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You Are Sentenced to 1,000 Years

*subhead*Justice or torture?*subhead*
Just in case you haven't had enough of the "ethics" coming out of Oxford these days, here are more disturbing musings by Oxford ethicist, Rebecca Roache. You may remember Roache co-authored "Human Engineering and Climate Change" with Matthew Liao where they explore engineering humans to have cat eyes or to be smaller as a way to combat "climate change."

On the Practical Ethics blog in a post titled "Enhanced punishment: can technology make life sentences longer?," Roache laments the "laughably inadequate" sentence of 30 years in prison for Magdelena Luczak and Mariusz Krezolek. Luczak and Krezolek were convicted of murdering Luczak's 4 year-old son, Daniel. Daniel was beaten, starved and basically tortured before his death. These are terrible acts of evil that rightfully inspire anger in anyone who knows about the case.

Roache points out that Luczak and Krezolek will get what Daniel never did: humane treatment:
They will, for example, be fed and watered, housed in clean cells, allowed access to a toilet and washing facilities, allowed out of their cells for exercise and recreation, allowed access to medical treatment, and allowed access to a complaints procedure through which they can seek justice if those responsible for their care treat them cruelly or sadistically or fail to meet the basic needs to which they are entitled. All of these things were denied to Daniel.
This then leads her to ask:
Compared to the brutality they inflicted on vulnerable and defenceless Daniel, this all seems like a walk in the park. What can be done about this? How can we ensure that those who commit crimes of this magnitude are sufficiently punished?
Roache reached for transhumanist ideas about human engineering as a source of possible solutions to "climate change" and she does here as well. She suggests life span enhancements so that a life sentence in prison can last hundreds of years:
Within the transhumanist movement, the belief that science will soon be able to halt the ageing process and enable humans to remain healthy indefinitely is widespread. Dr Aubrey de Grey, co-founder of the anti-ageing Sens research foundation, believes that the first person to live to 1,000 years has already been born. The benefits of such radical lifespan enhancement are obvious—but it could also be harnessed to increase the severity of punishments. In cases where a thirty-year life sentence is judged too lenient, convicted criminals could be sentenced to receive a life sentence in conjunction with lifespan enhancement. As a result, life imprisonment could mean several hundred years rather than a few decades.
Or, since keeping someone alive for 1,000 years could get pricey, she proposes uploading the criminal's mind to a digital realm to radically speed up the 1,000 year sentence:
As the technology required to scan and map human brain processes improves, some believe it will one day be possible to upload human minds on to computers. With sufficient computer power, it would be possible to speed up the rate at which an uploaded mind runs.... Similarly, uploading the mind of a convicted criminal and running it a million times faster than normal would enable the uploaded criminal to serve a 1,000 year sentence in eight-and-a-half hours. This would, obviously, be much cheaper for the taxpayer than extending criminals’ lifespans to enable them to serve 1,000 years in real time.
Or we could just alter their perception of the duration of time. After listing several areas of research into things like drugs that alter the human experience of time, Roache suggests:
This research on subjective experience of duration could inform the design and management of prisons, with the worst criminals being sent to special institutions designed to ensure their sentences pass as slowly and monotonously as possible.
And while these measures may satisfy the anger evoked by little Daniel's story, taking a step back and looking at them analytically, I find them horrifying.

Expanding someone's life so they can spend 1,000 years in a cell? Or uploading their mind to experience 1,000 years in 8 hours?

In my estimation, "enhanced punishment" is simply a euphemism for torture motivated by revenge. This is not justice.

These are the kinds of "solutions" that people come up with when technology is their best and only option. These are transhumanist solutions that are arguably as inhumane as the problem they propose to solve.

But that is the transhumanist way: deny our nature, deny our humanity in the quest to make ourselves "better."  Transhumanism is inhuman, which is why it is no surprise that in the face of inhumanity, it responds with more inhumanity.

Hat Tip: BioEdge

Rebecca Taylor blogs at Mary Meets Dolly

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Mary De Voe said...

Capital punishment is the temporal punishment for capital one homicide. Every priest knows that unless the penitent is willing to do the punishment his crimes are not forgiven. Every murderer must expire with grief over the thought of his crime. An unexpired murderer is an unrepentant murderer.
Daniel’s murderers had the time to reconsider their brutality.
To allow a murderer to live says that the victim, here, Daniel, an innocence, virgin child, deserved to be put to death by the state if the state is now allowing the murderers to live. No way. The state may not change the facts of the case. The murderers ought to have been executed a long time ago and let Daniel rest in peace. The murderers took Daniel’s life. Now, let the murderers live Daniel’s life. Daniel is dead.

