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Do you believe the death penalty is unethical?


Lyudmilascience
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Because we, as citizens, have relinquished our right to exercise personal justice. We entrust the government to exercise it for us. It has been invested with that responsibility to act on our behalf in such circumstances.

It's wrong for us, as individuals, to kill unnecessarily.

Doing it by proxy using the government doesn't change that.

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Because we, as citizens, have relinquished our right to exercise personal justice. We entrust the government to exercise it for us. It has been invested with that responsibility to act on our behalf in such circumstances.

 

 

But our government has decided killing it's citizens is wrong, why haven't you?

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But our government has decided killing it's citizens is wrong, why haven't you?

I'm discussing hypothetically about the principle. I'm not thinking of any particular country. I'm interpreting Ten oz's question generally; I think he is too.

 

 

 

Why does the Govt get a separate standard?

It's wrong for us, as individuals, to kill unnecessarily.

Doing it by proxy using the government doesn't change that.

'Unnecessarily' is subjective i.e. you don't think so.

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In your principle.

 

 

We are by definition talking about extreme human behaviour, which IMO comes from two possibilities (I welcome your suggestion of a third):

They became mentally disturbed through abuse and suffering.

They are mentally disturbed through disease or genetics.

In principle neither can be held fully responsible for their actions and so neither DESERVE to die.

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Because we, as citizens, have relinquished our right to exercise personal justice. We entrust the government to exercise it for us. It has been invested with that responsibility to act on our behalf in such circumstances.

We entrust of govt to exercise t for us. I don't agree with that. I think it is more about is all agreeing and holding ourselves to one standard and the govt enforces that standard. But for argument sake I will accept your govt is entrust to enforce for us. That still doesn't explain why the govt gets to do what us as individuals cannot. When parents entrust daycare centers to watch their children (huge responsibility) those centers must follow the same standards of behavior as everyone else. Merely representing others or a larger groups doesn't provide them cover to alter standards.

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I'm going to bow out because the trouble with this sort of adversarial discussion is there are no quantitative references we can use to support our arguments. It's a bit like mathematicians arguing their respective positions solely with axioms; axioms are not provable. Our words are weightless assertions.

Edited by StringJunky
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I'm discussing hypothetically about the principle. I'm not thinking of any particular country. I'm interpreting Ten oz's question generally; I think he is too.

 

'Unnecessarily' is subjective i.e. you don't think so.

There is a choice to kill murderers; but there is not a necessity.

There is an alternative- typically life in prison.

So you are simply wrong. It is not subjective.

 

Saying you are going to bow out because we are working from different sets of axioms is fine.

But just check whether you are actually basing your decisions on a set of assumptions that are not backed by the facts.

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Trying to find errors in the reasoning of some people in this thread is like shooting goldfish in a bowl. Easy but pointless and gets boring quickly. Clearly many people didn't form their opinion on the basis of a reasoning. They formed their opinion on basis of emotions and then picked up some arguments they don't truly believe in to try to defend an opinion they don't actually understand.

 

Arguments should be at the core of a belief and should stand or fall together. They are not ablative armor for your own ego.

Edited by Gilga-flesh
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Because we, as citizens, have relinquished our right to exercise personal justice. We entrust the government to exercise it for us. It has been invested with that responsibility to act on our behalf in such circumstances.

Is "personal justice" a euphemism for eye-for-an-eye, atavistic vengeance? And since when did asking for the death penalty become some sort of "right." Indeed, attempting to dress up base emotions such as excessive jealousy, pride, and vengeance with terms such as "justice" only really makes sense within the framework or religious dogma, otherwise one is just pulling the definition out of a hat. Let's call a spade a spade here.

