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About dstebbins

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  1. So how does this comment on the objective effectiveness of tortuous execution as a criminal deterrent? It almost seems as if you're advocating a quick & painless execution for those who commit a single murder but ramp it up to a long and tortuous one if they commit multiple murders. But how effective would that be as a criminal deterrent? Also, executioners who themselves drag out the executions longer than necessary for their own sadistic pleasure is not the same thing as the method of execution itself being long and tortuous. The executioner in the former case is committing a crime himself (although whether he actually gets punished for that crime is a different story), whereas a Roman general nailing a traitor to a cross on the Emperor's orders before leaving him to hang until death is not. The electric chair isn't supposed to be long and tortuous by design, and it's not something that an aspiring criminal can think about when he's weighing the risk of committing the crime. That last one is essential to the discussion I'm trying to get going, because that last one is the whole point of it being a criminal deterrent.
  2. Yeah well ... can we discuss the question I asked in the OP and title thread? Pretty please! Also ... Okay, but the largest percentage of criminals consist of high school dropouts, not just college dropouts. We already have free secondary education. Unless you want to advocate that college becomes mandatory, then making it free isn't going to help much.
  3. If you think there are no criminal geniuses (e.g. those who are able to rig together MacGuiver-quality equipment out of bubble gum, a bag of rubber bands, and a roll of duck tape) who could have nearly any job they wanted, but who CHOOSE a life of crime, then you are sorely mistaken. EDIT: https://www.ranker.com/list/smart-serial-killers/lea-rose-emery
  4. Ok, so it's fairly common knowledge that, contrary to intuition, states in the USA that do not have the death penalty actually have lower murder rates than those that do. If that wasn't common knowledge to you ... well ... a 2-minute google search can verify it for you. But those studies only compare capital punishment vs. non-capital punishment. What about different forms of capital punishment? Is more humane execution more effective as a criminal deterrent than slow, painful, and (most importantly of all) public death? While I was able to find plenty of articles detailing the attitudes of the policy-makers of the Roman Empire regarding execution methods such as crucifixion, such as this one, I was unable to find any article based on objective fact giving any insight as to how objectively accurate these attitudes were. For example, in the article I just linked you to, he says "Do that [crucifixion] a few times for horse-theft, and see how many horse thieves you’ll find." However, he quickly tempers this argument by saying "Or so the Romans reasoned, in any event." I was able to find this article on the effectiveness of torture, but it did not even purport to be grounded in objective fact verified by unbiased and/or double-blind research. Rather, this article purports on its face to be a survey taken of regular people giving their biased and uncorroborated opinions. Now please understand that I am not asking for any input on whether tortuous execution is morally justified, cruel and unusual, a necessary evil, or whatever. I am asking for one thing and one thing only: Whether citizens in a country threatened with slow, painful, public execution are less likely to commit crimes than in political borders that provide for more "humane" executions (including the execution being conducted privately and only after numerous appeals), all else being equal. That last part about "all else being equal" is admittedly a tough criterion to meet, as you are very unlikely to find two countries - even countries that no longer exist and never existed at the same time - who are almost completely identical in their judicial and penal systems, except for the exact method by which they carry out capital punishments. The comparisons between capital and non-capital punishments in the United States that I mentioned at the top of this OP are more immediately comparable, because the U.S. Constitution guarantees a certain uniform standard of justice across the various states. It's a situation that's more-less unique to the USA. Even if you could find two countries that were similar enough in their judicial and penal processes, we would also have to consider what sort of technology and forensics they routinely used. If they existed at two different points in world history, that factor is out the window almost instantly. After all, it's fairly well documented that punishment certainty is generally a more effective criminal deterrent than punishment severity, and what forensics technology the government has at its disposal will undoubtedly have a monumental impact on the former factor. So is there anything out there that's even remotely objective and scientific, commenting on the effectiveness of torturous execution as a criminal deterrent?
  5. dstebbins

    What is this logical fallacy called?

    If the arrests are done out of racism, they are not "kosher." Kosher - adjective - being proper, acceptable, or satisfactory. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/kosher Arrests done out of racism are the complete opposite of that.
  6. dstebbins

    What is this logical fallacy called?

    Uuuuuh ... no ... actually my OP implied the complete opposite, that the arrests that police use to justify their racial profiling are themselves caused by the very racism police say they don't have.
  7. dstebbins

    What is this logical fallacy called?

