Sunday, December 23, 2007

Become and Organ Donor!

Sparked by a new book-

Is organ donation ethical/moral?

-Consider the link, but also, is it ethical and/or moral to move someone up the list based on societal status or profession, or celebrity status?
- What about using organs from accident victims, or from those in a brain dead state or persistent coma?

-There is also an issue of organ theft (i only bring this up because I'm in New Orleans right now, and its becoming a major problem); someone is sedated/kidnapped and an organ removal is performed without consent usually without a sterile environment. Any thoughts on this?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Dow Chemical Company

While writing my journal on the uses of language and its ability to illuminate or obscure meaning, I recalled a Dow Chemical Company commercial I saw this summer. Observe the use of sight and sound perception, as well as the language they use. Please click the link below before continuing to read this post.

Watched it? Good. Dow Chemical Company was one of seven major U.S. chemical companies supplying Agent Orange to the military for use in Vietnam during the 60's. To this day, veterans and Vietnamese suffer from the long-lasting implications of exposure to this herbicide. If you want evidence of this, Google Images search 'Agent Orange'.

So, in response to what they saw as utter hypocrisy on Dow's part, put out their own commercial and posted on YouTube:

Just thought I'd share an interesting example of the power of language in conjunction with sense perception.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


So I was recently had interviews with representatives of our Senators and Congresswoman. They were interviewing me to decide whether I deserved a nomination to a Service Academy. During those interviews I was asked a very interesting question.

The question was what would you do if you were given a direct order from a commanding officer to do something that was against your morals. I wanted to take it even further and ask, what if it was against ethical standards. Is there a difference? And if so, why?

I know many of you will not have to deal with a 'commanding officer' but just think of it as a boss, somebody who can control parts of your life.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007


A topic of great controversy is the pro-life / pro-choice argument. So many factors play into this. At what point is a fetus considered alive? Is the act of abortion similar to the act of murder? Should the woman have the choice? How can it be fair for a raped woman to have to carry the child of her assailant? What if the mother's own life is in danger? I found support for either the pro-life or the pro-choice argument.

Pro-Life: (View each of the photos and take in mind the effect of the captions. Be warned, website contains very disturbing images.)

Pro Choice:
Premise One: Individuals own their bodies, and everything that is growing within them.
Premise Two: Fetuses grow within the bodies of their mothers.
Conclusion One: Females own their fetuses.
Premise Three: Individuals may destroy that which they own.
Premise Four: Females own their fetuses.
Conclusion Two: Females may destroy their fetuses.
(For further discussion of these premises, follow this link:

After reviewing the two sections, what do you think? Present your own view on abortion and discuss how the images and premises fairly or unfairly influenced your opinion or could influence the opinion of others.

Monday, December 10, 2007

a way to stop paralysis?

Recently, a professional football player was injured in a helmet to helmet collision. At the field, doctors pronounced him paralyzed for the rest of his life, the player was promptly air-lifted to a hospital where doctors experimentally injected his body with cold saline and lowered his body temperature enough to stop the swelling in the spinal column. As a result of this the player is now up and walking with limited body functions.

Is it ethical to step in and save this professional football player from paralysis when so many others become paralyzed each year simply because they can't afford this cutting edge science?

In what ways will this be a good step for medicine? Will it have a bad impact at all? Discuss.
Here is a link if you want the whole story:
Draft? or All Volunteer Military?

There are those who volunteer to enlist because it is their choice and they feel that it is their duty to do so, but is it fair to have the all volunteer military when many of the people who enlist are the ones who have no other options? Is it ethical for people like Bush and Cheney who make the decisions, to send these people to war when they have never gone to war themselves and will never have to worry about sending their children? The draft no longer exists for the very reason that people don't want to be forced to go to war, especially those who don't agree with it and feel that it is not a sacrifice they should be making. But if we were to have the draft system instead, there probably would be a lot more protest and people who can so easily ignor the war now would definitely be forced to face this issue. So which would you choose? The draft system or all volunteer military?
throughout history terms have been used to degrade specific ethnicities and minorities. Has language evolved enough that it is ok to use derogatory terms in everyday language when addressing friends in general, not dependent on ethnicity?

Julia and Meara

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Ethics in Photography

Ethics in photography has been an especially hot topic of debate since it was introduced not only as an art form but as a component of mass media. One very powerful example of an ethical dilemma was brought up by Mrs. King. In 1993, Kevin Carter, a documentary photographer, came across an impoverished girl in Sudan struggling to crawl towards water where everyone else had headed. As he was observing her, a vulture landed near the girl. Carter waited for nearly 20 minutes for the bird to spread its wings in order for a good photograph, but it never did. After taking some photos anyway, he did not help the girl reach the feed station and instead left it to die. The controversy continued when in 1994 Carter won a Pulitzer Prize for the photograph. Sadly, he committed suicide on July 27th, 1994 due to the extreme guilt that he felt for letting the Sudanese girl die when he knew he could have prevented it. His suicide note read, "The pain of life overrides the joy to the point that joy does not exist."
There have been many arguments that Carter’s lack of intervention on the girl’s behalf was fully justified. Before leaving on the assignment, he and the other photographers were instructed not to touch anyone for fear of epidemics. Furthermore, the ethical role and duty of a photographer is to observe and not interfere.
The general question is this: Does there come a point where these ground rules and ethical duties as a photojournalist should be ignored for the sake of a human life? Where does the standard of beneficence come into play? This also applies to nature photography. When is it (or is it) acceptable to help an animal struggling in its natural circumstances? For example, is it okay to help a newly hatched sea turtle make it into the ocean? Fair arguments can be made for both sides of these questions and ethics in photography truly resides in a “gray” area. What do you think?

Photo and information on Kevin Carter from:

Saturday, December 08, 2007


What makes people believe in religion? Why?
How easy is it to convert to a religion, either from a previous non-religious or religious stance?
What needs does religion fulfill?
What kind of biases are involved in religion?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

What?! I dont see it...

One thing i've noticed is that most people only ever see what they expect to. As long as you look honest and keep a straight face, you can convince people of almost anything. I once convinced a friend that I had never been to New Zealand... right after i had given him a souvenior from New Zealand. He believed me, simply because i kept a straight face. My question is: why do people only see what they expect to? Why do they never notice the things that are out of the norm unless they're pointed out to them?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Chris Ofili’s “Holy Virgin Mary”

So I know we’ve been talking a lot about art the past few days, so I’ve found a couple of pieces of artwork that have undergone a lot of controversy about whether or not they should be viewed by the public or placed in a public museum.

Go here: to view a controversial piece of art by Chris Ofili. The following was said about the controversy:

In 1999, the city-funded Brooklyn Museum of Art came under fire when it exhibited a Chris Ofili painting of the Virgin Mary that featured sexually explicit cutouts covered with elephant dung. The Catholic Church, as well as New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, were outraged. Giuliani denounced the exhibit as morally offensive and threatened to cut off funding to the museum and terminate its lease if it did not cancel the exhibit that included Ofili’s painting. The city followed through and withheld the museum’s rent payment for October and filed a state lawsuit to get the lease revoked.

As a countermeasure, the museum filed a suit in federal court against the city claiming violations of the first ammendment, and seeking a permanent injunction against the city to keep it from withholding funds. U.S. District Judge Nina Gershon, sided with the museum, and granted them a preliminary injunction. The city was also ordered to resume the museum's funding, and to stop any eviction proceedings.

(Visit to view more instances of controversial art.)

**Consider the following questions:

What do you think should have been done about the “Holy Virgin Mary”?

Do you think Judge Gershon was justified in siding with the museum?

Putting this in a broader sense, should anything that is expressing an opinion, no matter how offensive to any kind of people, be allowed in a public place, and be funded by the money of taxpayers?

What types of knowledge issues are relevant in dealing with these kinds of cases?

