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The Ethics of Torture

bsh1
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10/16/2015 9:53:34 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Aloha!

This is part three of my four part "The Ethics of..." post series, with posts coming out once a week. In these posts I will briefly discuss an issue of ethics and explain my position on the subject. While I am always open to discussing my reasoning, I am also interested in hearing about your own thoughts on the subject, apart from what my stance is.

As a brief disclaimer, I am going to note that my posts entail certain assumptions. I will try to be honest about what these assumptions are. These assumptions are necessary to keep the discussion on topic. For instance, I assume that all humans have moral worth in order to prevent every single post I make from degenerating into "does morality exists," "do people have worth," "morality is subjective," and so forth. While these may be important questions, if we return to them every time we discuss and ethical issue, we will never make any progress in our discussions or actually get to addressing the topic presented. Thus, I ask that discussion focus on the issue presented in this post, and not some of these more esoteric points of argument. If you wish to debate one of these other questions, there are other threads made or that could be made for those purposes.

==============================

This thread will be concerned with torture for national security reasons, not torture for sadistic pleasure. Just in case anyone was wondering.

Given a basic assumption that all humans have moral worth, it is reasonable to consider wherefrom this worth arises. A table, for instance, cannot reasonably be said to have dignity, because it cannot make choices. The same thing is true of a bug, or even something more advanced, such as a cow, because the cow is governed by instinct, and cannot choose to override its instincts. The ability to knowingly choose to act morally or immorally, even when our choices go against our natural urges, makes us unique moral agents, as we are perhaps the only entities capable of making moral choices in every situation, even if we fail more often than we succeed. Because we can make choices, we are also the only agents culpable for our actions. I would also argue that our ability to suffer is part of what makes us morally significant, that a robot able to rationally think, but unable to feel, misses out on the emotional aspects of morality that are intrinsic to it (empathy, guilt, etc.). When suffering is inflicted on us, or when our ability to make choices is curtailed, our dignity is infringed. The link to torture here is pretty obvious: it contravenes our basic moral worth by inflicting suffering and by limiting our ability to self-determine.

Moreover, torture just doesn't work: "The Senate report on the CIA's detention and interrogation program represents the most authoritative and comprehensive finding since the US launched its so-called 'war on terror' more than 13 years ago that torture does not work." [http://www.theguardian.com...] "[C]ontrary to the claim that torture helped save lives, torture helped build the case of lies for war that took thousands of U.S. lives and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives, helping to plunge the region into astounding violence, bringing al-Qaeda into Iraq, leading to the rise of ISIS and further bloody wars." [http://www.huffingtonpost.com...]

Please add your thoughts.
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bsh1
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10/16/2015 9:55:49 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I'd also appreciate topic suggestions for my last entry of the series.
Live Long and Prosper

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WillClayton
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10/16/2015 10:27:45 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Given a basic assumption that all humans have moral worth, it is reasonable to consider wherefrom this worth arises. A table, for instance, cannot reasonably be said to have dignity, because it cannot make choices. The same thing is true of a bug, or even something more advanced, such as a cow, because the cow is governed by instinct, and cannot choose to override its instincts. The ability to knowingly choose to act morally or immorally, even when our choices go against our natural urges, makes us unique moral agents, as we are perhaps the only entities capable of making moral choices in every situation, even if we fail more often than we succeed.

Are we (as humans) capable of making moral choices?

Are we not acted upon as much as animals?

It seems to me that people often react rather than act. Now, it might be foolish to argue that people are not able to go against our natural urges, but it is worth noting as you have outlined this "free will" as the reasoning and basis for morals.

Does a child who is beaten in their childhood and has physiological damage have the same capacity for free will as a person not subject to that? My point being of course that how free people are is not generally true, some are more free than others and thus, by your standard of ethics more or less capable of morality.

This of course has nothing to do with torture directly but perhaps it will be a interesting inclusion in an ethics conversation. As this would make some actions moral, or perhaps less immoral to those less capable than their more developed or advanced peers.
WillClayton
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10/16/2015 10:30:15 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Sorry I reread your post. Please disregard my comment as it is not on topic as you had asked. My apologizes.
bsh1
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10/16/2015 10:35:04 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/16/2015 10:30:15 PM, WillClayton wrote:
Sorry I reread your post. Please disregard my comment as it is not on topic as you had asked. My apologizes.

