The Instigator
dairygirl4u2c
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
thejakeisalie
Con (against)
Winning
17 Points

this person should be tortured

Do you like this debate?NoYes-4
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 4 votes the winner is...
thejakeisalie
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/7/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 949 times Debate No: 24136
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (4)

 

dairygirl4u2c

Pro

Bob colluded with terroist groups around the country. Bob wants the US to leave Afghanistan and their terror groups won't stop until the US complies. every other day, the groups of terrorists will rape, torture, and kill a group of ten women with their children in US cities, towns, etc. Bob is in custody of the US. he knows the city and two women who will be chosen each time. He predicts that in two days the women will be chosen from X city. After the deed, he discloses the names of the women he knew who would be involved. no one is able to communicate to Bob, so Bob shows that he knows the city and names in advance, in his own mind.
there are no ways to give this information to Bob, Bob is in sealed custody. Bob has the knowledge to prevent known people from getting raped tortured and killed. He likely has the information to capture the perpetrators.
Bob should be tortured to acquire the information, for at the very least the names of the people he knows will be involved. there's no other way to get the info, and it's the moral thing to do, to torture bob, when there's no other ways to get the info, and all other tactics with Bob have not worked .
eg, rough interrogation, roughing him up, softer torture like waterboarding etc.
thejakeisalie

Con

First of all, I would like to rectify some problems in the statement of Pro, in order to bring my opponent's statement into the real world.

We are discussing the case of Bob, a person who may or may not have information about future acts of terror that will be committed. As we have not yet developed the technology to read minds, we cannot determine whether or not he has this information - in fact, if we could do this, the entire argument would be invalid, as we would have no need to torture Bob, we could simply read his mind.

We are also not told anything about the evidence surrounding Bob's arrest. Nor are we told anything about the organisation to which he supposedly belongs. If Bob were caught red-handed, talking to the members of the organisation face-to-face, there would again be no need for his torture, as the rest of the organisation (or at least a significant portion of it) would already be in US custody, and unable to carry out it's plan. For any other situation, e.g. evidence from his computer showing communications with a terrorist group, there is always an element of doubt - his computer could have been accessed remotely, had these messages sent from it without his consent, framing Bob as a terrorist. We do not know if it is true or not.

Next, I'd like to question the claim of 'there's no other ways to get the info'. How was Bob arrested? If it were by his computer communications, for instance, all tracking procedures should first be exhausted on that front. In addition, if it is known that the plan is going to be carried out, many preventative measures could be taken with regards to security forces around the country, protecting high-vulnerability groups, etc.

However, even if there truly is no other way of obtaining the information, I would still argue that it would be less helpful to torture Bob than to question him using other methods. My reasoning is thus: Bob is likely a religious fundamentalist, and believes his actions to be sanctioned by some deity. He would therefore also believe that if he prevented the righteous acts of his deity, that deity would punish him. The general, Abrahamic definition of this is something along the lines of 'Burning in hellfire for all eternity'. Therefore, if Bob truly believes this, even several weeks of torture are preferable to giving up true information. He may, however, be weak-willed, and give up the true information under pressure.

When he is tortured, there are, as I see it, 4 possible outcomes:

1. Bob manages to remain silent, withholding all information.

2. Bob gives out false information under torture, directing the Government to a different place than the attack happens, wasting their resources and aiding the perpetrators

3. Bob drowns while being water boarded, and 'forever holds his peace'

4. Bob gives out the true information, and the attack is stopped in time.

In Game Theory, there is an idea called 'Least Worst Case Scenario'. It states that when there are two options, one of which has a high potential gain but high potential loss, and the other which has low potential gain and loss, it is preferable to choose the low potential option. This is one of those scenarios - I would argue it is worse for the Government's resources to be sent on a wild goose chase than for them to be spent on other methods of prevention.

In addition, I have not even looked at the many potential problems arising from Bob's possible mental health issues. If he is actively participating in the torture and killing of women and children, it is very likely he has some sort of psychopathy, he may be delusional, he may think that he is in a terrorist cell and this is what led the US Government to capture him. In these situations, none of Bob's information should be trusted, much less that obtained under torture.

I thank my opponent for the opportunity to debate this issue, and await their response.
Debate Round No. 1
dairygirl4u2c

Pro

there is a theoretical possiblity that Bob does nto know the future acts. but, for effective purposes, he has shown that he does know. espeically if he says he knows, also. effective reality, this is enough to justify torturing him.

