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

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Thread: Would You Utilize Torture to Save a Life?

  1. #371
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    Re: Would You Utilize Torture to Save a Life?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ethereal View Post
    This hypothetical scenario is an attempt to gauge one's moral position on torture. It is not meant to elicit idiotic references to the television show 24. That a hypothetical is unlikely to occur is irrelevant - they are intended to subject our moral suppositions to scrutiny by forcing us to make a choice. Having said that, please answer the question with a YES or NO answer followed by an explanation.

    If you had to brutally torture a person in order to save the lives of your family, would you do it?

    The hypothetical assumes said person is a murderous thug who is directly responsible for endangering your family.


    Answer: Yes.

    Explanation: Because I hold the lives of my family in a higher regard than murderous thugs.



    It looks like 44 torture photos are going to be released this month.


    Obama to release interrogation photos - UPI.com


    Talking about torture and seeing/doing it are two different things. I'm curious what affect the release of the photos will have on people's perspectives.

    Guess we'll find out on the 28th.



    I would chat with her when I'm feeling particularly snarky, but I wouldn't ever call her on the phone.

  2. #372
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    Re: Would You Utilize Torture to Save a Life?

    Quote Originally Posted by Goshin View Post
    Yes. I saw the debate moving in that direction and thought it a more intresting subject to address. However, I note that you didn't exactly answer my question: if it were up to you, would you allow me to live by my principles? One of which is defending myself and those I care about with such force as is necessary, up to and including lethal force? Or if you could take that choice from me by law, (gun banning for instance), would you do so?
    Your principles are part of the current design. I could not stop you. I could ask it of you and appeal to you with reason. But I would or could not force people into a society that by force or violent revolution. Gun banning as a course of action could happen. I would ban guns but that is not really the type of gun banning you are referring too. You are entitled to defend yourself. If for you that means a gun than as long as it is within the bounds of laws that we have today you may have one. I hope that makes the point clear.
    I do not mean to be patronizing, but this is very naive. The leaders I mentioned were not dissuaded by the deaths of millions of innocents, nor were their followers. People who are willing to be passive resisters and not only die themselves, but watch their friends, family, siblings, children and parents die, without submitting and without using lethal force in self-defense, are rare. A good many say they would, but in my experience most are engaging in self-delusion. Regrettably I've found that many self-identified "pacifists" or war protesters are far from being truly peaceful. (present company excepted, I hope.)
    I am against violence pure and simple. I have said that I would defend myself if attack. I would not use a weapon such as a gun ever. I also would not cooperate with an attacker. I would not be lead off like a sheep to be slaughtered. I would fight that yes. I would not take a life. I see no reason to. I have seen non violent protesters burn down buildings and throw rocks through police car windows. I hardly call that non violent. If someone is apt to get injured by said demonstration it is not worth doing.

    Ma'am, I consider that to be part of the problem... you have a vision, but your vision is not reality as it exists or is ever likely to exist. "I don't expect people to be ready to live in my world today." Whew, that statement reveals a lot. There is only one world, and you and your commune are part of it, and probably could not exist in present form except that you are defended by non-pacifists. You also didn't answer my question about what would happen if all cops set aside their weapons today. Today, in the real world, not in some maybe-some-day fantasy world, please.
    I do have a vision. It is the driving force of any idea. It requires people to look and think beyond the bounds of what is. Example: One day there was no e mail. Someone had an idea. someone had the vision. someone built the chip. Then there was e mail.
    That is the process of evolutionary design. Idea, vision, process then change. It was a fantasy that in 1969 there was a riot at Stonewall Inn in NY. Now here we are in 2009 considering Same sex marriage. It was only in 1969 that you could be jailed for being gay or lesbian. The world changes and evolves everyday. Unless you were part of the walk toward change you don't realize that the next fantasy that will be reality is just around the corner.

    Perhaps you would propose some answers that fit into your pacifistic philosophy, if you can come up with any which would actually work in the real world as it exists today.
    First you need to change the way people think and that is through education. That changes everything. What we learn is what we do. Now it is in the American head that all things Muslim must be bad. That is asinine at it's core. That's where it has to begin in small steps.

    I am sincerely sorry that a policeman injured you. Cops are people too, and like any group of people there are some who are evil. The majority of cops I've known were truly concerned with protecting the innocent... and those were different times as well. That was your experience, allow me to relate one of my own:

    On the other side of the fence...I was once an Event Marshal in Washington DC, during a protest. On one side was a Veteran's group, on the other were various War Protest groups. There were thousands of screaming people; I and my comrades were in the middle, charged with keeping the peace. To be perfectly frank, I found the Vets to be much better behaved than the "pacifists". The war protesters hurled vile personal insults at the vets; had to be restrained from flinging balloons filled with excrement; indeed some of them seemed hell-bent on provoking the vets to attack them. I do not consider this a form of "pacifism" or "peace-making" or being "anti-war", but rather of hypocrisy.
    Were they pacifists or anti war protesters. A huge difference.
    I can agree with that yes your assessment is very good I would say that this being true I would believe you to be correct.


