Testing My Moral DNA

I read an article this week about a questionnaire whose creator, the “corporate philosopher” Roger Steare, calls the Moral DNA test. Over 50,000 people from 200 countries have taken this survey, which its creator says is designed to help humanity understand how we make moral decisions. He also says the results so far show that women are more moral than men, and older people are more moral than younger people – both of which are claims I find strange, since the test is intended to show what principles animate our ethical decision-making, not to rank people on a black-to-white scale of absolute morality.

In any case, I took the test, and here’s what I got:

You are a Philosopher

Philosophers believe that moral principle, or “virtue” is the most important ethical perspective. They ask “What would be the honest or courageous thing to do?” Then they’ll consider the consequences for others. Finally and reluctantly they’ll consider rules, laws and regulations. Philosophers hate being told what to do or what’s right. They’re mavericks and rebels, but good to have around when really difficult decisions have to be made. About 17% of adults are Philosophers.

This test measures people’s preferences along three different dimensions: obedience, compassion, and reason. There are six possible orderings of these three principles, corresponding to six different moral decision-making types. The Philosopher type ranks as RCO – reason first, then compassion, then obedience – which, I have to agree, sounds about right for me.

Amusingly, though, the test also gave me a chance to be an Angel:

Your description as a Philosopher is the most probable. You prefer the ethic of Reason to the ethic of Obedience. You also prefer the ethic of Care to the ethic of Obedience when making moral decisions. But the difference between the ethic of Reason and the ethic of Care is too small to give us a definitive answer. There is a small chance, therefore, that you could also be an Angel.

If you take the test, what are your results? I’m a little curious what the pattern of answers would be among Daylight Atheism readers…

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.


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