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The Death Penalty and Universal Ethics

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SNARB Jenkins

on 28 January 2013

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Transcript of The Death Penalty and Universal Ethics

Is there a universal
code of ethics? We need to talk.
About ethics. History of Execution
In some nations that adhere to Islamic Sharia law, beheading is still a commonly used method of execution. The most frequently seen cases involve beheading by a curved, single-edged sword. While many nations allow beheading by law, Saudi Arabia is the country that uses it most often Single Person Shooting History and Science as Areas of Knowledge in Ethics A long time ago... Ethics The year is 1780 B.C.-ish Gary Haugen The Death Penalty in America The Death Penalty: His name: Hammurabi.
His mission: To maintain an organized society.
His code: An eye for an eye. As of 2012 it is legal in 38 states* including Oregon, and is administered by lethal injection. In 1981 Haugen raped and murdered his ex-girlfriend's mom. He was sentenced to death and while in prison murdered another inmate. Ethics are concerned with how people should act through considering what is right and what is wrong. Throughout history, advancements in technology have occurred, ultimately altering the way executions are conducted. As you can see this is still publicly viewed.
Execution by shooting is the most common method of execution in the world, used in over 70 countries.
The electric chair was invented by Harold P. Brown who was employed by Thomas Edison for the sole purpose of investigating the uses of electricity for execution. What up with dat? Morals and Religion Summing it all up... Haley, Rebecca, Natalie,
Abby, & Bram The importance of religion for those who practice it: Theists believe that religion gives their life purpose because they have to fulfill the purpose that God intended for them. Because of that relationship with God, they have an obligation to obey His commands as He is their creator to whom they owe their existence. Whatever God says is right is right, and whatever God says is wrong is wrong. For those who don't practice a religion, where do they get their morals from? Some theists believe that atheists don't have morals because they don't have the influence from God to know what's right from wrong
If you don't believe that you will be punished for transgressions like religious people believe, then why should they follow a moral code? Atheists derive their morals from themselves by creating their own belief structure and deciding between what is good or bad. They also claim that their ethics are connected with their accountability to others and wanting to benefit society in some way. "We must be good for the sake of being good. We must help others for the sake of helping others. If we do not, then our actions mean nothing. I have never set fire to an orphanage – because it is wrong to set fire to an orphanage. I do not need the Bible to tell me that." The United States is one of the most religious countries in the world, yet there is a huge rate of gun crime, murder and imprisonment. What does this say about the role of religion and its effect on our ethical behavior? From one perspective, the Bible can also be hypocritical. For example, the Bible states that homosexuality is wrong and many religious families have adopted this belief. However, when it comes to less controversial morals, such as how it is a sin to wear clothing made up of two types of materials (King James Bible), then they are less likely to follow these morals. So is it okay to follow some rules in the Bible, yet not others? How much do theists derive their morals from the Bible? To some, an ethical behavior is not ethical when the intention is wrong. It has been said that theists only act with fear of being punished by God, yet is that truly ethical? Sources! The code is used today as the
basis for fair punishment through
execution. Crimes in Hammurabi's time punishable by death consisted of things such as: The code actually consists of 282 specific laws but this is the most famous concept. Accusing another man of lying without proof
Falsely testifying against another
Breaking into another man's house
Stealing a child We've progressed in America society today, the death penalty rarely occurs for reasons other than treason and murder. *Number continually changing due to continually changing legislation. However, in Oregon, the governor has the power to issue a moratorium on the death penalty, ruling it inactive until the end of their time in office.

Now to the case of Gary Haugen... After numerous appeals and nearly half his adult life in prison, the execution was set for December of 2011. That's him. On November 23 of the same year Governor John Kitzhaber enacted the moratorium suspending Haugen's case. Kitzhaber has vowed to not let anyone be executed while he is the governor of Oregon. However Haugen has rejected his right to appeals and is now asking to be killed and is suing for what he claims is his right to be killed. Haugen wishes to die for his crimes and end his "soul destroying" life on death row. Is it ethical to kill a man who wishes to be killed? Is it universally unethical to kill someone? Is there even a universal ethical code? Cooper, Johnathon. "Gary Haugen, Death Row Inmate, Can Reject Clemency, Judge Says." Huffington Post Canada - Canadian News Stories, Breaking News, Opinion. 3 Aug 2012. Web. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/03/gary-haugen-death-row-inm_n_1739775.html>. Johns, C.H.W.. "Code of Hammurabi." Legal History and Philosophy. 1904. Web. <http://www.commonlaw.com/Hammurabi.html>. McGreal, Chris. " Oregon governor in wrangle with death row inmate suing for the right to die | World news | guardian.co.uk ." Latest news, sport and comment from the Guardian | The Guardian . 14 Sep 2012. Web. <http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/14/oregon-governor-death-row-inmate>. What is the difference between ethics and morals? Morals come from within the individual, while ethics is a system in which those morals are applied. Morals are generally unchanging, but ethics differ depending on the circumstances. For example, a defense lawyer may think that murder is immoral, yet when defending a client who is accused of murder, the lawyer is ethically responsible for defending that client. So since morals and ethics differ, and we all have different morals, who is to say that the death penalty is right? Since ways of execution differ in various cultures, which way is most ethical and how can we determine that? ETHICAL FRAMEWORKS
Utilitarianism: The purpose of utilitarianism is to do whatever produces the greatest amount of good for the most amount of people. You examine all the end results of a decisions, and choose the one that you believe will produce the most amount of good.

Deontology: This framework focuses on making the decision that you would want everyone, universally based, to make in a situation. This means that you would act in such a way that your actions could become a universal standard that everyone ought to obey.

Care-Based Thinking: This framework focuses on the “Golden Rule” (Treat others the way you would want to be treated). You choose a decision based on putting yourself in other’s shoes to determine the effects of your decision.

Divine Command Theory: Moral standards depend on God who is all-knowing. Any act that conforms to the law of God is right; an act that breaks God's law is wrong.

Ethical Relativism: No principles are universally valid. All moral principles are valid relative to cultural tastes. The rules of the society serve as a standard.

Virtue Ethics: Morals are internal. It seeks to produce good people who act well out of spontaneous goodness. It emphasizes living well and achieving excellence. Did our view on ethics change due to the advancements in technology or do we alter technology to fit our ethical values?
Let's consider the ways in which the form of execution has changed throughout history as well as the technological advancements that have been made. The earliest known forms of execution are death by stoning or hanging. These are the foundations in which executions were gradually built upon over time. Hanging is carried out in different ways. Some consider hangings to have been altered due to the "immorality" of the suffering incurred. This is seemingly so when we look throughout history. The original short drop method is when the prisoner is made to stand on an flat surface which is then dropped leaving them to die by strangulation. The death is slow and painful. Another method is the long drop, created in 1872 in which the weight of a person was taken into account to determine the correct rope and drop to be used to ensure the breaking of the neck. This careful plotting seemingly makes the execution system moral for the fact that the executioner is assuring immediate death. But the counterargument could be made that the plotting of ones death is just as immoral as any crime the death row individual could have been accused of. Does the morality of the execution change because of the ability for the death to be viewed in public? Executions, during the time periods in which hanging and stoning were commonly used, were publicly viewed. Some say that this public punishment deters crime. However....
In a counterargument, people say public executions could turn into a form of cruel entertainment.Public executions in the U.S. were ended in 1936, after a crowd of 20,000 climbed telephone poles, stood on rooftops and jammed streets in Owensboro, Kentucky to watch the hanging of an African-American man.

Ultimately, as technology advances... we see a change in these rules pertaining to viewing Contrary to what most believe, Joseph Guillotine did not invent the Guillotine! He suggested that a method of execution be devised that was quick and to be used on all people regardless of class. He sat on the committee that eventually designed the device, but it was actually Antoine Louis who came up with the design that was then used to build the first functioning guillotine. Beheading and the Guillotine Guillotine The technological advancement....for Morality or Convenience? Hmm seems as though the technological advancements are occurring for convenience rather than the immorality of the execution itself... This is still the main method of execution in Communist China though the gunshot can be to either the neck or head. In Taiwan, the prisoner is first injected with a strong anesthetic to render him senseless and then a bullet is fired in to his heart. While this may seem shocking, it shows the various codes of ethics in our world. The U.S. deems this form immoral, yet over 70 countries still utilize it. Do we have a responsibility as a nation to change the way in which executions are conducted? Is this possible? In Soviet Russia, a single bullet to the back of the head was the most frequently used method of execution. Varying Codes of Ethics. Can we change them? So there's nothing we can do??? The various forms of execution still used around the world can confirm that universal ethics do not exist. As a nation some would say we should be held accountable for the immoral executions committed by other nations, however, it is nearly impossible to change another nations entire code of ethics to fit our own.

Not exactly... Proposing a change to another nation is common throughout the world, however, getting a government, or full population, to switch their execution laws (that have been set for hundreds of years) is not the easiest idea to persuade. As a nation we would like to believe we take a world-changing stance on this issue, but it's simply not true.... Onward with Technology The Electric Chair Hm... technology is again advancing, but not in terms of ethics; merely convenience and curiosity. In execution by electric chair, the prisoner is strapped to the chair with metal straps and a wet sponge is placed in his head to aid conductivity. Electrodes are placed on the head and leg to create a closed circuit, ultimately to stop the heart. The Gas Chamber The gas chamber is well known for its use in the German prison camps during World War II where it was used to murder millions of people. All of the five US states that still use the gas chamber allow the prisoner to choose death by lethal injection instead. Can we honestly say this technological advancement was created to create a moral way in which to kill? It was merely a matter of nations competing to advance technology and utilize its powers in wartime... Lethal Injection- The Recent form of Technological Advancements in the Death Penalty In the short time before an execution by lethal injection, the prisoner is prepared for his death. This can include a change of clothing, a last meal, and a shower. These actions provided are meant to ease our minds towards the fact that an individual has been sentenced to death.
Once the IV tubes are connected, the curtains are drawn back so that witnesses may watch the execution, and the prisoner is allowed to make his last statement. Lethal Injection supposedly "eases" the minds of those giving the execution, ridding of ideals in beheading or shooting the accused. There can be one or more executioners, and sometimes in the case of multiple executioners, the lethal dose is given by only one so that no one knows who delivered it, in efforts to again ease the mind of the executioner and make the action feel less of an ethical weight. Does the amount of suffering
distinguish moral from immoral? if we are to accept this knowledge issue, and admit that suffering is a determinate of morality, then we need to consider the ethical implications of our universal ethics.... This claim shows that the universal code of ethics determines that the death penalty is acceptable as long as the victim incurred no suffering in the process. In essence, a quick death is moral and a slower death is not, but the theory of an eye for an eye would still hold true and death can always be a punishment. Injection: Pentothol does not always induce a coma, leaving the disturbing possibility that at least some prisoners killed by lethal injection may experience extreme pain due to the administration of potassium chloride. However they are left unable to express that pain due to the paralysis brought about by the Pavulon.

Execution: The wet sponge can be dry, ultimately burning and melting the scalp.

Gas Chamber: The prisoners will generally have been told to take deep breaths in order to speed up unconsciousness, but in most cases they hold their breath as a natural reflex. This slows the death process down and death from hydrogen cyanide is painful and unpleasant. Suffering in Execution This cannot be regulated, so you would think that the "universal ethical code" would alter and change the Hammurabi code, yet it hasn't..... Does the morality of the execution differ when it is conducted by a machine rather than the hand of another individual? Ultimately, we are still inducing death. Some states have issued the use of machine based injection systems, allowing the kill to be carried out by a non-human source. The immorality in this case is supposedly altered because another individual doesn't have to feel accountability for the action itself. Yet, this technology is creating a new way to kill, and we create the technology, so the immorality of the situation hasn't changed for any nation. The advancements are created throughout the world for convenience and curiosity, and the inventors and followers do not consider the ethical implications. Without the advanced forms of technology, hangings and stonings may have been carried out through present day. Viewing the Execution There is no universal ethical stance concerning the public viewing of the death penalty. Seeing as though many nations still have public viewings for executional forms of beheading and stoning, we can see that there is little to no correlation between the American stance and other countries on this ethical issue. America still allows viewing of lethal injections. This doesn't seem to change the morality from a large crowd to a small crowd of witnesses. In either case, humans are watching another humans death for varying positive and negative reasons. The case of Gary Haugen reveals a fundamental question regarding ethics: Is murdering someone ever an ethically sound decision? Do individual circumstances matter? To demonstrate these inquiries.... I am going to ask you to close your eyes. AND IMAGINE... KILLING VS. LETTING DIE Is there a difference? Let's discuss! Mrs. Smith Mrs. Jones So, the real question is: Will we ever agree? IS A UNIVERSAL CODE OF ETHICS POSSIBLE? In my opinion, the world will never reach a consensus in the world of ethics. Our paradigms are all too different from each other. We don't want to lose our individuality, do we? WHAT DO YOU THINK? http://listverse.com/2007/09/18/top-10-modern-methods-of-execution/ Stoning is still carried out, mainly in the Middle East. But where do ethics come from? Ethics vary for each person, the codes of ethics originate from many different sources:- Social: We respond to social conditioning. Many people follow “what society accepts”. Thy conform to the beliefs of their society. The lack of consensus makes it difficult to equate ethics with what society accepts. (Ethical Relativism)-Environment: The first instance of ethics is determined by parents, teachers, and religious leaders.-Laws: A set of rules with the function of minimizing conflict in a society. A system of rules imposed by those in a political power. Laws change over time, and can also deviate from what could be considered ethical. An example of this is laws of slavery that existed before the Civil War.
Religion: To act ethically is to act in accordance to God’s wishes. Attuning oneself to God’s wishes through reflection and prayer is the answer. (Divine Command Theory) How do emotions tie into ethics? Emotions make our lives meaningful and the constant pursuit of meaning is the driving force behind our pursuit of knowledge. Hence, without our emotional responses, there would not be any reason to do anything. Is it ethical to make judgements based on emotion? Is it possible to exclude emotion from making moral decisions? Reason and Ethics We use reason to attempt to refute ethical arguments and make ethical decisions. In order to justify an action or opinion in accordance to ethical standards, we must:
1) Collect evidence
2) Be sure action/opinion is not morally repellant
3) Be sure opinion/action is not inconsistent with our other opinions/actions
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