Thank you.
Live Long and Prosper

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"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

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WillClayton
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10/16/2015 10:42:53 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Moreover, torture just doesn't work: "The Senate report on the CIA's detention and interrogation program represents the most authoritative and comprehensive finding since the US launched its so-called 'war on terror' more than 13 years ago that torture does not work." [http://www.theguardian.com...] "[C]ontrary to the claim that torture helped save lives, torture helped build the case of lies for war that took thousands of U.S. lives and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives, helping to plunge the region into astounding violence, bringing al-Qaeda into Iraq, leading to the rise of ISIS and further bloody wars." [http://www.huffingtonpost.com...]

Please add your thoughts.

From the perspective of utility I am convinced that even if torture were "moral..." It does not produce the desired results and is therefore not worth doing.
bsh1
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10/16/2015 10:43:44 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/16/2015 10:42:53 PM, WillClayton wrote:
Moreover, torture just doesn't work: "The Senate report on the CIA's detention and interrogation program represents the most authoritative and comprehensive finding since the US launched its so-called 'war on terror' more than 13 years ago that torture does not work." [http://www.theguardian.com...] "[C]ontrary to the claim that torture helped save lives, torture helped build the case of lies for war that took thousands of U.S. lives and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives, helping to plunge the region into astounding violence, bringing al-Qaeda into Iraq, leading to the rise of ISIS and further bloody wars." [http://www.huffingtonpost.com...]

Please add your thoughts.

From the perspective of utility I am convinced that even if torture were "moral..." It does not produce the desired results and is therefore not worth doing.

Agreed.
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

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beng100
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10/16/2015 10:55:45 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/16/2015 9:53:34 PM, bsh1 wrote:
Aloha!

This is part three of my four part "The Ethics of..." post series, with posts coming out once a week. In these posts I will briefly discuss an issue of ethics and explain my position on the subject. While I am always open to discussing my reasoning, I am also interested in hearing about your own thoughts on the subject, apart from what my stance is.

As a brief disclaimer, I am going to note that my posts entail certain assumptions. I will try to be honest about what these assumptions are. These assumptions are necessary to keep the discussion on topic. For instance, I assume that all humans have moral worth in order to prevent every single post I make from degenerating into "does morality exists," "do people have worth," "morality is subjective," and so forth. While these may be important questions, if we return to them every time we discuss and ethical issue, we will never make any progress in our discussions or actually get to addressing the topic presented. Thus, I ask that discussion focus on the issue presented in this post, and not some of these more esoteric points of argument. If you wish to debate one of these other questions, there are other threads made or that could be made for those purposes.

==============================

This thread will be concerned with torture for national security reasons, not torture for sadistic pleasure. Just in case anyone was wondering.

Given a basic assumption that all humans have moral worth, it is reasonable to consider wherefrom this worth arises. A table, for instance, cannot reasonably be said to have dignity, because it cannot make choices. The same thing is true of a bug, or even something more advanced, such as a cow, because the cow is governed by instinct, and cannot choose to override its instincts. The ability to knowingly choose to act morally or immorally, even when our choices go against our natural urges, makes us unique moral agents, as we are perhaps the only entities capable of making moral choices in every situation, even if we fail more often than we succeed. Because we can make choices, we are also the only agents culpable for our actions. I would also argue that our ability to suffer is part of what makes us morally significant, that a robot able to rationally think, but unable to feel, misses out on the emotional aspects of morality that are intrinsic to it (empathy, guilt, etc.). When suffering is inflicted on us, or when our ability to make choices is curtailed, our dignity is infringed. The link to torture here is pretty obvious: it contravenes our basic moral worth by inflicting suffering and by limiting our ability to self-determine.

Moreover, torture just doesn't work: "The Senate report on the CIA's detention and interrogation program represents the most authoritative and comprehensive finding since the US launched its so-called 'war on terror' more than 13 years ago that torture does not work." [http://www.theguardian.com...] "[C]ontrary to the claim that torture helped save lives, torture helped build the case of lies for war that took thousands of U.S. lives and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives, helping to plunge the region into astounding violence, bringing al-Qaeda into Iraq, leading to the rise of ISIS and further bloody wars." [http://www.huffingtonpost.com...]

Please add your thoughts.

