Thursday, December 18, 2008

Speaking in Bubbles

Going back to The Persuaders, the film we watched two breakout sessions ago about the cultures of marketing and advertising, the clip embedded in title addresses public advertising.  The man in the video created the bubble project as a way to inspire dialogue about public advertising, giving the people the chance to talk back to the advertisers and get their voice in the public realm.  While he believes that the corporations win with the bubble project because it brings attention to their ads, it also gives the power back to the people/ the consumers, allowing them to respond to product given to them.  How does allowing people to add their own comments and language to the ad change the carefully crafted image/message the "persuaders" in the media put out?

(When you click on the link give the video a second to load, the page will initially look like there's no video but if you give it a minute it will buffer and appear)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Is information obtained in an altered mindstate valid?

In experiments done with psychedelic mushrooms, a significant number of patients reported having a positive spiritual experience with the drug. Because knowledge was gained in an altered state of conscious, is it valid?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Genetic Testing on children... To see which sports their bodies are better suited for

So I saw a news report on 9News about this topic then went to research it more and I found this article writen by the New York Times. It basically talks about a genetic test that can be performed on children to which sports they are likely to excel in. All I am asking is you take a look at this article, possibly do more research if still not understanding the article... and respond.

The Power of Slang

As we begin our look at Language as a WoK, we are going to consider how a specific language can define a culture, and in this instance, a generation. As part of the Slang Assignment (if you haven't been introduced to it, you will), we want you to consider and use the following slang from the decades listed below. Also provided is an online slang dictionary that will help you find any words that you are having a hard time finding.


Slang Dictionary

If you wish to print these lists for your use, please do so at home. They are long and would be a huge waste of paper. Have Fun...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dark Matter in the news

It seems we're not the only ones interested in dark matter these days. Check out this article from MSNBC about the latest forray into the field. Does this type of study and mass media coverage change your opinion about dark matter at all? Does it validate Dr. P's presentation? Does it add authority and further evidence, or does it raise more questions?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Dove - Evolution

I know we just wrapped up sense perception, but I saw this video at a conference this weekend and found it fitting. When it was used at the conference, it was talking about how we shouldn't buy into the superficial lies that we are ugly. My question is, even if everyone saw this video, do you think the media would still have a voice of what is "beautiful" and what isn't?

When is Art Art?

I am not in HL art, though I know many of you are. I have always struggled with the idea of when art is a masterpiece, and when it just becomes a random splattering of paint on a canvas. I'm sure most of us have had those moments when we looked at a picture and thought, "Wow, I think I did something similar to this in first grade." My question is, at what point do these pieces cease to be meaningful (or are they always meaningful?), and on a different note, what makes them so valuable?
Please, I'm curious to hear the different opinions on this matter, but to get the conversation going, I'll start with my own.
I'm not an artist, as I have previously mentioned. So, I think, it is not such a surprise that I don't consider many forms of splatter paint to be art. If it is something that anyone could do, then how does it really have any meaning? Similarly, pieces of art that are purposely formatted after certain artists or styles also lacks individuality, in my eyes. Without being a new idea, I don't see how art (and therefore the universal meaning it conveys) could progress.
- Lauren P.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

More on why dark matter matters

As I continue to reflect on Dr. P's lecture, there are several questions and considerations I still want to discuss.  One in particular is WHY? I feel very removed from dark matter--I cannot perceive it in my daily existence--and I don't know what bearing, if any, proving or disproving its existence has on my life.  I feel little compulsion to know more.  What justifications might scientists like Dr. P have for a project that seems so purely "knowledge for knowledge's sake?" Is it mere curiosity? Is it a matter of ethics? Of faith? 

