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The Forum > Article Comments > Philosophical arguments about religion at Christmas > Comments

Philosophical arguments about religion at Christmas : Comments

By Tristan Ewins, published 22/12/2017

In the light of the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse some people are claiming a general redundancy of Christianity, or even religion in general.

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. Dear AJ Philips, . You wrote : « There is much evidence to suggest that capital punishment actually has a brutalising effect on the societies that use it » - and you kindly provided a link to the source of your information. . I checked out those sites. Most of the research was about the pretended deterrent effect of capital punishment in the US. The findings are not unanimous. While most considered there was a “brutalising” effect, i.e., that executions stimulate the behaviour they are supposed to deter, one of the researchers, David P. Phillips, professor of sociology at the University of California, indicated exactly the opposite : « On the average, homicides decrease by 35.7% immediately following a publicized execution. The more publicity devoted to the execution, the more homicides decrease thereafter. This decrease apparently occurs because capital punishment has a short-term deterrent effect on homicides » Moreover, I wish to draw your attention to the fact that the US National Research Council warned in 2012 : « Many studies over the past few decades have sought to determine whether the death penalty has any deterrent effect on homicide rates. Researchers have reached widely varying, even contradictory, conclusions. Some studies have concluded that the threat of capital punishment deters murders, saving large numbers of lives; other studies have concluded that executions actually increase homicides; still others, that executions have no effect on murder rates » The Council concluded as follows : « The committee concludes that research to date is not informative about whether capital punishment decreases, increases, or has no effect on homicide rates. Therefore, these studies should not be used to inform deliberations requiring judgments about the effect of the death penalty on homicide. Claims that research demonstrates that capital punishment decreases or increases the homicide rate or has no effect on it should not influence policy judgments about capital punishment » Here is the executive summary of the full report : http://sites.nationalacademies.org/cs/groups/dbassesite/documents/webpage/dbasse_080967.pdf .
Posted by Banjo Paterson, Tuesday, 9 January 2018 7:00:09 AM
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.

Dear Not_Now.Soon,

.

I agree with your simple but eminently wise reflection (page 25 of this thread) in response to Ashbo’s request for justification of the death penalty :

« Justice, even if it is flawed justice, is better than injustice »
.

It reminds me of the debate on the question of the presumption of innocence regarding sex crimes, most of which go unpunished because of lack of material evidence and no witnesses.

Commenting on the doctrine in "A Treatise on Judicial Evidence" which he published in 1825 the English philosopher and jurist, Jeremy Bentham, wrote (Book VI, Chapter II, p. 198):

« At first it was said to be better to save several guilty men, than to condemn a single innocent man; others, to make the maxim more striking, fixed on the number ten, a third made this ten a hundred, and a fourth made it a thousand. All these candidates for the prize of humanity have been outstripped by I know not how many writers, who hold, that, in no case, ought an accused to be condemned, unless the evidence amount to mathematical or absolute certainty. According to this maxim, nobody ought to be punished, lest an innocent man be punished »

Bentham's premonition has proven to be true beyond all imagination. The scales of justice are so heavily weighted in favour of the guilty that the vast majority of sex offenders are never punished.
Not surprisingly, Bentham clearly takes the opposite position to the reigning doctrine (p.194):

« Between Plaintiff and Defendant, the presumption ought to be in favour of the former, to the prejudice of the latter. The probability in favour of the former, because he voluntarily submits his right to the decision of justice; but the defendant appears in spite of himself. The case in which it is the interest of the plaintiff to litigate in opposition to his own conviction, must always be rare … »

Though this may be seen as a radical departure and politically uncorrect, I couldn’t agree more, so far as sex crimes are concerned.

.
Posted by Banjo Paterson, Tuesday, 9 January 2018 7:50:09 AM
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ALTRAV,

That’s rather foolish of you if you’re still going to respond.

<<I give your posts a cursory glance these days.>>

It explains a lot of your strange responses on the other thread.

<<As for laying the blame on 'you the people', I do not include myself because I am aware of and always arguing for the people's participation in important matters and that we should keep on top of these scumbags.>>

And some don’t? Do tell.

<<Regarding the complete desertion of legal scumbags, good, it will make it easier to replace them with people who actually understand and live by the mantra of, 'duty of care', and not 'she'll be right mate'.>>

Like I said, though, you wouldn’t be able to replace them if they could be held responsible for executing an innocent.

