November 6, 2010

IT DOESN'T REALLY SEEM LIKE YOU'D NEED TO USE COERCION...:

Does torture work?: Debates about the ethics of torture are all very well, but does it even work in the first place? (Martin Robbins, 4 November 2010, The Guardian)

But enough anecdotes, let's look at the science. Why wouldn't torture be effective? Actually there are many reasons. Let's assume that we have the right guy, and that he does in fact know the information that we need. All we need to do is beat it out of him, right?

Well, no. Suppose I start beating you around the head, demanding that you tell me that Justin Bieber is in fact a supremely talented artist. Eventually, although it may take several days of torture to get there, you'll tell me what I want to hear, but that doesn't make it true.


...to elicit opinions from these guys. But the fact that the author felt compelled to switch from considering whether you can effectively use torture to obtain a discrete fact to whether the tortured might change his mind about a pop singer gives away the game.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at November 6, 2010 6:04 AM
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