Death penalty

Elegy
Elegy's picture
Posts: 65
Joined: 2006-08-01
User is offlineOffline
Death penalty

I just wanted to know what people here/atheists thought of the death penalty.

I'll just make it clear right now that I'm against it, but this isn't going to be about me.

I've always thought that the death penalty exists more because of religion than... social justice or w/e. In the olden days, christians/catholics used to kill people all the time, even for stealing. Obviously. I mean, everyone did, but in European countries, I'm pretty sure religion played a big role in it.

Even today, people aren't KILLED, but in Saudi Arabia (and I only heard this) people's hands are chopped off for stealing.

But in the U.S...

1) Does religion even have ANYTHING at ALL to do with the death penalty? Are people killed because "God said so", or are they killed because the public is afraid?

2) What do people here think of Capital Punishment

Sorry if this is the wrong place for this Laughing out loud


Elegy
Elegy's picture
Posts: 65
Joined: 2006-08-01
User is offlineOffline
I also wanted to mention

I also wanted to mention that in Islamic countries, when people are killed, it's usually 'cause of rules in the koran. ////////religion plays a huge role in capital punishment there.


MarthaSplatterhead (not verified)
Posts: 4294964979
Joined: 1969-12-31
User is offlineOffline
I am against it simply

I am against it simply because it is not fool-proof. Innocent people are put to death and many innocent people are kept on death row. Check out info about the West Memphis Three if you aren't already aware of them. This is just one example of the system being messed up.Sad http://www.wm3.org/splash.php


Susan
Susan's picture
Posts: 3561
Joined: 2006-02-12
User is offlineOffline
If anyone is for the death

If anyone is for the death penalty, they need to either see the stage play or read the script for The Exonerated by Jessica Blank & Erik Jensen. I was Assistant to the Director for a production of this play. There was neither a rehearsal nor performance that failed to move me.

Do a little reading on Sunny Jacobs, (Sunny's common-law husband Jesse Tafero and his botched execution), Kerry Max Cook, Gary Gauger, Delbert Tibbs, Robert Earl Hayes and David Keaton.

Synopsis:

Imagine everything you did between the years of 1976 and 2002.
Now remove all of it.

Those 16 years were taken away from Sunny Jacobs, convicted and sentenced to death for a crime she did not commit.

But her story is not unique. The Exonerated shares the true stories of six innocent survivors of death row.

Their stories, told in their words.

Heart-breaking and uplifting verbatim theatre The Exonerated is a powerful take on the death penalty culled from interviews, letters, transcripts, case files and the public record. Written by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen The Exonerated played off-Broadway to sell-out audiences for two years, has toured across the US and received rapturous applause, standing ovations and further critical acclaim at last year’s Edinburgh Festival.

It highlights and brings closer to home what makes the death penalty a persistent topic of debate for the media, human rights activists and legislators. Today approximately 3,400 people are under the death sentence in the US, but since 1973 more than 115 people have been released from death rows throughout the States due to evidence of their wrongful convictions. In 2003 alone, 10 innocent defendants were released from death row.

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.


Elegy
Elegy's picture
Posts: 65
Joined: 2006-08-01
User is offlineOffline
"black hair and clothing,

"black hair and clothing, heavy metal t-shirts, and Stephen King novels as proof that the boys were sacrificed in a satanic cult ritual."

WTFFFF


Elegy
Elegy's picture
Posts: 65
Joined: 2006-08-01
User is offlineOffline
Susan wrote:If anyone is for

Susan wrote:
If anyone is for the death penalty, they need to either see the stage play or read the script for The Exonerated by Jessica Blank & Erik Jensen. I was Assistant to the Director for a production of this play. There was neither a rehearsal nor performance that failed to move me.

Do a little reading on Sunny Jacobs, (Sunny's common-law husband Jesse Tafero and his botched execution), Kerry Max Cook, Gary Gauger, Delbert Tibbs, Robert Earl Hayes and David Keaton.

Synopsis:

Imagine everything you did between the years of 1976 and 2002.
Now remove all of it.

Those 16 years were taken away from Sunny Jacobs, convicted and sentenced to death for a crime she did not commit.

But her story is not unique. The Exonerated shares the true stories of six innocent survivors of death row.

Their stories, told in their words.

Heart-breaking and uplifting verbatim theatre The Exonerated is a powerful take on the death penalty culled from interviews, letters, transcripts, case files and the public record. Written by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen The Exonerated played off-Broadway to sell-out audiences for two years, has toured across the US and received rapturous applause, standing ovations and further critical acclaim at last year’s Edinburgh Festival.

It highlights and brings closer to home what makes the death penalty a persistent topic of debate for the media, human rights activists and legislators. Today approximately 3,400 people are under the death sentence in the US, but since 1973 more than 115 people have been released from death rows throughout the States due to evidence of their wrongful convictions. In 2003 alone, 10 innocent defendants were released from death row.

it's just wrong...
that's exactly what happens, people are killed for things that either they didn't do or were forced to do..
wow..


darth_josh
High Level DonorHigh Level ModeratorGold Member
darth_josh's picture
Posts: 2650
Joined: 2006-02-27
User is offlineOffline
The death penalty was

The death penalty was supposed to be a deterrent to crime. To some of us it actually IS. I wouldn't want to throw away my life for one action. Unfortunately, there are those that 'feel' justified even sanctified in that one action. Kill a sinner, go to heaven via lethal injection. In other words, you're doing them a favor in their minds.
At least the muslims punish people with promises that they'll go to hell for a dishonorable death. If you 'find jesus' on death row then he promises to forgive that sin and you can still get into heaven. No 'real punishment' within the mind of that dead guy or girl.
In modern society, when a guilty person is executed, they get this cult following after their death that actually glorifies the psycho's actions.
Personally, I would like to attribute this behavior to stories of jesus, 'the righteous messiah', being put to death for his alleged heresy. However, it happened before his supposed life and it has happened in other countries and cultures devoid of christianity.
If there was a way to make people understand that this is the only life they've got then perhaps it would be more cherished and the death penalty would REALLY be a deterrent to future crime. In my opinion, it would also curb thoughts of suicide. Regretfully, there is still that lingering thought of an 'after-life' that is taught that keeps people guessing about the value of their existence.

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server, which houses Celebrity Atheists.


cbenard
cbenard's picture
Posts: 81
Joined: 2006-04-16
User is offlineOffline
Susan wrote:Imagine

Susan wrote:
Imagine everything you did between the years of 1976 and 2002.
Now remove all of it.

Those 16 years...


I think the math is off there... by 10.


MattShizzle
Posts: 7966
Joined: 2006-03-31
User is offlineOffline
I used to be for the death

I used to be for the death penalty, but in the last couple years I became against it, except maybe in very extreme cases where there is absolutely no doubt about the guilt.

Matt Shizzle has been banned from the Rational Response Squad website. This event shall provide an atmosphere more conducive to social growth. - Majority of the mod team


BarkAtTheMoon
Rational VIP!
BarkAtTheMoon's picture
Posts: 85
Joined: 2006-02-22
User is offlineOffline
Susan wrote:If anyone is for

Susan wrote:
If anyone is for the death penalty, they need to either see the stage play or read the script for The Exonerated by Jessica Blank & Erik Jensen. I was Assistant to the Director for a production of this play. There was neither a rehearsal nor performance that failed to move me.

Do a little reading on Sunny Jacobs, (Sunny's common-law husband Jesse Tafero and his botched execution), Kerry Max Cook, Gary Gauger, Delbert Tibbs, Robert Earl Hayes and David Keaton.

So what exactly does this have to do with being for or against the death penalty? All of these people would've had the exact same years taken away from them in the exact same manner whether they were on death row or in max security with a life sentence. These instances could actually be used to support the death penalty because the system was able to correct the mistakes made during the investigation and at trial, and no innocent people were executed. The issue here should be more with the justice system wrongfully convicting someone, regardless of their alleged crime or sentence, then death penalty cases specifically. The death penalty cases could potentially even have a better chance of getting overturned than a life sentence because of the extra scrutiny and media attention they tend to garner.

By this argument, if the defendant could be proven guilty without a shadow of a doubt would you not have a problem with the death penalty then? If not what if, FSM forbid, the guy brutally tortured, raped, and butchered someone you care about, was proven guilty, and was completely remorseless about it. Could you think of a reason then why his continued existence on this planet was both necessary and in some way beneficial?

So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth;
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere out in space,
'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth!
- Eric Idle, from The Galaxy Song


BarkAtTheMoon
Rational VIP!
BarkAtTheMoon's picture
Posts: 85
Joined: 2006-02-22
User is offlineOffline
Elegy wrote:Susan wrote:If

Elegy wrote:
Susan wrote:
If anyone is for the death penalty, they need to either see the stage play or read the script for The Exonerated by Jessica Blank & Erik Jensen. I was Assistant to the Director for a production of this play. There was neither a rehearsal nor performance that failed to move me.

Do a little reading on Sunny Jacobs, (Sunny's common-law husband Jesse Tafero and his botched execution), Kerry Max Cook, Gary Gauger, Delbert Tibbs, Robert Earl Hayes and David Keaton.

Synopsis:

Imagine everything you did between the years of 1976 and 2002.
Now remove all of it.

Those 16 years were taken away from Sunny Jacobs, convicted and sentenced to death for a crime she did not commit.

But her story is not unique. The Exonerated shares the true stories of six innocent survivors of death row.

Their stories, told in their words.

Heart-breaking and uplifting verbatim theatre The Exonerated is a powerful take on the death penalty culled from interviews, letters, transcripts, case files and the public record. Written by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen The Exonerated played off-Broadway to sell-out audiences for two years, has toured across the US and received rapturous applause, standing ovations and further critical acclaim at last year’s Edinburgh Festival.

It highlights and brings closer to home what makes the death penalty a persistent topic of debate for the media, human rights activists and legislators. Today approximately 3,400 people are under the death sentence in the US, but since 1973 more than 115 people have been released from death rows throughout the States due to evidence of their wrongful convictions. In 2003 alone, 10 innocent defendants were released from death row.

it's just wrong...
that's exactly what happens, people are killed for things that either they didn't do or were forced to do..
wow..

These people were all released. None of them were executed. I'm curious if there's data on the number of people who were shown to have been innocent after they were executed. Most stories about it mention 100+ people since 1973 that were found innocent while on death row. This tends to indicate that the appeals system may actually work, and lessens the chance of innocent people being executed.

So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth;
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere out in space,
'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth!
- Eric Idle, from The Galaxy Song


reason_passion
Rational VIP!
Posts: 158
Joined: 2006-08-17
User is offlineOffline
BarkAtTheMoon wrote:These

BarkAtTheMoon wrote:
These people were all released. None of them were executed. I'm curious if there's data on the number of people who were shown to have been innocent after they were executed.

Here's where ignorance of the court system comes in. For one, appeals stop after you're dead, as there is clearly no one to appeal for. Two, once your executed, cases are closed, hence nobody keeps looking into the information.

The problem with your argument is more than just info however. The death penalty, as the ultimate punishment imposed by a government, rests upon the infallibility of the court system. The very fact that there have been innocent people convicted means the court is fallible and therefore any action predicated upon it without the possibility of being halted (death is rather final) should be stopped.

Every one of your relationships to man and to nature must be a definite expression of your real, individual life corresponding to the object of your will. -Erich Fromm


Elegy
Elegy's picture
Posts: 65
Joined: 2006-08-01
User is offlineOffline
MattShizzle wrote:I used to

MattShizzle wrote:
I used to be for the death penalty, but in the last couple years I became against it, except maybe in very extreme cases where there is absolutely no doubt about the guilt.

Why were you for it, and why are you against it now?

