Re: Is the Death Penalty Extropian?

Paul Hughes (
Tue, 24 Nov 1998 23:52:46 -0800

Simple logic would seem to indicate the death penalty is not extropian. To wit:

Entropy not= Extropy.
Death = Entropy.
Death Penalty = Entropy Penalty.
Death Penalty not= Extropy.

"Joe E. Dees" wrote:

> Executing a
> murderer may not deter anyone else from murdering, but it definitely
> and absolutely deters the murderer. A dead murderer will never kill
> again. Joe

Quite true, it certainly stops any more entropy (murder) from occurring, but it doesn't increase extropy either. A more extropic thing to do, once an involuntary irreversible entropic act (murder) has been committed, is finding out why these people were murdered in the first place. By keeping these people alive for study and possible rehabilitation, we increase our chances of deterring murder at its source - weather it be bad genes, upbringing, economic status, or what have you.

A perfect example was in 1993 when a 19 year old boy of Texas, who with no prior history of sociopathy, mental illness or criminal activity, one night decided to murder his next door neighbor with a machete. Not only did he commit this gruesome act, but no one, not even himself knows why he did it. During the hearings to determining whether he should receive the death penalty or not, he sat crying in his lap for the entire 5 days of the proceedings. His psychologist, school teachers (where he was a straight-A student), nearly his entire family and most of his friends appeared in the court pleading for the jury to spare his life. In the end, the gruesome pictures of the corpse were enough to turn the jury in favor of the death penalty.

On pure Utilitarian grounds, think of the amount we could learn from this young man, about why someone would suddenly, without prior warning, turn into a violent killer. It's quite possible we could determine through careful scientific study, why this boy killed his neighbor in cold blood. Perhaps from such study we could gain valuable knowledge about ourselves and our society in the process, and perhaps prevent other such people from 'going over the deep end' themselves at a later date. This is certainly much more extropian and longer-term life-enhancing than killing a prime specimen right after his gruesome act.

IMHO, rational, scientific and extropian.

Paul Hughes