Six Stages of Moral Development, From Piaget to Kohlberg

18 07 2008

Kohlberg’s stages of moral development . . . explain the development of moral reasoning. . . inspired by the work of Jean Piaget and a fascination with children’s reactions to moral dilemmas.

. . .Expanding considerably upon [Piaget’s] groundwork, it was determined that the process of moral development was principally concerned with justice, and that its development continued throughout the lifespan, even spawning dialogue of philosophical implications of such research.

Kohlberg used stories about moral dilemmas in his studies, and was interested in how people would justify their actions if they were put in a similar moral crux. He would then categorize and classify evoked responses into one of six distinct stages.

Obedience to authority on pain of righteous punishment types will reject this, no doubt, but they are reasoning like little kids. As adults, the reasoning stage our majority politics seems obsessed with is the fourth, Authority and Social Order Maintenance.

School, State and Church too, all seem Very Authoritarian these days, as playing out in the UCF Catholic communion controversy, for example.

Level 1

1. Obedience and punishment orientation
(How can I avoid punishment?)

2. Self-interest orientation
(What’s in it for me?)

Level 2

3. Interpersonal accord and conformity
(The good boy/good girl attitude)

4. Authority and social-order maintaining orientation
(Law and order morality)

Level 3

5. Social contract orientation
6. Universal ethical principles
(Principled conscience)

Dana at Principled Discovery thinks through some high level reasoning imo, about the different moral arguments for homeschooling, in “Homeschooling is Not the Gospel:”

For the most part, the true “evangelists” of homeschooling make me nervous.
. . .I think part of the problem is a sort of disconnect between those speaking at conventions and the “modern day” homeschooler. Even those homeschooling more or less for religious reasons are not necessarily of “the same stripe” as those who pulled their kids from the public school back when homeschoolers feared leaving the house during the day and prayed they wouldn’t be fined or jailed.

We don’t necessarily view public education as inherently evil. We don’t necessarily view homeschooling as the only possible way of rearing Christian children. We don’t necessarily equate advancing the Kingdom of Christ with reforming the nation’s laws to suit our beliefs.

And yet it seems to me that most of us, most of the time, either haven’t earned or neglect to use the truly HIGHER education with which we’d advance our moral logic and reasoning to the top level. I mean this both personally and professionally, privately and socially.

I was a professional school policy administrator and never mind K-12 and NCLB for the moment, I am presently riveted by the low-level moral reasoning of UCF and UMinn, and how FSU justifies selling individual student information knowing most students don’t know they’re doing it, and knowing it will enslave some of them with debt. My professional educator ethics wouldn’t allow that; it seems like some twisted free market mentality that conflicts with public service and real educational values imo, and doesn’t it belong on the very immature “what’s in it for me” selfishness level two?

Hmmm, wouldn’t it be constructive discussion here, to examine the 2008 election candidates and issues in light of Level Three Moral Thinking? — which party’s candidate and platform is more focused on our social contract and universal ethical principles?

I wonder if the original FDR idea of “social security” was ahead of its time, way up there in the fifth or sixth stage of moral human reasoning, and whether we’ve kept it up or just corrupted it? What about “war” up and down the ethical reasoning levels, such as urinating on the Koran to protect your own people’s freedom and religious values?

And how does compulsory public school look to us as a moral social contract?

Frisky cock of the snook to Dale for this Thinking Parent connection, very educational!

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37 responses

18 07 2008
Nance Confer

Damn liberal! Now you’re against “law and order,” huh? 🙂

That’s how I imagine any political discussion of this excellent staging would start. And end.

But as Dale points out, parenting questions follow immediately from thinking about these stages.

Our own example is our two-year-old nephew. You will note we are not the parents, so our options are limited. But as traditional, stern, parenting methods fail in his home, even with, and maybe especially with, the schoolish help of various early childhood development people brought in especially for nephew and his young Mom (and, yes, she IS young, and inexperienced, and unsure, and overwhelmed by all the authorities telling her what to do and belittling her when she fails or refuses), our less rigid, more respectful, kinder ways have been noticed.

