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Capital Punishment thread

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    ege02ege02 __BANNED USERS regular
    edited August 2007
    im not sure what you are saying here or why you are comparing the use of the law to the use of force.

    Because that is your basis for arguing in favor of using law, a tool, to shape society into one we like.

    So I'm saying, just because a tool can be used thus, does it mean it should be? By itself it clearly is not a good enough reason.
    you have to be a little bit more clear with what you're saying. the first sentence above and the second are in direct conflict with each other. please reconcile.

    when the law enforces something that is "good" for society, it is necessarily shaping society. that's the whole point of the law.

    True.

    What I meant is that the law should not shape society on moral grounds. It should shape society on objective, measurable grounds. The reason is clear: morality is subjective whereas hard data is not, and morality very often points the wrong way as far as "what is best for society" is concerned.
    but these harms you point out are miniscule when compared to truly harmful conduct, such as smoking, obesity, drunk driving, etc. it is estimated that 400,000 deaths are caused annually by smoking alone. http://www.solveyourproblem.com/quit..._smoking.shtml

    why arent you outraged at that?

    Who said I wasn't? If you're familiar with my debate history in D&D you'll know that I take very harsh stances against all those issues you listed.

    I don't have to point out the logical fallacy in your argument here, of course.
    saying you care about the death penaly because it causes "tangible harm" to society means either you are really, really terrible at math or you are lying. just admit it. the reason you are against the death penalty is for moral reasons, not because it causes tangible harm to society.

    seriously, i cannot discuss this with you if you are going to be dishonest about the issue.

    :roll:

    Stop being childish.

    ege02 on
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    KetherialKetherial Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Tastyfish wrote: »
    Lets talk hypothetically for the first part then, were the death penalty found to conflict with deterrance or the reduction of crime rates in general - would you then oppose it, or is the punishment of criminals worth more to society than the prevention of future crime? I understand this probably seems a slightly ridiculous question (what sort of madman is encouraged to commit crimes by the death penalty?) but for the sake of the argument its an important point to make.

    if the death penalty were to cause crime rates to increase significantly, then i would oppose the death penalty.

    the significance of the increase in crime would have to be measured against my desire for justice. how many innocent human lives would i sacrifice to see justice done? quite honestly, im not sure. it might be 100 or a 1000 or more or less.

    it's a difficult and good question and my most honest answer is: ive never compared my principles (such as justice, loyalty, integrity, etc.) against human lives. im not really sure how such comparison would work. and of course this is all complicated by the fact that i have no influence over legislation.

    if i could at the push of a button ensure (what i consider to be) fair results in all death penalty cases, would i accept a 1% crime rate increase? maybe not. would i accept a 0.000001% crime rate increase? maybe.
    More relevantly, its important because it appears that this is the case - the more extreme the penalties for commiting crime are, the more likely someone will commit another. (at which point I throw myself upon the mercy of PA, seeing as I never bookmark these damn things and can only find things relating to economic cost - but this is a point that has come up enough times so either way someone should be able to find something to prove or disprove this point.)

    it's an often quoted theory but i dont think it has any evidence to back it up.
    You're morally opposed to lotteries?

    im morally opposed to society being run as a lottery, yes.
    Lotteries in general, since it rewards people for little effort - unless you consider the risk involved to be part of the effort?

    lotteries hold no moral significance to me. i assume you are talking about money or prizes. if you are talking about lotteries that determine life or death, i would very much be opposed to lotteries.
    what you actually deserve in terms of punishment does not equate solely to the profit you made from the crime. just as the harm that arises in connection with any crime does not only amount to the lost item. violation of a person's security, privacy, etc., are all important concerns.

    i have said it again and again: tangible, measurable benefits and harms are not the only things the law attempts to address.
    I'd say those things are tangible things - particularly on larger scales and especially purely on principle. If you want extreme punishments then you need to be able to demonstrate a tangible benefit since if executing people does nothing to the crime rate, whats the point?

    i dont see the intangible/tangible distinction between justice and security, fairness and peace of mind. why is security tangible but justice intangible?
    i dont see how the death penalty affects the quality of life in our society. it affects the quality of life of the death row convict, but he is not a part of our society. even without the death penalty, he is just a guy with lwop sentence. he will never return to society.
    It affects the quality of life of the person, since with LWOP he can still prove his innocence. More importantly there may be options that do increase the QoL of society which will not be explored because of the death penalty and the often shitty reasoning that often supports it (It lowers crime because of its 0.00% recidivism rate! Killing people is cheap!) etc.

