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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26009 Posts

Posted - 08/11/2008 :  22:35:07   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Starman

Your claim is that this extra "tool" is of no value.
Please support it!
So if I were to claim that having the interrogators watch cartoons is an extra "tool" for information gathering purposes, I would have to support a claim that that "tool" is worthless?

How about forcing suspects to play Chess? I would have to provide evidence that that does not help gather military information?

Anything can be called a "tool" for interrogation. Anything. It is up to the proponents of such "tools" to provide evidence of their efficacy.

This is the same as for alternative medicine or any other notion. The basic formulation is "X does Y." Since anyone can randomly supply words for X and Y, it is up to them to show that X really does Y, because otherwise we would have to assume a mountain of claims are true until demonstrated to be false. Here is a sampling of possible Xs and Ys:

Tea leaves do predict the future.
Gasoline does cure hernias.
Torture does provide useful information.
Sparrow droppings do have twice normal gravity.
Laughing does detect ghosts.

Asking someone to support the claim that torture does not provide useful information is no different from asking someone to support the claim that ghosts cannot be detected through laughing (and thus assuming that ghosts can be so detected until disproven).

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
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Starman
SFN Regular

Sweden
1613 Posts

Posted - 08/12/2008 :  02:37:00   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Starman a Private Message  Reply with Quote
An interrogation is an attempt to break the victim's resistance and to make him/her reveal information that he/she does not want to reveal. Torture is one of the possible tools to achieve this. Torture is used in many places and has been used frequently through history. This of course does not make it effective but unlike your examples it is relevant to the subject.


I could make the claim that torture does work (I have not) and then I would have to support it.

The claim here is still that torture does not work. Please support it or state your inability to do so!


So, do I claim that it does work? I can't claim that it does as fortunately I have no personal experience.

I'm sure that a skilled interrogator can break most people's resistance without resorting to torture, but I'm also pretty sure that the same interrogator will be even more effective (and able to break even more resilient people) if he/she is able to use torture.
I believe that I personally would break both faster and more easily during interrogation if I were subject to or threatened with “extreme interrogation tactics”, but luckily this is only my belief.


If you say that torture does not work because it might lead to false confessions, you can also say that torture free interrogation does not work as it also might lead to false confessions.
If the victim is innocent or don't have the information the use or non use of torture will of course not change that. Any confession or information received might be false in either way.


Why resort to wishful thinking and poor logic when the ethical aspects of torture are good enough reasons to oppose it?
Edited by - Starman on 08/12/2008 02:37:54
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26009 Posts

Posted - 08/12/2008 :  07:45:29   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Starman

An interrogation is an attempt to break the victim's resistance and to make him/her reveal information that he/she does not want to reveal. Torture is one of the possible tools to achieve this. Torture is used in many places and has been used frequently through history. This of course does not make it effective but unlike your examples it is relevant to the subject.
Only if you're willing to grant that acupuncture "works" because lots of people have used it for a long time. Arguments from antiquity and popularity simply don't cut it.
I could make the claim that torture does work (I have not) and then I would have to support it.
I'm not asking you to support it, I'm asking the people who think it works to support it.
The claim here is still that torture does not work. Please support it or state your inability to do so!
I don't even ask the people who claim that evolutionary theory is bunk to support such a claim unless they also claim to have evidence that evolutionary theory is flawed. It's up to the people making claims of efficacy to support them, because (as I said) there are an infinite number of possible claims. Their negations are the default.
So, do I claim that it does work? I can't claim that it does as fortunately I have no personal experience.
Personal experience is also worthless. Experimental evidence should be the standard.
I'm sure that a skilled interrogator can break most people's resistance without resorting to torture, but I'm also pretty sure that the same interrogator will be even more effective (and able to break even more resilient people) if he/she is able to use torture.
I believe that I personally would break both faster and more easily during interrogation if I were subject to or threatened with “extreme interrogation tactics”, but luckily this is only my belief.
Well, you obviously think that your beliefs are true, but upon what evidence have you based your personal conclusions? Fallacious arguments from popularity and antiquity, coupled with your own hypothetical fear? "I'm pretty sure" is a tentative truth claim.
If you say that torture does not work because it might lead to false confessions, you can also say that torture free interrogation does not work as it also might lead to false confessions.
If the victim is innocent or don't have the information the use or non use of torture will of course not change that. Any confession or information received might be false in either way.
I'm saying that until there is evidence to support the notion that the use of torture increases the proportion of useful, correct information gleaned by interrogators, then there is no reason to think that it does. That there will be false confessions either way is irrelevant, what's important is the percentage of false information gathered, and whether it is lower when torture is used than when it is not.
Why resort to wishful thinking and poor logic when the ethical aspects of torture are good enough reasons to oppose it?
The good logic to reject torture on the grounds that it lacks evidence of effic

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
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Starman
SFN Regular

Sweden
1613 Posts

Posted - 08/12/2008 :  13:33:32   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Starman a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Wow, this is quite an impressive list of fallacies, Dave W.
Misrepresenting my argument, red herrings, shifting the burden and moving the goal posts. (Did I miss any other fallacies?)

The bottom line is that you still are unable to provide any support for the claim that "Torture does not work".


I could explain why I, with the knowledge I have of interrogation techniques, law and my self, have come to the conclusion that I would probably break easier in an interrogation where I could be subjected to torture. But why bother?

"You cant reason someone out of a some thing they didnt reason into".
But then of course I have not seen proper support for that claim either....

