Monday, 8 August 2011

Surreal Late Night Conversations with Dad

I adore my Dad, no question about it.  He's always been the stable, reasonable, rational force in my upbringing, even when he wasn't there half the time.  It's thanks to him I had the foundations to be able to think skeptically as a child, in an environment where hard questions were dismissed or silenced.

So sometimes, when it's late at night, there's nothing but pessimism on the news and he's downed a few, I get a bit shocked by what he admits.  Like his belief that the world will end at 2012.  That the police should all be given guns and orders to open fire.  That we should arm ourselves ready for society's collapse.  That he wishes he had sturdier legs to run on when the apocalypse happens. 

There's something surreal in trying to associate those admissions with the man who taught me to always keep an open yet skeptical mind. 

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Morals? There's an app for that!

Or at least, a psychological test. 

In browsing through my reading lists, I came across a website called, where they have studies and surveys to test your moral thinking and ranking them according to how liberal or conservative you are.  I took the first survey on the list, "Moral Foundation Questionnaire", which was developed by Jesse Graham and Jonathan Haidt from the University of Virginia.  Their questionnaire relies on five pillars of moral foundation, based on Harm/Care, Fairness/Reciprocity, Ingroup/Loyalty, Authority/Respect and Purity/Sanctity. 

It doesn't come as too big a surprise that each foundation is ranked differently according to either group, I suppose accounting for those who are more in the middle of the road with their affiliation.  In sense of accuracy and proper surveying, I would have prefered there be more conservatives taking this survey as liberals are very highly represented. 

Anyway, I'll post up my results for comparison and analysis.  The green bars are my results, blue for average liberal result and red for general conservative result.  The scales are based on the 0-5 system, with 0 being a complete rejection of that foundation and 5 being a full endorsement of that foundation and the basis of which you build your morality upon.

Harm/Care (4.3) - I'm not surprised this is my highest score, but what I am surprised with is just how highly it ranked.  I always thought myself empathic towards others and against harming someone intentionally, but I'm not exactly the most gentle person to have existed either.

Fairness (3.7) - Andrew Hall mentioned that this was the "Superhero Virtue"; so I suppose my sense of justice is nicely placed for a small time hero, like a minor mutant in the X-Men Academy.

Loyalty (2.5) - About average, so no real comment here. 

Authority (3.0) - Leaning more towards the conservative thinking here, but again, I'm not surprised.  I had been raised in a very authoritarian home and I do have a certain respect for people in positions of authority (police, military personnel, leaders, parents, teachers, employers etc), but that does mean my expectations of their conduct is high as well. 

Purity (2.5) - Again, slightly surprised with this one, though I suppose my lingering naivety has influenced a lot of this.  There's very few things I would consider "icky" nowadays, but I suppose hat does beg the question of just how "icky" are the things I was considering when filling out the survey ;-)

Man, I love doing things like these.  It fascinates me to actually see in some rudimentary form how I think.

Kudos to Andrew Hall (Laughing in Purgatory) for the link.