Humans and torture: Lack of natural defense?

Idleing away some time today, I decided to check in on Juan Cole’s blog (which I am sure many of you are familiar with). Today, there was a guest piece by a peer, William Polk, dated May 6, 2004. The piece in its entirety can be reached for the next few days at the link above, but I can’t figure out how to get a permanent link to it.

In any case, the piece addresses the use and implications of torture in modern history. What caught my eye was a few paragraphs about the work of Konrad Lorenz and other scientists on the behaviorial science behind this. Quoting from Juan Cole’s site:

Something about that makes a cold shiver run down my spine. After thinking this over for a few moments, I deduced that this kind of theory would have produced some rather heated debate, though I had never heard of it brought up before. I was wondering what you, my fellow Dopers, know about these studies, these scientists, and this theory in general.

I did a quick Wikipedia check on Lorenz, which brings up nothing noteworthy (feh, actually, a helluva lot noteworthy, just not relevant to this topic).

So, what are the various positions on this?