners in Guantanamo Bay we are creating more enemies in the Middle East whom hate us for insulting their beliefs. Torturing creates no righteous allies, only allies whom are more bloodthirsty and wishes to spread the evils of torture. By using torture we turn neutral and/or supporting groups into enemies. For example by taking an inhumane action of massively bombing the Pakistani northern border by bombing the border where the Taliban and civilians live gave two results: 1. The civilians are now hating the U.S and joining with the Taliban for revenge due to the deaths of relatives in the bombings; 2. the previously Pakistani that favored us tells us to stop attacking the Taliban or else the Paki citizens will join the terrorists. Washington Post states:" Every time we torture, we create a hundred new enemies."
Contention 5: It violates the democratic belief and strips people away from rights. Democracy advocates for equality for all. Torture violates and devalues these humanitarian ideas. Washington Post states: "Torture does not produce safety or security or even accurate information. The use of torture undermines our moral credibility and makes a lie of any claims that we stand for democracy or even decency." Obama states: ""What I've said -- and I will repeat -- is that waterboarding violates our ideals and our values," Mr. Obama said. "I do believe that it is torture. I don't think that's just my opinion; that's the opinion of many who've examined the topic. And that's why I put an end to these practices."
Contention 6: Torture has long term devastating effects. As described above regarding making enemies this is just one effect. The victim and/or others associated with him will seek revenge and this simply increases the death and crime rates. Another effect is a new image of a particular race or group. Violating and restricting rights for others through torture is unjustified. The bloodthirstiness and inhumane acts are also unjustified. Torture has long term effects that inflicts pain and unsatisfactory for both sides therefore is unjustified.
For the reasons above I urge a Con ballot. Thanks.
Debate Round No. 1
Freeman

Pro

I would first like to thank my opponent for accepting my challenge to this debate. I would hope that everyone reading judges our arguments on the merits and reasons that support them. With formalities out of the way let us begin.

Hmm…I'm afraid you chased down a few red herrings in your last essay. I tried to save you from this when I wrote, "I am not arguing that torture should be made legal. Torture, like theft, could be ethical under certain parameters and still be against the law. Nor am I arguing that a general practice of torture can be made from the scenario I outlined above." Alas, my efforts appear to have been for not. Consequently, much of your last essay targeted terrain that I have never thought to occupy. I did hear some bomb-blasts in the distance. They were magnificent.

"Definitions (oxford dictionary):
Torture-the action or practice of inflicting severe pain on someone defenseless as a punishment or to force them to do or say something, or for the pleasure of the person inflicting the pain.
Justified-having, done for, or marked by a good or legitimate reason, or moral."

I have no qualms with your definitions. However I would like to remind our viewers that my argument in no way entails sadism or torturing someone for mere pleasure.

My opponent wrote the following.

"AFF Rebuttal: My opponent has not given any moral reasons why torture is moral thus there is no reason to support his claim. THERE IS NO REASON TO JUSTIFY TORTURE. His example about the ticking time bomb cannot be confined because that is one hypothetical example that has a very low chance of success."

My opponent seems to be a bit unfamiliar with moral philosophy. Even if the probability for my ticking time bomb scenario were 1 in 100 raised to the 1,000,000,000,000 power that would in no way negate my contention. What is at odds here is what would the moral thing be to do if that situation ever did arise. How improbable such an event would be is simply irrelevant to the issue at hand. Secondly I did give an argument for torture being moral in some cases when I wrote "What I wish to argue is that torture, as unsavory as it may be, has utilities which in rare situations far outweigh its negative attributes thereby rendering it moral."

I will further elaborate on this point. An action can be said to be moral if it produces a net gain in happiness for all of those involved. Torture at least in the hypothetical situation I raised does just that. Therefore we can acknowledge that torture can in fact be moral.

My opponent stated the following.

"As the torturer devolves into a more primitive being, he practices even more lethal techniques that threaten humanity's ethical standards."
You've just committed the slippery slope fallacy.

My opponent stated the following.

Washington Post states: "Torture is never justified."
You've just appealed to authority.

My opponent stated the following.