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Death in the Family

This article totally changed the way I view the Iraq war.  I think I belong to a unique community of knowers, and my political views are pretty complex, though I generally trend liberal.  In terms of foreign policy, this article changed my foreign policy views from isolationism to interventionism.  This quote in particular struck me:

"Consider that there are 19 year old soldiers from the Midwest who have never touched a college campus or a protest who have done more to uphold the universal legitimacy of representative government and individual rights by placing themselves between Iraqi voting lines and homicidal religious fanatics"

The link is in the title.  Please take five minutes and read it.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Seminar Questions

Hello all TOKers... After the Dark Matter presentation by Dr. Polhemus, please surf over to the Seminar Blog and jump in the conversation. Help out those not involved in TOK yet by modeling how to justify your opinions. Answer the questions posted by Ms. King by this Friday. Thanks.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bite Back Campaign

I personally think that everyone should help out with this cause, and should definitely participate in one the Clementia Project events (go to for more information). However, through the eyes of TOK, I want to know how many other people can identify some of the knowledge issues and the way they present it to you.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The presidents

so everyone... the presidential election is coming up and I want to know.

How do you feel about obama vs mcain?

after that

Do you feel that they justify their points well, what knowledge issues are there in their statements... stuff like that.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Arcadia and Knowledge

After all of the conversations and presentations on Arcadia, I'm boiling it down to one simple question that we would like ALL TOK students to comment on...

What is Arcadia saying about knowledge in general?


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Affirmative Action

So this post is a result of the ethics activities we've been doing in class.  The issue my group had was 'Should colleges or universities be held accountable for creating a ethnic and racially diverse community?' A further question I have is affirmative action (an action/policy that favors those who tend to suffer from discrimination esp. in employment or education) a good or bad thing?  I thought I knew, but then I started playing devil's advocate in class, and then I wasn't sure.

One reason this question is particularly interesting to me is that I'm filling out college apps right now and I always avoid the ethnicity question or don't fill it out if I can.  I'm not sure why I do that, maybe it's because I would prefer that a university look solely at my grades and test scores rather than more personal factors.

What do you guys think?

Friday, October 03, 2008

Caption Contest

Using your TOK skills and language, write a caption to this photo (of a masked TOK Seminar student) and win a prize.

What can we know about this through:
sense perception

What knowlege issues are present?
Keep your captions appropriate, please!

Deadline, Friday, Oct. 10!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Belief vs. truth

A simple question: What is the relationship between belief and reality? Here's my theory:
In what way do we know the world? We experience it through our senses, but how can we know what is real and what is not? If one is not aware of the existence of some thing, the thing is not real to the observer because it is not perceived as real. There is no true knowledge that we can know, but we can create knowledge through belief formulated through observation and the other ways of knowing we have discussed, because it is the closest thing we have to the truth. What we believe as real or perceive as real becomes real simply by the act of perceiving it so.
Existence is a web of infinite dimensions in which everything is linked to everything else through the threads, which are cause-effect relationships between events; the web encompasses all space, time, matter, energy - it is everything and is always expanding as time goes forward. Paradoxically, because it is not possible for something not to exist, the blanket is infinite. It is not one-, two-, three-, four-dimensional. It includes and composes everything, in an infinite number of dimensions.
If one part of the web is changed, an infinite number of new threads spring from the changed point. The resulting threads originating from the centre [theoretically the beginning of space, time &cetera] form the web as it grows to fill the future, a process which continually alters the future as the past changes.
Though the web encompasses everything, that is not to say that it is absolute. The present [which is infinitely small because it is simply the point at which the past and the future meet] and the past exist only in perception and memory. We can perceive that there is a present, but it is impossible to define a time as the present because we can only measure it relative to the past and future. In fact, the present is perception, while what we frequently refer to as the present is often the near past or near future. The past, on the other hand, can be altered because it does exist in the web but is stored in memory that is constantly being filtered through perception, making it extremely dynamic and removing the physical limitations that, along with perception of the past, govern the future.
Since the past exists only though perception thereof, because the future does not yet exist, and because the physical world only governs the future, perception is all that is real and therefore every being has a different reality.
It is also possible to delete from or to add to the past by adding or removing events or series of events from the blanket. When an event or series of events is removed, the causes of that event or series run straight through to the effects and the event no longer exists; it never existed, in the perception of whoever removed it. When an event is added, it attaches to effects and causes, forming a new portion of the web. This manipulation of the past can be achieved through either conscious or unconscious change in perception, and when the past changes, conscious choices and in turn the future will change.
George Orwell adequately described this idea of intentional manipulation of perception to exercise control over the past and through cause and effect the future in 1984 with the concept of doublethink and the Party’s slogan that 'whoever controls the past controls the future'.
The future is governed jointly by the physical world and by the collective of individual perceptions of the past and present, making it impossible to predict due to the extremely dynamic nature of perception.
Due to this relationship between perception and reality, life only has a meaning if there is a perceived meaning. Once a meaning has been perceived, that meaning holds true within one's own reality. Life is what you make of it.