Bob established that he is guilty per his arrest, because he admits it all.. and he shows by his affirmations that he knows vital information and very highly knows more.
why would you assume into the hypotehtical that there's other ways to find the information, if it's definied in the initial post that there are no outside sources? con is just trying to find a strawman, a way to create an argument that is defeatable, when it goes beyond the realm of the facts of the case. con cannot rest on his arguments alone.

how bob was arrested. it is irrelvant as long as there's nothing that connects others or the activity to him. the facts as said do not tie to him. let's say he turned himself in as teh spokesman. it simply doesn't matter unless trying to create facts that don't exist in the case.

"he general, Abrahamic definition of this is something along the lines of 'Burning in hellfire for all eternity'. Therefore, if Bob truly believes this, even several weeks of torture are preferable to giving up true information. He may, however, be weak-willed, and give up the true information under pressure."

then you admit there's a possiblity that he'll be weak willed and give up the info? that's teh whole purpose of torture. the person may not tell... but then again, they might. if all else has failed, we have to take the best possiblities at our disposal.

"This is one of those scenarios - I would argue it is worse for the Government's resources to be sent on a wild goose chase than for them to be spent on other methods of prevention."

how is it a waste of government resources to try our ebst to get information to stop terrorism as described? the person knwos the info, very likely, and even if there's goose chases, there will very possibly eventually begood info. plus, you assert there's better use of our resources... but don't list any. what could be better than what we got? the only means we can deduce to stop the terror?

and why do we care about his mental health? if he has the info, which he was showing himself to have... then we're going for that. he could be insane, or retarded... but if he has the info, that's all that matters. he's proven himself a guilty party with an atronomical certainty... which for effective purposes is all that matters.
thejakeisalie

Con

'Bob has established that he is guilty per his arrest, because he admits it all...and he shows by his affirmations that he knows vital information and very highly knows more.'

First of all, I'm not really sure what 'very highly knows more' means, but I will assume that Pro means 'very likely knows more'. Pro puts forward the case that because Bob has confessed, this means he is guilty. I would strongly contest this. Since the advent of DNA identification, many criminals have since been exonerated of their crimes. 25% of these criminals made incriminating statements about themselves, which have later proven to be false. [1] This shows that a confession of guilt does not imply actual guilt.

Second, Pro is quick to dismiss the circumstances of his arrest as irrelevant, and has changed the pretence: 'the facts as said do not tie to him. let's say he turned himself in as teh spokesman'. So we now have the case of a man walking in off the street, going to a police office, and claiming to know that many women are going to be raped and killed, with no evidence to prove this. If there is no serious evidence, and it is simply a man claiming these things, confessing this plan, and then refusing to give further information, it is common sense that Bob should be committed to an insane asylum until such time as which the facts and evidence match with his claims, at which time the case may be treated differently.

Third, I would like to say that I concede to Pro that there are situations that have happened, and could happen in the future, where torture has bought evidence to light that has eventually led to some positive. However, the problem with torture is that it, by it's very nature, encourages a stream of information, the true parts of which cannot be discerned from the false. If Bob is tortured, and names 5 cities where the attacks could happen, then when pressed further names 10 more rather than stating which is true, this is not useful information. He may have had useful information, but the psychological damage of torture has prevented him from being any use.

Pro says that there are no better uses of our resources than trying to find out where the terrorists are and capturing them, but as their location is uncertain, I would argue it is a better use of resources to raise general awareness and increase policing, check activity on the internet, upgrade monitoring of surveillance cameras, etc., than to spend time and effort looking for things that are likely not there.

Finally, Pro asks why we should care about his mental health. It is not the wellbeing of Bob that I am concerned for, when I say we should care about this. It is simply the fact that a mentally ill person can display complete honesty in their admission of guilt for a crime they did not do. Schizophrenics have episodes of hallucinations which they find impossible to determine from reality - if it turns out that Bob is a schizophrenic, then torturing him for information would be morally indefensible and abhorrent, and again, would produce no results.

Pro keeps making this assumption that 'Bob has the info', but I would once again assert that in any situation where the government knows for certain that Bob has this information, the government already has this information. In any other situation, the government thinks that Bob might no something, whether it is because of his admission of guilt, evidence surrounding him, or any other number of factors - the fact remains that it is never certain that he knows something, and torture and coercion produces false evidence just as easily as it produces real evidence. Therefore, it would not be useful to torture Bob in any real situation.

