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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2011 :  07:40:24  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I know the issue is a month old now, but I just read this post on NonProphet Status in response to the execution of Troy Davis. The author writes:
Yet, the notion of capital punishment as a philosophically reasonable form of justice does seem to ultimately come down to the inherently religious value one places on human life. Is this our only shot, where one mistake or evil deed can render us unworthy of continuing to experience it? Is there ultimate justice in the universe, in which our innocence will be judged without the taint of human fallibility? Are infinite punishments or rewards for the finite actions of this life really justifiable?

...

Today and forever onward, we must take seriously questions of such philosophical importance, as we’ve seen what practical implications they can have if we brush them to the wayside.


I think this sort of thinking muddles the more significant aspects of the debate over capital punishment. Specifically, I think practical implications should be the meat of the discussion and explanation of any opinion. I can't say I am fundamentally opposed to capital punishment based on some vague and abstract concept of the value of human life. Obviously valuing human life must be at the heart of the ethics of anyone who is either for or against capital punishment, since even if someone is in favor of it, the punishment itself is a response to harm done to other people, most typically murder.

I suspect the different between people who are pro and against capital punishment are less philosophical, and more based on different levels of education and ignorance about the issue. Many who support capital punishment are uninformed about the practical implications. Many supporters of capital punishment believe it works as a deterrent. It is my understanding that it is not a deterrent. Many supporters of capital punishment are also unaware of the psychological and emotional damage it does to those who are employed to carry it out. Many are unaware of the additional financial burden capital punishment puts on tax payers. And many are unaware of how common mistakes are made that can and have lead to innocent people being put on death row.

Some years ago I watched a film - I forget the title, it was foreign - set in a small, rural town. One of the people in the town was a man who had raped several young women and girls. In the film it seemed the victims had no effective legal recourse since the man had certain connections and there was little definitive evidence that he had raped the girls. A grandmother of one of the girls threatened the man with a shotgun, but could not bring herself to actually shoot him. Later, the man's own brother waits until he is drunk and then quietly drowns him in a fountain, making the death look like an accident. I think few who watch this film would feel bad about the rapist's death, although they might feel bad for the brother who felt it necessary to kill him. I certainly didn't.

As a general rule I definitely do not advocate vigilante justice such as this, but this was the sort of fictional dramatization that gets an audience to question and face the fundamental values at the heart of our professed ethics. I know that for me personally, there are times I think killing is justified. But when it comes to institutionalized capital punishment, the practical problems with it are simply too great and for me certainly outweigh any good to society being done.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

justintime
BANNED

382 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2011 :  16:22:36   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send justintime a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I am with you on capital punishment. The different between people who are pro and against capital punishment are philosophical, and more based on different levels of education and ignorance about the issue.

But education is the primary issue in America.

1. Group 1. Academic dishonesty is prevalent in America. The smarter ones cheat to get ahead. a good 59% cheated on SAT scores to get into college. Link: http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Education/2011/0928/SAT-cheating-scandal-Are-stakes-getting-too-high-for-college-admission

2. Group 2. The dumb ones depend on their teachers and principals to cheat for them. America's biggest teacher and principal cheating scandal unfolds in Atlanta. Link: http://news.yahoo.com/americas-biggest-teacher-principal-cheating-scandal-unfolds-atlanta-213734183.html

3. We are 99% is the call of the Occupy Wall Street protesters. Are they the total percentage arrived at by adding group 1 who cheated to get ahead with group 2 that needed teachers and principals to help them cheat to get ahead. Does this explain why only 1% of the population who legitimately earned they degrees went on to become successful.

How can one then expect education levels to dictate policy when 99% have acquired it through deception and fraudulent means. Should American's not revert to tradition Judea Christian values to abolish capital punishment which is less corruptible than a failed educational system.
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Cuneiformist
The Imperfectionist

USA
4954 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2011 :  17:31:17   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Cuneiformist a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by justintime
But education is the primary issue in America.

1. Group 1. Academic dishonesty is prevalent in America. The smarter ones cheat to get ahead. a good 59% cheated on SAT scores to get into college. Link: http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Education/2011/0928/SAT-cheating-scandal-Are-stakes-getting-too-high-for-college-admission

2. Group 2. The dumb ones depend on their teachers and principals to cheat for them. America's biggest teacher and principal cheating scandal unfolds in Atlanta. Link: http://news.yahoo.com/americas-biggest-teacher-principal-cheating-scandal-unfolds-atlanta-213734183.html

3. We are 99% is the call of the Occupy Wall Street protesters. Are they the total percentage arrived at by adding group 1 who cheated to get ahead with group 2 that needed teachers and principals to help them cheat to get ahead. Does this explain why only 1% of the population who legitimately earned they degrees went on to become successful.