 

In practice, it seems that individuals (be they citizens or not) who are friends and relatives of murdered victims often go that extra step of asking for the death penalty instead of life imprisonment purely because they can label it as "justice," when in fact such a request satisfies their desire (or perhaps blood lust) for revenge. Whether white collar, blue collar, or gangsta t-shirt, everyone still has dark emotions lurking in their amygdala and caudate nucleus. Punishment (despite its connotations of vindictiveness) sometimes serves a deterrent purpose when measured out in a manner that effectively reduces crime in the least invasive and offensive manner. The problem, however, is that individuals and groups often act out primitive, reptilian emotions /instincts by clamoring for the death of a perceived enemy and then rationalize their demands later as just carrying out (moral) business as usual.

Edited by disarray
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Some nice, thinly-veiled, derogatory and hand-wavey dismissive adjectives there which is usually where discussions on this sort of topic end up. I'm going to be bigger that and refrain from reciprocating in kind. Nothing like a purely qualitative, evidence-free diatribe, is there to cover up a Christian-inspired moral framework that is embeddedin western culture; forgiveness is all and morally 'superior' as declared, by some "atavistic" decree.

 

Let's call "a spade a spade" here. ;)

 

I'm out.

 

Is "personal justice" a euphemism for eye-for-an-eye, atavistic vengeance? And since when did asking for the death penalty become some sort of "right." Indeed, attempting to dress up base emotions such as excessive jealousy, pride, and vengeance with terms such as "justice" only really makes sense within the framework or religious dogma, otherwise one is just pulling the definition out of a hat. Let's call a spade a spade here.

 

In practice, it seems that individuals (be they citizens or not) who are friends and relatives of murdered victims often go that extra step of asking for the death penalty instead of life imprisonment purely because they can label it as "justice," when in fact such a request satisfies their desire (or perhaps blood lust) for revenge. Whether white collar, blue collar, or gangsta t-shirt, everyone still has dark emotions lurking in their amygdala and caudate nucleus. Punishment (despite its connotations of vindictiveness) sometimes serves a deterrent purpose when measured out in a manner that effectively reduces crime in the least invasive and offensive manner. The problem, however, is that individuals and groups often act out primitive, reptilian emotions /instincts by clamoring for the death of a perceived enemy and then rationalize their demands later as just carrying out (moral) business as usual.

Edited by StringJunky
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Some nice, thinly-veiled, derogatory and hand-wavey dismissive adjectives there which is usually where discussions on this sort of topic end up. I'm going to be bigger that and refrain from reciprocating in kind. Nothing like a purely qualitative, evidence-free diatribe, is there to cover up ones Christian indoctrinated cultural moral framework; forgiveness is all.

 

Any adjectives I may have written are not veiled at all. And I am neither advocating the eye-for-an-eye justice of the OT nor the forgiving vein in the NT. Rather I am merely addressing those who use a scriptural source for supporting the death penalty. As I said, if you are not using scripture as a moral locus point, I can only wonder where, as I said, you are getting a definition of justice that calls for the death penalty.

 

It seems to me that you are pretending that I have not given evidence when in fact I have. So, at the risk of being prolix, I will provide more evidence of various sorts:

 

My claim that the tradition of seeking the death penalty has its roots, among other places, from atavistic sources such as the OT worldview:

 

After this week’s botched execution in Oklahoma, Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, argued why Christians should support the death penalty at CNN.com. Grounding his argument in Genesis 9:6, where Noah is told that anyone guilty of intentional murder should be put to death, Mohler says, “The one who intentionally takes life by murder forfeits the right to his own life.”

Scriptures also prescribe the death penalty for kidnapping (Exodus 21:16), bestiality (Exodus 22:12), rape (Deuteronomy 22:24), making a sacrifice to a false god (Exodus 22:20), adultery (Leviticus 20:10), homosexual behavior (Leviticus 20:13), and premarital sex (Deuteronomy 22:13-21), rebellious children (Deuteronomy 21:18-21), children cursing parents, (Exodus 21:15-17), working on the Sabbath (Exodus 35:2), lending money with a high interest rate to make a profit (Ezekiel 18:13)

Indeed, arguably, the more sensible Jesus of the NT dismisses such harsh “justice:

Jesus said, “You have heard that it was taught, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.”In one swift and startling statement, Jesus took a hammer to the lex talionis—the basis for capital punishment in the Hebrew Scriptures—and gave those who would follow after him a new way to live. Leaving violence and vengeance and the power of death and life to the only perfect being who exists: God. http://religionnews.com/2014/05/02/capital-punishment-dont-start-old-testament/

 

My claim that revenge is an (often irrational) emotion that can be identified by neuroscientists:

 

"Imaging results show that we feel disgust (as evidenced by significant activation of the anterior insula) when faced with the behavior of cheaters, and very real satisfaction (that is, activation of the caudate nucleus) , when we punish those cheaters. (from Evil Genes by Barbara Oakley, pp. 259-260)

"Dan Arely [claims that] revenge experiments in which the participants' brains were scanned by positron emission tomography (PET) while they were making decisions about revenge. The results showed increased activity in the reward center of the brain (striatum). The greater the activation, the more the participants punished the offenders."

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/pieces-mind/201309/revenge-will-you-feel-better

 

My claim that the death penalty gives that extra emotional satisfaction associated with revenge, though Grant’s endorsement of such emotional vindictiveness is concerning:

 

“For many, the death penalty holds a deep emotional appeal. It is “an expression of society's ultimate outrage”, says Bob Grant, a former prosecutor and now a professor at the University of Denver, Colorado. Some acts, he argues, are so heinous that no other punishment is appropriate.” http://www.economist.com/node/9719806

My previous claim that there is scant or no convincing evidence that the death deterrent can be justified on the basis that it is a deterrent:

The chance of being executed in America is so remote that it cannot plausibly be a significant deterrent, argues Steven Levitt, of the University of Chicago. Even if you are on death row—a fate over 99% of murderers escape—the chance of being put to death in any given year is only about 2%. Members of a crack gang studied by one of Mr Levitt's colleagues had a 7%-a-year chance of being murdered. For them, death row would be safer than the street. http://www.economist.com/node/9719806

You can certainly bow out for whatever reason if you like, but if your Parthian shot is that I don't provide evidence or am surreptitiously attempting to introduce a religious viewpoint, I have the right to set you straight. But you are right, I am sometimes derogatory when it comes to the issue of the death penalty, as I have no respect for acts of vengeance...but no need to cry wolf by taking it personally.

Edited by disarray
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Is "personal justice" a euphemism for eye-for-an-eye, atavistic vengeance? And since when did asking for the death penalty become some sort of "right." Indeed, attempting to dress up base emotions such as excessive jealousy, pride, and vengeance with terms such as "justice" only really makes sense within the framework or religious dogma, otherwise one is just pulling the definition out of a hat. Let's call a spade a spade here.

 

In practice, it seems that individuals (be they citizens or not) who are friends and relatives of murdered victims often go that extra step of asking for the death penalty instead of life imprisonment purely because they can label it as "justice," when in fact such a request satisfies their desire (or perhaps blood lust) for revenge. Whether white collar, blue collar, or gangsta t-shirt, everyone still has dark emotions lurking in their amygdala and caudate nucleus. Punishment (despite its connotations of vindictiveness) sometimes serves a deterrent purpose when measured out in a manner that effectively reduces crime in the least invasive and offensive manner. The problem, however, is that individuals and groups often act out primitive, reptilian emotions /instincts by clamoring for the death of a perceived enemy and then rationalize their demands later as just carrying out (moral) business as usual.

 

I think you make a good point. In my opinion justice is mischaracterized when attached to punitive outcomes.

 

Synonyms for justices are: justness, fair play, fair-mindedness, equity, evenhandedness, impartiality, honesty, morals, and etc. Justice is proactive and not reactive. Justice is what our Gov't seeks to maintain; fair play for us all. That is why it says "serve and protect" on the side of police cars. Justice is a proactive thing that serves and protects society.

 

Synonyms for revenge are: vengeance, retribution, retaliation, reprisal, requital,redress, and etc. People in our society generally understand that revenge is a bad thing so they replace the word revenge with the word justice in an attempt to make it more palatable.

