Moral Non-Sense Test

Always one to test my morality against that of others (roll eyes here), I decided to take the bait and attempt the Moral Sense Test

Since participants should be as un-skewed as I was before taking the test, my remarks regarding it will come after the jump.

 That is positively the worst “moral sense” measuring tool I can imagine without involving Nazis or Islam. 

I am willing to let the fact that a “Harvard” sponsored test hasn’t been proofread and the word “this” is substituted for “thinks” in one question (I believe it was #5). 

What I’m NOT going to forgive is the fact that every single example involved punitive damages, yet the damages would be paid to a general “Government Fund.” 

So even when I would have awarded damages, I see no reason for the government to get a nickel because some jackass punched me in the face.  I might deserve some money, but every single question ended in the same way–by saying the government would get the money.  Where’s the moral sense in that? 

And so I vented my moral outrage accordingly: I took the test again.  As an

  • 100 year old male white non-hispanic
  • with a graduate degree
  • who works in Administrative support
  • in Vatican City
  • who spent most of his childhood on Christmas Island
  • but identifies most with Turkmenistan
  • and speaks Urdu as his native language

And if THAT wasn’t enough, I also lied about the next 3 questions regarding if I’d ever participated or read about the Moral Sense Test, and had I ever taken courses on Moral Philosophy. 

I have, and one of the most important lessons is this: take care in the way you phrase your questions or you may not get accurate results. 

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13 thoughts on “Moral Non-Sense Test

  1. LOL….I think the fact that you retook the test under false pretenses says something about your moral values.

    I fined exactly one person $100, and that was the dentist. The rest, I was, and I quote: “Shit happens. Why should I want to fine people who had no idea what I was doing and whose actions were, for all intents and purposes, accidental?”

  2. And the crack about you retaking the test was a joke….a JOKE. You’re probably one of the more moral persons I know.

    QJ, why do you think Jamie hasn’t taken the far more accurate Harry Potter character test yet? 🙂

  3. I couldn’t believe the total average amount to be paid was $72,000. Who are these assholes? I need to know in case I run into one of them by accident.

    Regarding government receiving the benefit, it is very similar to tobacco lawsuit settlements. In Illinois, we got a nifty property tax rebate on our tax form as a result and the state continues to profit from the sale of cigarettes.

  4. Oh my God! I answered every question exactly as NDT did and for the same reasons. 🙂 The only thing I would add is that in some of the cases, the victim was an idiot, and in other cases, if there was to be a fine, someone else should have been liable.

  5. As for the test, yes, some of the typos were pretty bad. And I’m guessing that some people entered large amounts for the heck of it. The median amount would have been a more appropriate statistic in this case.

  6. <i>Regarding government receiving the benefit, it is very similar to tobacco lawsuit settlements. In Illinois, we got a nifty property tax rebate on our tax form as a result and the state continues to profit from the sale of cigarettes.</i>
    But those settlements are based on large groups of people and scientific studies that were purposely discarded in order to profit at the expense of customers’ health.

    The examples cited in the MST, however, were based on individuals and accidents.

    Oh, and since I neglected to specifically say it in the post (although I think the implication was clear): I didn’t award one red cent. Must be that libertarian streak.

  7. That’s why I said similar and not same as. I thought it fit nicely with your point here:

    What I’m NOT going to forgive is the fact that every single example involved punitive damages, yet the damages would be paid to a general “Government Fund.”

    Which is what happened to tobacco settlement monies.

    (and I also awarded $0)

  8. Wow, that test has a very bad design. I wonder if the flaws are deliberate, serving as some sort of a blind.

    Maybe the test is part of a study of why people do or don’t keep their word once given (in this case, not to discuss the test results). The experimenters could contrast the amounts of disclosure and discussion on the web with those about an almost identical but well-designed test. Would people feel more compelled to keep their agreement over a better test? Or this test could just be an examination of how much people like to throw money at problems.

    Yeah, I’m over-thinking, but it’s fun.

  9. I didn’t fine the barrel guy, because I figured the end of the ramp was on a clear construction site, and the woman should have figured it out. And if it somehow wasn’t clear, then the construction company should be fined by not closing the area off.

  10. If you click the Moral Sense Test link, not the one that takes you to Sully, click Test Your Intuitions, then scroll down and click Proceed To Test, you should get different scenarios in a row. After you fill out the survey thing.

    Unless they’ve gone and changed it.

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