The Instigator
Bodhivaka
Con (against)
Winning
6 Points
The Contender
UltimateSkeptic
Pro (for)
Losing
5 Points

Capital punishment is justifiable

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Bodhivaka
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/24/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 9,566 times Debate No: 27456
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (11)
Votes (3)

 

Bodhivaka

Con

Seeing as how I am taking the "con" position in this debate, the burden of proof will rest on my opponent to demonstrate that capital punishment is justifiable, while it will be my attempt and intention to rebut such arguments.

For the purposes of this debate, the word "justified" will be defined as "something which has been demonstrated to be both pragmatic and morally legitimate."

Rounds:

(1) Opening Statement
(2) Con Rebuttal, Pro Counter-arguments.
(3) Closing Statements

Note:

I am new to formal debating and not entirely aquainted with how things work; therefore, I apologize if the format of this debate seems awkward in any way. Please feel free to provide constructive criticism :)
UltimateSkeptic

Pro

For clarification purposes, I am Pro in today's debate. I will be upholding capital punishment's justifiable causes, and I will go one step further and endorse a model by which I feel should be the universal code for the death penalty nationwide (USA).
________________________________________________________________________________________________



"I appreciate the passionate beliefs of people on both sides of the death penalty debate.
I fully understand the concerns and deeply held convictions of those who would like to see the death penalty abolished in Connecticut. However, I also fully understand the anguish and outrage of the families of victims who believe, as I do, that there are certain crimes so heinous — so fundamentally revolting to our humanity — that the death penalty is warranted." ~Mary Jodi Rell, 72nd Governor of the U.S. state of Connecticut.


When considering if capital punishment is justifiable or not, one must ask 3 specific questions. Is it deemed justifiable if it has the ability to deter crime? Is it justifiable when dealing with heinous, psychopathic, non-rehabilitative individuals? Is it justifiable when the previous two questions are affirmed and the majority citizens and law enforcement back the assertion? I will begin by addressing these 3 questions, posed as contentions, and then endorse a model to ensure that the statute becomes justly applied.


*Motion #1: The death penalty has the ability to deter crime.
While researching if capital punishment is successful, It is important not to just look at the states that endorse the policy and then compare rates with those that don't, a more extensive review is required. One must look at the years in which capital punishment is carried out more frequently and compare the crime rates to those years in the state that did not apply it as much. Reason being is because the debate at hand is not about whether the threat of the death penalty deters crime per se, but if it deters crime when it is actually applied to those in need— the difference between a potential threat and a direct threat. Exhibit A:

Statistics from the Bureau of Criminal Justice indicate that when monitored over a a large period of time, and not just during a specific period where the trend would be going up or down, there is a deterrence of capital crime when capital punishment is given more frequently. [1] It is accepted as a just form of morality when killing to save the life of another innocent person. When applied on a larger and more regulated scale, the same can then be adopted for capital punishment.


*Motion #2: Capital Punishment is justifiable when dealing with heinous, psychopathic, non-rehabilitative individuals.
The U.S. justice system balances 5 ideologies behind our criminal justice system: retribution, incapacitation, deterrence, rehabilitation, and restoration.[2] However, there are some people who simply cannot be helped, restored to normality or allowed to walk amongst the citizens. Whether it's their upbringing, their imbalances, or their nature, they just love what they do— they love to kill. They're not to be allowed to walk with free society, be put amongst the general prison population because they will prey on those around them, and they cannot be forced into solitary confinement until death because 23/24 hours a day in small cells without any form of natural light and no meaningful contact with staff or other prisoners is on a level consistent with cruel & unusual punishment.[3] This only leaves 2 of the 5 main ideologies behind our criminal justice program, retributive justice for the victim (and family members) & deterrence from future offenses. If in any case of immense torture, rape, and murder of children can justify capital punishment at all, it is proven to be justifiable.


*Motion #3: When the first two motions are established, the acceptance among the population deems capital punishment justifiable.

According to the PEW research center in 2010, a total of 62% of all U.S. citizens favor capitol punishment in such instances as defined above. Exhibit B:



That number was then confirmed again January of 2012 by the same agency.[5] In a democracy, or democratic republic, when something is deemed justifiably moral/humane then it is to be presented among the people for them to decide on the issue. As can be seen, capital punishment is supported by the majority of U.S. citizens. What has risen, however, was concern for innocent convictions, concern for prejudice rulings on capital crimes, and prolonged widespread use. As such, I've decided to adopt the Massachusetts model for capital punishment established by Governor Mitt Romney.

