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dmitchell
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:
...

Unpersuasive. To my knowledge there is no physical evidence connecting this man to the crime. To my knowledge there is no evidence of any kind connecting this man to the crime except his words and his signature on various statements written by police, and those statements contain contradictory statements at odds with eye-witness testimony and the crime scene.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

juniper wrote:
I guess we should do the same with the old, people who have gotten into accidents and gotten their legs severed, etc etc etc (as they fit the same description). :roll:
no, whatever gave you that impression? for starters, the old and maimed haven't done anything to warrant a punishment like that. they can go out and see the world, visit their families, make money and contribute in all sorts of ways.

juniper wrote:
rarely happens.
it's still quite a bit less common than people awaking from the dead. so killing them is more secure by default. and i didn't even bring up those fellas that commit crimes in prison which might kill or maim innocent prison guards.

juniper wrote:
balancing justice with cost. justice should win, especially if the savings are minimal.
nice try, but that's quite a nice logical fellacy right there. for starters, this is assuming that killing people in response to serious offenses is unjust, which is in part what the discussion is about. you can't use one result of an argument as a premise to fuel that same argument. and i'd bet my left testicle that keeping people in high security facilities is VERY expensive. although it does create jobs...

nomilieu wrote:
I don't buy the "dead to the world" argument against permanent imprisonment. They still interact with other prisoners, and some of those people will be set free. Besides, aren't they usually allowed to write letters and such?
last i checked in the US they can't even vote even if they did get out. and their interaction with other prisoners and guards aren't all that likely to be positive.

nomilieu wrote:
Now, your idea about volunteering for dangerous medical experiments (or other deadly yet beneficial projects), I could get behind that. If someone's guilt has them wanting to help society and they can't stand living in prison for the rest of their lives, it makes sense to let them do something helpful.
well, i'll be honest i'm just playing devil's advocate because the anti arguments are plain ol' terrible. volunteering for medical or military experiments, however, that really is my favourite because it actually allows them to give back to society in ways that are both very useful and very hard to procure test subjects for.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's good that you mention it. I live in the US, and I find it really strange that ex-cons can't vote. They are, after all, free citizens again.

In any case, I'm not wanting to get worked up about capital punishment again. Since I'm technically a nihilist, I'll never be able to make a compelling philosophical argument to justify my opposition.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:
richk449 wrote:
I have made arguments against capital punishment in previous threads, none of which fall into the easily dismissed categories you have listed here as invalid. Furthermore, there are good arguments made by others. Which is why I say that if you have never heard of a valid argument against capital punishment, that is your problem, not mine.

Did I say it was other than my problem? It seemed to me I was lamenting.

I didn't mean any personal offense, but I don't recall hearing a sound argument against it from you. We must be in disagreement on one or more of the supporting points. Which of the standard arguments is yours?

a) killing is immoral / the flying spaghetti monster told us not to

b) it doesn't do any good / retributive justice isn't valid / it's nothing but revenge / it's not an effective deterrent

c) if an innocent man is (or could be) executed, capital punishment must stop

d) it costs more than lifetime incarceration

e) it's not okay for the collective to do harmful things to people, only individuals should harm other people

f) the admirable, enlightened, secular and progressive Europeans will look down on us as primitive

Those are all failed arguments, in my opinion. Maybe I didn't get yours in there?


My argument against capital punishment is, like most of my beliefs, utilitarian. The costs (risk of killing innocent people, devaluation of human life, cost, creeping acceptance of unlimited government power) outweigh the benefits (deterrence mainly).

If you want to review the last time we had this discussion, start here: http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic-t-895578-postdays-0-postorder-asc-highlight-capital+punishment-start-25.html
As you read that thread over, you may recall twisting yourself into knots to avoid actually dealing with my argument. This was a memorable argument:
BoneKracker wrote:
neither the jury nor the judicial system is part of the state
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mdeininger wrote:
no, whatever gave you that impression? for starters, the old and maimed haven't done anything to warrant a punishment like that. they can go out and see the world, visit their families, make money and contribute in all sorts of ways.


you said if they can't contribute, off with their heads.

to your other point about cost, I am saying that life and death decisions should be made independent of cost and notions like societal contributions. we should do it if we honestly believe they deserve to die, and only then.