<<As for juries, what an asinine idea in the first place. Asking a dozen morons to decide the fate of another.>>

Looks like I now have to educate you on the theory behind the utilisation of juries. I won’t bother, though, since you’ve admitted you don’t even read my posts properly. You can remain ignorant.

<<That's only because the judge hand-balled the unpopular decision so he could not be held accountable for a wrong conviction.>>

No, it’s not.

<<Honestly who are these twelve extremely intelligent people who can come up with the right decision every time?>>

They’re different all the time, and selected by ballot. Their decisions are usually reliable because they are directed by the judge.

Is there ANY area in which you are not completely ignorant? Surely, you’re knowledgeable in SOME field. Surely!

--

Dear Banjo Paterson,

I’m aware that the evidence for the brutalising effect is far from conclusive. That’s why I was careful with my wording when mentioning it to ALTRAV.

My main problem with the death penalty is that I view any risk of executing an innocent person to be unacceptable in societies that have the resources to utilise other options. Further to that, I find the idea of the State killing people, who are not enemy combatants, bizarre and unnerving.
Posted by AJ Philips, Wednesday, 10 January 2018 12:37:10 AM
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Well Philips as usual you attack anothers opinions or comments and replace them with questions. Stop spouting your imaginary wisdom.

If I say people are stupid and not interested in their own welfare I have good reason to say such things. You have no reason to the contrary.

I am not concerned with your explanation of juries or anything else for that matter. The system and the people entrusted to manage this country and all it's various services are too lax to be trusted to do the right thing.

Of course innocent people have been wrongly incarcerated both in the past and in the future.

As I keep trying to explain to you, every time you question a comment there is evidence of opposing views, which render neither mine or your comment the right one, but opinions.

I have at times researched your comments or rebuts, only to find conflicting views and opinions from various authors. So stop selling your version of events or at least stop rejecting comments from others.
Posted by ALTRAV, Wednesday, 10 January 2018 1:13:38 AM
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Philips, you 'view killing of an innocent person to be unacceptable'.

Well we agree on something, although small consolation for the 80 year old couple murdered in their sleep.

So you can tell who is innocent and who is guilty. You see your argument is flawed because the system everyone puts so much faith in fails all the time. No one wants to hear that.

Don't be obtuse, no one wants to execute an innocent man.

In the absence of truly committed compassionate people in positions of power, this is the crap we are left with.

Not withstanding your dislike for the death penalty, you will find a lot more people than you think are for it.

Research shows there is no conclusive evidence one way or another, so if you don't mind whether it's popular or not, it is MY opinion to go with the death penalty, and so, you can't fark with that.
Posted by ALTRAV, Wednesday, 10 January 2018 1:43:52 AM
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To ALTRAV, Banjo, Leo, Not_Now.Soon, Loudmouth, AJ Phillips

Leo: Lennie Lawson was 1st sentenced for a multiple rapes not murder. For the murder he was sentenced to life without parole, which was carried out – he died in prison.
Just so we are talking about the same thing, a paedophile has a sexual attraction to young children.
A paedophile may or may not sexually assault a child. Sexual assaults on children are not confined to paedophiles. Sexual assaults on children can result in a Life without parole sentence.
A Life without parole sentence was recently handed down in a NSW murder case.
Not_Now.Soon: Your justification for the death penalty is:” it’s a sure way to end a criminal”. May I assume this idea is based on the premise that criminal’s will re-offend upon release?
Loudmouth: In Australia judges have available a “Life without Parole” sentence. Any your examples are persuasive.
ALTRAV: May I say that how a person feels is not a justification.
AJ Phillips: I visited the website you recommended and found it very informative
Banjo: I read somewhere that in sentencing 4 “outcomes” must be addressed together: Retribution, Punishment, Community Protection, and Deterrence.
These are moral concepts (how we should treat each other).
Your justification for the death penalty - invoking a “Law of Nature” is open to the argument that nature “Just Is” and has nothing to say to us about how we should live our lives and how we should treat others. In the criminal justice system we discriminate as to how an offender is to be treated.
Posted by Ashbo, Wednesday, 10 January 2018 8:50:39 AM
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