    Well, the question I asked in the OP is still unanswered: What is this fallacy called?
  8. dstebbins

    What is this logical fallacy called?

    It is disputed that blacks are inordinately violent!
  9. dstebbins

    What is this logical fallacy called?

    No, police claim that blacks are inordinately violent, as evidenced by the blacks' high arrest rates. Police have near total control over the high arrest rates. So the hypothesis is that blacks are inordinately violent and therefore deserving of police brutality, but it lacks any evidence that the advocates of that hypothesis can't directly manipulate. According to that fallacy, it is when someone assumes causality when coincidence is just as probable. Examples: A tenant moves into an apartment and the building's furnace goes faulty. The manager blames the tenant's arrival for the malfunction. One event merely followed the other, in the absence of causality. The Brazilian footballer Pelé is said to have blamed a dip in his playing performance on having given a fan a specific playing shirt; after getting the shirt back his performance recovered. The loss of the shirt was given as the reason for his dip, and its return the cause of his recovery. However, it was later discovered the shirt returned was not the original shirt. In those two examples, there is no causality whatsoever. In the two examples I gave in my OP, there is indeed some causality; the only thing that is in dispute is what the causality is. Is the cause of the problem racism by cops, or violence by blacks? Is the cause of the early lesson a legitimate prophecy, or the fact that the teacher sets the exam?
  10. dstebbins

    What is this logical fallacy called?

