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The Morality of Torturing Muslims
Posted: 20 January 2008 01:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 46 ]  
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Antisocialdarwinist - 17 January 2008 09:48 PM

If Medieval Europe had had nuclear weapons, I think it’s safe to say we would be extinct.  Now, with Islam, we’re dealing with that same, Medieval European mentality.

What this is essentially saying is that the invention of nuclear weapons has made Islam untenable. There are obvious resonances with blaming the victim, insofar as Islam has failed to keep up with the horse-drawn cart behind which it is being dragged in leg irons.

You know, just two decades ago or so, the mujahedeen were being recruited to help put the left nut of the Soviet Union in a vise. How the fighty have mallen.

Yes, if the rest of the world’s thirst for mid-east oil has made the Islamic oligarchs too powerful for our own good, by all means, let us exterminate their “constituency”.

However, let us not tie ourselves in hypocritical knots trying to find “the moral high ground” in all this.

From the intentionally inflammatory post that launched this whole ridiculous thread:

Antisocialdarwinist - 15 January 2008 11:53 PM

Harris attributes our intuitive failing to “millions of years on the African veldt [which] could not possibly have selected for an ability to make emotional sense of twenty-first-century horror.”  Maybe so, maybe not.  Who’s to say whether such intuition is innate or learned?  The fact remains that most of us would probably agree that torture is morally unacceptable, while wartime collateral damage is.

Whether the “moral high ground” is virgin territory or has been ceded him by kings of old does not really matter. He still needs to convince us that he has a deed in his hand. What’s really going on is that ASD is planting a flag on a private island he has brought above water by draining his own lake.

Any excuse will serve a tyrant. When push comes to shove, ASD can simply say “It’s my civ” and he will defend it. The whole song and dance about “morality” is an elaborate marionette show.

It’s not “your civ”, ASD. We haven’t granted you the deed to it.

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Posted: 20 January 2008 03:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 47 ]  
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Antisocialdarwinist - 16 January 2008 01:17 PM

What makes you so certain torturing someone won’t change their mind?  I think the best you can say is that it might work.

Yeah, after all look at how well it succeeded during the Spanish Inquisition.

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Posted: 20 January 2008 03:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 48 ]  
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Antisocialdarwinist - 16 January 2008 06:30 PM

I’ll bet you’re a real hit at cocktail parties.

Salt Creek - 16 January 2008 01:25 PM

Or are you just trying, like I am, to keep yourself entertained while waiting for death?

Well, duh.

Salt Creek - 16 January 2008 01:25 PM

It’s not that I disagree with the assessment. It just seems you’d rather fulminate about your assumption than talk about something substantive, such as how Western Civ is actually “better” than Islam. I guess we know how, right? I just think you should be able to articulate it.

Do you really need convincing that Western Civ is “better” than Islam?  Or is it that you’d prefer to fulminate about that assumption, instead? 

But here, let me articulate for you why I think it is.  It’s easy enough:  because it’s my civ. 

Salt Creek - 16 January 2008 01:25 PM

Since you are so fond of the DA approach, I think you will have a chore articulating it, if you catch my drift. This is largely because your advocacy sometimes spans several ideologies simultaneously.

I’m just pressing you to make your position on Islamofascism consistent with your position on abortion or the rights of embryos.

“Simultaneously” seems unfair to me.  After all, the rights of embryos was a different thread.  And besides, embryos don’t pose the threat Islam does.  Unless they’re Muslim embryos.

Antisocialdarwinist - 16 January 2008 06:46 PM

Morality divorced from behavior is pointless.

Well, duh.

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Posted: 20 January 2008 03:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 49 ]  
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Antisocialdarwinist - 16 January 2008 01:17 PM

The difference between gassing Jewish children and torturing Muslims is that a) Jewish children were only future enemies of Germany insomuch as the Nazis were trying to exterminate them, whereas Muslims pose a threat to the West whether we torture them on not; and b) the threat Muslim terrorists pose to the West is more immediate than the threat Jewish children posed to Germany.

Why are you such a wuss?  Let’s kill all Muslims.  You admit that if we merely torture them it might not work, and then we wouldn’t have to deal with peace in the Middle East or a lot of other annoying things.

Islam is a terrorist factory.  As such, a pre-emptive strike against it is justified in the same way a pre-emptive strike against a Nazi munitions factory was justified.

