Re: OT - Is torture moral?



TheAlligator wrote:
Stuart Grey <stuart.grey@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:


People come to the usenet for various reasons.

Sometimes, I like to give a little hell to the people I consider wrong headed.

Sometimes, I like to engage in an intellectual discussion.

I can see why colleges have entrance requirements. Some people cannot tolerate intellectual discussions.



As a side note, I can make this comment because I don't remember who
said it, so it won't be taken personaly.  I disagree with the
arguments that the scenario was unrealistic, or BS or whatever.

It IS unrealistic and BS.

It is CONTRIVED, and it was designed to home in on one specific issue, the morality of torture to save lives. Real world examples have too many side issues that get people off track.

You seem to be one of the few people who realized that and could grasp the concept.

The ancient Greek philosophers used such rhetorical, hypothetical situations all the time in order to discuss morality and ethics.

The usenet is a poor substitute for a Greek Forum, isn't it?

 I
thought it was quite clear that as an intellectual exercise, it was
established that you do, indeed, KNOW that the subject has the
combination.  WHY doesn't matter, it's an exercise.  This seemed to be
a major sidetrack away from the issue at hand at one point.  Look, I
don't consider myself an evil man who dreams of torturing people.
This is an uncomfortable topic to think abour, and honestly it would
never cross my mind if I hadn't run across this thread.
Unfortunately, my mind has been challenged by this and I can't let it
go until I find a resolution.  I'm not sitting around dwelling on it,
but I want to figure out what I really think.  I think it's good that
you brought it up.  What poisons the thought process is the anger that
wells up after seeing how these radicals treat people - your gut
instinct makes you want to rise up and treat them the same way.  Is
that moral? - I doubt it.  Is it natural? - absolutely.

Treat people the same way! Is the "silver rule" a moral rule? I think so! This reminds me of a mathematical study done some years ago that I wish I had kept a copy. The context was anthropology, IIRC.


The study model was to study monkeys who would preen one another. They postulated two types of monkeys:

Monkeys that would preen any other monkey (the Golden Rule mokey, or GRM).
Monkeys that would not preen anyone else. (The selfish monkey, SM)

They gave numbers to describe the selective advantage of been preened, and a number to the time spent not preening, assuming it would be spent on other efforts to the benefit of the individual's survival.

What they discovered was that IF there were SM in mixed in with the GRM, the GRM died out over time, and all you had left were SM.

However, when they postulated a third type of monkey, a monkey that would preen any other monkey ONCE, but not again if he wasn't preened in return (the Silver Rule: do unto others as they do unto you, a Silver Rule Monkey SRM) then something interesting happened.

A mix of SM, GRM and SRM always resulted, in the end, with a population of SRM and GRM. The selfish monkey's died out, not the GRMs.

Of course, "monkey" meant any individual in a population, and the preening could be any behavior that enhances the survial of another individual.

The idea is, we are social animals, and if we are to continue as a society, we must learn the silver rule. It is 'a priori' and not dependent upon external observation.

We exist as a society of men because of the silver rule. To doubt the morality of the silver rule is to doubt the morality of our very existance.

.