How can one then expect education levels to dictate policy when 99% have acquired it through deception and fraudulent means.
This has to be the dumbest thing yet written about any issue ever. I mean a) the first link clearly says 59% admitted to cheating on "on a [single] test [not the SAT] during the past year, with 34 percent doing it more than two times." The SAT is rigorously administered and cheating on it is difficult (aside from forking over thousands to pay someone to engage in identity fraud)-- not the same thing as looking out of the corner of your eye to see if Suzie in the seat next to you put "C" as the answer to question 4.

Also-- how do you turn that (which you obviously misread) plus this Atlanta scandal (where the students almost certainly had no idea what was going on; this was an effort to keep school scores high to keep in compliance with Bush's ridiculous "No Child Left Behind" law) into the assertion that 99% of all American students are unworthy, uneducated, cheating bums?

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sailingsoul
SFN Addict

2830 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2011 :  18:28:37   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send sailingsoul a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yep! consider the source, not just the information.

There are only two types of religious people, the deceivers and the deceived. SS
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chefcrsh
Skeptic Friend

Hong Kong
380 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2011 :  19:10:03   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send chefcrsh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by marfknox And many are unaware of how common mistakes are made that can and have lead to innocent people being put on death row.



ON this I just saw a very interesting and compelling youtube argument by SisyphusRedeemed.

http://youtu.be/cjgsrGhqb4w
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2011 :  19:20:09   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So just how long will SFN tolerate this level of trolling? Guess I'll just have to wait and see.

Edited to add: I'm not trying to tell the moderators how to do their job. You guys set the bar, and I totally respect whatever decisions you make. Just saying, this is getting really tiresome.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

Edited by - marfknox on 10/27/2011 19:20:59
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2011 :  19:37:48   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Holy crap, chefcrsh, that video was totally badass! Or rather, the arguments he made in the video were totally badass. And I just love that he's just that intellectually honest that even though he's against the death penalty, he still feels it important to point out the flaws in some of the arguments used to oppose the death penalty. Skepticism at its finest! Thanks so much for posting that link!

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

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Valiant Dancer
Forum Goalie

USA
4826 Posts

Posted - 10/28/2011 :  07:46:29   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Valiant Dancer's Homepage Send Valiant Dancer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
While I am pro-death penalty, I am against it being used in it's current form.

The death penalty is supposed to be a deterrent. It is supposed to show others of a like mind that this is what will happen if you do this.

If it were not justified in it's current form as being a deterrent and rather akin to putting down a rabid human, I could support the current form.

If it is for deterrent purposes, then it must be public and a lot more dramatic than the current crop of lethal injections. Hanging could be returned as a deterrent method.

In all cases, though, the death penalty must be only after all due process is observed AND new evidence proving innocence be allowed as a reason to overturn a conviction.

It will take years, possibly decades, and a lot of money to execute someone. It should to make sure you have the right person.

But that is me. I think those people who kill others should be killed themselves. I value the lives of the killer and the victim(s). I also believe that the penalty should be applied irrespective of race or sex. If it can't, then it should not be applied at all.

Cthulhu/Asmodeus when you're tired of voting for the lesser of two evils

Brother Cutlass of Reasoned Discussion
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alienist
Skeptic Friend

USA
210 Posts

Posted - 10/28/2011 :  11:56:36   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send alienist a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Besides the practical disadvantages of the death penalty (not a deterrent, innocent people being killed, cost, etc), I think the death penalty lowers ourselves to the level of the murderer.

By the way, Valiant, do you have evidence that hanging was an effective deterrent?

The only normal people are the ones you don't know very well! - Joe Ancis
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Valiant Dancer
Forum Goalie

USA
4826 Posts

Posted - 10/28/2011 :  13:02:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Valiant Dancer's Homepage Send Valiant Dancer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by alienist

Besides the practical disadvantages of the death penalty (not a deterrent, innocent people being killed, cost, etc), I think the death penalty lowers ourselves to the level of the murderer.

By the way, Valiant, do you have evidence that hanging was an effective deterrent?


No more than anyone has evidence that it wasn't.

It merely points out for a deterrent to have effect it has to leave a lasting impression and be public in nature. It does neither in it's current form and is worthless as a deterrent.

I can respect your view that it lowers society to the level of the murderer, but I disagree. I believe instead that it is a viable solution for a rabid human. The main difference being that unlike the murderer, society has gone through a legal process to say that the actions of the individual are not treatable and if ever released thay would kill again. Imprisoning them has no rehabilitative effect and the individual presents a risk to other inmates and penal personnel.

Cthulhu/Asmodeus when you're tired of voting for the lesser of two evils

Brother Cutlass of Reasoned Discussion
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Hal
Skeptic Friend

USA
302 Posts

Posted - 10/28/2011 :  13:30:08   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Hal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Valiant Dancer


I can respect your view that it lowers society to the level of the murderer, but I disagree. I believe instead that it is a viable solution for a rabid human. The main difference being that unlike the murderer, society has gone through a legal process to say that the actions of the individual are not treatable and if ever released thay would kill again. Imprisoning them has no rehabilitative effect and the individual presents a risk to other inmates and penal personnel.