There you go.

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Posted: 20 January 2008 04:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 50 ]  
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Antisocialdarwinist - 17 January 2008 09:48 PM
Unbeliever - 17 January 2008 03:39 PM

Unfortunately our post war society has been way too eager to shrug these people off as “evil” to actually learn something important from this tragedy. Until we acknowledge that any one of us could had been herding people into the gas chambers, had we been brought up there, and believed what they believed, we will never prevent it from happening again.

I agree with you there, 100%.  Although, as you say, we’re probably in the minority to hold this opinion.

I wonder if I’m in the minority to see the eyeball-ripping irony in this response.

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Posted: 20 January 2008 05:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 51 ]  
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camanintx - 20 January 2008 01:38 AM

I can assure you that my understanding of gun safety is quite adequate and apparently better than your comprehension skills. The question was not if each situation was moral or not but if they were morally equivalent. Two situations, same actions, different intent. Pointing a gun at someone whether you think it is loaded is certainly stupid, negligent and immoral, but does it equal the immorality of shooting to kill?

If your understanding of gun safety was as adequate as you claim, then you would realize every gun should be treated as if it was loaded.  Your two scenarios are morally equivalent because in both cases it must be assumed that the gun is loaded.

camanintx - 20 January 2008 01:38 AM

I believe morality is a useful social construct that allows us to coexist in groups of more than one. What about you?

Agreed, 100%.  Which is why I believe morality is best judged in the context of actions, not intentions.  What use is a morality based on intentions when actions determine whether we can coexist?  At least Unbeliever is consistent here:  As long as nothing useful is expected of morality, then basing it on intentions makes perfect sense.

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Posted: 20 January 2008 06:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 52 ]  
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M is for Malapert - 20 January 2008 08:56 PM

Why are you such a wuss?  Let’s kill all Muslims.

You can’t be serious.

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Do-gooding is like treating hemophilia—the real cure is to let hemophiliacs bleed to death, before they breed more hemophiliacs. -Robert Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

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Posted: 20 January 2008 08:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 53 ]  
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Antisocialdarwinist - 20 January 2008 11:37 PM
M is for Malapert - 20 January 2008 08:56 PM

Why are you such a wuss?  Let’s kill all Muslims.

You can’t be serious.

You should re-read that remark in context ASD, I think M’s comment, along with the “eyeball-ripping irony”, went over your head.

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Posted: 21 January 2008 12:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 54 ]  
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Antisocialdarwinist - 20 January 2008 11:37 PM

At least Unbeliever is consistent here:  As long as nothing useful is expected of morality, then basing it on intentions makes perfect sense.

Again, I never said that nothing useful is expected out of morality. What I am saying is that I don’t think you know what it is you call morality, nor can you know what is useful with it. Its an illusion because morality is not something as most people think, its a placeholder word.

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Posted: 21 January 2008 02:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 55 ]  
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Antisocialdarwinist - 20 January 2008 10:40 PM

If your understanding of gun safety was as adequate as you claim, then you would realize every gun should be treated as if it was loaded.  Your two scenarios are morally equivalent because in both cases it must be assumed that the gun is loaded.

Then why do we have different criminal standards for accidental shootings? A man who accidentally shoots someone is only charged with manslaughter. If there were any evidence that he intended to shoot him, wouldn’t he have been charged with murder? You do agree that criminal laws are just one way that societies enforce their moral standards? If intent is not relevant to morality, then why is motive so important to criminal prosecutions?

PS. I appreciate your concerns about my competency with firearms, but my level of knowledge on the subject, while adequate, is not relevant to the discussion. The scenarios presented are attempts to illustrate an issue and not positions that I am advocating. You would do your argument well if you would stick to the issue and refrain from impugning my character.

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Posted: 21 January 2008 05:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 56 ]  
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camanintx - 21 January 2008 07:55 PM
Antisocialdarwinist - 20 January 2008 10:40 PM

If your understanding of gun safety was as adequate as you claim, then you would realize every gun should be treated as if it was loaded.  Your two scenarios are morally equivalent because in both cases it must be assumed that the gun is loaded.

PS. I appreciate your concerns about my competency with firearms, but my level of knowledge on the subject, while adequate, is not relevant to the discussion. The scenarios presented are attempts to illustrate an issue and not positions that I am advocating. You would do your argument well if you would stick to the issue and refrain from impugning my character.