-Sam Thompson

Marijuana Returned

James and Lisa Masters recently won a court case to have $100,000 dollars of marijuana plants and growing equipment returned. It was returned from impoundment by the police by order of Judge James Hiatt, because the Masters claimed to be using the marijiana for medical purposes, and selling it to friends using it for medical purposes. However the equipment and all of the plants were destroyed, so the Masters are seeking compensation, saying the law requires all medical marijuana to be maintained. Should the plants have been returned, and do the Masters deserve compensation?

Monday, December 03, 2007

Dr. Watson- Racist?

This article is about Dr. Watson's recent announcements.
Many of us are familiar with Dr. Watson as a great scientist, being part of the Watson and Crick team that pioneered advancements in DNA. Now, Dr. Watson is making claims that experiments show that black intelligence is not equal to white intelligence and therefore, black people do not deserve to be treated the same way as white people. As we know, Watson has proved his intelligence through his advancements with Dr. Crick concerning DNA, yet he is being fought and even looked at in the context of racial hatred laws.
How do Watson's current statements compare to the work he has done in the past (does his past work give him any more credibility now)? Is society not accepting his ideas because of our familiarity bias with equality? How is science conflicting with ethics?

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Sorry, forgot to put the link. Here it is


What should Navy Lt. Michael Murphy have done?

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Barry Bonds' Indictment

Some background: Barry Bonds, who just this year passed Hank Aaron as the all-time home run champion, was indicted this past November 15th by a federal grand jury in San Fransisco, accused of lying when he said that he did not knowingly take steroids. He will appear in court on Friday.

Read these two articles from ESPN on Barry:

Both authors are black, and both mention the race issue. One article says that race is a factor, and the other says that race is not a factor, both comparing Barry Bonds to other people in similar situations. Which do you agree with? First, is Barry's indictment a good thing or a bad thing? Second, is Barry's race (he's black) a factor in this decision? Should it be? Remember to justify...

Privilege vs. Availability

Conspiracy theories are all the rage, but most of their followers know quite little about a surprising convergence in their origins. The Unidentified Research Center, a conspiracy theory think-tank thought to be based in Roswell, New Mexico, has been churning out conspiracy theories for the last sixty years or so.

Think of your favorite conspiracy theory. Chances are, the URC was behind it, at some point in the stage: conception, composure, fabrication, or cover-up. Only now, in celebration of their sixtieth anniversary, is URC actually opening up. 2000 lucky entrants will be taken on a guided tour of the facilities of "Area 51," the URC's main headquarters. Sign up now, with a $50 deposit, for your chance to win this exclusive once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! You won't want to miss it.


Conspiracy theories provide an interesting example of the difficulties we encounter in perception. They are, almost exclusively, about the bias of privilege, that we can see or learn about something that no one else knows.

Beyond the fun we can have talking about conspiracy theories, though, there is another interesting issue. From the handout we received on "Biases Affecting Information Processing" (found online at, a different bias often directly conflicts with Privilege: Availability. One bias postulates that we want the accessible information, while the other postulates that we want the inaccessible information.

Can these be resolved? Or can only one of them impact us at any given time? Perhaps if we work to reduce the influence one of these biases has on us, we only dig ourselves deeper into a rut on the other one. Can anyone offer any insight into this contradiction?

And especially, can anyone provide any (personal) examples?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Judge me not, oh rightous one!

My question is simple: Who is a better judge of psychological and sociological problems? Is it better to try and self diagnose, or is it better to have a professional do it?
Please remember to justify your answers.

Harvard IAT

Simple Question...

What did you learn about yourself when considering the Harvard IAT results?
What do you think this activity says about perception as a way of knowing?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Black KKK

This article is about the death of football player Sean Taylor.

I don't mean to be offensive but this is an article that touches on the African-American society and the internal problems that they face from Hip-Hop culture. The author focuses on the problems with the praising of negative aspects including gangs and shunning academic excellence. He blames this for keeping the black community down in a similar fashion to that of the KKK in the 1800s.

What are your views on this article?
Does your background and inexperience in this area of American society hurt your understanding, if so in what ways?

If a white person wrote this same article how would this change the reaction to the article? How do your prejudices factor into your answer?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Campaign Weight Gain

Very interesting video..... The video is called "Campaign Weight Gain"

Why do the presidential have to pretend that they like to eat unhealthy food to relate to "the common person"? Do we see our political leaders as representing the good and the bad of American culture? Shouldn't they represent only the good, be the person you look up to?

Art, Symbols, and Culture

How well does art translate across culture? In the images above (taken from , a site detailing works of "street art," an evolution of graffiti), how universal is the "thought bubble" symbol? (Just for clarification, the bubbles have been placed there in the real world, the photo is primarily to document the work.) If you were from a different culture or time period, would the piece still have the same meaning, if it had any meaning at all? Post (or link to, I'm not 100% on how this whole thing works) some more examples of symbols or artwork that do/do not translate cross-culturally, I'd be interested to see what you guys think. Another thing to consider: how are we limited in our experience of this work, seeing as how it is a three dimensional work in the real world, and we only have two pictures? How about the fact that a work like this is unlikely to last longer than a week? (Out of curiosity, what do you think that the man is thinking? What about him/the environment he's in (clothing, appearance, posture, climate, etc.) influences what you would guess?)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Opposing ethical standards

Think of a dilemma that concerns opposing ethical standards. Which one is chosen to follow over the other? Who holds the authority to determine which standards to abide by and which to disregard? Give specific examples...

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Picture is Worth a thousand Words and Secrets?

Read this Article on three sets of controversial photos that "have defined this war so far." Its very interesting to see the controversial topics regarding the war and seeing them through photographs (to be interpreted) instead of just media garble. This article gives a more realistic perspective on the war and shows how much the American people don't even know. As we have been talking about in class, how do these pictures personally affect you prior to reading the article? After reading the article, to what extent is it true? How does the media's bias and limitations of knowledge on the war affect us? Explain...
Have a great Turkey day
(and for the vegetarians good everything else day)
~Janessa Malisani

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Mercy Killings

Click the link above to get some background on rationale behind mercy killings.

After reading the article do you think that in certain situations mercy killings should be allowed to preserve the dignity of the person?
Please justify your answers? Is you decision based off of personal experiences, morals, religious preachings, etc?

If so, what were those situations?

Food for Thought:
If a pet that you owned was in extreme pain would you euthanize them to preserve their dignity and prevent further suffering?
How are humans any different?


I was supposed to be hosting last week, but I got a little caught up in other things, but here's my post.
WE often find ourselves seeking the truth, but the actual truth itself is only half the fun.

Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it. ~Andre Gide

IS this a good philosophy? Those who seek the truth are doing what we all do, but those who find it, of course can't be trusted. It's an interesting idea.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Internationallity of Sense

Hello dear chaps, it is my week to host the blog, so I have a question to pose for you:

Is sense perception international? How does the answer to this question affect the way in which we view (or perhaps how we should view) the world as a whole? Remeber to justify your answers :)

Graffiti: Vandal Art?

As I know that if I started a post asking people to decide what art is and isn't, good and bad art, etc. I know that it would just turn into a huge argument despite the assertion that art is completly personal and cant be defined fully.

So instead, is graffiti art?
I dont mean the randomly spray painted "Assassinate Bush to lower gas prices" (if anyone saw that train...) but real tag (try the link), not just vandalism for the sake of letting your opinion be known.
Please don't reiterate our class conversation so far (7th period, I dont know about the other classes).

Can art be harmful (like vandalism) and yet still art? Should it be preserved or not?

Smear Campaign

After a presentation on sense perception in politics last week, I have been very intrigued by the role that smear campaigns play in the election of our political officers. As someone who has helped several candidates run for office in the House of Representatives, I wonder how effective and fair smear campaigns are. Everyone has a few skeletons in their closet, but most skeletons have little or now correlation to the way that the politician would run/aid in running our country.

Here are some interesting links that I found about smear campaigns and when/how they have been used:

My questions are:
-If we didn’t use our visual sense perception would smear campaigns still be affective and would the exterior appearance of the politician play such a key role in their election to office?
-Although smear campaigns (usually containing information taken out of context) are usually not properly justified true beliefs, why do people believe them?
-With the intense amount of press associated with political elections is all the information that we receive on the politicians too much knowledge or an invasion of privacy?
-Are politicians today playing the “emotion” card, by trying to visually appeal to the public or does the logic of the politician play a greater role?
-Finally, do you think that our country will ever elect a woman, a black person, a heavier person, or some type of minority as president?

Feel free to answer any of the questions or post any comments. Thanks, Rebecca Levy

Sunday, November 11, 2007

"Results of Death-Camp Experiments: Should They Be Used?"

Based on the homework assignment dealing with the Holocaust and those who were experimented on, what was your decision? Do you think this should be seen more as a moral issue or an ethical issue?

Armistice (Veteran's) Day

How has your experience and perception of war (especially World War I) influenced your feelings and understanding of Armistice Day?

Oceans in Peril

Around the world, ocean fisheries are in collapse. Whole species may be going extinct and yet the world's population continues to harvest this limited resource.

Read the article and formulate an opinion.

What may be a viable solution too this problem? If so what limitations does your solution pose and how do what beleifs factor into your view?

What do you think the human races position in with regards to the environment: stewards, players, etc?

Optical Illusions

Do optical illusions lose their coolness if they are explained? Or do they become cooler or not change?

[This might actually relate to 5th period's psychology presentation in a few weeks]

Friday, November 09, 2007

I just have this feeling . . .

What role does intuition play in our everyday life? In your life? How much should be really trust our intuition over logic, reason, authority, or experiance? how does intuition relate to sense perception? How does this relation affect the way we act and react? What are knowledge issues surrounding intuition?

Sorry I know that there are alot of questions there, but pick whichever you like. The ones about sense perception are most relevant to the class :)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

What AI is

What really is AI?

Ok so i know this sounds like a really nerdy question and i know this is 100% nerdy but what really is AI? Sure many people believe in the fact we have AI right now that is true. But what really is determined as an Artificial Intelligence? Something that can "auto-pilot" and maybe drive your car around is NOT considered an AI. If you think about it the "auto-Pilot" function is just a group of scripts in which is bunched up and used to determine the if|{x=Then statements. Theres also a difference between a Strong AI and a Weak AI. A strong AI is what many science fiction novels and ideas come off from. Its that function that the computer can have human-like characteristics and would have a knowledge capacity as big as the human brain or maybe even bigger. The whole idea of AI is actually a very gray area, in which could be defined as either Strong, Weak, or isn't an AI.

What do you guys think?

More AI Articles on Wikipedia

Show me...

Quick: Do the sentences "Show me." and "Seeing is believing." express the same idea?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

International Blog

The new international blog is now up...

It might take a little while to get going since we are waiting for other schools to jump in... so help me out.

If you have any good ideas for posts to an international community, do one of the following...

1. Come see me and post using my account at school
2. E-mail me your post and I'll post it for you... write it, sign it, everything. I'll just put it online.

There are over 1000 students potentially on this so we aren't inviting everyone personally but anyone can comment... just sign it. If you plan on posting a lot, let me know and I'll invite you.

Otherwise, it is optional... those of you willing, join in. I hope it will allow you to explore a whole new side of TOK.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

"Lost in Translation": How we perceive culture's through language translation

When one watches TV, they will sometimes see an Arab, or a Chinese person, or a foreigner in general speak. Their language is translated, but is not necessarily accurate. How has/can a situation like this affect our view(s) of other cultures and their morals?

Friday, November 02, 2007

Perception and -isms

Share any "Ahas" (revelations) or "Hmms" (curiosities) you may have encountered when considering your own (or another student's) perception and stereotypes we discussed after Crash.

This may include stereotypes regarding race, age, gender, sexual orientation, etc.

Role of Language in Crash

What role did language play in the movie Crash?
How did specific language barriers or differences in dialect contribute to the interactions of characters?

Perception in Crash

Give an example of how perception was used as a way of knowing by a specific character in Crash. What knowledge issues affected how they percieved the world around? Explain.

Characters in Crash

Which of the characters in Crash do you feel was the most ethical?
Which was the least ethical?

Choose an action/behavior and explain how you feel that the character would justify it in the movie.

Crash Review

Follow the link to Roger Ebert's review of Crash.
Read and React... What do you think? Agree/Disagree?

As always... justify.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

An Inconvenient Truth

This is a movie about global warming (which is really global climate change) and how Al Gore is trying to tell America to step it up and save the world. If you would like backgroup because you have not seen this movie please go to or just go to block buster and rent it! I just saw this movie a couple of days ago and had a light bub above my head when I noticed how many times Al Gore used his knowers perspective (half the time it didn't even relate to global warming but it seemed like a TOK essay in a way, not a good TOK essay, but an attempt to make one. After watching this movie or website's movie what sort of POK's are present? Are there any steps missing like there is no justification or the logic behind it is wrong or even the WOK's are even present in his arguement. Is this movie even worth of earning Al Gore a Noble Peace Prize? Tell me what you think, I curious if I am the only onethat thinks this movie is like Arcadia with some of the peoples journeys to prove something is the wrong way to do everything.

Liberal or Conservative?

When taking bias into account, everyone should recognize where they lie on the political specturm. Especially with the freedom of the press in the United States, viewpoints are thrown at you constantly, and most have bias according to how liberal or conservative the reporter or company is. The attached is a quiz that shows where you are on the spectrum. After taking the quiz, are you surprised at where you stand? Do your political beliefs taint your view of world events? I don't mean do you agree or disagree with the war in Iraq, but with everyday news like the police officer getting killed in a donut shop robbery, does your response reflect your political bias? How?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Right Brain v. Left Brain

Proper credit should be given to Rebecca Levy for finding this site.
She demands it.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Reason, Instinct & Creation

"Reason must sit at the knee of instinct and learn reverence for the miraculous instinctual capacity for creation." -Jonathan Schell
What do you think this quote is saying about the connection between reason, instinct and creation? Also, what do you think this quote is implying about ways of knowing?


When modern professions are so specialized, do they gain or lose an appreciation for other disciplines? Justify.

Descriptive vs Acquaintence

Does Descriptive Knowledge always turn into Acquaintence Knowledge? For example, anti-drug ads. (My internet's down, so I'm using Katie's login).


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Perception of a Picture versus an Article

First, look at the picture of the kitten and allow yourself time to process it
(Imagine this cat is a cat in need of a home)

Now read the article about the need for cat adoption
How to Help a Homeless Cat

Every year millions of homeless cats are euthanized. These are adoptable and healthy cats that weren’t as lucky as some of their neighbor kitties at the shelter – the cats who found their forever homes. Many more homeless cats roam the streets, unwanted and unloved. Everyday they battle the dangers of the harsh outdoors – desperately seeking food and refuge from the elements when Mother Nature wreaks havoc. They are at great risk for disease and other dangers, such as being hit by a car or killed by a predator. The lives of these cats are very different from those of our beloved cats whom we consider our family members. And I believe each of these homeless cats, whether currently in a shelter, foster home or on the street, has the potential to be a precious, loving member of a family. Think about your cat and all the joy and love s/he brings you. What if you hadn’t been introduced to your kitty and s/he was one of the millions of homeless cats? What treasures are we missing out on with each homeless cat that dies on the street or is euthanized merely to make room for another homeless cat at an overcrowded shelter?

Did you respond more to the picture or to the article? After viewing which one would you be more likely to adopt a cat? Discuss the knowledge issues of perception in your answer.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Perceptions of Reality

I just read that a snail’s neurons pick up signals from the outside world so slowly that they literally won’t see events that happen any faster than three seconds. For example, if a snail was looking at an apple and you quickly snatched it with your hand, the sail wouldn’t detect your hand. To the snail, the apple would appear to vanish into thin air.[1]

In comparison to other animals, our nervous systems are also rather slow.

If seeing is believing…
What kinds of things could we be missing?
How do we know that the things we are sensing are REAL?
As a TOK student, how is your perception limited?