In my view torture is unethical and unjustified in any circumstances. Torture is not a fair method of questioning. I think torture could potentially be beneficial on occasion but could result in false confessions, information and wrongful abuse when inflicted on an innocent person or a person who simply does not know the information the torturer wants. If it is absolutely clear an individual holds vital information about a very serious issue and somehow this is proven beyond doubt I would introduce the death penalty for the offence on the grounds of commiting a crime of refusing to disclose essential information of relevance to national security. It would be up to the individual to choose between the death penalty and revealing the information.
Vox_Veritas
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10/17/2015 1:41:05 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
My two big issues with torture:
1. Like Bsh1 said, it doesn't generally work. If I were a terrorist in Gitmo could give a false confession to stop the pain while not actually betraying my principles. Mind-reading technology could solve this, but the situation with reading the minds of terrorists for information is similar to no. 2
2. If torture is allowed in some situations, it could eventually reach the point where it's allowed for minor stuff. The best way to insure that it doesn't happen on minor offenders or innocent people is to make it unacceptable in all cases.
3. Several conventions on how to wage war which the U.S. is a party to, conventions which include articles on how to treat enemy combatants.

Bogus Arguments against torture:
1. "Terrorists have a moral right to not be tortured for any reason just because they're human beings." Not true. Some, like participants in the September 11 Attacks, are fairly significant participants in the murder of hundreds (or, in this case, thousands). They are not entitled to freedom from torture and if it were to be done as a form of providing justice for the victims that wouldn't really be so bad. Punishment just for the sake of justice should not be automatically treated as a bad thing. Plus, if "torture doesn't work" wasn't in play, it could potentially be a version of the trolley problem, except that in this case the guy being pushed in front of the trolley to save the passengers would not be an innocent bystander and perhaps he played a part in creating the situation where such torture is necessary to extract information.
2. "If we torture terrorists we're at their level". Not necessarily true. The guy who kills the incoming serial killer in self-defense has committed no sin. Killing enemy soldiers on the battlefield and randomly killing people for no reason are not morally equivalent. Governments have the right to take human lives if they have a good enough reason to do so. I'd the government served as an instrument of justice by making a killer's life miserable that wouldn't be morally equivalent to the killer's actions.
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bsh1
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10/17/2015 1:46:09 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/17/2015 1:41:05 AM, Vox_Veritas wrote:

We actually agree! YAY!
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Wylted
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10/17/2015 6:56:16 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Oh torture works. Does it create false information? Yes it does, but for people who actually do have information they don't want to release, they aren't going to keep it quiet while their balls are being electrocuted with a car battery. If a random guy asks me for the PIN number of my debit card, I'm not giving it to him, but if he's standing at the ATM and cutting off a finger every time he types in the wrong number, he won't have to take too many fingers before I just give up that piece of Intel.
Illegalcombatant
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10/17/2015 11:21:17 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
The problem with those who approve of torture is that they base it more on a hollywood movie tv show. Bad guy terrorist plants the bomb, good guy government agent has to do what is necessary to get the information, finds bomb, lives saved, here is your medal, thank you Mr President I was just doing my job.

The reality is more grey, well that guy MIGHT know something, he might not, ya now he is kind of a prick probably is a terrorist....................

All I know is the last thing you want to do is give some person or group of people the power to torture and have this power to do it in the darkness (outside of mainstream transparency and accountability)

It seems to me history repeats its self, all the while people are worried about the outside "threat" the barbarians at the gate, they don't see the threat that their own government and those who operate under it's authority poses to them...................until it's too late.

But hey by then if you complain I think we will need to bring you in for some aggressive interrogation.
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FaustianJustice
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10/17/2015 1:18:25 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/17/2015 6:56:16 AM, Wylted wrote:
Oh torture works. Does it create false information? Yes it does, but for people who actually do have information they don't want to release, they aren't going to keep it quiet while their balls are being electrocuted with a car battery. If a random guy asks me for the PIN number of my debit card, I'm not giving it to him, but if he's standing at the ATM and cutting off a finger every time he types in the wrong number, he won't have to take too many fingers before I just give up that piece of Intel.

The above assumes that we know you have the information, and its immediately verifiable. If some random agent is rounded up, has plans for a bomb but no contact info, what exactly do you plan to extract from him/her aside from a series of "I don't knows"? The amount of work going in to getting a specific person usually means you aren't torturing for new information, you are torturing for verification.