Mitt Romney set forth, and passed, a plan that:

- Limited capital punishment to people convicted of terrorism, multiple murders, killing law enforcement officers and murder involving torture.

- Required conclusive scientific evidence, such as DNA, linking the suspect to the crime scene.

- Mandated a scientific review of the physical evidence before an execution was carried out.

- Established a "no doubt" standard which meant that even after a guilty verdict was rendered, the death penalty could not be imposed if any juror harbored the slightest doubt about the defendant's guilt.

- Required two trials, one to determine guilt and the second to decide whether to impose the death penalty.

- Required an automatic review by the Supreme Judicial Court.

- Barred the execution of anyone who was younger than 18 at the time of the crime.

- Required the creation of a list of "capital case qualified" defense attorneys to represent any defendant facing the death penalty.

- Created a commission to review complaints and investigate errors. [6]



If this standard applied across the board, around the nation, it deems capital punishment justifiable in the United States of America.


[1]http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov...

[2]https://www.ncjrs.gov...

[3]http://thehill.com...

[4]http://www.pewforum.org...

[5]http://www.people-press.org...

[6]http://prodpquotes.info...;
Debate Round No. 1
Bodhivaka

Con

First and foremost, I would like to thank David for accepting to participate in this debate. After having read and considered his arguments, I find myself thoroughly impressed; his formidably is blatantly evident. Hopefully I can prove to be just as persuasive in my rebuttals.

My opponent has asserted that three key issues must be considered when determining the justifiability of capital punishment; namely, its ability to deter crime, its capacity to justly punish criminals which other forms of legal discipline cannot, and the extent to which it is accepted by the general populace.


I do not believe these three issues alone are sufficient to establish capital punishment as a justified method of legal discipline; however, seeing as how my position in this debate solely entails debunking the assertions of my opponent, I shall stray no further than that.



Rebutting Motion #1:


In his first motion, my opponent asserts that capital punishment serves as an effective deterrent for serious offences; however, there exists an abundance of evidence to suggest otherwise.

For example, it is a fact that statistical analyses consistently reveal more favorable crime rates for states which do not employ the death penalty [1], as can be seen from the graph below,


Exhibit 1.0:

Provided by http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...,

However, my opponent has stated that “while researching if capital punishment is successful [as a deterrent], it is important not to just look at the states that endorse the policy and then compare rates with those that don't, a more extensive review is required.” As evidence of this, he presents us with a graph provided by the Bureau of Criminal Justice that clearly illustrates the alleged ability of capital punishment to deter crime. The graph does such by taking one, individual State and examining its fluctuation in the use of capital punishment to ultimately determine whether or not crime is more prevalent in that State when the death penalty is being more vigorously employed.

Despite this, however, studies conducted specifically for the State of California have revealed that the death penalty did not deter crime; rather, it found a significant increase in homicide rates after the death penalty had been reinstated [2], and the same has been demonstrated in Oklahoma:


Exhibit 1.1


Moreover, Amnesty International has reported that Canadian homicide rates have dropped a significant 27% since the country abandoned the practice of capital punishment in 1976. [3] In fact, when the US compares itself to any other nation, we see much more desirable crime rates in those countries which have banned the practice of capital punishment:


Exhibit 1.2:

Consequently, it’s no surprise that the experts tend to disagree with my opponent’s assertions. For example, in 2009, a research study conducted by Michael Radelet and Traci Lacock revealed that out of all of the nation’s most prominent Criminologists, an overwhelming 88% believed that capital punishment did not serve as a successful deterrent. [4]


Therefore, considering all of the evidence mentioned above, I assert that capital punishment has not been successfully demonstrated to serve as an effective deterrent, but rather seems to only increase crime through the so-called "brutalization effect."



Rebutting Motion #2:


In his second motion, my opponent makes the assertion that because it is too dangerous to place capital offenders among the general population, and unconstitutional to place them in solitary confinement for life, the only alternative option is death. However, such an assertion is based upon a false premise; namely, that capital offenders cannot live peaceably with fellow inmates.