Also, consider this:
Atoms are made up of packets of energy, which are invisible with no mass or size. Also, every object is 99.9999% empty space at the atomic level. So at a deeper level, your hand is just invisible vibrations taking place in a void, which go in and out of existence millions of times per second.

How does this alter your view of reality?


[1] Deepak, Chopra. How to Know God. New York: Harmony Books Inc., 2000.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Turning knots into bows

There are different kinds of thinking; they can be broadly categorized into five types:
  1. Natural thinking: Fluid and undirected; it wanders and meanders. Subject to repetition and generalizations. The kind of thinking that goes on when we don't think we're thinking.
  2. Logical thinking: Selects a route and follows it to its conclusion. The solution is largely predetermined, so if you head off in the wrong direction you end up painting yourself into a corner.
  3. Pattern thinking: Confines thoughts to operate within given rules. Therefore solutions are limited the the possibilities within the pattern.
  4. Lateral thinking: Purposeful in intent without specific aim. This can reveal solutions which might have been overlooked in other approaches.
  5. Grasshopper thinking: Our usual thought; jumps around alternating and mixing between reasoning which adheres to measurable responses, and imagining which allows unpredictable currents to play around with data.
Which of these seem to produce the most answers/solutions? Do particular thinking types correspond to particular personality types or learning styles?

Does anyone actually think in words? Literally where everything you think is spelled out in words running through your head.

Education seems to allocate more value to logic and analytical thinking kills than to imaginative conjectures. Is this true? How does it influence our learning?

Language also plays a part. Have you ever noticed that when we don't agree with someone we say "I don't think so...."? The "think so" literally indicates a proscribed route. Does that mean when disagreeing with a person, we only disagree because we are predisposed to?

I'm sorry theres so many questions here, I was just thinking while driving to Cheyenne, but feel free to answer whatever you want, I would be most appreciative.

"Logic is the art of thinking and reasoning in strict accordance with the limitations and incapacities of the human misunderstanding." -Ambrose Bierce-

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

HIV doesn't cause AIDS... ??

I was doing biology homework... and researching information on AIDS... when this article came up. It's quite long, but I thought it had an interesting relevance to ToK. You can skim the article to get the general idea.

How does the doubt behind whether or not the HIV/AIDS correlation = causation imply knowledge issues and why do we, as a general population, ignore protests like these even if there is support behind them?

Just curious also, what do you guys think might happen if these scientists/authors are correct and eventually it is found that AIDS has a different cause, or HIV is only a factor in enabling AIDS to be contracted? How will that weaken our trust in modern science and how will it affect our society?

Do they provide enough evidence to be taken seriously?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Art and Discovery

I was listening to NPR today and they had a segment on how the discoveries of the "new world" impacted the Renassance artists during that time era. I was thinking about my own art and how many people find it easier to find inspiration from new unkown materail or subjects rather than things they know well, and i was wondering why this might be, what about new objects inspire artists?

Friday, October 12, 2007

Monday, October 08, 2007

Artists and Writers

In a comment on a recent post about perception and art, Ben claims the following...

"Why teach art classes if art is subjective? I don't need an art class to be an artist, is what we're saying. Is that what we are saying? Is art education pointless?"

In the same line of thinking... many argue that one is a writer if one writes.

If this is the case, can one be a writer without taking writing classes as it is suggested about artists? Or do you believe that neither is the case?

What do you think? Justify...

Ethics and Morals

So the Seniors will get this more since we just talked about this in English. If the ethical code says that one cannot kill an animal in an expieriment, is it not a "grey zone" between morals and ethics when one decides how much they can stress the animal and still be "ethical"? By definition ethics should have to personal bias, but is not true that few things work the way they should in the real world? Does it not make sense that in out imperfect world ethics would have some personal bias as well?

Saturday, October 06, 2007


So we have almost finished Arcadia. The Theatre in the Classroom group will be coming in on Monday for 3rd hour and Tuesday for 5th and 7th to perform the final scene of the play. After this, we (the actors and I) will be leading a talk back concerning the play, both specifically and in a greater context. Therefore, I would love it if you could give any questions that you have concerning the play that we could address in the talk-back. I'll then try to incorporate it, and hopefully that will help it to run smoothly! So, any questions or topics of discussion?

Friday, October 05, 2007

The Collegian

The Collegian's Editor in Chief didn't get fired from his job. What is your response to this and what are your jusifications behind it?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

the nature of knowledge

This part of Arcadia intrigued me in particular, and I wanted to get other people's opinions. Tom Stoppard introduces the concept that knowledge is cyclical. The library of alexandria and all the knowledge it contained was burned, as was the hermitage's wealth of the apparantly lunatic scribblings of a madman (genius). Thomasina's own mathmatical musings (iterations), though abandoned by the originator, were taken up again years later by Valentine. I think that although some knowledge is discovered repeatedly, humans are making a general progression into as of yet undiscovered material. I realize that I may well share Valentines bias, but I still am having a hard time believing that knowledge so revolutionary to us in the 21st century may have been discovered long ago the first time around. I am struggling with the concept that advanced though we may view ourselves, knowledge as Stoppard would have it is more cyclical than progressive - that all the literary works of alexandria will one day be rewritten. At the same time, but through a literary lense, with archetypes as evidence, I can see how some aspects of knowledge can be considered tried and true. What do you think?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


As per today's discussion, what do you guys consider to be beautiful?

How do you justify it?

Has it ever impeded/aided you in acquiring knowledge?

How does in interact with knowledge issues?

Monday, October 01, 2007

Well, it's that time of year again.

Time for me to host the blog that is!
Perception. I love it. You love it. We all love it. Let's exercise it, shall we?
Below (or above, I don’t know how this thing works) I have posted a link to a website. If you have already seen it, be patient, and if not, boy are you in for a treat. The site offers something to the viewer, that thing is a test on art. The test gives you 16 images and you discern which ones are considered art, and which ones are something the author fished out of a dumpster. Notice how what one person perceives as art is different from another. Please, if you do take this quiz, post your score with your response to the following question:

Does this [the test] prove that art is pointless?

Thank you, and goodnight/day/month/year/slash-mark.

P.S. – If you are still starved perception quizzes, you can also visit the other website listed below.

Art Quiz -

Other Perception Quiz -

Sunday, September 30, 2007

'Give us this day our daily mask'

As quoted from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard. And now I shall quote from the movie V for Vendetta, which is based off of the graphic novel by [Alan Moore, not Neil Gaiman]. "We all wear masks. Life creates them and forces us to find one that fits."

Now, my question to you guys is, are masks hindrances in finding truth, or do they reflect them? And, of course, why?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Equal or not?

Hi all, I would like to pose a question to you-

Equality is one of the values that we as both human beings and Americans hold most dear. It is one of the basic principles that this country was founded on. Still another value that we hold dear is individuality, and our ability to express ourselves and be unique. I think that is fair to assume that humanity has not reached the level of equality that many wish to. S0 despite our considerable effort towards reaching equality, we all still treasure our individuality. Someone can be an incredible musician, and terrible at math, and it can be vise-versa as well. Thus I ask you this does equality rely on our abilities? Also then no matter what personal talents, or virtues someone else has, do we treat them as equal? How do we then define equality without contradicting ourselves and pointing out that persons qualities that make him or her an individual. I guess my final question is are we to treat everyone equal regardless of their talents or faults, even is it defies what we think of as "ethical, or moral."

Have a great nite;)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Perfect Clone Theory: Fate vs Free Will

I though of this today so this is an original theory, this is a theory attempting to find the truth in the free will vs. fate arguments.
So I don't really have a clue about the current cloning situation, but we can maybe clone a goat? OK, so the following situation will be completely hypothetical. Much like allegory in the cave one has to go with the scenario and please don't say, this could never happen because... just go with it from where I leave off. I will leave off questions and will respond to comments appropriately. The whole scenario will not be fully explained in the initial post and more will be added, depending on the comments.