"In any extreme situation the interrogator must have previous experiences, but as described above this will only cause the interrogation to become excessively violent and out of hand without the guarantee of gaining useful information. How is this justified? It's not."
You've just created a straw man argument.

"1. Torture cannot guarantee the suspected is always guilty. Usually the suspected is an innocent. Torture an innocent that has done no wrong contradicts the human ethical standards therefore it isn't justified. What harm has the innocent done?"

I could simply refute this by saying that torture is only ever justified, in extreme situations, if the guilt of the captive involved is beyond reasonable doubt.

My opponent stated the following.

"The use of torture undermines our moral credibility and makes a lie of any claims that we stand for democracy or even decency."

I would actually argue the opposite. If we were to let millions of people die when we could have saved them by torturing one person that makes a lie of the claim that we stand for decency.

My opponent stated the following.

"THERE IS NO REASON TO JUSTIFY TORTURE."

The absolutism with which you state your position is going to be your downfall.

Allow me to raise a second hypothetical situation. Imagine that you have a daughter. And further imagine that a madman has taken this daughter of yours captive. He has set her in a special room where he has rigged a machine on a timer, which would slowly dismember her before ultimately killing her once it goes off. For the sake of the argument let us assume that room can only be accessed by a security code on a door that is impregnable. As luck would have it you manage to capture this madman. As he sits in custody he happily gloats about how your child will die in 15 minutes once the machine timer goes off. A wry smile creeps across his face as he informs you that even if you found the room where your daughter has been held captive it would still be impossible for you to save her. As luck would have it another breakthrough happens. A police officer radios in to inform you that they have found the room where your daughter is being held. Unfortunately the officer cannot enter because, after all, the door is 100% impregnable. However the door does have a keypad and if the right code were entered it would unlock the door thereby allowing you to save your daughter. At this point your only options would be to wait and let your daughter die. Or you could torture the man and try to get the security could that could save your daughter. Let us also assume, for the sake of convenience, that he is unreasonable and will not respond to your pleas for mercy.

Please choose one of those two options. I suspect that after serious reflection you will rethink your absolutist position on the use of torture.

Do not write back saying that the situation I outlined is so fantastical that it doesn't merit a serious response. As I have demonstrated earlier whether or not a situation is plausible doesn't change what the moral thing to do would be if the situation actually arose. And don't even think about saying that you would try to break through the walls or something to get to your daughter. That would be a violation of the parameters I set up.

My opponent stated the following.

"Torture is unjustified because it favors racism."

I must admit that I'm a bit surprised to see my opponent raising the boogeyman of racism. It should be perfectly obvious to anyone reading this debate that there is nothing racist about my argument in theory or practice.

On a separate but related note it should also be perfectly obvious that Islam is not a race. This is but one of the many illogical ideas that float around in the echo chamber of American political discourse. As such no further comment or contentions from my side will be necessary. My opponent should choose to concede this point and we should both move on from there.

The resolution that torture can be morally justified remains affirmed.