If you hear me say "In your perception", it means that whatever you've said is simply your perception, and isn't the only reality. So I guess what I mean to say is "I reject your reality, and substitute my own."


Monday, September 22, 2008

Something to think about

Hey guys!
I'm sure some of you have seen this video before... but its just something that got me thinking.

We've all seen and heard these statistics before, but this video puts them into a much smaller context, and uses some pretty emotional images and music to get the point across.

Just thought I'd throw it out there!

Let me know what you think!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

God Bless George W Bush

So if y'all haven't noticed, the majority of Poudre is way liberal, and i think its about time i post some of my beliefs (that differ vastly) and see what y'all say. I found a youtube video that pretty much sums it up, so have at it. xoxo sarah t xox

oh and some things that the vid didn't say
after 9/11 when surveyed (by NY Times) well over 50% of people supported invading iraq
saddam had used weapons of mass destruction on his people before and didn't let the UN investigate his labs, despite his agreement to do so
he's human, and i hardly ever hear anyone speak with proper grammer...ever. so don't go saying he's stupid because he cant speak correctly. 

its fascinating to me that as americans, we love to rewrite our history :~)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Dear Mr. Obama

Talking about Community of Knowers, here is this guy who was a soldier in the Iraq war. This is what he has to say.

Sunday, September 07, 2008


Alright folks, it's time to bring up the inevitable... do aliens exist? what are you're justifications, and lets all try to use out those truth tests. Now there is a lot of evidence on both sides saying yes or no, a simple visit to youtube will give you all the info you need to make an educated guess.

Now as for me, I guess I fell that there has to be something else out there with some intelligence. It would be unlikely for there not to be. How could it be that in the BILLIONS and billions of planets in the universe that our planet was the only one to sustain life, it just dosen't work.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

"Allegory of the Cave" Question #1

What is something that you now believe to be true that you had a difficult time accepting? Why did you have a hard time believing it in the first place? What justifications were used that helped you turn the corner? And now that you accept it, how would you properly justify it to someone else? Please use ToK language and develop your answers.

"Allegory of the Cave" Question #2

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

"Allegory of the Cave" Question #3

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

Please discuss subject matter, not individual teachers or teaching styles.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

René Descartes

Ok guys, here's a question I've wanted to ask for a LONG time. The famous quote

"Cogito, ergo sum"- "I think, therefore I am"

or the alternate quote

"Dubito, ergo cogito, ergo sum"-"I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I am"

So is this true. I think this topic came up in our lunch class today, are we all really in some sort of generated universe, is everything just one REALLY long dream? What exists? can a table exist, if it dosen't think?

For all my fellow bookworms...

So, as you all know we've been working with Plato's "Allegory of the Cave", trying to understand how it relates to knowledge and our search for truth.
This conversation brought to mind a book that I'd read that some of you may be interested in. The book is called Till We Have Faces and is a retelling of the myth of Psyche and Cupid by C.S. Lewis. Besides being a fascinating story it also contains some parallels with Plato's ''Allegory" regarding the way in which humans deal with being shown truth and the discomfort that sometimes accompanies acquisition of knowledge. I think the themes presented would lend themselves very well to a ToK discussion and fit in with what we've been learning about.
I've attached a link explaining some of the key themes/concepts of the book to the title of the post, the ones that would be most applicable are towards the bottom of the webpage. If you have time (I know it's a laughable concept in most of our lives...) please read it!
Let me know what you think...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Does God Exist?

I'm posting this in hopes of finding all the proper justification for one of the biggest questions, in my mind, that exists. I do ask that people don't argue and also respect eachothers opinions.

My goal for this post if for everyone to put everything on the table. Why they believe or even know God exists or why they believe or even know God doesn't exist. The "What do you believe" topic was a bit to broad for me and so I'm asking my fellow Theory of Knowledgians a more specific question that hopefully will raise many more.

I will start by saying that I do believe in a God. Perhaps not "The God" as described in the bible but rather a greater entity that created the universe. My reasons for this belief are faith, as I have always felt in a near impossible to describe way that there was something that I couldn't fathom that had to have created the very smallest fabric of space and time that makes up my eyes, ears, hair, pajamas, and keyboard that I type on, and that, while I believe evolution and even string theory, that there logically had to be something that created the strings.

Please respond to this post as I'm very agnostic and very unsure of many of my beliefs regarding religion and God. I'm not asking for someone to preach to me, I'm just curious what other's beliefs are and why they believe that way.

Also please be respectful in your comments as this is a delicate subject.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Open Minds

So reading everyone's posts on the blog has been interesting, and I know we're talking a lot about knowledge and what we know and learning more stuff to know and all that.  Something that comes up a lot, and comes up a lot in IB in general, is a concept of an open mind.  I have a quote that I try to adhere to, and I'd like to share it, and see what people think.

"It is important to have an open mind, but not so open your brains fall out."

Is there such a thing as too open-minded? Too close-minded? What's the difference between being close-minded and standing by what you believe in?  Draw the lines for me, guys....


Is the exclusion of developing countries from groups like G8 deterimental?

Many developing countries, which are in need of better economic support, are left out of major decisions and groups that could have very positive effects on their economy. They are left out because they do not have major production or consumption of products. Is this a fair or logical way for world economics to work?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Alrighty... lets fire up some discussion. IS freedom of choice really the right to hate?

OK... where to start?

Basically, i just went to youtube and typed the only thing i knew to - "Freedom of Speech is the Right to Hate", and clicked on the first video in the mix.

In short, it's a video response to an atheist concerning free speech.

In the video the man, (who, i thought really interstingly is MUSLIM) describes how even though people have "the right to engage in intellectual discourse, criticism and debate", they should still stay true to others' right to respect and dignity.

Wasn't that the main thing we talked about??

This creepy old man with a creepy little sign is protesting at an innocent young man's funeral, completely disrespecting the dead boy's parents and family. All for his own, creepy, old (yet still 'wise and authoritative') beliefs.

There's the other thing! He mentions authority later in his video description. Word for word:

"Who would win in a slandering fight between you and Rupert Murdoch? You both and the same 'freedoms' but he has more POWER than you (since he owns SKY channels and newspapers)."

Thats's it. Who determines whether this guy is just old and creepy, sick, and wrong for coming to this boy's funeral and undermining every last bit of importance he had in life, destroying the good memories of him with messages of hate, or whether he's an Authority, a vietnam war veteran who's seen more than any of us IB kids combined, who knows - and FEELS what's right for himself (and obviously others around him)? Who decides this?


It's his belief.

It's his choice.

I guess we have to give it to him, right?

But no matter what is decided, someone else has to come in and throw in their two cents. The majority of the comments were hate messages, not only to the man himself, but also to Islam, Middle Eastern Countries, and people of color in general!! It disgusted me... i had to leave 3 comments politely telling some people off. Oh well.

I just thought that this man, known as youtuber mujtahid2006, summed up everything we talked about in the last 3 days perfectly. Check out the video so you can see waht im talking about, the hate comments, and how right this man is on everything we talked about.

Go, my fellow IB students...



The PHS ToK web page

Greetings! Click on the title of this post to access the PHS ToK web page. This page will provide you with all kinds of information, including links to the ToK assignment calendar, assessment documents and rubrics, seminar information and other nifty stuff. You will want to bookmark the calendar page and check it often since journal topics, due dates and handouts for the class are posted here.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

What do you believe now?

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

Feel free to challenge each others' justifications and discuss one another's beliefs.

What did you believe?

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)

What did you notice about yourself?

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

Monday, August 04, 2008

A new year, A few big changes

Welcome back to TOK and Poudre High School... TOK is changing and the blog is doing the same. Joining us this year is the talented Mr. Knight, teaching 7th period. Rumored to be a teacher once upon a time, he's back to give his wisdom. And since he is old, he has lots of it. In addition, this year's blog discussions will include the new TOK Seminar Students. This will make the blog a much more dynamic and important communication tool used by the PHS Diploma Students. So please... post, comment, discuss. Help us get it started... See you soon.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Usual Suspects

So I know both the TOK classes have watched or are in the middle of watching "The Usual Suspects". I've already seen it before and now that I'm watching it again I realize that some pieces of information that I took for being true turned out to be false. However, at the time I did not question the validity of the information.
In the movie, how do you know what you know and why do you accept it to be true?
Were there any points in the movie when you did question the validity of the information that was presented?
Please discuss but try not to give too much away for the people who haven't finished it yet. Thanks :)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Again, freedom of choice is the right to hate

I found this a couple days ago and it reminded me of "Freedom of Choice is the Right to Hate".

What do you think of this?

-Its not necessary to watch the whole thing....yes it is from the tyra banks show-

Thursday, May 01, 2008

An Inconvenient Truth and WOKs

Al Gore's documentary An Inconvenient Truth is powerful in that it approaches the topic of global warming using all four ways of knowing. He appeals to sense perception by using graphs and charts, as well as graphical representations of the potential effects of global warming. He also incorporates humorous footage from The Simpsons, as well as his own personal connection to the issue to provoke an emotional response. He also defines his arguments in strictly logical terms, and uses empowering language to make people feel as though they can make a difference. What if a case was made against global warming using the same techniques?
Follow this link:
Daily Show Global Warming
and explore the justifications of this viewpoint from a TOK perspective.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Presidential Race

Relating to the current focus in the media on the presidential race:
We’ve been hearing a lot in the news about the candidates, an important issue to be sure, as it will determine where our country will be headed in the next four years. But a trend has been emerging in the media coverage of this important race: the determined focus of coverage on “political gaffs” made by the candidates in their bid for nomination. For example, Hilary has been labeled a liar for saying she was “under sniper fire” in Bosnia. Obama has been called elitist by saying that people from Pennsylvania who were frustrated have been turning to “religion and guns”.
The most surprising thing about all this political hoopla is how many intelligent people I have heard justifying their positions on these candidates based upon these gaffs (versus the issues, as I expected).
So the question is: do these gaffs represent simple mistakes made during a stressful time by overtired candidates or are they signs of major character flaws? What WOKs do we use to justify our judgment of this? And how does the media coverage play into our perceptions of these gaffs (as it focuses on these versus the issues)?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Community Service

Since all of us are in IB, there are definitely some points in the school year where we have had to do community service. In your opinion, do you feel that there is more need for service on a local, state, national, or global level? Justify your reasoning using WOKs and try to identify your own biases that might cause you to support one level over another.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Everyone (Who Contributes) Gets a Cookie!

What’s your position on Eminent Domain? How would you define “Public Use”?

Remember: Anyone who contributes (With POK’s WOK’s etc.) to this post will get a cookie if they show up to the Eminent Domain IA presentation on May 14th.
Note: If you want more background information, or interesting stories, ask and I’ll post them to this thread.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ethics in Subliminal Messages?

To being with, we have had a bit of a dead spot in the blog, so I'll try to throw in a relatively controversial topic...

When my Norwegian relatives came over a few summers ago, my second cousin discussed subliminal messages. Since he was majoring in psycology, he talked on how most subliminal messages do not actually work, and it is actually better to just show a commercial about your given product.

However, this brings to light many ethical decisions.

Should subliminal messaging be allowed? Why or why not?

Try your best to use the POKs and WOKs for your justification

Monday, April 14, 2008

More Fiction

In class we came up with books that we felt we could know something from. I want to know if you've ever read a book of fiction that made you completely challenge something you knew before reading it. What ways of knowing were you using and what ways of knowing was the book using? What was the conclusion that you made after reading it? Oh, and just one more thing: do you think that the quality of the writing of a book can affect your ability to know from it?

