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HHS baits, switches

Not just for religious pharmacists anymore: the Department of Health and Human Services proposes a rule that protects anyone who refuses to provide medical services on moral or religious grounds. [more inside]
posted by casarkos on Aug 23, 2008 - 207 comments

Dignity and Bioethics

The Stupidity of Dignity: Conservative bioethics' latest, most dangerous ploy. Steven Pinker reviews Human Dignity and Bioethics, the latest report from the President's Council on Bioethics. [more inside]
posted by homunculus on May 28, 2008 - 28 comments

7 new mortal sins, per Vatican

Vatican lists seven new mortal sins. Not recycling? Go to hell.
posted by wallstreet1929 on Mar 13, 2008 - 73 comments

The psychology of the moral instinct

The Moral Instinct. "Evolution has endowed us with ethical impulses. Do we know what to do with them?" [Via The Mahablog.]
posted by homunculus on Jan 13, 2008 - 68 comments

I could smother the child. I could not smother the child.

What Makes Us Moral and The Morality Quiz. It's war time, and you're hiding in a basement with a group of other people. Enemy soldiers are approaching outside and will be drawn to any sound. If you're found, you'll all be killed immediately. A baby hiding with you starts to cry loudly and cannot be stopped. Smothering it to death is the only way to silence it, saving the lives of everyone in the room. Assume that the parents of the baby are unknown and not present and there will be no penalty for killing the child. Could you be the one who smothered it if no one else would?
posted by amyms on Nov 25, 2007 - 147 comments

Armenian genocide

Genocide: An inconvenient truth "The Armenian genocide bill has been attacked by both the right and the left -- and it may make matters worse. But it's necessary." [Cookie.]
posted by homunculus on Oct 16, 2007 - 56 comments

Jonathan Haidt on the "Five Foundations" of Morality

"From a review of the anthropological and evolutionary literatures [Edge.org]... there were three best candidates for being additional psychological foundations of morality [embedded video], beyond harm/care and fairness/justice. These three we label as ingroup/loyalty (which may have evolved from the long history of cross-group or sub-group competition...); authority/respect (which may have evolved from the long history of primate hierarchy, modified by cultural limitations on power and bullying...), and purity/sanctity, which may be a much more recent system, growing out of the uniquely human emotion of disgust, which seems to give people feelings that some ways of living and acting are higher, more noble, and less carnal than others. [more inside]
posted by McLir on Sep 11, 2007 - 19 comments

Brain

Impaired emotional processing affects moral judgements. People with damage to a key emotion-processing region of the brain also make moral decisions based on the greater good of the community, unclouded by concerns over harming an individual.
posted by semmi on Mar 27, 2007 - 48 comments

An Evolutionary Theory of Right and Wrong

Moral Minds, a new book by Marc Hauser, is based on research by Hauser and colleagues such Josh Greene and John Mikhail. In it, he posits that an innate moral sense is analogous to "universal grammar"[Wiki] from Chomskyan linguistics. As reviewed by a Science Times staff member. ...And a philosopher.
posted by Arthur "Two Sheds" Jackson on Nov 1, 2006 - 23 comments

"An archaic, vestigial piece of ridiculousness."

A judge has thrown out a 201-year-old North Carolina law making it illegal for unmarried couples to live together. The case was previously discussed here.
posted by EarBucket on Jul 21, 2006 - 53 comments

GATTACA

The Promise and Perils of Synthetic Biology
posted by Gyan on Jun 16, 2006 - 14 comments

Forever Pregnant II: Morality Boogaloo

The new lies about women's health (image slightly NSFW) according to Glamour. More on why every egg is sacred to the Bush administration. [via Wired's Sex Drive Daily]
posted by boost ventilator on Jun 3, 2006 - 90 comments

The only moral abortion is my abortion?

The only moral abortion is my abortion? What do some anti-choice women do when they experience unwanted pregnancies themselves? "I never dreamed, in my wildest nightmares, that there would ever be a situation where I personally would choose such an act. . . ."
posted by cybercoitus interruptus on Mar 23, 2006 - 106 comments

The Hart/Devlin Debate

The Hart/Devlin debate. One of the primary issues in the philosophy of law was addressed in a dispute between HLA Hart and Lord Devlin. The issue is to what extent morality can be embodied by the law. It is a debate which continues today.
posted by dios on Mar 16, 2006 - 18 comments

The Angina Chronicles

"We can't do anything about it. We just have to obey." Fulton (Mo.) High School drama students learn that resistance is futile.
posted by Saucy Intruder on Feb 11, 2006 - 87 comments

'Cause The Bible Told Me So

Five Reasons Torture Is Always Wrong. From the magazine "Christianity Today", David P. Gushee, a professor of moral philosophy at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, is against torture. Period. No exceptions. Complete with Bible verses to prove it.
posted by willmize on Jan 27, 2006 - 42 comments

Delegating our moral beliefs. . .

