- Podcasts del grupo
- Radios del grupo
The Morality of Faith Schools
A long-running legal battle between Ofsted and the Al-Hijrah Islamic state school in Birmingham has reached the Court of Appeal. The principle at stake is whether segregating boys and girls - for all classes, breaks and trips - amounts to unlawful sex discrimination in a mixed-sex setting. Ofsted's lawyers argue that it is "a kind of apartheid", leaving girls "unprepared for life in modern Britain". The school maintains that gender segregation is one of its defining characteristics and that the policy is clear - parents can make an informed choice. The case is based on the Equality Act, which means the implications of the ruling will be far-reaching and will apply to all schools, not just state schools. Should gender segregation be allowed in co-educational faith schools? If it is as abhorrent as segregating children according to their race, why is the great British tradition of single-sex education not the subject of similar scrutiny? The case also raises wider moral concerns about what we as a society will allow to go on in faith schools, whether they are publicly-funded or not. Is the promotion of one dominant world view - taught as "truth" - desirable? Are faith schools a vital component of multiculturalism or a threat to it? Should a truly integrated society be judged on the diversity within its schools, lest they become cultural or religious ghettos? To do away with faith-based education entirely would be to do away with some of the best and most over-subscribed schools in the country. Would that be a price worth paying for a more cohesive society, or a monstrous display of religious intolerance? The morality of faith schools. Witnesses are Afua Hirsch, Prof Anthony O'Hear, Iram Ramzan and Asad Zaman. Producer: Dan Tierney.
The morality of parental rights
The case of Charlie Gard, the desperately sick 11-month-old on life support in London's Great Ormond Street Hospital, has captured the attention of the world. At the centre of it are two parents who instinctively believe in going to any lengths to fight for their baby's life, even when the doctors treating him have reluctantly come to accept there is nothing more to be done to mitigate the effects of his exceptionally rare genetic condition. The legal battle raises painful ethical questions about who - parents, doctors or judges - should decide whether or not to continue the treatment of a critically-ill child, and where the line should be drawn between preserving life and preventing suffering. Away from the strict field of medical ethics, there are wider questions about the value society should place on the parental claim to know what is best for a child. Should there be limits on parents' rights to make decisions for their children, based on their own personal moral, ideological or religious convictions? Should they, for example, have the right to withdraw their child from compulsory sex education? Should babies be subjected to certain religious rituals or cultural practices which are the subject of wider ethical concerns? It could be argued that children don't belong to their parents as much as they belong to the community as a whole and that there is a collective duty of care which trumps parental wishes. On the other hand, if parents are responsible for taking all sorts of practical decisions for the sake of their children's well-being until they're 18 years old, isn't it also reasonable to accept their right to make moral judgements on their behalf? To what extent should the state be responsible for determining what are 'good' and 'bad' parental decisions? The morality of parental rights. Witnesses are Ed Condon, Prof Raanan Gillon, Carol Iddon and Prof Dominic Wilkinson. Producer: Dan Tierney.
The Morality of the Public Sector
It's not very often you see the complete breakdown of the constitutional convention known as collective cabinet responsibility. The issue at stake is whether to loosen the reins on austerity by giving a pay rise to public sector workers, from prison officers and nurses to judges and senior NHS managers. Ministerial heavyweights have been falling over themselves to urge the government to reconsider the 1% pay cap the Conservatives had wanted to keep in place until 2020. The fragile general election result has prompted a serious re-think. The debate is not just an economic one; it also concerns the moral value we place on the public sector. Paying public sector workers more than the minimum required to recruit them is surely the best way to retain and motivate gifted and dedicated people in the service of others? Or should their awareness of being in a socially-useful job be compensation and motivation enough? Besides, is the lifting of the pay cap too high a price to pay, when the extra money inevitably has to come from the taxpayer or risks detracting from the services themselves? Is the special value ascribed to the public service ethos justified? Does society need to retain the principle at all costs; a vital necessity for people who hold our lives in their hands; a recognition that we can be motivated by higher values than the mere pursuit of profit? Or - at a time in which the traditional distinctions between the public and private sectors are outdated - is it a self-serving myth? The morality of the public sector - our Moral Maze this week. Witnesses are Sean O'Grady, Dr Mary Bousted, Dr Jamie Whyte and Chris Graham. Producer: Dan Tierney.
Moral Philosophy for the Internet
Theresa May has been forced to ditch whole chunks of her party's manifesto in the wake of the election, but one of the key non-Brexit policies to survive is the plan to crack down on tech companies that allow extremist and abusive material to be published on their networks. The recent terrorist attacks have strengthened the arguments of campaigners who've long said that it's far too easy to access this kind of content and have accused internet companies of wilfully ignoring the problem. The promised "Digital Charter" will aim to force those companies to do more to protect users and improve online safety. With the growing power of tech giants like Google, Facebook and Twitter, connecting billions of people around the globe, is it pie in the sky to promise that Britain will be the safest place to be online? On one level this is a moral argument which has been going on for centuries about what we should, and should not be allowed to read and see and who should make those decisions. But is this a bigger problem than freedom of speech? Have we reached a tipping point where the moral, legal, political and social principles that have guided us in this field have been made redundant by the technology? Do we need to find new kind of moral philosophy that can survive in a digital age and tame the power of the tech-corps? Or is the problem uncomfortably closer to home - a question that each and every one of us has to face up to? Tim Cook, the chief executive of Apple, recently said that he was concerned about new technologies making us think like computers "without values or compassion, without concern for consequence." Witnesses are Nikita Malik, Tom Chatfield, Mike Harris and Mariarosaria Taddeo.
Grenfell Tower Fire
Rage is an understandable emotional reaction to the Grenfell tower fire. It's not just a response to the number of people who died or were severely injured and the many hundreds more who lost loved ones or have been evacuated from their homes in the area. It's when you look at the accounts of Kensington and Chelsea council that the emotion crystallises into something more morally troubling. In the last financial year the council had spendable reserves of more than £300 million and was running at such a profit it could afford to write off £1.5 million on subsidising Holland Park Opera. A sprinkler system for Grenfell tower would have cost around £200,000. Were those in Grenfell tower victims of the dogma of the free market - to which New Labour signed up along with the Conservative party - that has destroyed our sense of social obligation and the common good? If they were victims of bad government, is the answer more regulation? Or does "red tape" reduce morality and personal responsibility to a tick-box mentality? This Wednesday campaigners are planning what they call a "day of rage" to protest at the social injustice they say is at the heart of the tragedy. They are calling for people to "defy Tory rule". It's not hard to turn this tragedy into a political morality tale about rich and poor and it may even be understandable to do that, but is it a justifiable tactic when emotions are running so high? Anger is an energy that can be focused to achieve change, but it can also career out of control as we saw outside a mosque in north London this week. With3 recent major terrorist incidents and a fractured political climate you could argue that as a nation we're living through febrile emotional times. Do we all have a responsibility to choose our words carefully?