In any case:
Raise the stakes.

If your mission is found out, we kill your family.
If your mission is found out, we kill your friends (or undoubtedly, they will be killed in some fashion).
Depending on conviction of faith, you won't go to (insert desired afterlife here).
Here we have an advocate for Islamic arranged marriages demonstrating that children can consent to sex.
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RoyLatham
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10/17/2015 1:50:32 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
It's really important to define "torture." Is it any discomfort whatsoever? The main "torture" applied to terrorists at GITMO was sleep deprivation. I think it would be unethical to refuse to apply sleep deprivation to save lives. It works. The people who say it doesn't were not involved.
Yassine
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10/18/2015 12:37:45 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/16/2015 9:53:34 PM, bsh1 wrote:

This thread will be concerned with torture for national security reasons, not torture for sadistic pleasure. Just in case anyone was wondering.

Given a basic assumption that all humans have moral worth, it is reasonable to consider wherefrom this worth arises. A table, for instance, cannot reasonably be said to have dignity, because it cannot make choices. The same thing is true of a bug, or even something more advanced, such as a cow, because the cow is governed by instinct, and cannot choose to override its instincts. The ability to knowingly choose to act morally or immorally, even when our choices go against our natural urges, makes us unique moral agents, as we are perhaps the only entities capable of making moral choices in every situation, even if we fail more often than we succeed. Because we can make choices, we are also the only agents culpable for our actions. I would also argue that our ability to suffer is part of what makes us morally significant, that a robot able to rationally think, but unable to feel, misses out on the emotional aspects of morality that are intrinsic to it (empathy, guilt, etc.). When suffering is inflicted on us, or when our ability to make choices is curtailed, our dignity is infringed. The link to torture here is pretty obvious: it contravenes our basic moral worth by inflicting suffering and by limiting our ability to self-determine.

- This argument is not against torture as much as it is against its arbitrary or unjustified use. Does inflicting suffering on a person in need of a surgical procedure contravene the patient's basic moral worth? More like the opposite.

- This argument can also be used for any sort of punishment, including prison, confinement... Punishment is designed to be cruel & inflict suffering (physical, psychological, financial...) on the culprit either to enact justice, to establish order, or to warrant repentance. According to you, we should abolish all sorts of punishment. No society can survive in such a state of affairs.

Moreover, torture just doesn't work: "The Senate report on the CIA's detention and interrogation program represents the most authoritative and comprehensive finding since the US launched its so-called 'war on terror' more than 13 years ago that torture does not work." [http://www.theguardian.com...] "[C]ontrary to the claim that torture helped save lives, torture helped build the case of lies for war that took thousands of U.S. lives and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives, helping to plunge the region into astounding violence, bringing al-Qaeda into Iraq, leading to the rise of ISIS and further bloody wars." [http://www.huffingtonpost.com...]

- This again is not an argument against torture, as it is an argument against ineffective torture.
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bsh1
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10/18/2015 12:39:46 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/18/2015 12:37:45 AM, Yassine wrote:
At 10/16/2015 9:53:34 PM, bsh1 wrote:

This thread will be concerned with torture for national security reasons, not torture for sadistic pleasure. Just in case anyone was wondering.

Given a basic assumption that all humans have moral worth, it is reasonable to consider wherefrom this worth arises. A table, for instance, cannot reasonably be said to have dignity, because it cannot make choices. The same thing is true of a bug, or even something more advanced, such as a cow, because the cow is governed by instinct, and cannot choose to override its instincts. The ability to knowingly choose to act morally or immorally, even when our choices go against our natural urges, makes us unique moral agents, as we are perhaps the only entities capable of making moral choices in every situation, even if we fail more often than we succeed. Because we can make choices, we are also the only agents culpable for our actions. I would also argue that our ability to suffer is part of what makes us morally significant, that a robot able to rationally think, but unable to feel, misses out on the emotional aspects of morality that are intrinsic to it (empathy, guilt, etc.). When suffering is inflicted on us, or when our ability to make choices is curtailed, our dignity is infringed. The link to torture here is pretty obvious: it contravenes our basic moral worth by inflicting suffering and by limiting our ability to self-determine.