Monday, April 07, 2008


This week in TOK, we're looking at ways we can know through fiction by watching the movie "10 Things I Hate About You." Don't get me wrong, I like the movie, but what can we really say we know after watching it? Is it possible to know something through any type of fiction, or does knowing through fiction only come through certain works or genres? If so, what do you think those works or genres may be?


Sunday, April 06, 2008

An Echo

"An echo, while implying an enormity of a space, at the same time also defines it, limits it, and even temporarily inhabits it." -Mark Z. Danielewski

Reading this quote made me really think about ways of knowing outside of science. While an echo can be defined with sound waves and logical explanations, here is a definition that seems to be driven more by emotion and even sense perception. How can changing our usual ways of knowing help us gain a new perspective on something, such as the nature of an echo?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


How do you, personally, define American culture?
Is there a societal definition?
And how do we arrive at such a definition?

Monday, March 31, 2008

Olympic in China

This is an opinion article from the collegian, talking about how the olympics should not be hosted in Beijing.
Read this article, it is quiet entertaining.
Question: Do you agree with this article or not? Use the TOK terminology and understanding to support your claim.
(click on the topic title to read the article)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Universal Healthcare

So in the last week, one of the most interesting IA Presentations (in my opinion) was on universal healthcare in the United States. The group who presented were enthusiastic about their topic, and there wasn't much time for a full discussion. So, I figured it would be in order to continue the topic here. When speaking about the topic, it seems as if it is one that attracts fallacies more often than others. The ones I frequently note being "special pleading", "Two Wrongs Make a Right", and "Guilt By Association"- this last one applying to political figures and insurance companies. What are some of your thoughts on the issue?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Questions of chance or destiny...i guess

I'm an agnostic. I know this, and have been despite many peoples attempts to sway me one way or the other.

Recently however, there are some chances or coincidences..."luck" as many people say that are just so unlikely that I start to question that maybe there is a higher force looking out force us.

Any thoughts?

Friday, March 07, 2008

Universal Truth

Does universal truth exist? Or is truth based on the individual?

I'm sure we've all discussed this topic before, but now, as educated TOK students, I'm curious to know how everyone views this. With different truth tests and justifications, how do we know in which of these areas truth exists? Also, how have your opinions on this changed issue since taking TOK? Use examples!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Awakening

I was thinking about the movie we are watching in this class and it made me think about using inductive leaps to 'know' something. So my question is, are there any instances in which you used inductive leaps to know something like Dr. Sayer did in the movie? If so, did you later find out whether or not it was true based on legit ways of knowing?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Creationism Has Been Proven

(Sorry to all of you viewing this as school because the videos won't work)

Based on the evidence given is this a PJTB? and if it is do you agree with it?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Documentary Film Partners and The Poughkeepsie Tapes

So, sometime this year (I believe) the Documentary Film Partners will be releasing tapings of a serial killer's stalkings and murders, known as The Poughkeepsie Tapes. It'll be the actual footage of how the he stalked and murdered his victims, shot by the killer himself. Click on the title for a link to the official page, where they have the trailer for the video.

This is the message given by the Documentary Film Partners:
"Documentary Film Partners is a new, independent filmmaking collective looking to develop and produce hard-hitting documentary programming with unflinching dedication to the facts.

The Collective, as we call it, is made up of both student and veteran filmmaking professionals who strive to teach and learn from one another while producing a style of filmmaking rare in today's festivals. This brand of collaboration is in the DNA of our company, and every film we develop and produce.

Our independent spirit drives us to tell stories that shock audiences out of their comfort-zones. This isn't your prime-time news magazine, expose fare, but rather a startling view of the world as it is. Sometimes, the world at its worst.

The DFP promise is to deliver audiences film experiences that change them forever. Films that awaken the mind, inspire the heart, and even anger the soul. No subject is off-limits, nothing is sacred. Documentary Film Partners is committed to this promise, and we believe it is our responsibility to produce films that achieve so much more than entertainment."

What's your reaction to this, based on a ToK standpoint?
Is releasing such material moral/ethical?
Is it a necessary part of knowledge?
What purpose does it actually serve?
(I don't care if you answer these questions; just comment in general...)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Maybe its just one of those days...

