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I am doing research for a critical thinking paper.
Posted: 21 April 2011 09:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Alpheia - 21 April 2011 09:40 AM

You are all thoughtful, independent, inquisitive thinkers!
Alpheia

LOL  Now there is a stereotype you can put in your hat.  Many atheists are thoughtful, independent, inquisitive thinkers, thus the term Freethinker often applies to many.  I have yet to meet one who is not.

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Posted: 21 April 2011 11:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Well, good luck getting a few responses to an informal question on an internet discussion board to fly as a “study”....

That said, I am opposed to capital punishment. I just don’t trust human judgment enough to support a form of punishment that can’t be put right in case of a mistake.

As to an “ethical framework”, if you mean a standard that’s broadly applicable to many kinds of actions, I couldn’t hope to tell you. I studied philosophy in college; and had my school recognized concentrations within the major, ethics would have been mine. Perhaps I know too little about too many ethical theories to call one my own. I appreciate the categorical imperative but am not a Kantian (at least, I think I’m not…); the consequentialist approach makes the most basic kind of sense (“you should do the thing that has the best results”) but can’t provide a strong definition of value (what constitutes the “best results”? how do you determine that?); and virtue ethics, which I’m admittedly less familiar with, is rather fuzzy on the subject of what you should actually do in a given situation (since it’s focused on cultivation of virtue—certain kinds of motivation). Those are the main three branches of ethical theory. Any and all of them are on my mind when I think about an ethical quandary. (As, to be sure, are intuitions I have acquired throughout my life. I’m sure these intuitions are at least as strong an influence on my positions as anything else.)

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His philosophy was a mixture of three famous schools—the Cynics, the Stoics and the Epicureans—and summed up all three of them in his famous phrase, ‘You can’t trust any bugger further than you can throw him, and there’s nothing you can do about it, so let’s have a drink.’ - Terry Pratchett

If my ideas had shapes, my head would hurt a lot more. - a professor who shall remain anonymous

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Posted: 22 April 2011 10:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Nicely said, Arestelle.  However, I’m crushed that you think my responses wouldn’t be of value in a “study”.  LOL  Remember, she’s not writing a graduate thesis but rather a paper for a lower division class in a community college, and she may have merely planned to include a random survey of comments by atheists and agnostics as some sort of illustration in her paper.

Occam
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I don’t know why I assumed the poster was a woman, so replace she with s/he as you read the above.

[ Edited: 22 April 2011 10:40 AM by Occam. ]
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Posted: 22 April 2011 11:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Well, I’m also not assuming the student is in college. This may be a young high school student who we should be nice to.  smile

Edit to add… Now I see in another thread that this is a CC student. Have at it!

[ Edited: 22 April 2011 11:45 AM by traveler ]
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Posted: 22 April 2011 11:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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George - 21 April 2011 06:29 AM

I don’t agree with capital punishment because a) it feels wrong to me and b) it ends a person’s chance to exonerate himself.

Now that you mention it…..Redemption. How could a theist square CP with being able to redeem him/her self?

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Posted: 22 April 2011 12:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Now that you mention it…..Redemption. How could a theist square CP with being able to redeem him/her self?

Does “Kill them all! God will know his own!” strike a bell?

The point being that some don’t even try.

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Posted: 22 April 2011 03:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Occam. - 22 April 2011 10:35 AM

I’m crushed that you think my responses wouldn’t be of value in a “study”.  LOL

hehe, I like your response to the OP. It takes a little deciphering. LOL I hadn’t seen that the OP is at a CC in a lower-division course; still, this is a pretty informal way to seek info for a philosophy paper. Actually, I’m confused about a survey being involved as a source in a philosophy paper at all, informal or otherwise; philosophers don’t usually go for opinion polls. wink Correlations between people’s beliefs about one controversial topic and their positions on another sounds like sociology to me. Different schools, different approaches, I guess.

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His philosophy was a mixture of three famous schools—the Cynics, the Stoics and the Epicureans—and summed up all three of them in his famous phrase, ‘You can’t trust any bugger further than you can throw him, and there’s nothing you can do about it, so let’s have a drink.’ - Terry Pratchett

If my ideas had shapes, my head would hurt a lot more. - a professor who shall remain anonymous

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Posted: 22 April 2011 06:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Oh, I’m not so sure. Sociology and Philsohphy do cross paths more often than at random. When we get down to it, they aren’t so dissimilar to each other; both have the ultimate goal of improving human well-being. At least, most of the time.

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Posted: 23 April 2011 07:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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As a crusty old police officer, I should, like most of my colleagues, be thoroughly in favor of capital punishment.  I’m not.  My views have changed over the years, and I can’t say my atheism has affected my views in this regard.
Rather, it’s a matter of practicality.
The death penalty does not perform as advertised.  It is not a deterrent to crime.  It is not administered in an equitable manner; the poor and disadvantaged are executed, the wealthy and powerful are not.
It is vastly expensive; considerably more so than mere imprisonment.
There is always the chance of wrongful conviction and the execution of the innocent. 
We (the US, that is) ranks among some of the worst actors around in maintaining the practice.  Most all the “civilized” world has abandoned it.  So here we are with the likes of Iran, China, North Korea… Fine company.

I agree that there are thoroughly nasty and dangerous people who can never be returned to society.  So don’t.  If they are incapable of being housed in a conventional institution, put ‘em in a “supermax”.

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Posted: 23 April 2011 08:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Bikwer - 23 April 2011 07:27 AM

As a crusty old police officer, I should, like most of my colleagues, be thoroughly in favor of capital punishment.  I’m not.  My views have changed over the years, and I can’t say my atheism has affected my views in this regard.
Rather, it’s a matter of practicality.
The death penalty does not perform as advertised.  It is not a deterrent to crime.  It is not administered in an equitable manner; the poor and disadvantaged are executed, the wealthy and powerful are not.
It is vastly expensive; considerably more so than mere imprisonment.
There is always the chance of wrongful conviction and the execution of the innocent. 
We (the US, that is) ranks among some of the worst actors around in maintaining the practice.  Most all the “civilized” world has abandoned it.  So here we are with the likes of Iran, China, North Korea… Fine company.

I agree that there are thoroughly nasty and dangerous people who can never be returned to society.  So don’t.  If they are incapable of being housed in a conventional institution, put ‘em in a “supermax”.

It is good to hear the viewpoint of someone with practical experience in law and enforcement. I agree with all you said.

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Posted: 23 April 2011 08:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Good stuff Bikwer. For CP, the insane amount of $$$ that goes to lawyers/judges is ridiculous. Such a litigious society.  mad

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Posted: 24 April 2011 04:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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Alpheia - 20 April 2011 05:37 PM

1 Do you support Capital punishment or not?

2 Why or why not?

Does your atheism help guide your thinking on capital punishment? If so, how?

I don’t support Capital punishment.

I… don’t know why. I hadn’t ever really put much thought into it, honestly.

I do think that my lack of faith in a deity does have something to do with it… even with a horrible person, why would we put them down, like we would a dog with rabies? That’s the end of their life, no chance of reform, no chance of coming to understand what they’ve done and to try to lead a better life.

I guess I’m a bit of an idealist, in that I believe that most everyone can be ‘brought around’ eventually, given enough time, thought, and care. To deem someone unworthy of help, or impossible to help… is unkind.

On the other side of the coin, I suppose it could be a bad viewpoint, along the same lines as the Party in the book 1984, where they insisted that they would ‘fix’ him before allowing him to die. It’s towards the end somewhere… let me see if I can find it.

Here we are: http://www.george-orwell.org/1984/18.html

This snippet here: “When finally you surrender to us, it must be of your own free will. We do not destroy the heretic because he resists us: so long as he resists us we never destroy him. We convert him, we capture his inner mind, we reshape him. We burn all evil and all illusion out of him; we bring him over to our side, not in appearance, but genuinely, heart and soul. We make him one of ourselves before we kill him.”

So I suppose my view could be just as misguided and overbearing as the Party’s… but… nonetheless, it’s the view I hold.

I’m sorry I couldn’t give you a more well-formed response!

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Posted: 24 April 2011 05:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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Regarding the cost of CP v life in prison…
We have a guy here in NY who is serving a sentence for rape/sodomy of a 12 year old. He is in Rochester, NY now getting checked out to be placed on a heart xplant list. If he were to get the xplant, the NY taxpayers would cover the $200,000 bill. That’s the law. I don’t feel so good about that. Seems so many more deserving people should get the heart. Don’t mean to go OT.

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Posted: 25 April 2011 12:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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I don’t support it, but it’s not really to do with my atheism. I dislike the current North American justice system, and I see it as the end result of a very inegalitarian economic and social system. I think that if those systems were not as punitive, then we’d have less criminals and could provide better treatment to those that have committed such crimes.

Plus, I see justice after the fact as a fake power position. Society would be more powerful if we PREVENTED the crimes, through improved health, mental health and community services, and better education and opportunity.

Further, in the states, so very much of your penal system is for profit, that quite frankly, I find it disturbing, cruel and an affront to human dignity. I suppose I am assuming you are in the states, sorry if I’m wrong. And don’t think that I think Canada is oh so much better, I don’t.

I suppose my atheism and my socialism are all a part of my non-conformist, anti-authoritarian outlook, but I don’t see my atheism as THE contributing factor to my opinion.

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Posted: 25 April 2011 07:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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Bees Mom - 25 April 2011 12:12 AM

I don’t support it, but it’s not really to do with my atheism. I dislike the current North American justice system, and I see it as the end result of a very inegalitarian economic and social system. I think that if those systems were not as punitive, then we’d have less criminals and could provide better treatment to those that have committed such crimes.

Plus, I see justice after the fact as a fake power position. Society would be more powerful if we PREVENTED the crimes, through improved health, mental health and community services, and better education and opportunity.

Further, in the states, so very much of your penal system is for profit, that quite frankly, I find it disturbing, cruel and an affront to human dignity. I suppose I am assuming you are in the states, sorry if I’m wrong. And don’t think that I think Canada is oh so much better, I don’t.

I suppose my atheism and my socialism are all a part of my non-conformist, anti-authoritarian outlook, but I don’t see my atheism as THE contributing factor to my opinion.

Regarding profit - I agree that that is disturbing. I read somewhere that profit is part of the reason marijuana laws remain on the books because without all those pot-smokers some jails would have to be shut down.  sick

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