So there is a man the subject of "Perfect Cloning". Perfect Cloning is cloning to the exact molecule, where normal cloning emphasizes only gene replication, perfect cloning is everything, the amount of hair, the exact mass down to the last atom, the piece of food stuck to the teeth, the bacteria living on the skin, every single detail of this man, and the organisms present within or on this man down to the last atom. The man gains consciousness within a room, where the clone will gain consciousness in a "perfect clone room" where the room is replicated in exactly the same detail as the originals, down to the last atom. Emphasis is on every single freaking detail, the exact temperature , humidity, air pressure... and time. The location is on the same latitude and longitude of the earth to equalize the time due to to rotation of the earth. The clone's room is on top of the originals, so modifications of air pressure and stuff may be needed. The rooms are exactly the same, down to the last atom! The man regains consciousness at the same time as the clone. The man says, "where am I?"

The question is, would the clone also say the same thing at exactly the same time, as well as with the exact same movements? ie. air released, temperature change, same volume?

Lets use some math.
Say the two rooms, on a molecular level are exactly the same.
R1 and R2 are set equal to each other, so we have:
R1 represents the original room, and R2 the exact replica of the room.
Let M1 represent the original man and M2 represent the clone
R1+M1=R2+M2, assume this is true in terms of whatever, lets use mass as an example. (feel free to substitute mass with anything else)
So original room and the original man combined makes



The question becomes, is this equation true for if X becomes something abstract like the brain frequencies of a human and clone, or the thoughts generated by the human and clone? What about concrete stuff like mass and pressure and movements?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Dress code/Religious symbols

In French right now we’re discussing Islamic veils and their role in school. There was an issue in France where two girls wore their veils to school and were consequently expelled as church and state are supposed to be separated and the schools are part of the state. However, there was disagreement about whether this violated personal liberty. So long as the religious symbol is “discreet” it can be worn, such as crosses or such, but it’s up to the principal to determine whether the symbol is discreet.

In class the issue of which veil came up. Some people argued that a burkha or nikab would be a safety concern since you wouldn’t know who was actually wearing it. However, there was a general consensus that just the head covering was alright; many people compared it to a hat.

Other issues were:

Gang symbolism is not allowed so why would religious symbols be?

Hate crimes

Using religion as an excuse for wearing whatever you wanted and not abiding by the dress code

In the U.S. we have a protected right that allows us to express ourselves, and yet some schools, public schools, have uniforms. What if one wishes to express themselves through their clothing? I understand that the uniforms are in order to establish equality among students, yet how does this not infringe upon personal freedom of expression?

Perception seems to be the primary way of knowing as it is purely a visual experience. For example, my cousin in Louisiana goes to a school were uniforms are mandatory. She put blue streaks in her hair over the summer, and when she came back to school she was suspended for two days until she got rid of them. It was purely a visual thing. Logic would dictate that you abide by the laws, and our bill of rights is fairly clear.

I don’t understand how demonstrating your faith to someone else is forcing that faith upon them.


I had an interesting conversation with my mother yesterday. We had somehow got into a discussion about how different symbols mean things to people. When she asked me what symbols I would use for different ideas, we were pretty amazed at my answers. Here they are:

Hate: a heart
Freedom: chains
Faith: sunrise
Knowledge: flame
Learning: books
Happiness: an open space in which to be myself

I know this may sound a bit cheesy, but I'd be interested in what everyone sees as a symbol for each of these ideas. (and your justifications for them) If anyone wants me to justify mine I'd be happy to as well.


When someone says, I know I am in love. What are they saying? What justifications are they using? Is this really a PJTB? How does love fit into all of this?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Faith vs Intuition

What is the difference between faith and intuition? As I was writing Journal #3 for class on Monday, I had to decide whether one of my justifications for my belief was faith or intuition. I instinctively knew that it should be intuition, but I was curious about the difference. I decided to post it on the blog because I thought that it might be a problem that all of us would run into at one time or another, especially when trying to justify a tricky belief :-)

Footnote for spoof raises awareness

Also, for the spoof raises awareness, to see the website, just click on the title "Spoof raises Awareness" and it will take you there. Something else to think about: is it ok for this company to have this fake website in order to raise awareness???

Spoof raises awareness

The other day I read an article about mail order bride agencies (yes they do actually exist) where someone set up a website of mail order brides that were between age 13 and 22 in order to raise awareness of the problem. At first I thought it was silly to assume that this was a huge problem in the modern world but then a simple google search gave me over 2,000 websites in which a person could literally look at pictures of women then pay money to have that person shipped to the U.S. I thought this was morally incorrect...but was interested to see what other people think, I mean, lots of women people sign up for the bride agencies by free will because they need a means to achieve a goal, like being supported financially for life. I dunno, I posted a link to one of the websites just so you guys can check it out. Anyways, go take a look and tell me what you think.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Communist leaders

As the IB seniors know, we've been studying four major communist leaders over the past couple of weeks (if you dont know,a) you have probably been living under a rock and, b) Mr. Brown will come after you wish his little spray bottle):
Stalin, Lenin, Castro, and Mao

How could they justify the murders, corruption and other atrocities? Was it faith that they were doing the right thing for the country? Or was it personal ambition? Or a combination of both?

While reading Crime and Punishment, I found a quote from Svidrigailov "...Reason is the slave of passion, you know, why, probably, i was doing more harm to myself than anyone!" (280) Does this apply to the people under these leaders? The Chinese population of the time (especially the children who were being educated) seemed to worship Mao, saw him as a god, and wouldn't even wash their hands if he had shook them. Yet, the famine that was a result of his "vision" for the country killed millions, and he would kill anyone believed to be a rightist. Did the peoples adoration blind them to this? Or was it fear (isn't there a syndrome like this in kidnappings...? I may be totally making this up, but I think the kidnappee starts to like their abductor...)?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Blog Posting

I first want to thank you all for beginning this year in such a positive light when it comes to blog posting. Again, by you remaining mature, thoughtful adults, you are making it possible for future students to expand what we can do as a TOK class. Great work so far. But as we begin the blog logging process (starting this week!), I want to make a few comments based on the teachers' and students' perspective...

1. Mrs. King and I have said this to you all but please remember... your use of this blog is related to how well you will perform on the final essay and presentations... It will help... we promise. So take advantage.

2. Think about what you post... Simple questions are great but be thoughtful in how you present your ideas and potential debate topics. Ask for what you want... justifications? claims and counterclaims? etc.

3. Discuss! You have taken to posting so well that we are drowning in posts and comments have been lacking lately. Your initial ideas and thoughts are great, but until you talk, challenge one another's ideas and respond to what you read, you will be limiting your own skills. So slow down on posting a bit and take some time to comment.
(There will be ebbs and flows with this aspect of the blog but please help keep it balanced)

3. Use your TOK skills! Use the language, the concepts, personal examples... and Justify, Justify, Justify.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


This post is dedicated to SamE. God bless his soul.

So, going off the idea of EE, I feel that I owe it to all of you to present to you the possibility of deciding whether or not something is art. Andres Serrano's Piss Christ has raised more controversy than any other single art piece in the last century (keep in mind that Mapplethorpe's X-Portfolio was just that, a portfolio. 15 photos). I think it is art. It follows the vast majority of the elements and principles of design, and despite that it is still being argued over--admittedly less religiously than before. I say we recreate 1989 right here, and supply evidence for both sides of the argument.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Protesters Uprising

In history, there have been many protests , even when United States of America was first formed, they were able to gain their independence through protesting and basically "opposing" the British government. So in South Korea, in May 18th, 1980, Gwangju citizens protested against the government. Wikipedia Entry:
Read the Wikipedia entry.

Also read the US involvement Article:

What I'm asking is this,

Just discuss about it...

I personally really did not like the whole ordeal. The idea actually is that (don't quote me on this but just fyi), Chun Doo Hwan actually moved against a certain type of Koreans in the area. The country is divided to states just like US except not as much. But Chun Doo Hwan came from a different state which was against the general people who came from the state he attacked. It has been for generations, but why did he do such a thing?? Just by the way Chun Doo Hwan is actually still alive and is rich off of government money.

