The Instigator
Sashil
Pro (for)
Winning
35 Points
The Contender
SkepticalStardust
Con (against)
Losing
7 Points

AAN Tournament : This house endorses Death Penalty

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
Sashil
Voting Style: Judge Point System: Select Winner
Started: 7/16/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,619 times Debate No: 59031
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (26)
Votes (6)

 

Sashil

Pro

Rules:

1. Bop will be shared

2. My opponent will start by giving giving his case immediately in R1 and to even out the rounds he shall pass the last



Rounds:

Round 1:
PRO : -NIL-
CON : Acceptance,Arguments

Round 2:
PRO : Arguments, Rebuttals.
CON : Rebuttals and Counter-Rebuttals

Round 3:
PRO : Rebuttals and Counter-Rebuttals
CON : Shall pass this round.

And I think think that about settles it. Any questions can be clarified through PM.I wish my adversary Good Luck!
SkepticalStardust

Con

I thank Pro for this debate and look forward to reading Pro's arguments and rebuttals. I do not endorse the death penalty and will be arguing against it.

My arguments against the death penalty are as follows:

An Imperfect System

Firstly, and most importantly, human and legal error are always possibilities. To endorse the death penalty, you must also endorse the unpleasant truth that innocents may be executed. When human judgement is required to make decisions, human error, given enough time, will eventually occur. The number of those who are guilty and executed may make the number of those who are innocent and executed look negligible, but a human life is more than number. Sadly, this argument can be supported by actual examples of wrongful convictions[1] and wrongful executions[2, 3] of innocents. Risking innocent lives to take guilty lives is an unacceptable solution to any problem in a society that likes to call itself civilized.

Missing the Point

Not only is the death penalty unacceptable, it's counterproductive. There's no need to risk innocent lives when alternative, and better, as I'll argue, solutions to the same problem exist. The death penalty accomplishes two things; It removes a possible threat to society and provides what some would call justice. Killing an individual who may be a threat is counterproductive in more way than one. To begin, the death penalty is far more expensive than life without parole[4], meaning it's not the most financially effective way of removing a possible threat. Not only is the death penalty costly, it also kills a potentially contributing member of society. Why kill a threat when it can be turned into an asset? For example, Norway hasn't has no death penalty and has a maximum sentencing of 21 years[5], but as Time says, "Within two years of their release, 20% of Norway's prisoners end up back in jail. In the U.K. and the U.S., the figure hovers between 50% and 60%."[6]. A productive member of society is better than a dead one. As for the "justice" aspect of the death penalty, an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind, two wrongs don't make a right, etc. If death penalty endorsers endorse the death penalty for the good of society, which, as I've shown, it doesn't do, revenge style justice should play no part. The revenge style justice of the death penalty makes it no different from common vigilantism.


Do As I Say, Not As I Do

To kill a human as punishment for a crime, such as killing a human, seems counter intuitive, and for good reason. If the death penalty is illegal when it's carried out by a vigilante, it should be no different when it's being carried out by a governing body. After all, punishments made by a governing body in a democracy can be described as the collective vigilantism of the governed, and in undemocratic types of government, the death penalty is even closer to vigilantism.

Conclusion

The death penalty is inherently risky, counterproductive, and, even if the previous weren't true, unacceptable.



References:

[1] https://www.aclu.org...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[4] http://www.deathpenalty.org...
[5] http://mic.com...
[6] http://content.time.com...
Debate Round No. 1
Sashil

Pro

Thank you PRO for your interesting arguments.Now without furthur delay I skip to mine.








>
It would act as a deterrent to crime

Punishment is a method adopted by the society to discourage prospective and potential criminals from committing unlawful action. Whether it be the practice of stonning in Yemen or the approved exercise of eye-gouging [1] and amputation[2] in Saudi Arabia(not advocating to any of these) the desired effect is simple, dissuade civilians from committing crime. It is the highest interest of the society to prevent intended homicides and it is only logical to use the highest form of punishment for the same. While the prospect of a life sentence, as my adversary is expected to argue, is frightening, certainly death penalty is a more formidable prospect.

"According to roughly a dozen recent studies, executions save lives. For each inmate put to death, the studies say, 3 to 18 murders are prevented. The effect is most pronounced, according to some studies, in Texas and other states that execute condemned inmates relatively often and relatively quickly"[3]

Though the number of lives saved enlisted in various studies varies, the underlying undisputable fact is that death penalty does act as a significant deterrent to potential heinous crimes.






>Circumstances where death penalty is justified and should be administered

There is no presumable limit to the atrocity of crimes that can be committed. Some crimes are just so heinous that it is more than vindicatory for the criminal minds who committed the crime to deserve the death penalty. Intendedly taking away the lives of innocent people explicitly falls into this category.

The Dnepropetrovsk maniacs, two nineteen year old boys held responsible for committing twenty-one murders all of which involved beating helpless victims to death with a hammer, just for the said pleasure they got from doing such. So malicious was their intent that they gloated their said homicides and made videos of the same to be released in the internet.[4]

This may seem like a quite extreme case but a simple search on the internet will reveal countless such atrocities happening all over the world. A human life is sacred and there must be a deterrent mechanism incorporated that makes sure that the people who transgress this precept are aptly punished. Death penalty ensures this and acts as a symbol that stresses the value and importance placed upon maintaining the sanctity of a human life in a society. Any lesser method of condemnation would fail in enforcing this social discipline.









