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Interesting Cafferty File
05-01-2009, 03:03 PM
Post: #1
Interesting Cafferty File
There's an interesting question over at CNN's Cafferty File right now.

Basically, in America, the more often someone goes to church the more likely they are to support the government-sponsored torture that occurred under the Bush administration. Jack Cafferty asks why, and I ask why as well. Why do those who go to church more tend to condone torture?
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05-02-2009, 07:12 AM
Post: #2
RE: Interesting Cafferty File
Because the war is a modern crusade.
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05-03-2009, 08:10 AM
Post: #3
RE: Interesting Cafferty File
Does this survey mean that Christians become crueller the more they are exposed to Biblical teachings?

I can't think why really..

http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/says_a...rture.html
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05-03-2009, 09:57 PM (This post was last modified: 05-03-2009 10:11 PM by clarence clutterbuck.)
Post: #4
RE: Interesting Cafferty File
In principle, I am of the opinion that torture is barbaric and not a good idea, but in pondering this phenomenon of elevated torture support in the US Christian population, I stumbled on an article by the atheist writer, Sam Harris called "In Defence of Torture", which gave food for thought. He outlines a "ticking time bomb" scenario that would surely cause any but the most bone headedly committed idealist to cheerily approve a spot of waterboarding, and perhaps even to lend a hand in filling the water bottle..

Sam Harris Wrote:Imagine that a known terrorist has planted a bomb in the heart of a nearby city. He now sits in your custody. Rather than conceal his guilt, he gloats about the forthcoming explosion and the magnitude of human suffering it will cause. Given this state of affairs—in particular, given that there is still time to prevent an imminent atrocity—it seems that subjecting this unpleasant fellow to torture may be justifiable. For those who make it their business to debate the ethics of torture this is known as the “ticking-bomb” case.

While the most realistic version of the ticking bomb case may not persuade everyone that torture is ethically acceptable, adding further embellishments seems to awaken the Grand Inquisitor in most of us. If a conventional explosion doesn’t move you, consider a nuclear bomb hidden in midtown Manhattan. If bombs seem too impersonal an evil, picture your seven-year-old daughter being slowly asphyxiated in a warehouse just five minutes away, while the man in your custody holds the keys to her release. If your daughter won’t tip the scales, then add the daughters of every couple for a thousand miles—millions of little girls have, by some perverse negligence on the part of our government, come under the control of an evil genius who now sits before you in shackles. Clearly, the consequences of one person’s uncooperativeness can be made so grave, and his malevolence and culpability so transparent, as to stir even a self-hating moral relativist from his dogmatic slumbers.

I don't have any daughters, but managed to empathise myself into Harris' hypothetical scenario by imagining my beautiful twelve year old niece being asphyxiated in the warehouse, and it wasn't long before I began to derive self righteous satisfaction from the image of myself playing a deftly manipulated blowtorch around the kidnapper's nether regions in order to elicit essential information.

I know, it isn't Big or Clever..

Harris makes another point in his article - that the euphemistically described, "collateral damage", that America imposes on the innocent civilian population by its missile attacks on targets in countries like Iraq, is in itself a form of torture. It's worth reading the whole article for a full appreciation of his argument.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sam-harris..._8993.html
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05-03-2009, 10:45 PM
Post: #5
RE: Interesting Cafferty File
I completely agree, Clarence. Quite honestly, if my beloved were being asphyxiated in a warehouse, I'd use any means possible to get that information.

But THEN, I would turn myself in, and be tried for my crimes. There is always the vigilante's reasoning for rising above the law. Sometimes we may even sympathize with those reasons. Sometimes those reasons may save lives. But the law cannot distinguish. The consequences of doing so are far too great. The law cannot realistically set a hard limit on what point torture becomes acceptable. I think we can agree (most of us, at least,) that it's not acceptable for casual information. What if it will help a military operation? What if someone may be injured? What if their life is at stake? What about ten lives? A hundred? At what point does it become all right?

The law quite simply cannot tell us that. The law does not speak in such specific terms. And so the law can either make it all legal, or make it all illegal. I would love to think that we could trust our government to let torture be legal, knowing they would only use it when absolutely necessary, but the previous administration proved that's unrealistic. That being the case . . . best we make it illegal. And best we prosecute anyone who violates that law, even if by doing so they save lives.

It's not perfect, but it's the only way the law can operate, and the alternative is unacceptable.
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05-04-2009, 04:55 PM
Post: #6
RE: Interesting Cafferty File
I would say that overall I am against torture. After reading that article though it does make me think. It seems like maybe there are certain times when torture could be justified. But where would you draw the line?

(05-03-2009 10:45 PM)GTseng3 Wrote:  It's not perfect, but it's the only way the law can operate, and the alternative is unacceptable.

The law doesn't operate only in extremes. Murder, for example, isn't simply against the law in black and white, there are greys. There are different levels of it, 1st degree, 2nd degree, man slaughter, etc. You may even be able to get away with murder if you have a good reason for it, like self defense.

I do agree that it would probably be very difficult to regulate if they were to use it only for certain cases. It might be better to just not do it at all even if there are cases it might be better to do it.

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