All the best,
Freeman
Sniperjake1994

Con

Thank you Freeman for responding.
First I would like to point out my opponent has not provided any reasonable contentions why torture is justified he merely attacked my points but not the ideal behind each one, the burden of proof rests on Pro; he dropped my contention 2 sub 3 regarding giving an arbitrary answer to relieve the pain and contention 4 regarding torture produces more enemies contention 6 regarding the long term effects of torture; and he attempts to debate unfairly by using hypothetical answers, "certain parameters" without defining them and using them arbitrary. Please note attacking one phrase isn't attacking a contention as a whole.
Allow me to clarify my contentions:
1. Torture devolves interrogators, thus they become more bloodthirsty and addicted. Morality is solved through peaceful means not through violence. The good for society is based upon nonviolent means, look at how MLK, Cesar Chavez, and Gandhi achieved morality through peaceful means, the public favors nonviolence.
2. Basically reasons torture is ineffective and time consuming: 1. Torture cannot guarantee guilty as charged, thus we tortured an innocent; is this justified? 2. The suspected we catch usually isn't highly dedicated in the conspiracy, therefore his information is useless. 3. Accused will give what we want to hear, even if it's wrong, just to relieve the pain.
3. Torture seeks out races and religion because they're the ones usually associated with it. Example: During WW2 after Pearl Harbor U.S believed the Japanese-Americans were involved thus they spent them to torture camps. Justification and racism contradicts because racism is immoral as proved by the Civil War thus torture isn't justified.
4. Torture creates more enemies than allies (refer to R1).
5. The U.S should uphold constitutionality and enforce rights because it's a big part of our ideals that we shed blood on. Torture violates constitutionality thus it is unjustified because it contradicts our morals. If we wish to hold constitutionality then torture is unjustified.
6. Torture has long term effects on everyone involved ranging from revenge to inhumane acts.
On to his rebuttals:
1.Definitions: He has no qualms yet he disagrees with sadism. If he agrees then he agrees with the whole definition. Both sides agree so my definitions are valid.
2."How improbable such an event would be is simply irrelevant to the issue at hand." I do not have to refute this argument so consider this as mute point. "An action can be said to be moral if it produces a net gain in happiness for ALL OF THOSE INVOLVED." The accused isn't happy after beaten and bruised. You call that happy!? What if you're beaten nearly to death? Because the happy net gain for the accused is none it isn't moral as described above.
3.Primitive being: No reasoning therefore it stands.
4.Washington Post: If authority isn't justified then why do we elect them? The Post clarifies it better.
5.Straw man: No reason why it's straw-man. This point stands because under stress in extreme circumstances we tend to be primitive and often make more mistakes and the information we gain usually isn't accurate (Contention 2). Torture in movies does not show the reality of torture under great stress.
6.Torturing innocent: My opponent is puzzled; I clearly stated torturing an innocent is unjustified. Justice is giving each their due. Yet Freeman is refuting torturing an innocent is giving what he deserves. For what crime?
7.Quote by Obama: Torture isn't decency because it's inhumane and it violates natural rights that the U.S protects (described in extensions below). Torture isn't decent because the world uses it with little good result. For example Middle Eastern interrogators interrogate the enemy for the location of the bomb, yet many deaths and explosions are resulted (witnessed by US soldiers). They're more experienced interrogators than us yet they fail to save lives. This isn't even an extreme situation, let alone during an extreme the situation stress would kill thousands. Anyway Torture isn't decent because they rarely work in the Middle East, let alone if an extreme case in the U.S we wouldn't have the advanced interrogation experience because the U.S are exposed to so few.
8."THERE IS NO REASON TO JUSTIFY TORTURE."-My bad I meant: my opponent has provided no reason torture is justified.
9."Allow me to raise a second HYPOTHETICAL situation." Again hypothetical examples are very unfair in debate and allow my opponent to come up with absurd moralities. Reasons why: 1st you have 15 min, too much stress= more mistakes & death. "he is unreasonable," We cannot achieve morality without logic. Yet I will not back down & be cornered with 2 choices. Alternative choice: The SWAT team/police has a tech whiz that can hack the security lock. So you could use this choice and bring the madman to justice through legal means rather than being a vigilante (proven immoral during Gold Rush). This saves my daughter, no one dies, brings the madman to justice, and it's legal and morally justified.
10.Torture=racism: Torture favors opposed race, religion, and sex. I believe it's clear because we torture a specific group we believe is inferior and ought to be extinct. For example from the beginning we trampled women's rights until FDR, we burn witches (a form of torture) whom advanced chemistry, rape them, and we force them to stay home. Torture obviously goes against justification because we trample the "equality for all."
On his R1:
"I am not arguing that torture should be made legal. Torture, like theft, could be ethical under certain parameters and STILL BE AGAINST THE LAW. Nor am I arguing that a general practice of torture can be made from the scenario I outlined above." He is clearly attempting to ditch is position. A legal law is the result of moral justification. If we didn't have morals, laws wouldn't exist, thus torture is justified; but we have laws and this is my parameter. Because torture is illegal it is unjustified.
"utilities which in rare situations far outweigh its negative attributes thereby rendering it moral." No examples that stand.
Extension:
Contention 5:
a.The U.S Constitution and Declaration of Independence advocated and protected equal rights for all. We fought against the British & through our history we torture and are nothing better then the British, we still violate the rights that we claim to protect! Amendments 1,5,6,and 8 all describe rights given to the suspect. Torture techniques used in the U.S violates these rights before informing the suspected about their rights to remain silent, right for an attorney, etc. For example in Guantanamo we don't give them a choice for an attorney.
b.Natural rights (rights to pursue happiness, freedom, and life) are violated through torture. Inhumane acts breach rights. Torture cannot guarantee the life of the accused nor any freedom. Again Guantanamo is an example. Torture upon slaves is also morally unjustified as proven in the Civil War.
c.Everyone is born with natural rights; they have a value of infinity. Because society is made up of hundreds so we'll say 500 times infinite is still infinite. A person's value is infinity thus if we violate one person's right through torture we are also violating the rights of society (social contract theory), this contradicts the ideals that the U.S claims. Because of the human value described above there is no such thing that killing one person to save many is justified. Therefore torture is unjustified.
Example: The terrorists have captured a U.S defense official and demanded whereabouts of important military files. My opponent position claims it's justify for terrorists to torture the official to find flaws in our defense. Justified?
I have refuted all points made, and upheld my burden. The burden of the resolution lies with Pro, yet he fails to uphold it. I have attacked any points he made and his position. Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 2
Freeman