Quote:
it's still quite a bit less common than people awaking from the dead. so killing them is more secure by default. and i didn't even bring up those fellas that commit crimes in prison which might kill or maim innocent prison guards.


sure. and nuking the whole planet would also solve the problem. Is escaping from prison a big problem? no. then lots not kill people because of it.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

juniper wrote:
mdeininger wrote:
no, whatever gave you that impression? for starters, the old and maimed haven't done anything to warrant a punishment like that. they can go out and see the world, visit their families, make money and contribute in all sorts of ways.


you said if they can't contribute, off with their heads.

to your other point about cost, I am saying that life and death decisions should be made independent of cost and notions like societal contributions. we should do it if we honestly believe they deserve to die, and only then.
actually i said "if you intend to lock them up for life, you might as well kill them." as a premise for the paragraph. you quoted that yourself. you're not intent on locking up old people i hope? i then added as a supporting statement that "they're dead to the world." that's why it's all in one paragraph. i never said "they're dead to the world, let's kill 'em." that sentence fragment went with the other main sentence.

i see no reason not to run the numbers on life and death decisions. it's the only sane thing to do. unless you give inmates some options other than to sit around on their asses and waste taxpayer money for the next 50-80 years.

juniper wrote:
Quote:
it's still quite a bit less common than people awaking from the dead. so killing them is more secure by default. and i didn't even bring up those fellas that commit crimes in prison which might kill or maim innocent prison guards.


sure. and nuking the whole planet would also solve the problem. Is escaping from prison a big problem? no. then lots not kill people because of it.
maybe, but it's still less secure, which was the point of the statement. getting hit by lightning and dying is a statistically insignificant risk and people are still afraid of it. hell, winning the lottery is even less likely than getting hit by lightning and dying and people still line up each time the jackpot is high.

also, nuking the whole planet would solve the problem but would do far too much damage to the environment. it'd also be likely that more than 80% of the victims would in fact be innocent. the stats are not nearly as grim with the death penalty. for that i'd estimate the stats to be << 1%.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sugar wrote:
BoneKracker wrote:
sugar wrote:
g) capital punishment creates only harm, and creates no good, and so is unethical compared to other actions that could be taken that cause no harm but do good (the utilitarian argument).

Falls under (b).

sugar wrote:
h)it's unethical to kill someone in order to create a society that is 'safer', because you're using them as a means to an end (the first Kantian/Deontological argument)

Falls under (e).

sugar wrote:
i) it's unethical, because no rational being is capable of murdering another. Therefore, a convicted killer is no longer a rational entity. You cannot hold a non-rational entity accountable for their own actions. It's the same as holding a cat accountable for killing a bird. (the second Kantian/Deontological argument)

Falls under (a).

I could go into details, but have done so before. It is my opinion that, when examined rationally and objectively, each of these fall apart logically, and most of them rely upon one or more bare assertions of norms and mores drawn from the Christian religious tradition.

I'm not saying it's okay to run around killing people. I'm saying there are circumstances where it is morally and ethically correct to take another human life, and one of these circumstances is in response to certain extremely grievous crimes for which it is otherwise impossible by a very great margin to make restitution to the victims and society or be confidently rehabilitated.


:roll: :roll:

I don't know why you bother posting if you're not even going to read the post your wishing to counter.

I read it, and I gave each one ample consideration, and gave you my response. If you don't see the relationships, that's not my fault or my problem.

Regardless, the number and exact description of the many invalid arguments is not important. What's important is whether or not any such arguments are actually valid (by this I mean whether they are logically coherent and stand up under objective scrutiny). I have found the arguments I described to be invalid.

So are the ones you added. If you were trying to claim those additional arguments are valid simply because they were once made by antediluvian philosophers or are well-known, that's nothing but an appeal to authority. There are a lot of long-standing and respected philosophical positions that are invalid, among them ones based on the presumption of some "natural rights", which I believe to have been a convenient plug-in replacement for the "God-given rights" espoused by Christian philosophers.