Great, precise return, Camanintx. I hate having to wade through those kind of irrelevant “arguments”. Possibly your only problem is in not treating every gun nut as loaded. wink

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Posted: 21 January 2008 05:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 57 ]  
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camanintx - 21 January 2008 07:55 PM

Then why do we have different criminal standards for accidental shootings? A man who accidentally shoots someone is only charged with manslaughter. If there were any evidence that he intended to shoot him, wouldn’t he have been charged with murder? You do agree that criminal laws are just one way that societies enforce their moral standards? If intent is not relevant to morality, then why is motive so important to criminal prosecutions?

PS. I appreciate your concerns about my competency with firearms, but my level of knowledge on the subject, while adequate, is not relevant to the discussion. The scenarios presented are attempts to illustrate an issue and not positions that I am advocating. You would do your argument well if you would stick to the issue and refrain from impugning my character.

Your competency with firearms, or apparent lack thereof, does not concern me since I am safely over a thousand miles away from you, in California.  It is, however, relevant to the discussion because you seem unable to understand how ludicrous it is to debate the morality of pointing a gun at someone and pulling the trigger.

You seem to be saying that shooting someone with an unloaded gun is less immoral than shooting someone with a loaded gun.  But how is that relevant in terms of coexistence?  Is it “right” to shoot someone with an unloaded gun because it’s less immoral than shooting someone with a loaded one?  What possible utility is there to carving morality up into different shades of gray in this case?  That’s apparently what Mr. Page did, to Mr. Debella’s misfortune, in the article you linked.  Since Page was a member of the military, we can assume he’d been trained in firearms safety.  The only explanation for his behavior, then, is that he must have been relying on morality to guide his intentions rather than his actions.  Which in no way facilitated his coexistence with Debella.

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Posted: 21 January 2008 05:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 58 ]  
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Salt Creek - 20 January 2008 06:19 PM

What’s really going on is that ASD is planting a flag on a private island he has brought above water by draining his own lake.

I don’t think it’s my lake that’s been drained, but your moral swamp, by Sam Harris.  Don’t blame me if you can’t find the diamond you were expecting in the mud.

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Do-gooding is like treating hemophilia—the real cure is to let hemophiliacs bleed to death, before they breed more hemophiliacs. -Robert Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

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Posted: 22 January 2008 06:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 59 ]  
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Antisocialdarwinist - 21 January 2008 10:43 PM

You seem to be saying that shooting someone with an unloaded gun is less immoral than shooting someone with a loaded gun.

I am saying that pointing a gun at someone with the intent to kill is more immoral than pointing a gun at someone with the intent to scare them. Whether the gun is actually loaded or not or my training in firearm safety is irrelevant to the morality of the situation.

[quote author=“Antisocialdarwinist”]What possible utility is there to carving morality up into different shades of gray in this case?

Since we obviously are in agreement on the morality of black and white actions like murder and rape, it is only by examining the gray areas that we can determine who’s argument is right or wrong.

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Posted: 22 January 2008 08:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 60 ]  
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camanintx - 22 January 2008 11:49 AM

I am saying that pointing a gun at someone with the intent to kill is more immoral than pointing a gun at someone with the intent to scare them.

We both agree that morality is “a useful social construct that allows us to coexist in groups of more than one.”  How can you reconcile this with the idea that an intention is morally wrong (or right)?  Your intentions exist only inside your own head and have no impact on anyone else.  How can an intention affect your coexistence with your fellow group members? 

The fact that our criminal justice system takes intent into account is irrelevant to the discussion, since the CJS is not based strictly on morality.  Here’s an example to illustrate this.  Suppose you and I each point a gun at someone’s head and pull the trigger, knowing that the gun is loaded and with the intent to kill.  Your gun fires and your victim is killed; my gun malfunctions and my victim walks away unscathed.

In both cases, our actions and intentions are identical, so by either standard (intention or action) the two scenarios are morally identical.  Yet we would be charged with different crimes:  you with murder, and me with attempted murder.  If our CJS was based exclusively on morality, as you claim, wouldn’t we both be charged with the same crime?

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Do-gooding is like treating hemophilia—the real cure is to let hemophiliacs bleed to death, before they breed more hemophiliacs. -Robert Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

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