help with a debate (in Off-topic)

Unappreciated Misnomer March 21 2007 4:08 PM EDT

ok, so my english class at univeristy has a debate in a week on torture, guess who got stuck on the affirmative side, i need to justify that torture is acceptable in some conditions, its not limited to just humans either.give me arguments please!

i have already thought of...

- the end justifies the means
- necessity encompasses anything that contributes to victory(military reference)
- in the case of a ticking bomb, should a conscientious public servant toss the rulebook out the window and torture the terrorist who knows where the lethal device is.(same deal on a larger scale, sorta 9/11)
-mostly i guess torture or beating to break ones spirit to be come to the understanding that someone rules them and that perosn can maintain order for them and others
- if people really feared prison...crimes would go WAY down but
by torturing people in prison...we could turn them insane and mentally unstable , which would not be good when releasing them (crippiling to my side) no one fears prison, jsut that its a waste of time and dont want to go because of that
-beating an animal is used to teach them right from wrong thru pain

i know its not the best topic, its tough enough, but if there is anything i can find that doesnt fall into whats metioned above would be a great deal of help

kevinLeong March 21 2007 4:16 PM EDT

What is your definition of torture? Torture obviously has a negative connotation so usually for most people torture encompasses the things they deem 'wrong'. So if my standards of wrong differ from yours we have very different views on torture.

I'm all for playing loud music at Guantanamo, is that 'torture'? Or for you is it only the physical harm done to a person?

smallpau1 - Go Blues [Lower My Fees] March 21 2007 4:17 PM EDT

torture enough for prison, only give them bread and water once a day, and dont give them daylight time at all, dont even let them out of the cells, give them the food in the cell. Right now you have people going to prison on purpose just to get off the streets...

QBBast [Hidden Agenda] March 21 2007 4:28 PM EDT

It's an excellent area of inquiry/investigation/research into learning/behavior modification/limits of various physical or mental capacities. If torture is the "side effect", not the aim, of a practice, it's not so bad, right? Particularly if we can learn something from it! :)

Zoglog[T] [big bucks] March 21 2007 4:34 PM EDT

moon, just a like some lawyers aim for the 'reasonable doubt' defense you should aim to give a better view of torture rather than the obvious views relating to the rack etc.
Show them how a persons will can be broken in many more ways which are a form of torture but breaking the mind not the body.
Constant interrogation, basic food once a day, even tickling them into submission plus many more possibilities of 'torturing' a person into releasing information.

Lochnivar March 21 2007 5:23 PM EDT

You can always put the emphasis on the other side to prove any assumptions that they put forth. Make them substantiate why torture is bad and provide facts as to what led them to that conclusion.

In a debate if you can't be right just make sure the other side is wrong. Not losing is almost as effective as winning.

A little drama helps too. In university, while arguing a mock court case, I got the opposing 'lawyer' to state that we should punish people for crimes they might commit. My 'client' was guilty as sin but I'll let you guess which way that verdict went.

Slashundhack [We Forge Our Own Stuff] March 21 2007 7:57 PM EDT

Well I doubt this will help but those "Nazi medical experiments" seemed to me to be more for tortures sake.I know some of the results have been helpful medically . There has been some far ranging debates regarding the use of this information .If anyone sees any of this stuff you are going to lose because its so heinous !

Nerevas March 21 2007 9:15 PM EDT

You should include that there are many different types of torture including some that may be considered much more humane and morally acceptable to be used in certain situations.

Flamencorpse March 21 2007 11:18 PM EDT

This is kinda on the "torture" path:
The idea behind, i think it is, Zen Buddhism is that through a WILLING punishment, to focus the mind during meditation is beneficial to the "soul" if (the "student" breaks a constant stream of concentration for a period of time, the priest type guy will smack them with a bamboo cane).
But in this example above, (if punishment comes into "torture") this physical punishment, restrains the "ego" and breaks down the idealism of individuality, so one is not bound to be materialistic, and restrains so called "mental corruption"...for lack of better wording.
That and kinda blends into the idea that torture can be used as a means of easing paranoia (sectionally/culturally); the outside thinking of western culture; the same as your 3rd point, mooninites, about the 9/11 backlash.
So from this point of view (western, i guess) this seems a torturous ordeal, so i guess you could bring up the culture argument, as in what is accepted as torture in different cultures.

[T]Vestax March 21 2007 11:58 PM EDT

Kevin, you hit the most important part of this debate so far. The debate hinges on the definition you use to describe torture. I'll get back to that in a moment.

Lochnivar, in a formal debate, this is not actually true. As the Affirmative you are under an obligation to defend the case you make. If it gets proved wrong, then you ought to lose. The Negative is afforded the luxury of having only to knock down the other guys idea, not defend his/her own. The Affirmative gets the advantage of leading the topic and choosing the grounds of discussion. The Affirmative is in the position to be the most prepared. Not only that, but if this is truly a formal debate, you should be able to speak both first and last.

Slashundhack, never bring up Nazis... ever! It doesn't matter which side of the argument you are on. It will more likely blow up in the face of the person who mentions it first.

Now back to the discussion.

The most essential thing right now is to research the word 'torture'. Not just from a single dictionary, but from multiple dictionaries and even from excerpts of encyclopedias (do not use wikipedia). Notable literature and philosophy texts will also be helpful. There is absolutely no reason why you should defend the most common perception of torture. Take advantage of being the affirmative. Take advantage of being the person who sets the tone of the debate and who defines the terms with which the resolution is written in. Be ready to defend these definitions and state where they come from.

