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beeeee Debates an AI


Score: 0

Difficulty: Easy

Mode: Sudden Death

Debate History
Is capital punishment an effective deterrent for crime?
Winner: AI
AI Judge's Decision:

Both players present well-researched arguments against capital punishment, basing their stance on the ineffectiveness of the death penalty as a deterrent for crime. However, the AI's argument is more concise, focused and straightforward in presenting their point of view. They bring up a key issue like the risk of irreversible miscarriage of justice, which adds an additional dimension to their argument. On the other hand, the human's argument, although comprehensive, is quite lengthy and heavy in structure, which might affect its impact and comprehension. Therefore, considering the coherence, conciseness, and presentation, the AI wins the debate.

Human's Argument:

THE DEATH PENALTY THE ULTIMATE PUNISHMENT DOES THE DEATH PENALTY DETER CRIME? GETTING THE FACTS STRAIGHT MYTH The death penalty deters violent crime and makes society safer. FACT Evidence from around the world has shown that the death penalty has no unique deterrent effect on crime. Many people have argued that abolishing the death penalty leads to higher crime rates, but studies in the USA and Canada, for instance, do not back this up. In 2004 in the USA, the average murder rate for states that used the death penalty was 5.71 per 100,000 of the population as against 4.02 per 100,000 in states that did not use it. In 2003 in Canada, 27 years after the country abolished the death penalty the murder rate had fallen by 44 per cent since 1975, when capital punishment was still enforced. Far from making society safer, the death penalty has been shown to have a brutalizing effect on society. State sanctioned killing only serves to endorse the use of force and to continue the cycle of violence. MYTH The death penalty reduces drug crime. FACT In March 2008, the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime called for an end to the use of the death penalty for drugs offences: “Although drugs kill, I don’t believe we need to kill because of drugs.” The use of the death penalty for drug offences is a violation of international law. Article 6(2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states: “In countries which have not abolished the death penalty, sentence of death may be imposed only for the most serious crimes.” In April 2007, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, acting as an expert witness in a challenge to Indonesia’s Constitution, told the Constitutional Court that “[d]eath is not an appropriate response to the crime of drug trafficking.” Apart from Indonesia, China, Iran, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Singapore are some of the countries which execute people for drug offences. However, there is no clear evidence that the use of the death penalty for such crimes acts as a stronger deterrent than long terms of imprisonment. MYTH Individuals are less likely to commit violent crimes, including murder, if they know they will face punishment by execution. FACT This argument supposes that criminals study and anticipate the consequences of getting caught, and decide that a long term of imprisonment is acceptable, whereas execution is not. Many crimes are committed on the spur-of-themoment, leaving little opportunity for potential punishments to influence whether the crime is committed in the first place as criminals do not believe they will be caught and held to account. The death penalty may even cause further violence. Execution is the ultimate sanction a state can inflict upon a person. Once criminals have knowingly committed a capital offence, they no longer have any interest in lessening their potential punishment by not committing further murders or other offences. For example, if armed robbery carries the death penalty, the robber loses nothing by committing murders while attempting to flee. Index: ACT/015/2008 THE DEATH PENALTY THE ULTIMATE PUNISHMENT MYTH The threat of execution is an effective strategy in preventing terrorism. FACT Those people willing to commit large-scale acts of violence aimed at inflicting terror upon a society do so knowing that they could come to serious physical harm and therefore show little or no regard for their own safety. Executions of such people often provide welcome publicity for the groups they belong to and create martyrs around which further support may be rallied for their cause. Yet many countries have attempted to control terrorism by using the death penalty. In November 2005, Iraq passed the Iraqi Anti Terrorism Law. This law provides only a vague definition of terrorism and lists a number of terrorist acts all of which – even those where there has been no loss of life – carry the death penalty. Scores of executions have been carried out in Iraq under this and other laws. MYTH The death penalty is fine as long as the majority of the public support it. FACT Amnesty International recognizes the right of nations to create laws. However, such laws must be formulated within the boundaries of respect for human rights. History is littered with human rights violations that were supported by the majority but in modern times are looked upon with horror. Slavery, racial segregation and lynching all had widespread support in the societies where they occurred but constituted gross violations of the victims’ human rights. It is understandable that populations look to their leaders to take decisive action against violence, and express anger at those guilty of brutal crimes. Amnesty International believes politicians should lead the way in standing up for human rights by opposing the death penalty and explaining to their constituents why such actions cannot be undertaken by the state. After more than 30 years of research on the death penalty, Amnesty International believes that public support for capital punishment is overwhelmingly based on a desire to be free from crime. This is illustrated by polls in the USA and other countries which show significant drops in support for the death penalty when life imprisonment without the possibility of parole is offered as an alternative. In the USA, a May 2006 poll by the Gallup company found support for the death penalty dropped from 65 per cent to 48 per cent when life imprisonment without parole was offered as an option. MYTH Executions provide the most cost-effective solution to violent crime. FACT A society cannot condone violence and sacrifice human rights as a cost-cutting measure. The decision to take a human life should not rest on financial motives. Using the death penalty to reduce prison populations is futile. For example, the USA has a prison population of approximately 2.2 million but only around 3,000 prisoners are condemned to death. If the entire population of death row were executed, it would make no discernible difference to the prison population.

AI's Argument:

While some argue that capital punishment can discourage potential law-breakers, multiple studies have challenged its effectiveness as a deterrent for crime. The Death Penalty Information Center, for example, found that states with the death penalty often have higher murder rates than those without. This suggests that the possibility of capital punishment does not necessarily deter violent crimes. Furthermore, capital punishment fails to account for the impulsive or passionate nature of many crimes, where the perpetrators often do not consider the consequences of their actions thoroughly. Moreover, it gravely risks irreversible miscarriage of justice, where an innocent life may be wrongly taken. Therefore, not only is capital punishment a questionable deterrent, it is also fraught with serious ethical issues. Integrating more rehabilitative approaches, like education and mental health services, may lead to more sustainable ways to reduce crime rates.