He stated that the faculty wanted to discuss Mr. Ford’s thesis proposal as a team before moving forward. In the meantime, Mr. Ford had talked to Dr. Byrd and decided to select a different thesis topic in the hopes that he could curb the anger of his professors.
On July 10, 2004, Mr. Ford met with Professor Wetchler to explain that he would choose another topic for his thesis. Wetchler encouraged Mr. Ford to consider two topics: (1) the relationship between differentiation and religiosity; and (2) the relationship between identity foreclosure and intolerance.
For the first topic, Professor Wetchler explained that he thought high religiosity corresponded with low differentiation, and vice versa. “Differentiation” is a psychological scale that measures emotional development. People with low differentiation scores tend to be anxious and more wrapped up in their emotions, less emotionally balanced, and less developed emotionally. Those with high differentiation scores tend to have more balance between thought and emotion, are less controlled by their emotions, and more developed emotionally.
Professor Wetchler had concluded that very religious people are less developed emotionally and more unbalanced than their secular counterparts.
For the second topic, Professor Wetchler explained that he thought high identity foreclosure corresponded with high levels of intolerance, and vice versa. “Identity foreclosure” is a psychological term measuring the relationship between a person’s beliefs and the views of his family on matters of religion, politics, and social values. People with high “identity foreclosure” scores tend to accept blindly the views that come from their family upbringing.
Professor Wetchler had concluded that religious people are more intolerant and that intolerant people are more religious than their counterparts.