The death penalty is morally impermissible
Debate Rounds (4)
The judge should evaluate this round under a utilitarian framework, and maximize the body count, which increases the potential for value to life.
To prove that the death penalty is not morally impermissible, all i have to do is give one scenario where the death penalty would be permissible.
In many cases when the crime is severe, such as mass murder, the criminal deserves the death penalty. By giving the criminal the death penalty, we deter future criminals, reducing the crime rate. Also, if these criminals were allowed to return to society, they would pose the risk of threatening more people, therefore under the util framework the death penalty would be permissible.
"By giving the criminal the death penalty, we deter future criminals, reducing the crime rate."
According to studies, the death penalty is, at best, no more of a deterrent than a sentence of life in prison.  The opponent bears the burden of proving that it is, indeed, an effective deterrent. Otherwise, the argument is null.
Also, if these criminals were allowed to return to society, they would pose the risk of threatening more people, therefore under the util framework the death penalty would be permissible."
Life-time imprisonment does not allow criminals back into society, also.
The ultimate question is not whether or not a criminal deserves to die, but rather: Should the federal government be allowed to kill those whom it finds culpable? What suggests that the federal government, or, to be more specific, a representative of the government (i.e. a judge, who imposes the sentence) should be the arbitrator of life and death? There is no objective standard for the judge to go by, so the results of one trial can vary from one case to another; on both extremes of the spectrum, one judge may give a lenient jail sentence, while the other can impose the death sentence. What logically justifies the concept that the government should be the ultimate arbitrator of life and death?
addressing your life time penalty
You cite an article about how death penalty is no more of a deterrent than a sentence of life in prison, however there is an existential risk here. No matter how minute it is, under a util framework we must reduce these risks. People can break out of jail for example, although this is unlikely, it's possible (look at the shawshank redemption lol) However, nobody has committed a crime after they have died. Even though the risk may be small, it exists, and that is enough to make the death penalty morally permissible, to maximize the body count. i'm also assuming that you agree that it is more of a deterrent than a temporary sentence, as i didn't see any arguments there.
So you make an argument about how nobody has the right to decide whether someone should live or die. This is honestly quite simple to resolve. If there is a train heading towards five people on a railway track, and you have the option to switch the train's path to an alternate path where there is one person on a railway track, what would you do? supposedly under the util framework we would consider it morally permissible to switch the path to the one person. However, this is the equivalent of murdering that person. So what gave you the right to kill that person? It was because you wanted to save the most lives. similarly, a judge has the right to decide whether allowing the criminal to live or give him the death penalty will save the most lives. Sure there are flaws in this system, nobody is perfect, however, the risk of these criminals committing another crime or killing someone is enough to give them the death penalty.
Also, under your mindset, nothing would be accomplished as nobody would have the right to make any decisions. no further justification is needed, the ability to make decisions no matter if they are right or wrong is key to our survival.
Note that the "bringing criminals back into society" argument has been dropped.
The railroad example is a great example for why the value system for human life is flawed. You would prefer to kill one person rather than five, because of an emphasis on the value of the quantification of life. But should that be the case? What if you made this decision, but then you learned after that you killed a brilliant scientist and saved five bank robbers? The way we view things at face value is flawed. And we must remember that life has no definite value... We know the value of things within life, but life, in its greater context, is not understood by us and hence a value cannot be put on it.
Contrary to what the opponent states in his conclusion, people should most definitely have the right to make decisions; however, decisions regarding the death of a (supposedly guilty) human being should not be within the government's grasp.
It doesn't matter if the risk of someone escaping from prison is minuscule, this is just one of many scenarios where that person would cause further harm. You say that this is outweighed by grieving families and chances for wrongful conviction, but your wrongful conviction argument applies for your life time sentence alternative also, so there's no way it outweighs. Also, grieving families won't lead to deaths such as an escaped psychopath will, and a family will be sad enough that the criminal is going to spend life in prison.
Also, you seem to be saying that all criminals who would have gotten the death penalty would have gone to jail for life, yet this is not necessarily true, so this is another factor that makes the risk of allowing a criminal to live become unacceptable in order to save the most lives and increase the potential for value to life.
So let's take a look at the railroad example. You give an example where you place a brilliant scientist over five bank robbers. Once again, because we are thinking under a util framework, we want to maximize the body count. It is impossible to weigh the values of these people. this example is like saying, "oh, but that brilliant scientist went on invent a nuclear bomb and killed millions of people." as you can see, the only way to maximize the potential for value to life is to maximize the body count because the only time when a person's value to life is zero is when they're dead. As you say, we can't weigh people's value to lives ,so we need to maximize the body count.
I have not said that people should not have the right to make decisions, You were the one who said that people shouldn't have the right to decide who will live and die. you have not warranted why a death penalty should not be allowed, whereas i have. The death penalty maximizes the body count and this is best, making the death penalty not morally impermissible.
cherrytree forfeited this round.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by 1dustpelt 4 years ago
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