It is clearly informed that the US was informed of the event.

One Nation Under Surveillance

Here is a debate that has been raging for quite some time now. Ever since the Patriot Act, the issue of government surveillance over the public has been hotly contested. This type of monitoring over its citizens includes phone tapping and cameras on street corners and high traffic areas.

Overall, does the government have the right to “spy” on its own citizens?
Is there enough justification for the government to install surveillance cameras in public areas?
Does this photograph represent the United States in a fair light?

This photo is courtesy of David Foster, a contact of mine in a photography magazine that I contribute to.

One Nation Under Surveillance

Slavery and Truth

In 7th hour today, we got into a discussion of how slavery could be validated with truth tests, especially the pragmatic theory. Because it was useful and valuable to a people, the knowledge claim that 'it is right to enslave others' was accepted as a properly justified true belief for sometime. This led to the discussion about slavery today, and why most cultures disagree and see this claim would be seen as untrue, even though enslaving others could still be argued to be a pragmatic practice.For a shocking look about slavery in the 21st century, take a look at this National Geographic site. I will try to find the actual magazine (it's buried somewhere in my house), but in the meantime, this gives a pretty grim picture of the enlightened world in which we live.

Mrs. King

Language of Faith

Okay so in class a week ago some people in our 5th hour TOk class got into a discussion about the word faith verses the word belief. To use an authority we decided to look this up in a dictonary to see if anyone's justifications were correct. I neever saw this before, before listening to my classmates; it is very surpriing how much you can learn if you listen to what people have to say but any ways in the dictonary the word faith and believe are almost interchangable, this taking into account was a very old dictonary that I asked a Science teacher to use. What do you think of this? Take a look at your dictonary at home and see if it has anything to say about them being similar. Then tell what you think it means personally, is faith and believe have the meaning to be switched?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Gun Control

Today in seventh hour, we got into a discussion concerning gun control in he US, in relationship to Pragmatic Theory. It was suggested that both sides to the argument (for and against) were justifiable through all three theories, and so there is no clear side. Like Hegel's theory, this creates a thesis and an antithesis. My question is, how do you (the TOK student) justify this controversial subject? How can you apply these theories to this, to properly justify your true beliefs so that you know something? Can two different people discussing the same topic know two completely different things? What other areas or topics of discussion can this apply to?

Monday, September 10, 2007


In San Francisco, persons classified as "ugly" may not walk down any street. This is a true law. If you are, as I asked my Business Law teacher, you would be arrested.

My first reaction was that this law was absolutely ridiculous. I understand laws to keep the city beautiful (recycling, air pollution prevention) but to this extent?

What kind of scale is this judged upon? So far in my life experience I've never heard of an 'ugly scale.' I feel its relative to every person: after all, isn't beauty in the eye of the beholder? Or is that just a stupid outdated notion disproved by the media again and again today?

Now, its definitely constitutional because it doesn't violate the first amendment: what does it violate? How would you feel if you were told you classified as ugly and were arrested and fined?

Just Words

I got into an interesting discussion the other day about the power of words. I was thinking about how the same words, said at different times, can have two totally different effects. My question is this: Do words in and of themselves have power, or does the power lay in the emotion that we invest in them?

Laughter in the Classroom

So, I've begun to notice how, in my classes outside of the IB world, that students show an increasing amount of disrespect towards teachers. I would never dream of this, but many of them laugh at, talk over, and make fun of their teachers in class, specifically when the teacher is talking. Why? These men and women are adults, older, wiser, and in charge. Perhaps these students feel that they no longer need to act like good little children, but respect is still necessary. So, what do you all think? Is there anyway to justify the behavior? What does this suggest of the morals of the new generation? What does this mean for future generations?

Sunday, September 09, 2007

As much as I hate bringing MySpace into this...

There is something that has been really getting under my skin at an increasing level. This irksome problem I speak of is the content of the posts on the Poudre Myspace forum. It seems that 95% of these posts consist of students “arguing” back and forth about politics and ethics. I placed arguing in quotations because what they do is closer to pre-pubescent boys shot full of testosterone squabbling over who sucks more. Insults are hurled back and forth and are filled with disgusting slurs that would make the biggest bigot proud and spelling and grammar that would make even a fifth grade teacher cringe. These people seem to think it’s OK, actually not OK, but cool, to toss around profanities, threats, and slurs without a second thought. I’d like to think that they don’t understand the seriousness of what they’re saying, but intuition tells me otherwise which makes me seriously concerned about the state of their moral character.

The intensity of hate that I witness on the boards seriously concerns me as well. These threats, slurs, and profanities are coming from people who are 18 and younger. How can someone have so much hate inside them at such a young age? Have they been raised to act/think like that? Has something truly awful happened to them to change their point of view? Or have they just adopted that persona to fit in, and if that’s the case, when did hate become cool? Doesn’t anyone realize that if a serious politician read what they were writing they’d be deeply ashamed and quite possibly horrified?

(This is the abridged version of what I initially wrote because I felt like I should cut some things out because they didn’t really pertain to TOK.)

What Determines A Legacy?

The recent passing of the great tenor Luciano Pavarotti who has greatly influenced and exposed Italian opera to the world, has awoken a new question inside me. What determines a legacy? Is it influence? Is it brilliance? or what?

Talking Nonsense

So, as I was re-reading Crime and Punishment I came upon this passage that I thought could be applied to tok.

"I like them to talk nonsense. That's man's one privilege over all creation. Thought error you come to the truth! I am a man because i err! You never reach any truth without making fourteen mistakes and very likely a hundred and fourteen. And a fine thing, too, in it's way; but we can't even make mistakes on our own account! Talk nonsense, but talk your own nonsense, and I'll kiss you for it. To go wrong in one's own way is better than to go right in someone else's. I the first case you are a man, in the second you're no better than a bird. Truth won't escape you, but life can be cramped. There have been examples. And what are we doing now? In science, development, thought, invention, ideals, aims, liberalism, judgement, experience and everything, everything, everything, we are still in the preparatory class at school. We prefer to live on other people;s ideas, it's what we are used to! Am I right, Am i right?"(Crime and Punishment 202-203)

I was wondering what other people thought of Razumihin's drunken ravings, for I personally found that I agreed with a majority of it.

9/11's Around the corner...

So everyone who's been keeping their eyes on the calendar knows that 9/11 is right around the corner. Normally this day is used to improve nationalism and to unite our country in an effort to protect itself and honor those who lost their lives six years ago.

However this year, activist groups are taking a different look at this day. Marches are going to be held on Washington DC, people are encouraged to speak out against this war. 9/11 is supposed to be a day without school, work, buying or anything. We are encouraged to 'Hit the Streets'.

I'm still trying to make up my own mind on how I feel about this event, but I figured I had a huge resource of ideas and opinions within IB. What do you guys think about using this day to pose a strike and to have this particular month filled with various protests, etc.? I know that one can claim that it's not ok to use this particular day to protest the war, but is it really ok to use this day to encourage it? If it's the lives of those lost that we're trying to honor, then why are we sacrficing more in this 'Endless War'?

While looking this stuff up, I came across quite a few outraged editorial authors who commented on Congress' recent decision to allow Bush the power to montior and 'wiretap without a warrent for 6 months.' We learned while reading Anthem, I believe, that Liberty/Freedom and Safety are in a constant tug-of-war. What do you guys think about this? About the fact that our freedoms are disappearing for 'safety'... and even that 'safety' is questionable.

So... I don't know if I'll be in school on Tuesday or not, but I want to know your opinions.

What's On the news

I saw a news story on CNN that I though was a joke at first, but it was real. It made me think about what is covered on the news, and what do the stories say about our culture and it's morals? I tried to provide a link to the video. What do you think?

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Creative Limits?

Throughout my educational career, I have noticed astounding similarities in both literature and artwork. So, very simply, my question is this: Are there limits to creativity?

Illusion or Reality?

Are there such things as illusion and reality? Or are they two different ways of looking at one side of a coin? If so, what's the other side?