- This argument is not against torture as much as it is against its arbitrary or unjustified use. Does inflicting suffering on a person in need of a surgical procedure contravene the patient's basic moral worth? More like the opposite.

That's why it's paired with the data below. And it doesn't apply for regular punishments, because (a) torture is unusually cruel, and (b) offenders forfeit some of their basic rights when they commit crimes.

Moreover, torture just doesn't work: "The Senate report on the CIA's detention and interrogation program represents the most authoritative and comprehensive finding since the US launched its so-called 'war on terror' more than 13 years ago that torture does not work." [http://www.theguardian.com...] "[C]ontrary to the claim that torture helped save lives, torture helped build the case of lies for war that took thousands of U.S. lives and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives, helping to plunge the region into astounding violence, bringing al-Qaeda into Iraq, leading to the rise of ISIS and further bloody wars." [http://www.huffingtonpost.com...]

- This again is not an argument against torture, as it is an argument against ineffective torture.

All torture is ineffective.
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Yassine
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10/18/2015 12:49:16 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/18/2015 12:39:46 AM, bsh1 wrote:

That's why it's paired with the data below. And it doesn't apply for regular punishments,

- It does, unless you intend to make exceptions. In which case, why is torture not an exception as well?

because (a) torture is unusually cruel

- That's a very vague characterisation. Is getting tortured one day worse than being imprisoned for life? I think not.

and (b) offenders forfeit some of their basic rights when they commit crimes.

- So do those who may be tortured. & why should they?!

All torture is ineffective.

- That's a general claim, impossible to establish. Especially, since forms of torture (ex. beating) are used by law enforcements all over the World since the dawn of time.

- I am not particularly against torture. I am just no convinced by these arguments.
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bsh1
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10/18/2015 12:51:52 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/18/2015 12:49:16 AM, Yassine wrote:
At 10/18/2015 12:39:46 AM, bsh1 wrote:
because (a) torture is unusually cruel

- That's a very vague characterisation. Is getting tortured one day worse than being imprisoned for life? I think not.

It is a legal principle that's been discussed a lot in U.S. jurisprudence. I would recommend reading some cases on the subject.

and (b) offenders forfeit some of their basic rights when they commit crimes.

- So do those who may be tortured. & why should they?!

No one gives up their right to bodily integrity by committing a crime. They may give up freedom of movement, but not their right against being brutalized.

All torture is ineffective.

- That's a general claim, impossible to establish.

Can you name a form of torture that is effective?
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Yassine
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10/18/2015 1:01:03 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/18/2015 12:51:52 AM, bsh1 wrote:

It is a legal principle that's been discussed a lot in U.S. jurisprudence. I would recommend reading some cases on the subject.

- What is?

No one gives up their right to bodily integrity by committing a crime. They may give up freedom of movement, but not their right against being brutalized.

- So, long term slavery or short term physical pain, which is worse?!

- You called the first "freedom of movement", & the second "being brutalised". Let me rephrase your sentence: they may give up their right against being enslaved, but not their freedom to bodily integrity. This sounds like appeal to emotion. Besides, prisoners get their fair share of "brutalisation" in prison, by fellow inmates & prison guards.

Can you name a form of torture that is effective?

- I am not making any claims.
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bsh1
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10/18/2015 1:35:34 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/18/2015 1:01:03 AM, Yassine wrote:
At 10/18/2015 12:51:52 AM, bsh1 wrote:

It is a legal principle that's been discussed a lot in U.S. jurisprudence. I would recommend reading some cases on the subject.

- What is?

Cruel and unusual punishment.

No one gives up their right to bodily integrity by committing a crime. They may give up freedom of movement, but not their right against being brutalized.

- So, long term slavery or short term physical pain, which is worse?!

The difference comes in which rights are surrendered. The right to freedom of movement is, generally, seen as less inherent than the right to bodily integrity.

Besides, prisoners get their fair share of "brutalisation" in prison, by fellow inmates & prison guards.

And that is absolutely and utterly unacceptable.

Can you name a form of torture that is effective?

- I am not making any claims.

Okay.
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Yassine
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10/18/2015 2:11:30 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/18/2015 1:35:34 AM, bsh1 wrote:

Cruel and unusual punishment.

- It's an important principal, yes. But, an extremely vague one.

The difference comes in which rights are surrendered. The right to freedom of movement is, generally, seen as less inherent than the right to bodily integrity.