    Neither of those seem to fit 100% what I'm looking for.
  11. It's a fallacy where one argues that X is justified because Y, but the problem is that Y is created by the very people arguing that X is justified so they can have a justification for it. At first I thought the term "self-validation" could apply, but according to this webpage ... https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/pieces-mind/201407/self-validation ... that's a different concept. After that, I thought about using the term "self-justification," but while this fallacy may be a type of self-justification, that phrase encompasses every circumstance where you justify your own actions, even when your arguments are valid. Here's an example of the sort of fallacy I'm thinking of: In the USA, African Americans are, bar none, the most common victims of police brutality, especially in fatal encounters. Statistically, that fact is undisputed. However, to counter this, some police and advocates of them argue that police killings of black people is not out of racism per se, but rather, because black people are statistically more likely to commit violent crimes than whites. Thus, these people argue, black people are more likely to put police in an ultimatum where they realistically feel that it's kill or be killed. Now, obviously, that can be considered RAF (racist as sex) in its own right, so to back up their claims, they cite the arrest rates across the USA. Although blacks make up a disproportionate amount of police shootings in the USA, they also make up a disproportionate amount of violent crime arrests, and ... ... and this next part is very important ... ... the rate at which blacks are arrested for violent crimes is on par with the rate at which they get shot by police! https://www.channel4.com/news/factcheck/factcheck-black-americans-commit-crime Well, that all sounds well and good, except for one problem: The police - a.k.a. the very people killing the black people in these statistics - are the same people who decide who to arrest! Hell, that Channel 4 article doesn't even cite conviction rates! It only cites arrest rates! Innocent until proven guilty?! Never heard of it! Another good example of this sort of fallacy at work comes from the novel "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban." Specifically, this excerpt right here: So what exactly would this sort of logical fallacy be called? Where you argue your actions are justified based on evidence that you yourself have a lot of influence, if not total control, over.
  12. Well, it's clear that you've already made up your mind on this matter ... which means you're no more qualified to discuss the objective facts of this matter than the cops themselves. Tell me, Mr. Cuthber: Do you actually know for a fact that no scientific studies have been conducted, or do you simply assume that none have been conducted based solely on the fact that you personally have yet to hear about any?
  13. Numerous police departments have come under public scrutiny in recent years after use of lethal force in cases that, to many people, did not appear to require lethal force (the keyword being "lethal"). The Mesa, Arizona police department after the shooting of Daniel Shaver, and the Sacramento Police Department after the shooting of Steffon Clark are two examples that come immediately to mind. Police and their sympathizers tend to argue that their improvident use of lethal force is a necessary evil by arguing that, if a cop waits until he's actually being shot at before he opens fire himself, he's probably already dead before he even gets the chance to defend himself. This video right here documents the most publicized case of a civilian being invited to see things from the cops' perspective: However, just on the summary glance of police training that this video shows, I'm seeing a huge problem in the way the training is structured. It seems to be based more on paranoia than objective fact. Think about it this way: Let's play devil's advocate for a minute here. Let's temporarily concede that a person who's hands disappear behind a car could, in theory, result in a gun being fired faster than the cop can draw his own weapon. Well, I'm less interested in what could, in theory, potentially happen, and more interested in what is realistically likely to actually happen. Thing about it this way: This training exercise was intentionally manufactured by police trainers for the express purpose of ingraining a specific mindset into cops-in-training (or CITs, for short). In doing so, the trainers are able to create literally whatever circumstances they want, no matter how implausible or unlikely the scenario. The fake perp in that scenario fires his gun at the CIT literally every time a new CIT goes through that exercise. Imagine if that fake perp actually had a chance of shooting the CIT with his blank bullet. The chance of him doing so accurately reflected the odds of the perp in an otherwise identical situation out in the real world doing the same. So if the odds of a similar situation in real life escalating to the point of being fired upon was ... say ... 1 in 721,563, then the fake perp in this training exercise would be told - via his hidden earpiece - to fire at the CIT only if a computerized RNG rolled a 1 out of a range of 1-721,563. I highly doubt very many cops would be converted over to the mindset of "It's best if we shoot now and not take chances." If the guys who killed Steffon Clark or Daniel Shaver were forced to admit out loud (e.g. through cross-examination) that the OBJECTIVE ODDS of them being killed if they didn't use lethal force - or if they waited even a few seconds to analyze the situation further - were about one in a million, then cops around the nation would probably realize just how wrong they are with their current police training. So now we come to the title of this thread, and the main reason I'm posting this in a science message board, rather than a politics one: Is there any objective scientific evidence showing that training police to act so irrationally is actually necessary to protect cops? By "necessary," I don't simply mean that preventing 1 cop death per year justifies the most extreme use of force policies. By "necessary," I mean ... would the relaxing of use of force result in a disproportionate increase of cop deaths to the reduction of civilian deaths? For example, if objective scientific evidence showed that a re-working of police use of force training and policies resulted in a 50% reduction in innocent civilians being killed by cops per year, but also resulted in a 5,000% increase in cops being killed by civilians per year, then that would certainly create a strong case for such extreme use of force policies being a necessary evil. But the key word there is "objective." I'm not interested in hearing the biased opinions of cops who have been trained to be paranoid and therefore are too scared for their own lives (the fear may be in good faith, even though it is totally baseless and delusional, because of the paranoid training they receive) to even give this theory a chance. No, I'd like these studies to be based on sound, objective, scientific observations. Preferably double-blind, if not triple blind. Are there any studies out there like that? For example, in 2017 (the most recent year for which full statistics were available), 149 unarmed civilians were killed by cops ... https://policeviolencereport.org/ ... while only 46 cops were murdered by gunfire in that same time period ... https://www.odmp.org/search/year/2017 ... So imagine if, in late 2017, Congress passed a nationwide law restricting police use of force, which took effect on January 1, 2018. This restriction indeed reduced the number of unarmed civilians killed by cops in 2018 down to 49, about a third of what they were before. But now, because cops are more restricted in the use of force, thugs they are trying to apprehend feel a lot bolder than they used to and are more willing to use lethal force against the cops, knowing that the cops are going to be more hesitant to use lethal force in turn until it's too late. So in the same time period the use of unarmed civilian deaths drops, the number of cops killed by civilians in that same time period goes up to an astonishing 4,600 cop deaths, instead of the mere 46 from the year before. So although we've saved 100 civilians' lives, we've cost ourselves 4,554 cops' lives, a net increase in 4,454 needless deaths overall. Obviously, this is what the cops themselves would want you to believe would happen if use of force policies were tightened up even slightly, but is there any objective scientific data showing that this is, in fact, what would happen?
  14. dstebbins

    Mars's water; why the poles?

    Yeah, we have water all over the place here on earth. Poles and mountaintops usually contain the highest concentrations of solid water. That wasn't the point. Mars' poles don't just have the highest concentration of solid water on the planet. They're the only places on the planet where more than trace amounts of water can be found at all. For example, at the end of this video ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbhqHCqjoZ0 ... this guy explains how, when the Sun engorges in a billion years, the poles on earth will be the only places where liquid water (and, by proxy, life) will continue to exist. That, of course, makes sense. There will still be water elsewhere on earth, but it will be gas. Mars isn't like that. The poles are the only sources of water on Mars, period. Not just any specific state.