BarkAtTheMoon: I don't know, but :

Recent Cases of Possible Mistaken Executions

Since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976, there have been inmates with reasonably credible claims of innocence who were nevertheless executed, some without a full review of those claims. In 1992, for example, Roger Keith Coleman made headlines with his dual plea that he was innocent and that no court would review his evidence.40

Coleman's representation at trial was shoddy. On appeal, his new attorneys misread the state statute governing the time for submitting an appeal and filed their brief a day too late. The Virginia state courts held that this late filing was the same as no filing and refused to review his issues. The federal courts then said that he could not raise a federal claim because he had waived his state review. Finally, the Supreme Court said that he could not complain that it was his attorney who erred, since he was not entitled to an attorney in the first place.41 Coleman was executed without a full review of his innocence claims.

Leonel Herrera may have been innocent, but he was not innocent enough to satisfy the Supreme Court.42 A former Texas judge submitted an affidavit stating that another man had confessed to the crime for which Herrera was facing execution. Numerous other pieces of new evidence also threw doubt on his conviction. Still, the Court said that at this late stage of his appeal, he needed an extraordinary amount of proof to stop his execution. He was executed in Texas in 1993.

Another kind of innocence was illustrated in the case of Jesse Jacobs, who was executed in Texas on January 4, 1995.43 Jacobs had been convicted and sentenced to death after the state had put on evidence to show that he was the actual killer in an abduction ending in murder which also involved a co-defendant. At the later trial of the co-defendant, the state reversed its story and said it was the co-defendant, not Jacobs, who pulled the trigger. In fact, the prosecution used (and thus vouched for) Jacobs's own testimony that he did not do the shooting and did not even know that his co-defendant had a gun. The co-defendant was also convicted, though not sentenced to death. Despite the admission by the prosecution that the arguments they made at Jacobs's trial were false, Jacobs was executed.

Jacobs was not innocent in the full sense of the word. He had admittedly participated in the underlying crime, but it is doubtful that the jury would have sentenced him to death if the prosecutors had acknowledged that he was not directly involved in the actual murder. Three Supreme Court Justices were highly critical of this deception on the prosecution's part. Justice Stevens wrote: "It would be fundamentally unfair to execute a person on the basis of a factual determination that the state has formally disavowed. I find this course of events deeply troubling."44

Senator Arlen Specter, an ardent death penalty supporter and former district attorney, was also distressed at this development, and in addressing the Senate he warned against such impositions of the death penalty in "a callous or unreasonable fashion."45 The European Parliament likewise passed a resolution expressing "shock" at this execution; there were no votes opposing the resolution.46

The recent execution of Coleman Wayne Gray in Virginia is another example of improper state tactics used to tip the balance toward a death sentence. At the time of Gray's sentencing hearing, the state circumvented the rules of disclosure and at the last minute raised the prospect of other notorious offenses by Gray (even though he had not been charged in these alleged offenses). With no chance to adequately refute these allegations, Gray was sentenced to death. Federal District Court Judge James Spencer found the state's action unfair, but found himself constrained by the new Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 from granting Gray any relief. He wrote: "One cannot morally support the death penalty without some assurance, by evidence or faith, that the ultimate penalty is imposed fairly." Gray was executed on February 26, 1997.47

source


Christen
Christen's picture
Posts: 75
Joined: 2006-02-15
User is offlineOffline
Elegy wrote:I just wanted to

Elegy wrote:
I just wanted to know what people here/atheists thought of the death penalty.

I probably lean more towards favoring the death penalty, but not under the current circumstances. I think the death penalty is handed out way too casually, especially in my state. That sort of extreme punishment should be reserved for the worst sort of criminal. Someone who maliciously and repeatedly deprives innocent people of their right to enjoy this one shot at life does not deserve to live, in my opinion.

For example Osama Bin Laden, even if imprisoned, would still pose a threat to innocent civilians. If found, he should be executed. True justice would be letting the families of all the people that's he murdered have a go at his sorry ass or setting him on fire and forcing him out of an 80 story building. Fuck being politcally correct...he deserves death.

Quote:
1) Does religion even have ANYTHING at ALL to do with the death penalty? Are people killed because "God said so", or are they killed because the public is afraid?

I know a lot of religious people that support the death penalty, but I believe there are a few verses that instruct them not to seek revenge.

Matthew 5:38-39 says:
Ye have heard that it hath been said "an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth". But I say unto you that ye resist not him that is evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

Romans 12: 17-19 says:
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.


reason_passion
Rational VIP!
Posts: 158
Joined: 2006-08-17
User is offlineOffline
vengeance not justice

Christen wrote:
True justice would be letting the families of all the people that's he murdered have a go at his sorry ass or setting him on fire and forcing him out of an 80 story building. Fuck being politcally correct...

While a part of me understands and even gets a certain dark glee out of such suggestions, what is being discussed here has nothing to do with justice, only with vengeance. Technically, bin laden didn't fly the planes into the towers and thus did not directly kill all those people, the ones who did are dead. He gave means and ideological support, but did not do the act itself. Is he still culpable? Absolutely. Does he deserve prison? Absolutely. Does he deserve death? That's more difficult.

Consider this, the US gov.'t has been instrumental in the deaths of thousands of afghan civilians through the last several decades and currently continues to kill innocent civilians in Iraq. Could it not be at least plausible that binLaden views such acts as war and thus his orchestration continues the cycle?

If we are to be a people of laws, a people of understanding, a people of democratic ideals, then it is incumbent upon us to act more nobly than our adversary. This in no way advocates the stopping of war completely, there is a right of defense, but the prosecution of that war must be done in as humane a way as possible, less we become truly what we fight against.

Every one of your relationships to man and to nature must be a definite expression of your real, individual life corresponding to the object of your will. -Erich Fromm


BarkAtTheMoon
Rational VIP!
BarkAtTheMoon's picture
Posts: 85
Joined: 2006-02-22
User is offlineOffline
Christen wrote:True justice

Christen wrote:
True justice would be letting the families of all the people that's he murdered have a go at his sorry ass or setting him on fire and forcing him out of an 80 story building. Fuck being politcally correct...he deserves death.

I think it's stuff like this that's why I've always gotten along with you since you started posting on IG.

"Fuck being politically correct." Exactly.

So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth;
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere out in space,
'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth!
- Eric Idle, from The Galaxy Song


reason_passion
Rational VIP!
Posts: 158
Joined: 2006-08-17
User is offlineOffline
vengeance

Ah yes, "vengeance is mine sayeth.... you?"

Thankfully, at least in theory, laws are not based on emotionalism, but rather on an objective understanding of society.

I find it difficult to believe that the days of public executions where treats were handed out to children as they watched people die, was truly beneficial to us. Anger is good, often necessary, but vengeance makes us forget that were it not for the accident of birth and social upbringing, "we" could have done many of the horrendous things criminals have done, included binLaden.

Every one of your relationships to man and to nature must be a definite expression of your real, individual life corresponding to the object of your will. -Erich Fromm


BarkAtTheMoon
Rational VIP!
BarkAtTheMoon's picture
Posts: 85
Joined: 2006-02-22
User is offlineOffline
reason_passion

reason_passion wrote:
Christen wrote:
True justice would be letting the families of all the people that's he murdered have a go at his sorry ass or setting him on fire and forcing him out of an 80 story building. Fuck being politcally correct...

While a part of me understands and even gets a certain dark glee out of such suggestions, what is being discussed here has nothing to do with justice, only with vengeance. Technically, bin laden didn't fly the planes into the towers and thus did not directly kill all those people, the ones who did are dead. He gave means and ideological support, but did not do the act itself. Is he still culpable? Absolutely. Does he deserve prison? Absolutely. Does he deserve death? That's more difficult.


So what if it does have to do with vengeance? If bin Laden is ultimately responsible for 9/11, do you really think his continued existence does anything to further society?
Quote:

Consider this, the US gov.'t has been instrumental in the deaths of thousands of afghan civilians through the last several decades and currently continues to kill innocent civilians in Iraq. Could it not be at least plausible that binLaden views such acts as war and thus his orchestration continues the cycle?

And if the Arabs win the war and defeat the US they should absolutely have the right to string up Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and friends in a most cruel and unusual way.

The US supported Afghanistan in the time bin Laden fought there. The Soviets killed the Afghan citizens in the last several decades. Bin Laden's fight was originally with the Saudi gov't. He hates us, and ordered 9/11, because of our mere existence in Saudi Arabia and support of the Saudi government that banished him from his homeland...for being a terrorist asshole. We're not Muslims. And because we have the gall to not be actively trying to eliminate Israel off the planet, which is what it all really boils down to. See for yourself: bin Laden interview.

Quote:
In our religion, we believe that Allah has created us for the purpose of worshipping him. He is the one who has created us and who has favored us with this religion. Allah has ordered us to make holy wars and to fight to see to it that His word is the highest and the uppermost and that of the unbelievers the lowermost.

Our current action in Afghanistan was near universally supported at the start as retaliation for 9/11 until Bush went and pissed off the world by invading Iraq. 9/11 was a first strike.
Quote:

If we are to be a people of laws, a people of understanding, a people of democratic ideals, then it is incumbent upon us to act more nobly than our adversary. This in no way advocates the stopping of war completely, there is a right of defense, but the prosecution of that war must be done in as humane a way as possible, less we become truly what we fight against.

How much history have you read? The US military currently goes about conducting war in the most "humane" way it has ever been done. Smart bombs and missiles can hit a target with an accuracy of a foot or two with very little destruction to nearby structures. It wouldn't surprise me at all if all the deaths in all the military actions since Vietnam would add up to more than single days of action in WWII. You should read some of the rules of engagement for previous actions, like Somalia, Grenada, etc. Soldiers were so restricted in what they were allowed to do in response to threats that many US soldiers died because of it.

I'll agree in arguing against wars of aggression, however, if battles must be fought the soldiers must be able to kill their enemies as efficiently and effectively as possible. Otherwise, more soldiers end up dying and we end up with quagmires like Vietnam, Somalia, and Iraq.

So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth;
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere out in space,
'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth!
- Eric Idle, from The Galaxy Song


reason_passion
Rational VIP!
Posts: 158
Joined: 2006-08-17
User is offlineOffline
morality

barkatthemoon wrote:
So what if it does have to do with vengeance?

Having binLaden alive does not itself help out society, my entire point had to do with the justification for vengeance as a proper social or personal ethic. What we do with him when captured does have an effect on society if for no other reason than it demonstrates what kind of people we are. I simply call into question the legitimacy and moral good in viewing vengeance as a valid form of reaction.

barkatthemoon wrote:
Smart bombs and missiles can hit a target with an accuracy of a foot or two with very little destruction to nearby structures.

i see you've fallen for the propoganda. I reccommend seeing the documentary "why we fight". One part of it deals with the so-called "smart" bombs and "precision-guided" missiles as just what they are, propoganda pieces. Consider that over 30 "precision-guided" missiles were sent into Iraq the first few hours of the war, not a single one hit their target. Do you really think the mass civilian deaths are simply due to falling dead from shock? I think the doctors in the hospitals would have a problem with this thinking as they pull shrapnel and bullets from american weapons from the bodies of children.

barkatthemoon wrote:
It wouldn't surprise me at all if all the deaths in all the military actions since Vietnam would add up to more than single days of action in WWII.

This is a complete non sequitor, unless you, like Bush, want to start equating a war fought against dictatorship and genocide with a war fought to gain money through oil and multi-national corporations, thus giving legitimacy to the action? Or perhaps you mean to say that since fewer people have died than did in WWII that makes what we do ok? Really, rather curious as to how numbers of deaths equate doing something right; what's the ratio? A million and we're bad, half a million and it's not so bad, two-hundred thousand and we're pretty good guys? Seriously.

As to restrictions in the form of rules of engagement, there is a reason they are there, for the purpose of making sure our actions are not or do not fall to the equivalent atrocities committed by our enemies. It isn't easy being moral, but to do otherwise is to capitulate to becoming inhuman. Are you seriously advocating no rules in the engagemtn of war as long as it means "our" guys don't get killed?

As a point of history, we supported both sides of the afghan war, selling arms. In addition, when it was seen the war wasn't going our way, we backed out and pulled all support, ensuring the death of many we called our "allies."

Every one of your relationships to man and to nature must be a definite expression of your real, individual life corresponding to the object of your will. -Erich Fromm


DrFear
Posts: 248
Joined: 2006-07-09
User is offlineOffline
Christen wrote:Someone who

Christen wrote:
Someone who maliciously and repeatedly deprives innocent people of their right to enjoy this one shot at life does not deserve to live, in my opinion.
no one has the right to live. moreover, innocent of what? no one is innocent of everything.

Christen wrote:
True justice would be letting the families of all the people that's he murdered have a go at his sorry ass

hmm. that's a good idea, and gets to the basis of the death penalty, which is the old "eye for an eye" rule. if some 'bad' man kills your mom, why not just go take care of justice yourself? why do you need a paid army of police, court, and government lawyers (spending a few million dollars) to do your dirty work for you?

reason_passion wrote:
less we become truly what we fight against.

and what, pray tell, is it exactly that we're fighting against?

BarkAtTheMoon wrote:
If bin Laden is ultimately responsible for 9/11, do you really think his continued existence does anything to further society?

so now existence comes packaged with a 'purpose'? well, great, i don't see how polar bears serve a purpose in our little society, so let's go execute them too.
ah, jeez, and we still haven't finished off those damn Native Americans either.....looks like we've got a pretty full plate....

Fear is the mindkiller.


reason_passion
Rational VIP!
Posts: 158
Joined: 2006-08-17
User is offlineOffline
fighting against

i swear fear, the more I read what you write, the more fun I have. Truly.

So what is it that we are fighting against? Good question. Not sure if I can answer that one definitively. But here's a shot...

Can't help but agree that nobody has a "right" to live, the whole notion of inherent rights being only coherent when justified in the name of deity, but of course, since they'd be given, they aren't inherent anyway, so the whole thign falls apart. Anyway, life simply exists and we are a part of it. What we do with that life, how we "choose" to understand and dwell with all other aspects of life, both animate and inaminate, is up to us. As homo sapiens, we have specific needs and desires just like any other animal has, in addition to specific ways of dealing with those needs and desires that other animals don't have. The ability to reason and engage in communal discussion is one such ability that not only has been cultivated but seems, in studying anthropology, to be existentially a part of what we are.

Hence, here is what we fight against, anything that denies people the ability to use reason in the full understanding of existence of which we are a part. BinLaden and those like him, both by their ideology and their actions, would have a world where reason is devalued and hence our ability to truly understand existence would be curtailed, if not outright destroyed eventually. This is evolution and survival, outside of the petty and simplistic dog-eat-dog mentality that so many creationists think it is. We cannot run away from this world and we have no dominating natural predator, hence survival means understanding just how it is nature works, else we take and take and end up with nothing.

What we fight against is irrationalism or, better yet, a-rationalism, i.e. the denial of reality itself. If my brother is hungry, I feed him, I do not ask him to eat ether. If I am sick, I go to the doctor, I do not pray to the spirits of the air to heal me. One is rational, the other has nothing to do with it.

What we fight for is our thought, our ability to dialogue without threat of persecution, our existence as another facet of all of reality and our particular way of living is tied up with the particular way we have evolved, to understand our position and not simply take it.

Every one of your relationships to man and to nature must be a definite expression of your real, individual life corresponding to the object of your will. -Erich Fromm


Zero
Website Admin
Zero's picture
Posts: 52
Joined: 2006-04-13
User is offlineOffline
Against

I'm against the entire idea of punishment for crime. Punishment doesn't work, obviously. It seems like we have more "crime" every freaking year...if you look at the prison populations as an indicator. I just saw this 30 Days episode a week ago in which the show's host went to a prison with a camera crew for 30 days to see what it was like. Perhaps the most important segment of that show was when he commented on the idea of prisons being a big business. It is. Prison's aren't designed to rehabilite anyone...they are designed to grow and make billions of dollars every year (your tax money, by the way).

I think we need to shed our barbaric notions of revenge. The fact of the matter is, most people commit crimes of violence and theft because they are desperate, ignorant, or psychologically immature and undeveloped. I realize this is a sweeping generalization, but think about it. Once a person is fairly educated, isn't in survival mode, and has a well developed sense of self, the chance of them commiting a crime is very slim indeed.

So, we know that the problem really lies in how we handle "criminals." Do we punish them and make their lives more miserable and desperate, or do we really try to help them? If we really helped criminals learn professions, develop self esteem and discipline, and helped set them up instead of tear them down, we could honestly rehabilitate criminals into fully fledged positive contributers to our planet.

As it stands right now, most ignorant angry Americans prefer to punish people and seek revenge. Most ignorant Americans are savage beasts, in this regard.

It will take true humanitarians to stop the viscious cycle. Eventually we will have to bite the bullet (if we claim to be intelligent), and start actually helping people become better humans instead turning them into more savage beasts by shoving them into a big cage with other savage animals.

It's true what they say. We are a product of our enviornment. Christians are Christians because their parents were. Jews are jews because their because their parents chop off their foreskin. Criminals commit crimes because they are still mentally impetuous children that never received the proper direction when they were growing up. It's time for us to take these misguided children and give them the helping hand they need, not another savage lashing.

..zero..
href="http://www.doubledoh.com" title="DoubleDoh Shirts" alt="DoubleDoh Shirts">DoubleDoh


MarthaSplatterhead (not verified)
Posts: 4294964979
Joined: 1969-12-31
User is offlineOffline
Prisons are for legalized

Prisons are for legalized slavery. My brother worked at Dayton Correctional and took me on a tour there. I saw a factory-like building with convicts making road signs and license plates. I'm sure the convicts do other unpaid labor but that's just what I saw. (I'm not really sure if they are paid or not but it can't be much if they are).

This is so true:

Zero wrote:
Do we punish them and make their lives more miserable and desperate, or do we really try to help them?

There's no money to be made if we help these people. That's what the people with power think. Cops are supposed to fill a quota and that's what they do at all costs. If you have ever thought you were lucky because you got pulled over for speeding and no ticket, it's more than likely that the cop's quota was filled for that month. This is mostly my supposition but why else would they need to fill those prisons to the brim. I mean I'm not even allowed to hang out 20 feet from my front door after dark because it's a public park. I can get fined for that shit. Recockulous laws.

BTW, my stepdad held up a holy-roller church for tithes and went to prison for two years...one of my favorite stories.


DrFear
Posts: 248
Joined: 2006-07-09
User is offlineOffline
reason_passion wrote:i swear

reason_passion wrote:
i swear fear, the more I read what you write, the more fun I have. Truly.

i am very glad that you and i can be amicably opposed, now that we understand each other Smiling
reason_passion wrote:

As homo sapiens, we have specific needs and desires just like any other animal has, in addition to specific ways of dealing with those needs and desires that other animals don't have.

i am unaware of any needs we have beyond any other animal (aside from small physiological aspects, such as the need for external sources of 'vitamin C' and such). desires...well, our little 'society' comes up with a new desire for us to have ever 10 friggin' seconds, doesn't it? to clarify, a 'desire' for food needs not be a 'desire' for steak, does it?
reason_passion wrote:

The ability to reason and engage in communal discussion is one such ability that not only has been cultivated but seems, in studying anthropology, to be existentially a part of what we are.

not to nitpick, but your focus seems to have shifted somewhere from 'needs and desires' to 'abilities'. i can see a small correlation, but that ability is more of a hobby than a necessity, regardless of how much a part of us it is.
reason_passion wrote:

Hence, here is what we fight against, anything that denies people the ability to use reason in the full understanding of existence of which we are a part.

i can admire that, however the question in the context of the previous conversation referred to why the U.S. fought militarily in the conflicts mentioned, and i should hope you can agree that none of them were fought over the cause of protecting reason.

reason_passion wrote:
BinLaden and those like him, both by their ideology and their actions, would have a world where reason is devalued and hence our ability to truly understand existence would be curtailed, if not outright destroyed eventually.

now we get to the real nut-meat. it seems someone else should examine by just how much they are exceeding their %RDA of propaganda.
Bin Laden and those like him. those like him being what? Shiite muslims? israel-haters?
examine how we are fighting against him at the current moment: by promoting Shiite interests in Iraq, thus promoting Iranian influence on Iraq(in the 50's the U.S. supported the ousting of the then democratic leadership of Iran, leading to a dictatorship, outrage over which led to the Islamic Revolution), and thus strengthening the anti-israel movement in the region.
therein lies your folly. is mideast anti-israelism unfounded? is it some kind of inherent evil or racial prejudice? no. it's self defense. it's been a cycle of attack and self defense there for over 50 years now, and who made the first strike? israel. israel was not a country, and its people were not indigenous to the region when it began its bid to become one. but the U.S. and european nations enforced their emigration, and their imperialist hostilities, which continue to this day, because israel provided a shining new democratic stronghold in the mideast.
so what we're really fighting for is to re-stabilize what we blindly de-stabilized during the cold war, without losing any powerful interest in the mideast. and it's a testy situation, because the U.S. is trying to appease both sides, when it's slowly becoming obvious that we only give a shit about the muslim side because we need their oil, and want them to stop bombing people.

reason_passion wrote:
What we fight for is our thought, our ability to dialogue without threat of persecution, our existence as another facet of all of reality and our particular way of living is tied up with the particular way we have evolved, to understand our position and not simply take it.

a romantic and patriotic notion, but, alas, human relations just aren't that beautiful. if only you could write speeches for bush...it would be hilarious to listen to him trying to pronounce all of that.

Fear is the mindkiller.


Elegy
Elegy's picture
Posts: 65
Joined: 2006-08-01
User is offlineOffline
"I probably lean more

"I probably lean more towards favoring the death penalty, but not under the current circumstances. I think the death penalty is handed out way too casually, especially in my state. That sort of extreme punishment should be reserved for the worst sort of criminal. Someone who maliciously and repeatedly deprives innocent people of their right to enjoy this one shot at life does not deserve to live, in my opinion.

For example Osama Bin Laden, even if imprisoned, would still pose a threat to innocent civilians. If found, he should be executed. True justice would be letting the families of all the people that's he murdered have a go at his sorry ass or setting him on fire and forcing him out of an 80 story building. Fuck being politcally correct...he deserves death."

This is all opinion, but I don't think killers are as guilty as people think they are. They are NOT like normal people, hence they shouldn't be treated like normal people.

I DON'T think Osama should be executed because, and this is opinion, I don't think he was behind the terrorist attacks. How many innocent soldiers has your government killed and lied to, over oil and money? Not only American soldiers but Iraqi, Afghani, Canadian and so many other soldiers. If anyone deserves the death penalty, it's Bush. Even then, I wouldn't support it.


Susan
Susan's picture
Posts: 3561
Joined: 2006-02-12
User is offlineOffline
From my original comment

From my original comment talking about "The Exonerated," more than anything I learned the inequities of our justice system.

The six people spotlighted in "The Exonerated" were exonerated, usually through DNA evidence; they did not win appeals. What Kerry Max Cook endured in prison is something nightmares are made of.

During rehearsals, four gentlemen who had been exonerated of crimes came to the theater to talk with us (part of The Innocence Project). For each of them, the biggest problem the need to use a public defender.

When they were exonerated, they were basically "kicked" out of prison with no help to readjust to the outside. Prisoners who have completed sentences or are released on parole have half-way houses, help with finding a job and a place to live. They're even given a tiny stipend.

I met a lovely gentleman who had been in prison since he was 18 or 19 years old and had spent 20 or 25 years in prison. He didn't know how to take care of a checking account, had never had an apartment and had never held a job. He spent years just trying to figure out how to take care of himself.

I met a gentleman who had been a high school teacher and was convicted of murder. After DNA testing came into being, it was denied him for years. He was finally granted DNA testing, but didn't know how to read the results he was sent and his attorney (public defender) failed to tell him what they said. It took 3 or 4 MORE YEARS IN PRISON before someone finally read the results, and got him released.

