Instigator / Con
0
1480
rating
2
debates
25.0%
won
Topic

Capital Punishment

Status
Finished

All stages have been completed. The voting points distribution and the result are presented below.

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After not so many votes...

It's a tie!
Parameters
More details
Publication date
Last update date
Category
Politics
Time for argument
Two days
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
One week
Point system
Four points
Rating mode
Rated
Characters per argument
10,000
Contender / Pro
0
1629
rating
16
debates
78.13%
won
Description
~ 172 / 5,000

This will debate will be about the pros and cons of capital punishment. I will be arguing against it. The opposition will be arguing for it. I look forward to this debate.

Round 1
Con
My argument is as follows:

The death penalty should be abolished for the following reasons:

1. The judicial system rests upon inductive reasoning as opposed to deductive reasoning. This means that although the premises may be strong for a given case there will always exist a degree of possibility that the conclusion is actually wrong. This inductive reasoning process
however
will be influenced by a degree of evidential support. But
evidence
is not proof. While proof exists in the highly abstract world of mathematics it does not exist in the judicial system.

2. The idea that the death penalty brings
a relief
of burden upon the victim’s family rests on nothing more than an illusion. What’s more, is that the supposed perpetrator is actually at peace once the execution is complete.

3. There is no objective justification for a group of humans to will it upon themselves to determine the fate of another being based purely on probability alone.


4.  The death penalty will not bring the victim back.

5. The death penalty has proven to be a non-effective deterrent in a number of countries.


I, therefore, conclude that the death penalty is abolished.




Pro
I thank my opponent for their swift reply and will begin my constructive.


some crimes cause the forfeiture of the right to life.

We, of course, recognize that rights can be restricted or revoked based on the actions of individuals. In prison, one does not possess the right to vote, the right to move freely, freedom of assembly, etc. There is no reason why the right to life should be any different. Note that we don't give the death penalty to just anyone who runs into trouble with the law. The death penalty is only ever given to the worst of the worst. People who rape and murder small children. Or annihilate entire families. When someone infringes upon the sanctity of someone else's life their own life is forfeit. It is also clear that the right to life is entirely restrictable. If someone is attempting to kill you, you have the right to defend yourself. This alone proves that the right to live is not immutable and can be forfeited through your own actions. The most heinous crimes a person can commit cry out for the kind of retributive justice that Capital punishment provides.


taxing victims to pay for perpetrators.

It is an injustice for the families of murder victims to have to pay taxes to house, feed, and otherwise sustain the people who tore their families apart. It is especially evident because the worst criminals among us can't be kept in the general population of the prison or the other inmates will harm them. They have to be kept separately in private wings which costs even more. All at the taxpayers, the victims, expense.


Constitutionality

The only way that pro could enact the resolution in any practical sense would be to have the federal government force all of the states to abolish the death penalty. (I don't know if you're American or not, but judging by the fact that you're awake now I at least know you're not European.) This would be an overstep of the boundaries placed around the federal government in a blatant violation of the 10th amendment.


rebuttals



inductive vs. deductive reasoning.

the statement that the legal system relies solely on inductive reasoning is not even true. Deductive reasoning can often be recognized by its use of if-then statements. For example. If the suspect was found at the scene of the crime covered in blood and holding the murder weapon, then the suspect most likely murdered the victim. On that point, he also says that because there could be a sliver of possibility that this suspect didn't commit the murder then we can't execute him. At that point you aren't justified in believing anything. Take science for instance. Nothing is proven in science. Ever. You can never be 100% certain of anything. Yet you trust that when you jump gravity isn't going to fail and send you flying off into space. Because although you can never be 100% certain that the law of gravity doesn't have exceptions you can trust that it probably doesn't. While my opponent's argument certainly shows that we need to be careful in our application of the death penalty and only apply it when we are sure that the suspect is guilty, it does nothing to show that we should not use our near certainty to administer justice. It's also important to note that of all of the people who have been executed and later exonerated, they have almost exclusively been convicted in a time before DNA analysis existed and were later exonerated by DNA analysis. Today the odds of a false conviction for a capital offense are extraordinarily low. It also bears noting that the convict has the ability to appeal and will not be executed for many years. Plenty of time for new evidence to surface. 

