Sunday, June 10, 2007

Death Penalty and the Dose-Response Curve

Take an established miraculous remedy. Before penicillin, 90% of pneumonia patients died. After penicillin, 90% survived. Penicillin works well, miraculously well.

Give penicillin to only 1 in 10 pneumonia patients. Give penicillin at 1/10th the proper dose. Give penicillin 7 years after the onset of pneumonia. Price penicillin at $1 million a dose. Among those receiving penicillin, include 20% without pneumonia at all. How does penicillin look as a remedy?

The dose-response curve has so far not appeared in the death penalty debate.

Law making and not making law are both human experimentation on a massive scale. It requires markedly above average care and verification. Pilot testing in small jurisdictions should prove a remedy. Then, apply the remedy to a larger jurisdiction. When the court impedes the death penalty, it saves the life of a convicted murderer. It does not seem to care about any possibility that it increases the murder rate and other criminal victimization rates.

An experiment should be undertaken in controlled environment, such as two large prisons. In one, all murder by inmates get a rapid death penalty response. In another, no death penalty may apply. Count the criminal victimization rates in each prison.

The Dose-Response Curve must be worked out for all remedies, especially legal remedies. Few if any legal remedies has a scientific study ahead of time. If anyone knows of some, I would like to start to collect them. Some legal remedies have post remedies studies. Many turn out to be catastrophic and get repealed. This is irresponsible, unauthorized human experimentation by lawyer with ghoulish results. Any remedy missing a prior study is a crime against humanity. Worse, it makes judges appear to be acting like know nothing two year-olds, throwing valuable vases about, chaotically, knowing nothing about what they are doing. It brings opprobrium on the rule of law. This has to change at this late date in history.


1) What dose is too little and will fail to work?

2) What dose is too high and will be toxic?

3) What is the window of time during which the correct dose must be applied? If a breast tumor is the size of a pea, it responds to surgical removal. If time has passed, and it is the size of a softball and has spread to the lymph nodes, surgery will not work.

4) What types of people will respond (host factors)?

5) How many times will the remedy have to get applied before being declared ineffective?

6) What are the limits of the remedy?

7) What is the cost of the remedy, excluding rent seeking and gouging?

8) Prove the remedy is superior to others or to doing nothing.

Scientific evidence and proof of a remedy, with the above parameters is required, or a remedy violates the procedural due process right to a fair trial, as well as a human experimentation treaty.

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