A very impressive study was conducted by Dr. Mark Cunningham and Dr. Jon Sorensen entitled, "Improbable Prediction at Capital Sentencing: Contrasting Prison Violence Outcomes." In this study, it was effectively demonstrated that capital offenders are no more violent among general populations than their fellow inmates. The abstract of the published study states that "during postconviction prison tenures averaging 4.4 years, none of the capital defendants was cited for accomplished serious assaults... Rates
of misconduct among the capital offenders were equivalent to those among all inmates." [5]

Therefore, the assertion that capital offenders are too dangerous to place among general population is a demonstrably false assumption; hence, the argument that capital punishment is the only pragmatic and moral solution for heinous, psychopathic, and non-rehabilitative crimes is nullified.


Rebutting Motion #3:


In his third motion, my opponent states that when the first two motions are established, a general acceptance among the population justifies capital punishment.

However, as I believe I've demonstrated, the first two motions aren't established at all; moreover, if I understand the argument correctly, it is an argumentum ad populum, as it asserts that something is true simply because most people, particularly non-experts, believe it. As a result, this motion is invalid.

I ask my opponent to correct me if I've misinterpreted this motion.



[1] http://deathpenaltycurriculum.org...

[2] (William Bailey, “Deterrence, Brutalization, and the Death Penalty,” Criminology, 1998; Ernie Thompson, “Effects of an Execution on Homicides in California.” Homicide Studies, 1999)

[3] http://www.ncadp.org...

[4] http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...

[5] http://www.jaapl.org...

[6] http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
UltimateSkeptic

Pro

I'd like to thank my opponent on his charitable language, I greatly appreciate it and the words you've used can also reflect an accurate depiction of your arguments as well. On to the debating..

I'd like to note that my arguments are not to justify capital punishment as a whole. In fact, I believe the system, as most states have it, is inherently flawed, can be discriminatory, and has to high of a risk of killing innocents. However, that is completely separate from the issue of specific instances being justifiable or not which his resolution deals with. My opponent has not argued this concept and has made blanket statements of overall capital punishments opposed to using my contentions to uphold specific instances. But first thing is first, upholding my case.


* Upholding motion #1

In my opponent's rebuttal of my first motion, he produces a number of graphs that illustrate a very important picture in today's debate. My graph presented above was to illustrate the affects of the death penalty on capital crime after the fact, and my opponent's graph intended to create a side by side comparison of states with & without the death penalty in present time. When we're studying the effects of a specific punishment on crime you don't look at the total crime while you're first implementing the punishment, you look after the fact to see if the punishment worked.

In my opponent's first graph, a truth is revealed contrary to his overall message. Though his graph has no label on it's y axis, I'm assuming it has to do with a number of times something has happened in those years. A brief examination (with the knowledge that one is supposed to look at the future effects on present punishments when considering deterrence) of his first graph will reveal that the following years showed a drop in overall numbers, which is what my graph was showing. What's important to note is that he said that his second source upheld the idea that his 1st source stated, which is the death penalty only enhances crime, but it actually disagrees entirely. You can see that his graph doesn't accept this notion, his graph shows that crime/punishment went down in the following years. So, my opponent's 1st and 2nd sources are at complete odds.

What my opponent's 2nd graph neglects to accept is that the time period of the 1950's-the late 1960's is in a time period that was historic for civil unrest. Taken into consideration, it is no surprise that there will be more crime during civil unrest than there would during the honeymoon phase. His 3rd graph, about handgun crimes, only illustrates that we live in a culture that glamorizes violence. That is no surprise and is accepted as the truth by both my opponent and I, however handgun crimes have nothing to do with the policy I've set forth with administering the death penalty. I set forth a criteria for administering the death penalty, one that was adopted by the state of Massachusetts, and it only accepts specific crimes that apply, not just murder crimes.

*Upholding Motion #2

I set forth the criteria for which punishment is to be met, according to our criminal justice program, and my opponent has completely sidestepped the idea. The purpose of our criminal justice system, as defined by the US department of Justice (Source #2 in my first round), is to allow for rretribution, incapacitation, deterrence, rehabilitation, and restoration. When dealing with terrorists who target thousands, serial killers who target children and those who apply torture to their murder victims, only 2 of the 5 criteria can be met: retribution & deterrence. My opponent has completely disregarded the idea in it's entirety to focus on one portion of the idea. My opponent's entire side of the debate is to essentially equate capital punishment with murder, and deem it wrong because the actions are the same. This, however, presents a false equivalence—a mad man is not the same as a madman, and retribution for family members is an important part of our criminal justice system.

