Sunday, February 24, 2019


Pets have been microchipped for quite a while now but now people are being microchipped as well. It all started out with people with debilitating illnesses and has grown from there. However, is this the thin end of the wedge? Are we on a slippery slope or is this a wonderful new development? Do your research and decide. When you are ready, write an essay where you defend your point of view and refute counterarguments.
Familiarize yourself with the issue
Human microchipping: the benefits and the downsides
·         Reading material to make notes on
·         Should humans be implanted with microchips?
·         Why you are probably getting a microchip implant someday
·         Microchips and the human dangers
·         Human microchipping is here, and it is about to rock your skin’s world
Videos to watch and take notes from
·         How they plan to force people to get microchipped
·         Microchips in humans

Friday, February 15, 2019


The Center for Genetics and Society states on its website that “Powerful new gene editing techniques have put the prospect of genetically modified human beings on the foreseeable horizon”. It goes on to pose the following questions: “Should we use these tools to improve the human species? Are they needed to prevent the transmission of genetic diseases? Would manipulating the genes of future children and generations open the door to new kinds of discrimination, inequality, and eugenics?”. It goes on to add that “Some forty countries, including most of Europe, have adopted laws prohibiting human heritable genetic modification, but the United States has not.” Do your research and decide where you stand. When you are ready, write an essay on the topic.
Refer to my second blog, The Essay Archive, for sample essays:
Familiarize yourself with the issue
·         Ethics of designer babies  
Reading material to make notes on
·         Designer babies: ethical considerations
·         Designer babies: an ethical horror waiting to happen?
·         Ethics of designer babies
·         Designer babies: a question of ethics
Videos to watch and take notes from
·         The ethical dilemma of designer babies
·         Should we genetically modify our children?
Film to watch:
Book to read:
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Thursday, February 7, 2019


By: Julia Shaw
Level of Difficulty: **
·         Cognitive Disonance – Leon Festinger  Be sure to watch both videos.
1.       What conclusion can we draw from the example of factory farmed meat?
2.       Adding a price tag affects our decision making by…
3.       Christmas involves the communal eating of turkey as does thanksgiving. What do these and similar examples prove? The reason for this is the wish to…
4.       Eating meat can threaten our identities as moral people because…
5.       Watch: Festinger and Carlsmith Dissonance Study:  and now read the account of the experiment. What was the purpose of the experiment? Be precise. In order to do so, you will need to tweak the text.
6.       Which group experienced the most dissonance? We know this because they decided …
7.       Acc to Festinger, people’s reactions to dissonance stems from the fact that…
8.       The names for cuts of meat  are all example of our efforts to… There are two answers; find both.
9.       What does “this” refer to in the phrase “this was done in two different ways”?
10.   What knock-on effect does the way we deal with dissonance in the case of meat eating have? It becomes…
11.   Watch: Sweatshops and the fact that big brands still have their products manufactured there are an example proving that…
12.   Our ethical inconsistencies become resistant to change because our behaviour becomes…
Read this last paragraph of the text:
It is time for a revolution in how we talk about human beings, animals and the planet, and acknowledge our own hypocrisies. Rather than doing mental gymnastics to justify unethical behaviour, we must consider actually changing it. Identifying and addressing even just a few of your guilt-ridden ethical inconsistencies is likely to make you a happier person, and the planet a better place.
Now write an essay in which you support the above ideas.

This simple and straightforward text deals with the relatively complex issue of cognitive dissonance initially in the context of eating meat and later in terms of its wider implications. It will hopefully lead students to think about our hypocrisies as human beings and how we can become a more moral society.
1.       Money changes our relationship with morality / The very existence of money, along with complex business and distribution channels, acts as a buffer between ourselves and the origin of our products. This can make us behave in ways that are deeply unethical.
2.       We can’t see the acts first hand, so they feel like they are unrelated to us
3.       Meat-eating is tied to social customs /Protect our identities (from a moral conflict)
4.       Bringing harm to others is inconsistent with a view of oneself as a moral person
5.       What impact lying and saying the experiment was enjoyable, fun and interesting  and the compensation for it, would have on participants’ rating of the task
6.       The participants paid $1 / the experiment must have actually been enjoyable
7.       The existence of dissonance is psychologically uncomfortable
8.       Conceptually distancing ourselves from the real origin of our food; OR  to make meat-eating seem acceptable by dissociating it from the animal it came from
9.       Physically, verbally and conceptually distancing ourselves from the real origin of our food.
10.   Easier to be cruel
11.   Through the process of dissonance reduction, the apparent immorality of certain behaviours can seemingly disappear.” The first sentence of the paragraph would not be acceptable.
12.    Normalized