Mainly because they work. At this stage, practical considerations are important. Making thoughtful decisions is difficult on a good day and impossible when you are so tired and stressed you can’t think straight.

So, I finally got up the nerve — after yet another conversation asking my opinion — to raid the local library and get my niece (actually the two-year-old is my great-nephew but that makes me sound old, doncha think? 🙂 ) a selection of books on attachment parenting, learning as discussed by Holt, respecting children, etc.

I warned that I wasn’t trying to push all of this on her and I didn’t agree with every word in the books and she’d have to take what she could and leave the rest.

Well! Happy day! A phone call from niece/Mom — she and her Mom — Gramma in this case — have been reading the books and really like them. Not agreeing with every word but relieved that what Mom (and maybe Gramma?) have been feeling was harsh and unnecessary wasn’t just them being wrong and bad parents and not obeying sufficiently and instilling fear and obedience in their small child. That they were right to feel those things! That other people feel that way! Hurray! 🙂

So, we’ll see. Change is difficult and after being raised by two school teachers (Gramma is a high school teacher — but realistic about some of the failings of the system. . . ) our nephew’s Mom has some thinking to do. And some experimenting.

But my hope is that her son can be raised to skip over as much of the bad stages above as possible and grow into a person who lives in the higher, Level 3, stages.

As DH said the other night as he railed against some of the things I was telling him were being imposed on young nephew: “Patience and kindness, that’s what the boy needs.”

Don’t we all! 🙂

Nance

18 07 2008
JJ

Oh Nance, I’m just grinning and wagging all over! Great story.

18 07 2008
JJ

Something else to reason morally about — guilt by association:

Benjamin Collard is the friend of the student who smuggled something sacred out of Catholic mass. . .he’s facing the same charges, and he said he did absolutely nothing wrong.
“I tried to look at my class schedule,” Collard said. “There was a hold placed on my account that I couldn’t sign up for classes. I went to the office of Student conduct to see what was going on and they told me Catholic Campus Ministries filed charges against me.”

Collard learned that he has been charged with misconduct, disruptive conduct and giving false identification, the exact same charges as Webster.

Collard has been silent since the episode but when he learned of the charges, he decided he’d be silent no longer. He said during the incident he sat silently while everything else around him was happening.

“I didn’t talk to anybody, didn’t say anything,” he said. “While the situation, disruption happened, I was sitting in my seat looking forward, I did nothing. I never spoke to a university official, I never lied about who I was,” Collard added. “I never engaged in any disruptive conduct. I just think this is absolutely disgusting that they’re going after me.”

Now Collard has been swept up in the middle of the controversy with Cook and both students fighting for their future at the university.

“Just being associated with this can affect my future,” Collard said. “I had nothing to do with this.”

Both students face expulsion, suspension or probation. A hearing is scheduled for next week.

19 07 2008
Lynn

Wow. I guess I’m not following the UCF story closely enough as I wasn’t aware of the actions being taken against both students. What an outrage.

19 07 2008
JJ Ross

Hi Lynn —
And notice the “actions being taken” including these “charges filed” come not from the University itself but from the Campus Catholic Ministries. Forget the kid stuff in student government, let’s look at what’s happening with the REAL government of the University.

So one aggrieved party “pressed charges” against the boys and Cook “pressed charges” against them at the same time over the same incident, which seems like a civil court tort model — but then only one side of the case was summarily dismissed for “lack of evidence” without a hearing? While the other goes straight to messing up the boys’ lives even BEFORE the hearing? That sounds like criminal court with “the People” on one side and suspected lawbreakers on the other.

But if this law enforcement and criminal court model really were appropriate here, both sides would be treated equally in the investigative and detention phase.

Suppose for example the University treated both parties the same while it was investigating and awaiting the hearing — then would it have acted to temporarily restrain Campus Catholic Ministries from holding its services on campus, and perhaps taken direct action against all the individuals Cook named as having assaulted him?

