Re: Against Physics

From: Brent Meeker <>
Date: Fri, 04 Sep 2009 22:04:58 -0700

Rex Allen wrote:
> On Fri, Sep 4, 2009 at 2:54 PM, Brent Meeker<> wrote:
>> Furthermore we have no idea how to "fix" the person in a mechanistic way
>> - and if we did would it be ethical (c.f. "Clockwork Orange").
> A further thought: the solution to crime in A Clockwork Orange has a
> similar's singular focus on the individual, while
> ignoring the problems of the system within which the individual
> developed.
> So obviously if you have a person who has committed a crime, some
> action has to be taken. And you can't hand out "hardship" waivers
> left and right just because the "criminal" can plausibly point to some
> event in his past as a causal factor. The crime was committed, and a
> credible threat of "negative reinforcement" has to be maintained for
> the sake of deterrence.
> But rehabiitation isn't necessarily could even be
> viewed as "positive reinforcement", AND it's in everyone's
> interest..perpetrator, society at large, as well as victims.
> Further, if there's some common denominator amongst perpetrators of
> crimes, such as poverty, and we want to reduce crime, why not raise
> the priority of programs to reduce poverty instead of building more
> prisons and passing 3-strikes type laws?
Of course the easiest, and 100% effective way to reduce crime is to
repeal laws. About 1/3 of our prison population is there because of
non-violent drug use crimes.
> Obviously nobody is "pro-poverty",
Actually I think some are. Note the outcry from various business groups
when it is suggested that the way to stop illegal immigration is to
punish those who hire them. Why would they want to have access to
illegal aliens? Because illegal aliens are poor and they will therefore
be willing to work cheap.

> but I think framing the issue in
> terms of "personal responsibility" and "free-will" incorrectly pushes
> the debate away from systemic solutions towards an excessive focus on
> individuals.
I'd say it depends on whether we have systemic solutions or individual

> Though, obviously there are no perfect solutions, and violence will
> always be with us. BUT, Dawkins' tone in the link I sent sounds much
> closer to the right attitude than the vibe I get from Dennett.
> But again, Dennett is mainly interested in pushing his "Bright"
> agenda...showing that Atheists are just like everybody else.

Seems like you're mainly interested in picking a fight with Dennett. I
don't recall him mentioning either "Brights" or atheists in either
"Elbow Room" or "Freedom Evolves", his two books on compatibilist free will.


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Received on Fri Sep 04 2009 - 22:04:58 PDT

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