>Prevents the accused from committing further crime

Imprisonment doesn't offer a definite solution. Prisons instead of being centres for reformation have largely become cathedrals for crime. Murderers and serious career criminals have been shown to commit grievous crimes even after being imprisoned [5].And then there is the possibility of the prisoner escaping into the society.

Michael Rodriguez, sentenced to life for murder, joined six lesser criminals in overpowering prison employees in Connolly, Texas, last Dec. 13 before leaving in a maintenance truck. Police say the "Malevolent Seven" robbed an Oshman's sporting goods store on Christmas Eve, then shot Irving, Texas, police officer Aubrey Hawkins 11 times and drove over his corpse. Authorities eventually captured Rodriguez and two other fugitives in a stolen Jeep near Woodland Park, Colo.[6]

After escaping a Florida prison John Fred Woolard shot and killed a park ranger. After being caught Woolard escaped again, this time from a Mississippi prison, accompanied by armed robber Roy Randall Harper.[7]

Death penalty is the only way to ensure that criminals do not escape into the outside world and thus pose a threat to the society or commit further crimes in prison. Putting dangerous murderers and serial killers in prison also endangers other prisoners and gaurds who must watch them.

-ORDWAY — A prison inmate accused of killing one correctional officer and seriously wounding a second said he had planned to kill a third in order to boost his body count to "at least three."-[8]

Even high security prisons have had escapees [9].Ergo, the only way to be perfectly sure that prisoners as such don't, in the future, be the cause of harm to others, is by executing them.




>'Wrongful Convictions' Argument

An argument so frequently used by those against death penalty that I felt compelled to use it as one of my own contentions. It’s not surprising to see CON use it himself as his opening argument. Thus by negating this argument here in my contentions I will necessarily skip addressing it in my rebuttals.

So, the basic premise in arguments as such focuses on the innocents getting killed as a consequence of wrongful convictions in a death penalty. But wrongful convictions are exceptionally rare and it is even more unlikely, when the sentence is the capital punishment; this is because the thorough procedures followed with death penalty cases offers ample protection against wrongful convictions.

And also, to add to that, the conclusion that follows such an argument simply asks for too much and isn't coherent.

The argument is usually as represented by this syllogism:

P1: Any punishment that has a chance of taking away the lives of innocent civilians should be abolished.

P2: Death penalty has the chance of taking away the lives of innocent civilians.

C: Death penalty should be abolished.

Premise 1 is the most problematic part in these types of arguments. It simply is not logical. People are even wrongfully convicted to serve time in prison and, provided they are innocent, have a lot of chance to commit suicide while they are there or actually even get murdered. So going by this argument the conclusion that should necessarily follow is, imprisonment should be abolished?

Also premise 2 isn't very pragmatic either. Even if, such a said chance exists, it is extremely low and unlikely as I've stated earlier. Ergo, the 'Wrongful Convictions' Argument isn't really a strong point when arguing against death penalty.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________









Rebuttals:

As I've rebutted PRO's first contention in my own I'll skip to his second one. Here he has made the following assertions:

a) Death penalty is costly

-Yes, but justice is priceless. There is good reason why death penalty is costly; it is because of the intensive and thorough procedures and investigation undertaken preceding a capital punishment so as to make sure the criminal going to be hanged is indeed a criminal and is guilty enough to deserve the death penalty.

b) Reformation or converting criminals into productive citizens.

Death penalty is administered to criminals who have committed purely malevolent and heinous crimes. There is simply no reformation or redemption for people as such so thus,even if death penalty is crossed out, we are inevitably left with the next most appropriate punishment, as PRO has suggested, life without parole. But still there is a chance of these people escaping prison or actually harming someone inside the prison. What if a killer spared from a death penalty serving life sentence decides to seriously hurt or kill again? What would we say to his possible future victims if we allow him to live?

c) Administering death penalty is a form of revenge styled justice.

Revenge results from one's passion and selfish motives ,on the contrary, justice is a concept of moral rightness based on ethics, rationality, and fairness put into action, which when fulfilled creates harmony. It is necessary for the law to take away rights of people when they intrude or violate the rights of others; this establishes peace and harmony in the society. By sentencing people to prison, for example, the law takes away the right to movement, affiliation, etc. Similarly, when you commit certain acts of malevolence you give up the right to live. This does not devalue life, but rather upholds the value of the innocent life abused or taken away by the criminal. Thus, certain heinous crimes warranting a death penalty is not any form of revenge but true justice itself.

PRO’s next contention is “punishments made by a governing body in a democracy can be described as the collective vigilantism of the governed

Vigilantism leads to miscarriages of justice, simply because of the fact that there is no proper trial or such to determine the guilt of a person involved; and judgment would be tainted by the vigilante’s individual biases. Whereas the law takes sufficient effort to make sure that the person going to be administered the death penalty is absolutely guilty and has a track record that suggests he would try to seriously hurt or kill again.










