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Started by bitter_sweet_symphony, November 17, 2007, 10:26:09 AM
Quote from: "Wilson"Davin, I don't like to criticize a person of your obviously elevated moral stature, but just answer the damn question. Would you, given the scenario I proposed, just let the bomb go off? Would you feel ethically justified in not trying to force information from someone who would prefer to remain silent, even at the cost of a million lives?It's a pretty simple question.
Quote from: "Davin"Neither of your dichotomy, it's a false dichotomy. What I would do is try to figure out the most likely place the person would have placed the bomb, instead of wasting time by torturing the person for information that would very likely be false information. This is the third time I've answered your question.Now answer my question that you've been avoiding.
Quote from: "Wilson"Quote from: "Davin"Neither of your dichotomy, it's a false dichotomy. What I would do is try to figure out the most likely place the person would have placed the bomb, instead of wasting time by torturing the person for information that would very likely be false information. This is the third time I've answered your question.Now answer my question that you've been avoiding.So you wouldn't torture the man under those circumstances, because the information would VERY LIKELY (but not surely) be false information. Congratulations! You are responsible for the death of a million people. But you'll sleep well all morally superior.
Quote from: "Wilson"If, under those circumstances, you really wouldn't torture the man in hopes of saving New York City, you'd be - and I say this with respect - a fool.
Quote from: "Wilson"But I suspect that placed in that situation, you'd do what you'd hate to do - that is, use common sense and do something distasteful and horrible and degrading that you hate to do but would for the greater good. Else the man in charge would find somebody who would.
Quote from: "Wilson"In the absence of God, morality is not absolute. You can't go strictly by rules. There are exceptions to most rules of behavior. Thou shall not kill, except it's okay if someone is threatening the life of your family. Thou shall not torture, except under exceptional circumstances when a lot of innocent lives are at stake. Set common sense moral rules for yourself and follow them the majority of the time, but make room for a little nuance in your thinking if the situation requires it. In my opinion, refusing to torture in the above scenario would be immoral.
Quote from: "Wilson"You asked, "Would you say that it would be OK for Iraqi soldiers to torture U.S. POWs to prevent the loss of innocent civilians? Because it seems that you're saying that it is." It wouldn't be okay with me, but they wouldn't ask me. From their standpoint, if they could save a village by torturing a POW, they would, and they might be morally justified.
Quote from: "Wilson"Of course it's unlikely that a POW would have any information of that kind. It's more likely that the Iraqis would do it out of pure hatred.
Quote from: "Wilson"Perhaps you are saying that we can't claim the moral high ground and condemn Iraqi torture if we do the same. That's true. I'm sure, however, that an enemy army would do what they want to without making sure that we did it first.
Quote from: "Wilson"As I think I said before, I don't think torture should be used under normal circumstances. Of course the images are distasteful to the max and degrading to the human spirit. But I acknowledge that a situation could conceivably come up where it might be the moral way to go.
Quote from: "Ihateyoumike"So if I eat meat I'm gonna be tortured to find out where the bomb is? Or will I be the torturer? I'm confused how this all works and what the connection is.
Quote from: "Wilson"You boys are missing the point. I know about the unreliability of torture. But this is a thought experiment. As I said, let's postulate that we have reliable information, say from a mole within the terrorist organization. And let's postulate that we have reliable information, from the same trusted source, that a nuclear device will be exploded in downtown New York City in 24 hours, and millions of people may be killed. And the mole asures us that the prisoner, and only the prisoner, knows the location of the bomb.Granted, this is unlikely. But play along. Given this particular scenario, you are the director in charge of interrogation. The prisoner isn't responding to questions. Do you okay sending in Jack Bauer? Or do you say to yourself, it's God's will, and let nature take its course?No punking out, now.
Quote from: "Thumpalumpacus"But since you asked, I'd send him to the city at the center of concern, and let him know that. His reaction will tell the truth about things.
Quote from: "Sophus"Did this thread get derailed into being about torture?
Quote from: "LegendarySandwich"Let's not resort to ad hominems, guys.Thump and Davin's arguments have convinced me that torture is ineffective and thus almost never justified. Sorry Wilson, it looks like you're on your own.
Quote from: "Wilson"Quote from: "Thumpalumpacus"But since you asked, I'd send him to the city at the center of concern, and let him know that. His reaction will tell the truth about things.Now you're just being silly. This is a guy of the suicide bomber type, and you think threatening him with death will make him reveal? With paradise awaiting?Regardless, you're willing to kill the man, but not torture him to save a city? Where's the morality in that? I get it. You're just squeamish.