Today’s story from Orlando Sentinel:

“There will be a lot more to debate during the investigation,” said Anthony Furbush, the student government official who pushed for Cook’s impeachment. He gave the Senate written statements by two Campus Ministry officials who say Cook identified himself as a student government member during the Mass but did not use his real name.

. . .Although the Senate can remove Cook from office, it does not have the authority to suspend or expel him from the university. That could happen only if he is found to have violated serious conduct-code regulations in student court.

Student court? So again, it will be students (rather than university professionals as officials?), applying some secular “student conduct code regulations” to a Catholic kid accused of angering his Catholic officials conducting a church rite? So many overlapping authority frames!

One (among so many!) ethical reasoning muddle I see: why is it any of the University’s student-conduct code court’s business, what the boys do or don’t do in church? Isn’t this a framing problem caused by holding church services in the campus student union in the first place? Say two students go somewhere off-campus on a Sunday, get engaged in a verbal altercation of some sort (shoe store, bar, city park, Starbucks) then would it be the same as if the communion service hadn’t been held on campus — and then would the student court still be the authority hearing “charges” against those involved, or would the threshhold of regular police action have to be met for anyone to be “punished?” Otherwise where is the students’ recourse against non-student employees and managers in the community, with whom they may clash?

19 07 2008
JJ

Shifting gears to another example — what about this murky University-Church governance reasoning? What are ethical issues for the faculty here, say?

July 17, 2008
Methodist Group Affirms Plan for Bush Library, but Cautions on Integrity

Opponents of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, a library and museum complex that is scheduled to be built at Southern Methodist University, met defeat today in their long-shot effort to withdraw the United Methodist Church’s permission for the project, according to reports by The Dallas Morning News and the Associated Press.

. . . The university insists that it won full and final approval for the library project from a different church body in 2007.

The planned policy institute has been viewed suspiciously by some faculty members at SMU, in part because it will not fall under the university’s academic-governance structure. Similar think tanks at other university-based presidential libraries are more integrated with their academic hosts.

. . .The delegates did approve a petition today that urges the institute to respect the university’s identity. That petition — a draft of which was published on a Methodist blog — instructs the university to report back to the church in 2012 on how well the library foundation and the policy institute are complying with “the covenants of agreements protecting the integrity of Southern Methodist University.”

—David Glenn

19 07 2008
Crimson Wife

J.J., dear, you’re forgetting that Kohlberg’s theory had *SEVEN* stages of moral development. And that seventh stage is what he termed “Transcendental Morality” which is based on…(dum, da, dum, dum) *RELIGION*

19 07 2008
JJ

I’ll bite, she said agreeably. 🙂
– so here’s exactly what the wiki article said about Kohlberg’s SIX stage model with “speculation” of a possible seventh stage:

Kohlberg further speculated that a seventh stage may exist (Transcendental Morality or Morality of Cosmic Orientation) which would link religion with moral reasoning (see James W. Fowler’s stages of faith development.) However, because of Kohlberg’s trouble providing empirical evidence for even a sixth stage, he emphasized that most of his conjecture towards a seventh stage was theoretical.

If there’s so little empirical evidence that RELIGION and MORAL REASONING can link up and transcend what we know and live with in the real everyday world, then I rest my case!

[buzzer sounds] eeehhhnnk!

Religion by itself — absent moral reasoning and not transcending anything — though, is easy to see everywhere in empirical evidence, including at work in this case. I was trying to be generous with my Stage Three-Four (Conformity-Law and Order) suggestion, but honestly, the latest news about punishing everybody in sight including the non-Catholic kid who didn’t do a thing or say a word, is closer to Straight Stage One, bottom of the ladder Blind Obedience or Punishment.

Here’s the article detail that impressed me as advanced moral reasoning (I use this in politics and education all the time):

For Kohlberg, the most adequate result of both operations is “reversibility”, where a moral or dutiful act within a particular situation is evaluated in terms of whether or not the act would be satisfactory even if particular persons were to switch roles within the situation (also known colloquially as moral musical chairs)

When I question this in homeschooler discussions, it’s discouragingly rare to find reversible reasoning, and the most dogmatic “religious” homeschoolers refuse to even acknowledge reversibility as a legitimate test for moral reasoning. Science-minded folk are much better about this.