Pro

Let me first begin by once again thanking Sniperjake1994 for accepting my challenge and for choosing to debate such a difficult issue. My opponent raised contentions going in a numbered order. So, I will try to briefly touch upon them again in order to make my position that much clearer.

Contention #1 He asserts that torture devolves interrogators and he further claims that torture itself is addictive. Neither of these two contentions is backed up by logic or evidence. I would encourage him to give his reasons why he thinks this argument is valid. And I would add that even if it were valid it is irrelevant to the two hypothetical situations I gave.

Contention# 2 "Torture cannot guarantee guilty as charged, thus we tortured an innocent; is this justified?" What could my opponent possibly mean when he writes this? Torture is a technique not the scientific method. Torture itself cannot guarantee anyone's guilt or innocence.

Contention #3 "Torture seeks out races and religion because they're the ones usually associated with it." Torture is not a conscious being; it's a technique. Because of this it cannot seek out anything. Contention number 3 is illogical and therefore can be dismissed out of hand.

Contention #4 "Torture creates more enemies than allies (refer to R1)." If this were even true at all it would only be relevant as an argument against a general practice of torture. Since I am not advocating that we adopt a general practice of torture I will dismiss it as irrelevant.

Contention #5 The U.S should uphold constitutionality and enforce rights because it's a big part of our ideals that we shed blood on. Torture violates constitutionality thus it is unjustified because it contradicts our morals. If we wish to hold constitutionality then torture is unjustified.

Contention number 5 simply begs the question. The fact that something is constitutional/ unconstitutional does not make it moral or immoral. Gay marriage is, at the moment, unconstitutional and yet this does not make it immoral. Q.E.D.

Contention #6 "Torture has long term effects on everyone involved ranging from revenge to inhumane acts." Contention number six is unsubstantiated. Torture doesn't gurantee anyone will seek revenge or engage in inhumane acts. John McCain and hundreds of Tibetan Buddhist monks have been tortured and none of them are engaging in acts of revenge.
http://www.tchrd.org...

Contention #6 (part 2) "An action can be said to be moral if it produces a net gain in happiness for ALL OF THOSE INVOLVED." The accused isn't happy after beaten and bruised. You call that happy!? What if you're beaten nearly to death? Because the happy net gain for the accused is none it isn't moral as described above.