My opponent also claims that "evidence is not proof" by that he means proof in the mathematical sense like the way you can prove that a triangle has three sides. By that logic, there is no proof that gravity exists. Yet, we all believe that it does.

Moreover, say the suspect is a Charles Manson looking guy. Pentagram tattooed on his forehead and he brags about his murders in court. There can be no reasonable doubt that this guy is guilty. Do you still oppose the death penalty? if so, then you object to the death penalty on principle not because he could be innocent. In which case this argument isn't the real reason that you oppose the death penalty.


does not fully alleviate the burden on the families.

Nothing can ever relieve the emotional burden on the families that are affected by horrible crimes. But justice has been done. They get retribution. Just because punishing the perpetrator will not alleviate the burden on families is not a good reason to not punish them.

the perpetrator is at peace

I don't believe that he is. But that's a debate for another time. Even If I was an atheist and didn't believe in hell, I still wouldn't care. You haven't provided a warrant for this argument. Why does it matter that the perpetrator has found "peace" in nonexistence?


we can't determine the fate of another person based on probability alone.

Of course, we can. We do it all of the time. Every prison sentence is given based on probability. After the probability of their guilt has risen beyond a reasonable doubt, we determine their fate. This argument is untrue on its face.


the death penalty will not bring the victim back

Neither will a life sentence. Is your argument that we should never punish them at all because it won't bring the victim back? If we can punish them despite that not resurrecting the victim, then why can't we execute them?


The death penalty is an ineffective deterrent.

This argument is actually a strong point in my favor. There's no point in attempting to rehabilitate someone so psychopathic that not even the threat of death deters them from committing terrible crimes. One of the symptoms of psychopathy is that the threat of punishment doesn't deter them. Again, if they aren't deterred by punishment, should we just not punish them at all? And if we can punish them despite punishment being ineffective, why can't we execute them?


Because most of my opponent's arguments lack effective warrants or are invalid, I conclude that the Death Penalty should not be abolished. 



References:
Round 2
Con
Firstly, thanks to my opponent for their quick acceptance and their reply. Also, apologies for delays in responses as my time is currently limited.


rebuttals



inductive vs. deductive reasoning.

the statement that the legal system relies solely on inductive reasoning is not even true. Deductive reasoning can often be recognized by its use of if-then statements. For example. If the suspect was found at the scene of the crime covered in blood and holding the murder weapon, then the suspect most likely murdered the victim. On that point, he also says that because there could be a sliver of possibility that this suspect didn't commit the murder then we can't execute him. At that point you aren't justified in believing anything. Take science for instance. Nothing is proven in science. Ever. You can never be 100% certain of anything. Yet you trust that when you jump gravity isn't going to fail and send you flying off into space. Because although you can never be 100% certain that the law of gravity doesn't have exceptions you can trust that it probably doesn't. While my opponent's argument certainly shows that we need to be careful in our application of the death penalty and only apply it when we are sure that the suspect is guilty, it does nothing to show that we should not use our near certainty to administer justice. It's also important to note that of all of the people who have been executed and later exonerated, they have almost exclusively been convicted in a time before DNA analysis existed and were later exonerated by DNA analysis. Today the odds of a false conviction for a capital offense are extraordinarily low. It also bears noting that the convict has the ability to appeal and will not be executed for many years. Plenty of time for new evidence to surface. 

My opponent also claims that "evidence is not proof" by that he means proof in the mathematical sense like the way you can prove that a triangle has three sides. By that logic, there is no proof that gravity exists. Yet, we all believe that it does.

Moreover, say the suspect is a Charles Manson looking guy. Pentagram tattooed on his forehead and he brags about his murders in court. There can be no reasonable doubt that this guy is guilty. Do you still oppose the death penalty? if so, then you object to the death penalty on principle not because he could be innocent. In which case this argument isn't the real reason that you oppose the death penalty.
Firstly, I would just like to point out that I didn't say that the legal system relies "solely" on inductive reasoning. I did say however that it does rest upon inductive reasoning as opposed to deductive reasoning, meaning that in the vast majority of cases it is grounded in inductive reasoning. I will grant that there may indeed be instances where the deductive reasoning is taking place in a court case. However, the courts generally do not work like this; and it would be a very impractical and long-winded process if it did. 

Furthermore, while I generally adhere to the idea that we should live our lives according to probabilities I draw the line when it comes to determining the life or death of another individual. In workforces in a number of countries, the health & safety also work according to probabilities as well as possibilities; the idea is to mitigate as much risk as possible as well as probable to a workers life and wellbeing. In this respect, an appeal to possibility is indeed justified. 

Yes, my claim is that "evidence is not proof." While this does apply to mathematics I am almost certain it can apply to other things too such as deductive proofs in formal logic and argumentation. Also, it is not scientific to say that there is "proof" of gravity; it is, however, more appropriate for scientists to talk about the degree of evidential support for gravity which I believe is very high. Nonetheless, pondering abstract ideas of physics is very different from deciding whether a person should live or die.

In regards to the bit about Charles Manson, all I can say here is that I disagree that one can conclude that someone is guilty of murder solely on the basis that they're going around like a lunatic shouting about it.


does not fully alleviate the burden on the families.

Nothing can ever relieve the emotional burden on the families that are affected by horrible crimes. But justice has been done. They get retribution. Just because punishing the perpetrator will not alleviate the burden on families is not a good reason to not punish them.
I do not see the death penalty as an adequate form of punishment. I do see that the end of their life equates to the end of their suffering while alive though. Moreover, I do not like to think here in terms of punishment. I believe we should think in terms of rehabilitation if possible and keeping society safe from perpetrators through incarceration. Of course in some instances rehabilitation may not be possible and the crimes that were committed too severe, and so the most plausible solution I ascribe to is having them incarcerated for life for the safety of the pubic. 

the perpetrator is at peace

I don't believe that he is. But that's a debate for another time. Even If I was an atheist and didn't believe in hell, I still wouldn't care. You haven't provided a warrant for this argument. Why does it matter that the perpetrator has found "peace" in nonexistence?

This bit is actually relevant. I think the word "peace" is being confused. I will be more specific; when a person's life has ended they are no longer enduring any form of punishment or suffering, at least according to the way we know of punishment and suffering. Therefore, at the end of it all,
the death penalty isn't really a penalty; it's merely just an execution. What is irrelevant is to whether or not you believe they may be in hell or not; this, however,
is rested on faith and does not make for a very strong argument.

we can't determine the fate of another person based on probability alone.

Of course, we can. We do it all of the time. Every prison sentence is given based on probability. After the probability of their guilt has risen beyond a reasonable doubt, we determine their fate. This argument is untrue on its face.
When talking about fate I meant we can't or at least shouldn't decide to take the life of another based on pure probability alone. Incarceration is very different from willing it upon oneself to decide whether or not someone else should be put to death.

the death penalty will not bring the victim back

Neither will a life sentence. Is your argument that we should never punish them at all because it won't bring the victim back? If we can punish them despite that not resurrecting the victim, then why can't we execute them?
The point I was trying to make here is that one of the arguments for the death penalty is because it brings some sort of relief of burden. I, however, disagree with this idea and think it's no more than just an illusion. In regards to punishments that is a matter of subjective opinion. Objectively speaking a perpertrator still needs to be incarcarate to avoid being posed as a threat to the public. So in that respect no, prison or death as forms of punishment will not bring anyone back of course, but we still need to mitigate threats and risks to the rest of society. 


The death penalty is an ineffective deterrent.

