The Instigator
dylancatlow
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
TheWalkingDrums
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Torture can be morally permissible

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 0 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/14/2013 Category: Society
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,420 times Debate No: 30275
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (15)
Votes (0)

 

dylancatlow

Pro


In this debate, I will be arguing that torture can be morally permissible. To win this debate, I must provide a scenario in which tortue is morally permissible, while con must prove there are no scenarios in which tortue is morally permissible.



Rules


This opening round is for definitions and acceptance only. I will give the Pro case at the start of the second round.

Standard debate conventions apply. I list them here for the benefit of new debaters and readers. I believe there is nothing tricky or eccentric. Both sides agree to the following rules, and that violating the rules is a conduct violation, with anything contrary to the rules to be ignored by readers judging the debate:

DR 1. All arguments must be made in the debate. Evidence may be cited or linked from the debate, but only in support of arguments made in the debate. Arguments made in Comments are to be ignored.

DR 2. Source links or references must be included within the 8000 characters per round limit of the debate. No links or sources are permitted in comments.

DR 3 Any term not specifically defined before use is to be taken with the ordinary dictionary definition of the term that best fits the context of the debate.

DR 4. No new arguments shall be made in Round 4. Pro may rebut previous arguments using new evidence solely for that purpose, but no new arguments are allowed. Con may not present any new evidence in R4.

DR 5. DDO site rules always apply. Neither side may add or modify rules for the debate once the challenge is accepted.


By responding to this proposal you accept this debate. By accepting this debate, you accept all terms provided.
TheWalkingDrums

Con

Challenge accepted. As Con, I will show tons of proofs that torture is morally impermissible, which would mean, it should not be allowed or there is no reason to accept it. I will also show that torture has no room for morality's point of view.

I respect all round rules, but I highly suggest not to make rebuttals on Round 4. I would suggest to call it a "Conclusion round", which would mean, no rebuttal and no arguments. Rebuttals will call for another rebuttals... Still, all respect for the maker of this debate.

Looking forward for a challenging debate. Have fun. God bless
Debate Round No. 1
dylancatlow

Pro

I thank my opponent for accepting this debate and wish him luck!


For an action to be morally permissible, I argue it must produce results which are morally desirable to the alternative of the action not taking place. It is foolish to look only at the act itself when determining if an act is morally permissible, because this would limit the depth and extent our morality, and would be useless after the action had taken place. Torture is a taboo because too often, people are intellectually lazy and do not consider the entire issue. To examine whether something is moral, one must deconstruct the issue.

People who are against torture are inconsistent with their reasoning; adopting utilitarianism when it suits them and dropping it like it's hot when it leads to the conclusion that torture can be morally justified and permissible. Utilitarianism is defined as

"...a theory in normative ethics holding that the proper course of action is the one that maximizes utility, specifically defined as maximizing happiness and reducing suffering."

People who are against torture in all cases use utilitarianism in their reasoning because they support the notion that it is moral to limit the amount suffering (torture), in the world. Being opposed to torture wouldn't mean, for instance, that these people would be apathetic toward the issue after one person was already being tortured. Being against torture means you are against the amount of torture, not just if it exists at all.

Now that I have shown being against torture means accepting utilitarianism as a moral principle, I will move on to how this ties to the resolution. If utilitarianism is accepted as a valid moral normative system, then it only follows that if the good caused by an act of torture exceeds the 'bad' caused by said torture, the act is morally permissible. Let me provide a concrete example:

Take a scenario in which someone knows the whereabouts of five innocent people who are about to be tortured. The person in question refuses to give away any information, and the only way to get the information and prevent these five people from being tortured is through torture. The torture used on this individual is no more painful than the torture that will be used on the other five. By torturing one person, five others would not. If we have already concluded that the number of people being tortured matters (Torture is not moral on random people if only one person is already being tortured) , it only follows that this would be a morally permissible act, assuming torture without cause is something that is immoral.

While torture can and has been abused in the history of humankind, that is not to say it does not have any place in society. There are no valid arguments to suggest that torture can never be morally permissible, other than the argument, 'Torture is bad....mmkay." It is intellectually lazy to argue that torture is never morally permissible.


I pass the debate to Con.
TheWalkingDrums

Con

Torture has mounted intolerable bloodshed for many. As torture is to be supported, people tend to abuse this.

I have seen Pro's argument, and to sum it, he has simply two points:

1) Utilitarianism
2) Torture can "save many" when one is sacrificed - 5 man is saved when 1 person is willing to die for them

I will rebut Pro and proceed to my arguments.