Truth through Art

How can one express truth through art? (Art in the sense of visual works such as paintings, sculptures, or drawings)

1. Who decides what makes art good or bad? Can art be good even if its technically poor but has a strong emotion, feeling or message attached?
2. Is art a personal experience where the viewer gets to decide what it means through their own rationalizations or is it determined through authority, and societal consensus?

Friday, September 07, 2007

Stereotypes and how to avoid/analyze using TOK

When researching how stereotypes occur, I found a startling piece of information. It seems that it takes just 2.5 seconds before one has a first impression, and in turn has the first stereotype.

So, feel free to choose any of the following questions, and analyze (to the best of a TOK student's knowledge using AOKs, Reasoning behind beliefs, etc.)

1) How does one avoid stereotypes? Even if you have them, how do you eliminate them?
2) What would happen if there was a world without stereotypes? Would it be better/worse?
3) Why do you assume that it takes only 2.5 seconds before one already has made a (most likely) false assumption about someone else?

A Generation of Voyeurs?

In the past 15 years, the Internet has allowed every person with a web cam and a mic to truly claim their 10 seconds of fame. Whether it is lipsynching to a Backstreet Boys song or to an obscure, Turkish pop hit, across the world everyone has been searching for the silicon spotlight. While this instinct to fame has always been a natural and present one in humanity, why in this modern day and age are we so open to watching each other complete these embarrassing, ridiculous escapades. In Hollywood, where it seems every woman under 25 has gone utterly crazy, the rest of the country eagerly watches to see the fate of Britney's hair or Paris's prison time. The other day, while browsing the Internet, I came across a website created by a Yale Philosophy graduate, which features several individuals who literally live their entire lives in front of a live broadcast web camera. No privacy. Over 5,000 viewers at a single time. For those interested, though the concept sounds raunchy, they are strictly PG rated existences:

So, my question is......why, particularly our generation, are we so entranced with the daily lives and troubles of others? Why is privacy growing to gradual extinction in our society today, and what do YOU think about it's departure, and its possible impact upon future society?

~Jordan C.

Thursday, September 06, 2007


The second sentence of the wikipage I feel adequately describes the intent of the Feminist movement: "Feminism is also described as an ideology focusing on equality of the sexes."

I am going to make a huge generalization here, but I imagine by that definition everyone here is a Feminist. I hope that that is the case.
However, as much as you may claim you are a feminist, I ask you girls: Have you ever asked a guy out? Would you, before this listing, have thought of proposing to a man? When I googled "Woman proposes to man" it blessed me a total of NINE finds.

Several of the ladies I know have attributed this to a fear of rejection that they for some reason think we are immune to. Some even said that guys wouldn't appreciate it, if the girl asked. I, personally, would have no problem with it.

So the questions are:
Girls: Why don't you ask people out?
Guys: What would you think of a girl asking you out?
All: Is anyone a feminist if they refuse to accept true equality, down to the social aspects of dating? Isn't it sexist to put all of that pressure on one half of the population?


Is there really such thing as actual truth or is everyone's ideas of truth different? Is there something that is universally accepted as true and do things need to be accepted to be true? Can one person's truth be untrue to someone else?

What is TRUTH?

American role models

Before starting any serious questions, i just want to know what people think of this girl being Miss Teen USA since she is supposed to be a role model to young women.
Of course, the only reason she really is such an influence is because of the media exposure, but what does this say about our country?

The Un-Raw Carrot

To continue with another somewhat general topic, let us migrate towards the discussion of hope. In specific, your reaction(s) to the following quote, and also how it differs from your idea of what hope is.

"Hope is the denial of reality. It is the carrot dangled before the draft horse to keep him plodding along in a vain attempt to reach it."

Personally, I took this quote to mean that when you have hope, you are blinding yourself to reality. In connection to the Allegory of the Cave, I saw the light as not reality, but as hope. It lights the darkness, but leaves shadows in its wake, and those shadows are what we fear, because they are the unknown. The darkness is reality, and the only way to face reality is to look away from the light. Thus, they are no more shadows, they are a part of the darkness. The quote goes on, latter, to say that we need to take the carrot away and walk with our eyes open. Hope is not going to save us, hope will do nothing, and if we follow the carrot, we'll be following it until we realize how we've wasted away.

That's how I took the quote in a nutshell. What do you think?


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Meaning of Life

Ok, I will kick off the TOK year with a very broad topic, one as mysterious as it is intriguing. What is the meaning of life? Why do we exist? Countless generations of human beings have long pondered this bottomless question and have reached their own conclusions. What is yours?

"We sit here, the mountain and I, until only the mountain remains." -Li Po

"When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice"- Cherokee Proverb

War and Peace

“War cannot be justified as a means of maintaining ideals if our ideals are based on peace” –Unknown

So in English we were looking at quotes and I chose this one to analyze. I posted it on the English blog but I thought that with the nature of the quote it would also be relevant here, this is what I wrote about it.

This quote is made powerful by the simplistic phrasing of an eloquent idea. It has relevance to a present day situation, making it more powerful, as people can relate to it by opinion and emotion. It is a call to justice, stating that we need to take a different action for war if we are truly at war to maintain peace. The word justify implies that the war needs justification, but because of the two contradicting words, it is implied that the justification is faulty, and needs a new one. The words “ideals” and “peace” have become important words in our society, as have freedom, liberty, and happiness; which are contained within American ideals. The quotes main statement is how hypocritical “we” are by using the war as an excuse to maintain ideals, when in fact, we state that our ideals are based on peace.The fact that “ideals” is used twice makes us connect the two action words together. Peace and war are paradoxical, and therefore the reader is forced to look at how exactly they are being connected. Simplifying the quote by taking out the connecting “ideals”, it becomes “War cannot be justified as peace”. A more direct statement of what the author is trying to portray. In this quote the wording is vital to how it is perceived. It is short and to the point. Without the comparison the author makes with his contradicting words and the repetition of “ideals” to enhance the comparison, the quote would not have the same meaning or effect.

Cultural Death Ceremonies

Okay the title is very morbid, but I have always been curious about this subject. How come different cultures have differents ways of seeing of the dead?

For example, in Mexico death is more of a celebration of the loved ones lives, instead of being extremely dark and gloomy. They even have celebrations such as the Day of the Dead to not only bring them back, but also to celebrate and appreciate their lives.

In the United States, funerals take on a different role, and it is meant to remember, rather than celebrate a life well-lived. Funerals are usually very solemn and rarely festive, like the Mexican culture.

How can you explain these differences? How do other cultures, say "goodbye"?

This may be volatile...AIM

I know this could potentially turn into a "lets bash AIM" post, but I genuinely am interested in what people think. (This is about senior AIM for me, but I want to know what junior AIM is like as well).
Today for example, my class was asked what we wanted to get out of the class and so we answered with ideas like college prep time, homework time, food, team building activities (like the ropes course) and the like. Immediately after we had finished the discussion, we were told that the teacher did not see anything that we wanted out of the class. He saw ways we were trying to avoid the class. However, he had not told us the purpose of senior AIM, and then critiqued us without actually knowing what he had wanted us to come up with.
How is this logical?
This class was supposed to be implemented in order for us to make the "transitions", but how can you make the transitions without actually graduating high school (hence the homework time), or applying to colleges (hence the college prep time), or the team building (since the IB kids "run around in packs throughout the school"). However, when we had tried to make the class work for us, we were immediately shot down with "you guys aren't even trying to use the potential this class has". When authority talks to people like this, i believe they lose some of that authority because they lose respect as well.
So, why do we have AIM?
What is going on in other classes? (I know this isn't exactly ToK, but our class isn't exactly the most open to the "IB kids"). Why do people gravitate into cliques when in a class thats meant to break that?
Why do people automatically reject something thats new (think allegory of the cave), or is it when the new thing is forced upon people? (Or do we reject it because we lost late start in our sophomore year?)
-Also (from AIM) can a place (location) be important to someone or is it the event or memory of something that happpened there the true importance?