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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 08/12/2008 :  14:03:26   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Starman said:
The bottom line is that you still are unable to provide any support for the claim that "Torture does not work".

No one is required to provide evidence to support that assertion.

However, anyone who is making the converse (and positive) assertion that torture works is required to provide evidence.

Also:

With all the examples of human torture we have in history to call upon, it is not unreasonable to say that torture does not work for the purpose of extracting useful information that a determined subject wishes to hide. I know of no documented cases where this has happened.

We can also say that torture works just fine, to elicit false confessions, religious conversions, and other thing.

However, I will agree with you that we need no further justification to "not torture" people. The act of inflicting such harm on another human being, for any reason, is abhorrent.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26009 Posts

Posted - 08/12/2008 :  14:18:20   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Starman, I explained to you why it is unreasonable to demand evidence for the claim "torture does not work," and I explained that your use of the logical fallacies of arguing from popularity and antiquity are uncompelling.

I see you could not return the favor, and so you just blurt out that I've misrepresented your argument, used red herrings, shifted the burden of proof (which belonged to the "torture works" group in the first place) and moved goal posts without pointing to a single instance where I have done any of that or explaining why what I said was wrong.

To put the icing on the cake, your "But why bother" indicates that you think I'm my anti-torture biases cannot be overcome, but I would submit to you that you haven't even tried (because insisting that I have some burden to disprove something which has never been demonstrated effective is a non-starter, you may as well have asked me to disprove homeopathy).

You're correct about "you can't reason someone out of a some thing they didnt reason into," though. I think it's a feel-good mantra we skeptics fall back on when someone is particularly resistant to reason, and we have given up trying. It's an "it's not my fault, it's his fault" kind of self-forgiveness that we all can really do without, especially since it's equally valid from any viewpoint.

But because you brought it up (clearly as an insult), and you used a yawnie, it seems to me that you have given up, and won't be further trying to browbeat me into providing evidence in favor of accepting a null hypothesis, a demand little different from "prove that God does not exist." For that, I thank you.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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Siberia
SFN Addict

Brazil
2322 Posts

Posted - 08/12/2008 :  15:23:49   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Siberia's Homepage  Send Siberia an AOL message  Send Siberia a Yahoo! Message Send Siberia a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Mycroft

Originally posted by Siberia
Ah, but you can minimize the amount of dishonorable things you do, can you not? You can kill someone with a bullet in the head efficiently, since you're so inclined to use that word, and relatively painlessly, or you can slice someone open and draw out the kill for a long time. The end is the same: person's dead.


Well, I certainly think you can minimize the amount of dishonorable things to do, that's a good thing. At the same time, if you must go to war, it's important to do your best to win.

Win at any cost, then? What if the best method to win a battle - an absurd hypothesis, granted, but work with me here - is to sacrifice the very people you're fighting for?

Originally posted by Siberia
I am admittedly unlearned in the ways of interrogation, so I do not know what interrogators may deem necessary. Nonetheless, I find very hard to believe the only efficient way to do it, as you said, is by sleep deprivation and other needless methods that seem - to my uncultured self - rather like the drawn-out kill: a method of indulging one's sadistic streak, perhaps under the excuse of 'necessary'.

But then, what do I know.


I think it's possible that methods unsuitable in general may be suitable in specific situations, and that it might even be possible to develop a set of rules, procedures and oversight so that such methods might be available if necessary yet still not over-used.
[/quote]
Ah, but specific situations are just that - specific. And we're talking about people here; people vary. How can we be sure that this particular method will be useful in one situation and not another; how can we guarantee it won't be abused? How do we even know it was necessary in the first place? In this case, an error can be too late. You can torture an innocent person, for instance, and you can't un-torture that person, much as you can't un-kill a potential innocent sentenced to death. Even if the person isn't innocent, it may be that the person really does not know more than it's willing to tell. You'd have tortured someone for nothing, then.

Me? I don't think it's worth the risk. I can't see a situation where torture is both acceptable and useful.

"Why are you afraid of something you're not even sure exists?"
- The Kovenant, Via Negativa

"People who don't like their beliefs being laughed at shouldn't have such funny beliefs."
-- unknown
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9677 Posts

Posted - 08/12/2008 :  16:12:02   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dave and Dude, I think you're missing an important point that Starman tried to make:

Torture works and is effective in breaking down the prisoner. I do not doubt that for a second. A waterboarded person will never be the same again.

However, having a broken down prisoner does not guarantee that he will be able to provide the information you want. Those are two separate issues.


Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
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"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 08/12/2008 :  17:08:10   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Mab said:
Dave and Dude, I think you're missing an important point that Starman tried to make:

Torture works and is effective in breaking down the prisoner. I do not doubt that for a second. A waterboarded person will never be the same again.

However, having a broken down prisoner does not guarantee that he will be able to provide the information you want. Those are two separate issues.

I don't think anyone is saying that torture doesn't effect people in that way.

The point, however, is about producing useful data. There is no info, that I am aware of, that indicates torture has ever produced useful data.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26009 Posts

Posted - 08/12/2008 :  18:12:08   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dr. Mabuse

Dave and Dude, I think you're missing an important point that Starman tried to make:

Torture works and is effective in breaking down the prisoner. I do not doubt that for a second. A waterboarded person will never be the same again.

However, having a broken down prisoner does not guarantee that he will be able to provide the information you want. Those are two separate issues.
It's exactly the same issue. The "works" part of "torture works" means that more useful information is provided than when torture is not used. There's no reason to create "broken down" prisoners otherwise.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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