*Upholding Motion #3

My opponent states that I have used an argumentum ad populum fallacy, in considering the opinion of others in a democracy. The problem here is that, "argumentum ad populum," is Latin for "appeal to the people," and the job of a democracy is to do just that. As I've shown, and my opponent's evidence has agreed with, is that deterrence does play into the equation overtime. I've also shown how capital punishment is an essential part of our criminal justice system. What lies next is the combination of the two deeming the act moral, and the final question presented the act to the people for the voting. That's not appealing based only on numbers excluding all other factors, that's showing that in some instances it is justified because it saves innocent children from being tortured & murdered and it deals with terrorists in a way that our government (voted on by the people) see fit. My opponent has decided, in his latest round, that expert opinions reign supreme on the subject of capital punishment. But I ask, who's more of an expert on the study of crime in the field than law enforcement personnel and police chiefs? In the most extensive survey ever done on the matter, it is concluded that though capital punishment was ranked #7, it made the list of deterrence against capital crime by police chiefs nationwide. It should also be noted that 92% of all police chiefs surveyed nationwide stood in agreeance with the acceptance & legality of the death penalty. [1]

"I appreciate the passionate beliefs of people on both sides of the death penalty debate. I fully understand the concerns and deeply held convictions of those who would like to see the death penalty abolished in Connecticut. However, I also fully understand the anguish and outrage of the families of victims who believe, as I do, that there are certain crimes so heinous — so fundamentally revolting to our humanity — that the death penalty is warranted." ~Mary Jodi Rell, 72nd Governor of the U.S. state of Connecticut.


[1]http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...

Debate Round No. 2
Bodhivaka

Con

There are many points which my opponent has raised in his counter-arguments, most of which I disagree with; therefore, for the sake of clarity, I will be quoting his statements in bold, and subsequently responding to them piece by piece.

Rebutting Counter-Argument #1:

"My opponent's graph intended to create a side by side comparison of states with & without the death penalty in present time. When we're studying the effects of a specific punishment on crime you don't look at the total crime while you're first implementing the punishment, you look after the fact to see if the punishment worked."

I certainly agree that the extent to which capital punishment can efficiently serve as a deterrent cannot be accurately determined simply by examining a State's crime rates while the practice has only recently been implemented, which is precisely why my graph (Exhibit 1.0) attempts to do no such thing; rather, what my graph reveals is that States which do not employ capital punishment have consistently demonstrated more favorable crimes rates over a near 20-year period. In other words, States which utilize the death penalty have unfailingly demonstrated higher rates of crime than States which have abandoned the practice.

"A brief examination of [my opponent's] first graph will reveal that the following years showed a drop in overall numbers, which is what my graph was showing. What's important to note is that he said that his second source upheld the idea that his 1st source stated, which is the death penalty only enhances crime, but it actually disagrees entirely. You can see that his graph doesn't accept this notion, his graph shows that crime/punishment went down in the following years. So, my opponent's 1st and 2nd sources are at complete odds."

Reading the above assertion, I can only assume that my opponent has misinterpreted the data revealed by my graph. Allow me to show Exhibit 1.0 once again:

(Previous Exhibit 1.0
)

Provided by http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org......

Note that the green bars represent the collective crime rates of States which utilize capital punishment, while the light blue bars represent the collective crime rates of States which have abandoned the practice.

As can be clearly seen from the data, the States which have abandoned capital punishment consistently demonstrate lower crimes rates than their pro-capital punishment counterparts.

Moreover, whenever a decrease in crime is observed for States which employ the death penalty, a decrease is likewise seen in the crime of non-capital punishment States at the same time; therefore, such decreases in crime cannot be rationally attributed to the utilization of capital punishment, seeing as how States which refuse the death penalty acquire the same decline; obviously, then, the drops in criminal offenses are the result of another factor, unrelated to capital punishment.

"What my opponent's 2nd graph [Exhibit 1.1) neglects to accept is that the time period of the 1950's-the late 1960's is in a time period that was historic for civil unrest. Taken into consideration, it is no surprise that there will be more crime during civil unrest than there would during the honeymoon phase."

