March Beginner's Tournament 2016 Round 1: The US should retain the death penalty.
Debate Rounds (4)
Full Resolution: The United States should retain the death penalty.
Retain: "To keep in possession or use" (http://www.merriam-webster.com...)
Death Penalty: "Death execution imposed in a court of law as punishment for a crime" (http://www.merriam-webster.com...)
Round 1: Acceptance ONLY
Round 2: Presentation of Arguments
Round 3: Arguments and Rebuttals
Round 4: Arguments,Rebuttals and Conclusion
This challenge is issued to Tyler_Putney(http://www.debate.org...) as part of our March Beginner's Tournament. The topics were already agreed beforehand and since both of us liked it, I'd figured that this should be our topic.There were no specifics so I assume both of us will debate such motion in a free for all manner, be it philosophy, legal or statistics.
Good Luck Tyler.
Thanks for having me.
The Philosophical implications surrounding Capital Punishment
Criminals worthy of capital punishment are usually sentenced with a lethal injection, a 3 drug combination medically driven to put their heart beat to a permanent stop (1.http://tinyurl.com...). Complications often arise with what drug to use, and whether it is ethical to execute criminals who have committed harsh crimes because often so the justice system runs the risk of "supposedly" executing those who are innocent. Other implications may involve its "humane" use and whether the state ought to execute those with the least possible pain or with the most pain, assuming the state has a particular interest in retributivist forms of justice (2.http://link.springer.com...). I will argue that in each instance, there are reasonable premises to retain the use of death penalty and that abolishing it now is nothing but a premature reaction from a premature society.
Most of the methods of death penalty are justified through psychological hedonism
Most countries are aware that the death penalty is one of the worst and most agonizing experiences for any human being. The psychological thought of unending pain, humiliation and death alone are enough to discredit its use in society. However, most opponents have utterly failed to acknowledge that this issue is a matter of psychology and its use will ultimately rest on "pain and pleasure".
Jeremy Bentham have argued that human nature is driven only by its pain and pleasure mechanism. In a statement he wrote:
"Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as to determine what we shall do. On the one hand the standard of right and wrong, on the other the chain of causes and effects, are fastened to their throne. They govern us in all we do, in all we say, in all we think: every effort we can make to throw off our subjection, will serve but to demonstrate and confirm it." (3.http://www.iep.utm.edu...)
Jeremy refers every action and consequence must be measured according to this principle. If we experience pain, we react to it in accordance with it's intensity. if we experience pleasure, we savor it in accordance with how well we adapt to it. Newer stimulus will likely have a larger impact. Both aspects are intended to drive human beings into his or her own needs and wants.
An empirical observation of human nature does apply to capital punishment. In Capital Punishment, there are moral imperatives for authority figures is to execute those guilty in a way that delivers the least amount of pain. This is to ensure that the intended sentence have no extraneous variables and that on balance, the deliverance of death is swift and without any extraneous moral complications. If it delivers, justice is served in accordance with its sentence.
Neuroscientific evidence of pain and pleasure
Critics have argued that the philosophy which Bentham advocates needs a more thorough study proving that humans do in fact experience what Bentham perceives them to be. However, they are unaware that researchers have done so. Studies proving pleasure and pain have been demonstrated through scans of Opiods (4.http://tinyurl.com...). Solomon and Candace, neurosciences at John Hopkins University (4) have observed a receptor's response to opiods. The receptors are associated with both semantic memories and episodic memories, in the same way that visual information is associated with emotions. Initially, the experiment found that the receptors first response was as a result of visual processing, the way in which humans internalize and assess the environment around them. Greater opiod receptors associated with pleasure have been detected once test subjects reached this stage. Once the information is processed, there was even a higher amount of receptors than what was previous, demonstrating a clear reaction to pleasure.
Criticism towards this points to the fact that it is unlikely that visual imaging delivers pain or pleasure. This is untrue, as researchers pointed out that the brain conducts itself in an associative manner (5.http://condition.org...). When our eyes and ears deliver sensory experiences, the neurons involved will travel further to both our central nervous system and our brain for further "interpretive questioning".
Irving Biederman, Edward A. Vessel summarized this in a better way.
"These areas are activated when the brain tries to interpret what it's seeing or hearing. If a stimulus contains a great deal of interpretable information, it should lead to more neural activity in the association areas and hence to a greater release of endomorphins and increased stimulation of mu-opioid receptors. As more opioid receptors are stimulated, there should be a boost in the pleasant effects associated with opioids. So, for example, a visual stimulus that elicits many episodic or semantic memories should be more pleasing (or more interesting) than a stimulus that brings forth fewer mental associations." (5) ~ Biederman,Vessel
From a neuroscientific viewpoint, it is clear that pain and pleasure exists. From a philosophical viewpoint, it is clear that moral dilemmas must be weighed based on the consequences of the circumstances surrounding each event. In this case, it was the death penalty.
Companies should halt it's anti-death penalty rhetoric and start the resale of anesthetic and paralysis drugs to state officials
The reason that states are running out of lethal injection drugs is that companies refuse to sell them, or even produce them, in protest to the supposedly shaky premise that the death penalty often holds(6.http://tinyurl.com...). The assumption that most companies hold are uninformed and mostly false as the philosophical framework for death penalty have been justified. Lethal Injection is the most humane way of delivering a death sentence, and to hinder it is to cause further moral dilemmas that will cumulatively result in more harm.
An example can be seen from a recent execution that took place in Arizona where lethal injection was imposed on a convicted felon (7.http://tinyurl.com...). State officials had to take the required drugs from other countries, given how difficult it is to obtain them locally. Shortage of drugs is unlikely the case as companies continue to defy the selling of anesthetic drugs for use of lethal injection trials (8.http://tinyurl.com...) as part of an anti-death penalty campaign (9.http://tinyurl.com...). Hospira, a pharmaceutical company well known for the selling of it's anesthetic drugs have directly refused the state's need for lethal injection drugs. In a statement of defiance, they publicly state "we do not support the use of any of our products in capital punishment procedures"(9). The state have a mandate to enact justice where injustices have been observed, particularly in the role of mass murders. To refuse to sell to them as an act of defiance is failing the obligation to fulfill moral imperatives of justice.
Cases where death penalty is justified
The simplest proof that a death penalty needs is a place where mass killings have been taken place. Massive shootings at local schools or the shooting sprees conducted by serial killers all have provided instances where justice is needed. The Nuremberg trials (10.http://tinyurl.com...) is the best example to illustrate such case.
The trial was conducted against Senior Nazi officials such as Hermann Goring, Keitel and other senior SS officers including Ernst Kaltenbrunner. The heads of Nazi officials have been known to sign mass execution orders such as Katyn Massacres and Auschwitz (http://tinyurl.com...)(11.http://tinyurl.com...) which have cumulatively result in deaths totaling over 900,000. These are cases where the loss of life have been observed and that justice is required to serve those guilty of such atrocities.
Deviance and Social Control
A sense of security is what society needs. Humans are social animals, we communicate via norms to make consensus possible. Consensus exist as a social control that confers individuals the right to a social life (12.http://www3.ncc.edu...). Deviance is a defiance of social norms(12) and this may involve mass killings perpetrated by Serial Killers. When society internalize the role that individuals have no right to harm each other, therein lies the established norm. Once violated, it is then termed as deviance(12). What serial killers did is a clear violation of such norm.
Emile Durkheim, a pioneer of the term "organic solidarity" have argued that parts of society are interdependent on each other (13.http://www.iep.utm.edu...). Society is divided into different parts, based on the specialization that the individual possess (13). An individual studying the effects of zero gravity specializes in astronomy, of how zero gravity may affect the calcium content or how radiation takes place in outer space. In contrast, a person studying comparative religion specializes in religious understanding. The effects of zero gravity allows astronomers to tweak their shuttle programs to minimize the health consequences of space, and specialists in religion helps promote religious understanding. Thus, both individuals fulfill different parts of their role in society. Collectively, each of them fulfill and made what was now known as society.
A disruption into the system is an anomie (14.http://www.brooklynsoc.org...) which means harm is done to the society because the seats which individuals once fulfilled are left vacant. In order to balance this anomie, it is required that death penalty be sentenced on felons. The balance it provides is crucial for the solidarity and social order of society.
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