    The object of activism at it's core is reaction. If you do not or cannot provoke a response by what you are doing you do not escalate. You continue the protest as such. Apparently those in charge of the protest rally had very little control over the masses. That would make them very poor leaders and those types of leaders rise up through the ranks by violence. Stalin Mao Hitler in a sense. These all rose up through violence. Violence does not breed good leaders. It makes great dictators but leaders no.

    I ask you again, if that had been US policy during 1939-1945, what would have happened? Tens of millions more would have died, which I find unacceptable; and in the end those like Stalin, Hitler and company who were willing to butcher millions and millions would have ruled, and oppressed those who survived, and this is also unacceptable. Pacifism is a house of cards; if were not guarded by soldiers and police it would come tumbling down in a moment.
    The world is responsible for those leaders coming to the head of their states. Hitler rises to power because the European crush is on from the end of WWI. Germany could not breath. Hitler rose up and he did so by creating a demon and it was the Jew. When the European nations stop immigration for the Jews or charged Germany a fortune to take them. They force the Nazi's to camp them. Ghetto them Kill them. Something could have been done long before this became a problem.

    Stalin rose up out of the Revolution. I said that these brought bad leaders. Lenin, Then Trotsky would that be the same. Trotsky was he like Stalin. Stalin had the military at his beckon call. Help from the world may have staved off much of the problem. It is hard to create a revisionist or if history.

    Regrettably, it is no surprise to me to hear someone self-labeled "very liberal" profess America as the enemy. I sincerely hope you never have to find out, personally and first-hand, how bad the real enemy can be.

    G.
    When we practice the tactics of our enemy such as torture are we not the enemy within ourselves. When people justify the tactics they detest as good and right. They have become the enemy. We were not the enemy. We look in the mirror and become the enemy.
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  3. #373
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    Re: Would You Utilize Torture to Save a Life?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ethereal View Post
    Not all moral analysis needs to be an exercise in complexity. You just enjoy bandying about the term simplistic, as if it actually meant something.
    Did I not explain what it meant in several detailed posts at the beginning of the thread? Please don't make dismissive comments like that, it is not conducive to propert debate.

    It is simplistic because it posits a simple, implausible situations rather than a complex, multi-faceted one as real life and real exploration of morality requires. Morality as such is always part of life and life is complicated, these kind of scenarios particularly so implausible ones reveal little of most of its aspects in any useful way.

    But, no someone should have told Plutarch he was wrong, his detailed lives in which he tried to show moral problems through the complex lives of the famous and infamous was a waste of time he would have revealed more with a few simple, implausible scenario's as Ethereal has discovered and of course those foolish religions with their complex scriptures and mythology with which they come to their ethical precepts what were they thinking of, how wrong could they have been as "Ethereal the Wise" has shown.


    Oh, because you say so...I forgot that crucial point. Never mind the fact that my hypothetical has spawned a complex moral debate on the justification for violence.
    Has it? Really? I must have missed that. The only discussion it spawned seemed to be after people acknowledged it was a rather meaningless scenario.



    Then feel free to debate the substance of the issue instead of annoying me with your incessant nit-picking.
    I did debate it.
    "It is written in the eternal constitution that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters." - Edmund Burke

  4. #374
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    Re: Would You Utilize Torture to Save a Life?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wessexman View Post
    Did I not explain what it meant in several detailed posts at the beginning of the thread? Please don't make dismissive comments like that, it is not conducive to propert debate.

    It is simplistic because it posits a simple, implausible situations rather than a complex, multi-faceted one as real life and real exploration of morality requires. Morality as such is always part of life and life is complicated, these kind of scenarios particularly so implausible ones reveal little of most of its aspects in any useful way.
    Says you. I disagree that a worthwhile moral analysis cannot arise from a simple or implausible premise.

    But, no someone should have told Plutarch he was wrong, his detailed lives in which he tried to show moral problems through the complex lives of the famous and infamous was a waste of time he would have revealed more with a few simple, implausible scenario's as Ethereal has discovered and of course those foolish religions with their complex scriptures and mythology with which they come to their ethical precepts what were they thinking of, how wrong could they have been as "Ethereal the Wise" has shown.
    Irrelevant tangent.

    Has it? Really? I must have missed that. The only discussion it spawned seemed to be after people acknowledged it was a rather meaningless scenario.
    Yes, we all understand. It's meaningless because it's simplistic, and it's simplistic because it's meaningless. Very good.

