View Poll Results: Would You Utilize Torture to Save a Family Member?

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  • Yes

    61 80.26%
  • No

    15 19.74%
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Thread: Would You Utilize Torture to Save a Life?

  1. #101
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    Re: Would You Utilize Torture to Save a Life?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackdog View Post
    So if the majority decided killing people who are mentally handicapped under certain conditions is OK, it would no longer be immoral? Intresting.
    Within certain modes of philosophy, that would be the case.

    However, what could be said with certainty is that said majority had deemed killing the mentally handicapped under certain conditions to be moral. Whether one considers such an argument conclusive or even persuasive is a different question entirely.

    Taking your question and turning the point back towards the poll topic, do you say that those who claim they WOULD torture in the proposed hypothetical wrong in their justifications? Are they wrong to say they would torture?

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    Re: Would You Utilize Torture to Save a Life?

    I wonder, even with the results of the hypothetical question. How many people would be able to torture another (able not in the sense of skill, but able in the sense of desire to harm another)
    "I do not underestimate the ability of fanatical groups of terrorists to kill and destroy, but they do not threaten the life of the nation. Whether we would survive Hitler hung in the balance, but there is no doubt that we shall survive al-Qa'ida." -- Lord Hoffmann

  3. #103
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    Re: Would You Utilize Torture to Save a Life?

    Quote Originally Posted by Arch Enemy View Post
    I wonder, even with the results of the hypothetical question. How many people would be able to torture another (able not in the sense of skill, but able in the sense of desire to harm another)
    An excellent question. While I know where I stand on the hypothetical, I am certain I am not alone in fervently hoping I am never forced to put my stance into actual practice.

  4. #104
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    Re: Would You Utilize Torture to Save a Life?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dezaad View Post
    The Scenario doesn't force the issue for me. It assumes that the person I would be torturing was responsible for the danger to my family member(s) . This is not enough. There would have to be some chance that the person knows information that would lead to my family being brought out of danger.

    In those circumstances, where there is no doubt, and everything is black and white, I would torture. But life is NEVER like that. So the example cannot really tell us anything about the morality of torture.
    This reminds me of something I heard Dennis Prager say on his radio show once. He said "Conservitives tend to see things in black and white while Liberals see things in shades of grey"

    That got me to thinking that conservatives tend to have high moral standards and they stand strongly for what they believe. Liberials on the other hand tend to be a bit wishy washy.

    Example 1: John Kerry Quote "I was for the Iraq war before I was against it"

    Example 2: Nancy Pelosi "I didn't know anything about possible NSA wiretaps of Harman offering assistance in disrupting a Justice Department investigation.

    The very next day she said " I had been informed, I was not in a position to tell Harman the truth. Even if I wanted to share it with her I would not have had the liberty to share it with her"

    Example 3: Hillary Clinton was asked at a campaign rally in NH As president would you ever approve torture? Hillary's response "Id never OK torture of terror suspects".

    Hillary to the Daily News "In the event we were ever confronted with having to interrogate a detainee with knowledge of an imminent threat to millions of Americans, then the decision to depart from standard international practices must be made by the President, and the President must be held accountable"

    Conservative's stand strong for what they believe. By this standard we can assume George Bush was not a conservative.

    Liberals are flip floppin wishy washy self contradicting shades of grey seeing freeks.
    When America is strong the world is calm, When America is weak tyrants and terrorist slaughter the meek. ~ SgtRock

  5. #105
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    Re: Would You Utilize Torture to Save a Life?

    Quote Originally Posted by celticlord View Post
    Within certain modes of philosophy, that would be the case.
    Agreed.

    Quote Originally Posted by celticlord View Post
    However, what could be said with certainty is that said majority had deemed killing the mentally handicapped under certain conditions to be moral. Whether one considers such an argument conclusive or even persuasive is a different question entirely.
    It is hypothetical.

    And yet you glossed over the Holocaust as an example of how moral or reasonable people can and do unreasonable and immoral acts?

    Quote Originally Posted by celticlord View Post
    Taking your question and turning the point back towards the poll topic, do you say that those who claim they WOULD torture in the proposed hypothetical wrong in their justifications?
    The end does not justify the means but no. They are free individuals to think and say what they like even if I disagree. If in reality any of them were to move into the realm of action, then they would be wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by celticlord View Post
    Are they wrong to say they would torture?
    See above.


    No Lives Matter

  6. #106
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    Re: Would You Utilize Torture to Save a Life?

    Quote Originally Posted by celticlord View Post
    An excellent question. While I know where I stand on the hypothetical, I am certain I am not alone in fervently hoping I am never forced to put my stance into actual practice.
    Thanks.

    I also question the line that has been drawn between this hypothetical question and the deduction of the answer(er)s' moral stance on the issue. I find the question, including the expansions some posters have induced, to be a question of instinct...

    Your family is in immediate danger, so would you torture?

    When the responder thinks of this question they are imaging themselves in that situation, a situation of immediate action.. a question of instinct.

    I do not believe morality to be from instinct. I think morality is of the rationality variety.
    "I do not underestimate the ability of fanatical groups of terrorists to kill and destroy, but they do not threaten the life of the nation. Whether we would survive Hitler hung in the balance, but there is no doubt that we shall survive al-Qa'ida." -- Lord Hoffmann

  7. #107
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    Re: Would You Utilize Torture to Save a Life?

    Quote Originally Posted by Arch Enemy View Post
    Thanks.

    I also question the line that has been drawn between this hypothetical question and the deduction of the answer(er)s' moral stance on the issue. I find the question, including the expansions some posters have induced, to be a question of instinct...