Can we have an intelligent non-religion-bashing discussion about this article? ". . . perhaps the most shocking implication of my inquiry into the role religion plays in our lives" : ". . . those who have an unquestioning faith in the correctness of the moral teachings of their religion are a problem: If they haven't conscientiously considered, on their own, whether their pastors or priests or rabbis or imams are worthy of such delegated authority over their lives, then they are taking a personally immoral stand. Please RTFA before commenting.
posted by spock on Jan 26, 2006 - 175 comments

I mythomoralized your wife by the way

4 out of 5 non-Christians agree: rape rocks the box! "There may be a genuine moral argument against rape to be made outside of the Judeo-Christian ethic, but I have yet to hear it." Well? Let's hear it.
posted by If I Had An Anus on Dec 6, 2005 - 94 comments

Torturing in our name

"We do not torture" (Bush, Nov. 7)
In an important clarification of President George W. Bush's earlier statement, a top White House official refused to unequivocally rule out the use of torture... (Hadley, Nov. 13) -- The fate of a House provision to ban the torture of prisoners in U.S. custody is in doubt, strongly opposed by the Administration. And don't call it torture: the preferred talking point wording is now enhanced interrogation techniques.
posted by amberglow on Nov 14, 2005 - 109 comments

Kobayashi Maru, what do you do?

Taiwan ignores drug patent - To save its people from a dangerous flu, Taiwan is synthesizing a vaccine without permission. This bears a striking resemblance to a classic moral dilemma of Kohlberg's stages of moral development. Kohlberg's theory is not without criticism, including gender bias, Western-centric thinking, and external validity. Simply knowing a person's decision doesn't tell you about their stage of development; you have to know the reasoning behind it, which is hard to come by in real world situations. Conversely, knowing a person's stage of moral development (even harder to come by in the real world) does not reliably predict their decision (moreso at the higher levels). Nor does Kohlberg's theory scale to what choices societies themselves make. Decision Making is a booming field of research, but how much research is being done on morality and group decision making? Not much. (initial article via /.)
posted by Eideteker on Oct 22, 2005 - 33 comments

Common base of morality?

Do the Right Thing
posted by Gyan on Sep 14, 2005 - 63 comments

Imitate Jesus and Socrates

Temperance. Silence. Order. Resolution. Frugality. Industry. Sincerity. Justice. Moderation. Cleanliness. Chastity. Tranquility. Humility. Benjamin Franklin's 13 virtues. "He committed to giving strict attention to one virtue each week so after 13 weeks he moved through all 13. After 13 weeks he would start the process over again so in one year he would complete the course a total of 4 times."
posted by nthdegx on Sep 10, 2005 - 32 comments

CL

It's all about Customer Service. Craig Newmark on his spiritual mission...
posted by lilboo on Jul 27, 2005 - 6 comments

melting wax

Is Civilization Decaying? Will technological progress be accompanied by moral progress? Notes on a 1923 debate between J. B. S. Haldane (Daedalus) and Bertrand Russell (Icarus). "As John Brunner pointed out in an article in the New Scientist in 1993, these two books ... inspired two generations of science fiction writers."
posted by painquale on Jul 10, 2005 - 11 comments

Stem Cells - Rumor vs. Reality

Stem cell pioneer does a reality check
posted by daksya on Jun 26, 2005 - 9 comments

.

UpdateFilter: Schiavo autopsy results --contrary to those who used this poor shell of a woman as a political football and fundraiser, Schiavo was not abused, was blind so could not possibly have seen a balloon or her loved ones, and had a brain half the normal weight that was massively and irreversibly damaged. previous posts here--and just one example of the many many lies printed about her and her husband here. Some people should really be ashamed of themselves.
posted by amberglow on Jun 15, 2005 - 169 comments

Another take on class war

"They [the bipartisan elite] have imposed a public morality that affords maximum sexual opportunity for themselves and guarantees maximum domestic chaos for those lower down." While a lot of people (okay, maybe just me) have criticized David Brooks' column as an only-infrequently-successful attempt to channel Malcom Gladwell for the McCain-Specter set, I think he may have stumbled onto a provocative insight here.
posted by MattD on May 29, 2005 - 62 comments

The best of the worst of the week on television.

