I was surprised to read Ryan Liebl’s assertion that Western nations have devel- oped criminal justice systems through scientific reasoning, especially after the Building Bridges conference which dealt with this topic.
The U.S. prison system, which overcrowds inmates, encourages rape, and disproportionately affects minorities is built around retributive justice and maximizing profit, not rehabilitation. The ineffectiveness of this system is evidenced by our very high recidivism rates.
If we did use scientific reasoning to create our justice system, we would emulate Norway, whose prisons are humane and educational, and have the lowest reoffending rate in Europe.
I am also troubled by the trend among atheists, especially Sam Harris, to single out Islam as the leading force for destruction and unhappiness in the world.
This kind of Islamophobia can lead to policies of racial profiling, torture, and militarism and is increasingly aligning atheists with ultra conservatives who want to invade Muslim countries at the drop of a hat.
The type of thinking that opposes “the Western world” with “the Muslim world” and awards Westerners the moral high ground is extremely simplified and dangerous.
While always shrouded in moral rhetoric, the foreign policy of the United States is most often fueled by financial motivations, not doing what is right for the world.
Sage Macklay ‘15