The stigma of prison follows them forever. One couldn't get a decent job because the employer claimed he lied on his job application by marking NO to "have you ever been convicted of a felony?" The conviction was wiped out by the exoneration, so that should have been a truthful answer.

One marked YES to that question (he answered "yes" so he could explain the gap in employment history), was interviewed and was told that even though he was perfect for the job, they felt that years in prison had probably changed him in a negative manner so they couldn't hire him.

The late Professor Robert Dawson from the University of Texas/Austin Law School wrote:

“The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has 150,000 inmates incarcerated,” said Dawson, now in his 37th year of teaching at the Law School. “If the Texas justice system is 99 percent accurate, there are 1,500 innocent people in prison. And if the system is 99.9 percent accurate, that’s still 150 innocent people in prison. That is both a reassuring and a depressing thought.”

That's just Texas!

Yes, there are certainly mean and nasty people in prison that belong there. However, should we put people on death row, sometimes to be executed, if our justice system makes mistakes like this?

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.


Yellow_Number_Five
atheistRRS Core MemberScientist
Yellow_Number_Five's picture
Posts: 1390
Joined: 2006-02-12
User is offlineOffline
I'm already in a debate on

I'm already in a debate on this issue over at IG.

A few things that must be said: 1) the possibility of innocent people being executed is NOT an actual argument against the death penalty - it's simply an argument for better jurisprudence. 2) The fact that it is not necessary to execute murderers is also not an argument against the death penalty - it's simply an argument for utilitarianism.

That aside, read the discussion I've been playin advocate in and try to think of reasons why vengence is wrong when we are sure it is applied in the absolute.

http://www.infidelguy.com/ftopic-22112-0.html

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.


reason_passion
Rational VIP!
Posts: 158
Joined: 2006-08-17
User is offlineOffline
further clarification

First, let me say that Yellow_Number_Five's recent post here is accurate in pointing out that juridical problems and executions per se are not arguments against capital punishment. This is largely why I've been dealing with the issue of vengeance as a morally legitimate social virtue. Now to address a couple comments made by fear and clarify a couple things.

DrFear wrote:
i am unaware of any needs we have beyond any other animal (aside from small physiological aspects, such as the need for external sources of 'vitamin C' and such). desires...well, our little 'society' comes up with a new desire for us to have ever 10 friggin' seconds, doesn't it?

i will have to admit to a problem here in my usage of the term "desires" as it is largely subjective and fit only to be discussed in the context of social or personal instantiations of needs, so I will pull back from using the term in this context. As to "needs", I think it can fairly easily established that an organisms' needs are particular to its biological makeup and while they can all be subordinated to the three basics of food, shelter, reproduction (which does not require others of the same specie as asexual animals are existent). However, reduction in this case seems to miss the fact that not all creatures are biologically capable of eating, living or reproducing in the same way and thus these three basic requirements must be looked at specie-specific, so to speak.

In other words, it is the (to coin Erich Fromm's term) existential needs of man that must be looked at in terms of figuring out what particular needs are required for survival and "flourishing," i.e. the full instantiation of homo sapiens particular abilities. Granted, this assumes the moral point that furthering the abilities of homo sapiens is a positive, but it does not say that everything we are capable of doing is necessarily good, only that our survival as a species is predicated upon the full and proper (naturally harmonious) usage of those things which make us human.

DrFear wrote:
not to nitpick, but your focus seems to have shifted somewhere from 'needs and desires' to 'abilities'. i can see a small correlation, but that ability is more of a hobby than a necessity, regardless of how much a part of us it is.

I'm not quite sure how reason and communal living can be characterized as a "hobby." A hobby is something that I can do without and still maintain the essential aspects of my existence as a human being, like reading comic books. The usage of reason and communal living seem to not be in that category, especially reason; it is in fact how we interact with the world itself and to stop such is either to be dead, a vegetable state or to cease (in the long run) having particular phenomenological particulars that we associate with being human (one should look at those studies done on individuals having never had any social contact, it's appalling).

In fact, abilities are part of who we are and "speak" to how we go about our survival, hence they point to the existential specifics of our existence. Running fast is an ability of the cheetah, but take it away and you have a very dead cat. The same goes for the long necks of giraffes, the horn of a rhino, etc. Indeed, one of the central tenets of evolution, biological adaptation, is what is being discussed here, where specific abilities of an animal are requirements for not only speciation but also for survival of that species.

This of course leaves open for discussion as to just how an ability is to be encouraged, but that isn't my point and truly not integral to the present conversation.

DrFear wrote:
i can admire that, however the question in the context of the previous conversation referred to why the U.S. fought militarily in the conflicts mentioned, and i should hope you can agree that none of them were fought over the cause of protecting reason

I'd be the first to admit that the present conflicts had nothing to do with protecting reason. The question put to me as to what we're fighting against was asked by you (fear) and the context really wasn't the war, though I can see how that was the overall discussion. Suffice to say, what I said concerning what we are fighting against should be taken, then, in the context of a personal "Should" rather than a description of the current conflict. Though as a small after-thought, I wonder how wars would be conducted if they were done for truly loftier goals than simply making money (like in iraq). But that's a whole different forum topic.

DrFear wrote:
examine how we are fighting against him at the current moment: by promoting Shiite interests in Iraq, thus promoting Iranian influence on Iraq(in the 50's the U.S. supported the ousting of the then democratic leadership of Iran, leading to a dictatorship, outrage over which led to the Islamic Revolution), and thus strengthening the anti-israel movement in the region.
therein lies your folly. is mideast anti-israelism unfounded? is it some kind of inherent evil or racial prejudice? no. it's self defense. it's been a cycle of attack and self defense there for over 50 years now,

First, if the war isn't about protecting the right and ability to reason, then me promoting it as a means to isolate who we should fight against wouldn't be falling for propoganda, as nobody is using that as an excuse. But anyway, I fully appreciate and understand the social reasons behind the current and historical conflict though the conflict has gone on far longer than 50 years. The conflict at core is ideological, based in no small part upon religious notions of sovereignty, divinely mandated geography and the general egoism that is prevalent in those who believe themselves to the "chosen people" of the cosmic bully. The particular manifestations in the past 50 years have been seen in what we see now and only exacerbated by the ridiculous attempt at atonement of the creation of Israel by the UN and the atrocious policies of the US in the region since the soviet-era war in afghanistan.

DrFear wrote:
a romantic and patriotic notion, but, alas, human relations just aren't that beautiful. if only you could write speeches for bush...it would be hilarious to listen to him trying to pronounce all of that.

Thanks for the romantic comment, I do love to write. And you're right, most human relationships aren't that beautiful, but does that mean we shouldn't strive for them to be so? This is where it gets to the heart of my point to barkatthemoon, in discussing vengeance as a good moral principle. Understanding the present situation of humanity as being largely problematic, to put it lightly, is only the first step. The next is what you want to do about it.

As to writing for Bush, it would be funny to hear him read things larger than 2 syllables. Perhaps if he left off the drinking, he'd be able to speak like an adult.

Every one of your relationships to man and to nature must be a definite expression of your real, individual life corresponding to the object of your will. -Erich Fromm


DrFear
Posts: 248
Joined: 2006-07-09
User is offlineOffline
YN5- vengeance applied in

YN5-
vengeance applied in the absolute by those who have not been wronged is not vengeance.


reason_passion
Rational VIP!
Posts: 158
Joined: 2006-08-17
User is offlineOffline
wronged?

DrFear wrote:
YN5-
vengeance applied in the absolute by those who have not been wronged is not vengeance.

Not sure how this is a step in the discussion, but I have an idea. The only problem is that whoever wrote this definition seems to have a rather simplistic understanding of "wronged." Am I to take it to mean that the acts which have been under discussion here, including the war and so on, should not be viewed as vengeance simply because the particular people involved, i.e. Bush et al, were not personally attacked? I wonder if the writer of this particular ditty has no understanding of empathy.

One of the most problematic and yet incredible abilities of human beings is to sublimate the effects done upon another and thus "feel" what the other might be going through, at least approximately. Some would call it the conscious, others might call it empathy and both would be right, but it is also an evolutionary device to encourage comaraderie and thus survival.

The problem is that feelings (and I'll refrain from going into a neurological description as that is completely outside of the discusson, and simply stick with the folk understanding) often can overshadow a person's ability to think clearly.

Vengeance is simply a descriptive for an action, designating one's response to something done to them, often in the form of an "eye for an eye" (whatever that means, for it is quite difficult to ascertain just what type of torture is equivalent of dying in a falling building). Such thinking is exactly what I'm talking against.

Every one of your relationships to man and to nature must be a definite expression of your real, individual life corresponding to the object of your will. -Erich Fromm


BarkAtTheMoon
Rational VIP!
BarkAtTheMoon's picture
Posts: 85
Joined: 2006-02-22
User is offlineOffline
reason_passion

reason_passion wrote:
barkatthemoon wrote:
So what if it does have to do with vengeance?

Having binLaden alive does not itself help out society, my entire point had to do with the justification for vengeance as a proper social or personal ethic. What we do with him when captured does have an effect on society if for no other reason than it demonstrates what kind of people we are. I simply call into question the legitimacy and moral good in viewing vengeance as a valid form of reaction.


How about viewing it as eliminating an infectuous, deadly pest from society? Vengeance is a personal motivation and has nothing to do with the legality of the death penalty or the judicial system in general unless a jury is using that as their reason for choosing death. That's up to the court instructions for the jury and the attorneys to affect that. If someone on a message board says bin Laden should be hung upside down, set on fire, and stoned to death by the families of the victims that's their perogative. I would imagine that most people that sat glued to their tv watching the coverage on 9/11 could understand that sentiment.

reason_passion wrote:

i see you've fallen for the propoganda. I reccommend seeing the documentary "why we fight". One part of it deals with the so-called "smart" bombs and "precision-guided" missiles as just what they are, propoganda pieces. Consider that over 30 "precision-guided" missiles were sent into Iraq the first few hours of the war, not a single one hit their target. Do you really think the mass civilian deaths are simply due to falling dead from shock? I think the doctors in the hospitals would have a problem with this thinking as they pull shrapnel and bullets from american weapons from the bodies of children.

Guided weapons are propoganda? What are you talking about? Ok, 30 missiles missed their targets, nobody ever said they're perfect. I said they're better than any weapons we've had in the past. According to this Pentagon officials admit that 10-15% of laser guided munitions miss their target. I'll agree, 85-90% hit rates is below average considering there's little to no anti-air fire or enemy planes to worry about, but it's still extremely high relatively speaking. Can you please post your source about the 30 missiles missing and any explanation from military sources as to why they might have missed?

But, did you actually read what I wrote? It's still far better than any time in the past and continues to improve. If you're going to bitch about whether our military conducts war humanely the only reasonable comparison is with previous wars from history. I guess you answered my question about whether you've read much history. Our current military weapons and delivery systems are far more accurate and advanced than any time in history and more so than any other military in the world. That's simple fact.

reason_passion wrote:

barkatthemoon wrote:
It wouldn't surprise me at all if all the deaths in all the military actions since Vietnam would add up to more than single days of action in WWII.

This is a complete non sequitor, unless you, like Bush, want to start equating a war fought against dictatorship and genocide with a war fought to gain money through oil and multi-national corporations, thus giving legitimacy to the action? Or perhaps you mean to say that since fewer people have died than did in WWII that makes what we do ok? Really, rather curious as to how numbers of deaths equate doing something right; what's the ratio? A million and we're bad, half a million and it's not so bad, two-hundred thousand and we're pretty good guys? Seriously.