    I did debate it.
    You've debated nothing. Instead, you've chosen to fixate upon my hypothetical, ignoring the moral quandary it poses and the discussions it yielded. Your only objection seems to be that Plutarch didn't posit it, oh, and that it's simplistic, as if nothing worthwhile could arise from a simplistic premise.

    DP Member: There is no God...discuss!

    Wessexman: That's a simplistic statement! Nothing worthwhile can come of it. Accommodate me!

  5. #375
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    Re: Would You Utilize Torture to Save a Life?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ethereal View Post
    Says you. I disagree that a worthwhile moral analysis cannot arise from a simple or implausible premise.
    And yet you don't point out why. If life is something complex then how can morality, when one is trying to show the real-life dilemmas, be shown in any simple scenario?

    Take this scenario, what is achieved by it? All I can see is that it shows most of us, from the comfort of our desks, would say we would probably torture in that extreme scenario. I do not see what can be directly taken away from or really used for any kind further analysis.


    Irrelevant tangent.
    Not really, you seem to be condemning all worthwhile more complex analysis to the waste-paper bin.
    Yes, we all understand. It's meaningless because it's simplistic, and it's simplistic because it's meaningless. Very good.
    How was that the argument in that passage?



    You've debated nothing. Instead, you've chosen to fixate upon my hypothetical, ignoring the moral quandary it poses and the discussions it yielded. Your only objection seems to be that Plutarch didn't posit it, oh, and that it's simplistic, as if nothing worthwhile could arise from a simplistic premise.
    Did you not read my past posts at the beginning? Because they were reasonably detailed. You took no notice and then when I reiterate my points more succinctly later you still ignore most of it and hone into a few words.What worthwhile has come from this simplistic scenario? (And it is not a premise but a scenario.).

    DP Member: There is no God...discuss!

    Wessexman: That's a simplistic statement! Nothing worthwhile can come of it. Accommodate me!
    Last edited by Wessexman; 05-13-09 at 02:26 AM.
    "It is written in the eternal constitution that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters." - Edmund Burke

  6. #376
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    Re: Would You Utilize Torture to Save a Life?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wessexman View Post
    And yet you don't point out why. If life is something complex then how can morality, when one is trying to show the real-life dilemmas, be shown in any simple scenario?
    Analyzing something complex through a simple prism is an elegant way to isolate and enlarge its fundamental aspects. This hypothetical was able to afford us two observations from which to make inferences:

    Observation #1: Most people can contrive a justification for "torture".
    Observation #2: Some people will reject "torture" even when it is morally justified.

    Take this scenario, what is achieved by it? All I can see is that is shows most of us, from the comfort of our desks, would say we would probably torture in that extreme scenario. I do not see what can be directly taken away from or really used for any kind further analysis.
    That's because you insist on being obtuse. The fact that most people at the DP can contrive a justification for "torture" is compelling and intriguing. The fact that some people will reject "torture" even when it is morally justified is compelling and intriguing. I would like to discuss these things, but for some reason I'm arguing with you about nothing relevant.

    Not really, you seem to be condemning all worthwhile more complex analysis to the waste-paper bin.
    I seem to be, or I am?

    How was that the argument in that passage?
    You say my hypothetical is worthless because it is simplistic, yet you haven't expanded upon this except to say that something complex can never be effectively viewed through a simple prism. Why must ALL things complex ALWAYS be viewed through a complex prism, besides the obvious fact that you say so?

    Did you not read my past posts at the beginning? Because they were reasonably detailed. You took no notice and then when I reiterate my points more succinctly later you still ignore most of it and hone into a few words. What worthwhile has come from this simplistic scenario? (And it is not a premise but a scenario.).

    Your earlier posts are just as irrelevant and self-serving as your recent ones. I'd like to discuss the topic instead of resisting your efforts to insert an intellectual wedge into our dialogue.

  7. #377
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    Re: Would You Utilize Torture to Save a Life?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ethereal View Post
    Analyzing something complex through a simple prism is an elegant way to isolate and enlarge its fundamental aspects. This hypothetical was able to afford us two observations from which to make inferences:

    Observation #1: Most people can contrive a justification for "torture".
    Observation #2: Some people will reject "torture" even when it is morally justified.
    How does this isolate any of the fundamental aspects of morality? It has told us simply that many people, from their desks, say they would torture in such a scenario. Hardly a profound discovery.


    That's because you insist on being obtuse. The fact that most people at the DP can contrive a justification for "torture" is compelling and intriguing. The fact that some people will reject "torture" even when it is morally justified is compelling and intriguing. I would like to discuss these things, but for some reason I'm arguing with you about nothing relevant.
    And what do you take away from these "compelling" new pieces of information.

