The Raving Theist

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Killing Fairly

August 11, 2006 | 42 Comments

The death penalty, I have noted, isn’t frequently the subject of church/state separation debate. Although atheists tend to be liberal and are thus less enthusiastic about the practice than the general population, they don’t consider it “religious” matter. American Atheists takes no official position on the issue, although its President, Ellen Johnson, published an essay expressing her personal opposition (“atheism is a life affirming principle,” she said).

The one time American Atheists did issue an official statement on the death penalty was in 1998, when it attacked Pat Robertson and other evangelicals for seeking clemency for Karla Faye Tucker. In particular, the group criticized Pat Robertson and other evangelicals for trying to establish a “religious exemption” for born-again Christians such as Tucker. The main charge was hypocrisy, given Robertson’s past enthusiastic support for executions. “Robertson’s a hardshell, mean-spirited political power broker who has a poor and shoddy record in showing ‘mercy’ to other groups who don’t pass his religious litmus test,” said Johnson, further suggesting that he wouldn’t have supported clemency if Tucker were a Jew, atheist, or Muslim. AA National Spokesperson Ron Barrier added:

If capital punishment is wrong, though, it’s wrong for everybody. Pat Robertson and the religious right shouldn’t be able to ‘pick
and choose’ who lives and who the state executes. If they believe in ‘mercy’ and forgiveness, it’s time that Robertson and company extended this to everyone, unconditionally.

Note that while AA carefully avoided taking a position on the central issue of capital punishment, its statements were not completely neutral. When a charge of hypocrisy is leveled, the accuser has two choices: insist that the hypocrite adhere to the original position, or insist that it be abandoned in favor of the new position. Here, AA implied that the desirable course would have been for Robertson to embrace a new philosophy of forgiveness and mercy for all. AA could have instead suggested that Robertson be consistent and insist on vengeance and death in all cases, perhaps adding a line about how “if capital punishment’s right, it’s right for everyone.”

The choice to single out Robertson and the religious right wasn’t neutral, either. AA might have gone after any of dozens of liberal churches (or the Catholic Church) which were supporting clemency, and attacked whatever theological/scriptural arguments were made for sparing Tucker. The fact that AA refrained from doing so further confirms that it’s not really neutral on the issue.

I understand why AA couldn’t come right out and condemn the death penalty. Technically, it’s not an atheist issue. But technically, almost nothing is. The position that AA ultimately took — that the death penalty should not be applied discriminatorily — isn’t necessarily atheistic. An atheist might well desire, from a purely utilitarian perspective or as a matter of taste, that only Lutherans, Muslims and Branch Davidians (or even other atheists) be executed. That might not seem “fair,” but “fairness” is simply another moral principle, just like “not killing” is a moral principle. Why prefer one over the other?

Comments

42 Responses to “Killing Fairly”

  1. Thorngod
    August 11th, 2006 @ 4:35 pm

    Because moral stances determine physical consequences.

  2. Thorngod
    August 11th, 2006 @ 4:51 pm

    I experienced a sense of simplisticality in typing that answer. What, exactly, was the question?

  3. ocmpoma
    August 11th, 2006 @ 7:17 pm

    I really hope you’re not attacking atheism because it doesn’t have a moral code. I mean, do you even read anything but your own posts on this site?

  4. Shira
    August 11th, 2006 @ 11:16 pm

    “The choice to single out Robertson and the religious right wasn’t neutral, either. AA might have gone after any of dozens of liberal churches (or the Catholic Church) which were supporting clemency, and attacked whatever theological/scriptural arguments were made for sparing Tucker.”

    Well, not really, because supporting clemency for this one person is not necessarily hypocritical. It’s not hypocrisy unless you are also of the opinion that the death penalty is just fine in other cases. The Catholic Church and “liberal churches” that support clemency out of ideological opposition to the death penalty aren’t hypocrites. She thinks that Pat Robertson should adopt the second view to avoid hypocrisy; the Catholic Church and liberal churches already hold this view.

  5. Whymrhymer
    August 12th, 2006 @ 2:26 am

    I certainly wouldn’t argue with the principle behind the verbal attack on Robertson vis-a-vis his excess of mercy for Karla Faye Tucker nor would I argue with Ron Barrier’s proposition that “if capital punishment is wrong, though, it’s wrong for everybody.”

