Sam Harris’ Conditional and Controversial View on Torture

I recently came across a heated debate regarding Sam Harris and his controversial views on torture. Having read the debate in earnest and having gone back to read what Harris has to say on this topic (it’s been nearly 10 years since I read End of Faith!), I believe the controversy is entangled in semantics. The most direct Harris quotes I can find:

Huntington Post
I will now present an argument for the use of torture in rare circumstances.

Although I think that torture should remain illegal, it is not clear that having a torture provision in our laws would create as slippery a slope as many people imagine.

End of Faith
I believe I have successfully argued for the use of torture in any circumstance in which we are willing to cause collateral damage  p. 199

Certainly those statements would leave a different impression on a reader than simply Continue reading