It might be best to shape your speech into an actual plan to "torture" people. Pretend that you are creating an actual law. Present the whole speech as if you are presenting a bill for consideration in congress. This moves the debate away from, "well if torture happens in such a case, we'll endure it", to, "If such a case occurs, it is in our best interest to commit a type of sanctioned torture."

In all honesty, you might already have a couple of sanctioned methods of torture available to you in real life. Solitary confinement might count as torture. If you make the case that it is, then you have a case for a method of torture that is also a necessary evil. The best part is that you could, from there, shift the debate to something like capital punishment. Bog your enemy down by forcing him/her to address it, and then be the one at the end of the debate to show that the capital punishment arguments don't matter because it still doesn't directly address the issue of acceptable uses of torture.

Its a little sneaky and a bit tricky, but a talented debater can pull it off.

[T]Vestax March 22 2007 12:25 AM EDT

Also, Defend only one instance of acceptable torture. Covering a range of topics doesn't help at all. It simply means you have more topics to defend. If you study just that one form of "torture" then you should have more answers then you opponent has objections. You will be able to talk more deeply on the subject, rather then just the surface issues. This will get you bonus points.

Your speech should consist of the purposed instance of acceptable torture, a definition of torture and other terms, and a few advantages to using the purposed torture. This is your main speech. For the defense of your position, you should anticipate the points your opponent will make and have two to three responses to each. Make sure you avoid contradicting yourself.

Unappreciated Misnomer March 22 2007 11:27 AM EDT

excellent, this will breed better life into the debate, thanks guys

Lochnivar March 22 2007 4:06 PM EDT

Ooops, you're right Vestax, I forgot which side he was on.
My advice is much more appropriate for the negative.
Does that make me a negative person?

th00p March 22 2007 6:17 PM EDT

Mooninites: I can't think of anything new, and that can only mean one thing.

You are the master debater!

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] March 22 2007 7:54 PM EDT

Capital Punishment versus the 'Torture' of imprisonment.

If you are locking someone up, for the rest of thier life, taking away the vast majority of liberties they had, wouldn't it be more humane to Execute them?

Why make someone suffer for the rest of thier life? Isn't that crueller than ending thier suffering?

As for examples of torture, maybe the medieval inquisitons could be something to look at. There were rules and regulations given for methods of torture, when it could be performed, when it had to stop, etc.

Not limited to humans... That's tougher. Or morality is more, relaxed, to non humans. From burning ants with magnifying glasses and sunlight, to pulling the legs off spiders.

Even refusing to water plants, when you know they need the sustenance, could be deemed as torture...


AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] March 22 2007 8:00 PM EDT

Another one!

Purgatory from Dante's inferno.

An obligatory wikipedia excert. ;)

"The gate of Purgatory is guarded by an angel who uses the point of his sword to draw the letter "P" (signifying peccatum, sin) seven times on Dante's forehead, abjuring him to "wash you those wounds within". The angel uses two keys, gold and silver, to open the gate and warns Dante not to look back, lest he should find himself outside the gate again, symbolizing Dante having to overcome and rise above the hell that he has just left and thusly leaving his sinning ways behind him."

Each of the seven terraces of Purgatory relate to one of the deadly sins. You have to perform penance and suffering in some formin each, to cleanse yourself of the sin. Reach the top, and you're pure.

You would torture yoruself in such manners as;

The proud are purged by carrying giant stones on their backs, unable to stand up straight, The envious are purged by having their eyes sewn shut and wearing clothing that makes the soul indistinguishable from the ground, The wrathful are purged by walking around in acrid smoke, The slothful are purged by continually running, The avaricious and prodigal are purged by lying face-down on the ground, unable to move, The gluttonous are purged by abstaining from any food or drink, The lustful are purged by burning in an immense wall of flames.

On a seperate note, you could also consdier things like going 'cold turkey' to beat an adiction. Are you torturing yourself by resisting the cravings? But it's all for a good cause, to beat an addiction. ;)

Unappreciated Misnomer March 22 2007 11:43 PM EDT

yea its not limited to humans but i need to debate as to WHY ITS OK TO TORTURE IN SOME CONDITIONS...its tough

lol @ th00p

Lochnivar March 23 2007 1:18 AM EDT

I had a moment of quasi thought... good topic by the way.

The usual counter argument to torture is based on the religious/moral standards of out time and assumes the principles to be an immutable constant.

Basically if you argue that historically views on torture have been a reflection of the prevalent public thought of the time the issue of torture then hinges on whether or no the societal norms exist so as to support it. The Spanish inquisition was obstensibly a religious endeavour (Catholic I believe) that featured a preponderance of torture. Morals and religion change and should never be considered a constant.

I think if you can successfully remove the notion that torture always has been wrong then you are well on your way. Most of the prohibitions on torture were produced in the past century so there is much greater historical support for torture as a valid aspect of human interaction.

I guess that's another $0.02 on my bill.
Hope it helps.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] March 23 2007 4:07 AM EDT

Another religious aspect would be flagellation.

"At first, flagellation became a form of penance in the Christian church, especially in ascetic monastic orders. For example, the 11th century zealot Dominicus Loricatus once repeated the entire Psalter twenty times in one week, accompanying each psalm with a hundred lash-strokes to his back. The distinction of the Flagellants was to take this self-mortification into the cities and other public spaces as a demonstration of piety. As well as flagellation, the rituals were built around processions, hymns, distinct gestures, uniforms, and discipline. It was also said that when singing a hymn and upon reaching the part about the passion of the Christ, one must drop to the ground, no matter how dirty or painful the area may seem. Also one mustn't move if the ground has something on it that may cause an inconvenience."

Can you torture yourself?
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