My opponent seems to not understand utilitarianism or the utilitarian principle. So, let me put this in terms everyone will understand. Imagine there are 1,000,000 people. At the moment each one of these people has a happiness level of +1. One of these people is a terrorist and will be tortured to save the lives of the other 999,999 people. Undoubtedly the terrorist's happiness is going to go down after being waterboarded for information. Lets just say that his happiness goes down by -10. And the people who survive are happy not to have been murdered so there happiness all goes up by a +1. In the end there are 999,999 people all with a happiness level increased by +1 from 999,999 this adds up to 1,999,998. However we must also take into consideration the drop in happiness by the person that was waterboarded. His happiness went down by 10 so you take 1,999,998 and minus 9 because he started at +1 and your going back 10; this equals 999,989. At the onset happiness levels were at 1,000,000 because we simply take 1,000,000 and multiply it by 1. After the torture has occurred and the ticking time bomb has been diffused happiness levels are at 1,999,989. In the end the net gain in happiness is 999,989. Everyone involved in the situation does not have to have an increase in his or her happiness for a net gain to occur.

Contention #7 His argument here is completely orthogonal to the issue at hand. He raises a set of assumptions none of which are applicable to either of my 2 hypothetical situations.

Contention #9 My opponent tried to weasel his way out of making an ethical choice in my 2nd hypothetical situation by creating a fictitious 3rd option for himself and choosing it. A tech whiz that could hack the security door was not part of the scenario I outlined. You know that, I know that and everyone who is reading this debate carefully knows that. Your flippancy isn't going to win you points with anyone. Most people don't appreciate shenanigans of this sort. You can't accuse me of creating a false dichotomy with my hypothetical situation because in all reasonableness there were only three options and I had already eliminated one of them.

Contention #10. "Torture=racism:" Look, we can't have a rational debate if you choose to advance positions which are blatantly illogical. Torture doesn't equal racism and no amount of casuistry from you is going to change that. It's certainly true that racist people can use torture but this doesn't indict torture as being racist. I have confidence that anyone viewing this will be able to see through your shoddy argument.

My opponent wrote the following and quoted me in the process.

"I am not arguing that torture should be made legal. Torture, like theft, could be ethical under certain parameters and STILL BE AGAINST THE LAW. Nor am I arguing that a general practice of torture can be made from the scenario I outlined above." He is clearly attempting to ditch is position."

How am I trying to ditch my position? The line you quoted me on was in my first paragraph of my first post. Perhaps you should have read it more carefully.

"Because torture is illegal it is unjustified." You're begging the question with your comment. The fact that something is illegal or legal is not what makes it justified or unjustified. Slavery used to be legal. So, by your own line of reasoning back when it was legal to own slaves that behavior would have been justified.

My opponent wrote the following.

"Everyone is born with natural rights; they have a value of infinity. Because society is made up of hundreds so we'll say 500 times infinite is still infinite."

The reductio ad absurdum argument I'm about to use will show how your position is untenable.

1 person has a value of infinity.
1,000,000 people also have a value of infinity.
Infinity = Infinity
Since infinity equals infinity both groups have the same value
Therefore murdering 1 person is morally equivalent to murdering 1,000,000 people since an equal amount of value is lost in both acts.

Need I say more? My opponent's contention is illogical.

My opponent has demonstrated his unwillingness to confront difficult moral issues by his refusal to respond to either of my 2 hypothetical situations. Indeed he merely asserts that they are unfair, which they are not. They aren't trick questions and are in no way intended to corner my opponent into an untenable position. These two ethical dilemmas I raised really are the crux of my argument. And by refusing to tackle them he demonstrates the weakness of his own position. If my opponent had the courage of his convictions then he should simply have written that he would let his daughter die so that he wouldn't have to torture the madman. This would have at the very least allowed him to be intellectually honest and consistent.

To sum up my argument in short here it is in one sentence. Torture can yield benefits in extreme situations, which far outweigh the ethical concerns that arise merely from using it, thereby making torture ethical. As such the resolution that torture can be morally justified remains affirmed.

All the best,
Freeman
Sniperjake1994

Con

Thank you Freeman for this debate. Thank you voters for reading until the end. First I'll start by clarifying my position, torture isn't morally justified. Pro's position: Torture is morally justified. The burden of proof rests on Pro because he must argue that the benefits outweigh the negative, yet he fails to do so. I will start attacking his rebuttals and going to voting issues.

