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For a Buddhist, killing is always wrong - do not kill means every possible form of life. So many Buddhists violate this standard by walking on insects. A Christian and Jew make a distinction between Murder and Killing. For these, killing an animal for human use does not have a moral quality to it. (The torture of an animal for pleasure does have a moral quality). Thus, the religious and circumstantial setting makes a huge difference to how this question is answered. Is the pain applied to a person with active plans for harm with the goal of extracting information to prevent that harm? Then the situation is exactly the same as self-defense against a physical attack.
The question in the title itself is confusing and either not stated well or setting up a false contrast. By stating the question this way the author has set up a moral question from a utilitarian perspective. The other way to state this is are Morals simply utilitarian or are they objective? Of course this is a trap for a Christian, Jew, Muslim or Buddhist who believe that morality is objective rather than subjective and utilitarian. The right question is, were these actions moral? To know that we have to know the context they were done in.
If the attack against me is mental, (an evil plan) then the defense against that is also mental (uncomfortable stress). It is wrong and evil to torture an innocent person. It makes all the difference if the torture has the purpose of changing a person's believe system, or of retaliation against a political enemy whose only crime is to expose the crimes of those in power. These are wrong and evil. But it is not wrong to do to an enemy what we do to our own soldiers in order to help them confess the harm they are actively planning to do. That is pure self defense and no more evil than shooting a man who is busy killing people in a movie theater
I disagree. Guilt and innocence are essential to the issue of torture. If the concept of self defense is limited to the physical acts of a person ONLY and not to their current plans to do more harm then we have no defense at all. This argument says we should not deal with a mental threat to harm us, only with a physical threat after that threat is manifest. If we know a person is guilty of planning to harm us, we are sure that they have specific and ongoing plans, we are simply using self defense to use uncomfortable methods to weaken that person's mental strength. I am sad that an innocent person died. That was wrong. The question was if those who were dealing harshly with him KNEW he was innocent or if that information only came later after he died. Guilt or innocence are KEY to this argument.
If the attack against me is mental, (an evil plan) then the defense against that is also mental (uncomfortable stress).
It is wrong and evil to torture an innocent person. It makes all the difference if the torture has the purpose of changing a person's believe system, or of retaliation against a political enemy whose only crime is to expose the crimes of those in power. These are wrong and evil. But it is not wrong to do to an enemy what we do to our own soldiers in order to help them confess the harm they are actively planning to do. That is pure self defense and no more evil than shooting a man who is busy killing people in a movie theater.
I disagree. Guilt and innocence are essential to the issue of torture. If the concept of self defense is limited to the physical acts of a person ONLY and not to their current plans to do more harm then we have no defense at all. This argument says we should not deal with a mental threat to harm us, only with a physical threat after that threat is manifest. If we know a person is guilty of planning to harm us, we are sure that they have specific and ongoing plans, we are simply using self defense to use uncomfortable methods to weaken that person's mental strength. I am sad that an innocent person died. That was wrong. The question was if those who were dealing harshly with him KNEW he was innocent or if that information only came later after he died. Guilt or innocence are KEY to this argument.
In response to:

WWJT: Who Would Jesus Torture?

Think Freely Wrote: Dec 17, 2014 4:50 AM
Doug misses Romans 13, where Paul specifically says that God has given governments the power of execution to deal with evil doers. As Christians we can avoid the threat of government retaliation by loving our neighbor as ourself. But if I am a Christian in government, I have the responsibility to punish evil. That includes execution, which was not pleasant in Roman times. I think Jesus was executed on a cross….
I have no problem with fracking or with using methane. I do have a problem with the renewable portfolio mandates that require wind and solar to be installed. They must be backed up with natural gas turbines since nothing else, currently, spins up fast enough to keep the power flowing smoothly to homes and factories. A wind turbine is a lost leader for Natural Gas. I do oppose using Natural gas to avoid building Nuclear Power plants for electricity, or for Process Heat. Long term, Nuclear power is much much cheaper than natural gas. Natural gas is excellent for fertilizer, transportation, chemical stock, but is a poor long term base load electricity producer.
The sad part about this is the real way to reduce fertility is to make a family wealthy. The more wealthy a family and society are the fewer children they have. This was documented by Adam Smith in "The Wealth of Nations" back in 1776. It has been shown true today. Most wealthy nations are in a declining population - such as Korea or Japan or even the USA (apart from immigration). Providing more energy such as Nuclear power to third world nations will enable them to reduce poverty. The basic inputs to an economy are energy and creativity. The basic drags on a economy are corruption and quickly changing laws. Want population to decline? Give people lots of energy (nuclear), freedom, and consistent transparent laws. The population will decline. By the way, actual projections have the world topping out at 9 billion and then declining about mid century.
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