In all actuality, evidence seems to directly contradict my opponent's assertion, as is evident from the graph below, which clearly demonstrates that homicide rates in the 50's and 60's were much lower than in the 70's, 80's, and 90's:

Exhibit 1.0


Provided by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, http://wwwbjs.ojp.usdoj.gov...

Therefore, considering this information, it becomes even more impressive that California experienced a significant decrease in homicide rates during the late 60's, 70's, 80's, and early 90's once it stopped utilizing capital punishment as a form of legal discipline (as Exhibit 1.1 in my previous argument demonstrates); hence, it becomes blatantly obvious that the death penalty did not successfully serve as a deterrent.

"[My opponent's] 3rd graph [Exhibit 1.2], about handgun crimes, only illustrates that we live in a culture that glamorizes violence. That is no surprise and is accepted as the truth by both my opponent and I..."

Although I do agree that our culture possesses the unfortunate tendency to glorify violence, I believe my opponent has failed to establish any evidence to reasonably suggest that the high crime rates of the US compared to other countries which do not utilize capital punishment are solely the result of the glorification of violence. Is my opponent asserting that other countries listed on Exhibit 1.2 (such as Britain, Canada, Australia, etc) do not also glorify violence in particular aspects of their societies?


Rebutting Counter-Argument #2:

"I set forth the criteria for which punishment is to be met, according to our criminal justice program, and my opponent has completely sidestepped the idea. The purpose of our criminal justice system, as defined by the US department of Justice (Source #2 in my first round), is to allow for retribution, incapacitation, deterrence, rehabilitation, and restoration. When dealing with terrorists who target thousands, serial killers who target children and those who apply torture to their murder victims, only 2 of the 5 criteria can be met: retribution & deterrence. My opponent has completely disregarded the idea in it's entirety to focus on one portion of the idea."

Even if my opponent's assertion is true that only 2 of the 5 criminal justice program's criteria (retribution and deterrence) can be met in the case of heinous, psychopathic, or non-rehabilitative offenders, I have still presented a perfectly good and evidentially substantiated case that capital punishment does not serve as an effective deterrent; therefore, life in prison without parole would meet the demands of the deterrence criterion just as effectively, if not more so, than the death penalty.

Moreover, retribution need not require death; life in prison without parole is perfectly capable of administering just retribution, therefore fulfilling the retribution criterion.

"My opponent's entire side of the debate is to essentially equate capital punishment with murder, and deem it wrong because the actions are the same. This, however, presents a false equivalence—a mad man is not the same as a madman."

I have made no such assertion, nor would I concede to it. My case is not that capital punishment is equivalent to murder; rather, my case is that capital punishment is unjustified due to the fact that it is utterly unnecessary and unjustly dangerous.

Rebutting Counter-Argument #3:

"My opponent states that I have used an argumentum ad populum fallacy, in considering the opinion of others in a democracy. The problem here is that, 'argumentum ad populum,' is Latin for "appeal to the people," and the job of a democracy is to do just that."

My argument here is that mass support of capital punishment is not sufficient cause to deem something justified. Many things have been implemented by democracy which are not justified, such as slavery. Does the simple fact that something is approved of by the majority truly make it justified? Not at all.

"In his latest round, that expert opinions reign supreme on the subject of capital punishment."

Although I did use expert opinions to strengthen my case, I did not insinuate that such opinions "reign supreme" on the subject of capital punishment.

The remaining portion of my opponent's 3rd counter-argument is primarily a re-affirmation of his previous arguments (all of which I believe I've effectively rebutted in both this post and my previous one); as to his argument that the majority of police officers and chiefs support capital punishment, I will concede to that assertion, although I do not believe it is sufficient alone to make my opponent's case.

In closing, I would like to again thank David for this fun, intellectually stimuating debate; a worthy opponent, indeed :)


[1] http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org......

[
2] http://wwwbjs.ojp.usdoj.gov...
UltimateSkeptic

Pro

This week's debate has boiled down to 2 main voting issues, the 3 motions I've set forth and the reliability of information/rebuttals given. Given the information that my opponent & I have presented, I will go over these and give 2 main reasons why a vote for Pro in this debate is warranted. I will work backwards through them so that integrity can be established in this debate, and then the premise can be reviewed. I will make no new arguments in this round, and will only use evidence to support arguments I've already made.

