Ethics Bowl Team Continues On To National Tournament


We would like to extend our congratulations to the Ethics Bowl teams for their recent win at the regional competition. Here is Dr. Spiegel’s description of the event:

This past Saturday, November 9, the TU Ethics Bowl team won the regional championship for the second consecutive year and for the 3rd time in the last four years.  Here are the details.  Once again, the competition was held at Marian University in Indianapolis.  And, like last year, we entered three separate teams (the only school to do this), all of which are coached by Cathy Kerton-Johnson and me.  The teams included the following students, including Honors Guild students Suzanne Neefus, Joe Kasper, Blair Hedges, Nathaniel Cullen, and Davis Meadors.

Twenty teams participated in this year’s Central States Regional competition.  The other schools involved were Bellarmine University, Belmont University, Butler University, College of Mount St. Joseph, DePauw University, Eastern Kentucky University, Illinois Wesleyan University, Indiana University, Ivy Tech Community College, Marian University, Northern Kentucky University, University of Louisville, and Xavier University.

Only the top three finishing teams qualify for the national tournament.  At the competition each team competes against three other teams, and our teams had a combined record of 8 wins and 1 loss. In the regional competitions (unlike nationals) wins and losses do not impact teams’ overall scores.  Rankings are determined entirely by scores awarded by judges.

The cases debated at this year’s competition were excruciating as always, including the following:

  • Should bone marrow extraction and transplantation continue to be governed by the National Organ Transplant Act of 1984?
  • Should a particular business owner disclose his employees’ salaries when giving them the rationale for his company’s budget cuts?
  • If autonomous (self-driving) cars become standardized, should humans be forbidden by law to drive?
  • Do American consumers have a moral duty to find alternatives to clothing produced in sweat shops?

These were just four of 15 cases overall that all of the teams had to prepare to address.   Other cases pertained to issues as wide ranging as surrogate motherhood, animal welfare issues, and child obesity public service commercials.  You can find a complete list of cases as well the competition rules and guidelines here:  Not only did our students perform brilliantly in each of the matches, they were also models of respect and politeness, both toward their opponents and the judges.

As in previous years, it has been a joy for Cathy and me to coach such intelligent and morally serious students.  We believe these are Taylor’s finest, and it’s encouraging to know that we’re sending such high caliber young people out into a culture that desperately needs smart Christians with integrity.

The national Ethics Bowl competition is scheduled for February 27, 2014 and will be held at the Hyatt Regency Riverfront Hotel in Jacksonville, Florida.  A total of 32 teams will participate, and Taylor will probably be one of just a couple of Christian schools involved (Whitworth University likely being the only other one).

Dr. Jim Spiegel

We asked our honors students if they might be willing to share about the Ethics bowl. Here’s Suzanne Neefus on her experience with the team:

“This is my third year on the ethics bowl team, and I have loved every moment of the experience. Vibrant friendships grow out of hours of intensive case prep and vigorous debate!

My participation in the ethics bowl team has been profoundly formative in my intellectual development. As we work through cases, I have learned how to critically analyze important issues to uncover the core moral tensions. This process, which involves exploring all points of view, has encouraged me to develop intellectual empathy. In competition we are charged to take objections to our side of the argument seriously, and in developing a better appreciation for other perspectives, I have learned how to disagree generously and constructively.

Also I love the opportunity to delve into practical issues (ranging from environmental, business, political, and medical ethics and more!) with the analytic rigor so often absent from partisan bickering over policy and proper courses of action. Ethics Bowl offers the opportunity to engage with important and interesting real life issues on a deeper level of moral analysis. This experience will serve anyone well, whatever field and profession they pursue.”