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Go to: Why I’d Rather Not Speak About Torture

javb222's Avatar Jump to comment 100 by javb222

Comment 91 by sandman67 :

for a smart bloke Dr Sam can be incredibly stupid sometimes. Maybe its down to his academic goldfishbowl world he occupies day after day, or maybe that it is he is an American, a people who have made torture de riguer in the west.

Sam, when you take the step Hitch did and undergo waterboarding, I may actually pay more creedance to what your opinions are on torture. Till then they are the unqualified witterings of a pipe and slipper academic. Climb down from your ivory tower of academia and live a day in the real dirty pragmatic world......

Piss sir or get off the pot.

Let me assure you Sam that 5 minutes alone in a room with me and a modest toolkit will have you saying whatever I want you to, and unlike many I am happy and willing to teach you that lesson. I say that not because I am playing at being a hard man, but because I honestly believe your position as a face in the atheist rationalist movement is seriously compromised by your stance, that by association you have done all of us a disservice, and that you will only learn your error by experiencing something you seem to think is OK. It is a lesson that would leave both our persons demeaned and lessened in the process.

Torture has no value whatever, and by association demeans and soils all societies that permit it in any form whatsoever, whether it is waterboarding, physically beating confessions out of a victim, locking people up indefinitely in some offshore gulag, or mentally torturing some poor shmo like Bradley Manning by denying them sleep, dignity and human interaction.

May I suggest Sam that untill you have the stones to undergo torture yourself you shut the hell up, and revise that book as soon as possible.

If you wish in future to express and opinion on such a disgusting practice and condone it in any form, do so without dragging the rest of us down with you.

In summary... Sam Harris is an academic philosopher/neuroscientist and his position is politically embarrassing therefore he's wrong. Oh and you haven't been tortured like Hitch so your opinion doesn't count?

By the way, Hitchens admits that torture sometimes works and says that, I'm paraphrasing, this makes it a moral issue and not merely a practical one.

Sat, 30 Apr 2011 13:32:48 UTC | #621031

Go to: Why I’d Rather Not Speak About Torture

javb222's Avatar Jump to comment 94 by javb222

Comment 88 by Daz365 :

Comment 78 by Stevehill :

You're right. I should not dismiss him from my life forever.

Just until he says he was wrong and he's sorry.

Right now, every time he revisits the topic, it's to whine about how he's been misunderstood.

Absolutely right, he writes in this piece "I sincerely regret making this argument".

He should have followed this with 'I was wrong, sorry about that" and ended it there, however he goes on to say:

"Until someone actually points out what is wrong with the “ collateral damage argument” presented in The End of Faith."

O.K here goes:

Its bullshit, you could use the same argument to justify pulling a child’s eye out with a pair of pliers.

When he debates religion he is great to listen to, but on this point he just wrong and it’s a real shame that Sam can't seem to dig himself out of this dead end of an argument.

We know that a near certain consequence of aerial bombing will be the maiming of children. Do you at least accept that we should be much more morally outraged by bombing to be consistent with our repulsion at torture? If it's true that there are blind spots in our moral intuitions, it's extremely important that these should be discussed. It doesn't do any good to just voice the "yuck" reaction that "torture is worse than anything else, anyone who suggests otherwise should not be listened to".

Sat, 30 Apr 2011 13:10:43 UTC | #621017

Go to: Why I’d Rather Not Speak About Torture

javb222's Avatar Jump to comment 77 by javb222

RDfan, I think you would enjoy reading The Moral Landscape... If ethics is a concern for your own and others' suffering then there are objectively right and wrong ways to reduce it. The split in US opinion on abortion and the death penalty doesn't show that ethics isn't objective for the same reason splits on evolution don't show that biology isn't objective.

Sat, 30 Apr 2011 02:33:30 UTC | #620920

Go to: Why I’d Rather Not Speak About Torture

javb222's Avatar Jump to comment 49 by javb222

Sam Harris in the End of Faith makes the (disturbingly persuasive) argument that there is a moral equivalence between torturing and aerial bombing. Indeed, aerial bombing may be far worse:

What is the difference between pursuing a course of action where we run the risk of inadvertently subjecting some innocent men to torture, and pursuing one in which we will inadvertently kill far greater numbers of innocent men, women, and children? Rather, it seems obvious that the misapplication of torture should be far less troubling to us than collateral damage: there are, after all, no infants interned at Guantanamo Bay, just rather scrofulous young men, many of whom were caught in the very act of trying to kill our soldiers.

He points out that our intuitions have evolved such that we care about the wrong things.

It is possible that we are simply unequipped to rectify this disparity—to be, in Glover's terms, most shocked by what is most harmful. A biological rationale is not hard to find, as millions of years on the African veldt could not possibly have selected for an ability to make emotional sense of twenty-first-century horror. That our Paleolithic genes now have chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons at their disposal is, from the point of view of our evolution, little different from our having delivered this technology into the hands of chimps. The difference between killing one man and killing a thousand just doesn't seem as salient to us as it should. And, as Glover observes, in many cases we will find the former far more disturbing. Three million souls can be starved and murdered in the Congo, and our Argus-eyed media scarcely blink. When a princess dies in a car accident, however, a quarter of the earth's population falls prostrate with grief. Perhaps we are unable to feel what we must feel in order to change our world.

And concludes by saying that his conclusions are disturbing to him.

Paradoxically, this equivalence has not made the practice of torture seem any more acceptable to me; nor has it, I trust, for most readers.

I suggest people read it, it's very interesting and thought provoking. Chapter 6, End of Faith. Sometimes, conclusions are disturbing, it doesn't mean they are wrong. It is the reasoning that matters, which people like Stevehill seem to ignore in this case.

Fri, 29 Apr 2011 21:21:15 UTC | #620840

Go to: Why I’d Rather Not Speak About Torture

javb222's Avatar Jump to comment 31 by javb222

Comment 30 by skiles1 :

Comment 25 by superbeanson :

Wow- some really stupid comments above

Some people need to re-read the relevant passage in Sam's book. The man is not a torture 'accomodationist' and he does not need anyones 'forgiveness'

No lives were saved by torture, as Harris asserts. To the contrary: When the consequences of following bad information could mean a jet being hijacked elsewhere, or a bomb being detonated elsewhere, we don't have time for unreliable information. According to FBI research, that was entirely the case. Further more, we can't win a war against terrorism by becoming terrorists ourselves. To advance such a notion, especially while the war continued, is indefensible. Luckily Harris has my forgiveness, or he wouldn't have my support here.

Harris does not assert lives were saved by torture. What are you reading?

You have my forgiveness for asserting that Islam is the one true faith. Just kidding...

Fri, 29 Apr 2011 20:11:05 UTC | #620805

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