Summary:

- Enforcing death penalty would deter crimes

- There are crimes that simply must be punished by the death penalty, any lesser punishment would mean failing to uphold proper justice for such crimes.

- Death penalty makes sure that the accused doesn’t try to commit further crimes.

- 'Wrongful Convictions' Argument is incoherent and doesn’t provide any rational reasons on why death penalty must be abolished.

And with that I wrap up.I eagerly await my opponent's response in round 3





Sources:

1: http://listverse.com... (listed as number 4)

2: http://www.propagandistmag.com...

3: http://www.nytimes.com...

4: http://en.wikipedia.org...

5: http://www.theguardian.com...

6: http://off2dr.com...

7: http://articles.orlandosentinel.com...

8: http://www.denverpost.com...

9: http://metro.co.uk...

SkepticalStardust

Con

Thanks to Pro for some interesting arguments and rebuttals. Below are my rebuttals and counter-rebuttals.


Rebuttals

Deterrence

Pro begins with, "Punishment is a method adopted by the society to discourage prospective and potential criminals from committing unlawful action." While Pro is correct in that punishments are often used to deter crime, this has been shown to not work well with the death penalty. In fact, "The murder rate in non-death penalty states has remained consistently lower than the rate in states with the death penalty, and the gap has grown since 1990."[1]. While the death penalty may seem to be a strong deterrence of crime in theory, the statistics of the practice of the death penalty say the opposite.

Pro continues on to list examples of punishments meant to deter crime in other countries. Pro's emphasis is on the desired effect, which he says is to "dissuade civilians from committing crime". However, desired effect is irrelevant when it conflicts with the actual effect.

Pro also brings up that "It is the highest interest of the society to prevent intended homicides and it is only logical to use the highest form of punishment for the same." By this logic, the punishment should be even more severe than Pro is arguing for. Surely death by stoning, a punishment Pro admits to not advocate, is a higher form of punishment than the death penalty that Pro does advocate. If Pro truly believed that the highest form of punishment should be used to to prevent intended homicides, he would support death by stoning or other horrible punishments. However, Pro does not appear to truly believe what he has said.

Pro claims that the death penalty is a more formidable prospect than a life sentence, making it a better deterrent of crime. Pro gives no reason to believe this is true other than his certainty that the death penalty is a more formidable prospect. I find it hard to realistically imagine a situation where a would-be criminal would think "Hey, I shouldn't do this. I might get the death penalty." and not be just as deterred by the thought of "Hey, I shouldn't do this. I might get life without parole."

Pro's figures of 3-18 murders being prevented per inmate put to death are questionable. The link Pro provides as the source for this claim also says that "The studies have been the subject of sharp criticism, much of it from legal scholars who say that the theories of economists do not apply to the violent world of crime and punishment. Critics of the studies say they are based on faulty premises, insufficient data and flawed methodologies.", as well as, "A single capital litigation can cost more than $1 million. It is at least possible that devoting that money to crime prevention would prevent more murders than whatever number, if any, an execution would deter."[2]

If the desired effect of a punishment is, as Pro said, to dissuade civilians from committing crime, and if the death penalty is being used as a punishment, then it's ineffective.


Justified Circumstances

Pro argues that "Some crimes are just so heinous that it is more than vindicatory for the criminal minds who committed the crime to deserve the death penalty." I argue that the law should exist to protect the innocent, not to punish the guilty. If the innocent are able to be protected without death as a punishment, and they are, then death as a punishment is not an acceptable course of action. Pro uses the words "deserve the death penalty.", which seems to be a claim relying on emotion. As I argued in my first rebuttal, the death penalty has been less effective at deterring crime than not having the death penalty, so that can't be the reason it's deserved. Life in prison would keep the general public as safe as if the criminal were killed, so that also can't be the reason it's deserved. The reason people claim that the death penalty is deserved for some criminals is because some criminals do things that create strong emotions in the general public. The reason some say the death penalty is deserved is because a criminal paying for a crime with their life serves to calm the range of emotions caused by the crime that was committed.


Prevention of Further Crime

This is really a subcategory of deterrence, but I'll address it separately as Pro did. Pro argues, "Death penalty is the only way to ensure that criminals do not escape into the outside world". Pro criticizes life imprisonment as an alternative to the death penalty by pointing out that crimes still happen in prison and that prisoners might escape. This is not a problem with life in prison, but rather a problem with the way prisons are managed. Pro is taking the problem of prisoner escapes and prison fights and coming to the conclusion that the best solution is to kill the dangerous prisoners. The conclusion Pro should be coming to is that we need to fix the way prisons are managed.

Wrongful Convictions

Pro's syllogism requires extra words to represent my point. It should look like this:

P1: Any unnecessary punishment that has a chance of taking away the lives of innocent civilians should be abolished.

P2: The death penalty is an unnecessary punishment that has a chance of taking away the lives of innocent civilians.

C: The death penalty should be abolished.


Pro's argument against his version of P1 has the same problem as his Prevention of Further Crime arguments. Suicide and unnatural death in prison should take Pro to the conclusion that the prison system needs changes. Also, the difference between a wrongful conviction leading to time in prison and a wrongful conviction leading to an execution is that after the wrongful conviction sentence leading to time in prison is finished or after being proved innocent, you're free again.