I don't believe in God, and I don't believe Nature grants rights. You may choose to base your life on a belief in "natural rights", and I respect that, but I'm still going to say that if you do, you're just another sub-class of the rest of the worshipers of Flying Spaghetti Monsters.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's a gem. The closing argument of the prosecution:

Quote:
"The Defendant tells you that he did it. What other evidence do you need? That's the best kind of evidence you'll ever have in a case. What's the one thing that can ensure that you have no doubt. Words from a person. You don't say you were some place if you weren't. You don't ever say you shot somebody if you didn't."

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Meh. I'm arguing about capital punishment with a German. This can't end well so I am going to agree to disagree.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

juniper wrote:
killing is bad because living in a society where killing is permitted isn't one in which we can thrive and live happily. People want security and they don't want to live in a society where their lives are likely to be threatened. It's pretty basic..

Capital punishment is not a threat to people's lives, unless they are brutal mass-murders or the like (who are, in fact, a such a threat).
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dmitchell wrote:
BoneKracker wrote:
...

Unpersuasive. To my knowledge there is no physical evidence connecting this man to the crime. To my knowledge there is no evidence of any kind connecting this man to the crime except his words and his signature on various statements written by police, and those statements contain contradictory statements at odds with eye-witness testimony and the crime scene.

The article was grossly misleading. The article makes it sound like this guy claimed to have committed the crime and was convicted solely on that basis (and, as we all know, there are nut cases who walk into police stations and do this every now and then). That's not what happened here.

The article also makes the unsubstantiated claim the man is "probably innocent", and I think any rational, objective review of all the evidence shows he is "probably guilty". Whether that is "beyond reasonable doubt" or meets the standards of proof for capital punishment is another story, but neither the article nor you have made that argument.

If you still find that "unpersuasive", then you have already made up your mind based on something other than the facts, and aren't going to change it. I'm pretty sure you made up your mind before you even considered the facts, and that article and this thread was an invitation to a lot of other people to do the same.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:
The article was grossly misleading. The article makes it sound like this guy claimed to have committed the crime and was convicted solely on that basis (and, as we all know, there are nut cases who walk into police stations and do this every now and then). That's not what happened here.

The article also makes the unsubstantiated claim the man is "probably innocent", and I think any rational, objective review of all the evidence shows he is "probably guilty". Whether that is "beyond reasonable doubt" or meets the standards of proof for capital punishment is another story, but neither the article nor you have made that argument.

If you still find that "unpersuasive", then you have already made up your mind based on something other than the facts, and aren't going to change it. I'm pretty sure you made up your mind before you even considered the facts, and that article and this thread was an invitation to a lot of other people to do the same.

Then why can't you identify even one specific piece of evidence--other than his words--that points to this man being the perpetrator?
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

richk449 wrote:
BoneKracker wrote:
richk449 wrote:
I have made arguments against capital punishment in previous threads, none of which fall into the easily dismissed categories you have listed here as invalid. Furthermore, there are good arguments made by others. Which is why I say that if you have never heard of a valid argument against capital punishment, that is your problem, not mine.

Did I say it was other than my problem? It seemed to me I was lamenting.

I didn't mean any personal offense, but I don't recall hearing a sound argument against it from you. We must be in disagreement on one or more of the supporting points. Which of the standard arguments is yours?

a) killing is immoral / the flying spaghetti monster told us not to

b) it doesn't do any good / retributive justice isn't valid / it's nothing but revenge / it's not an effective deterrent

c) if an innocent man is (or could be) executed, capital punishment must stop

d) it costs more than lifetime incarceration

e) it's not okay for the collective to do harmful things to people, only individuals should harm other people

f) the admirable, enlightened, secular and progressive Europeans will look down on us as primitive

Those are all failed arguments, in my opinion. Maybe I didn't get yours in there?


My argument against capital punishment is, like most of my beliefs, utilitarian. The costs (risk of killing innocent people, devaluation of human life, cost, creeping acceptance of unlimited government power) outweigh the benefits (deterrence mainly).

