Shelley at Retrospectacle asks her fellow SiBlings for their views of the death penalty; PZ responds unapologetically and tersely but powerfully, linking to John Wilkins for the moral argument and Death Penalty Info for evidence that the death penalty is not a deterrent.
While not a ScienceBlogger, or even a small-s science blogger, I must say that PZ actually understates his case. Not only is there no evidence that executions deter criminals, but also the manner of executions is immoral, unjust, and uncivilized. Death Penalty Info links to a study that shows that murdering a white person is several times more likely to result in execution than murdering a black person. The so-called justice system in the US that punishes people in proportion to how poor they are not only makes poor people and minorities take the fall more often, but also considers murdering them to be a lesser crime.
I’m glad I live in New York state not because its justice system is any more egalitarian than this of other US states – it’s not – but because two years ago, its courts opted out of the mad hatter’s party and declared the death penalty unconstitutional, marking the latest addition to the civilized world.