- Maybe we ought to ask prisoners if they'd like to have their sentences reduced or voided in exchange for a beating. I bet they won't mind at all. What do you personally think? Would you rather spend 20 years in prison, or 1 day in a torture chambre & get your life back?

- I would also disagree that the right to freedom of movement is less inherent or less important than the right to bodily integrity. Reasons being:
1. Confinement is not a punishment served against the culprit alone, it is shared by the culprit & the innocent kin & relations he has. If the father (the culprit) does not have the right to see his son (the innocent), & then that means the son does not have the right to see his father. This is clearly unjust to the innocent party! Whereas, physical punishment can only done to the deserving party.
2. Confinement causes a lot of suffering as well, arguably more unnecessary suffering, especially psychological. & it also warrants inescapable physical suffering. Clearly, a person's mind & soul is more precious than their body.
3. Confinement is an impediment to life itself, as it deprives it of its core component: time. It is such a monumental waste of time. If life is the most precious thing to a human being, then time is his life-force & thus as precious. In that sense, bodily integrity is clearly less inherent than time. In contrast to physical pain, with virtually no such squandered waste.
4. Confinement is a waste of all sorts of resources, economic, human, logistic... not so with physical punishment.
5. Confinement is just a sort of prolonged period of degradation, humiliation & enslavement, whereas physical pain is momentary.
6. Confinement is inherently a bad environment, belonging to which is inherently degrading & discriminatory.
...etc.

And that is absolutely and utterly unacceptable.

- In theory, maybe. It is the reality nonetheless, & thus should be accounted for. It is unacceptable that 90% of war casualties are women & children, only in theory, it is nonetheless the reality. Is war then justifiable because in theory is should not cause such casualties or it is henceforth immoral?!
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bsh1
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10/18/2015 2:22:27 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
@Yas...I will respond to your post tomorrow. It's 4:22 am here, and my brain is protesting doing anything intellectual.
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FourTrouble
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10/18/2015 2:41:15 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/16/2015 9:53:34 PM, bsh1 wrote:
This thread will be concerned with torture for national security reasons, not torture for sadistic pleasure. Just in case anyone was wondering.

This is an important distinction. Torture for sadistic pleasure is obviously ethical, so there's not much debate to be had there.

When suffering is inflicted on us, or when our ability to make choices is curtailed, our dignity is infringed. The link to torture here is pretty obvious: it contravenes our basic moral worth by inflicting suffering and by limiting our ability to self-determine.

I'll agree with this.

Moreover, torture just doesn't work: "The Senate report on the CIA's detention and interrogation program represents the most authoritative and comprehensive finding since the US launched its so-called 'war on terror' more than 13 years ago that torture does not work." [http://www.theguardian.com...] "[C]ontrary to the claim that torture helped save lives, torture helped build the case of lies for war that took thousands of U.S. lives and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives, helping to plunge the region into astounding violence, bringing al-Qaeda into Iraq, leading to the rise of ISIS and further bloody wars." [http://www.huffingtonpost.com...]

Yes, torture probably doesn't work most of the time. But there's no doubt that it can work sometimes. We know that because it has worked. And that has massive implications for its ethics. It means that torture is wrong in almost all cases. But in extreme circumstances, say something out of the TV show 24, torture isn't only permissible, it's an obligation.

The interesting question is how to deal with that fact as a legal matter. After doing my debate with Romanii, I find myself disagreeing with my position there. I think torture should be 100% illegal. There's various reasons for this, but mostly it's to ensure torture isn't ever used, never justified, and therefore never abused. As a practical matter, however, it won't matter if torture is illegal when there's circumstances like in 24. Jack Bauer tortured knowing that he would be put on trial afterwards. And that's precisely what'll happen if the situation ever comes up. There's no doubt that we will torture if we need to, if nothing else has worked, and there's time constraints, and millions of lives are at stake. And if that situation ever comes up, the law is irrelevant -- and I'll probably say that anytime that our existence is at stake -- ethics/law go out the window.
Yassine
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10/18/2015 3:44:17 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/18/2015 2:22:27 AM, bsh1 wrote:
@Yas...I will respond to your post tomorrow. It's 4:22 am here, and my brain is protesting doing anything intellectual.