If you want to review the last time we had this discussion, start here: http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic-t-895578-postdays-0-postorder-asc-highlight-capital+punishment-start-25.html
As you read that thread over, you may recall twisting yourself into knots to avoid actually dealing with my argument. This was a memorable argument:
BoneKracker wrote:
neither the jury nor the judicial system is part of the state

That may be your perception of that argument, but it's not mine.

Your argument falls under (b): "it doesn't do any good / retributive justice isn't valid / it's nothing but revenge / it's not an effective deterrent ". The utilitarian argument against the death penalty is probably the most sensible of them all, but it to be an elaborate strawman, in that it intentionally neglects important reasons why many societies have it.

The utilitarian argument against capital punishment typically fails to recognize the societal importance of "the punishment must fit the crime" and fails to acknowledge the value of retributive justice to the loved ones of the family and to society in general.

When somebody like a Ted Bundy (or those guys who robbed, raped and then set fire to that man's family while he was tied up), gets off with life in prison, most people feel the perpetrator did not pay for their crime, and that justice was not served. This causes great suffering and anxiety for the victims' loved ones, and it also is like a cancer to society. A society whose legal system does not deliver justice does not receive the full respect, faith, and support of its populace. A populace that does respect, believe in, or support its legal system does not obey its laws; order and security soon erode. Do we see mobs regularly rampaging through the streets of the U.S., setting fire to things and looting stores? No. It rarely happens here. In Europe and Canada, it happens every other soccer match, every time there's an international political conference, and every time somebody mentions budget cuts.

While these factors are impossible to quantify and therefore to weigh against each other, it is my belief that the value of justice to victims and society far outweighs the costs you have pointed out.

I don't think it de-values human life at all. If only extremely violent crimes are capital crimes, then capital punishment reinforces the value of human life. Do you also think fining people for speeding de-values money? I also don't believe it causes "creeping acceptance of authoritarian government". We have a trial-by-jury system. Nobody goes to the chair unless their peers say so. Also, capital punishment isn't necessarily tied to the state. I don't care who does it. Some people deserve to die, and somebody should kill them. How that happens doesn't matter, as long as it's done fairly. (dmitchell can let me know how it's done without a state.) To summarize: I hear what you're saying, but your arguments are weak -- I think it's pretty obvious that the utilitarian argument comes out in favor of capital punishment.

I should add that I believe capital punishment is only justified if certainty of guilt is nearly absolute, and only as punishment for the most extreme crimes, where such harm as been done that real retribution is many times over impossible (i.e., a person has caused so much harm that, even they became saint-like, they could never even come close to making up for it to the victims and to society).

Because this isn't a quantifiable comparison, you may still disagree, and that's okay. I respect your right to do so, but I would ask you to think more about the consequences of the inadequate punishment of such criminals, both on the loved ones of victims and on society in general.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:
While these factors are impossible to quantify and therefore to weigh against each other, it is my belief that the value of justice to victims and society far outweighs the costs you have pointed out.

...

Because this isn't a quantifiable comparison, you may still disagree, and that's okay. I respect your right to do so, but I would ask you to think more about the consequences of the inadequate punishment of such criminals, both on the loved ones of victims and on society in general.

I am all for debating the cost benefit analysis of capital punishment. But aren't you jumping the gun a bit? Your previous position was that you had never heard a "valid" argument for capital punishment, now you want to discuss whether the "utilitarian argument against capital punishment typically fails to recognize the societal importance of "the punishment must fit the crime" and fails to acknowledge the value of retributive justice to the loved ones of the family and to society in general".

Before we get into it the weeds, will you please concede that you have in fact heard valid arguments against capital punishment?
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dmitchell wrote:
BoneKracker wrote:
The article was grossly misleading. The article makes it sound like this guy claimed to have committed the crime and was convicted solely on that basis (and, as we all know, there are nut cases who walk into police stations and do this every now and then). That's not what happened here.

The article also makes the unsubstantiated claim the man is "probably innocent", and I think any rational, objective review of all the evidence shows he is "probably guilty". Whether that is "beyond reasonable doubt" or meets the standards of proof for capital punishment is another story, but neither the article nor you have made that argument.

If you still find that "unpersuasive", then you have already made up your mind based on something other than the facts, and aren't going to change it. I'm pretty sure you made up your mind before you even considered the facts, and that article and this thread was an invitation to a lot of other people to do the same.

