birch What you call "common sense" does not always make sense. Scientific sense trumps common sense any day of the year. Scientific sense is that which we discover to be correct by empirical testing. As you will know, there was a time when many people thought the Earth was flat. After all, the piece of Earth they walked on appeared to be flat, and no-one seemed to fall off. "Common sense" said that the Earth was flat. But more scientifically minded people saw other evidence and realised the Earth was more or less sphere shaped. You have decided from your own "common sense" that punishing serious offenders more harshly will reduce crime. But researchers have found that making punishments harsher has little, if any effect on crime statistics. That is scientific sense. My approach to this, and other issues, is to reject what appears to me, in my blind and prejudiced way, as "common sense" and go with what has been found to be correct by proper scientific, and empirical testing.