Rebuttal: Torture has NO place in this world.

1) Utilitarianism
Though Pro seemed to be correct, which calls me to concede this point, still, I just want to say that not all people are "utilitarianist". Some people opposed torture as they themselves are victims of it, or their loved ones.

2) There are more ways to punish people, in fact, Death Penalty would be better than Torture. Though both deadly, Death Penalty will have to kill the person immediately, while Torture has to make him/her punish badly before death.

As for my Arguments: There are BETTER WAYS than Torture

1) Many punishments
Why torture, if there are legal and moral ways to punish someone? Imprison or death penalty are just few. In light of death penalty, as mentioned, death penalty seem to be better than torture.

2) People tend to abuse Torture
If torture is not the problem, then, its the people who use this. When torture is extremely allowed, methods of torture is getting worse.

Back to Pro.
Debate Round No. 2
dylancatlow

Pro

I thank my opponent for his response.

Rebuttals

1. "Rebuttal: Torture has NO place in this world."

In my opinion, it is intellectually lazy to make this claim. I provided a scenario in which torture would prevent itself, and if you believe torture is bad, then you agree torture would have been morally acceptable in that instance.

2. "1) Utilitarianism
Though Pro seemed to be correct, which calls me to concede this point, still, I just want to say that not all people are "utilitarianist". Some people opposed torture as they themselves are victims of it, or their loved ones."

Anyone who is against torture is using utilitarianism in their reasoning because they are against MORE torture. I fail to see how there is not a single situation in which torture could produce results that are more desirable to the act of torture. For instance, would you go so far as to say it is immoral for a father to volunteer for torture if for some reason he had to if he wanted to save his child? I think it would be perfectly moral for a parent to save their child volunteering for torture. So why are the motives of the person in this scenario any more noble than those of the people initiating the torture , who want to save a life, too?


3. "2) There are more ways to punish people, in fact, Death Penalty would be better than Torture. Though both deadly, Death Penalty will have to kill the person immediately, while Torture has to make him/her punish badly before death. "

My opponent assumes that torture can only be used for retribution, and fails to mention torture can be used as a tool. In fact, I'm not even advocating that torture should be used for retribution. I'm simply arguing that there are cases in which torture can be morally permissible.


4. ") Many punishments
Why torture, if there are legal and moral ways to punish someone? Imprison or death penalty are just few. In light of death penalty, as mentioned, death penalty seem to be better than torture.

2) People tend to abuse Torture
If torture is not the problem, then, its the people who use this. When torture is extremely allowed, methods of torture is getting worse.

Back to Pro."
I argue that something is morally permissible if the outcomes of the act are desirable to the alternative. Torture doesn't get a free pass (like many give it), to be considered immoral simply because the act itself sounds barbaric. Why should society place the sufferings of one human above the interests of the entire universe? I argue that this is an impossible, futile, and intellectually lazy notion.


Summary

My opponent seems to be caught up in finding instances in which torture is immoral or ineffective, while neglecting the fact that he has to prove that torture is never morally permissible to win the debate. He is going to have to address the overarching theme of morals to win, because for his position, providing scenarios will prove nothing. I provided scenarios in which torture would be morally permissible according to the morals of people against torture.


Essentially, anyone who believes torture without cause on innocent people is immoral, even after someone else is being tortured, is against MORE torture, is against MORE suffering, and cannot reasonably conclude there are no situations in which torture can reduce suffering overall.
TheWalkingDrums

Con

I will reconstruct my argument here, seems nothing to rebuttal from Pro except from his comments which I will rebut later.

The first question lies: Why torture? Common answer is to PUNISH someone. As I argue, there are ways to punish in such a way no harsh acts will be implemented. Why torture if substitute can come? There are better ways than to hang a person or to put him/her in a electric chamber.

Torture will give us nothing but brutality, not even justice. Torture is TOO MUCH to the point that, it is an ABUSE.

"Anyone who is against torture is using utilitarianism in their reasoning because they are against MORE torture. I fail to see how there is not a single situation in which torture could produce results that are more desirable to the act of torture. For instance, would you go so far as to say it is immoral for a father to volunteer for torture if for some reason he had to if he wanted to save his child? I think it would be perfectly moral for a parent to save their child volunteering for torture. So why are the motives of the person in this scenario any more noble than those of the people initiating the torture , who want to save a life, too? "

It would be better if two lives are spared or if the punishment is sentenced to lower case, and the parent takes the punish for his child.

