INFORMATION

This website uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some of these cookies are essential to make our site work and others help us to improve by giving us some insight into how the site is being used. For further information, see our Privacy Policy. Continuing to use this website is acceptance of these cookies.

Capital Punishment

Enter here to explore ethical issues and discuss the meaning and source of morality.
Post Reply
Message
Author
seyorni
Posts: 122
Joined: February 17th, 2010, 8:49 am

Re: Capital Punishment

#41 Post by seyorni » November 20th, 2010, 9:55 pm

Latest post of the previous page:

Two wrongs make a right? Penalty the same as the offense? -- Questionable.

Why is a group's decision to kill someone more legitimate than an individual's?

Wilson
Posts: 184
Joined: November 10th, 2010, 7:25 pm

Re: Capital Punishment

#42 Post by Wilson » November 21st, 2010, 1:07 am

seyorni wrote:Two wrongs make a right? Penalty the same as the offense? -- Questionable.

Why is a group's decision to kill someone more legitimate than an individual's?
Why is a group's decision to imprison someone more legitimate than an individual's right to imprison someone?

Project Atlas
Posts: 14
Joined: February 27th, 2011, 8:59 pm

Re: Capital Punishment

#43 Post by Project Atlas » February 27th, 2011, 10:20 pm

I agree with Capital Punishment for the following reasons:

1) If someone took away the life of a friend or loved one, many people would not want that person to live in this world and to many it will be seen as justice for what they have done.

2) Although it does not act as a true deturret, it will keep the prisons from becoming over-crowded if used more often saving on taxes(but please correct me if I am wrong on this one).

3) The need for Vengeance is a natural part of being human, and we should not supress ourselves when it comes to our natural being so long as it is all done within a logically moral sense. Obviously not an absolute morality, but what we for the most part can percieve as acceptable.

However, it should be the choice of a victim's family and friends.

User avatar
jaywhat
Posts: 15807
Joined: July 5th, 2007, 5:53 pm

Re: Capital Punishment

#44 Post by jaywhat » February 28th, 2011, 5:56 am

Interesting that some of your opinions are in line with religious stances on this topic; for example an 'eye for an eye' is a bit biblical and Jewish and the reference to what the victims want is quite Islamic.
I do not know if there is a humanist stand on this but I am against capital punishment for several reasons inlcluding the obvious one that killing a person is final and leaves no possible change of mind if the legal process finds something went wrong.
Another reason is that as humans we should rise above this. We should become more civilised and less brutal - it is not easy.

As I said in Mar 2010 - All capital punishment is wrong for whatever reason.
It brings the society that uses it down to the level of a murderer - and it is not a deterrent.

seyorni
Posts: 122
Joined: February 17th, 2010, 8:49 am

Re: Capital Punishment

#45 Post by seyorni » February 28th, 2011, 9:09 am

Two wrongs don't make a right.
If it be wrong for the murderer to take a life why is the decision of a judge or jury to do the same any less wrong?

User avatar
animist
Posts: 6522
Joined: July 30th, 2010, 11:36 pm

Re: Capital Punishment

#46 Post by animist » February 28th, 2011, 10:19 am

unfortunately, purely ethical arguments on this question can work either way, as the recent posts illustrate: Wilson rightly points out that the "two wrongs don't make a right" argument would preclude ANY sort of punishment. But the proponents of CP (who seem thicker on the ground in the US than the UK, even within TH) need to show that it has a unique deterrent effect, given the punishment's finality and brutality (plus the apparently discriminatory way it works against the poor and black in the US), and I don't think they can do this.

User avatar
animist
Posts: 6522
Joined: July 30th, 2010, 11:36 pm

Re: Capital Punishment

#47 Post by animist » February 28th, 2011, 12:17 pm

Project Atlas wrote:I agree with Capital Punishment for the following reasons:

1) If someone took away the life of a friend or loved one, many people would not want that person to live in this world and to many it will be seen as justice for what they have done.
no; retribution is pointless and not at all humanistic
Project Atlas wrote:2) Although it does not act as a true deturret, it will keep the prisons from becoming over-crowded if used more often saving on taxes(but please correct me if I am wrong on this one).
lives are worth more than money; prisons have too many people who need not be there; the US appeals systems anyway costs money
Project Atlas wrote: 3) The need for Vengeance is a natural part of being human, and we should not supress ourselves when it comes to our natural being so long as it is all done within a logically moral sense. Obviously not an absolute morality, but what we for the most part can percieve as acceptable.
just because something is natural does not make it right, and being "civilised" in the good sense of the word means suppressing savage instincts of revenge, so we should suppress these
Project Atlas wrote:However, it should be the choice of a victim's family and friends.
no, that would be completely unfair and capricious. But murderers should have to face their victims' families and know the grief that they have caused