    but i've already stated, i dont consider lwop criminals part of our society. they can never return to society anyway. i consider their quality of life a pretty insignificant factor considering they've likely murdered or raped multiple victims. one does not normally get lwop for even murder (unless it is absolutely depraved and aggravated and even then, im not sure you would get lwop).
    I'd happily screw someone over for £50,000 - no need to split things by race or anything. However where I black then the answer would probably be no, since I'm further dooming myself and my children to more exploitation. In all likelyhood that £50,000 wouldn't really do much anyway since not enough people have been screwed over and it renders most of my savings worthless anyway

    no you wouldnt. come on, be honest here. you would screw over an entire group of people in a huge society just so the group you belong to profits? no way. i simply dont believe you.
    - were I a purely logical being with the correct information at my disposal, I would recognise the value of equality here. However - I'm not routing for equality because equality itself is fantastic - its because it serves a purpose and is better for society than everyone choosing what is best for just them.

    but the example ive given goes against your logic. everyone actually benefits more than they would if you didnt implement the plan. everyone gets more money. the only reason you wouldnt implement it is because you arent a purely logical being.

    the idea of fairness is important to each and everyone of us for the sake of fairness.
    Your punishment example is very different from this, because there isn't the reasoning behind why we must have equal punishment

    of course there is. punishing two different offenses identically is unfair to the one with the lighter offense. it is in fact rewarding the criminal who engages in a more heinous crime. i do not consider that an ideal result and i do not consider a society that promotes such result to be fair.
    Regarding 'Fairness is a goal, not a right' - fairness is part of a means to an end, rather than the goal itself. How can the goal be anything other than the largest amount of happiness for the largest amount of people?

    i absolutely disagree. i think fairness is one of the ends, not at all one of the means. again, let's look at the earlier example i gave of minor benefit for a certain minority and major benefit for the majority. if we were to make that process blind (i.e. no one knew about the results), would you go through with it?

    the blacks would not suffer in any way because they would not know that they were discriminated against (even though they were, in fact, treated unfairly). they would simply be happy to get an extra $50 rebate and that would be that. whites would get a $100,000 rebate and also not know that blacks were getting discriminated against. the only person that would know is you.

    personally i wouldnt go through with it because fairness is more important to me than $100,000. i would choose to split the money equally among all or i would choose not to have any of it distributed.

    the question then is, how important is fairness to you? maybe you werent lying when you said youd happily screw others over for 50,000 pounds. would you "screw" the entire black population over for 50,000 pounds? some how i just can't believe you. but then again, maybe you would.

    if you really would, then i think we just have to agree to disagree. fairness is important to me as a goal in and of itself.

    Ketherial on
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    Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Is there any policy intended to further the public good that the government is able to pursue, under that rubric? It seems like the 'everyone has to benefit equally from policy' argument would rule out basically everything.

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
    it was the smallest on the list but
    Pluto was a planet and I'll never forget
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    ZsetrekZsetrek Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Ketherial wrote: »
    Zsetrek wrote: »
    Keth - if I'm reading you right; if the US Supreme Court abolished the death penalty tomorrow, you'd believe that was a just and morally binding law? Doesn't that completely undermine your moral theory? Either you believe in an overarching theory of justice that transcends the written laws of society (your theory of "fairness and justice"), or you acknowledge that society's laws are in and of themselves determinative of what is right and just. Or are you just saying that you're a pragmatist who's prepared to put aside what's right for what will allow you to live day-to-day?

    no, my personal moral theory is not based on what the supreme court decides. i apologize if i gave you that impression.

    i feel that people should get what they deserve. what people deserve, as judged by me, is ultimately determined by my upbringing and education. for example, 30 murders definitely = death penalty for me. in other words, i believe in my own personal overarching theory of justice.

    however, i am a moral relativist and i dont necessarily believe that what i say has any more validity than what others say. i accept that my opinion may be biased or off. as such, i apply the principle of "majority rules". i accept that laws need to be followed in order for society to function. and if the majority through election of the president through appointment of the sc justices (or simply through legislation) abolishes the death penalty, then i would bow down to such rule because i accept that majority rules.

    i would disagree with the majority decision, but it's not like that hasnt happened before (see bush administration). and the death penalty issue for me is not one that i feel so strongly about that i would change citizenship or whatever. i would simply accept that what i deem a criminal to "deserve" is harsher than what the majority deems to be deserved.

