Precepts to use in everyday life

1. Think for yourself, 2. Be yourself, 3. Speak up, 4. Feel free to agree and disagree, 5. Be honest with yourself and others, 6. Be open-minded, 7. Avoid being judgmental and 8. Question everything - even your own thinking.

TOK Essay Titles May 2019

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Life, the Universe and Everything

Here are some of the TOK-related statements from Andy Fletcher's seminar that you should ponder carefully over a period of time:

Reason: "Our assumptions drive our conclusions."

If this is true, then what consequences does it have for our knowledge? What sort of assumptions are we talking about? Are thee assumptions different within each subject area? To what extent is all our knowledge 'stained' by our assumptions? How so we filter out these assumtions?

Perception: "The universe is not as it appears to be."

You saw that the Einsteinian Universe breaks down everything that the traditional Newtonian view of the Universe had presented. If the Universe began as a singularity AND if a singularity remains in a state of quantum uncertainty until an observation is made, then what collapsed the uncertainty to bring the Universe into being? An observation...

Language: " 'Good' science does not set out to give 'proof'; it works in the realm of 'evidence'. "

This is not just a matter of playing word games. The idea is that even the so-called watertight truths of Mathematics can never give us an absolute truth about the way the world works. The equations of Quantum Theory, for example, explain how the world works but not in a way that we can fully understand. We live in a relativistic universe in which there are no absolute truths or certainties; the truths od science are probabilistic and depend on their veracity on the evidence that scientists provide for their hypotheses.

Emotion: "This is the single-most incredible intellectual experience you are likely to have in your lives."

After participating in the seminar, you may have asked yourselves 'what was all that about?' or 'what was the point of all that?'. This is not an unusual response. In our experience, the last six generations of TOK students have felt exactly the same way. However, we always tell them to think of the seminar as an experience - allow the ideas to wash over you like sea-waves; absorb the complexities of the language like the heat of the sun when sunbathing. Give the ideas a chance and they will grow inside you like flower seeds; feed them with your curiosity and nurture them with your attention. At some point, you may wish to harvest the ideas for your writing or presentations or even a future career!

So what are we left with? A rational belief that the the Laws of Nature govern our experience of the existing Universe combined with the irrational beliefs that it was somehow predisposed to exist for us (Anthropic Priciple) and came to be through some kind of strange observation...

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