I do admire “Religion” as moral reasoning when it does transcend its own Rules and Ego and Vengeance, to put itself in the place of its offender, like Jean Val Jean being sheltered from the gendarmes and their bayonets, by the very bishop he’s just robbed of precious silver artifacts. The bishop LIES for him, breaks a commandment! And then, this transcendently moral (but fictional, alas) Catholic official openly gives him MORE silver than what he’d stolen.

Imagine if this Catholic Church specifically ministering to college kids whose moral development is still a work in progress, had treated the “offender” that way instead of disrupting the service to grab him, threaten him and then gang up to continue screaming for his head, along with anyone who dares stand up for him.

Why didn’t Religion itself stand for its young misguided worshipper rather than against him? That might indeed have been some empirical evidence for that seventh stage starting to emerge?

19 07 2008
Nance Confer

“Kohlberg further speculated that a seventh stage may exist (Transcendental Morality or Morality of Cosmic Orientation) which would link religion with moral reasoning[15] (see James W. Fowler’s stages of faith development[16][17]). However, because of Kohlberg’s trouble providing empirical evidence for even a sixth stage,[11] he emphasized that most of his conjecture towards a seventh stage was theoretical.[5]”

That’s from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kohlberg's_stages_of_moral_development

Here’s a bible study version: http://www.aggelia.com/htdocs/kohlberg.shtml

Another discussion — http://faculty.plts.edu/gpence/html/kohlberg.htm.

So, in the versions that include the conjecture about — dum, da, dum, dum — Transcendental Morality, that would be the stage that has overcome/incorporated the lower level thinking — obedience based on fear, law and order, etc. — and reached a level incorporating “universal ethical principles.” Principles not beholden to any one religion, which would be at a lower level stage.

The last link doesn’t include a Stage 7/specific religion reference but does include religious leaders like MLK and Gandhi in a discussion of justice and civil disobedience.

And this is from the last link too:

“4. Hierarchic integration. When Kohlberg says that his stages are hierarchically integrated, he means that people do not lose the insights gained at earlier stages, but integrate them into new, broader frameworks.”

Sounds like memes to me.

This blog interprets Stage 7 to be about questioning the existence of morals in the first place — http://cosmicsiren.blogspot.com/2005/02/kolhbergs-levels-of-morality.html

Which also led to this:

http://www.andrewcohen.org/quote/?quote=246
Quote of the Week
Weekly quotes from the teachings of Andrew Cohen

Morality Doesn’t Pre-exist

“Only human consciousness has the capacity to bring a higher moral dimension to the developmental process. Morality doesn’t pre-exist as part of the fabric of the universe, already formed, “out there” somewhere. It’s not part of the process from the very beginning; nor is it an inherent quality of the creative principle itself. If you project your pre-given notions of virtue and morality onto some mythic conception of God, you are just perpetuating a comforting illusion. Ever-greater moral capacities emerge and enter into the process only as human beings evolve.”

Nance

19 07 2008
Nance Confer

Good questions, JJ. Why was the immediate response so violent? Why not approach the young man and ask if he has questions about the sacred wafer and invite his friend to come along to bible study?

Churches have been around for a while now. You’d think they’d be better at handling things like this.

Nance

19 07 2008
JJ

The Catholic Church especially. I guess I expect its long and turbulent worldwide history to serve it in good stead, whereas I get the impression many American evangelicals are older than their particular Church and the rest of the world isn’t buying it, tends to just roll their eyes at them and think “this too shall pass.” 🙂

19 07 2008
JJ

Speaking of the Catholic Church and science education for the public, here’s the latest tidbit from PZ Myers.

21 07 2008
Crimson Wife

If there’s so little empirical evidence that RELIGION and MORAL REASONING can link up and transcend what we know and live with in the real everyday world, then I rest my case!