Pro's argument against P2 doesn't stand as well with the syllogism I've provided. When the risk is unnecessary, as I've been arguing it is, the choice to not take the risk is the obvious choice.



Counter-Rebuttals


Death Penalty Cost

I've already argued the point of justice under Justified Circumstances. Intensive and thorough procedures and investigations or not, innocent people still get through, as I argued in my opening argument. As I've also argued, the death penalty is unnecessary. The extreme cost involved is just one more reason to abolish the death penalty.


Reformation

Rehabilitation not working on an individual is not an acceptable reason to kill them.


You ask the question, "What if a killer spared from a death penalty serving life sentence decides to seriously hurt or kill again? What would we say to his possible future victims if we allow him to live?"I would not blame the lack of the death penalty, but rather the way our prison systems are managed. The same question could be asked about the victims wrongfully executed under the death penalty.

Revenge Styled Justice

I've already re-argued my point on this subject under Justified Circumstances.

References

The majority of my arguments were philosophical or moral, so few sources were needed.

[1] http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
[2] http://www.nytimes.com...;
Debate Round No. 2
Sashil

Pro



CON has come up with really good and convincing rebuttals but has taken quite an idealistic approach and has in the process committed multiple fallacies in his case. Cross examining his assertions and strengthening my own would be the main focus of my forthcoming rebuttals in this conclusive round of this debate.








Rebuttals:






C1: > Deterrence



"The murder rate in non-death penalty states has remained consistently lower than the rate in states with the death penalty, and the gap has grown since 1990"


CON has gone further and said “desired effect is irrelevant when it conflicts with the actual effect” but, the argument through which he has derived this, said ‘actual effect’ is fallacious. CON has presumed a relation between two statistics who’s correlation, might as have well been coincidental.
Thus, this isn't a very sound argument because


a) It is a false cause fallacy.

b) CON presents statistics based on just one facet i.e., murder rate, in a few states, while I have presented an intensive research study with multiple aspects taken into consideration after analyzing 3,054 counties (repeatedly) for over two decades [1].




“If Pro truly believed that the highest form of punishment….he would support death by stoning or other horrible punishments.”


And I have also stated and proved that death penalty has produced a significant deterrent effect on crimes, research strongly supports death penalty being a significant deterrent than any other form of punishment. Whether other forms of punishment have been studied as intensively is unknown and also irrelevant because, with the current facts in hand, death penalty exerts the greatest deterring effect.





“I find it hard to realistically imagine a situation where a would-be criminal would think "Hey, I shouldn't do this. I might get the death penalty “


Just because it is counter-intuitive based on CON’s perspective it doesn’t necessarily mean it is ineffective.






“Pro's figures of 3-18 murders being prevented per inmate put to death are questionable. The link Pro provides as the source for this claim also says that the studies have been the subject of sharp criticism”


The link provides a report, as judges may note, made by the ‘New York Times’. It isn’t any one-sided biased website, it is a report by a legit newspaper agency and of course it would include reactions of those who oppose the move. But all the criticisms enlisted there are just vague claims, without any rational evidence. Since CON too hasn’t taken any significant effort to substantiate the claims in the said criticisms the underlying fact still remains that, nothing has been properly shown or proved by anyone, of the strongly researched fact being otherwise.




C> Justified Circumstances

Death penalty is all about delivering proper justice and preventing heinous criminals as mentioned, from committing further crimes by escaping prison or inside it. The right to life is among the many rights a normal citizen has. I reiterate, just as sentencing people to prison takes away their right to movement, affiliation, etc, the death penalty is another sentence that takes away their right to life. When people commit certain acts of malevolence like, multiple murders, rape, torture, etc, they simple forgo their right to live. Again, this is not devaluing a life but rather uplifting the value of the innocent life that had been abused or taken away by the said criminal.





C> Prevention of Further Crime



“Pro is taking the problem of prisoner escapes and prison fights and coming to the conclusion that the best solution is to kill the dangerous prisoners. The conclusion… is that we need to fix the way prisons are managed.”

And I have also shown that even highly secured prisons have had escapees [2]. So what is CON suggesting, build a prison on the moon with robot guards in place? And even if so, how are we to be certain that the prisoners won’t try to even escape that prison? CON has essentially taken an idealistic stance here that borders pure fantasy. The U.S itself has about 4575 prisons. Death penalty is administered to criminals only after their guilt has been intensely verified and proved and their track record suggests that the said criminal would try to seriously hurt or kill again [3]. It’s more than logical that a better solution to, upgrading and renovating all the prisons in the country to the point of pure idealism where these said criminals are incapable of committing any misdeeds, is to enforce the death penalty. I reiterate my questions from R2, What if a killer spared from a death penalty serving life sentence decides to seriously hurt or kill again?, What would we say to his possible future victims if we allow him to live? The possibility of a criminal escaping prison, or hurting people whilst inside prison, is unavoidable. Death penalty is the only answer that can forestall such mishaps from happening.







