Torture is defined as the act of inflicting excruciating pain, as punishment or revenge, as a means of getting a confession or information, or for sheer cruelty. Assume arguendo that it was used as criminal punishment in cases of the actually guilty. Assume further that crime rates dropped significantly and precipitously. In these examples, would you advocate its use as punishment (N.B. not to induce confessions or testimony)? Imagine this instrument being used. Or a trocar, soldering iron, name your poison.
Applying the usual issue analysis that most folks employ, they would have answered yes or no immediately. But when you apply critical thinking and issue analysis, the answer is variable. I’ve always objected to torture and the death penalty for two main reasons, viz. (a) erroneous convictions; and (2) no proof of crime reduction. I’m not an absolutist. As for torture, some of the prisons themselves that we’ve sentenced folks to constitute a form of torture.
Notice the reference to inter alia. In today’s podcast I also throw into the mix more critical thinking applications as to vaccines and the Bachmann-Perry Gardasil controversy, the UK’s racist/homophobe hit parade and the slow and deliberate punishment of thought crimes in our increasingly repressed society.
In every endeavor that humans involve themselves, the ability to employ critical thinking is essential.