It’s news that humans have difficulty living up to the highest standards of religion? Much of Jesus of Nazareth’s preaching was on that very theme. I just this morning during devotionals read St. Paul’s letter to the Romans 7:14-25 that talked about how he wanted to do good but found himself giving in to temptation. It’s also found in the Hebrew portion of the Bible, and from what I recall from reading some of the texts of other faiths when I was in college, it’s not just a Judeo-Christian idea either.

The fact that few of us ever manage to get to Kohlberg’s 7th stage of morality does not mean that it does not exist.

And the idea that there are “universal ethical principles” that one should follow rather than obedience based on fear or obedience to the letter of the law is very much a Christian idea as can be seen in Jesus’ summarizing the 10 Commandments into the “Great Commandment”. Why should we not steal, lie, commit adultery, etc.? Simply because it’s written in Exodus chapter 20? No, because doing those things violate the universal ethical principle that we should love our neighbors as ourselves. That principle was true long before there was a Bible and is shared by basically every religion out there (thereby transcending any one particular faith).

21 07 2008
JJ

CW, I’d be seriously interested to hear your analysis of the issues in this self-described “Christian (Catholic) Libertarian”, about the UCF case and all its ethical-political-judicial problems . . .
“The ‘Fruits’ of Diversity”

22 07 2008
Crimson Wife

Are students at UCF allowed to opt-out of funding particular organizations with their student fees? The college I attended did that, and there were a handful of organizations I chose not to support (such as the campus pro-abortion group). Seems to me the best way to handle the issue of Mr. Cook’s objection to his fees going towards funding of the Catholic Campus Ministry would be to implement a similar policy at UCF. And the proper way to advocate for such a policy is *NOT* by disrupting Mass and threatening to desecrate an object considered sacred to Catholics. Rather, Mr. Cook should be introducing a resolution in the student government calling for such a policy, writing an op-ed for the student newspaper, circulating a petition among the students, etc. In other words, he should act like a civilized person rather than a disrespectful, attention-seeking brat.

And I’d feel the same way if Mr. Cook were a conservative Christian who’d disrupted some Wiccan ceremony because he had a beef with his student fees funding that organization. It doesn’t matter that *I* consider Wicca to be a bunch of hooey- what matters is that the Wiccans have a sincere belief in it and they deserve the opportunity to practice their faith in peace.

22 07 2008
JJ

What if it’s unconstitutional though, for Wiccan OR Catholic religious rites to be funded with taxpayer dollars? Isn’t that what strict constructionists, for example, would see in this and be primarily concerned about, not name-calling or scapegoating?

22 07 2008
Nance Confer

That principle was true long before there was a Bible and is shared by basically every religion out there (thereby transcending any one particular faith).

***

And not supporting any particular faith. The ties to a particular way to observe the universal principles are on the lower level than the recognition of the universality of the principles.

If anyone in favor of the Bible included a caveat saying “of course, you could get these same good ideas in any number of places, in and out of specific religions” rather than saying “these are universal but you have to sit in our pew to do it right” that might be what a Level 7 take on things would look like.

Nance

23 07 2008
JJ

Here’s the latest articulation of Bill Donohue’s moral stance, and PZ Myers’ in response. This source btw is a news bulletin site for “our Holy Catholic Church.”

Maybe “the truth shall set us free?” At long last, DISRESPECT FOR EVOLUTION SCIENCE rears its ugly head as the real dispute driving this power of story.

Donohue argued that Myers had an opportunity to either rebut or sustain claims that there is a “moral vacuity” in Darwinian visions of society, depending on whether or not he engaged in the threatened desecrations.

In an interview with Catholic Radio International, Professor Myers portrayed his threats as the result of what he perceives to be Bill Donohue’s forceful tactics rather than any official actions by the Church.

. . .“I would make a deal here, that I would return these wafers to the nearest Catholic church if the Church would come out and disavow the tactics of Bill Donohue and the people who have threatened my job and have threatened my life,” Myers said.