The best of the worst of the week on television. The Parents Television Council, a U.S.-based watchdog organization trying to stamp out indecency on the airwaves, is doing their part in the war against moral turpitude. How? By creating a website where they host videos of the most offensive scenes on television... inadvertently creating some of the most amusing content on the internet!
posted by insomnia_lj on Apr 15, 2005 - 84 comments

Moral boon or immoral boondoggle?

A new Texas bill seeks to give pharmacists the right to object to dispensing emergency contraceptives. The bill was spurred by over a year's worth of debate about an incident in Denton where a rape victim was denied a morning-after pill by a pharmacist at Eckerd's. Supporters say that pharmacists should be able to opt out of dispensing drugs that are used for abortions, but the opposition points out that the bill's definition of emergency contraceptives can be construed to include all birth control. Should pharmacists be allowed to morally object, or is this an anti-birth-control boondoggle?
posted by rush on Apr 12, 2005 - 118 comments

Turns out it was all just a dream of Frankie's

SPOILER ALERT: There's a movie out now that, like The Crying Game, depends for much of its impact on a plot twist. Are critics honor-bound not to blab that development to readers? (More Inside, including, duh, spoilers)
posted by soyjoy on Feb 8, 2005 - 65 comments

Blame Canada.

Same-sex marriages in Canada may be coming soon, but that's nothing. The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that it's OK to masturbate in front of your windows! (Full ruling here, previous mefi discussion here.) The Conservatives in Canada worry that all this moral decadence may lead to polygamy, but Canada's had a polygamist community for some time now. Still, the government does seem to be examining the issue. Meanwhile, parents in Atlantic Canada are outraged their children are learning about mutual masturbation and oral sex. What's next -- adults-only barbershops? Oh, wait....
posted by showmethecalvino on Jan 28, 2005 - 52 comments

Bad Guys

"Can a bad man be a good poet?" Some well-written thoughts on morality, matters of taste, and art by David Orr.
posted by lilboo on Jan 27, 2005 - 30 comments

Photoshop helps

How photoshop helps "moral values" in Iran.
posted by hoder on Nov 27, 2004 - 33 comments

Homosexual agenda v. Christian soldiers

High-school bans traditional crossdressing day because parents complained it was part of the "homosexual agenda." It's replacement? The manly "Camo Day" complete with military fatigues and combat boots. No word on whether there is a "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
posted by hipnerd on Nov 17, 2004 - 99 comments

Peace, not gays most important

Liberal Christian groups start a poll war challenging the evangelicals claim to the Christian vote publishing findings that the war and poverty were more important moral issues voters than Iraq. Other views at The Washington Post (subscription required), and The Catholic News
posted by KirkJobSluder on Nov 11, 2004 - 18 comments

Tired of government-endorsed sin?

Would you like to live in a Christian nation with government similar to the early United States? Well, here’s your chance! Are you disgusted that the gays are stomping on the Consitution? Do you demand the return to a moral government? Become part of the solution and help to redeem the nation, one seceded state at a time.
posted by archimago on May 25, 2004 - 76 comments

The Moral Case Against the Iraq War

The Moral Case Against the Iraq War
Also on the moral tip, Memos Reveal War Crimes Warnings
internal January 25, 2002, memo by White House counsel Alberto Gonzales (PDF)
posted by y2karl on May 18, 2004 - 36 comments

Just say no to Crack

Staking out the high moral ground, a bill would punish those wearing low-riding jeans. It seems that Representative Derrick D. T. Shepherd of Louisiana, a Democrat no less, wants to outlaw low slung pants. Plumbers beware, and stock up on Butt-Crack Caulk! Really, don't they have anything better to legislate besides fashion or holidays?
posted by Eekacat on Apr 23, 2004 - 45 comments

The Agenda Laid Bare

Culture War a-brewin'...git yer ammo here. As territory is staked out in this nascent national struggle, the Independent Gay Forum has a number of articles that provide a more-than-cursory glimpse of the manner in which one side hopes to frame the debate, and a likely response to the frames already in place. Especially notable is John Corvin's Homosexuality and Morality. It appears as if the newest round of the culture wars may be unique in that two sides will be fighting them.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly on Mar 2, 2004 - 34 comments

Sex Crimes!

Perversion for Profit linking pornography to the Communism Citizens for Decent Literature: Sex Bad, violence Good! I just thought this would be cool to revisit in light of the Mel Gibson, Orson Scott Card Debates. Intersting what They shppw as to show you what YOU should not be looking at. Maybe (NSFW, maybe just NSF-Sanity)
posted by Elim on Feb 26, 2004 - 22 comments

Examining Bush's stem cell policy, two years later.