    I question, however, why it might be considered wrong in all cases. It seems to me a simple and fair proposition that the punishment should fit the crime; ergo, a person who willfully commits a vicious murder should be murdered viciously (forget the cruel and unusual limitations).

    I’m not an athiest (I’m closer to a Deist but I’m not a “member” of anything) but if I were I certainly wouldn’t defer to an organization’s view (AA) of right and wrong or “morally” correct or incorrect. That’s like having your daily agenda and wardrobe set by a committee.

    Life is the greatest teacher (and you can’t skip it’s class).

  6. bernarda
    August 12th, 2006 @ 3:09 am

    From the title of RA’s previous soporific theme:

    ZZZZZZZZZZZ-yawn-ZZZZZZZZZZZ

  7. Drusilla
    August 12th, 2006 @ 9:15 am

    I certainly wouldn’t argue with the principle behind the verbal attack on Robertson vis-a-vis his excess of mercy for Karla Faye Tucker…

    Can there be an excess of mercy? Is mercy meted out using guidleines similar to those which courts use in sentencing that essentially create a formula to determine what is fair and reasonable punishment? Can there be fair and reasonable mercy?

  8. Crosius
    August 12th, 2006 @ 11:03 am

    Shira hit the mark. All the other groups RA mentioned are simply opposed to the Death Penalty. They seek clemency for everyone.

    Pat only seeks it for his flock. Since every member of Pat’s flock represents a revenue stream for Pat, this is purely a mercenary position – dead people don’t tithe.

    But is that hypocritical? I don’t know that anyone not of Pat’s flock thinks of him as anything but mercenary. Does acting in line with one’s pre-existing proclivities make one a hypocrite, or just consistent?

    If we assume that Pat’s guiding moral principle is, “Do that which profits Pat,” then there is no hypocrisy.

  9. Gathercole
    August 12th, 2006 @ 11:46 am

    “The position that AA ultimately took — that the death penalty should not be applied discriminatorily — isn’t necessarily atheistic.”

    AA opposes discrimination based on religion, which is what was happening in this case. That is an atheistic issue.

  10. Choobus
    August 12th, 2006 @ 11:46 am

    all discussions regarding capital punishment are moot. The system is demonstrably unfair and therefore should not exist. In any other matter the error rate might be a debatable point, but death is final. It is impossible for the justice system as it stands to eliminate all possible errors and hence the concept of capital punishment is flawed. This is why only a few ass backwards countries still execute people. It would seem that the capital punishment only exists in countries that are either run by murdering cunts or are populated by overly religious retards. In the case of america it’s 2 out of 2.

  11. bernarda
    August 12th, 2006 @ 2:46 pm

    About the only thing worth retaining from the new testament is the words to the effect “forgive them for they know not what they do.” That is the only insight that one might find in the bible.

    Why is it that jesus freaks like RA never remember that but always refer back to the old testament?

  12. Mister Swill
    August 12th, 2006 @ 4:37 pm

    “When a charge of hypocrisy is leveled, the accuser has two choices: insist that the hypocrite adhere to the original position, or insist that it be abandoned in favor of the new position.”

    Huh?

    A charge of hypocrisy is a charge that one’s positions are contradictory. Which position the accuser agrees with (if any) is irrelevant. If anything, it is the responsibility of the accused to renounce the original position, retract the current position, or demonstrate how the positions are not, in fact, contradictory.

    For instance, let’s imagine that I were to accuse you of hypocrisy, suggesting that this post — which criticizes American Atheists for calling Robertson’s clemency pleas hypocritical — is inconsistent with your numerous past posts blasting those who award special policy exemptions to religious people. How on Earth would my views on religion-based policy exemptions affect the consistency or inconsistency of your opinions?

  13. June
    August 12th, 2006 @ 7:16 pm

    I have to veto the society you paint for us, Choobus, because in it the worst garbage of humanity terrorizes us, and we can do nothing about it.

    Your approach to CP ends up with our prisons jammed with brutal criminals who are in for life, have nothing to lose, and are free to injure and murder fellow prisoners, guards, workers, and visitors. They do so on a daily basis. Once in a while, they escape and enjoy a special raping and killing spree.

    First, you need to read up on what is going on in our prisons, talk to some deathrow guards, study the enormous expense involved. Then come up with something workable. How about we execute anyone on deathrow who batters or murders in prison, say within a month? Or we simply release child rapists and allow parents of murdered children to welcome them with baseball bats. That sounds fairer than our current system.