I also came across a Catholic man’s blog, someone who personally knows Bill Donohue, has corresponded directly with Webster Cook’s father and demands PZ Myers be fired as a bigot. He lays out HIS moral stance with specific judgment of, and specific advice for, all concerned in a post titled “A Roadmap to Save Webster Cook.”

I suggest it’s especially enlightening if read together with this post, in which his um, divinely inspired “moral reasoning” is further applied to Donohue and Myers:

Freedom of speech in no way protects you from the backlash from the reactions your words could ignite. It in no way protects you from the public asking for a just remedy. Ask Don Imus, or sportscaster Jimmy the Greek. Both men were fired from lucrative jobs because public outraged called for it and they said stupid things against a certain race. If Mr. Myers joins this list, it will be well deserved and warranted as he did the same.

Secondly, when you blatantly profane someone’s religion (and we are not talking a civil exchange of ideas), you are then trouncing on and violating another Constitutionally guaranteed freedom that we have in America, the freedom of religion. The right to worship freely without persecution.

Myers violated about 75 million American Catholics’ Constitutional rights with his rants. Again, worthy of dismissal.

Finally, I could not think of a better person to handle this situation than Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.

PZ Myers has no experience in defending himself against a retribution campaign on the scale that the Catholic League will launch or possible lawsuit. However, Mr. Donohue has the utmost experience in all America in defending the Catholic Faith and getting retribution from the associations that house these bigots.

Mr. Myers will be working on his C.V. shortly and it will be very hard for him to be re-hired in any academic setting when he has a hateful diatribe of paper trails that any potential employer can access to see the true, dark heart of this man.

23 07 2008
Nance Confer

Making fun of wafer worship is “persecution” now?

These folks have jumped the shark.

Nance

23 07 2008
JJ

Well, gosh, when anyone trusts any Ultimate Unquestioned Authority enough to relinquish all control over over one’s own life and death, all private and public decisions and principles, all one’s words and deeds, one’s entire purpose on the earth, and understanding of reality itself, to that Authority —
of COURSE it affects one’s ability to reason, especially about that Authority!

What mainly concerns me, JJ, about this case though — in case I haven’t been long-winded enough about it already — is the spectre of Public Education becoming any sort of Authority on religious beliefs and behavior, and the Catholic Church having the slightest Authority over any students on my public school campus, much less over student government representatives and their expenditures, and who is investigated or fired for not being “fit to serve”, etc. No belief community ought to exercise the slightest authority over how secular, public, tax-supported university officials handle student disciplinary affairs, award (or withdraw) scholarships and leadership status, etc.

And that’s all of less concern than the GRAVE educational offense of allowing even the appearance that any Church has any Authority over what is TAUGHT there, to any student believer or not: biology majors, political science majors, in business school including marketing, or journalism school including public relations, or even in RELIGION studies!

It seems to me that religious studies at least at public universities, ought to be secular-academic and entirely rational and comparative in intellectual content, not just another form of tax-supported worship for higher education credit and academic titles of Ultimate Authority such as “doctor”. I have one of those titles that I earned, at a Florida public university btw, and I refuse to have it disrespected by Catholic Church political operatives such as this Michelle Ducker and her apparent Ultimate Authority Bill Donohue.

23 07 2008
Nance Confer

Not sure what stage this fits in — but I enjoyed this physicist’s take on The View’s recent dustup about race

Surely this makes more sense than college kids squabbling over crackers. Maybe a scientist could lead these students to being better people, if their church can’t seem to straighten them out.

Nance

23 07 2008
JJ

I enjoyed that too, Nance thanks. 🙂

Why can’t home education advocates of ALL people, get this???

So I enjoyed less, this homeschooler blog comment thread on the same topic. Don’t people learn to think critically anymore, seriously? Here’s my latest comment in that thread:

[A]ll Eric said was that social conflict comes from disagreeing about what’s offensive, and then what to do about it. Seems this whole conversation (from tv to here) is evidence to that effect!

And then he says “believers” may adopt personal standards of behavior over and above our founding “legal” ideals.