Insane Tv Ad

"Eat all you want and still loose weight. And we couldn't say it on TV if it wasn't true!" O.K. so I know that TV is famous for outrageous claims. Why do you think that people believe these ads? Its not as if they are an authority or anything, so why does it work?

-Caitlin A.

Friday, August 31, 2007

What do you believe?

What is a belief that you hold dear and why? How do you justify this belief?


What is something that you thought to be true but later learned was not?
(go beyond Santa Claus... link it to an AOK or personal experience)

You as a Knower

What is on epiphany you had when writing your Knower Autobiography or since, when considering what you know about personal and proper justifications?

Allegory of the Cave

When considering "Allegory of the Cave", how is it possible that some people can believe in illusion and accept it as reality? Give examples.

Knowledge in your Classrooms

What is an example of "knowledge" that you have struggled accepting based on authority in any of your academic courses? Why has it been difficult? What is it about YOU that possible has influenced this?

Please discuss subject matter, NOT teachers or teaching styles.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Alas, I am lacking a link to this article I had found. Sorry.

So, being the tech-savvy man I am I was reading an article about College and the internets the other day. Specifically those fancy-pants essay writing companies. My question relates to the students involved in this, who claim that the fancy-pants plagerism checks are a breach of honor, and should no longer be used, and they are in fact suing the company in charge for some millions of dollars of copy-right infringement.

So I ask, who is right?


Also, if you find the article please link.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A list worth Checking twice.

Personally I want to be able to continue using the Blog Next year.
So I am writing a post for people who want to continue use to comment on.

So I'll start By saying keep me on!
NO MORE TOK!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

how many genders are there?

think outside the traditional two, which don't include transgendered (spell check is telling me to write it trans gendered) or transvestites.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

We are Unblocked!

I know that it may be too late for many of you, but I want to thank all of you that helped build this TOK blog. Because of your ability to use this blog in a professional, educational, and serious manner, the district has seen the educational value of what we are trying to do.

You are now able to access this Blog (and post) from PSD computers.

Thanks again for all of the hard work you have done.

Monday, April 23, 2007

What were they thinking: Arcadia

The chaos theory states that in the complete disorder of the world there is order as described through fractals within Arcadia. The name chaos though implies complete catastrophe and strife rarely do I personally think of chaos as a good thing, which brings me to my point. Why name it that to me it compares to renaming the death penalty "killing people," or Chinese capitalistic politics "baby labor." This is a distinct language issue that they should really clear up

Friday, April 20, 2007


So, in Arcadia it is said by Chloe that "Sex is the attraction newton left out."
Imagine a very very complicated machine. Complicated to the point it seems as magic to us. Could that robot ever actually feel sexual attraction? of would the attractions it felt be governed by it's programming? if the latter, wouldn't it still (more or less) follow Newton?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

the end

How can you tell it's the end of the school year?

Okay, pretend that you're an observer rather a participant of high school. If you ignored the summer component, and you knew that the school year cycled, how could you track the beginning and end of each school year? How do you know? What is the chain of events? How would your conclusions be limited by the fact that you're an observer, not a participant?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


"All truth is profound."

True (no pun intended) or false?

Sunday, April 08, 2007

TOK Blog Survey

Help Me Out...

Soon, I'll be giving a survey to all of the TOK students to help me evaluate the blog this year. Overall, I've been happy with what I've seen but considering the blog is still in its infancy, I'm looking to get feedback as to what has worked and what hasn't so that I can figure out what I want the survey to look like.

My goal is for it to be a forum for discussion between classes as well as schools in the future. I love the idea but it isn't there yet. It's been great at times, inconsistent others. It's provided a place to discuss but hasn't generated the discussion that it could. So what I would like from you, at least those of you that still surf occasionally...

What has worked? What hasn't?
How could it be improved?
How could we build a stronger online community?
How could it be better utilized?
Any other suggestions?

Thank you in advance.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

NYC Condom Campaign

So, we had a presentation in our class on Thursday for the IA about the NYC condom campain. After seeing the presentation or looking into the topic, I was wondering what everyone thought about this campain and then why do you think this?

Monday, March 19, 2007

Time-Why and How?

So, I have recently been pondering the element of time. How it impacts our lives and why man felt the need to develop this concept. But is that a truth for man-does time actually exist or is this something which is subject to change for any of us? What has society done to make it either acceptable or not to feel the need for this idea of time itself?

If you would like a little distraction, check out this link:

Friday, March 09, 2007 - Ethics

Skim the BBC article about

From the information, Ryan Jordan seems to have committed an unethical action by creating a false identity. His made up PhD allowed him to edit articles more freely and gave him the authority to “arbitrate disputes between authors.” But what if his motive was to educate? BBC mentions he researched what he posted (I.E. Catholicism for Dummies – though this was actually meant to undermine his authority). Would this assumed ‘educational’ motive justify his actions?


Can forging an identity ever be justified? Recall the ethics presentation we had a while back, where a police officer impersonated an attorney in order to capture a murderer.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Emotion/Ethics in Awakenings

Since we all watched the movie Awakenings in our TOK class, I have a question regarding ethics and emotion in the movie. So, to what extent does Dr. Sayer use emotion in justifying what he believed was an ethical decision to give Leonard an overdosage of the revival medication? Also, why would one think that he was so deeply committed to the one patient, Leonard?

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Science and Philosophy

In modern physics, much of the research being done is on extreme conditions. The result is more and more strange and hard to believe theories. One of the hardest to understand is the theory of Quantum Mechanics. What is the role of the scientist to look into the implications of science? My question is does a scientific theory need a philosophy explaining the science, or should science be seperate from philosophy. Mainly the idea of the quantum wave function, since the wave function has to be collapsed but currently there is no theory of why quantum wave functions are collapsed.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Ethics in Awakenings

Hey all! So in a last ditch effort to post on ethics, I decided to talk about ethics in the movie Awakenings, which we're currently watching in class. I thought the conversation between Dr. Sayer and the previous neuropsychologist who had worked with these patients was really interesting, especially when the first psychologist said that they cannot be thinking, because that would destroy his sense of morality *ie, he wouldn't be able to live with that knowledge, which then informed his ethics in how he treated those patients; he made it ethically permissable to avoid treating them at all. Another ethical dilemma raised is the dosage of l-dopa that he gave to the patient; this far exceeded what his supervising doctor allowed, and what he legally had permission from the mother to give, but because he morally felt compelled, thinking it would help, he administered it anways. It will be interesting to see how this plays out through the film, and what further ethical issues are raised, along with seeing how others will treat him *ie- will he be punished?* when he acts on morality, rather than ethics.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Fermat's Last Problem

Hey, this is actually Michael. I can’t post on my own account, so I am posting on Kyle's.
I don’t know how many classes other than Malone’s watched the movie about the proving of Fermat’s Last Problem, but I wanted to post on it anyways. I just thought it was interesting that the people in the movie were just so much more immersed and knowledgeable in mathematics, that it went over all of our heads, and the we thought it was funny the way they talked about and interacted with math. We had no idea what they were talking about for most of the time, and the mathematicians talked about the math as simple and elegant, when the class had no idea what was going on. So this leads me to my question: How does each area of knowledge create its own culture?

Monday, February 19, 2007


Should the data gathered from the Nazi Death Camp Experiments be allowed to be used?

I say yes.
1. Data has no ethics in and of itself. Apples are red has no moral implications, no matter how many apples you threw at people to convice them that they are red. The data gathered from the experiments, although from undeniably evil means, are amoral and cannot be held to any moral standards as it is just a peice of information.
2. Although some of the data may be skewed, there is no way we can get other data to prove that it is skewed. This is the basis of all scientific theories. They can never be true, they can only be disproven. As soon as the data from the experiments is disproven then it can be discounted. Currently it is the best data we have, so we need to deal with it.
3. It does not set a precedent. All that we say by using the data is that we need data. There is no condoning of the Nazis in using their data anymore than touring their death camps is equivalent to reopening them.
4. The data has already saved lives.

Argue away!