Project Atlas
Posts: 14
Joined: February 27th, 2011, 8:59 pm

Re: Capital Punishment

#48 Post by Project Atlas » March 1st, 2011, 12:36 am

No offense everyone, but don't you think these people who are convicted of crimes are not worth it? After all, capital punishment is used only in the worst situations. People like this ruin the lives of others. I understand that most of us will see human life as valuable, only these are usually people who won't see that, and they will never learn it either. Of course, if someone convicted in a world where capital punishment was banned, asked for the death penalty, I believe I would prefer to honor their wish. No human being deserves unwanted life. Death will end things but life will just linger on.
Now obviously I don't know too much about this issue, but I'm just saying what I think.

What are other alternatives though? I agree they should see the effect that they caused on the family as well as spend life in prison, but what more could we do?

Fia
Posts: 5480
Joined: July 6th, 2007, 8:29 pm

Re: Capital Punishment

#49 Post by Fia » March 1st, 2011, 2:00 pm

Hmm... I like to think, PA, that every human being has worth, despite some committing appalling acts.

Are you sure that every conviction for crime is correct? Before we thankfully repealed this legal barbarism in the UK we did hang innocent people. They may have been convicted, but on re-evaluating the evidence, after the state killed them, it was clear they were innocent. How would it have been if we had hung the Birmingham six? (innocent men convicted of terrorism, now alive and free, albeit scarred by their experiences) Miscarriages of justice can and do happen.

I agree that no human deserves an unwanted life, but as the end of life bill which so sadly failed recently in the Scottish parliament showed, there are concerning issues as to coercion, which must surely apply as much to prisoners as terminally ill folk. It's all rather a moral minefield...

Project Atlas
Posts: 14
Joined: February 27th, 2011, 8:59 pm

Re: Capital Punishment

#50 Post by Project Atlas » March 1st, 2011, 6:16 pm

Oh I see. So not everyone convicted is guilty, and once it is proven and they have been executed it cannot be reversed. Basically we do not use capital punishment since there is a possibility that not all are guilty. I agree with that of course. But what about the small minorities of criminals who are proven to have committed a crime and even those who have confessed? Admittedly I am a more politically conservative person in most aspects, so I am aware that my opinions might not be too popular here, but I am always open to new ideas and suggestions.

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 24067
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: Capital Punishment

#51 Post by Alan H » March 1st, 2011, 6:46 pm

Project Atlas wrote:But what about the small minorities of criminals who are proven to have committed a crime and even those who have confessed?
I think the legal phrase in the UK is 'beyond all reasonable doubt', but that's not the same as being 100% absolutely, cast-iron certain. Even then, we could be wrong.

Also, confessions are frequently unreliable. What if the person has mental health issues?
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

User avatar
Alan C.
Posts: 10356
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 3:35 pm

Re: Capital Punishment

#52 Post by Alan C. » March 1st, 2011, 8:26 pm

I'm not for capital punishment (easy way out?) Let the buggers rot in prison.
But there are lots of cases where guilt can be in no doubt, ie the multiple shooters we've witnessed lately (though they tend to execute themselves)
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

Nick
Posts: 11027
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

Re: Capital Punishment

#53 Post by Nick » March 1st, 2011, 10:27 pm

Project Atlas wrote:I agree with Capital Punishment for the following reasons:

1) If someone took away the life of a friend or loved one, many people would not want that person to live in this world and to many it will be seen as justice for what they have done.
I could cheerfully punish certain people, without them having murdered anyone. Vengeance is not justice.
2) Although it does not act as a true deturret, it will keep the prisons from becoming over-crowded if used more often saving on taxes(but please correct me if I am wrong on this one).
Crowded prisons or cost considerations should never be a reason for killing anyone, and in any case, the legal process (including multiple appeals etc.,) costs more than prison.
3) The need for Vengeance is a natural part of being human, and we should not supress ourselves when it comes to our natural being so long as it is all done within a logically moral sense. Obviously not an absolute morality, but what we for the most part can percieve as acceptable.
Its not a need, but a natural reaction. I can't see how morality can be applied to vengence. As you can see on this forum, there are differing views of what is acceptable.
However, it should be the choice of a victim's family and friends.
I have heard that having such an opportunity does not give long-term comfort to the bereaved, besides giving rise to legal inconsistencies.