Examining Bush's stem cell policy, two years later. Kinsley: Put it all together, and the stem cells that can squeeze through Bush's loopholes are far less promising than they seemed two years ago, while the general promise of embryonic stem cells burns brighter than ever. If you claim to have made an anguished moral decision, and the factual basis for that decision turns out to be faulty, you ought to reconsider or your claim to moral anguish looks phony. But Bush's moral anguish was suspect from the beginning, because the policy it produced makes no sense.
posted by skallas on Oct 25, 2003 - 1 comment

When the marines fail, send in the grouch...

American values brought to you by the letters... In the Islamic world the USA doesn't appear to be making too many friends recently. But is it all a big misunderstanding? Perhaps the middle east simply need to learn more about American values. Who can teach them about American culture, morality, and cookies? You'd be surprised...
posted by kaemaril on Sep 3, 2003 - 16 comments

SCOTUS goes gay

Supreme Court wisely rules that you can't legislate morality and that privacy between consenting adults is a-ok as the Texas sodomy law (that applies to homosexuals only) is struck down. Ruling invalidates other remaining sodomy laws on the books. Dancing in the streets ensues. And as usual, Scalia gets to add his wisecracks in the dissent. [via SCOTUSblog]
posted by mathowie on Jun 26, 2003 - 142 comments

christian terrorist

is eric rudolph a christian terrorist? via atrios and who are these christian identity people?: "We declare and will wage total war on the ungodly communist regime in New York and your legaslative bureaucratic lackey's in Washington. It is you who are responsible and preside over the murder of children and issue the policy of ungodly preversion thats destroying our people," - sound familiar?
posted by specialk420 on Jun 2, 2003 - 35 comments

... but don't

Bill Bennett apparently has plenty of extra time (and cash) on hand in light of his success preaching morality and virtue. "I've gambled all my life and it's never been a moral issue with me. I liked church bingo when I was growing up ..."
posted by specialk420 on May 2, 2003 - 25 comments

Man on Dog Action

I am happy to see that the GOP is expanding their reach to the more eclectic fringes of society. Although it may freak some other people out.
posted by EmoChild on Apr 30, 2003 - 7 comments

room 101

A crackdown in Texas. America - land of the free. And to guarantee that freedom, everyone has to be constantly watchful. Like the photo store clerk from Eckerd who dutifully reported a Peruvian-born couple's lewd shots of their infants to the Richardson (Dallas/Texas suburbs) police. The photos showed the parents' two infants bathing naked, lying together in bed with their mother (again naked) and the 1-year-old Rodrigo suckling his mother's (naked) breast. So the couple was arrested -- the maximum prison sentence for the crime in question being 20 years -- and the children taken away. (verbatim k5)
posted by The Jesse Helms on Apr 20, 2003 - 77 comments

Emotions and ethics

"The study of feelings, once the province of psychology, is now spreading to history, literature, and other fields." Scholarship on the emotions is a rich field for historians and philosophers. Martha Nussbaum (previously discussed here) has written on historical views of the relationship between morality and emotion, and delves more deeply into it in her recent book, Upheavals of Thought: The Intelligence of Emotions. Of particular relevance these days may be M.F. Burnyeat's new book, Restraining Rage: The Ideology of Anger Control in Classical Antiquity, which focuses on Classical views of anger and its proper place in human action. Many today could learn from Marcus Aurelius: "as grief is a mark of weakness, so is anger, for both have been wounded and have surrendered to the wound." [First link via Ye Olde Phart.]
posted by homunculus on Feb 25, 2003 - 17 comments

Working against evolution?

In an article called "The Sociobiological Conceit", Gene Callahan says darwinism is logically flawed and inherently self-contradictory: "if moral ideas are simply an 'illusion' fostered on us by our genes then so are all of our other ideas – including the ideas of sociobiology!". Callahan, fyi, belongs to the ultra-libertarian circles of the Mises Institute and LewRockwell. Would any of the evolutionists among us care to politely refute him?
posted by 111 on Feb 7, 2003 - 20 comments

An interesting read

An interesting read This guy seems to make some sense when lately nobody has been making sense at all... think we could get him to run in 2004? ;)

When religious institutions fail to provide moral leadership, when governmental institutions become dangerous to the nation they are tasked to serve, when politicians do not work for the people, or when they tremble at the possibility that standing alone in righteousness might cost them votes, when journalism becomes one long commercial, when votes are brokered against the party affiliation of a majority of powerful judges, it becomes necessary for the singular multitude that is the American people to stand and be counted.
posted by sparky on Jan 11, 2003 - 21 comments

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