Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Is there a lack of science in our justice system

  1. Aug 26, 2016 #1
    So you are on trial for robbing a bank. the prosecuter has all this scientific evidence aginst you. Finger prints, DNA samples and a result from a lie detector test. All this science has been used to find you guilty, but then they sentence you on the basis you have free will when there is very little evidence and support in the science community for free will, so science has now gone out the window.

    You have now been judge to have made a bad decision, you are immoral, a bad person, you are evil, society must have revenge against you.

    It's like going to hospital because you are ill and they do a blood test, MRI biopsy then treat you with a exorcism.

    So is it time the justice system accepts that free will is an illusion?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 26, 2016 #2
    Has any court ever sentenced people on the "basis that they have free will" while disregarding empirical evidence?

    How do you suppose that legal systems would work without the fundamental assumption that people are inherently responsible for their acts?

    And how could people be fairly tried if responsibility is thrown out of the window?
  4. Aug 26, 2016 #3

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2017 Award

    A) Whether free will exists or not is an issue of philosophy, not science. We don't discuss philosophy here.

    B) If there is no free will, society has no real choice in how to sentence you anyway, If we accept your premise, your argument becomes moot. (This is why we don't discuss philosophy here - we just aren't any good at it)
  5. Aug 26, 2016 #4


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    No, because there is no definitive answer at this time as to whether or not we have free will. There is simply no consensus either way, so your claim that there is little support for the idea of free will simply doesn't make sense. In addition, your post is mostly about the philosophical question of what to do with you if you don't have free will, which is not a science question, and we don't usually allow philosophical threads.

    Thread locked.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook