The Instigator
dkim
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
cherrytree
Pro (for)
Winning
2 Points

The death penalty is morally impermissible

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
cherrytree
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/16/2012 Category: Society
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,247 times Debate No: 22897
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (14)
Votes (1)

 

dkim

Con

I'm looking to debate about the resolution. I am defending that the death penalty is morally permissible.
Debate Round No. 1
dkim

Con

Thanks for accepting

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.
cherrytree

Pro

"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. [1] 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?

Than you.

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

Debate Round No. 2
dkim

Con

Alright cool
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.
cherrytree

Pro

The likelihood of someone escaping federal prison is minuscule. The difference between life in prison and death cannot be justified solely based on this barely existent chance. The risk is so small that it cannot alone justify the death sentence, considering that there are so many other factors involved. For example, counterbalancing this risk are the grieving families of the deceased, the chance for wrongful conviction, and others.

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.

Thanks.
Debate Round No. 3
dkim

Con

Sweet.
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

Pro

cherrytree forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Zaradi 5 years ago
Zaradi
If it was, I don't remember it. There's been a juveniles in court topic, but I dunno about a death penalty.
Posted by dkim 5 years ago
dkim
oh alright haha my bad... i think this has been an ld topic in the past, not sure though, so you probably have more knowledge of it than me.
Posted by Zaradi 5 years ago
Zaradi
No, I'm an LDer.
Posted by dkim 5 years ago
dkim
just a side question, are you a policy debater? if you are, do you run skepticism? from what i've heard it's more common in ld than policy
Posted by dkim 5 years ago
dkim
I'm fine with google docs, but I was really looking forward to less of a policy style debate, as I get the impression you have more experience and probably more skill than me and you would have a easy time beating me. I'm not used to debating out these more ld-ish topics i guess you could call them either, so yeah. i'll go with what you give me, but it'll be hard for me to debate you when i don't understand what you're talking about. on that note, i'm not sure what skepticism in the context of a debate argument is either XD.
Posted by Zaradi 5 years ago
Zaradi
Fair enough. I'm more familiar with skepticism anyway. One last question, though:

Is it okay if I post my case in a google document?
Posted by dkim 5 years ago
dkim
give me a break, i'm a novice and i'm not bishop guertin lol. I know who nietzsche is, dunno bout levinas though.
Posted by Zaradi 5 years ago
Zaradi
Lame. I wanted to run The Other on you, but if you're not familiar with Heiddeger, then you're probably not familiar with Levinas.

But everyone at least knows who Nietzsche is.
Posted by dkim 5 years ago
dkim
unfortunately i'm not familiar with philosophies such as those of heidegger, foucalt, etc, if you were thinking of running some kritik-like argument on me. I'll try to reason out your arguments, but if you post a zizek card i'm not going to have an easy time interpreting it. sorry.
Posted by Zaradi 5 years ago
Zaradi
Are you okay with philosophical arguments?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by 1dustpelt 5 years ago
1dustpelt
dkimcherrytreeTied
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Total points awarded:02 
Reasons for voting decision: Used a source