[1] http://falseconfessions.org...
Debate Round No. 2
dairygirl4u2c

Pro

if the person is stating that he knows things like who the criminals will attack, knows the city.. and admits guilt.. then beyond a reasonable doubt, he is guilty. this is even higher proof than a reasonable doubt, because next to certainly no one but a perpetrator would know this stuff. there may be a theoretically slight chance of us getting it wrong.. btu the odds are so astronomically low to take seriously for effective purposes.

i am quick to dismiss not the arrest circumstances are irrelvant, but the distracting arguments. there are a host of possiblities, that if true, can change things... but if i haven't included it in the facts, why hinge one's arguemnt on those, when this is the only way to win the debate? the essense of the debate after all is about the morality of torturing Bob v letting untold numbers be raped tortured and killed.
who cares if he sometimes lies or gives wrong information? we torture for the times that he has given accruate inforamtion. we could decide he's a to a point where he is psyhologically etc incapable of anyting accurate... we'd decide the genuineness on the specifics of his case. more than likely, he'd be able to give accruate right information at least for awhile... and that is all that matters, at least for awhile.

how is it better to "raise awareness" etc, when that scenario is unlikely to produce results? that would be a huge use of resources... with very minimal if any results, not a "real" possiblity of results. torture is simple and doesn't use many resources... and has a very real possiblity of producing results. if it's likely he knows the info, and ther's a decent chance he will give it... he's negate our respect to not torture etc. comapred to the resource uses given, torture is the easiest and most probably effective option.

even if Bob was insane... but has the info and won't disclose it... we should torture him. of course, if it seems he's incapable of disclosing it, we could take that into consideration... but we're assuming the natural course that he seems capable of disclosing it. if he knows and won't disclsoe and is able to disclose but won't.... that's reason enough, regardless of inherent worth consdierations of respecting those who are mentally ill.

it's like i give a hypotehical that is straight forward and someone comes and says all kinds of things unrelated to the case. law schools or court rooms they call this "assuming facts that aren't there". at least if you had soemthing ebside facts that aren't there... it'd be more excusiable.

you continue questioning if he knows or not. there is only a theoretical or very very slight possiblity that he does not know. all i can do is repeat what i said... there is a theoretical possiblity that Bob does nto know the future acts. but, for effective purposes, he has shown that he does know. espeically if he says he knows, also. effective reality, this is enough to justify torturing him.
we might decide when or if to stop on a case by case basis. but the odds are way too high that he does know, to not torture him. for effective purposes. therefore you cannot state unequivically... as you did... that it would not be useful to torture him. it might be, and the probabilities are way too high to ignore.

at the end of hte day con just wants to find all kids of ways to distract... from something akin to admitting that it's better to let untold numbers be raped tortured and killed, than it is to torture someone, and expanding how this is right. at the very least argue "even if we could get teh info and somehow knew we could..." etc etc. but con knows that it's immoral to allow these things, and would rather use distractions as arguments.
thejakeisalie

Con

Dear Voters,

I came to this debate knowing that it was not in any way balanced, as a debate should be. Pro put forward an argument that tried to eliminate all possible situations where torture could produce information that is wrong, and claims a very simple causality - 'If we torture Bob, then all these people are saved'.

I have argued that this simple causality is never, ever the case in the real world, in any real case where torture takes place. Pro wishes to argue something akin to Phillipa Foot's Trolley Problem. [1] For those unfamiliar, this takes a similar extreme case, where by some evildoing, 5 people have been tied to a railroad track and there is a trolley hurtling towards them, that will crush and kill all 5 of them. However, there is also a lever, which if pulled, will divert the trolley onto a different track, saving the 5. However, this different track itself has 1 person tied to it, who will then be killed by the trolley.

If there is a true situation where this lever can be pulled and the 1 may be sacrificed in order to save the 5, then from a utilitarian standpoint, the choice is clear - one should pull the lever. My argument is this though : torture is not a lever. It is never certain that torture will produce clear information, and in many circumstances will produce so much false information, the true information is lost. Pro may continue to hold in their head this scenario where one can do something apparently apprehensible in order to prevent more injury, but I will continue to argue in the real world.