I can’t be sure which ideal is behind FeFe’s attempt to impose White Flight speech standards on everyone in her local Chili Bowl, probably she can’t clearly sort it out herself. But the important issue is recognizing that such social conflict and culture clash surrounds us all, whether our kids go to school or not. It’s taken a thousand different forms in my generation, and it will take a thousand more in the next.

So what we all need to “teach our children” is much more than a certain censored vocabulary. It’s how to understand and HANDLE such culture clash, if they’re to live free and pursue happiness as future citizens of the modern world. But scolding each other as if our own social standards rule everyone, is nothing more than a recipe for the culture clash between Whoopi and Elisabeth. . .
JJ |

I really do fear for our society if these irrational bastardizations of American Founding Principles continue to drive public policy as they have for our inaugural into this millennium. Rush Limbaugh just spent an hour on my radio calling Obama all sorts of names meaning idiot, ignorant, stupid, stuttering, incompetent, etc etc etc. Generally mocking him in every possible way, calling him “The Messiah” etc etc. Then he called all liberals mean and hateful, sneaky, etc etc. This right after playing the most mean-spirited racist monologue in recent memory, of a supposedly black rapper type telling Obama in street lingo how useless and dumb he was etc etc etc.

And he’s the most listened-to radio host in the USA, right?

23 07 2008
JJ

I started this post asking about how we’d apply these levels of moral reasoning to current celebrity politicians and their public platforms (if we can figure out what the heck they really are.)

Anybody wanna go there now?

Also Possummomma (from Snook’s blogroll) had a somewhat related post and comment thread I just found, about the morality of religion and atheism, here.

*****

Which brings me to a long and fascinating discussion from various human and cosmic POVS about the UCF and PZ Myers controversy, from Nance’s new cosmic variance source: “Crackergate”

23 07 2008
JJ

Nance, remember our drive-by commenter Steve? 😉

. . .a stuffy, huffy One Story literalist named “Steve” dropped by to define my stories all as completely wrong, because in his story Waves of Reason cannot move the Rock, hence “Freedom without absolutes is no freedom at all.”

We heard Sean Hannity on the car radio last week, ranting about Louis Farrakkan. He was mocking the man for his obviously ABSURD belief that we were created by some beings who arrived in a spaceship, or something like that — I have no idea what Farrakkan’s beliefs actually are — and rhetorically asking his audience how anyone could credit such a loon who would swallow such irrationality. . .

24 07 2008
Crimson Wife

What if it’s unconstitutional though, for Wiccan OR Catholic religious rites to be funded with taxpayer dollars?

But it’s not taxpayer dollars funding the CCM- it’s the fees paid by students. There may be some indirect funding if students use their Federal loan or Pell grant money to pay those fees, but it’s a pretty big stretch to call that a violation of the First Amendment. Is there any evidence that UCF practices religious discrimination in its student fee funding of organizations either in favor of Catholicism or against another faith?

In fact, to disallow religious groups to qualify for student fees would be a violation of the First Amendment as the Supreme Court found in Rosenberger v. UVA).

24 07 2008
JJ

Why does the Catholic Church (or any church) need or want state government agencies collecting education funds from all students, to be paid in for religious services that only some students will use? What’s the ethical argument for doing that, especially to conservatives and libertarians?

24 07 2008
Crimson Wife

Why should student fees go to fund intramural sports teams when not every student plays a team sport? Why should student fees go to fund musical performance groups when not every student plays an instrument? Why should student fees go to fund a literary magazine when not every student writes poetry or short fiction? The reason for funding student organizations is that these extracurricular activities provide outlets for students to explore their interests outside of a classroom setting and to help them to make friends. Higher education should aim at producing well-rounded graduates, not just ones with a lot of “book learning” (though of course academics are very important).

For many students, religion is an important component of their lives. Particularly at a secular school, campus ministries provide fellowship and support in meeting the challenges of staying true to their principles when so much around them is tempting them to stray.

A libertarian wouldn’t have a problem with student fee funding, *SO LONG AS* 1) individual students can opt out of funding any or all of the organizations and 2) there is “viewpoint neutrality” in terms of how organizations are funded. Why should a libertarian care how students choose to voluntarily spend their own money?