This argument is actually a strong point in my favor. There's no point in attempting to rehabilitate someone so psychopathic that not even the threat of death deters them from committing terrible crimes. One of the symptoms of psychopathy is that the threat of punishment doesn't deter them. Again, if they aren't deterred by punishment, should we just not punish them at all? And if we can punish them despite punishment being ineffective, why can't we execute them?
Firstly, I fail to see how this is a strong point in the opposition's favor. However, as I said above the legal system isn't and/or should not be purely based on mere punishment. When considering the safety of the public incarceration as prevention is a viable and plausible option. 

Because most of my opponent's arguments lack effective warrants or are invalid, I conclude that the Death Penalty should not be abolished. 

This is just a bold assertion that is a matter of subjective opinion that is best left to outside voters. Even so, I will contend that the opposition hasn't provided strong enough premises as to why my arguments are not warranted and/or invalid. That being said, both of our arguments could actually be invalid at least in the formally logical sense of argumentation. However, I am not sure if my opponent was using the term "valid" in that particular sense. Anyway, I digress, this is a debate about capital punishment; not argumentation itself.

Furthermore, I will actually credit my opponent on their constructive which I will grant them as having very good and strong points. The rebuttals though, not so much. With all this being said, however, I still contend that the death penalty is abolished and that I have provided strong arguments for them.
Pro
Firstly, I would just like to point out that I didn't say that the legal system relies "solely" on inductive reasoning. I did say however that it does rest upon inductive reasoning as opposed to deductive reasoning, meaning that in the vast majority of cases it is grounded in inductive reasoning. I will grant that there may indeed be instances where the deductive reasoning is taking place in a court case. However, the courts generally do not work like this; and it would be a very impractical and long-winded process if it did.  
Okay, so in those cases where deductive reasoning is applied should the death penalty be permissible? if that's the case then the resolution is not affirmed. If it is then this is a moot argument because you object to the death penalty as a matter of principle. In which case I have to ask why. Also, if this means that we can't execute anyone after many years of waiting, why can we lock someone up for life? even if they're exonerated after 30 years that's still 30 years they'll never get back. If we can't trust our legal system to be accurate are we really justified in dealing out any punishment?

Furthermore, while I generally adhere to the idea that we should live our lives according to probabilities I draw the line when it comes to determining the life or death of another individual. In workforces in a number of countries, the health & safety also work according to probabilities as well as possibilities; the idea is to mitigate as much risk as possible as well as probable to a workers life and wellbeing. In this respect, an appeal to possibility is indeed justified.  
First off, it's not that we should use probability to guide our decisions, it's that we DO. All science and valid decision making is based on probability. there is absolutely no reason why we should throw out our most basic tool for making decisions in this instance. our legal system necessitates that guilt is proven beyond a reasonable doubt. If you don't trust that this is a valid standard then our legal system is fundamentally flawed and we can't be justified in ever using it. I also still hold that this argument is really a red herring. It seems to me that even if there was incontrovertible proof say, video evidence, that a murderer was guilty that you would still oppose the death penalty. Which means that point has little to nothing to do with your reasons for opposing the death penalty. 

Moreover, it can be easily seen that executing prisoners can actually save more lives than the infinitesimal number of potential wrongfully convicted death penalty recipients. Keeping murderers alive puts other inmates at risk, prison guards, civilians in the event of escape or early release.



Yes, my claim is that "evidence is not proof." While this does apply to mathematics I am almost certain it can apply to other things too such as deductive proofs in formal logic and argumentation. Also, it is not scientific to say that there is "proof" of gravity; it is, however, more appropriate for scientists to talk about the degree of evidential support for gravity which I believe is very high. Nonetheless, pondering abstract ideas of physics is very different from deciding whether a person should live or die. 
I believe that there is proof of gravity. Because I believe that evidence sufficient to dispel any reasonable doubt constitutes proof. There is sufficient evidence to dispel any reasonable doubt that gravity exists, therefore, I believe there is proof that gravity exists. In the same way, if the evidence that a suspect committed a crime rises to that standard (which is necessary for conviction) then I believe there is proof of guilt. I wouldn't call gravity "abstract ideas of physics" it is a very real physical force in the universe. If we can prove that gravity exists beyond a reasonable doubt then we can do the same for criminals.