Pro claims that if a person states that he knows things about an attack, then they are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Let me present an alternative scenario. I am Bob, and I have schitzophrenia. I lost my medication, and I've just had an episode where I honestly and truly believed that I was part of a terrorist ring planning to rape and murder women every 2 days until the US leaves Iraq. After coming out of this episode, I feel immense guilt, and immediately go to the police, turning myself in. There is no other evidence to suggest that any of what I (as Bob) stated is true, nor that I am linked to any past or future crime. However, the US takes me into custody anyway, and as they start to press me for further information, I go into another episode and become unresponsive. The US government decides to responde to that by torturing me, making my episode much, much worse, and producing a stream of incoherent information unrelated to the case I stated.

Pro cannot deny that the above case is one that can fit within their 'facts'. Pro also cannot deny that torture, in the above case, would be morally apprehensible and wrong. Pro instead chooses to continue to insist that Bob has the information, and that torture is the only way of acquiring it, and does not want to bring this debate into the real world.

If Pro wants to debate whether it is better for one person to be beaten up than for hundreds of people to be killed, then Pro could perhaps propose a different form of the Trolley Problem - one where instead of a lever, there is a man tied to a chair, with you in front of him, and someone watches through a surveillance camera. The only way to get the person watching to apply the breaks is by torturing the man in front of you for 20 minutes. In that case, I would not argue with Pro. I would say that it is absolutely justifiable to cause that man 20 minutes of pain to save the lives of innocent people. I am sure that the man would in fact understand, and would perhaps ask you to do it himself, if he were morally good. No-one would be able to debate Pro on this point, and Pro would always win, as they clearly want to. What Pro does not want to do is acknowledge the whole reason torture is wrong - because it is not a simple dichotomy. It is not known whether torturing Bob will produce any useful information - although Pro keeps insisting the odds are ' there will very possibly eventually begood info', and dismisses my arguments that it likely that no useful information will be produced.

To conclude, my points are: In the real world, torture does not produce reliable information; any situation where one knows that someone has the information is also a situation where one already knows the information; torture is not a Trolley Problem lever, ever.

I thank my opponent for this interesting, yet one-sided, debate.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Thaumaturgy 4 years ago
Thaumaturgy
This case is so synthetic that it is effectively undebatable. Bob gives every single accurate indication that he knows the information but will not willingly give it. In the real world the true debate around torture is not it's effectiveness at getting people to speak against their own interests, but rather that the value of the data gathered is offset by the very real possibility that torture-gained information will be useless (the tortured will literally say whatever it is they are asked to say) and the torturer becomes less human for the efforts.

Supporting torture in a clear-cut case such as this with all this at stake is a reasonable activity, but that isn't what makes the torture debate morally or technically difficult for civilized society.
Posted by Zaradi 4 years ago
Zaradi
The fact that she added that nothing else will work makes this debate incredibly one-sided and almost undebatable without either going semantical or super-philosophical.
Posted by Awesome-Sauce 4 years ago
Awesome-Sauce
Sounds like you don't like the name Bob...
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by TheOrator 4 years ago
TheOrator
dairygirl4u2cthejakeisalieTied
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 Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Arguments went to con because he effectively proved that the torture of Bob, even if everything Pro said was true, could lead to fals information. S/G went to Con because Pro's was bad, and Sources went to Con because he actually used them. On a side note, I like how even when Pro creates a debate as one-sided as this, she cannot win the actual arguments.
Vote Placed by Zaradi 4 years ago
Zaradi
dairygirl4u2cthejakeisalieTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: I'm sorry, I refuse to give points to a person who makes a one-sided debate, then exepcts the person debating against the made resolution to not try and make it more fair. She never really refuted what con said, kept adding points and conditions after the first round, her spelling and grammar were horrible, and con actually used a few sources to warrant his claims. This is sufficient for me to give all 7 to con. inb4 someone "counter vb's" me.
Vote Placed by Stephen_Hawkins 4 years ago
Stephen_Hawkins
dairygirl4u2cthejakeisalieTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:01 
Reasons for voting decision: Seeing as dairy kept adding additional attributes to the debate after the first round, I am giving jake the conduct. Apart from that, though, the debate becomes inseparable from this. So, I shall simply leave the rest of the votes empty.
Vote Placed by THEBOMB 4 years ago
THEBOMB
dairygirl4u2cthejakeisalieTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 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 Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con showed how torture can be ineffective (Pro never adequately refuted it), thus, if it is ineffective and will accomplish nothing, why torture?