A few days ago I wrote a brief post on this site, intended to draw attention to a document that had just been circulated publicly by the American Academy of Religion (our main professional organization in the US), entitled “Responsible Research Practices: A Statement on Standards of Professional Conduct for AAR Members.” (Click here to read it or click here to learn a little more about it and to find the names [posted as a PDF here] of the 10-person committee that drafted it.) Approaching mid-July, and released without much fanfare (at least that I’d heard), it wasn’t entirely clear to me that members of the Academy would necessarily know this draft had been posted, or that their input was being solicited.
So my post was mainly concerned to just help get the word out a little more.
I offered a brief critique, sure, but didn’t dwell on any of the details.
Since then I’ve talked privately with two people on the committee, to make my views known to them directly, and so I think my post from the other day now deserves a more sustained and public follow-up. Continue reading →
I recall a close friend, almost 30 years ago, to whom I asked the following often-heard question, when they’d just had their first child:
Is he a good baby?
We don’t believe in making moral judgments about our child.
I admit that the answer came as a bit of a surprise, since I was simply interested in knowing if the baby was sleeping the whole night through and eating ok; but, sure, after I thought about it for a moment, it was pretty evident that the old “good baby” trope wraps up an awful lot of unstated things and I had asked it pretty unthinkingly. After all, I could have just inquired if he was sleeping the whole night through and eating ok.
I thought of that exchange yesterday when I first read through the American Academy of Religion’s draft statement on responsible research, posted online for member commentary. (Click the graphic to read it.) Continue reading →