the dual death discernment discussion

Apr 2019
189
146
ninth and hennepin
#1
In our society , murder is generally considered wrong.

However there are two situations in our civil society where people debate the killing of another human.

These are the death penalty and abortion.

people have often have strong opinions on both.



So I wonder, where do you stand on each mode of death and what philosophical approach brings you there?

I will post my opinion of each after a few have gone first.
 
Likes: johnflesh
Jul 2013
54,969
59,240
Nashville, TN
#2
Abortion is not murder any more than using a condom or a IUD is not murder. What a woman does with her own body is no ones business but her own. Most civilized countries have outlawed the death penalty and legalized abortion, why would we want to be more like Saudi Arabia than Canada?
 

Ian Jeffrey

Council Hall
Mar 2013
75,159
43,876
Vulcan, down the street from Darth Vader
#3
In our society , murder is generally considered wrong.

However there are two situations in our civil society where people debate the killing of another human.

These are the death penalty and abortion.

people have often have strong opinions on both.



So I wonder, where do you stand on each mode of death and what philosophical approach brings you there?

I will post my opinion of each after a few have gone first.
The two situations are not comparable. With abortion, no person has yet been born, so it is not "killing [] another human." The longer the fetus gestates, of course, the more it becomes a gray area, which is why abortions are limitable after the first trimester (and especially into the third).

With the death penalty, I have two objections:

1) Procedural: We have had too many people on death row found to be innocent due to DNA or other evidence that was ignored earlier. This suggests we have some sort of systemic problem in how we determine guilt - not just in murder cases, but across the board. If the person is put to death, it is irreversible. At least with life (or other long-term) imprisonment, a person found innocent can be released with some sort of compensation.

2) Ethical: Killing someone has an effect on the killer as well as the condemned, and thus upon society as well. We may not be bloodthirsty as individuals, but on the philosophical level we can become bloodthirsty as a society, and acting on that would only increase the phenomenon. Assuming this is not a desirable trait - and that assumption is justified since we deem murder to be morally wrong - we damage ourselves as a society (as well as the individuals directly involved) by killing offenders, and moral vigilance requires that we abstain from such behavior, even if only for our own sakes.

Along related lines, while the death penalty is prescribed in the Torah for certain offenses, the Talmud (Mishnah + Gemara) establishes the authority and conditions of the Sanhedrin in terms of whether the death penalty can be imposed. Given how difficult it is to meet the requirements to impose the death penalty, a Sanhedrin that executed as much as one person in 70 years was considered extremely bloodthirsty.
 
Likes: jacobfitcher
Mar 2019
2,385
1,321
Down a back road turn south on a gravel drive
#4
Abortion is murder unless you're saving a life of the mother.

I believe in the death penalty because of the Israelites had it in the Old Testament. It's helpful to society to have it, it purges the evil people from society, and it's helpful to the individual who committed murder. It helps the evil murderous person know after what point he will cease to live and by then he better repent and get right with God.
 

Ian Jeffrey

Council Hall
Mar 2013
75,159
43,876
Vulcan, down the street from Darth Vader
#5
I believe in the death penalty because of the Israelites had it in the Old Testament.
See above my notes about the Torah (written and oral) and what it provides about the death penalty. While it was prescribed, it was extremely difficult to implement, and in fact was probably practically impossible.
 
Feb 2011
17,484
11,986
The formerly great golden state
#6
These are two separate issues altogether.
One is about how much power we want to give to the government. IMO, being able to put people to death is too much power to the state. The judicial system all too often gets it wrong, resulting in the wrong people being imprisoned, while the guilty go free and often murder again.

The other is about what constitutes a human being. If it is really a unique DNA, created at conception, then some interesting questions arise:

If my father had used a condom on that critical occasion, would I exist?
What if a different sperm had entered the egg, would I exist, or would someone else exist in my place?
What if my mother had aborted me, would I exist?

If a human being is nothing more than a unique DNA, then the answer to the above has to be no.

If a human being is an immortal spirit in temporary possession of a body, then the answer is a clear yes.

It all depends on what you believe.
 

johnflesh

Former Staff
Feb 2007
26,161
18,627
Colorado
#7
I am against/at odds with both methods of ending life. Our species can figure out a different way to deal with unwanted people. In fact we have.

This comment does not include abortions for medical purposes.
 
Jun 2014
47,379
47,402
United States
#8
The two situations are not comparable. With abortion, no person has yet been born, so it is not "killing [] another human." The longer the fetus gestates, of course, the more it becomes a gray area, which is why abortions are limitable after the first trimester (and especially into the third).

With the death penalty, I have two objections:

1) Procedural: We have had too many people on death row found to be innocent due to DNA or other evidence that was ignored earlier. This suggests we have some sort of systemic problem in how we determine guilt - not just in murder cases, but across the board. If the person is put to death, it is irreversible. At least with life (or other long-term) imprisonment, a person found innocent can be released with some sort of compensation.

2) Ethical: Killing someone has an effect on the killer as well as the condemned, and thus upon society as well. We may not be bloodthirsty as individuals, but on the philosophical level we can become bloodthirsty as a society, and acting on that would only increase the phenomenon. Assuming this is not a desirable trait - and that assumption is justified since we deem murder to be morally wrong - we damage ourselves as a society (as well as the individuals directly involved) by killing offenders, and moral vigilance requires that we abstain from such behavior, even if only for our own sakes.

Along related lines, while the death penalty is prescribed in the Torah for certain offenses, the Talmud (Mishnah + Gemara) establishes the authority and conditions of the Sanhedrin in terms of whether the death penalty can be imposed. Given how difficult it is to meet the requirements to impose the death penalty, a Sanhedrin that executed as much as one person in 70 years was considered extremely bloodthirsty.

The OP poses a quite obviously false equivalence, and therefore merits no serious debate.

There could be an interesting philosophical debate to be had regarding murder vs. self defense, capital punishment, killing by accident or the killing of enemies in war -- if this OP were not merely thinly veiled click-bait to promote a partisan anti-abortion screed.
 
Jul 2011
78,507
44,234
Memphis, Tn.
#9
Abortion is murder unless you're saving a life of the mother.

I believe in the death penalty because of the Israelites had it in the Old Testament. It's helpful to society to have it, it purges the evil people from society, and it's helpful to the individual who committed murder. It helps the evil murderous person know after what point he will cease to live and by then he better repent and get right with God.
Why in the fuck would anyone care that some tribal people in a middle eastern desert 3,000 year ago had the death penality???