Voting issue #2: The integrity of the information points its finger at Pro.

This issue is on the integrity of information given. In my first graph, I presented a graph of total US execution numbers and how it effects capital crime on a yearly basis.

It is abundantly clear that my opponent has disregarded any of this information and wrote it off with the simple explanation that it is only the study of one state. This is a false statement, and should be seen as none other than a way to write of the integrity of the graph in a fallacious manner. There has never been a state that provided 200 executions for every 66,000 citizens. It is very clear that this is a graph of the entire nation's executions numbers for the years presented. It is very clear that this information shows the deterrence capital punishment has on capital crime.

In my opponent's graph (1.0 presented above in his latest post), it is shown that capital punishment is given out at a higher rate from the years 1990-1994, and the result is that from the year 1995-2000, capital crime drops a total of 4 whole points from its peak (9.7-5.7).



My opponent then, tries to write off this obvious correlation with the following argument.

"whenever a decrease in crime is observed for States which employ the death penalty, a decrease is likewise seen in the crime of non-capital punishment States at the same time; therefore, such decreases in crime cannot be rationally attributed to the utilization of capital punishment... States which refuse the death penalty acquire the same decline; obviously, then, the drops in criminal offenses are the result of another factor, unrelated to capital punishment. "

To endorse this statement is to assume that capital punishment is done in secret where no one knows about it outside of the state, and to ignore the obvious correlation between capital punishment and capital crime following both with the conviction that it has no deterrence when the evidence is staring the reader in the face. I am not alone in the realization of the falsehood of this statement.

In 2007, a study of capital punishment was done in great extent between the years of 1979 and 2004 by a study posted in the Wall street journey, and it was concluded that for every execution done in the year before, it directly correlated with 74 fewer murders the following year. It is important to [1] The graph is presented bellow.


Note that the 3 unrelated studies provided a graph that mimic one another in the conclusion that the more capital punishment is carried out, the more capital crime it presents (including the graph my opponent presented.) My opponent would have you write off such conclusion by stating that the states have unrelated things driving crime rates. I ask the judges to petition to their reason and their logic with the following questions: Is it more plausible that unrelated states have crime rates that rise and fall in sync with one another because of completely irrelevant things happening in each state, each year at the same time? Or is it obvious that capital punishment is deterring capital crime and is the reason that allows for the numbers to rise and fall in sync with the number of times it is administered nationwide?

The answer will determine how you vote.


Voting Issue #1: My opponent provides no reason why it isn't morally acceptable, and I have established cases in where it is justifiable (& why).

This issue is to deal with appealing to the public. I have made the assertion that since capital punishment works in deterring crime & that it handles the most heinous offenses in a way that complies with the structure of our criminal justice system in giving the family closure by implementing retribution while deterring crime. It is important to not that my opponent has provided no moral grounds that capital punishment is bad. In fact, he's has established no reason why he feels it is wrong and has only led an attack on my case.

My opponent tries, in his latest round, to make the false equivalence of slavery and capital punishment, "Many things have been implemented by democracy which are not justified, such as slavery,"(ignoring that one punishes criminals and the other is attacking, torturing, demeaning and deeming innocent people property). He is right, if capital punishment was morally reprehensible then the popular vote would mean nothing. Being that it has not been established by him that it is, or even presented to be seen as such, in a democracy we are compelled to follow the will of the people.
My opponent states that retribution need not be death. In every instance, of course it wouldn't. In an ordinary instance, of course it wouldn't. Retribution is defined as something justly deserved given or demanded in repayment, especially punishment. My opponent's stance is very eloquently written with great articulation, but in the case of the most heinous offenses against children and the masses, it is clear what the families feel is justly deserved in repayment.







[1]http://online.wsj.com...

All info provided by

http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov...
https://www.ncjrs.gov...
http://thehill.com...
http://www.people-press.org...
http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...


I would like to thank my opponent in this debate. It is by far my most challenging one out of the 3 I've contributed to on the site!

