Storm In A B-Cup

Truth Serum

on May 2, 2013

Last night as I lay in bed, I was listening to a podcast, the topic of which was truth serum.  The hosts discussed different incarnations of “truth serum”, none of which are in regular use, or are particularly effective (the main drugs used/discussed were barbiturates).  But it got me thinking.

Just say there was an effective truth serum out there, something like the “veritaserum” potion from Harry Potter (ok, I’m a huge Harry Potter nerd.  That was bound to come out sometime) that would make the imbiber of the serum unable to speak a lie.  Compel them to answer questions truthfully.  Would we use it?  Or perhaps the more pertinent question would be would it be right to use a truth serum?

Would it be ethical to force someone to talk – to tell the truth – using a “truth serum”?  And if so, under what circumstances? Does it violate basic human rights? I can’t help but think that something like that, while it might be considered a useful tool, is much more likely to cause trouble than it is to do good.  Of course, the mind immediately jumps to such a substance’s potential use in the legal system.  And I am sure that there are cases in which something like this could help get to the bottom of a murder trial or some such thing.  But I am also sure that a truth serum could potentially do a lot of damage if it got into the wrong hands.

Just a little musing.

What are your thoughts on truth serum? Blessing or curse?


One response to “Truth Serum

  1. Al says:

    I think it will cause chaos if it’s deemed ethical legally. True, it may come in handy and solve cases but what if it’s made available to the market? All hell breaks loose!

    Love the HP reference, Potterhead!

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