Then why can't you identify even one specific piece of evidence--other than his words--that points to this man being the perpetrator?

You are quibbling and trying to play word games. Give it up. What points to his guilt is the concurrence of his statements with facts of crime (based on forensic evidence) that nobody but the perpetrator could know. His words alone did not convict him. The article was a biased piece of inflammatory garbage by a journalist/activist, and you played along. You are rational and objective about most things, but with respect to this issue, you are apparently a zealot.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

richk449 wrote:
BoneKracker wrote:
While these factors are impossible to quantify and therefore to weigh against each other, it is my belief that the value of justice to victims and society far outweighs the costs you have pointed out.

...

Because this isn't a quantifiable comparison, you may still disagree, and that's okay. I respect your right to do so, but I would ask you to think more about the consequences of the inadequate punishment of such criminals, both on the loved ones of victims and on society in general.

I am all for debating the cost benefit analysis of capital punishment. But aren't you jumping the gun a bit? Your previous position was that you had never heard a "valid" argument for capital punishment, now you want to discuss whether the "utilitarian argument against capital punishment typically fails to recognize the societal importance of "the punishment must fit the crime" and fails to acknowledge the value of retributive justice to the loved ones of the family and to society in general".

Before we get into it the weeds, will you please concede that you have in fact heard valid arguments against capital punishment?

Now you also are quibbling and playing word games. I think I made myself very clear. What I meant was that I had never heard anyone convincingly validate the position that we should not have capital punishment. I acknowledge that, in different terms, the basic utilitarian argument against capital punishment is "valid" in the sense that it is more logical than the others and does not rely on some kind of deus ex machina to establish inalienable rights.

Also, I think I was editing when you responded, or made an additional response to you, and I'm pretty sure it was apropos this point -- so before you proceed to somehow magically quantify the value of lives and the cost of suffering and loss of faith in society, please make sure you've read whatever I was just typing before I saw this post. :P
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:

That may be your perception of that argument, but it's not mine.

Your argument falls under (b): "it doesn't do any good / retributive justice isn't valid / it's nothing but revenge / it's not an effective deterrent ". The utilitarian argument against the death penalty is probably the most sensible of them all, but it to be an elaborate strawman, in that it intentionally neglects important reasons why many societies have it.

The utilitarian argument against capital punishment typically fails to recognize the societal importance of (1)"the punishment must fit the crime" and fails to acknowledge the value of retributive justice to the loved ones of the family and to society in general.

When somebody like a Ted Bundy (or those guys who robbed, raped and then set fire to that man's family while he was tied up), gets off with life in prison, most people feel the perpetrator did not pay for their crime, and that justice was not served. (2)This causes great suffering and anxiety for the victims' loved ones, and it also is like a cancer to society. A society whose legal system does not deliver justice does not receive the full respect, faith, and support of its populace. A populace that does respect, believe in, or support its legal system does not obey its laws; order and security soon erode. Do we see mobs regularly rampaging through the streets of the U.S., setting fire to things and looting stores? No. It rarely happens here. In Europe and Canada, it happens every other soccer match, every time there's an international political conference, and every time somebody mentions budget cuts.

While these factors are impossible to quantify and therefore to weigh against each other, it is my belief that the value of justice to victims and society far outweighs the costs you have pointed out.

I don't think it de-values human life at all. If only extremely violent crimes are capital crimes, then capital punishment reinforces the value of human life. Do you also think fining people for speeding de-values money? I also don't believe it causes "creeping acceptance of authoritarian government". We have a trial-by-jury system. Nobody goes to the chair unless their peers say so. Also, capital punishment isn't necessarily tied to the state. I don't care who does it. Some people deserve to die, and somebody should kill them. How that happens doesn't matter, as long as it's done fairly. (dmitchell can let me know how it's done without a state.) To summarize: I hear what you're saying, but your arguments are weak -- I think it's pretty obvious that the utilitarian argument comes out in favor of capital punishment.

I should add that I believe capital punishment is only justified if certainty of guilt is nearly absolute, and only as punishment for the most extreme crimes, where such harm as been done that real retribution is many times over impossible (i.e., a person has caused so much harm that, even they became saint-like, they could never even come close to making up for it to the victims and to society).