24 07 2008
JJ

But they can’t — opt out. So now what should UCF do with the money all students are required to pay in, perhaps limit its use to things (like intramural sports, good example, hmmm) that are indeed “intra-mural” as in literally “between the school’s own students.”

Intramural team play is put on by and for that school’s students themselves, not delivered to them through a foreign head of state with a worldwide hierachy, from on high? I know Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig doesn’t run the intramural baseball programs at Florida universities, the kids do. And the game isn’t played by the same rules or at the same performance level, and if the kids get goofy, he won’t threaten them with violence or try to get them expelled. Why would he care or be offended in the least? Pro ball players won’t care either.

Extracurricular literary magazines and newspapers by and for the kids, under public policy administration to deal with copyright and libel laws, etc, sure. — OR if the kids won’t have administration controls, then they must get off campus as my college paper famously did, to become the “Independent Florida Alligator.” Why should the Catholic Church do any less, if it wants to call its own shots without university and student government controls? You can’t take the money and still claim to be totally independent, right?

And the university isn’t paid for primarily by the tuition and fees of attending students. Like the K-12 schools (where no Church is funded to come minister to the kids!) public higher education here is largely supported by fixed-income taxpaying residents, who may never attend it at all. And THEY — we — most definitely cannot opt out, of any of it.

24 07 2008
JJ

CW, I’m not saying my policy arguments are a slam-dunk by any means. I’m only saying this young man had the concern prior to that night, and it’s not an unreasonable one. He seems to have been asking the question and it looks as if there was trouble brewing. The more I read and hear about this case, and how “they” were on top of him from before the Mass began and how they knew he was a student senator, the more it seems this WAS the real dispute. At least that’s the way the story makes the most sense to me so far . . .

7 08 2008
Ignorance Is All in the Family and a Real Sin « Cocking A Snook!

[…] (not Nance, apparently!) at the ignorant and racist religious bile being spewed at Barack Obama by supposedly patriotic, conservative, golden-rule Christians, even from homeschool advocates who with stubborn pride clutch their own differences from […]

5 09 2008
What John McCain Could Save His Soul By Learning « Cocking A Snook!

[…] you, all by yourself, the original maverick who would rather lose an election than go against your family values, patriotism and principles, YOU, sold out your hard-won position of trust for your own ambition to be elected president, […]

7 02 2009
“Pro-Choice? Quit Crying About Your Miscarriage” « Cocking A Snook!

[…] can’t find a scrap of respect personally, for the immorality and inhumanity this belief […]

3 10 2009
How Humans Are Hard-Wired to Treat Each Other « Cocking A Snook!

[…] her third cup of coffee JJ just saw a good place to start emphasizing real family values and community over killer-ape economic warfare : Forever […]

25 02 2010
Blackwater, Google and Whales, Oh My « Cocking A Snook!

[…] Superhuman powers, no human morals. ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — SeaWorld has suspended killer whale shows at all of its parks following the […]

18 09 2010
JJ

Speaking of “musical moral chairs” — here’s an amazing cafe twist MUCH more in line with higher order moral reasoning than whatever language rules “FeFe” above was trying to impose on her fellow Chili Bowl patrons:

. . .you can choose to be either a generous benefactor . . . or try your luck at being cheap. Either way, it’s an interesting experiment that explores surprise, kindness and encourages interactions.

18 09 2010
JJ

And here’s what does NOT explore surprise, kindness and encourage interactions:

Christinie O”Donnell Preaches Anti-Elite Message to “Values Voters”

They call us “aging Reagan staffers and home schoolers,” she said, prompting laughter from the crowd. “They’re trying to marginalize us, put us in a box. We’re not trying to take back our country,” she said. “We are our country.” The crowd rose in one of several standing ovations . . .

28 09 2010
EDUCATION NATION Tuesday: Different Memes for Different Dreams « Cocking A Snook!

[…] it’s both a moral imperative but also practical self-interest in our own […]

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