In regards to the bit about Charles Manson, all I can say here is that I disagree that one can conclude that someone is guilty of murder solely on the basis that they're going around like a lunatic shouting about it. 
If confessions aren't good enough to prove guilt, then there is no way to ever reliably convict someone and we should just abandon this "nation of laws" concept.


I do not see the death penalty as an adequate form of punishment. I do see that the end of their life equates to the end of their suffering while alive though. Moreover, I do not like to think here in terms of punishment. I believe we should think in terms of rehabilitation if possible and keeping society safe from perpetrators through incarceration. Of course in some instances rehabilitation may not be possible and the crimes that were committed too severe, and so the most plausible solution I ascribe to is having them incarcerated for life for the safety of the pubic.  
First, our legal system isn't about inflicting suffering. see the 8th amendment. It's about justice. You'll also note that I posted a reference in my first post which outlines why these criminals can't be cured. They can't be rehabilitated. If your concern is to ensure the safety of the public, there is only one surefire way to do that. Capital punishment.


This bit is actually relevant. I think the word "peace" is being confused. I will be more specific; when a person's life has ended they are no longer enduring any form of punishment or suffering, at least according to the way we know of punishment and suffering. Therefore, at the end of it all,
the death penalty isn't really a penalty; it's merely just an execution. What is irrelevant is to whether or not you believe they may be in hell or not; this, however,
is rested on faith and does not make for a very strong argument. 
So your warrant is that ending the life of the criminal ends suffering and we should make them suffer. Again, this isn't what our legal system is designed for. We aren't in the business of suffering. We're in the business of justice. Losing your life is a penalty. The ultimate penalty. There's a reason the victims of these criminals probably begged for their lives before they were murdered. They didn't want to lose their lives. Once your life is taken, nothing more can be taken from you.


When talking about fate I meant we can't or at least shouldn't decide to take the life of another based on pure probability alone. Incarceration is very different from willing it upon oneself to decide whether or not someone else should be put to death. 

There's really nothing for me to respond to here. He still hasn't explained why this claim is true. Just stated that it is. I have provided actual arguments as to why probability when rising to the level of being beyond a reasonable doubt is sufficient to allow us to administer justice.



The point I was trying to make here is that one of the arguments for the death penalty is because it brings some sort of relief of burden. I, however, disagree with this idea and think it's no more than just an illusion. In regards to punishments that is a matter of subjective opinion. Objectively speaking a perpertrator still needs to be incarcarate to avoid being posed as a threat to the public. So in that respect no, prison or death as forms of punishment will not bring anyone back of course, but we still need to mitigate threats and risks to the rest of society. 
That's not what you said. But okay. I point you to when I answered that argument already.


Firstly, I fail to see how this is a strong point in the opposition's favor. However, as I said above the legal system isn't and/or should not be purely based on mere punishment. When considering the safety of the public incarceration as prevention is a viable and plausible option.  
If the legal system is not for punishment then what is it for? rehabilitation? we've already established, and you haven't denied, that rehabilitation is impossible in these cases. Public safety? you still haven't explained why we can't achieve that through the death penalty. And I've already explained why even life imprisonment fails to actually achieve that goal.

dropped arguments.


The following arguments were entirely ignored by my opponent.

1. taxing victims to pay for perpetrators
2. some crimes cause the forfeiture of the right to live. (kind of a big one.)
3. constitutionality.

please vote pro.









Round 3
Con
Forfeited
Pro
extend my arguments.
Round 4
Con
Forfeited
Pro
Extend my arguments.
Round 5
Con
Forfeited
Pro
Forfeited