Nick
Posts: 11027
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

Re: Capital Punishment

#54 Post by Nick » March 1st, 2011, 10:30 pm

Alan H wrote:
Project Atlas wrote:But what about the small minorities of criminals who are proven to have committed a crime and even those who have confessed?
I think the legal phrase in the UK is 'beyond all reasonable doubt', but that's not the same as being 100% absolutely, cast-iron certain. Even then, we could be wrong.

Also, confessions are frequently unreliable. What if the person has mental health issues?
Quite so, Alan. Minor correction: the legal phrase is "beyond reasonable doubt".

Marian
Posts: 3985
Joined: August 23rd, 2009, 2:25 pm

Re: Capital Punishment

#55 Post by Marian » March 2nd, 2011, 1:34 pm

Project Atlas wrote:No offense everyone, but don't you think these people who are convicted of crimes are not worth it? After all, capital punishment is used only in the worst situations. People like this ruin the lives of others. I understand that most of us will see human life as valuable, only these are usually people who won't see that, and they will never learn it either. Of course, if someone convicted in a world where capital punishment was banned, asked for the death penalty, I believe I would prefer to honor their wish. No human being deserves unwanted life. Death will end things but life will just linger on.
Now obviously I don't know too much about this issue, but I'm just saying what I think.

What are other alternatives though? I agree they should see the effect that they caused on the family as well as spend life in prison, but what more could we do?
Straight up, I am not a supporter of CP, however, I can well understand the level of anguish and outrage both the victim and their families (went) go through and that one might FEEL like a little vengeance. But just because we feel something doesn't mean we HAVE to act on it. In fact, maturity would dictate that even killing the killer wouldn't end the pain or bring the person back. Which is not to say that there shouldn't be consequences.

You made a comment about people ruining the lives of others and that therefore they possibly deserve the death penalty. Well, we have to then look at how we define ruining others' lives. Do we give the death penalty to financial scammers who've ruined the lives of investors? Or how about child molesters? Those guys ruin the lives of every single one of their victims.

Why bother to show the murderer the effect they've caused the family? Do you think someone who kills someone else has a heck of a lot of empathy? Hell, he/she might get a kick out of it. You never know. What could we do? I think it depends on the murderer actually. Some are just better left locked up indefinitely with little to no contact with the outside world for OUR safety. I think others might have a chance at rehab depending on the crime committed and their ability to reason.

Do you think your opinion about capital punishment is influenced by where you live? I think Cali spends about 137 million a year on CP.
Transformative fire...

thundril
Posts: 3607
Joined: July 4th, 2008, 5:02 pm

Re: Capital Punishment

#56 Post by thundril » March 2nd, 2011, 6:58 pm

Project Atlas wrote:No offense everyone, but don't you think these people who are convicted of crimes are not worth it? After all, capital punishment is used only in the worst situations. People like this ruin the lives of others. I understand that most of us will see human life as valuable, only these are usually people who won't see that, and they will never learn it either.
Wouldn't it be convenient if all killers were cold-hearted sociopaths? Wouldn't it be a lot easier if all victims were innocent, decent members of society? Life's not like that though, is it?
Two examples;
1., a pair of violent drug-dealers/pimps shoot a hail of bullets at each other. Should the family of the unluckier thug be entitled to more sympathy than the family of the one who turned out, in the event, to have been a better shot?
2., a woman gets to the end of her tether and batters her abusive husband over the head with something rather heavier than necessary. Should his family be entitled to have a say in her sentencing?
Is execution of the perpetrator a good resolution of either situation?
Project Atlas wrote:What are other alternatives though?
This is the big question, PA, and IMHO, the really good one. It depends on what we are trying to do.
If we are trying to correct something that happened in the past, then vengeance seems reasonable and natural, in that the wrong that has been done cannot actually be put right. (for example, someone is dead.) But by that same reasoning, vengeance is ultimately useless.
If we are trying to create an improved future, then the question of how best to reduce crime is entirely separate from the question of what to do about crimes that have already been committed. From this perspective, neither vengeance nor punishment is very relevant. Rather, one would have to study the crimes, and the criminals, from all perspectives (including epidemiological, socio-economic and individual psychology-physiology-educational achievement etc) to try to figure out how to achieve the desired effect, ie a future in which crime happens less often. In this (future-oriented) perspective, keeping the perpetrators alive and under some sort of observation is far more useful than simply killing them..