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Trying to find errors in the reasoning of some people in this thread is like shooting goldfish in a bowl. Easy but pointless and gets boring quickly. Clearly many people didn't form their opinion on the basis of a reasoning. They formed their opinion on basis of emotions and then picked up some arguments they don't truly believe in to try to defend an opinion they don't actually understand.

 

Arguments should be at the core of a belief and should stand or fall together. They are not ablative armor for your own ego.

 

 

So far in this thread all you've done by way of finding errors in others reasoning is to say I'm right your wrong, a kindergarten approach to debate.

 

 

We are by definition talking about extreme human behaviour, which IMO comes from two possibilities (I welcome your suggestion of a third):

They became mentally disturbed through abuse and suffering.

They are mentally disturbed through disease or genetics.

In principle neither can be held fully responsible for their actions and so neither DESERVE to die.

 

 

 

Feel free to prove me wrong or find the error of reasoning.

 

 

Or try this,

 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/28/death-penalty-study-4-percent-defendants-innocent

 

 

US death row study: 4% of defendants sentenced to die are innocent.

 

 

lets hope you or one of your loved ones doesn't find themselves in this position

Edited by dimreepr
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Some nice, thinly-veiled, derogatory and hand-wavey dismissive adjectives there ...

I said "So you are simply wrong."

Not very nice- not remotely veiled- not really derogatory.

Feel free to leave the debate, but don't kid yourself that you won any argument.

Killing people unnecessarily is still wrong.

Most of the civilised world has recognised that it is unnecessary to kill criminals.

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I said "So you are simply wrong."

Not very nice- not remotely veiled- not really derogatory.

Feel free to leave the debate, but don't kid yourself that you won any argument.

Killing people unnecessarily is still wrong.

Most of the civilised world has recognised that it is unnecessary to kill criminals.

That post was responding to Disarray.

 

 

 

Feel free to leave the debate, but don't kid yourself that you won any argument.

 

I...must.... stop.... responding. I don't go into this kind of discussion to'win' an argument; it's too serious a subject. I go in with the intention of testing my thoughts and having them critiqued. I also critique others thoughts on the matter. What I write at any given time is the current state of my thoughts and learning; it's a true record of where I'm at. I feel too many people, on subjects like this, say what they think other people want to hear. I don't mind being wrong if it allows me to understand more than I did yesterday.

 

A group of people nodding constantly to each other won't learn much will they? I don't say to myself "Oh, what's the standard moral high ground and will give me the most rep or nods". I like to view and argue from different perspectives. There is some truth to be found in all of them.

Edited by StringJunky
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I presume there's some really good reason why you couldn't respond to what I wrote.

I thought you had made a mistake.

 

OK: Feel free to make assertions based on your own personal code but don't conflate that with being objectively right.

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I am on the fence about this, killing an innocent man by accident even if he was convicted is a nightmare, but life long imprisonment is cruel and unusual in my book. Being locked up with real criminals is high on my list of things not to do, I would fear that worse than simply being killed. The expense of simply keeping someone alive who can never be released into society is a bit of a problem as well.

 

Primitive humans, I have been told, simply exiled a bad person from the group, but for humans that was as good as a death sentence. with out companions living in the wild before humans had beat down most of the really large predators was as good as a death penalty.

 

I can't bring my self to categorically say one way or another, it would have to be on a case by case basis for sure. ultimately let the family members have some say in it... maybe...

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OK: Feel free to make assertions based on your own personal code but don't conflate that with being objectively right.

 

 

Isn't that what you're doing?

I can't bring my self to categorically say one way or another, it would have to be on a case by case basis for sure.

 

 

But on that basis, how many choose not to appeal?

Edited by dimreepr
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Isn't that what you're doing?

Yes, I said as much earlier:

 

.... the trouble with this sort of adversarial discussion is there are no quantitative references we can use to support our arguments. It's a bit like mathematicians arguing their respective positions solely with axioms; axioms are not provable. Our words are weightless assertions.

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