Death Penalty redux

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    HMC Rich

    I find this interesting….

    You said MM…..Scientific theories, models and laws continue to be accepted … up to the point that models and laws cease being predictive, the observations warrant changes, etc. A new model is put forth, the evidence *corroborates* (not confirm … that’s the vile language of induction!) … rinse … repeat … wipe hands on pants.

    We skeptics of the science used to claim absolute certainty for anthropogenic climate change see the IPCC models not corroborating what they said is causing man made climate change.

    Our gripe is that flawed scientific theories should not be the basis for taxing all humans. Most of us believe in climate change. I don’t know of anyone who on a side note doesn’t agree pollution harms the environment.

    Most of us want proof from the models that show the predicted results, not a bunch of … I am a scientist… trust me.

    Well I am a tax payer and if you want to use my money show me the proof.

    Dammit Jim, I’m a taxpayer not a scientist!!!

    Oh yeah, the topic. No Death Penalty. Let the inmates take out the really bad guys like they did Dahmer. Being locked up in solitary confinement would be worse than death in my opinion.


    WF …

    (Sorry for the late reply)

    “Or maybe this is a better way to frame my thought: For your assumption to be true, NOTHING can be certain. For my assumption to be true, SOMETHING, ANYTHING can be certain.”

    You’ve found the fatal flaw that I mentioned earlier. In a philosophy class, it’s sometimes expressed as this:

    Suppose that you’re in charge of building a bridge and you have two bridge diagrams in front of you:

    Bridge 1 was designed by a firm employing lots of engineering and math geeks and this company has designed many great bridges previously.

    Bridge 2 was drawn by a five-year old in a rather nice Cornflower Blue crayon.

    So which design are you choosing? If you choose Bridge 1 … Induction! Uh-oh!

    But clearly, that would seem to be the right answer (us bridge-travelers hope you’d choose the first one!).

    And I don’t know how this dilemma is solved. Maybe there’s a big-“T” Truth that is the domain of *absolute* certainty, and a little-“t” truth that is good enough for most of us … most of the time? </shrug>

    So …

    “And that is, those elements of change are not on point. What we’re attempting to determine is whether it is possible to determine if a crime was committed by a specific individual.”

    You initially used the phrase “ZERO doubt,” which I take to mean “ABSOLUTE certainty.” My position (and the catalyst for my ramblings) is that such a thing as “ZERO doubt” is impossible. Trying to limbo underneath “REASONABLE doubt” is about the best that we humans can do (especially if we want any sort of legal system), and anything more than “REASONABLE doubt” enters into the realm of the supernatural (Tarot cards, palm-reading, religion, horoscopes, John Edward, etc.).

    And regarding those other questions … # 3 was a trick question! The correct answer was *Jim Zorn* … ahhhh … you were so close! ;)


    HMC Rich …

    #2 on the list of lousy Internet discussions, after abortion, is climate change. Again, I know that there’s nothing that I can say that can type here to change your mind.

    All I offer is this …

    I used to believe the same as you. But over the years, I’ve sincerely and earnestly tried to understand anthropogenic climate change. I’ve read many, many scientific papers (all findable via your favorite search engine), tried to learn the science underneath it (lots of highlighting, right-click, search for “X”), taken classes, learned how compounds such as CO2 and water vapor work, met with folks who work in AND teach various fields of climatological sciences, etc.

    I’m not just casually saying that I’ve tried to learn this stuff … I really have tried!

    Long story short: I had to change my mind. The evidence, the information … the typical right-side-of-the-political-spectrum opinions regarding anthropogenic climate change were no longer rational or believable.

    My previous experience in these debates: I’ll post a bunch of links which will never be clicked; you’ll copy-pasta from; I’ll criticize Anthony Watts’ expertise and post specific criticisms from PhDs and credible sources; you’ll post stuff from a pro-tobacco company witness Dr. Richard Lindzen (MIT!); I’ll respond with links to studies that contradicted his account of atmospheric feedback loops and other claims and those links will go unread; I’ll post links to several studies that state that the scientific consensus on the validity to anthropogenic climate change is >90%; you will claim that pro-environment money is influencing these studies and therefore, climatological science is corrupt; you (or someone else) will disparage all of academia as part of the Amurikah-hatin’ liberal-socialist agenda, hellbent on destroying property rights; decorum would dictate that I should ignore that, but I’ll snarkily reply, “Alex Jones, is that you???”; I’ll bring up corporations who are funding far larger mis-information campaigns (Heritage), as well as the vast campaign contributions of energy interests with a vested interest in public skepticism …

    Doesn’t that sound like fun? </sarcasm>

    At the end of the day, your mind won’t be changed; and my mind won’t be changed by someone whom I am not convinced has done an equal or greater amount of homework.

    And we both will wish there was a beer thread here instead.


    Alki Warrior

    Stop feeling sorry for those sentenced to death. The one’s they killed never had a chance to file appeal after appeal. You need to get over yourselves and use the death penalty more often. There still needs a message sent that if you want to kill you will most likely have to pay the piper. I’m tired of the sympathetic mentality the liberals have.



    AW…just curious…are you from Texas?


    HMC Rich

    Good Post MM. Yes, I think you nailed it on the head.



    MM, our disconnect does come down to the big “T” and the little “t” of truth. But I’ll ask you this question knowing that the answer you’ll give is wrapped up in our many lines of previous dialogue but I still think is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak.

    Let’s see where induction may or may not apply.

    What to make of this scenario:

    Unarmed man is walking down the street. Is approached by a another man who loudly demands his wallet, which the victim seems reluctant to hand over. The alleged assailant pulls a weapon from his coat and blows the victim away. This entire episode is observed by many people, including several policemen who pounce on said assailant, knocking the gun from his hand as he stands over the victim attempting to pull the wallet from his coat. They cuff said assailant and haul him to the station, charged with murder.

    It is determined that these two individuals had no connections and had never previously met, further confirming the randomness of the crime.

    How much doubt of guilt exists in this not unrealistic scenario?

    If you answer simply no “reasonable” doubt as opposed to zero doubt, you’re introducing a purely a philosophical argument into a situation that has a perfectly logical definitive solution and requires no argument whatsoever.

    Indeed, any doubt in this scenario requires introducing doubt about reality and whether such a thing exists. Can an individual “know” anything? I suggest that we can and do have a functioning level above “reasonable” doubt.



    And maybe I should add that our philosophical back and forth about the existence of T/truth and a functioning assumption about what is or isn’t reality is great fodder for a stoned Saturday night but not generally part of the more specific discussion of guilt/innocence that gets debated with regards to CP.

    Or…you know…whatever I’m rambling on about this time. ;-)



    1) Judging by both of our posts, I think someone can say that we probably watch too much television drama! ;)

    2) Regarding … “If you answer simply no “reasonable” doubt as opposed to zero doubt, you’re introducing a purely a philosophical argument into a situation that has a perfectly logical definitive solution and requires no argument whatsoever.”

    I still gotta go with reasonable here.

    Bear with me here (I had to look that up … “Bare with me” would mean something else entirely … I did not know …) …

    In thinking about this (and similar things have probably been said somewhere… I’m not smart enough to either come up with this on my own, or remember where I had heard it), maybe the best way visualize the Big “T” Truth (in your scenario) is as a mathematical Limit. The best that we can do is to asymptotically approach that Limit, but we can never quite get there.

    As we travel down the x-axis in the direction of increasing the number of eyewitnesses or pieces of evidence, obviously there exists a point *close enough* to Truth, a margin of error Epsilon, that suffices for any imaginable situation.

    But if we accept too great a margin of error, then the probability of mistakes (false convictions, going back to the legal discussion topic) occurring increases.

    And I think that in your scenario, Quentin Tarantino has the victim, who wasn’t really dead, wake up and avenge their attempted-murderer. ;)

    Also, philosophy is the study of existence, knowledge, reality, and a gazillion different related offshoots. So I think that philosophy discussions are worth having, and not merely academic exercises, devoid of importance in everyday life. Even other threads here have as their foundations epistemological and metaphysical assumptions.

    I kinda like Socrates on this … “I know one thing: that I know nothing.”

    And I know even less!



    Problem is have any of you actually asked or talk to someone who had a family member murdered for what ever reason….I didn’t think so you see simple closure doesn’t come with death of another…….would it have yes if justice was fast and swift maybe when its long and drawn out makes it even worst life without parole no you wait or even with possibility of parole is even worse…..could you watch that person put to death when it was hanging most that saw it regret that they did….lethal injection could you all have watched the botched execution in Oklahoma…. I doubt it ask me how I fell about it you see 41 years is a long time to wait…. wait I must as will the rest of my family my mom and dad they waited until 2yrs ago for my mom and just this past month for my dad. They are now with my sister at forest lawn or will be in a few days my dad anyway… you see I hate only one person… so watch this video and you will know who I’m talking about and who I am… as for the death penalty was I then…but am I now …….give it time it will start…



    waynster, I remember those news reports from when they first aired a few months back.

    I’m sorry that you and your family had to deal with such a tragic loss….




    waynster…what Mike said. (waving from Newport, OR and sending gentle hugs, too)



    Some people just need to be dead.



    MM, I know no one else is wandering down this purely philosophical lane with us but I will pose one last earnest and friendly question, should you still be reading this(?!!) ;-)

    You’ve been chosen to lead the group of lawyers who will be arguing for a stay of execution for the assailant in my hypothetical. “No worries, you got this”, they say as you step up to the rostrum to address the 9th District Court of Appeals.

    Are you going to argue the issue of the POTENTIAL of actual innocence of this person due to only a “reasonable” certainty but not complete certainty of guilt? If so, how will you frame it? Assume only the facts of the case I outlined and which you confirmed met only, no reasonable doubt.

    I’m trying to imagine a scenario in this specific instance where your fellow legal advisers would let you go there for fear of reducing your credibility to zero and thus sabotaging your chance to save this guy’s life. But maybe you would go Hume all over the bench and get up their inductive grill, so to speak? ;-)




    no matter how it ends.. there is no way for this kind of family tragedy to end well, is there?



    So true Job it doesn’t go away…it does only with death, our own…. not theirs….

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