  14. Choobus
    August 13th, 2006 @ 12:00 am

    I did not say I was against CP, I said if you can’t apply it fairly it should be eliminated.

    You must be right though because the rest of the world, where they have abolished CP is full of overcrowded prisons with child-rapists roaming the countryside.

  15. bernarda
    August 13th, 2006 @ 2:24 am

    Our prisons are jammed with people more or less involved in the drugs trade, mostly low-level involvement. Stopping the war on drugs and legalizing drugs, both soft and hard, would probably reduce the prison population by half or more.

    Even many of the violent criminals are there because of gang wars surrounding control of the illegal drugs trade.

    As to CP, the European Union abolished it long ago and they don’t have any more violent crime, especially murder, than the U.S. There is no evidence that CP helps in crime prevention.

    The EU has many times fewer people in prison than the U.S., yet those countries are not falling apart under any sort of crime wave. American policy just seems to be based on revenge. There are over 2 million people in American jails and prisons for a population of 300 million.

    The UK has about 70,000 and France has about 60000 people in jails and prisons for a population of 60 million. So, what is wrong with the U.S.?

    In addition, there are 5 to 6 million Americans who are under some sort of judicial control, such as parole. Why is America so good at fabricating lawbreakers?

  16. Andrea
    August 13th, 2006 @ 4:57 am

    No one expects AA to be neutral. As Gathercole said in comment 8, AA exposes religious discrimination – that’s an agenda right there. Naming one, five, or twenty groups wouldn’t affect the merits of AA’s argument. Plus, it’s safer for AA to criticize a religion-obsesssed nutjob like Robertson than to attack those “liberal churches” that normally keep to themselves.

    Bias doesn’t exist just because you thought of another way to do something. There’s nothing sneaky going on here so all this nitpicking is kind of a waste of time. So the statement not perfectly written or accurately issue-driven… it happens. This is real life, stop being such a lawyer!

  17. June
    August 13th, 2006 @ 6:57 am

    Choobus says unfair CP should be eliminated. I agree, but caution that abolishing CP has undesirable longterm effects. I prefer fairly convicting and executing human garbage, but a little faster than after 20 years.

    As to other countries, sex slavery and forced child prostitution are rampant in Europe, openly advertised in Germany during the recent football games.

  18. RHF
    August 13th, 2006 @ 5:02 pm

    I agree! mercy and forgiveness must be extended to everyone.
    Pat Robertson is a phony christian. He seriously needs to read the gospels again.
    As much I hate to say it, unless we are going to lock people up forever, we must attempt to rehabilitate them for their eventual release into
    society.
    Some criminals must be locked up for life. Perhaps the billions of dollars spent on creating more bombs, could be better put to use in funding human needs.

  19. bernarda
    August 14th, 2006 @ 5:21 am

    Though John Donne’s XVII meditation is couched in religious metaphores, one part has stood out for its universiality.

    “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were. Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

    Labeling someone “human garbage” ignores the fact that the person became what it is through the influence of the society in which it lived. Some people do things that society reproves, but those people weren’t born that way–with maybe a few exceptions.

    So the failure of a person to adapt to societal standards is also the failure of the society it developed in. CP is one of society’s ways of hiding its responsibility by placing the entire responsibility on the disfunctional person. Society doesn’t like to look at the question of how that person became who it is. It is just simpler to execute and forget about it.

    Putting the responsibility entirely on the criminal is implicitly accepting the theological idea(false) of “free will”. Executing is just a form of revenge based on fear because we don’t have a complete answer as to why some people develop one way and others in another. Executing is going back to the religious practice of human sacrifice, this time not to appease the gods, but to sooth our fears.

    Much progress has been made in understanding human behavior since BF Skinner did his seminal work, but his books are still a good place to start in trying to understand it. I suggest you look up “Beyond Freedom and Dignity” and “About Behaviorism”.

    PS. Apparently for June there is no sex trade, or sex slavery, or child sex abuse in the U.S. For one counter example, look up the censored Discovery Channel video “Conspriacy of Silence” about the Franklin Sex Scandel. Here is just one link:

    http://www.thelawparty.org/FranklinCoverup/franklin.htm

  20. June
    August 14th, 2006 @ 8:25 am

    You know, of course, that Donne cuts both ways: The bell also tolls for those who ignore mankind’s basic rules. As I summarized what I meant to say, it somehow arranged itself into a little ditty:

    I don’t care what religion you’re preaching
    and that you found God in the sky.
    While you’re living in my community
    if you rape a child, you will die.

    So who cares that your marriage is rotten?
    Who cares that some drug made you high?
    While you’re living in human society,
    Don’t rape a child, or you’ll die.

    I don’t care that you’re really not garbage,
    that deep down you’re a really nice guy.
    Don’t ask me for whom the bell tolls
    You raped a child, and you die.

    And when you are strapped to that table
    And your head turns to meet my eye
    Watch my hand as I pull down the lever
    You raped a child, and you die.

  21. Thorngod
    August 14th, 2006 @ 10:29 am

    Patterned after Bonnie Parker’s ditty? You’re very competent in prose, June.

  22. June
    August 14th, 2006 @ 10:58 am

    So you think
    My poems stink?
    I don’t care.
    Life’s unfair.

  23. Rocketman
    August 14th, 2006 @ 11:58 am

    “I question, however, why it might be considered wrong in all cases. It seems to me a simple and fair proposition that the punishment should fit the crime; ergo, a person who willfully commits a vicious murder should be murdered viciously (forget the cruel and unusual limitations). ”

    Yes of course–how blindingly obvious–so lets set arsonsist houses on fire–and hey if they managed to to kill someones daughter in the process lets throw one of his children on the fire too–we can rape rapists and steal from burglers–

    if the best we can come up with is equivalent pain then we are an incredibly limited group of people.

  24. Rocketman
    August 14th, 2006 @ 12:03 pm

    “You know, of course, that Donne cuts both ways: The bell also tolls for those who ignore mankind’s basic rules. As I summarized what I meant to say, it somehow arranged itself into a little ditty:

    I don’t care what religion you’re preaching
    and that you found God in the sky.
    While you’re living in my community
    if you rape a child, you will die.

    So who cares that your marriage is rotten?
    Who cares that some drug made you high?
    While you’re living in human society,
    Don’t rape a child, or you’ll die.

    I don’t care that you’re really not garbage,
    that deep down you’re a really nice guy.
    Don’t ask me for whom the bell tolls
    You raped a child, and you die.

    And when you are strapped to that table
    And your head turns to meet my eye
    Watch my hand as I pull down the lever
    You raped a child, and you die.”

    Which would be just–but I wonder–how many of those people you have strapped down to the table for raping a child–were actually children who were raped.

    I mean the recidivism rate is so high–and the incidents of the molested becoming molesters is so high in proportion–maybe we should just skip the inevitable decline–and just off both the molester and the kid he molested–

    There you go–another easy solution to a bad problem.

    (sarcasm intended)

  25. June
    August 14th, 2006 @ 12:53 pm

    “… I wonder–how many of those people you have strapped down to the table for raping a child–were actually children who were raped.”

    I don’t care.
    I don’t care even if some were depressed, drunk, and insane like Jeff Dahmer. Had we offed him after his first or second victim, we would have saved 15 lives. Instead we put him into prison with hundreds of young men (irony bell).

  26. bernarda
    August 14th, 2006 @ 1:33 pm

    Executioner June of course did not respond to a single point I made. For me, that is more evidence that she is motivated by fear and vengence. If she is capable of rational thought on this subject, she certainly hasn’t shown it.

    I wonder how many steps there are between such purely emotional homicidal thoughts and a personal act.

    For the xtian bozos who might follow this, it shows that atheists don’t all think the same thing. If you can call June an atheist with her theist ideas about revenge and retribution.

  27. Executioner June
    August 14th, 2006 @ 5:40 pm

    Bernarda, I disagreed with your one point — that it is society’s fault when people commit crimes — in rather poetic form. I think executing is about getting rid of human garbage.

  28. Godthorn
    August 15th, 2006 @ 12:04 am

    June, I don’t often disagree with you, but I stand with Bernarda. As Browning so pointedly said, “The child is father of the man,” and, by extension, circumstance is father of us all. We have to protect ourselves from murderers, rapists and thugs, but in a nation as wealthy as ours , if we were wise enough to concentrate our attention and our government funding toward parenting and child care, and insist on more rational approaches to things like the drug problem, we could begin to reduce our prison populations and capitol convictions, instead of steadily increasing them. It does take a village to raise a child, and it takes more wisdom and honesty than this society of ours has yet been able or willing to invest.

  29. June
    August 15th, 2006 @ 10:58 am

    OK, sign me up. I will happily come and live in your beautiful vision of a peaceful village filled with gentle people, run by wise administrators who provide proper parent counseling, full employment, social security, concerts on the village square, peace on earth, and a small jail used occasionally when the village idiot gets drunk.

    But when the village idiot goes bad on you, when he runs amok and starts killing children because Satan tells him to, or kills boys and eats their brains to become closer friends with them, what will you do?

    All of you – RA, Thorngod, Choobus, Bernarda – just answer the St. Thomas More question: “And when you have gotten rid of all the laws in the land, and the devil comes after you, where will you hide from him then?” What will you do in your utopian society with people that do not or cannot or will not get along with your rules? Hiding them in an asylum or on some death row is not the answer, because they will continue to kill and maim there.

    You’ll call me and say: “June, we got one here who just cannot get along. he has potential good, but he is demoralizing and destroying our society, and we cannot keep him.” I’ll lower the lights, cue up Beethoven’s Pastorale (see movie Logan’s Run) and gently put him out of his misery.
    What greater gift is there to humanity than a swift and painless death?

    PS: Just so we save time: Identical arguments for Euthanasia. I am sure there is potential goodness in every terminal patient screaming in agony, and so we must keep them alive until their exhausted bodies stop moving, and then we must pound vigorously on their frail chests.

    Because we “care” about human dignity!!!

  30. maledictus
    August 15th, 2006 @ 12:27 pm

    june

    Crocodiles, tigers, bears, sharks and snakes are very dangerous. Deadly dangerous. Should we kill them?

  31. Thorngod
    August 15th, 2006 @ 12:51 pm

    No artument on euthenasia. No argument on protection of society. I just object to the harshness of many penalties, and especially to the lust to kill.

  32. June
    August 15th, 2006 @ 2:05 pm

    Thorngood
    I’m with you on harshness, and would not tolerate lust killings.
    My justice is a simple line in the sand: you rape a child, you die.

    Maledictus
    Sometimes we have to put down animals that kill humans, unless we can cage them or move them to locations where they cannot harm us. What is the situation you are considering?
    Should we fly to India and kill all tigers? No.
    Should we destroy a vial of Ebola virus? Yes.
    Should we kill all crocs in Florida? No.
    Should we kill a croc that is killing tourists? Yes.
    Should we kill a croc that is killing atheists? Of course not :)

    Major issues of society can never be solved by just one extreme rule; that’s why they are major issues. Promoting total pro-life is as unproductive as total pro-choice. You must seek a balanced solution.

    If you would like to safely lock up incorrigible criminals, and you know a Constitutional way, write to your Prison System. On California’s deathrow, we have done the best we can, with the result that inmates stage competitions to see who can injure a guard first.

  33. Godthorn
    August 15th, 2006 @ 11:28 pm

    Okay, I don’t like “lines in the sand” either. Some kids can provoke the shit out of you. But seriously, there are extenuating circumstances at times. I do not like “three strikes” rules and mandatory sentences.

    I care greatly about the welfare of children. They are innocent and defenceless. Most parenting is atrocious, and children’s protection under law is insufficient. The foster care program in this country, which separates siblings and trundles kids to one impermanent home after another, is an abomination. I, and a brother and sister, had the great fortune to be reared in a model orphanage. The new, misguided philosophy of foster care spelled the end of that home and many like it.

    Every year, the last weekend in July, we who were reared there assemble for a “homecoming” on a plot of ground that once was part of the “school.” Some come from all way across the country, their children with them–and many of the children now adults. Of the six or seven hundred kids that grew up in that home, I’m aware of none that committed murder or any other very serious crime. Many became professionals. Most were successful. Most are great parents.

    Yes, society is to blame for its human product. And after an orphaned child has suffered the insecurity and abuse of half a dozen loveless foster homes, and becomes a hateful, tormented adult, and eventually commits rape or murder, I am reluctant to add more pain than necessary to what he or she has already endured. We need to find more effective ways of dealing with damaged people. And we need to change the way we rear children. -Thorngod

  34. June
    August 16th, 2006 @ 12:21 am

    All good thoughts on behalf of a killer or rapist.
    But consider the pain the victim has endured.
    Or the parents’ pain, which lasts a lifetime.
    Or the pain and fear of other children.
    Or the obscenity of taxing the parents to keep the killer alive.

    You simply do not want capital punishment.
    And I do not want a society with such pain.

  35. Rocketman
    August 16th, 2006 @ 8:44 am

    June–you happen to be a twit. A twit of the worst kind–the kind that would gladly wallow in the basest aspect of human nature than to concieve for an instant that perhaps our treatment of criminals is also a process of oour own advancement.

    So when you are considering the pain and horror of the victim–tell me has it ever intruded upon your nasty little mind that the criminal also has family.

    Of course because they happen to be genetically related to a criminal, their pain and suffering is a moot point right? Maybe they should have raised him better? Maybe they should have chosen not to be born with a criminal as a father–or mother.

    You are so fucking entitled to your martyrdom for the pain of victims–how about considering that putting a person in jail for life–may be a sight better for their innocent children–than having the state execute them.

    What you are about is revenge. Toe kind of nasty little nellie olsen moth brained cluster fuck who strides through life with all of the fucking answers.

    Are we in disagreement about the desire to kill pedophiles? No. I have a reaction to them that is in fact homicidal. I just don’t justify my desire to see them dead as just or right,as you do, you sanctimonious cow. And I sure as hell don’t expect to live in a society that makes policy based on that kind of reaction.

    Aside from the fact that there may be an error in prosecution–especially in rape convictions ( tow cases in recent memory have men released from prison after twenty years on a false conviction)–aside from the other bullshit reasons you have vomited onto the page in support of your bullshit position–it all boils down to the fact that as a society we have not solved this problem. So that becomes part of the garbage pile we need to deal with. How we deal with it is a sign of the character of a people.

    Here’s a thought that is not difficult to understand–killing people when you have another option is bad.

    There is another option–put them away for life. Spend the coin–bite the fucking bullet and keep the fuckers in prison until they die. I realize it lacks the bloddthirsty gratification of you singlehandedly electrocuting each of them with your own hand–preferably after some recreational torture Junie. In my eyes that puts you in the same catagory with the criminal–a good fucking concept–if you kill people when there is another option–you are by definition a criminal.

    You want rapists killed. You , I assume, want murderers killed. How about arsonists? How about delinquent children? How about those who disagree with your political viewpoints? Or those who worship the wrong way? Or not at all?

    How about those with learning difficulties? Or people who refuse to pay taxes?

    Ridiculous? Perhaps–you ignorant spawn of a goat and a testicular tumour–but when you open the door for government to kill its citizens–you open the door to the possibility of all of that other stuff.

    So please–kindly shove your entitlement and martyrdom for the cause up your crusty ass whatsit.

  36. June
    August 16th, 2006 @ 12:56 pm

    Rocketman
    You are correct. We have not solved this problem, that’s why it keeps coming up. You can find a range of solutions around the world; I was exploring the approach from an atheist position, without any spiritual sideshow. I really thought I would get more support, but your response will serve.

    I’m glad you despise pedophiles as I do, though I think your reaction is more aggressive than mine, judging by your vehement language. I would love to put them in jail for life, but I cannot have them killing again. You don’t answer the question I posed: how do we prevent them killing or maiming people in prison?

    Yes, the character of a society is reflected by how it deals with its criminals. On the other hand, what character does a society reveal that does not protect its children, in which men turn their back while pedophiles do their thing? Do we not want to stand up and say “THIS IS THE LINE”? Even the limp-dick Pope supports killing in defense of one’s society.

    Any hurt feelings that criminals have are part of the punishment they inflicted on themselves. Yes, criminals also have a family, and my heart goes out them. Imagine the horror a woman must feel whose father is in prison for brutalizing a six-year old and leaving her halfdead for animals to devour. One suspects, she might feel better if he had paid the ultimate price for his crime.

    I really do not propose pain, revenge, martyrdom or entitlement. I am rather squeamish, and not a bloodthirsty torturer at all. I don’t even kill spiders and snails – I just throw them over the fence into the neighbor’s yard :)

    But I have proposed punishment and removal from society for certain specified crimes. Why you suggest I want to kill children or tax evaders I don’t know. Actually, I thought I would get more support for executing child rapists! Instead, I am accused of murder because I argue for execution of murderers. People seem to be unable to distinguish Criminal and Victim, Jury and Executioner, State and Society. They like the argument that “if you argue for X, then you are no better than X”. But I am arguing AGAINST pedophiles, so how does that make me one?

    Society has the right to declare death as a punishment for certain crimes. You may think that’s too harsh, so vote against it or move to another state. And yes, capital punishment does make people more callous, and can open the door for harsher punishments (such as 3 Strikes). That’s exactly why CP has to be applied fairly, swiftly, and only in cases where people will say: that criminal deserved it.

    “… you ignorant spawn of a goat and a testicular tumour …”
    I am NOT ignorant :)

    “kindly shove your entitlement and martyrdom for the cause up your crusty ass whatsit”
    Ah, a new Ad Hominem item for my collection.

  37. Rocketman
    August 16th, 2006 @ 2:14 pm

    Liked those did you?

    But they were not ad hominems per se actually–at no point did i suggest that because you were the ignorant spawn of a diseased goat and a testicular tumour that this had anything to do with your argument.

    It is invalid based on its merits.

    And for the record I live in Canada–we don’t have the death penalty.

    The fact is my emoitonal response to a child rapist is extreme–absolutely. I would emotionally like to see them dead.

    However, I will settle for them locked in a cell for fifty years as a substitute to keep my hands clean.

    My point about capital punishment is that you ahve one view of it–an islamic theocracy has another–both are not as far apart as you might think. Both apply it based on their moral perceptions–even though applying it runs comlpetely counter to the fuindamental moral conception of the religion.

    And as a response–perhaps the relation of the murdered victim believes that the death penalty is wrong and will gain no comfort from the execution of the murderer. Perhaps it is a philosophical position that they do not wish the “ultimate penalty” to be handed down.

    Besides death is not the ultimate penalty except in the narrowest biological definition.

    The greatest punishment is to have a criminal understand the wrongness of their actions. And then sit with it for the rest of their lives in a cell.

    I am not defending a child rapist and am actualy incredibly cheezed off that you would even suggest it. What I am defending is the character and grace of my society.

    I do not beleive in tyranny due to strength, numbers or money. All of these things should be used with an eye to restraint and the least amount of harm.

  38. June
    August 16th, 2006 @ 5:47 pm

    “But they were not ad hominems per se actually–at no point did i suggest that … this had anything to do with your argument.”
    Apparently the rules of logic are different in Canada. In America, from Wikipedia:
    A (fallacious) ad hominem argument has the basic form:
    – A makes claim X.
    – There is something objectionable about A.
    – Therefore claim X is false.

    I am A making a claim. You said objectionable things, such as “ignorant”, “moth-brained”, “nasty little mind”, “bloodthirsty”, and “sanctimonious cow”. And you clearly implied that my claim was false. QED

    “I would emotionally like to see [child rapists] dead. I will settle for them locked in a cell for fifty years as a substitute to keep my hands clean.”
    You’re unwilling to execute them, but you’re willing to risk someone else’s life to go in and feed them? Reminds me of how the Church used to convict heretics and then turned them over to the State to keep their hands clean.

    “My point about capital punishment is that you ahve one view of it–an islamic theocracy has another–both are not as far apart as you might think. Both apply it based on their moral perceptions–even though applying it runs comlpetely counter to the fuindamental moral conception of the religion.”
    I am arguing the atheist viewpoint and accept neither an absolute moral code nor any fundamental religion. Besides that, Christianity does not conflict with CP. The God of Abraham often used CP as needed, sometimes on entire communities in a mass execution. And Jesus said “My kingdom is not of this world” and “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s”.

    BTW, as just another example, the fact that my view and Islam’s happen to match on this occasion is not only Ad Hominem, but also Undistributed Middle: All Fords are cars; all Chevies are cars; hence all Ford are Chevies?

    “Death is not the ultimate penalty except in the narrowest biological definition. The greatest punishment is to have a criminal understand the wrongness of their actions. And then sit with it for the rest of their lives in a cell.”
    And what … masturbate as they think about what they did to that little girl they killed? I could devise horrid penalties (based on pain, fear, loneliness, deprivation) that will have this creep begging for death. The first month, you take off one finger knuckle a day with a cleaver. Next month, the toes. Then it goes downhill :):):).

    “I am not defending a child rapist and am actualy incredibly cheezed off that you would even suggest it. What I am defending is the character and grace of my society.”
    Strange! I am defending the justice and strength of my society. It never occurred to me to suggest you were defending him. I said I was glad you were against him, since that was one point on which we agree. By your vehement language, I meant that your stream of filth showed uncontrolled anger at me, which I do NOT feel toward the criminal. So you were angrier than I, even!

    But you still have not answerered the question I posed: after you lock them up (constitutionally) how do you prevent them killing or maiming people in prison?

