If you proved torture works, would you say so?

Not really necessary to add anything to this discussion of whether to publish inconvenient findings:

From a practical perspective, it makes little sense.  Uncomfortable findings, if they hold up, will get discovered by someone.  Sitting on them merely magnifies their impact.  One of the few currencies social scientists can use is their research integrity.  A short-term compromise of this integrity simply magnifies the impact of the discovery.

From an ethical perspective, social science results do not upend ethical arguments for or against a particular issue.  In other words, even if torture works in extracting information, there are strong normative reasons to oppose its use.  Covering up results, however, does compromise the ethical position of the person making the anti-torture argument.

Indeed.

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One response to “If you proved torture works, would you say so?

  1. Pingback: Week in Public Organizations, 18May2009 « PublicOrgTheory

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