"My opponent assumes that torture can only be used for retribution, and fails to mention torture can be used as a tool. In fact, I'm not even advocating that torture should be used for retribution. I'm simply arguing that there are cases in which torture can be morally permissible. "

Torture will scare people which may even lead to rebellion just to abolish it.

Punishment is enough, but torture is too much and an abuse.

Back to Pro :)

God bless
Debate Round No. 3
dylancatlow

Pro

Rebuttals

1.
"The first question lies: Why torture? Common answer is to PUNISH someone. As I argue, there are ways to punish in such a way no harsh acts will be implemented. Why torture if substitute can come? There are better ways than to hang a person or to put him/her in a electric chamber."

Despite being irrelevant to proving the resolution, I argue that torture is and has been commonly used for advanced interrogation purposes to gather vital information. I do not have to prove that torture is an effective means of doing so, nor prove that torture as a means of punishment is moral (I think it's not). The resolution is "Torture can be morally permissible." I must prove that torture CAN be morally permissible -- in at least one scenario.


2.
"Torture will give us nothing but brutality, not even justice. Torture is TOO MUCH to the point that, it is an ABUSE."

Once again, you assume torture must be intended for punitive reasons. How can you claim torture cannot nor is capable of producing any good? I have given examples of torture preventing torture.

3.
"Torture will scare people which may even lead to rebellion just to abolish it."

Torture should scare people who have a reason to be tortured just as much as prison should scare people who have a reason to go to prison. Also, you have not proved that this statement is even valid. I am not scared of torture just as I am not afraid of going to prison for a crime I did not commit. It happens (false convictions), sure, but is that to say that we should abolish prisons?

4.
"Punishment is enough, but torture is too much and an abuse."

One again, not a valid point against torture never being morally permissible


5.
"It would be better if two lives are spared or if the punishment is sentenced to lower case, and the parent takes the punish for his child."


Oh my, this is quite a straw man/red herring you have there. I'm not advocating FOR the torture in this case (why would I?). The scenario was to provide and example of someone volunteering to be tortured (if for some reason that was necessary) to save their child.


In conclusion, my opponent has not negated any of my points. His arguments seem to be referring to a different debate i.e., "should we use torture as a means of punishment." Unfortunately, this is not that debate. I recommend that he reread the terms and the resolution of the debate before he posts his fourth round. My opponent has to show that torture can never be morally permissible, while I have to show the opposite; that it can.
TheWalkingDrums

Con

TheWalkingDrums forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by dylancatlow 4 years ago
dylancatlow
No problem, walkingdrums :)
Posted by TheWalkingDrums 4 years ago
TheWalkingDrums
Greetings in Peace,

Pardon me for failing to place my argument in Round 4 due to connection error. I haven't able to make it to computer shops/internet cafes as well.

I understand if that will deduct my points, just to explain my side, so I said this.

Moreover, thank you for a great debate and God bless all :)
Posted by dylancatlow 4 years ago
dylancatlow
Fixed
Posted by TSH 4 years ago
TSH
There are no scenarios in which tortue (http://fr.wikipedia.org...) is morally permissible.
Posted by dylancatlow 4 years ago
dylancatlow
Is anyone else seeing that my first argument is in Greek?
Posted by dylancatlow 4 years ago
dylancatlow
I see nothing morally wrong with torture if the ends justify the means.
Posted by dylancatlow 4 years ago
dylancatlow
Why are those two any different? And I doubt it's 99.

Also, I really see no problem with torture if it's used effectively. Pain is in the mind, and it passes. Also, people can always confess if they don't want the pain. I think torture should be used 100% of the time if it is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt the person knows something that is worth torturing over.
Posted by Connoisseur 4 years ago
Connoisseur
40% of people support water boarding.

99% support torture of some kind (knee cap smashing).
Posted by dylancatlow 4 years ago
dylancatlow
A simple argument:

It would be morally permissible to torture one person if they had information on where five other people were about to be tortured and the only way to find these five people and stop the torture was to torture one person. People that are against torture cannot be against utilitarian ethics in this aspect because they arguably would not the government torturing someone with near-painless procedures (like pinching) to help save the entire world from being destroyed. They would, you say? Wow, they are more irrational than I thought.
Posted by dylancatlow 4 years ago
dylancatlow
By 'masses' did you think I meant fking congress?
No votes have been placed for this debate.