    Your family is in immediate danger, so would you torture?

    When the responder thinks of this question they are imaging themselves in that situation, a situation of immediate action.. a question of instinct.

    I do not believe morality to be from instinct. I think morality is of the rationality variety.
    Agreed on the distinction between morality and instinct.

    I disagree on the proposition that the question posed at the start of this thread to be a question of instinct. Indeed, the debate that has proceeded precludes it being simply a question of instinct.

    Instinct, as you correctly observe, is intrinsically separated from rational thought--it is by definition irrational thought.

    Is the debate we have been having here instinctive or rational? While a few responses have been of a knee-jerk/witticism variety, most of the respondents, including Ethereal in his original post, propose reasons for their choice. Your own posts, for example, as well as Captain Courtesy's, have tended towards seeking clarification of the scenario and the predicates to the choice being made--analytical comments that require the abstract reasoning even to articulate.

    Additionally, I would argue that the scenario posed could not entertain instinctive response, simply because to engage in the action proposed--that of torture--is to cogitate, calculate, and rationally think about how best to inflict pain, cause distress, and generally inflict suffering. Torture may be good or evil, but it I do not see it as ever being instinctive.

    No, this is not a question of instinct. It is a moral question, and a proper answer requires a measure of moral thought and reasoning, regardless of the answer at which one arrives. Those who answer in the affirmative generally speak from a morality that places the bonds of kinship and close communion above the bonds of mere humanity; my own morality emphatically makes this distinction. Those who have answered in the negative seem to be generally speaking from a morality that makes all bonds equal, and rejects the distinction between family member and perfect stranger. We may be articulating different moral perspectives and philosophies, but the responses I have read here are definitely articulating moral reasoning and rational thought.

  8. #108
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    Re: Would You Utilize Torture to Save a Life?

    Quote Originally Posted by celticlord View Post

    Additionally, I would argue that the scenario posed could not entertain instinctive response, simply because to engage in the action proposed--that of torture--is to cogitate, calculate, and rationally think about how best to inflict pain, cause distress, and generally inflict suffering. Torture may be good or evil, but it I do not see it as ever being instinctive.
    One of my problems is that "they" calculate, cogitate, and rationally think about how to go about torturing
    The Op's assume
    The hypothetical assumes said person is a murderous thug who is directly responsible for endangering your family.
    Came to me as "if you don't act now, then your family will be harmed or murdered". I might be caught up on the usage of "Endanger", which invokes urgency; as the "Endangered Species List" immediately grants certain animals rights because they are at risk-- Urgency.

    Also, there is a large difference between those who "torture" and those who shout and light someone's balls on fire. I agree that "torture" on the scale of the CIA, etc. requires rationalization.
    I am not trained in torturing. We might be having problems with the term "torture" as well, as I do no believe me harming another for answers is torture, really.


    No, this is not a question of instinct. It is a moral question, and a proper answer requires a measure of moral thought and reasoning, regardless of the answer at which one arrives. Those who answer in the affirmative generally speak from a morality that places the bonds of kinship and close communion above the bonds of mere humanity; my own morality emphatically makes this distinction. Those who have answered in the negative seem to be generally speaking from a morality that makes all bonds equal, and rejects the distinction between family member and perfect stranger. We may be articulating different moral perspectives and philosophies, but the responses I have read here are definitely articulating moral reasoning and rational thought.


    The rationality appears to be in the method; the Christian may have rationalized the act of prayer, without necessarily being able to rationalize Christianity.

    I am not getting the immorality of not being able to distinguish between stranger and family member. I think morals were put in place to defend ourselves against everyone, including family members and strangers. Thus, In this case I do not see it being immoral distinguish.
    "I do not underestimate the ability of fanatical groups of terrorists to kill and destroy, but they do not threaten the life of the nation. Whether we would survive Hitler hung in the balance, but there is no doubt that we shall survive al-Qa'ida." -- Lord Hoffmann

  9. #109
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    Re: Would You Utilize Torture to Save a Life?

    Quote Originally Posted by UtahBill View Post
    "Morality is an unstable commodity in international relations." author John Toland....

    anyone trying to inject morals into an issue where one side clearly has none is wasting their time. If bad people inflict pain and misery on your loved ones, and continues to do so, and the only way to make it stop is to inflict pain and misery on one of their agents, the definition of morals becomes VERY ambiguous....
    IMO, we would be morally remiss if we withhold torture as a tool to get the information we need...
    Morality is always unstable, this does not mean one should completely abandon it.

    One certainly should not abandon it just because he classifies the enemy as having none. Not only is morality as much about how these acts will effect him and his society but it is a very dangerous path to declare someone an "enemy" and therefore beyond all any sort of boundaries or restrictions in what can be done with them.

    I think people need to abandon these simplistic ideas on morality, stop trying to excuse doing any to someone just because they are your enemy and go and read Shakespeare, the best tool for morality and its very difficult application in the real world you will find.
    Last edited by Wessexman; 04-25-09 at 08:33 PM.
    "It is written in the eternal constitution that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters." - Edmund Burke

  10. #110
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    Re: Would You Utilize Torture to Save a Life?

    Quote Originally Posted by celticlord View Post

    No, this is not a question of instinct. It is a moral question, and a proper answer requires a measure of moral thought and reasoning, regardless of the answer at which one arrives.
    It is a simplistic, abstract question that has little bearing on the realities of moral problems. There is very little that such questions can teach us, particularly one's so extreme.

    It is beyond the realms of most people's experience and we can say what we feel we would do, as I have, but in the end words are wind when they are in so abstract a realm.
    "It is written in the eternal constitution that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters." - Edmund Burke

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