Adventures in Ethics and Science

Today, on account of the fact that I’m pinned down doing course updating activities, I present you with a poll. In answering the question, go ahead and use whatever is your preferred definition of “civility”.

Of course, use the comments to discuss to your heart’s content (including where I went wrong in constructing the poll options).


  1. #1 becca
    January 11, 2010

    In order of incompatibility with civility, from least to greatest:
    the status of funding/jobs for scientific trainees nowadays; string theory; same-sex marriage; the status of underrepresented minorities in science; climate change; any issue where some blogger is using a poll to generate something with the appearance of empirical data; animal research/animal rights; drug laws; health care reform; vaccination; anything to do with religion (including atheism); abortion; anything involving comrade physio prof; rainbows and puppies

  2. #2 Michelle Dawson
    January 11, 2010

    Autism is in a league of its own.

  3. #3 Grant
    January 12, 2010

    I have a suspicion that the nationality of the voter will affect their vote, e.g. in some countries gay marriage is less of an issue, ditto for religion.

  4. #4 Pat Cahalan
    January 12, 2010

    Tisk, tisk, you violated one of Dillman’s principles for writing survey questions: “Develop response categories that are mutually exclusive.”

    “Anything to do with religion (including atheism)” intersects with… well, almost everything else on the list, in one way or the other 😉

  5. #5 domsooch
    January 12, 2010

    I voted for vaccination, but wow geez religion is the clear winnah. You now know what to write about Janet. WooooHooooo! I’m rarin’ fer a FahYer FaHight!!

  6. #6 kickabout
    January 13, 2010

    One of my favorites isn’t on the list. Want to see a breakdown in civility? Go visit the comments section of any NYTimes article on infertility. Yowza.

  7. #7 Adam_Y
    January 14, 2010

    Hehehehhe…. Depends on what crazy guy shows up. The whole canoe stunt almost rivals eating babies.

  8. #8 truth is life
    January 15, 2010

    The places I usually visit, it’s nationalism. You haven’t seen a flame war until you’ve seen Bosnians, Albanians, Serbs, and Croats all arguing about which country a certain town belongs to…

  9. #9 Skeptico
    January 16, 2010

    You forgot genetic engineering. Although the one I voted for – climate change – would still win in my view.

  10. #10 Epinephrine
    January 17, 2010

    Gun control debates are way up there. I don’t think I’ve seen a group of people quicker to anger than those who are obsessed with carrying guns.

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