This supports capital punishment as a preventative measure; one which aims to remove a specific threat from the community, but it doesn't really address the question of capital punishment as a deterrent.
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13467 Posts

Posted - 10/28/2011 :  13:36:34   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Valiant Dancer

Originally posted by alienist

Besides the practical disadvantages of the death penalty (not a deterrent, innocent people being killed, cost, etc), I think the death penalty lowers ourselves to the level of the murderer.

By the way, Valiant, do you have evidence that hanging was an effective deterrent?


No more than anyone has evidence that it wasn't.

It merely points out for a deterrent to have effect it has to leave a lasting impression and be public in nature. It does neither in it's current form and is worthless as a deterrent.

I can respect your view that it lowers society to the level of the murderer, but I disagree. I believe instead that it is a viable solution for a rabid human. The main difference being that unlike the murderer, society has gone through a legal process to say that the actions of the individual are not treatable and if ever released thay would kill again. Imprisoning them has no rehabilitative effect and the individual presents a risk to other inmates and penal personnel.

Without getting into how faulty the legal process is, I'm with alienist on this one. State sanctioned murder (call it what you will) does not set a very good example. I think we're better than that. I think the example we should set is that we regard human life as precious, and no one has the right to willfully take that away from anyone. Not the murderers and not the state.


Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 10/28/2011 :  13:50:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Our whole penal system is screwed up if you ask me. Focused more on punishment than reform. It's not like there is some clear line that separates criminals from law-abiding citizens. Many people who commit crimes never get caught or get caught by get off with a slap on the wrist (especially if they have lots of money.) Some innocent people end up being prosecuted and punished for crimes they didn't commit (disproportionately likely if they are poor, black males.) People are more likely to commit certain crimes if they are a certain age and in certain situations. It just makes the most practical sense to me to focus our funds on research to figure out what sort of reforms and prison structures are most likely to churn out people who will turn over a new leaf, and then on the implementation of those methods that work the best to reform criminals. Or in the cases where reform is shown by research to be unlikely, protect society from dangerous individuals by imprisoning them efficiently, yet humanely. Alas, people seem to be more comfortable thinking that there are just good and bad people, and we need to protect the former from the latter.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

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chefcrsh
Skeptic Friend

Hong Kong
380 Posts

Posted - 10/29/2011 :  04:12:49   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send chefcrsh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I recently finished reading Incognito, the secret lives of the brain, by David Eagleman. The last portion of the book is his compelling case for an entire rethink of the criminal justice system based on what we know about our neurology.

This interview is a synopses of his thought, but the books is where he lays his argument out in full. http://youtu.be/wSQY7zHk5y8
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ThorGoLucky
Snuggle Wolf

USA
1461 Posts

Posted - 10/30/2011 :  03:43:37   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit ThorGoLucky's Homepage Send ThorGoLucky a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by chefcrsh

Originally posted by marfknox And many are unaware of how common mistakes are made that can and have lead to innocent people being put on death row.



ON this I just saw a very interesting and compelling youtube argument by SisyphusRedeemed.

http://youtu.be/cjgsrGhqb4w


Well-spoken, cogent and compelling. I look forward to listening to more from SisyphusRedeemed.

I am tepidly against the death penalty.
Edited by - ThorGoLucky on 10/30/2011 03:45:20
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Valiant Dancer
Forum Goalie

USA
4826 Posts

Posted - 10/30/2011 :  17:01:00   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Valiant Dancer's Homepage Send Valiant Dancer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Hal

Originally posted by Valiant Dancer


I can respect your view that it lowers society to the level of the murderer, but I disagree. I believe instead that it is a viable solution for a rabid human. The main difference being that unlike the murderer, society has gone through a legal process to say that the actions of the individual are not treatable and if ever released thay would kill again. Imprisoning them has no rehabilitative effect and the individual presents a risk to other inmates and penal personnel.



This supports capital punishment as a preventative measure; one which aims to remove a specific threat from the community, but it doesn't really address the question of capital punishment as a deterrent.


Because I am not convinced of the deterrent argument. There are too many things that mute and blunt any deterrent value it may have given the current state of capital punishment.

I am more convinced of the preventative portion. A dead killer will not kill again. Whether armed thug, sociopath, or career criminal. But I believe the justice department has to come a lot further towards equitable results that are irrespective of socio-economic situation, race, sex, immigration status, and religion before it can be applied fairly.

Marf, we set aside the argument of inequitable application of the death penalty. The question is the effacy of the death penalty for the two main arguments used for it. I don't think we will find anyone here (minus the now banned justintime) that would suggest that the judicial sentancing and application of the death penalty isn't skewed badly. DWB and other shadow offenses continue to be a serious problem.

Cthulhu/Asmodeus when you're tired of voting for the lesser of two evils

Brother Cutlass of Reasoned Discussion
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