How's it a non-sequitor in a discussion of whether our military conducts a humane war, which is a stupid, oxymoronic concept anyway. The only comparison is with past engagements. What I'm saying is that our weapons are more accurate than they ever have been. And I never said a thing about whether this war was legitimate or not and have certainly never tried to defend it. This has nothing to do with the assholes in Washington sending 18 year olds to their deaths. It has to do with how those 18 year olds conduct themselves, the accuracy of their weapons, and whether they make every effort within reason to avoid collateral damage. If the troops are being ordered by the brass in the Pentagon or the cockbags in the Bush administration to intentionally kill civilians(highly unlikely) and to torture prisoners(certainly plausible) then evidence should be gathered and they should be tried for war crimes. This war is being fought in primarily urban environments, against guerilla opposition (who also like to set bombs that specifically target civilians and have no problem using civilians as shields). It goes without saying that there will be heavy civilian casualties. If you consider the results to be so bad, what would you have them do (assuming of course that withdrawal is not an option at least until 2008)? Give us a solution to the problem.

reason_passion wrote:

As to restrictions in the form of rules of engagement, there is a reason they are there, for the purpose of making sure our actions are not or do not fall to the equivalent atrocities committed by our enemies. It isn't easy being moral, but to do otherwise is to capitulate to becoming inhuman. Are you seriously advocating no rules in the engagemtn of war as long as it means "our" guys don't get killed?

I disagree with rules of engagement that require our troops, in hostile areas, to carry their rifles without clips. I disagree with them only being able to lock-and-load only after being fired upon. And I disagree with when even after being fired upon, they need explicit permission to be able to defend themselves. These were the rules of engagement in various recent military actions, as well as for guards at embassies in various hostile countries, and they caused the deaths of soldiers who couldn't defend themselves because some pussy Congressmen and generals in DC thousands of miles away told them they weren't allowed.

War sucks. War is hell. War will never be humane no matter how much you want it to be. The whole point of war is to kill more of your enemy than they kill of you. Like I said in my last post, oppose wars of aggression like Iraq all you want and I'll agree with you, but there is no way to pretty up war. Unless you oppose war in absolutely every situation which just isn't practical, you're going to get the same shit every time. When politicians try so they can secure votes, wars tend to turn into enormous clusterfucks that suck nations dry of men, money, and morale and take years to resolve.

reason_passion wrote:

As a point of history, we supported both sides of the afghan war, selling arms. In addition, when it was seen the war wasn't going our way, we backed out and pulled all support, ensuring the death of many we called our "allies."

When did we ever support the Soviets in the Afghan war? The Afghan war had exactly the outcome the US government wanted. The Soviets withdrew with their tails between their legs, and it ultimately started the ball rolling to the downfall of Communism there.

So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth;
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere out in space,
'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth!
- Eric Idle, from The Galaxy Song


BarkAtTheMoon
Rational VIP!
BarkAtTheMoon's picture
Posts: 85
Joined: 2006-02-22
User is offlineOffline
quote="DrFear"] BarkAtTheMoon

quote="DrFear"]

BarkAtTheMoon wrote:
If bin Laden is ultimately responsible for 9/11, do you really think his continued existence does anything to further society?

so now existence comes packaged with a 'purpose'? well, great, i don't see how polar bears serve a purpose in our little society, so let's go execute them too.
ah, jeez, and we still haven't finished off those damn Native Americans either.....looks like we've got a pretty full plate....

No it doesn't, but in human society someone who has willingly murdered (or ordered the murder of thousands of people and has stated that he will continue to murder as many people as possible is nothing but a negative factor to society and should be eliminated. Polar bears aren't in our society. Ever pulled out a can of Raid on a bee's nest, set a mousetrap? Would you be in favor of putting down a rabid racoon? I see no real difference to eliminating a murderous, violent, dangerous person. Nah, the Native Americans have those nice casinos now so they get a free pass.

So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth;
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere out in space,
'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth!
- Eric Idle, from The Galaxy Song


reason_passion
Rational VIP!
Posts: 158
Joined: 2006-08-17
User is offlineOffline
barkatthemoon wrote:If

barkatthemoon wrote:
If someone on a message board says bin Laden should be hung upside down, set on fire, and stoned to death by the families of the victims that's their perogative. I would imagine that most people that sat glued to their tv watching the coverage on 9/11 could understand that sentiment.

In the beginning post of this whole discussion, I in fact did say that I understand such sentiments. My only point and continued idea has been to point out the illegitimacy of using vengeance as a good moral foundation, which was precisely what was being said.

As to the legal side of your point, I'm not sure why i would disagree with the court being the arbiter of punishment, should binladen be arrested. In fact, that was another point I made, that we are and should strive to continue to be a nation of laws.

The only basis capital punishment has (and this is outside the purview of war) is found in vengeance. The fact that a person has been captured means they are no longer a threat to society and hence killing the person seems redundant. There must be a further justification and the one being offered so far has to do with personal feelings of vengeance, something I find is not valid in a legal system.

Quote:
Our current military weapons and delivery systems are far more accurate and advanced than any time in history and more so than any other military in the world.

Quote:
If the troops are being ordered by the brass in the Pentagon or the cockbags in the Bush administration to intentionally kill civilians(highly unlikely) and to torture prisoners(certainly plausible) then evidence should be gathered and they should be tried for war crimes.

I never said that you were trying to justify the current war, I figured you were against it. My point had to do with your usage of precision missiles as justification for their indiscrimate usage. I don't doubt at all that our weapons are far superior than any others in the history of warfare, at least in their ability to do large amounts of damage. (Though I think there's a point to be made that the precision of a bow or sword is far better than a 2000 lb. bomb.)

Quote:
This war is being fought in primarily urban environments, against guerilla opposition (who also like to set bombs that specifically target civilians and have no problem using civilians as shields). It goes without saying that there will be heavy civilian casualties.

All the more reason to be extra careful in our selection of targets and usage of arms.

Quote:
War sucks. War is hell. War will never be humane no matter how much you want it to be. The whole point of war is to kill more of your enemy than they kill of you.

Actually, the whole point of war is to DEFEAT your enemy, not necessarily to kill them, that is only one way of defeating them. In fact, as Clausewitz and Sun Tzu have mentioned, (no doubt slightly romantically) when having to kill your opponent is the only option being considered, a mistake has been made in your plans. I'm in complete agreement that war is horrendous and in fact believe that with some people, the only way to deal with them is kill them or at least lock them up forever.

To repeat, my central point has not been about the war but about the legitimacy of vengeance as a proper moral foundation. I am not condemning soldiers per se, they simply follow orders with the tools that are given to them.

Quote:
When did we ever support the Soviets in the Afghan war? The Afghan war had exactly the outcome the US government wanted. The Soviets withdrew with their tails between their legs, and it ultimately started the ball rolling to the downfall of Communism there.

Uhm, we sold arms to the soviets before and after the war there. And I assume that you mean it led to the downfall of communism in russia, since it was never fully implemented in afghanistan. Course, even when it was overthrown, it was replaced by warlords, not exactly a step up for the afghan people.

Every one of your relationships to man and to nature must be a definite expression of your real, individual life corresponding to the object of your will. -Erich Fromm


BarkAtTheMoon
Rational VIP!
BarkAtTheMoon's picture
Posts: 85
Joined: 2006-02-22
User is offlineOffline
reason_passion wrote:The

reason_passion wrote:

The only basis capital punishment has (and this is outside the purview of war) is found in vengeance. The fact that a person has been captured means they are no longer a threat to society and hence killing the person seems redundant. There must be a further justification and the one being offered so far has to do with personal feelings of vengeance, something I find is not valid in a legal system.

How about helping victims families gain a small amount of closure so they can begin to feel safe in their own homes? What about slimy pieces of shit like Mumia Abu-Jamal that use prison as a political pulpit? What's the point of making a horrible murderer spend a lifetime in an overcrowded prison when they could just be eliminated now? And is caging someone for life with no chance for parole really the more moral approach over ending their life now?

I find it odd that so many anti-death penalty arguments tend to be about how awful it is that the government "murders" these prisoners, or how unjust the death penalty is or whatever, but rarely do they ever even so much as mention the people these prisoners brutally murdered. We're generally not talking about average people that was down on his luck and made a mistake or accidentally killed someone that are on death row. Most of these people are brutal, unremorseful psycopaths that would shoot you in the back or gut you with a knife without a second thought. They planned their crimes, sought out their victims, and brutally murdered them. These aren't spur of the moment crimes of passion. These people generally can't be rehabilitated, so what's a valid reason why we shouldn't execute them and instead leave these people alive in a cell for 50 years?

Quote:

I never said that you were trying to justify the current war, I figured you were against it. My point had to do with your usage of precision missiles as justification for their indiscrimate usage. I don't doubt at all that our weapons are far superior than any others in the history of warfare, at least in their ability to do large amounts of damage. (Though I think there's a point to be made that the precision of a bow or sword is far better than a 2000 lb. bomb.)

I never said anything about indiscrimate usage, but to ensure you destroy your target requires doing large amounts of damage. If some civilian happens to wander past when it hits, well...that's war.

If you want to go into a gun fight with a sword, be my guest. Let me know how it turns out. Bows were used more like cluster bombs back then, at least in large battles. A few hundred archers launching them up in the air at a 45 degree angle. I wouldn't call that a precision weapon. Not to mention when they'd whip some Greek fire at you from a trebuchet or catapult.

Quote:
Quote:
This war is being fought in primarily urban environments, against guerilla opposition (who also like to set bombs that specifically target civilians and have no problem using civilians as shields). It goes without saying that there will be heavy civilian casualties.

All the more reason to be extra careful in our selection of targets and usage of arms.


So what's the solution then? Being "extra careful" is kinda vague. Personally, I think being extra careful is part of the problem. When you're a soldier in the middle of a battlefield and worrying about walking on egg shells, you're more likely to die and the war is more likely to go on indefinitely.
Quote:

Actually, the whole point of war is to DEFEAT your enemy, not necessarily to kill them, that is only one way of defeating them. In fact, as Clausewitz and Sun Tzu have mentioned, (no doubt slightly romantically) when having to kill your opponent is the only option being considered, a mistake has been made in your plans. I'm in complete agreement that war is horrendous and in fact believe that with some people, the only way to deal with them is kill them or at least lock them up forever.

And how do you defeat your enemy? You use suprise attacks if at all possible and use other means to give yourself an advantage before you attack, you always have a plan for escape if necessary, and you don't attack half assed (which is the problem I see with how we fight wars these days), see Oswald Boelcke's rules which generally still work in any type of combat today and are still taught in the Air Force. In other words, you defeat your opponents as efficiently as possible, and in a war with real weapons when the other side won't lay down like the Iraqi army did, that means killing them.

It's interesting timing that this morning, Opie & Anthony were talking about this exact subject. PC has royally screwed up our war capabilities. When politicians are too involved in a war and the media can report on every little mishap, this is what happens. We get stuck in situations where the grunts can't do anything, because it might affect a senator's polls and votes, and wars drag on that we end up losing because we don't use our strengths.

I agree with your last statement, and I think that is the problem with the current conflicts. Islamic terrorists can't be dealt with any other way. And I think the only way we can win in Iraq is to work towards leaving. That way we can prove to the people that we're not trying to stay there and control the country forever so we can gain the support of the people. For every day we stay there, the other side's recruiting gets better. But we're fucked, because Bush and Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, are too stupid to even have a plan for winning or a goal to proceed towards. There are no established victory conditions, there is no end date goal to aim for, so regardless of how we fight whether humanely or with savage efficiency, we're going to be stuck there for years with thousands of more deaths and billions of dollars more spent because our leaders don't have a clue how we're going to win. That's the real travesty of this war. That's why people continue to die. CNN article about this.

Quote:

Uhm, we sold arms to the soviets before and after the war there. And I assume that you mean it led to the downfall of communism in russia, since it was never fully implemented in afghanistan. Course, even when it was overthrown, it was replaced by warlords, not exactly a step up for the afghan people.

So is selling equipment and arms, presumably at market price since I can't imagine us giving the soviets a great bargain, really supporting them? Got any links to info about these arms sales?

Yes I meant the downfall of communism in russia. I doubt our leaders or the soviets really gave much of a shit what happened in Afghanistan after we left. The only reason we had any involvement was to stop the Cold War expansion of the Soviet Union. It's only in retrospect with terrorism that the warlords have come back to bite us in the ass.