    So, you're not advancing a moral code, but an opinion? Why then, is "that's what I believe" a stronger position than a consistent moral argument like utilitarianism, or universal human rights? What reason would anyone have to adopt your view?

    Zsetrek on
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    KetherialKetherial Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Dyscord wrote: »
    Is there any policy intended to further the public good that the government is able to pursue, under that rubric? It seems like the 'everyone has to benefit equally from policy' argument would rule out basically everything.

    it's an ideal. just because it can't be achieved doesnt mean we should scrap it. the closer we can get to that ideal, the better.

    Ketherial on
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    KetherialKetherial Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Zsetrek wrote: »
    So, you're not advancing a moral code, but an opinion? Why then, is "that's what I believe" a stronger position than a consistent moral argument like utilitarianism, or universal human rights? What reason would anyone have to adopt your view?

    i dont see any conceptual difference between my personal moral code (which i consider an opinion) and the theory of utilitarianism (which i also consider to be simply an opinion). the substance of the two codes are of course different, but i dont see why you should care more or less for one or the other just because it has a label.

    my personal moral code is nothing if not consistent. fairness is easy to understand and even to measure (at least when compared to, for example, the concept of "utility" or the principle of "maximizing good" in utilitarianism).

    Ketherial on
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    ZsetrekZsetrek Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Ketherial wrote: »
    Zsetrek wrote: »
    So, you're not advancing a moral code, but an opinion? Why then, is "that's what I believe" a stronger position than a consistent moral argument like utilitarianism, or universal human rights? What reason would anyone have to adopt your view?

    i dont see any conceptual difference between my personal moral code (which i consider an opinion) and the theory of utilitarianism (which i also consider to be simply an opinion). the substance of the two codes are of course different, but i dont see why you should care more or less for one or the other just because it has a label.

    Utilitarianism is a system of discerning what is "right". Whether or not you agree with the principle, it provides a moral code that has certainty: Utilitarianism can be used to justify a law, a belief, or a position.

    Your personal moral code lacks any certainty. You argue that revenge is morally good, but that that goodness may be overridden by popular opinion. Hence what is morally right becomes practically irrelevant. Using your code, an outside observer looking in on a society would be unable to discern what was morally right, and what was merely popular opinion, without the benefit of you being there to explain it to him.

    Zsetrek on
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    KetherialKetherial Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Zsetrek wrote: »
    Ketherial wrote: »
    Zsetrek wrote: »
    So, you're not advancing a moral code, but an opinion? Why then, is "that's what I believe" a stronger position than a consistent moral argument like utilitarianism, or universal human rights? What reason would anyone have to adopt your view?

    i dont see any conceptual difference between my personal moral code (which i consider an opinion) and the theory of utilitarianism (which i also consider to be simply an opinion). the substance of the two codes are of course different, but i dont see why you should care more or less for one or the other just because it has a label.

    Utilitarianism is a system of discerning what is "right". Whether or not you agree with the principle, it provides a moral code that has certainty: Utilitarianism can be used to justify a law, a belief, or a position.

    Your personal moral code lacks any certainty. You argue that revenge is morally good, but that that goodness may be overridden by popular opinion. Hence what is morally right becomes practically irrelevant. Using your code, an outside observer looking in on a society would be unable to discern what was morally right, and what was merely popular opinion, without the benefit of you being there to explain it to him.

    i think you are creating an artificial distinction. where is the certainty in "utility" or maximizing "good"? what is good? what does utility mean?

    edit: furthermore, how can they be "certain" when utility cannot be measured? or when no one agrees on what utility means?

    besides, you've misunderstood the point. goodness itself cannot be overridden by public opinion. my opinion on what constitutes "goodness" can be overridden by public opinion.

    not to get side tracked into the topic of moral relativism, moral objectivists necessarily assume that their opinion (which they hold out as objective) overrides public opinion. i simply dont have that kind of certainty with respect to my understanding of reality to be able to make the same statement. i accept that i may be wrong.

    Ketherial on
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