*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