Because this isn't a quantifiable comparison, you may still disagree, and that's okay. I respect your right to do so, but I would ask you to think more about the consequences of the inadequate punishment of such criminals, both on the loved ones of victims and on society in general.


1. You know that's based on the code of Hammurabi, right?

2. This is an appeal to emotion.

Just to be on topic, and avoid hijacking the thread, if you search Max Soffar case evidence, the 2nd result (for me) is another article by the ACLU that has the police sketch and a picture of a Reid guy that strongly resembles said sketch. It's an interesting read (no pun intended).
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:
You are quibbling and trying to play word games. Give it up. What points to his guilt is the concurrence of his statements with facts of crime (based on forensic evidence) that nobody but the perpetrator could know. His words alone did not convict him. The article was a biased piece of inflammatory garbage by a journalist/activist, and you played along. You are rational and objective about most things, but with respect to this issue, you are apparently a zealot.

Then are you saying that without his statements there is no evidence linking him to the crime? Since you can't identify any evidence other than his statements, can you at least identify these supposed damning statements--even one statement--made by Soffar?
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dmitchell wrote:
Here's a gem. The closing argument of the prosecution:

Quote:
"The Defendant tells you that he did it. What other evidence do you need? That's the best kind of evidence you'll ever have in a case. What's the one thing that can ensure that you have no doubt. Words from a person. You don't say you were some place if you weren't. You don't ever say you shot somebody if you didn't."
Wow. That should be illegal. It's one thing to not be required to testify against a client, but another to straight out lie in making a defense.

And people wonder why I refuse to participate in our injustice system ("it could be worse" isn't a defense).
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richk449
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:
Now you also are quibbling and playing word games. I think I made myself very clear. What I meant was that I had never heard anyone convincingly validate the position that we should not have capital punishment. I acknowledge that, in different terms, the basic utilitarian argument against capital punishment is "valid" in the sense that it is more logical than the others and does not rely on some kind of deus ex machina to establish inalienable rights.

Right.
BoneKracker wrote:
I have yet to hear anybody make a valid argument against capital punishment. The most common are "killing is wrong" and "it's better to let them all go free (or live) than to incarcerate (execute) one man wrongly, and both arguments are logically unsupportable.

BoneKracker wrote:
There isn't even basic logic supporting anti-capital punishment. It typically boils down to "killing is bad, because I just know it is". Other invalid arguments include, "it's better to free a hundred guilty men than punish one innocent man", and "it doesn't do any good / serve any purpose" (a subordinate argument of which is "it's not an effective deterrent"). We've discussed all these in here, and they all fall apart under any kind of objective scrutiny. Maybe somebody will eventually come up with something. I'm tired of it.

BoneKracker wrote:
I didn't mean any personal offense, but I don't recall hearing a sound argument against it from you. We must be in disagreement on one or more of the supporting points. Which of the standard arguments is yours?

Moving on though ...
BoneKracker wrote:
Your argument falls under (b): "it doesn't do any good / retributive justice isn't valid / it's nothing but revenge / it's not an effective deterrent "

I don't see how my argument falls under any of those, since I disagree with them all.
BoneKracker wrote:
The utilitarian argument against the death penalty is probably the most sensible of them all, but it to be an elaborate strawman, in that it intentionally neglects important reasons why many societies have it.

The utilitarian argument, properly composed, includes all benefits and consequences. If I left some parts out, that is a failure on my part, not of "the utilitarian argument".

To determine the proper policy choice under a utilitarian framework, it is necessary to look at the direct effects of the policy, as well as the possible long term consequences and the likelihood that those consequences will occur. I started a table, but I will let you fill in your part as you wish.