Note: In debate silent is consent, thus dropping means my opponent agrees with this point because he didn't respond and cannot bring it back up.

Rebuttal:
1. Evidence: Washington Post. My logical reasoning/evidence is TWA Flight 847, the gunmen started off beating Robert Stethem with fists, then beating him with an armrest, and later shot him and they tortured another serviceman. Doesn't this get more violent and bloody? This historical example supports my argument. Once you do something that feels good you want to keep doing it, it's only logical. Bloodthirsty isn't justified; it's cruel and immoral to feed on one's pain.
2. "Torture itself cannot guarantee anyone's guilt or innocence" Because torture cannot guarantee innocence or guilt it isn't reliable, thus if torturing an innocent is morally justified then why not kill someone publicly on the street? Freeman indirectly agreed with this as quoted above.
3. I meant the technique of torture preferably focuses on a group, race, or sex. His refutal is pointless. Read my whole contention 3.
4. He dropped this dispute and tries picking it up. He agreed with my definitions and I did not define it as narrow practice for 3 reasons: 1. Freeman didn't define it or specify which technique of torture; 2. There's more ground for both Pro and Con to debate on; 3. Freeman cannot say: Oh waterboarding is too broad, punching is too general, ooh killing seems is narrow enough, it's illogical to do so. Anyway we agreed torture by definition is general. This argument stands.
5. Constitutionality was founded on morals we believed in. By violating constitutionality through amendments in forms of torture, torture isn't morally justified because it has violated our important morals. John Locke, a philosopher whose ideals shaped the constitution, stressed the link of legal and moral issues.
6. Dropped and cannot be brought back. I have the choice of not refuting this. Web evidence contradicts his position. His part 2: refer to contention 5 sub c about social contract.
7. Typo, this was meant to be in refutal. Ideal: we aren't the best interrogators, if better foreign torturers fail then we will also fail due to lack of field experience in the U.S.
8. No response.
9. Freeman's choices provided no grounds for Con or any explanation how his choices will or will not achieve justification. My answer created a ground for Con, thus it's fair. "because in all reasonableness there were ONLY 3 OPTIONS and I HAD already ELIMINATED ONE OF THEM." This proves he was unfair by eliminating one option that Con could have chose. He wouldn't support his 1st situation: "Nor am I arguing that a general practice of torture can be made from the scenario I outlined above." This argument again isn't considered.
10. LOOK, torture doesn't provide equality for all, it discriminates minorities such as religions, race, sex, and culture. Refer R1 contention 3.

Ditching: "I am NOT arguing…made legal…against the law…NOR am I ARGUING that a general practice CAN BE MADE FROM the scenario I outlined above." I countered that by proving legal and laws are based on morality and he states he will not use his 1st example to attack, defend, or make a point, thus wherever they are cited are rendered useless. He has failed to hold his burden of proof.

The infinity example is water down part of the social contract and harm principle by Rousseau. When one man has done wrong, he has done wrong to the whole society. When someone tortures an innocent man, the interrogator has done wrong to society. Refer to contention 2 and if under stress the interrogator will make fatal mistakes, such as finding the accused innocent or the information useless, he has done wrong to society because many died by not finding important information and is violating the law and innocent's rights; and because laws and morals have a link, torture isn't morally justified. For example when an artist becomes famous the housing market of his hometown booms, when he's dead his hometown's housing value slowly drops. Similarly his fame is his value and his hometown's housing market is society's value, they remain the same, yet when he dies his work value may slowly decrease so does the housing market of his hometown. If it's confusing I'm sorry. My opponent disagrees with him, so Freeman believes mankind holds no value and doesn't see the link between laws and morals.