Debate Round No. 3
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Bodhivaka 4 years ago
Bodhivaka
Thank you very much, David :)

It was certainly a interesting and challenging debate!
Posted by UltimateSkeptic 4 years ago
UltimateSkeptic
Congrats on your first win Lowell!
Posted by wiploc 4 years ago
wiploc
--- RFD Continued ---

I was impressed with Firstguy's argument from authority. 80% of the experts who study the matter think that executions do not deter crime? Wow. That should win the day for Firstguy even if he had the burden of proof, which he doesn't.

Secondguy was the first to claim an authority was on his side, but when faced with Firstguy's hugely more persuasive argument from authority, Secondguy said, in effect, "Authorities? Who cares about authorities. The cops are on my side. We should do what the cops want." [Note the "in effect" there. I am not actually quoting Secondguy.]

Conclusion: Secondguy needed to establish that executions prevent crime. He failed to establish that, so his case, which depended on that, also fails.

Victory: Firstguy.
Posted by wiploc 4 years ago
wiploc
RFD

Secondguy hung his hat on the claim that the death penalty reduces crime. If he fails to win that point, he must lose the debate. His case in support of that claim can be broken down into three parts.

1: The bald claim itself. Firstguy countered this with his own claim that Pro's claim is false. So this part is a wash.

2: a graph showing little correlation between the death penalty and crime. The graph does not seem to support Secondguy's claim. According to Secondguy's graph, sometimes executions go down when crime goes down, and sometimes executions go up when crime goes down.

So, between a bald claim countered and a graph that doesn't support his position, Secondguy's claim that executions deter crime fails. Therefore, since it depended on this, his whole case fails.

It wasn't necessary, given that Secondguy's case failed, but Firstguy also presented graphs. They show correlation between crime and death penalty. That is, if we assume that correlation implies causation, they show either that the death penalty causes crime, or that crime causes the death penalty. More executions = more crime.

I've always wondered whether people don't reverse the causation. That is, I suspect that where crime is rampant, people will be willing to try anything, including the death penalty, to suppress crime. If I'm right about that, then crime causes executions, rather than the other way around. But, note, Secondguy did not make this argument. So we are left with Firstguy's unrefuted claim that the death penalty causes crime.

--- continued ---
Posted by tulle 4 years ago
tulle
**Sorry, I meant I've read Pro's FIRST round and half of Con's second round.
Posted by tulle 4 years ago
tulle
Adding to favourites. I've read Pro's second round so far and I'm actually already convinced (I've always been Con capital punishmen). I got through half of Con's second round but I'm going to have to call it a night and come back to it later.
Posted by UltimateSkeptic 4 years ago
UltimateSkeptic
I disagree that all life is sacred, I don't find the lives of mass murderers, people who torture children or kill thousands for an agenda to be sacred at all.

Also, my opponent didn't on that premise. Would you like to debate that, specifically, at a later date?
Posted by charleslb 4 years ago
charleslb
As for the resoluton "capital punishment is justifiable", I beg to differ. No, capital punishment, statistics and charts notwithstanding, is in fact quite clearly never justifiable from a sacredness-of-life perspective. But alas all too many of us don't really look at the issue from such a life-affirming moral-spiritual point of view.
Posted by Bodhivaka 4 years ago
Bodhivaka
Ah, please disregard my first comment. I found the edit button. It was inconspicuously hidden right in front of my face.
Posted by Bodhivaka 4 years ago
Bodhivaka
Thank you for alerting me of this, UltimateSkeptic. This is the first debate I've attempted to have here, so I didn't even realize that I would have to post first every round. Is there any way I can edit the information I've posted? Or do I have to cancel this debate and open up another one with the corrected information?
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by The_Chaos_Heart 4 years ago
The_Chaos_Heart
BodhivakaUltimateSkepticTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: A good debate from both sides, but I feel Con did a better job at countering Pro's case. I feel Pro made several strong assertions as to why capital punishment is necessary, without ever really justifying why other methods could not be used. Pro also never really tackled the problem that arises with justifying killing someone by the state, but not the citizen.
Vote Placed by wiploc 4 years ago
wiploc
BodhivakaUltimateSkepticTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 4 years ago
RoyLatham
BodhivakaUltimateSkepticTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: It's difficult to sort out causes and effects in data. I think Pro's arguments are more compelling that the totals are better than comparison of states with and without capital punishment, for the reasons Pro argued. A poll is not convincing for some questions, such as scientific questions, but for "what is just" a poll in a free society is the best we can do. A good debate.