Defense-Oriented Academia Goes Over the Cliff

One thing opponents of sober law enforcement and sentencing constantly tell us  is that they are guided  —  but we aren’t  —  by “science” and “evidence-based solutions.”  If you follow their views, you’re not merely “compassionate,” but, perhaps more importantly, “smart.”  This is why “smart on crime” always turns out, if and when you can decipher all the razzle-dazzle language, to be merely soft on crime,  —  which of course is the point from the get-go but needs to be hidden.

But dizzy with all their blood-soaked success of late,  academia is getting less careful about hiding the pro-criminal nuttiness they try to pass off as “science.”  Hence today’s entry.

I found this on Prof. Doug Berman’s blog, Sentencing Law and Policy, and I want to repeat it verbatim:

The title of this post is the title of this new paper on SSRN authored by John Humbach.  Here is its abstract:

Modern criminal justice presupposes that persons are not morally equal.  On the contrary, those who do wrong are viewed by the law as less worthy of respect, concern and decent treatment: Offenders, it is said, “deserve” to suffer for their misdeeds.  Yet, there is scant logical or empirical basis for the law’s supposition that offenders are morally inferior.  The usual reasoning is that persons who intentionally or knowingly do wrong are the authors and initiators of their acts and, as such, are morally responsible for them.  But this reasoning rests on the assumption that a person’s mental states, such as intentions, can cause physical effects (bodily movements)— a factual assumption that is at odds with the evidence of neuroscience and whose only empirical support rests on a fallacious logical inference (post hoc ergo propter hoc).  There is, in fact, no evidence that mental states like intentions have anything to do with causing the bodily movements that constitute behavior.  Nonetheless, the mental-cause basis for moral responsibility, though it rests on a false factual inference, has enormous implications for criminal justice policy.

While society must obviously protect itself from dangerous people, it does not have to torment them.  The imperative to punish, a dominant theme of criminal justice policy, is not supported by evidence or logic, and it violates basic moral equality.  ###

Got that?  “[T]his reasoning rests on the assumption that a person’s mental states, such as intentions, can cause physical effects (bodily movements)— a factual assumption that is at odds with the evidence of neuroscience and whose only empirical support rests on a fallacious logical inference (post hoc ergo propter hoc).  There is, in fact, no evidence that mental states like intentions have anything to do with causing the bodily movements that constitute behavior. ”  (Emphasis added).

It’s now a matter of “science” and “evidence” that what you intend to do has no relation to what you actually do.

Mind you, this stuff is in a published academic paper written by Pace Law Professor John Humbach.

Remember this next time one of these “we-need-to-be-evidence-based” types starts in on you about how we hayseeds need to “follow science.”

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