    You say my hypothetical is worthless because it is simplistic, yet you haven't expanded upon this except to say that something complex can never be effectively viewed through a simple prism. Why must ALL things complex ALWAYS be viewed through a complex prism, besides the obvious fact that you say so?
    Firstly I don't have to, you have not given me anything concrete to take away from your "discoveries". How does this help in the complexities of modern life?

    They can be simple but not simplistic, they must reveal something that is at least useful in some way for real life morality. A simple prism would allow you to reveal fundamentals that can then be applied to more complex prisms in order to draw more helpful and realistic conclusions. A simplistic one would most defy this broader application. This scenario seems to be the latter because there seems to be no useful way of refining it further and adding some complexity to make it useful for real-life morality. Anything that could be gathered from it is pretty much a simple truism anyway such as many people will go quite far to protect their families that does not require said scenario.

    Maybe I'm wrong but I haven't seen you show how it can used for further analysis.
    Your earlier posts are just as irrelevant and self-serving as your recent ones. I'd like to discuss the topic instead of resisting your efforts to insert an intellectual wedge into our dialogue.
    Is there any need for these dismissive attacks that do not even pretend to draw any kind of accuracy from what was actually in my posts? Or is it meant to hide what you consider a hole in your arguments.
    Last edited by Wessexman; 05-13-09 at 03:13 AM.
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  8. #378
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    Re: Would You Utilize Torture to Save a Life?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wessexman View Post
    How does this isolate any of the fundamental aspects of morality? It has told us simply that many people, from their desks, say they would torture in such a scenario. Hardly a profound discovery.
    I'm not trying to be profound. I'm simply trying to demonstrate the following:

    1. Most people can contrive a justification for torture.
    2. Some people will reject torture even when it is morally justified.

    If neither of these things represents a moral complexity for you, then I cannot help you any further.

    And what do you take away from these "compelling" new pieces of information.
    1. Torture is not categorically immoral, and the "morality" of torture is dependent upon circumstance. The question then arises, under what circumstances is it acceptable? This question is a relevant inquiry and a logical extension of my hypothetical.

    2. Some people cannot approach this issue with consistency.

    Firstly I don't have to, you have not given me anything concrete to take away from your "discoveries". How does this help in the complexities of modern life?
    Figure it out for yourself. Apparently, I cannot explain it to you.

    They can be simple but not simplistic, they must reveal something that is at least useful in some way for real life morality. A simple prism would allow you to reveal fundamentals that can then be applied to more complex prisms in order to draw more helpful and realistic conclusions. A simplistic one would most defy this broader application. This scenario seems to be the latter because there seems to be no useful way of refining it further and adding some complexity to make it useful for real-life morality. Anything that could be gathered from it is pretty much a simple truism anyway such as many people will go quite far to protect their families that does not require said scenario.

    Maybe I'm wrong but I haven't seen you show how it can used for further analysis.

    Is there any need for these dismissive attacks that do not even pretend to draw any kind of accuracy from what was actually in my posts? Or is it meant to hide what you consider a hole in your arguments.
    It's painfully obvious this conversation will yield nothing positive or substantive. You will not be convinced that my hypothetical has worth and I will not be convinced it is without worth. If you wish to discuss something else, I'll be happy to accommodate you.

  9. #379
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    Re: Would You Utilize Torture to Save a Life?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ethereal View Post
    1. Torture is not categorically immoral, and the "morality" of torture is dependent upon circumstance. The question then arises, under what circumstances is it acceptable? This question is a relevant inquiry and a logical extension of my hypothetical.
    This seems like an obvious truism one does require the scenario for. As you situation is extreme and highly implausible though exacly how it helps us move forwsrd from this position I'm unsure of.





    Figure it out for yourself. Apparently, I cannot explain it to you.
    Indeed.

    It's painfully obvious this conversation will yield nothing positive or substantive. You will not be convinced that my hypothetical has worth and I will not be convinced it is without worth. If you wish to discuss something else, I'll be happy to accommodate you.
    All I'm aksing is what trivial thing can we take away from this scenario for use in real-life complex moral situations?
    "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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    Re: Would You Utilize Torture to Save a Life?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wessexman View Post
    This seems like an obvious truism one does require the scenario for.
    The previous discussions concerning "torture" would suggest said truism is anything but obvious. Many people made absolutist statements regarding the morality of torture and I sought to challenge such absolutism.

    As you situation is extreme and highly implausible though exacly how it helps us move forwsrd from this position I'm unsure of.
    Because it provides insight into the moral justifications for violence; it also gives us a window into the psyche.

    All I'm aksing is what trivial thing can we take away from this scenario for use in real-life complex moral situations?
    As I said, it permits us to analyze the moral justifications for torture specifically and violence in general; it also provides a window into the human psyche. If you cannot accept this then there is nothing else to be said.

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