C> The ‘Wrongful Convictions’ Argument



“the difference between...time in prison and...execution is that after the wrongful conviction sentence leading to time in prison is finished or after being proved innocent, you're free again”


CON has conveniently chosen select scenarios to suit his arguments; I will now provide some counter-scenarios posed as questions to demonstrate the logical unsoundness in his argument. CON states wrongful conviction sentence leading to time in prison, is temporary and after being proved innocent you are free again but, what if you are not proved innocent?, What if some misfortune happens, before you are proved innocent, whilst still in prison?, How are the odds of you being proved innocent and freed from prison any more than the odds of you being shown not guilty and being freed from execution in the intensive trials and investigation that precedes a death penalty? I hope the point has been conveyed.


If the ‘wrongful convictions’ argument doesn’t substantiate the claim of abolishing imprisonment, I don’t see any good reason on why it should for the death penalty.


Thus necessarily, my point about the ‘wrongful convictions’ argument being a weak ground for abolishing death penalty, stays strong.







Death Penalty Cost


“innocent people still get through, as I argued in my opening argument”

CON says he has established that innocent people do get executed as a cause of wrongful convictions in his opening arguments, but scrolling up I only see him post two cases of wrongful execution and that too somewhere about two decades back, if this establishes anything, it would be the fact that wrongful executions are incredibly rare and it has been a thing of the past. Besides I have already shown that it is just as possible for innocent people to get imprisoned and lose their life in prison as much as them losing it by the death penalty.



“The extreme cost involved..abolish DP”

I iterate again, even though death penalty is costly, justice is priceless. It would be highly unjust to punish a criminal if he isn’t guilty enough to be administered the death penalty; the process to prove his guilt is what makes death penalty costly, thus the costs are a necessary evil.





Reformation


“Rehabilitation not working on an individual is not an acceptable reason to kill them”

Thus, through this statement, CON has basically conceded to my point of rehabilitation not working on select criminals. Now I will provide reasons on why these said criminals should be executed,


i) The strong possibility of them trying to seriously hurt or kill someone is, as I've already shown, exists and is unavoidable.


ii) Again, certain malicious acts of crime, if committed by individuals, consequents them to forgo the right to life. This preserves and upholds the sanctity that the society places on the lives of other innocent citizens.






After this CON hasn't presented any new arguments so I myself will be ending here and try to tie up loose ends, if any, and hence close my case.





__________________________________________________




Addenda:
PRO’s main rebuttals mostly centered on the following, I will be making a quick summary of where he has gone wrong in these arguments before I close my case.



'Improving prisons' argument

This argument is far from pragmatic. It is impossible to restrain criminals, who have used their intellect and ingenuinity to kill innocent lives, from finding a way to either do it again whilst inside prison or manage to escape and do it outside. Even high class prisons with intensive security have seen escapees. And improving all the prisons worldwide to the point nearing idealism is unrealistic. Thus, basically this argument doesn’t give enough reasons to abolish death penalty.



Innocents getting executed

Judges may note that CON has refrained from producing any numerical or statistical data to support this claim of his. The blatant reason for this is, events of innocents getting executed as the result of wrongful convictions in a death penalty is extremely rare. I have also demonstrated the unsoundness and failure of this argument, in supporting the abolishment of death penalty in any possible way, in my rebuttals.



Rehabilitation for prisoners

CON after taking an initial stance supporting rehabilitation for prisoners in his first round stating various weak examples for it, has basically conceded it in the next. Hence, I will skip addressing this.



Life parole being a viable alternative to death penalty

I have clearly outlined and have stated numerous times why this isn’t beneficial. Furthermore, I have highlighted the flaws in CON’s ‘improving prisons’ argument which seemed like the only ground to support this claim, hence essentially this assertion of his falls as well.





With that I wrap up my case. I humbly request the judges to drop their bias and preconceived notion and vote on this debate with an unbiased judgment. Finally, I would like to thank CON for this enlightening and exhilarating debate. Cheers!!








Sources:

1 : http://is.gd...






(Purpose of picture is just to aid judges in finding the prescribed reference)


2: http://is.gd...




3 : http://is.gd...
SkepticalStardust

Con

Thanks to Pro for an enjoyable and challenging debate. Passing this round as agreed upon.
Debate Round No. 3
26 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Ragnar 2 years ago
Ragnar
---RFD---
R1 con pretty clearly showed Texas should lose their death penalty privileges.
R2 Pro used a quote to show that there is indeed a deterrent effect, and went into a series of effective pathos appeals. His argument that wrongful convictions are not a problem since the imprisoned innocent is likely to commit suicide... Well it fell very flat to say the least. His own rebuttal A was already countered by the argument he claimed to have already countered (if so costly to avoid the possibility of mistakes, why so many mistakes?).
Con brought forward counter evidence, some of which fell flat (trying to dismiss the research study that disliked it's own findings for example), a pretty decent "death by stoning" to turn pro's own words against him, some pretty decent high moral ground arguments about the rest of the justice system needing to be fixed (I consider this line of talk from both debaters to be off topic)
R3 Something messed up in the formatting, causing pro's case to be spread over multiple lines, yet reassemble properly when copy/pasted ... He caught a number of clear fallacies from con (always the risk of fallacies, the other debater gains a lot of ground by naming them), however this would have been better (it's still good) if he did not then straw man con with "build a prison on the moon with robot guards in place?" The fact that con only showed a couple innocents killed was a great reminder.
Posted by bladerunner060 2 years ago
bladerunner060
RFD 0/11:

Miscalculated a bit, sorry folks! So that's 12 total, hence the need to use "0/11". Also, I noticed it did a weird double-post on 9...no idea why, I didn't click to post twice, at least I don't think so...Anyway, congrats to both debaters for a fine job!

