Richard Dawkins likens a murderer to a broken down car:

'Basil Fawlty, British television's hotelier from hell created by the immortal John Cleese, was at the end of his tether when his car broke down and wouldn't start. He gave it fair warning, counted to three, gave it one more chance, and then acted. "Right! I warned you. You've had this coming to you!" He got out of the car, seized a tree branch and set about thrashing the car within an inch of its life. Of course we laugh at his irrationality. Instead of beating the car, we would investigate the problem. Is the carburettor flooded? Are the sparking plugs or distributor points damp? Has it simply run out of gas? Why do we not react in the same way to a defective man: a murderer, say, or a rapist? Why don't we laugh at a judge who punishes a criminal, just as heartily as we laugh at Basil Fawlty? Or at King Xerxes who, in 480 BC, sentenced the rough sea to 300 lashes for wrecking his bridge of ships? Isn't the murderer or the rapist just a machine with a defective component? Or a defective upbringing? Defective education? Defective genes?'


I suppose most reading this thread would concur with this kind of reductionist view of humans.

In essence he is saying we should dispense with blame and simply fix a murderer or rapist as we would a car.

So the idea of punishment is a moot point - if we ever develop a quick fix for a sex offender then the fix should be applied and the matter is ended.

What happens to punishment as a deterrent - showing people there are consequences for their behaviour?

Do you agree there should be no blame, and therefore no responsibility?

Do you think that science can solve this issue, by providing a cure - like a car that needs the engine balancing; we will rebalance people's brain chemistry?


If this does happen, can the Mother of a murdered child expect to see the murderer walk free and unhindered, after undergoing a quick fix?

If she rails against this and wants revenge, would we have to recondition her irrational thought processes as well?