Episode 115 - Reason in Ethics, Part 9

February 20, 2012

Part nine of a nine-part course presentation by Center for Inquiry founder Paul Kurtz. In 1998, Dr. Kurtz taught a course entitled “Reason in Ethics” before an audience of adult learners at the Center for Inquiry – Transnational in Amherst, New York. It was the principal course offering in that year’s Center for Inquiry Institute.

Paul Kurtz is founder and former chair of the Center for Inquiry, the Council for Secular Humanism, and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He is professor of philosophy emeritus at the State University of New York at Buffalo and Editor-in-Chief of Free Inquiry magazine. He is the author of essential books in the field including Forbidden Fruit: The Ethics of Secularism, Living without Religion: Eupraxsophy, The Courage to Become, The Transcendental Temptation, and many others.

This episode completes a major retrospective comprising more than forty episodes since 2009. In them, Center Stage has presented the entire corpus of lectures and courses by Center for Inquiry founder Paul Kurtz which were presented at the Center for Inquiry and recorded on audio or video media.


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Episode 115 - Reason in Ethics, Part 9



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The most compelling argument against the death penalty is the possibility of mistakes being made thereby making all citizens guilty of murder by proxy when an innocent person is sentenced to death.  It is interesting that supporters of the death penalty tend to distrust the government and toe the Republican line that big government is a bad thing and government initiatives generally don’t work.  Maybe a compromise would be to put all convicted murderers where there is no doubt at all (not just no reasonable doubt) of guilt on a secured hunting reservation and let private citizens hunt them down and kill them.  smile  I suspect there would be plenty of people who would pay big bucks for the privilege.  That money could help defray the cost of prosecuting capital cases.

Then again, for all of us fans of “The Shawshank Redemption”, there is something to be said for 2nd chances for people who kill in the heat of passion and have served the next 20+ years of their lives regretting that mistake.

For serial killers, the hunting reservation seems to be a viable option… as long as the bar of proof is very high.  If someone is posthumously exonerated, that is a Very Bad Thing for which there can be no redress.

Posted on Feb 20, 2012 at 9:45pm by ullrich Comment #1

I suspect there would be plenty of people who would pay big bucks for the privilege.

Maybe. I tend to be a bit amused by people who claim to be “for” the death penalty, but if asked whether or not they would carry out the execution themselves, are suddenly claiming that they are just “Too Good” to fit the noose or swing the axe.

Posted on Feb 24, 2012 at 11:55am by Equal Opportunity Curmudgeon Comment #2