Random Update: I Hate the Ethics Textbook A Lot

I really need to try updating this blog more. I could go on a whinge about not having anything to write about, and finding the right “tone” and “topic” for the blog, but while true, this does not make for exciting reading so instead I will rant about the current class I’m taking. The name of the class is “Ethical and Legal Issues in the Professions,” and it is basically a repeat of many of the things we learned in “Critical Thinking” and the Introduction to Business class and also Sociology. I hate it not because of the class itself, but because of the textbook.

The textbook is pretty much horrible. Thinking Critically About Ethical Issues 7th Ed by Vincent Ryan Ruggiero has some badly researched and mildly racist commentary, is occasionally homophobic and is full of moments where Vinny tries to push the reader into agreeing with him instead of actually explaining the subject.

At one point, he tries to claim that “energetic” people who are naturally hasty are less likely to have the ability to consider ethics because of their metabolism. Or something. Don’t believe me?

For example, the vivacious, energetic person, quick of movement and speech, who constantly performs in metabolic overdrive may tend to be somewhat less disposed to careful analysis of past actions than is the slower, more reflective person. The impulsive person, impatient to do and have done, may be virtually incapable of prior reflection. Conscience, in this case, may operate only after the fact.

A little earlier, he tries to state that “conscience,” the intuitive thing where you go “um, maybe doing this is a bad idea” is somehow genetic.

Vinny also has a problem with distinguishing the shame you feel for something that is not your fault, with the shame you feel for something that is in fact your fault:

Since shame is a phenomenon almost everyone has experienced, it is not surprising that it has been traditionally regarded as essentially wholesome. Oddly, however, popular psychology regards it as a sign of emotional instability.

Um, yeah, Vinny. The type of shame psychology considers bad and wrong is the kind that a “normal,” presumably mentally healthy person would not be feeling if the same thing happened to them. “Normal” people get upset, maybe if they get an F on a test. Someone who does not have a healthy sense of “shame” is going to feel horrible if they get a B. Even a “normal” person may experience the type of shame that is not healthy if they were I don’t know, experiencing survivor’s guilt. Or if they were blaming themselves for something that was not their fault.

Here’s another quote:

Honesty, however, demands acknowledgment of the darker aspect of feelings. When Hitler exterminated more than 6 million Jews and when Stalin massacred 30 million Russian peasants, they were following their feelings, as was their common spiritual ancestor, Genghis Khan, when he led his hordes of Mongols across Asia and into Europe, plundering, raping, and devastating. Serial killer Ted Bundy murdered young women and Jeffrey Dahmer practiced cannibalism for no other reason than to satisfy their desires. And for that same reason a group of Nassau County, New York, men used gifts to lure boys—some as young as 7, most of them fatherless—into homosexual seduction and then threatened them with beatings and even death if they told the authorities

Emphasis mine.

How about just plain “seduction,” or “sexual coercion” or even just “abuse,” as opposed to giving it a freaking orientation, Vinny.

And here’s the more or less racist quote:

The religion known as Voodoo, which originated thousands of years ago in Africa, is still practiced in some parts of the world by as many as 275 million people. It has a number of adherents in the United States, mainly in New York City, Miami, and New Orleans. Most of these adherents are black and Hispanic; some are white. Religious practices of Voodoo, known as Santeria in the United States, no longer include human sacrifice, but they do include animal sacrifice and the casting of spells with the aid of dolls or figurines. Some years ago, a farmer’s field in upstate New York was the site of such a ritual. Four Voodoo dolls were found mutilated, and the area was littered with the bloody remains of a number of chickens, pigeons, lambs, and goats. Some of the animals and birds appeared to have had their heads bitten off.3 Because the ritual was religious, it cannot effectively be objected to on religious grounds (except by saying, “My religious views make me deplore that religious practice”). And it may have broken no law, so the only legal objection may be “There ought to be a law.” But on what basis ought there to be (or not be) a law? On the basis of moral judgment. Ethics.

Okay, I am not an expert or even really familiar but this is so much bullshit, and it makes me sad for anyone who is a devotee who has to use this stupid book for their Ethics class.

1. Santeria and Voodoo are both religions with West African roots. This is the only thing they have in common. To find this out, all it takes is a simple keyword search.

2. The scene as described looks more like a bunch of kids screwing around than a proper ceremony. Again, I am not very knowledgeable about this but I’m pretty sure that said ceremonies are not going to take place in a random farmer’s field. I also suspect that an actual ceremony would be cleaned up afterward.

3. Vinny, you failed to cite your sources for the human sacrifice part. I’m strongly reminded of the school I went to where everyone and their cousin asked if I “still” sacrificed babies when they found out I was Pagan. This is not a happy thing to remind me of, Vinny.

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Filed under pagan, rant, skool daze

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