So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth;
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere out in space,
'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth!
- Eric Idle, from The Galaxy Song


DrFear
Posts: 248
Joined: 2006-07-09
User is offlineOffline
reason_passion: what you

reason_passion: what you misconstrued as a quoted definition was merely a response to Yellow_Number_Five's challenge to give a valid opposition to 'vengeance applied in the absolute', and it was not referring to war. it referred to the death penalty. war and the death penalty are quite different situations. war is two huge gangs killing each other. the death penalty is a huge gang killing a single person. one is a fair fight. the other is not.

reason_passion wrote:
I'm not quite sure how reason and communal living can be characterized as a "hobby." A hobby is something that I can do without and still maintain the essential aspects of my existence as a human being, like reading comic books. The usage of reason and communal living seem to not be in that category, especially reason; it is in fact how we interact with the world itself and to stop such is either to be dead, a vegetable state or to cease (in the long run) having particular phenomenological particulars that we associate with being human (one should look at those studies done on individuals having never had any social contact, it's appalling).

communal living can't be done without? rethink that one.
as for reason, now we're delving into two entirely different levels of reason. here you are describing reason as it applies to living in the world, simple thought processes of survival and innovation. before you described reason as it applied to living in a society.
communal living is not necessary for human survival, and so it goes that any reason applied to said communal living is equally un-necessary.
as for feral children....i don't find anything all that appaling about it, except for the ones who were cut off from the outside world by their parent/guardians, and locked in a dark room for 12 years. that's pretty appalling.
in fact, it's as appalling as locking anybody up for any length of time.

reason_passion wrote:
First, if the war isn't about protecting the right and ability to reason, then me promoting it as a means to isolate who we should fight against wouldn't be falling for propoganda, as nobody is using that as an excuse.

ok. so let's assume the war is to protect the right and ability to reason. who are we fighting to protect it, and what threat do they present to it? (work with me here, it's going somewhere)

BarkAtTheMoon wrote:
No it doesn't, but in human society someone who has willingly murdered (or ordered the murder of thousands of people and has stated that he will continue to murder as many people as possible is nothing but a negative factor to society and should be eliminated. Polar bears aren't in our society. Ever pulled out a can of Raid on a bee's nest, set a mousetrap? Would you be in favor of putting down a rabid racoon? I see no real difference to eliminating a murderous, violent, dangerous person.

so you've never seen a polar bear at the zoo?
yep, i've Raid-ed bee's nests, set mousetraps. and that was my business to attend to. if there was a rabid racoon at my house, i would put it down. what i wouldn't do is call up my posse to gang up on it/them, it's my business, my problem, and i'll take care of it myself. human society is nothing but a vast network of crybabies and gimme-gimme willing victims, clamoring for a teet of help and security. i've said it before, if you can not or will not defend yourself, and are shocked when you become a victim (or a corpse)....well, that just never stops being funny.

Fear is the mindkiller.


reason_passion
Rational VIP!
Posts: 158
Joined: 2006-08-17
User is offlineOffline
closure?

barkatthemoon wrote:
How about helping victims families gain a small amount of closure so they can begin to feel safe in their own homes?

I was unaware that closer, whatever that means, can be gained by killing. Do you mean to say that the family will be able to "move on" after another death? Is safety guaranteed by killing more people?

Thanks for quoting Bush, but unfortunately psychology has long since rested its case that "closure" is a state of mind and has little to do with the state of affairs surrounding it. Perspective is what has to be changed and in fact, since closure is being associated with vengeance (i.e. the killing of binLaden, despite the fact that he didn't fly the planes) then using it as a reason to support vengeance is redundant. What still hasn't been established is the idea of vengeance being morally right.

As to safety, again, it's a state of mind or perspective. In point of fact, you are never safe, not absolutely. There are a thousand ways you could die every day and the appeasement of one is only beneficial because the person doesn't happen to be focusing on the other ways. Sorry, it's called evolution and safety simply isn't part of the game. We can either live our lives in fear (which is what Bush would have us do) or we can live acknowledging our frailty and try to make sure that that frailty doesn't undermine our ability to be moral, i.e. killing anything that makes us afraid.

barkatthemoon wrote:
And is caging someone for life with no chance for parole really the more moral approach over ending their life now?

Quite frankly, this is a completely different discussion, the state and application of our prison system. But once a person has been captured, the situation is no longer one of a battle field and hence killing has to be justified by other means than the nature of war.

barkatthemoon wrote:
They planned their crimes, sought out their victims, and brutally murdered them. These aren't spur of the moment crimes of passion. These people generally can't be rehabilitated,

"Generally" can't be? Are you going to say which ones? And what about choice? I hazard to guess there isn't a single person here that, having been raised in the cultural and religious background that benLaden and others like him were, would be so open to new ideas. The problem isn't just the person, it's the society and ideas that the person is in. Killing the people outside of a battlefield is more of a reflection upon us.

barkatthemoon wrote:
Personally, I think being extra careful is part of the problem. When you're a soldier in the middle of a battlefield and worrying about walking on egg shells, you're more likely to die and the war is more likely to go on indefinitely.

yes, a battlefield situation is difficult and ridiculous rules can be detrimental to our survival. Given the fact that while figures indicate we've killed over 35,000 insurgents, well over 100,000 civilians have been killed and I don't think that can be attributed simply to sectarian strife. With that many dead, "walking on eggshells" doesn't seem to be our problem.

barkatthemoon wrote:
And how do you defeat your enemy? You use suprise attacks if at all possible and use other means to give yourself an advantage before you attack, you always have a plan for escape if necessary, and you don't attack half assed

Again equating defeat with killing. No reason given why this is a necessary connection.

And I agree with your assessment concernign the royal fuck up that is the war in Iraq. The problem with discussing morals in this war is that the whole enterprise is set up to be immoral and hence nearly impossible to analyze. Which is why good leadership is so important and why it's utter lack currently places us in these horrible situations.

Every one of your relationships to man and to nature must be a definite expression of your real, individual life corresponding to the object of your will. -Erich Fromm


reason_passion
Rational VIP!
Posts: 158
Joined: 2006-08-17
User is offlineOffline
clarity

drfear wrote:
communal living can't be done without? rethink that one.
as for reason, now we're delving into two entirely different levels of reason. here you are describing reason as it applies to living in the world, simple thought processes of survival and innovation. before you described reason as it applied to living in a society.
communal living is not necessary for human survival, and so it goes that any reason applied to said communal living is equally un-necessary.

I had thought I was clear on the fact that basic physical survival was not what I was talking about, rather I was discussing survival in the context of our particular species, which goes beyond mere food, shelter, reproduction. Communal living is not necessary for those basics, but it is necessary to continue to be capable of fully expressing the entirety of our human-ness and expand upon it. What I speak of is not base survival but, in the words of Fromm, "flourishing."

drfear wrote:
so let's assume the war is to protect the right and ability to reason. who are we fighting to protect it, and what threat do they present to it?

The threat to reason is ideological and that ideology being put into practice. I don't think I have to belabor the point that religous extremism is inimical to reason.

Who we fight against is anybody that would hinder by use of power, the ability of someone to fully instantiate their human-ness. This of course does not mean war is necessary against people like Pat Robertson (though that'd be pretty cool), but rather simply establishing the underlying notions of what we stand for.

And as to whoever pointed out to me the "cluster bomb" usage that arrows were put to in warfare, I knew that would come up and hesitated even using it as an example. As to swords, of course I wouldn't bring one to a gun fight, the example was just to show that there have been more precise things in the history of warfare than 2000 lb. bombs.

Every one of your relationships to man and to nature must be a definite expression of your real, individual life corresponding to the object of your will. -Erich Fromm


BarkAtTheMoon
Rational VIP!
BarkAtTheMoon's picture
Posts: 85
Joined: 2006-02-22
User is offlineOffline
DrFear wrote: in fact, it's

DrFear wrote:

in fact, it's as appalling as locking anybody up for any length of time.

Putting aside crimes like theft by people who are just poor, or "crimes" that really shouldn't be crimes like most drug offenders, what would you have done with someone who was a serial rapist, or serial murderer, or serial child molester? Someone who commits violent crimes and enjoys it, feels no remorse, and is beyond any psychiatric help. What should we do with people like that if not locking them away? I don't necessarily disagree with your sentiment, but I can't really see many options. I seem to remember you saying you're an anarchist on a different thread, so that kinda answers the question, but even in an ideal anarchy everyone will eventually end up dead if everyone just kills at will. While I appreciate the concepts of anarchy to a point and eliminating government as much as possible, it just doesn't seem practical other than in very small, sparse populations without any seriously devient people. Even if everyone's allowed to defend themselves, people will group together, and get more & bigger weapons, and eventually you'll be outnumbered.
DrFear wrote:
BarkAtTheMoon wrote:
No it doesn't, but in human society someone who has willingly murdered (or ordered the murder of thousands of people and has stated that he will continue to murder as many people as possible is nothing but a negative factor to society and should be eliminated. Polar bears aren't in our society. Ever pulled out a can of Raid on a bee's nest, set a mousetrap? Would you be in favor of putting down a rabid racoon? I see no real difference to eliminating a murderous, violent, dangerous person.

so you've never seen a polar bear at the zoo?
yep, i've Raid-ed bee's nests, set mousetraps. and that was my business to attend to. if there was a rabid racoon at my house, i would put it down. what i wouldn't do is call up my posse to gang up on it/them, it's my business, my problem, and i'll take care of it myself. human society is nothing but a vast network of crybabies and gimme-gimme willing victims, clamoring for a teet of help and security. i've said it before, if you can not or will not defend yourself, and are shocked when you become a victim (or a corpse)....well, that just never stops being funny.


I agree, but unfortunately in the society we have, defending yourself can make you the criminal. According to the laws in my state, basically, you basically have to feel in mortal danger and have no option of running away or letting yourself be robbed before you're allowed to physically defend yourself unless you're on your own property. Not that any of that means shit for someone who gets attacked.

What about people who legitimately can't defend themselves, like say, some 12 year old getting kidnapped and murdered by a grown man with a gun? Would you just consider them shit out of luck, and the kidnapper wins? I'm guessing you feel everyone should carry weapons then, right?

So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth;
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere out in space,
'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth!
- Eric Idle, from The Galaxy Song


Yellow_Number_Five
atheistRRS Core MemberScientist
Yellow_Number_Five's picture
Posts: 1390
Joined: 2006-02-12
User is offlineOffline
reason_passion wrote:First,

reason_passion wrote:
First, let me say that Yellow_Number_Five's recent post here is accurate in pointing out that juridical problems and executions per se are not arguments against capital punishment.

Glad you get that, few do.

In any such debate it boils down to whether or not we are ever justified in executing a prisoner we are SURE is guilty. This is the dillemma.

DrFear wrote:
i am unaware of any needs we have beyond any other animal (aside from small physiological aspects, such as the need for external sources of 'vitamin C' and such). desires...well, our little 'society' comes up with a new desire for us to have ever 10 friggin' seconds, doesn't it?

Quote:
In other words, it is the (to coin Erich Fromm's term) existential needs of man that must be looked at in terms of figuring out what particular needs are required for survival and "flourishing," i.e. the full instantiation of homo sapiens particular abilities. Granted, this assumes the moral point that furthering the abilities of homo sapiens is a positive, but it does not say that everything we are capable of doing is necessarily good, only that our survival as a species is predicated upon the full and proper (naturally harmonious) usage of those things which make us human.

I do not necessarily disagree. I also don't necessarily see how this should be contrued as a argument against execution.

You then go on to discuss things not germane to the guts of the ethical issue.

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.


Yellow_Number_Five
atheistRRS Core MemberScientist
Yellow_Number_Five's picture
Posts: 1390
Joined: 2006-02-12
User is offlineOffline
reason_passion wrote:DrFear

reason_passion wrote:
DrFear wrote:
YN5-
vengeance applied in the absolute by those who have not been wronged is not vengeance.

Not sure how this is a step in the discussion, but I have an idea. The only problem is that whoever wrote this definition seems to have a rather simplistic understanding of "wronged." Am I to take it to mean that the acts which have been under discussion here, including the war and so on, should not be viewed as vengeance simply because the particular people involved, i.e. Bush et al, were not personally attacked? I wonder if the writer of this particular ditty has no understanding of empathy.

Er, no. I'm not talking about war here. I'm talking in pure ethical terms. It is either ethical to execute a prisoner we KNOW to be guilty of heinous crimes (no question of executing the innocent) or it is not. The circumstances are window dressing.

Quote:
One of the most problematic and yet incredible abilities of human beings is to sublimate the effects done upon another and thus "feel" what the other might be going through, at least approximately.

That's called empathy. It is what drives our bloodlust as well as what drives our compassion. It isn't wrong or right, it simply is.

Quote:
Some would call it the conscious, others might call it empathy and both would be right, but it is also an evolutionary device to encourage comaraderie and thus survival.

Exactly.

Quote:
The problem is that feelings (and I'll refrain from going into a neurological description as that is completely outside of the discusson, and simply stick with the folk understanding) often can overshadow a person's ability to think clearly.

Again true.

Quote:
Vengeance is simply a descriptive for an action, designating one's response to something done to them, often in the form of an "eye for an eye" (whatever that means, for it is quite difficult to ascertain just what type of torture is equivalent of dying in a falling building). Such thinking is exactly what I'm talking against.

Yes, but such things are also what enables us to forgive in the face of wrongs. Humans are at once the most bloodthirsty and compassionate organisms on the planet. That our emotions do impact our sense of justice shouldn't simply be dismissed out of hand, simply because they are emotionally based.

Furthur, we need good, rational arguments against the execution of heinous wrong doers. I personally do not believe in ordained rights - who or what ordains these things, exactly? Freedom and life are rights we grant one another, and I don't see why certain action shouldn't result in their forfeit.

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.


Puskara
Posts: 8
Joined: 2006-08-30
User is offlineOffline
My take...

I am against the death penalty for the following reasons and these resons are in no particular order:

1. Imperfactions in the judicial system and the limitations of criminal and forensic investigation mean that some people who are convicted are innocent and in is concievably possible and that circumstances of the crime could prevent the discovery of evidence that would exonerate the accused.

Death is the ultimate punishment and though evidence can be reavaluated and new evidence can be gathered no person who is dead can (within reason) be restored to life.

The idea that improved jurisprudence can eliminate this flaw assumes that improved jurisprudence will eliminate all errors, and will always allow for the collection and meaningfull analysis of evidence. I can see no reason to believe this will ever be the case and thus a reasonable chance will always exist that innocent people will be convicted.

2. Killing people who commit crimes does not provide justice to the victims of the crimes, nor to society.

Killing criminals does provide a viceral response which fulfills our revenge fantasies but it does not heal the emotional, physical, or material damage caused by the crime.

Say someone is murdered. Justice would be for the murdered person to recieve their life back, for the criminal to experiance a change in mindset so that they understand the negitive impact their actions cause and feel the appropriate remorse, for the criminal to develop habits to mitigate the behaviors that lead to the crime, and for society to do anything poossible to remove any social injustices which may have contributed to the causes of the crime.

Essentially justice is returning to the victims what they have lost and doing all that can reasonably be done to eliminate such crimes in the future. Unfortunatly murder victims can never be given justice unless in some technologically advanced society such as the fictional "Ghost in the Shell" society.

3. My understanding of the traditional foundations of capital punishment in the west is that it followed directly from Mosaic law and the divine right of monarchs and was eventually transferred to the divine right of the government, etc...

Thus I cannot support capital punishment including the death penalty on this basis as I find the arguments for god and thus mosaic law and divine rule lacking.

Unless another viable justification for capital punishment can be supplied that shows that it is likely to be beneficial to society I see no reason to consider capital punishment a usefull or good thing.

4. While I am not trained in the mental health field it seems to me that in order to rape, murder, etc one must be in a mindset that objectifies your victim.

In my experiances with this mindset I find that it is extremely resistant to reason and that the idea of future punishment is not valued in the same way as when one is in a rational mindset.

Thus I do not think the deterrent of punishment is significant to those who commit grevious crimes that are normally punished capitally.

Puskara


Yellow_Number_Five
atheistRRS Core MemberScientist
Yellow_Number_Five's picture
Posts: 1390
Joined: 2006-02-12
User is offlineOffline
reason_passion wrote:i swear

reason_passion wrote:
i swear fear, the more I read what you write, the more fun I have. Truly.

So what is it that we are fighting against? Good question. Not sure if I can answer that one definitively. But here's a shot...

Can't help but agree that nobody has a "right" to live, the whole notion of inherent rights being only coherent when justified in the name of deity, but of course, since they'd be given, they aren't inherent anyway, so the whole thign falls apart. Anyway, life simply exists and we are a part of it. What we do with that life, how we "choose" to understand and dwell with all other aspects of life, both animate and inaminate, is up to us. As homo sapiens, we have specific needs and desires just like any other animal has, in addition to specific ways of dealing with those needs and desires that other animals don't have. The ability to reason and engage in communal discussion is one such ability that not only has been cultivated but seems, in studying anthropology, to be existentially a part of what we are.

We are pretty unique and special, I agree. Yeah Us!

Quote:
Hence, here is what we fight against, anything that denies people the ability to use reason in the full understanding of existence of which we are a part. BinLaden and those like him, both by their ideology and their actions, would have a world where reason is devalued and hence our ability to truly understand existence would be curtailed, if not outright destroyed eventually.

Eh, no. This is a non-sequitor. Bin-Laden relies upon the rationality and irrationallity of people just as much as any other politico. He's nothing special. He's not unique. As far as the "value" of human life goes, it's interesting that you're finally referring to it as something that has tangible value, and can thus be devalued or at times liquidated.

Quote:
This is evolution and survival, outside of the petty and simplistic dog-eat-dog mentality that so many creationists think it is. We cannot run away from this world and we have no dominating natural predator, hence survival means understanding just how it is nature works, else we take and take and end up with nothing.

No need to go outside of the dog-eat-dog, really. Honestly, when it comes to the issue we're actually discussing, we haven't made a hell of a lot of progress in the last 100,000 years or more.

Quote:
What we fight against is irrationalism or, better yet, a-rationalism, i.e. the denial of reality itself. If my brother is hungry, I feed him, I do not ask him to eat ether. If I am sick, I go to the doctor, I do not pray to the spirits of the air to heal me. One is rational, the other has nothing to do with it.

I agree. And when one kills in premeditated vicious fashion, we kill him. Seems perfectly rational to me. Doesn't it?

Quote:
What we fight for is our thought, our ability to dialogue without threat of persecution, our existence as another facet of all of reality and our particular way of living is tied up with the particular way we have evolved, to understand our position and not simply take it.

Yeah, and we can do all of that and still execute murderers. Yeah, Us! Puzzled Right?

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.


Yellow_Number_Five
atheistRRS Core MemberScientist
Yellow_Number_Five's picture
Posts: 1390
Joined: 2006-02-12
User is offlineOffline
Puskara wrote:I am against

Puskara wrote:
I am against the death penalty for the following reasons and these resons are in no particular order:

1. Imperfactions in the judicial system and the limitations of criminal and forensic investigation mean that some people who are convicted are innocent and in is concievably possible and that circumstances of the crime could prevent the discovery of evidence that would exonerate the accused.

Not an argument against execution. This is an argument for better jurisprudence.

Quote:
2. Killing people who commit crimes does not provide justice to the victims of the crimes, nor to society.

It doesn't provide them with injustice either. Who are you to say what you'd want done to the man who raped and beat your 12 year old daughter to death until it actually happens?

If considered that the person being executed is without guestion guilty, then what positive reason can you provide for keeping them alive?

You have Hitler or Goebbles in the cell for example. You know they are responsible for ghastly things. Why keep them alive? Give me a POSITIVE reason - don't tell me that it isn't utilitarian, or that it serves no concievable purpose in your mind. Give me a POSITIVE reason they should be allowed to live.

We do lots of things that don't have utilitarian ends in mind. So what? This again, is not an argument against execution.

Quote:
3. My understanding of the traditional foundations of capital punishment in the west is that it followed directly from Mosaic law and the divine right of monarchs and was eventually transferred to the divine right of the government, etc...

Thus I cannot support capital punishment including the death penalty on this basis as I find the arguments for god and thus mosaic law and divine rule lacking.

Yeah, now you're really reaching. The desire for revenge existed before we invented God. God has nothing to do with this. The state has nothing to do with this.

We are faced with a very simple question: Is it wrong to execute somebody we know to be guilty of murder or similar heinous crimes? Nothing more.

Quote:
Unless another viable justification for capital punishment can be supplied that shows that it is likely to be beneficial to society I see no reason to consider capital punishment a usefull or good thing.

Again, you're aguing on a utilitarian basis. We shouldn't execute because "it isn't necessary"? That's really all you've got?

Quote:
4. While I am not trained in the mental health field it seems to me that in order to rape, murder, etc one must be in a mindset that objectifies your victim.

So? Do we keep rabid dogs alive? Who cares if the asshole objectified the person they violated or not?

Quote:
In my experiances with this mindset I find that it is extremely resistant to reason and that the idea of future punishment is not valued in the same way as when one is in a rational mindset.

Right, so life in prison would accomplish what? Other than giving such unreasonable people the opportunity to harm others in prison that is?

Quote:
Thus I do not think the deterrent of punishment is significant to those who commit grevious crimes that are normally punished capitally.

Puskara

Yeah, I don't think anybody here claimed it was a deterant. In fact I know it isn't a detterant. So what?

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.


darth_josh
High Level DonorHigh Level ModeratorGold Member
darth_josh's picture
Posts: 2650
Joined: 2006-02-27
User is offlineOffline
Yellow#5 wrote:It doesn't

Yellow#5 wrote:
It doesn't provide them with injustice either. Who are you to say what you'd want done to the man who raped and beat your 12 year old daughter to death until it actually happens?

If considered that the person being executed is without guestion guilty, then what positive reason can you provide for keeping them alive?

Who are we all? Humans, whether evil or not. If we are to appeal to emotions then consider the family of the accused as well. There are two sides to every crime and two families involved. Vengeance holds little comfort from the sidelines if the problem persists.
Wait a minute. Pussycat dolls are on.
Sorry. Had to catch that moment of life.
If killing someone for vengeance is your only 'positive' reason for it then understand that paints a dim picture of depraved bloodlust on the part of the unaffected. I envision a crowd of stupid people waiting for the blade to fall.
I think it would behoove us to leave the emotional arguments by the wayside.

Yellow#5 wrote:
We are faced with a very simple question: Is it wrong to execute somebody we know to be guilty of murder or similar heinous crimes? Nothing more.

I'm not trying to be confrontational. However, the question is: "Should we execute?" not: "Is it wrong?" The part that is divisive is the 'fishing' for a moral reason to kill rather than a logical reason to kill.

Yellow#5 wrote:
Right, so life in prison would accomplish what? Other than giving such unreasonable people the opportunity to harm others in prison that is?

A much better example to act as a deterrent for one. The people harmed in prison get to tell people how bad it is. We need to make it a bad experience so they tell all of their criminal friends.

I'm an advocate for torture for the guilty. However, our constitution prevents this. At the same time, if we allow the 8th to mean NO punishment then we do not fix the problem.

Maybe I was trying to be confrontational. Too late. *click*

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server, which houses Celebrity Atheists.


reason_passion
Rational VIP!
Posts: 158
Joined: 2006-08-17
User is offlineOffline
getting back to basics

yellow_number_five wrote:
It is either ethical to execute a prisoner we KNOW to be guilty of heinous crimes (no question of executing the innocent) or it is not.

Precisely.

And in my discussion of certain aspects of Fromm's thinking, I was responding to other points that were being brought up. While his thought doesn't get to the heart of whether the death penalty is correct, it does help us understand ourselves as a species better and so make better rational judgments.

yellow_number_five wrote:
Yes, but such things are also what enables us to forgive in the face of wrongs. Humans are at once the most bloodthirsty and compassionate organisms on the planet. That our emotions do impact our sense of justice shouldn't simply be dismissed out of hand, simply because they are emotionally based.

I'd be the last person to dismiss emotions, especially as I see them as another form of cognition. Forgiveness is exactly what is missing in all this discussion.

Every one of your relationships to man and to nature must be a definite expression of your real, individual life corresponding to the object of your will. -Erich Fromm


reason_passion
Rational VIP!
Posts: 158
Joined: 2006-08-17
User is offlineOffline
value

yellow_number_five wrote:
As far as the "value" of human life goes, it's interesting that you're finally referring to it as something that has tangible value, and can thus be devalued or at times liquidated.

i was actually referring to the value of reason, but this brings up a good point. I don't think anybody here, with the exception of those believers who pop in, is going to posit the inherent value of human life as if by the simple fact of being a particular specie, value is therefore given. The only way this can be established is by positing some deity who claims this is true and that, as we all know, is simply bumpkiss.

But of course, this does not mean that the term value is without meaning. Rather, it simply needs to be established by other means and in this, I think Richard Searle's thoughts on intentionality are quite appropriate.

The question that is truly at issue is precisely what yellow_number_five has pointed out, that being "is it right to execute someone we know to be guilty?" I believe that this has the context of juridical practice, once someone has been caught and tried. War is a different practice and while it doesn't justify the wholesale slaughter of people, there is the qualifier of self-defense to be considered that simply doesn't exist after a person has been caught.

So then, is it possible for a human being to have value? is there a reason outside of preference for saying so? For one, I don't think there is a middle ground here, either all human beings are value intended, or none are. Saying some are and some aren't gets into matters of preference which only devolves into arguments of force, which isn't going to get us anywhere. So either humans have value or they don't. In other words, should man be viewed as an "end in himself?"

Every one of your relationships to man and to nature must be a definite expression of your real, individual life corresponding to the object of your will. -Erich Fromm


BarkAtTheMoon
Rational VIP!
BarkAtTheMoon's picture
Posts: 85
Joined: 2006-02-22
User is offlineOffline
reason_passion wrote:So

reason_passion wrote:

So then, is it possible for a human being to have value? is there a reason outside of preference for saying so? For one, I don't think there is a middle ground here, either all human beings are value intended, or none are. Saying some are and some aren't gets into matters of preference which only devolves into arguments of force, which isn't going to get us anywhere. So either humans have value or they don't. In other words, should man be viewed as an "end in himself?"

Even if we assume all humans have some intrinsic value, doesn't it then follow that a person's value can be tainted, or destroyed through actions or being "broken" so to speak like being a murderous psycopath? And that value would always be different depending on who is assigning the value. To say that every human being really has perfectly equal value seems a bit too idealistic. All men may be created equal, but they rarely stay equal much longer than five minutes after birth. You would give your own family a much higher value than some stranger. Someone such as an unemployed bum with no education or Ann Coulter could potentially be considered of lower value than, say, an ER doctor, a teacher, or a humanitarian. Just like we here in the States are afforded equal rights, it doesn't mean we can't lose them.

And does is it really have to be a dichotomy? Must all humans have value or none of them? Can't someone be so utterly useless and/or destructive that they effectively negate any value their life might hold?

My personal opinion is that humans don't have any real intrinsic value outside of your actions and what you mean to people around you. I'll give anyone an opportunity to not annoy me or piss me off and give me a reason why I should care about them, otherwise they can fuck off. Like respect, value is earned not given.

So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth;
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere out in space,
'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth!
- Eric Idle, from The Galaxy Song


reason_passion
Rational VIP!
Posts: 158
Joined: 2006-08-17
User is offlineOffline
value

barkatthemoon wrote:
Even if we assume all humans have some intrinsic value, doesn't it then follow that a person's value can be tainted, or destroyed through actions or being "broken" so to speak like being a murderous psycopath?

barkatthemoon wrote:
Can't someone be so utterly useless and/or destructive that they effectively negate any value their life might hold?

Here I think it best to differentiate between the value ascribed to human beings in general and how that idea of value is acted upon by the individual or society.

While it is true that I value my family and close friends more than a stranger, this goes to my proclivities and actions, not to whether or not any single person is objectively more valuable than another.

I think value here is to be defined in basic or essential actions that individuals or society make towards others. Hence, a person has value as an "end in themselves" and therefore is entitled to being treated in line with teh so-called golden rule. If a person decides to act in such a way that shows their contempt for the value of another human being, i.e. the murderer, that person forfeits not their value but certain of their freedoms and deserves to be put in prison for the purpose of rehabilitation.

This leads to the prison system being not about punitive judgment, but about changing the person. A person doesn't just wake up one morning and decide to start killing people or raping. There is a history involved, including social context and perhaps even brain chemistry. All of these considerations go to a full understanding of a person.

To have value equated with social productivity is problematic as it fails, at face value, to take into consideration the social determinations of a persons status and second, devolves man to the level of a tool, as if what he does is the sole determinant of his worth.

Every one of your relationships to man and to nature must be a definite expression of your real, individual life corresponding to the object of your will. -Erich Fromm


DrFear
Posts: 248
Joined: 2006-07-09
User is offlineOffline
Yellow_Number_Five wrote: I

Yellow_Number_Five wrote:

I agree. And when one kills in premeditated vicious fashion, we kill him. Seems perfectly rational to me. Doesn't it?

not particularly. who is we? unless he killed you, it's none of your business. and even then, it wouldn't be any of your business, because you'd be dead. the only time it was any of your business was when you had the chance to stop him from killing you.
name someone on death row that posed any threat to you. sure, some time in the distant future, he may have come across an opportunity to do you direct harm.
so your support for the extermination of a murderer is a pre-emptive strike, eliminate the aggressors before they get around to you.
this is nothing more than genocide. majority rule. the murderers, a minority, is being systematically rounded up and exterminated by the opposition majority! well, that just takes the cake, you little hitlers.

reason_passion:
this seems kind of well past the point by now, but, your assessment of why we ought to be fighting the irrational people-oppressors, played right into my point: that is the propaganda, everybody has used that as an excuse. the taliban, saddam hussein, osama, the point has been made about every one that they are freedom-hating tyrants and oppressors of women, and it has been made as justification. when it was discovered that there were no WMD's in iraq, bush came on the tv and said "oh well, he was a bad guy, so it was worth it anyway."
a. no it wasn't
b. neither WMD's or the fact that saddam was 'bad' are why we went there. same with the taliban. you think the state department gives a shit about the poor opressed people? they give a shit about regional stability.

Fear is the mindkiller.


Christen
Christen's picture
Posts: 75
Joined: 2006-02-15
User is offlineOffline
Sorry for the late

Sorry for the late responses. I guess I have my email notifications off or something.

DrFear wrote:
no one has the right to live. moreover, innocent of what? no one is innocent of everything.

Since you’re having trouble with the whole innocent concept, let me break it down for you. I don’t hurt other people, I don’t want to hurt other people and try my best to make everyone around me feel loved. I should be able to live my life without someone else trying to take that from me and everyone around me. I should be able to go home after work without worrying whether or not some twisted fuck is waiting for me. Parents should be able to let their children play outside without worrying if the neighbor is going to rape them in a basement. I don't have the problem and I consider myself undeserving of being murdered or innocent. Clear it up any?

Quote:
hmm. that's a good idea, and gets to the basis of the death penalty, which is the old "eye for an eye" rule. if some 'bad' man kills your mom, why not just go take care of justice yourself? why do you need a paid army of police, court, and government lawyers (spending a few million dollars) to do your dirty work for you?

I think you’re confused again. Murdering an innocent person is ‘dirty work’, not the other way around. If someone killed my mother, I’d be tempted to exact some sort of revenge…doubt I would though. It wouldn’t be worth spending the rest of my life in prison or getting the death penalty over someone so pathetic. Secondly, there are several reasons why we have a justice system. Please don’t tell me I’m going to have to break that one down for you as well?

Zero wrote:
Do we punish them and make their lives more miserable and desperate, or do we really try to help them?

I think that depends on the situation, but our system should try to do both. If a person isn’t a danger to society, then I’m all for putting them through some sort of rehabilitation and then probation. If they’ve established that they aren’t going to stop raping and murdering little 6 year olds…the gig is up.

Puskara wrote:
1. Imperfactions in the judicial system and the limitations of criminal and forensic investigation mean that some people who are convicted are innocent and in is concievably possible and that circumstances of the crime could prevent the discovery of evidence that would exonerate the accused.

The idea that improved jurisprudence can eliminate this flaw assumes that improved jurisprudence will eliminate all errors, and will always allow for the collection and meaningfull analysis of evidence. I can see no reason to believe this will ever be the case and thus a reasonable chance will always exist that innocent people will be convicted.

Exactly how is this a case for nixing all executions? Beyond a shadow of a doubt...jurors need to take this phrase more seriously and investigations need to be more thorough. It's ridiculous how many cases here in Texas "qualify" for the death penalty.

Quote:
2. Killing people who commit crimes does not provide justice to the victims of the crimes, nor to society.

Killing criminals does provide a viceral response which fulfills our revenge fantasies but it does not heal the emotional, physical, or material damage caused by the crime.

So, you’re saying we should stop all executions because it doesn't emotionally, physically or materially alleviate the sitiuation for the victim's family? I see. Then why is it that a lot of families choose to sit in on executions? It must give them some sort of closure.

What's wrong with fulfilling revengeful fantasies?

Quote:
3. My understanding of the traditional foundations of capital punishment in the west is that it followed directly from Mosaic law and the divine right of monarchs and was eventually transferred to the divine right of the government, etc...

Thus I cannot support capital punishment including the death penalty on this basis as I find the arguments for god and thus mosaic law and divine rule lacking.

Unless another viable justification for capital punishment can be supplied that shows that it is likely to be beneficial to society I see no reason to consider capital punishment a usefull or good thing.

Revenge is a natural impulse that can be witnessed throughout the animal kingdom. You touch a dog’s food, you’re going to get bit. You mess with a grizzly bear’s cub, she will probably kill you. You hit me, I'm going to hit you back. In doing that, I've shown you that it's unacceptable to hit me. That has nothing to do with Mosaic law or divine right.

BarkAtTheMoon wrote:
Christen wrote:
True justice would be letting the families of all the people that's he murdered have a go at his sorry ass or setting him on fire and forcing him out of an 80 story building. Fuck being politcally correct...he deserves death.

I think it's stuff like this that's why I've always gotten along with you since you started posting on IG.

"Fuck being politically correct." Exactly.

Smiling


MarthaSplatterhead (not verified)
Posts: 4294964979
Joined: 1969-12-31
User is offlineOffline
I am aware that people want

I am aware that people want to get these "twisted fucks" off the street and in an electric chair. I think this is in reference to serial killers such as Dahmer, Gacy, Bundy, Berkowitz, Wuornos, and many more. Everyone of these people mentioned had some kind of mental imbalance. Dahmer converted to xtianity shortly before he was murdered in prison. He was trying to change. I have read about him and what I have gathered is that he really was sorry for what he did. He couldn't help it, though. I think if they had not put him in prison where they knew he'd be in danger and instead had studied the way his brain worked in some lab, maybe they could have learned something about the serial killer mentality.

But on the other hand if these people had anything to do with the murder of someone I loved, of course I wouldn't be rational about it. I would totally want them dead. That's why we have laws about murder, though, because murder is wrong no matter who is commiting it. We can hate what they did but it won't bring back the victims if they're executed. It would be more beneficial to society if these people were studied and find clues to this mentality. This could be something that could be cured as some chemical imbalance early in life.

This is something strange to me:

Here are examples of executions that go wrong:
http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/article.php?scid=8&did=478