- OK ;-) .
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10/18/2015 6:52:56 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/18/2015 2:11:30 AM, Yassine wrote:
At 10/18/2015 1:35:34 AM, bsh1 wrote:
The difference comes in which rights are surrendered. The right to freedom of movement is, generally, seen as less inherent than the right to bodily integrity.

- Maybe we ought to ask prisoners if they'd like to have their sentences reduced or voided in exchange for a beating. I bet they won't mind at all. What do you personally think? Would you rather spend 20 years in prison, or 1 day in a torture chambre & get your life back?

Some places are doing this, where you can choose lashes instead of jail time for some offenses...I read something about it recently in the news. However, there are certain benefits to incarceration that these penalties cannot accomplish, namely, incapacitation of the offenders.

- I would also disagree that the right to freedom of movement is less inherent or less important than the right to bodily integrity. Reasons being:
1. Confinement is not a punishment served against the culprit alone, it is shared by the culprit & the innocent kin & relations he has. If the father (the culprit) does not have the right to see his son (the innocent), & then that means the son does not have the right to see his father. This is clearly unjust to the innocent party! Whereas, physical punishment can only done to the deserving party.

Most prisons, at least here in the states, permit family visitation. I also think that, given the problems that torture can result in (PTSD, physical ailments, other psychological issues), it is also a wrong against the family, so this to me seems like a moot issue.

2. Confinement causes a lot of suffering as well, arguably more unnecessary suffering, especially psychological. & it also warrants inescapable physical suffering. Clearly, a person's mind & soul is more precious than their body.

I am not sure that I would agree it causes more suffering. Suffice it to say, I doubt any torture victim would agree with you.

3. Confinement is an impediment to life itself, as it deprives it of its core component: time. It is such a monumental waste of time. If life is the most precious thing to a human being, then time is his life-force & thus as precious. In that sense, bodily integrity is clearly less inherent than time. In contrast to physical pain, with virtually no such squandered waste.

I think this, and 5 and 6, are the same. I would argue that torture does the exact same thing, on psychological and physical levels. Jail provides time for recreation, reflection, and rehabilitation, as well, which torture doesn't. In this sense, jail doesn't really waste time, though it does prevent you from disposing of your time as you'd wish. I also don't think that a well-run jail is necessarily degrading, where the above opportunities are present.

4. Confinement is a waste of all sorts of resources, economic, human, logistic... not so with physical punishment.

This isn't an argument against the inherency of movement over bodily integrity. It's an argument that having offenders waive the latter is just more convenient.

===============

I think we should just agree to disagree.
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Mirza
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10/18/2015 6:55:38 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/18/2015 6:52:56 PM, bsh1 wrote:
I think we should just agree to disagree.
Not to be rude, but the more you write this, the more uninteresting it becomes to follow any of your discussions. You do this too often.
bsh1
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10/18/2015 6:56:31 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/18/2015 6:55:38 PM, Mirza wrote:
At 10/18/2015 6:52:56 PM, bsh1 wrote:
I think we should just agree to disagree.
Not to be rude, but the more you write this, the more uninteresting it becomes to follow any of your discussions. You do this too often.

Then don't follow my discussions, lol.
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"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

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Mirza
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10/18/2015 6:58:30 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/18/2015 6:56:31 PM, bsh1 wrote:
Then don't follow my discussions, lol.
Sometimes the people you talk to have interesting things to say on these issues, and it's a little disappointing to see it all end in a rigid fashion. :)

Noted, though.
bsh1
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10/18/2015 6:59:41 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/18/2015 6:58:30 PM, Mirza wrote:
At 10/18/2015 6:56:31 PM, bsh1 wrote:
Then don't follow my discussions, lol.
Sometimes the people you talk to have interesting things to say on these issues, and it's a little disappointing to see it all end in a rigid fashion. :)

Noted, though.

Not exactly rigged, just a recognition that we're not going to agree. But, you're always free to engage with those people if you think it would be interesting.
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"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

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Mirza
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10/18/2015 7:04:33 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/18/2015 6:59:41 PM, bsh1 wrote:
Not exactly rigged, just a recognition that we're not going to agree. But, you're always free to engage with those people if you think it would be interesting.
Rigid, not rigged. Anyway, whatever. I didn't intend to offend, just say what I think quite a few other people share my sentiments on.

/leaving