Wilson
Posts: 184
Joined: November 10th, 2010, 7:25 pm

Re: Capital Punishment

#57 Post by Wilson » March 2nd, 2011, 10:34 pm

I think that most of you believe that capital punishment is inherently wrong - particularly if it's driven by vengeance. Here's the difficult question: Why?

I believe that there is no absolute morality. Many of you do as well. If there is a God, then whatever He decrees is morally right. If there is no God, on what basis do we decide what's right and wrong?

Most of us instinctively believe that there is such a thing as morality - that some things are right, and some are wrong. The rules of church and society play a part, and community standards. But for me it mostly comes down to empathy - especially for the innocent and deserving. But that's all emotional. My understanding is that the Humanist movement believes that morality can be based on logic. But unless I'm missing something, that logic has to start with certain postulates. And without God, what is the basis on which the postulates are arrived at?

Specifically, what is the logic that declares vengeange/revenge immoral?

Fia
Posts: 5480
Joined: July 6th, 2007, 8:29 pm

Re: Capital Punishment

#58 Post by Fia » March 2nd, 2011, 11:16 pm

Because vengeance is an emotional emotional response rather than a logical one I'd have thought...

Wilson
Posts: 184
Joined: November 10th, 2010, 7:25 pm

Re: Capital Punishment

#59 Post by Wilson » March 2nd, 2011, 11:29 pm

What logic says that it's wrong? Vengeance, like compassion, is a very natural, almost instinctive emotion. I believe it served a purpose, as compassion did, in the hunter-gatherer days when our brain structure and brain activity were evolving.

thundril
Posts: 3607
Joined: July 4th, 2008, 5:02 pm

Re: Capital Punishment

#60 Post by thundril » March 3rd, 2011, 12:55 am

Wilson wrote:I think that most of you believe that capital punishment is inherently wrong
Why do you think that?
Wilson wrote:I believe that there is no absolute morality. Many of you do as well. If there is a God, then whatever He decrees is morally right.
This is not obvious. Is God's decree right because it's God's decree, or does God decree what is right because he can do no other?
Wilson wrote:If there is no God, on what basis do we decide what's right and wrong?
My personal take on this is that it's a matter of taste, ultimately; but that these aesthetic preferences are culturally/ historically developed.
Wilson wrote:Most of us instinctively believe that there is such a thing as morality - that some things are right, and some are wrong. The rules of church and society play a part, and community standards. But for me it mostly comes down to empathy - especially for the innocent and deserving. But that's all emotional. My understanding is that the Humanist movement believes that morality can be based on logic.
Why do you think that?
Wilson wrote: But unless I'm missing something, that logic has to start with certain postulates. And without God, what is the basis on which the postulates are arrived at?
For most humanists, I get the impression that something like the Golden Rule is taken as a basis; but not claiming the title 'Humanist' myself, I can only give my impressions. You cite empathy as an underlying basis of morality for yourself - I think this is pretty much the same as 'the Golden Rule' that many humanists cite. Logic is given, not as a basis; only as a way of applying the general principle to any given particular case. The starting point is a recognition of our common humanity.
Wilson wrote:Specifically, what is the logic that declares vengeange/revenge immoral?
Why should it be declared immoral? Isn't it enough to observe that it's ultimately destructive, or at the very least, useless?

Marian
Posts: 3985
Joined: August 23rd, 2009, 2:25 pm

Re: Capital Punishment

#61 Post by Marian » March 3rd, 2011, 1:10 am

Wilson wrote:What logic says that it's wrong? Vengeance, like compassion, is a very natural, almost instinctive emotion. I believe it served a purpose, as compassion did, in the hunter-gatherer days when our brain structure and brain activity were evolving.
The same logic that understands that while emotions are useful and an integral part of our lives, we must be very careful not to let those emotions dictate our actions. Emotions are fleeting and often situation-dependent. If you base your actions solely on emotions, it would be a heck of a lot harder to get along with others. This is what the compassion part of hunter-gatherer societies played to insure the community didn't fall apart. Think of what's happening in Libya and Egypt and Africa. Those movements are almost completely about emotion but you'll see that in the end, reason and logic will prevail to create and maintain stability.
Transformative fire...

Post Reply