His challenge: 1st example as stated above he will not support or use his argument. 2nd example is very hypothetical. I will explain again why it's hypothetical: In general there are alternatives not just 2 choices; if the door is 100% impregnable then the keypad cannot open it because it's 100% impenetrable thus my daughter dies even if I torture the madman (major loopholes). Now the choices: 1st choice- waiting and letting my daughter die: If I fail my daughter will die, cannot be morally justified because I didn't achieve the goal of saving a life, my daughter. 2nd choice: Again the door is 100% impenetrable, thus the key pad won't work; example/choice doesn't guarantee I will get the right code because the man is unreasonable and stubborn, refer/supports contention 2 sub 3, and "Or you could torture the man and try to get the security could that COULD save your daughter" doesn't guarantee I will save a life (what good is a security could?); it isn't justified because I am not able to save my daughter. In both explanations I showed that it isn't justified because I couldn't save a life, my daughter, in both choices, thus there is no legitimate reason to wait or torture the guy but only to seek an alternative such as the one I provided. I hope this clarifies why it's hypothetical and why I chose an alternative.

So reasoned above, torture isn't morally justified.

Voting issues:
Freeman has dropped some points and thus agreed that torture isn't morally justified: contention 2 sub 3 (arbitrary answers to relive pain), contentions 4 (enemies) & 6 (long term effects).
I have shown several times that Freeman has failed to defend his position and his arguments are contradictory such as his web evidence.
He has tried to provide no ground for Con and attempts to debate unfairly as I have pointed out several times.
He has dropped my example: "The terrorists have captured a U.S defense official and demanded whereabouts of important military files. My opponent position claims it's justify for terrorists to torture the official to find flaws in our defense. Justified?"
I have upheld my burden to prove torture is immoral and unjustified in all general situations that he put out and in extreme situations. Refer to R1 case.
Pro doesn't have contentions how/why torture is justified in any general extreme scenario, but merely gave unfair choices with no explanations. He has failed to prove his burden.
Philosophers stress the importance of the link between laws and rights. Pro fails to see this.

For reasons above I have proven torture isn't morally justified in any extreme circumstances, so vote Con. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 3
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by dan1 7 years ago
dan1
Vote bomb
Posted by Johnicle 7 years ago
Johnicle
ironic... "freeman" talks about how torture can be justified
Posted by Sniperjake1994 7 years ago
Sniperjake1994
Thank you for some hints, I'll be sure for next year's debate to analyze on the resolution and make a case to attack specifically the resolution and go head on rather wasting time making a counter plan and hitting behind.
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
The debate was specifically about the ticking time bomb problem. Pro argued that in a ticking time bomb situation the greater good is in saving the victims. Con ignored the ticking time bomb situation and made general arguments irrelevant to the situation posed. Con needed to argue along the lines of "The victims should be allowed to die because ..."

Con insisted that Pro never made an affirmative case. That's nonsense. The argument for the greater good was clear from the outset.

S&G and sources were about tied. Both sides would have benefited from using expert testimony in support of their cases, but it wasn't necessary.
Posted by atheistman 7 years ago
atheistman
Sniperjake1994, why are you arguing against torture if you support water boarding?
Posted by sadolite 7 years ago
sadolite
Toture can always be morally justified. It depends on what culture of people you are dealing with. If torture is OK for them it is morally justified. You can not impose your morals on another. You are judging them and you or I are in no position to judge anyone morally. If a person or group of people do something that you believe to be immoral you are automatically over ridden by those who don't think it is immoral, they aren't judging. See klepton, he will explain morality to you. He is right and anyone who would disagree is wrong. He is the final say on this issue for every man woman and child on this earth.
Posted by ilovgoogle 7 years ago
ilovgoogle
Haha Pro you really went above and beyond the call of duty in refuting his arguments. Almost all of them could be disregarded on the grounds of being irrelevant. "Pro's position: Torture is morally justified." No it's not, just that it CAN be. Reread the topic. I wish I got here first. While I think Pro will win every time; Con could make a strong argument talking about what it really means for something to be justified.
Posted by MTGandP 7 years ago
MTGandP
Long debates hurt my toes.
Posted by wjmelements 7 years ago
wjmelements
Long debates hurt my eyes.
Posted by Sniperjake1994 7 years ago
Sniperjake1994
Pro? Y?
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by gonovice 7 years ago
gonovice
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Vote Placed by RoyLatham 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by sadolite 7 years ago
sadolite
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Vote Placed by jack999 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by ilovgoogle 7 years ago
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