Mary De Voe said...

Several decades ago, Jesse Timmedaquas raped and murdered seven year old Megan Kanka. Timmedaquas deserved the death penalty for the horrific crime but New Jersey had banned capital punishment. The prison population does not like baby-rapers and would have offed Timmendaquas in a minute. But Timmedaquas is in solitary confinement with his own guard 24/7. The state of New Jersey banned capital punishment again as though JUSTICE was a crime. JUSTICE, the virtue of God’s JUSTICE (atheists do not like God’s JUSTICE) does not include transhumanism. Transhumanism is a violation of man’s soul. Next, the criminals will be saying that they are no longer murderers, that they have been changed into somebody else. The murderers must be held accountable for their life.

Pomeranian Catholic said...

Transhumanism is the "Nerd Rapture," in the same way that denying Jesus' historical existence is the atheist equivalent of Six-Day Creationism. There's no reason whatsoever to take ideas like mind-uploading seriously.

Gail Finke said...

That is so disturbing... I remember that when I was young I used to wonder why anyone ever tortured anyone else. I can see why death can be considered a just punishment (please, anti-death-penalty folks, I am not trying to start an argument), but in that case, why do people not simply execute people? Why draw and quarter, or crucify, or do all the other horrifying things people have thought up over the millennia? All I can come up with is that, apparently, once people have the power to kill, killing isn't enough anymore. They have to go beyond killing. And here is a bizarre yet consistent example of it. If transhumanism is supposed to be so great, why (so soon after coming up with it in the first place) are people starting to figure out how to torment other people with it? Just KILL THEM if their crimes are that horrific that you believe it is justified. But this is worse than killing.

Marcy K. said...

"once people have the power to kill, killing isn't enough anymore." Wow Gail, that quote took my breath away - very profound. Transhumanism is bad enough, but to use it for torture is unconscionable. It is one of the new modern "teachings" our society provides to us that pushes us away from God and the Church. Who needs God when you can be super-human and in control. Where machines will make us transcend the limits of our humanity. Al Kresta has a whole section about this in his book "Dangers to the Faith" http://j.mp/OSVKrestaDTF about modern opponents to Catholicism. I found it pretty informative about this topic.

Patrick Button said...

It seems to me that the transhumanist movement is motivated by fear of mortality and perhaps an intuitive fear of the justice of God. Christians believe that everyone deserves their own mortality, but some deserve it more than others. Of course, we believe in a final resurrection and the possibility of eternal life with God. It is understandable that those without faith would seek to live forever, but it is unnatural and creepy nonetheless.

Sophia's Favorite said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sophia's Favorite said...

@Gail: In general, societies that used painful death as an execution were societies inhabited by berserkers or Stoics, who didn't fear death, and indeed didn't fear pain as such—the pain of the execution methods was to make them undignified. Because in general in those cultures, the fearlessness in face of death or pain was accomplished by way of pride—"It is beneath me to shrink from hardship." So to deter people like that, you need something they will fear. (You can also just be much more grandiose; the things Vlad the Impaler did, for example, were tame drawing-room fare by Turkish standards, e.g. most of the corpses in his (in)famous "Forest of Stakes" were probably already dead when he hung them, but taking the trouble to impale twenty thousand corpses says "I mean business" like few other gestures.)

I think this, however, is actually a logical progression from a device often employed by opponents of the death penalty. Namely, that criminals are "not worth killing"—which is a despicable attack on human dignity, an insult akin to when Kondo Isami was denied the right to commit harakiri because he hadn't been born a samurai (he was adopted, he was a peasant by birth). From "not worth killing", with its attitude of contempt and its implication that death is insufficient, comes the obvious conclusion, "We need to find something that's bad enough for someone that death is too good for."

juvat said...

I wonder what Ms. Roache's position would be if Daniel were,say, still in the womb? Would his death still justify her punishment? Or would that be "different"? I suspect she would somehow try to justify the latter.

rover serton said...

1000 years is nothing. I will be in Hell for eternity for not loving Jesus enough. Happily, those in heaven will be able to watch and enjoy.

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