This was an interesting debate, on a perennially debateable topic. As part of the AAN tourney, I'm gonna not just give an RFD, but also give some thoughts on my end as to how the debaters could have done better. These are, of course, just my own thoughts on the matter. My *vote* is based solely on the performance within the debate.

First, I'd like to say this was very well done on both sides. I wish it had been longer!

Pro, in your R1 rules, you say R1 is "nil" for you. It would probably better to say "Rules". I mean, it *should* be clear that's what you mean (and it was perfectly clear to me), but it's worth minimizing things to complain about.

BoP was shared in this debate. I'll abbreviate Death Penalty as DP throughout. I think shared BoP was appropriate, particularly given that the status quo varies jurisdictionally.

So. R1 was the rules from Pro, and Con's opening argument. It was a savvy strategic move on Pro's part, I'd like to say, because there's definitely value in having hte "last word", particularly in a shared BoP debate.

Con opened R1 by arguing that DP was "an imperfect system". Con argued that "Risking innocent lives to take guilty lives is an unacceptable solution to any problem in a society that likes to call itself civilized", and gave examples of wrongful executions to prove the point that the risk is more than theoretical. I found myself questioning the difference, though, between the imperfections of the criminal justice system in general, and that of the death penalty, and I don't think Con explicated the need to differentiate between, say, life imprisonment and DP.
Posted by bladerunner060 2 years ago
bladerunner060
RFD 1/11:

To be clear, I think it was enough for an opening argument. However, in an attempt to be helpful, I'd like to note that I think Con should have chosen his cases and sources a bit more carefully. The Johnny Garrett Wikipedia article notes that he was exonerated by DNA evidence, but doesn't really address the other evidence in any complete way. The Jesse Tafero case, likewise, would seem to be wanting more analysis. The ACLU's listing of wrongful convictions actually *harms* Con's case to some extent, as they were overturned.

Con moves on to say that DP is "Missing the Point". He asserts it's unacceptable (though I think that rather begs the philosophical question, as he hasn't supported it being unacceptable yet), and says that it's also counterproductive. He says that there is no need to risk innocent lives when "alternative and better...solutions to the same problem exist". I found myself very much looking forward to this argument.

Con notes that DP "accomplishes two things; It removes a possible threat to society and provides what some would call justice". I think that that is a bit of a strawman, as it completely ignores the deterrence argument, and I don't find it credible that Con just wasn't aware of it as an argument. I'd recommend Con be careful when attributing justification to a position he's going against. It's not a big deal, of course, but it's worth mentioning.

Con argues that DP is counterproductive. He says that DP is more expensive than life without parole. He sources the assertion, but I would prefer if such arguments were made IN the debate--even a mere note of the two numbers in question would be sufficient, barring his opponent's objection to the point. I feel I shouldn't have to justify an assertion for a debater--I shouldn't HAVE to read the sources for things to make sense. Still, if there's an objection to be raised, it should be raised by Pro in the rebuttal.
Posted by bladerunner060 2 years ago
bladerunner060
RFD 2/11:

Con says that the DP "also kills a potentially contributing member of society", and makes some points in support of the notion. This is the sort of thing that I would have liked to see in the cost comparison as well, and I like the points he makes here. He says that Norway has a maximum sentencing of 21 years, but that the recidivism rate is 20% vs. 50-60% in the UK and the US. That's a bit unfair, as it's not talking about death-penalty cases, but rather recidivism rates as a whole, though. Con makes the assertion that "A productive member of society is better than a dead one". Having already conceded the "justice" aspect as a point (even if a point he clearly disagrees with), Con did not spend enough time making this more than a bare assertion. Con closes the "missing the point" point with a brief, rather handwavy comments about "an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind". Con claims that "The revenge style justice of the death penalty makes it no different from common vigilantism." Such a strong statement needs support--and that support is lacking thus far.

Con moves on to "Do as I say, not as I do" as a point, saying "To kill a human as punishment for a crime, such as killing a human, seems counter intuitive". This is an appeal to bias, really (though Con moves on with an argument intedended to support it), as it does NOT seem counter intuitive to all. Con claims that "If the death penalty is illegal when it's carried out by a vigilante, it should be no different when it's being carried out by a governing body." This is, prima facie, *absurd*--it's trivially extended to jailing criminals, or ANY punishment that the state metes out. The argument here seems to be unsupported by any solid philosophical grounds. It's assertions and appeals to bias.
Posted by bladerunner060 2 years ago
bladerunner060
RFD 3/11:

However, that's only the last point. The floor is turned over to Pro to rebut Con's case.

Pro makes a constructive to begin with.

The first point Pro makes is that DP is a deterrent. Pro claims that "For each inmate put to death, the studies say, 3 to 18 murders are prevented." A very big claim on Pro's part. It's sourced, but I expect that Con will object to it. I appreciate he gave the numbers he's referencing. I will note that his source lacks rigor. But still, it's for his opponent to rebut.

As I read his case, I'd like to note that, while the general idea of Pro's formatting is admirable, there's an awful lot of emphasis--I'd argue that it's too much. But that's just a side note.

Pro continues on to argue that there are circumstances where DP is the only apt response. I think Pro could have spent more time justifying this aspect of the case, but it didn't seem to rest on an assumption of preconceptions.

Pro's next point is to argue that it prevents the accused from committing further crimes. Pro gives examples where this has happened, claiming that had these criminals been executed, they would not have had the opportunity to kill again.

Pro moves on to counter-rebut Con's point (though Pro says that it's part of his own contentions--Con had brought it up in R1, so I think it was more of a rebuttal. I suspect Pro had written a case before or during Con's writing of his own. Pro creates a syllogism that I don't see as a strawman. Pro claims that "People are even wrongfully convicted to serve time in prison and, provided they are innocent, have a lot of chance to commit suicide while they are there or actually even get murdered. So going by this argument the conclusion that should necessarily follow is, imprisonment should be abolished?" This seems the simple response to Con's point--Con still has an opportunity to respond to this obvious objection.
Posted by bladerunner060 2 years ago
bladerunner060
RFD 4/11:

Pro also says that "Even if, such a said chance exists [of wrongful conviction], it is extremely low and unlikely as I've stated earlier." I'm not sure where, specifically, Pro is referring to, when he says that he made the point earlier that wrongful conviction is extremely low and unlikely--I would hope he responds to it, as Con did bring it up as a point against the motion.

Pro moves on to his formal rebuttal section, noting that he rebutted *Con's* (typo, there, from Pro) first objection.

Pro concedes that DP is costly, but claims that justice is priceless. He argues that the cost is a reflection of the thoroughness of the process. There's no support for this, it's an assertion, but the "cost" angle wasn't particularly strong to begin with.

Pro argues that there is "no reformation or redemption" for people who have committed "purely malevolent and heinous crimes". I would argue that he's a bit off on the assertion that there's "no reformation" for these...he'd have to support such a notion, but the "redemption" angle he's already covered.

The point is reinforced again when he rebuts the notion of DP as revenge. Pro argues that DP is just, at least in certain circumstances. He argues that "upholds the value of the innocent life abused or taken away by the criminal" and "certain heinous crimes warranting a death penalty is not any form of revenge but true justice itself."

Pro's final rebuttal before his summary is against the notion of DP as vigilantism. The argument for it made by Con was particularly weak, however, I don't think Pro's rebuttal was particularly strong, either.
Posted by bladerunner060 2 years ago
bladerunner060
RFD 5/11:

Pro argues that the difference between vigilantism and state-administered justice is "Vigilantism leads to miscarriages of justice, simply because of the fact that there is no proper trial or such to determine the guilt of a person involved" whereas "the law takes sufficient effort to make sure that the person going to be administered the death penalty is absolutely guilty".

I feel like this wasn't the tack that Pro should have taken--Con's argument leads to the invalidation of ALL state punishment on the grounds of equivalency to "vigilantism", which seems clearly absurd. Pro's rebuttal focuses on the validity of the justice system, which I expect Con will have some rebuttals for.

Pro closes with a brief summary of his important points. It's nice, but unnecessary. I hope he didn't sacrifice anything elsewhere character-limit-wise to do it.

Con opens his final round by addressing deterrence. He gives some correlation of murder rates to address deterrence, claiming that "the statistics of the practice... say the opposite". He notes that desired effect is irrelevant when it conflicts with the actual effect. While true, Con hasn't really addressed Pro's arguments FOR the deterrence effect. He's given his own statistics, but hasn't really justified the drawn conclusion. The problem with a statistics battle like this, where neither side has (of yet) addressed the information the other side presented, is that the two sides argue past each other, and there's no clear victor, because we don't know who's "right". Is Con's point regarding the DP's effect on murder rates real? Is Pro's correlation of murder rates real? We aren't given grounds to know which is right, because both sides have only given their own constructive on the matter, ignoring the other's presentation. I hope Pro, at least, addresses it in his last round, but for now the rest of the Con's round continues.
Posted by bladerunner060 2 years ago
bladerunner060
RFD 6/11:

Con says that Pro's arguments lead to even more severe punishments, saying "If Pro truly believed that the highest form of punishment should be used to to prevent intended homicides, he would support death by stoning or other horrible punishments." This is a bit unfair scope-shifting, of course--Pro is ONLY called to defend DP, not harsher punishments. But the irony is that Con seems to have extended Pro's arguments, while ignoring the obvious extension of his own re: vigilantism. Further, Pro actually HAS noted more "extreme" punishments in his own constructive, while Con left the notion of "vigilantism" wide open.

Con appeals to us to disagree with Pro's assertion that DP is more formidable than a life sentence. But in this case, I think Con's objection falls flat. Prima facie, death vs. life without parole does seem to lean more in the 'death being worse' way.