  39. Rocketman
    August 17th, 2006 @ 9:44 am

    To be clear June–I’m not angry in the least. Cheezed off is one of my sub-actual anger settings. Please be assured that calling someone the offspring of a ruminant animal and a cancer tumour is not indicative of any real anger. I’m insulting you because I feel a strong dislike for certain statements you have made.

    However, I have never said that because you are the offspring of a goat and testicular tumour your arguments are wrong.

    What I have stated is that you are a sanctimonious cow, and said tumour concept because that is what I percieve of your character as limited as the perception might be.

    Your arguments are fairly simple-stop the individual from causing harm by killing them–there are other ways to do this.

    Will they kill people in prison? Probably not. Child rapists don’t last very long in prison as it stands–the way to do this is to treat them like Clifford Olsen–lock him up–isolate him and then let him rant and rave and spout and then promptly forget about him.

    He is never getting out. What he does inside is immaterial.

    As for washing my hands of the criminal–I am not advocating that–I am advocating paying my taxes and electing my officials as a member of my societyto take care of this problem in that fashion. I prefer that to having to wash blood from my hands–I have no desire to play lady macbeth for the simple revenge concept.

    You advocate a seocnd killing for the first one.

    I advocate that the first killign was a tragedy the second possible only if truly necessary.

    Eg: I am on a small island with a huge population of children and a child rapist and killer kills one of the children. I have no jail. I have no ability to keep him harmless. I then can legitimately execute that individual for the betterment and to protect my society.

    This changes when I as a part of a collective have the ability to neuter this threat without resorting to killing him.

    Your argument–without any insults– boils down to kill em cause I’ll sleep better at night knowing that the guy is dead and taking vicarious thrills in the idea that “justice” has been done.

    My point is that is a very limited stance –and is indicative of an unevolved point of view.

    As for killing and maiming people in prison-isolation serves to lower those chances. Proper supervison and restraint on the offender will go a long way to that end as well–but unless you are speaking of using eight year olds as prison guards the maiiming and killing by the average child rapist is not a factor.

    But this was the last tenable point in your argument-so I concede that there is an absolutely remote possibility that the criminal will kill in prison.

    There is also the remote possibility that you will end up killing me.

    As an atheist I would have to say that as this is the one life I have –I’m dead certain that any government that gives itself the right to take lives is incredibly suspect in my eyes.

    I put my final statement to you in this manner.

    If someone were to rape and kill one of my daughters and I were to capture that man–hold him in my basement for a year–telling him I was going to kill him–then at some date when I had made up my mind on the matter took him from the basement , strapped him to a table and then injected him with drano–I would have become something far less than what I started as. I may be justified in this action by some–but to the man I am now–I would be a broken facsimile of who I started out as–I would be less than worthy of my daughters–I would be another victim of the man on the table by allowing him to make me less than I am.

    This isn’t about god –this is about self respect. This is about reason. This is about just punishment. This is about asking my society to be as noble as it can in the circumstances presented. Character is not forged or found in easy circumstances–else it would be worthless coin. It is built by standing in the most trying conditions–applying it when it is hardest to do so.

  40. June
    August 17th, 2006 @ 12:58 pm

    Rocketman

    Your idea of a debate consists of insulting the opponent, rewording his claim, and bashing your rehash. My original proposal was to execute child rapists; but you had to (inanely) ask if I would execute delinquents and tax dodgers. You boil down my argument to where I am “bloodthirsty” and get “vicarious thrills”. You think insults win you points. You think that because you have one solution, no further debate is needed, no opposition is rational. But major social policy issues don’t have a single solution; that’s why they are major issues!

    You really have no concept of logical argument. Go get treatment for strawman abuse, and take a course in logic!

  41. Rocketman
    August 22nd, 2006 @ 2:32 pm

    Dearest June,

    Welcome to the Raving Atheist blog.

    And as for a strawman–building a small one there weren’t you?

    None of you arguments held any water–so you end up attacking me–and my ability to argue.

    Major Policy issues do not have single solutions–except of course killing someone and justifying it with stultifyingly bad poetry.

    I didn’t see any policy based arguements there–nor the consideration of anything other than your single solution.

    And while I hesitate to address your obvious expertise in the variour arguemnts based on Aristotelian fallacies–I know you are, but what am I-isn’t one of them.

    Thanks,

    ta ta now.

  42. XSatiram
    May 23rd, 2009 @ 7:30 am

    Да, инет – огромен, если и такое даже можно найти ;)

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