Effects from failure to implement PRO capital punishment and CON capital punishment policies:
    PRO: societal importance of "the punishment must fit the crime"; consequence: protests/mobs (10%)

    PRO: value of retributive justice to the loved ones of the family and to society in general; consequence: protests/mobs (10%)

    PRO: deterrence of crime; consequence: increase in crime (80%)

    CON: risk of killing innocent people; consequence: dead people, erosion of faith in the state to uphold justice (20%)

    CON: creeping acceptance of unlimited government power; consequence: erosion of the bill of rights (30%), facsism (1%)

    PRO/CON: cost; consequence: minimal
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

richk449 wrote:
<quibbling and apparently aimless quoting of me removed>
BoneKracker wrote:
Your argument falls under (b): "it doesn't do any good / retributive justice isn't valid / it's nothing but revenge / it's not an effective deterrent "

I don't see how my argument falls under any of those, since I disagree with them all.

This was your original argument, and I think it is obviously similar to the one I mentioned, not that it matters:
"My argument against capital punishment is, like most of my beliefs, utilitarian. The costs (risk of killing innocent people, devaluation of human life, cost, creeping acceptance of unlimited government power) outweigh the benefits (deterrence mainly)."

richk449 wrote:
BoneKracker wrote:
The utilitarian argument against the death penalty is probably the most sensible of them all, but it to be an elaborate strawman, in that it intentionally neglects important reasons why many societies have it.

The utilitarian argument, properly composed, includes all benefits and consequences. If I left some parts out, that is a failure on my part, not of "the utilitarian argument".

To determine the proper policy choice under a utilitarian framework, it is necessary to look at the direct effects of the policy, as well as the possible long term consequences and the likelihood that those consequences will occur. I started a table, but I will let you fill in your part as you wish.


I have divided the table into two mutually exclusive alternatives (retain capital punishment vs. abolish capital punishment), with everything stated as costs (a negative for one is a positive for the other). Please suggest any additions or modifications you like to make to the items listed.

I have no idea what those percentages were supposed to be (weights?). They obviously weren't probabilities, and I don't think either of us can even pretend to estimate the actual costs of these things. I have assume they were be the relative magnitude of the indicated costs, constrained to a total of 100%. I have entered new numbers based on my perceptions and keeping in mind that "risks" are evaluated as the cost if it happens times the probability of it happening.

Please suggest any changes you'd like to make to the cost categories listed or their relative magnitudes.

Costs of retaining capital punishment:
risk of killing innocent people; consequence: dead people, erosion of faith in the state to uphold justice (5%)
creeping acceptance of unlimited government power; consequence: erosion of the bill of rights, facsism (2%)
suffering the elitist disdain of misguided European FSM followers (1%)
reduced cost of incarceration (1%)

Costs of abolishing capital punishment:
punishments not fitting crimes; perception of many injustices; consequence: loss of faith in society; lawlessness; mailaise (60%)
no retributive justice to the loved ones; consequence: pain and suffering; ruined lives; destructive behavior (20%)
higher rate of recidivism (1%)
higher rates of homicide: lots of dead people (10%)
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dmitchell wrote:
BoneKracker wrote:
You are quibbling and trying to play word games. Give it up. What points to his guilt is the concurrence of his statements with facts of crime (based on forensic evidence) that nobody but the perpetrator could know. His words alone did not convict him. The article was a biased piece of inflammatory garbage by a journalist/activist, and you played along. You are rational and objective about most things, but with respect to this issue, you are apparently a zealot.

Then are you saying that without his statements there is no evidence linking him to the crime?

You already tried this strawman, twice.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:
You already tried this strawman, twice.

It's not a straw man, it's you losing the argument.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you say so, mcgruff. :P
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:

Costs of retaining capital punishment:
risk of killing innocent people; consequence: dead people, erosion of faith in the state to uphold justice (5%)
creeping acceptance of unlimited government power; consequence: erosion of the bill of rights, facsism (2%)
suffering the elitist disdain of misguided European FSM followers (1%)
reduced cost of incarceration (1%)

Costs of abolishing capital punishment:
punishments not fitting crimes; perception of many injustices; consequence: loss of faith in society; lawlessness; mailaise (60%)
no retributive justice to the loved ones; consequence: pain and suffering; ruined lives; destructive behavior (20%)
higher rate of recidivism (1%)
higher rates of homicide: lots of dead people (10%)


seriously? that's all you can come up with? with the possible exception of the loss of faith in society, i don't think you have much meat there.
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