Con objects to Pro's figures, using quotes from the article itself that note that some people object to the numbers presented. There's no rigorous analysis from Con, though, just those quotes. A complaint like "legal scholars... say that the theories of economists do not apply to the violent world of crime and punishment" needs support. Further "A single capital litigation can cost more than $1 million. It is at least possible that devoting that money to crime prevention would prevent more murders than whatever number, if any, an execution would deter" needs to address the *difference* in cost between what Pro is advocating for, DP, and whatever Con would suggest as an alternative. That $1 million doesn't just vanish, unless Con's advocating for NO punishment for the murderer whatsoever...and I definitely don't think that's what Con's advocating for.
Posted by bladerunner060 2 years ago
bladerunner060
RFD 7/11:

Con moves on to the "Justified Circumstances" point. He argues that "the law should exist to protect the innocent, not to punish the guilty."

On its face, this seems an absurd statement. The law can only act when a crime has been, or is about to be, committed. AFTER a murder has taken place, it's too late to "Protect the innocent".

Con claimes that "the words "deserve the death penalty."... seems to be a claim relying on emotion." I fail to see how that's an emotional claim necessarily. "Deserves" is the word for that which one is worthy of. Pro was making a case regarding "justice", and I don't see an emotional component inherently present.

Con argues that the deterrence aspect can't be why it's deserved. I feel his confidence in his claims that it's ineffective is a bit misplaced, but moreover the deterrence aspect wasn't Pro's case for why these criminals would "deserve" DP.

Con claims "The reason people claim that the death penalty is deserved for some criminals is because some criminals do things that create strong emotions in the general public."

This seems rather a strawman of the justice position--an ad hominem against supporters of DP that handwaves the justice argument by claiming it's only emotional.

Con continues the strawman position, claiming "The reason some say the death penalty is deserved is because a criminal paying for a crime with their life serves to calm the range of emotions caused by the crime that was committed."

Again, this is an unsupported assertion, addressing the *motives* of DP supporters but ignoring their *arguments*.
Posted by bladerunner060 2 years ago
bladerunner060
RFD 8/11:

Con has, essentially, dropped the justice argument entirely at this point.

Con moves on to the "Prevention of further crime" argument. He claims it's a subcategory of deterrence, though I don't think that's quite fair. Con objects, claiming that the possibility of escape is not a problem inherent in keeping criminals alive vs. DP. But again, on its face this seems to fail. Further, it's a bit disingenuous of Con to argue the point *here* about complaints regarding implementation, and then *immediately* make an implementation complaint in his next point regarding "wrongful convictions". Complaints about the Nirvana Fallacy cut both ways, Con.

He moves on to change the syllogism presented by Pro, which is perfectly fair of him since it's supposed to be a syllogism of his own position. He adds "an unnecessary punishment". But it seems he doesn't really define "necessary", and I think it's implied that he is once again ignoring the notion of justice.

Con claims that "the difference between a wrongful conviction leading to time in prison and a wrongful conviction leading to an execution is that after the wrongful conviction sentence leading to time in prison is finished or after being proved innocent, you're free again."

This is a bit unfair of him. In the first place, I question what his position actually is--does he intend to replace DP with life without parole, or with a set amount of time such as 21 years? He's mentioned both, but hasn't seemed to actually take either position. If the latter, I'm led further to question the justice angle. If the former, his reliance on the person being "proved innocent" as support of his point once again cuts both ways, and a prisoner can be released from death row.

Con rounds it out by saying "When the risk is unnecessary, as I've been arguing it is, the choice to not take the risk is the obvious choice".
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by Romanii 2 years ago
Romanii
SashilSkepticalStardust
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: *sigh* not really any point in writing an extensive RFD for this debate after the ones put forth by Mikal and Bladerunner... I'll keep it brief: both sides presented excellent arguments, but ultimately, Pro successfully asserted that endorsement of the DP is necessary for justice and refuted all of Con's objections regarding the DP's potential harms, thus affirming the resolution. Great debate!
Vote Placed by Ragnar 2 years ago
Ragnar
SashilSkepticalStardust
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: (3 v 1 in pro's favor) More in comments... CONDUCT: Pretty good, maybe leaning toward con. S&G: Clear win for con (that formatting error was endlessly annoying, even if not pro's fault). ARGUMENTS: pro takes this with some very effective pathos appeals against certain criminals, and shooting decent holes in con's case (even if some of his own points were also flawed). Based on skill levels witnessed, had con gone last it probably would have ended in a tie. SOURCES: Both used them to good effect.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 2 years ago
bladerunner060
SashilSkepticalStardust
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments
Vote Placed by rross 2 years ago
rross
SashilSkepticalStardust
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments. This was a really close debate, and I almost tied it, but I think Pro needed to carry the deterrent/threat argument to win, and that he didn't do so.
Vote Placed by YYW 2 years ago
YYW
SashilSkepticalStardust
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Arguments to PRO because I weight the deterrent argument in this case over the wrongful conviction argument advanced by CON. Most other points were evenly matched.
Vote Placed by Mikal 2 years ago
Mikal
SashilSkepticalStardust
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments