Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Vallicella on Capital Punishment

A couple of months ago, Dr. Roger Olson did a series of posts in which he railed against capital punishment in his usual emotional stream-of-consciousness kind of way. Dr. William Vallicella offers responses to three arguments used against capital punishment. You judge who gets the better of the argument.


  1. Although I think the death penalty is indeed sometimes warranted (pre-meditated murder that is either confessed or witnessed with substantial and undeniable evidence), but to make an analogy between wrongful imprisonment and wrongful execution is pretty thick-headed. Sure, you can't ever return the years someone was in prison, but some financial restitution can be made. If you execute someone, nothing can be done at all.

    What crimes are worthy of death, though? Rushdoony would have adulterers, gays and fornicators put to death (though he might eschew the "death-by-rocks-to-the-head" method for more humane methods).

  2. "but some financial restitution can be made"

    Sometimes, maybe; but there's plenty of ways around this for the state. Also, what's the restitution for getting anal rapped by Bubba for 15 years? Moreover, what about the lost time with families? What's the restitution for missing out on years 1-25 of your daughter's life? 28¢ a day compounded?

    What crimes are worthy of death is a separate question from whether capital punishment is justified. Ultimately, all sins earn you the eternal death if you don't trust in Christ.