We have already done this in class, but I was just thinking aobut it since I started crying after watching the Pedigree commercial (link)

Why do humans respond more emotionally when the animal dies (I am Legend, Volvo ads (the foreshadowing), etc.) than when humans die?*

*I know humans are technically animals. But I'm using the very generic separation term

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Some thoughts on emotion and who we are

1) In class we discussed whether it was possible to know solely through emotion. We came to the conclusion that no, one cant because emotions are responses to sensory stimuli.

If this is so, how can we as mankind reconcile the fact that no two people experience certain stimuli (qualia) the same way? How can everyone agree as to exactly what a headache feels like, what colors are, or what being in love feels like?

2) Jung suggests "personalities are shaped by feelings and thoughts while sensations color the deetails and inutition interprets the currents".

Is this true? What exactly are personalities? Are they our personal interpretations of a person? Or their expression of themselves as they see? Or something else entirely?


So since it is the week of Valentines Day I figured that a love question would be appropriate. So using the WOKs explain how someone can know that they are in love. (5th hour discussed this in class in reference to the Love is a Fallacy article that we read, this can be a continuation of that discussion.) Also what role does the media play in people’s view of love?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Giraffe Test

Check out the Link above...

Try "The Giraffe Test".

What does this say about you as a thinker/knower?

Weblog Mania

So (contrary to popular belief) I was not slacking off today but at a business competition, FBLA. While my partner and I were competing, we overheard that our speaking prompt might be about whether or not it is ethical for employers to look at the myspace or facebook profiles of any current or future employees to determine their position in the workspace. It turns out that the other team was trying to trick us into thinking that was the prompt and it actually wasn't. But that's okay.

I thought the problem was much more interesting than the inappropriate-relationships-at-work problem we thought and I would like to pose it to you guys.

Do you think looking at these profiles should factor into the judgment of possible employees in determining their effectiveness? For example, a person that is portrayed as a very social and unfocused individual on a myspace page versus a person with the exact same resume but no online profile are weighed and the one without a myspace gets the job. Do you think this is fair?
We came up with the solution that in order to ensure equal opportunity, an applicant should be informed that all public records concerning him or her would be looked at, just like they are required to talk about past convictions on an application. This would allow the applicants to have more equal chances in applying.

Please use personal examples and logic to justify. For example, I know that at Poudre a while ago there was some sort of situation with a teacher or coach looking at myspace accounts.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Getting Duped

I was reading one of my favorite magazines today-Scientific American Mind-and there was an article on fallacies in the media with special relation to politics.  I thought it was very applicable to TOK right now.  Click the link above to read the article.  

What can you do to keep yourself from "Getting Duped" by the media? 

If you have a complete understanding of fallacies does that mean that you will not be able to be swayed by the media?  

-Graham P

Political affiliations

Yes, I know that many of you are getting sick of hearing about politics eventhough many of us will be able to vote in the upcoming election. For that, I'm sorry

However, I'm interested in how many of you know who you support and whether it's because you agree with their views or just their general image/message.

The link provided is a test that shows who you mostly likely align with as far as ideology; for how many of you does it match up? (I'm not sure how accurate it is...but it was the best I could find).

Now, why do some people defend a candidate just because they are of the same party? Has politics become so Democrat vs. Republican that many people cant see beyond the party and into what a cadidate stands for? How many people would vote for someone merely because they are in that party, without stopping to consider their view beyond that it "should fit because thats what the party always represents"?

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Fallacious Speakers

I recently got into a political debate amongst a group of people at school and I found that as we each defended our presidential candidate/political parties we started using more and more fallacies in our arguments, except you could tell how invalid we sounded which led to the end of our debate. What I am wondering is: What differentiates the fallacies used by professionals (ex: politician's speeches) and those used everyday (ex: my debate)? Is there a difference? Which one makes it easier to believe the fallacies as truth?

"Money is the root of all evil"

Sorry, it’ll be long. This is an excerpt from Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, though I’m editing the middle out because otherwise it’d be longer and I really wanted the beginning and end.

“So you think that money is the root of all evil? Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can’t exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?

If you ask me the proudest distinction of Americans, I would choose- because it contains all the others- the fact that they were the people who created the phrase ‘to make money.’ No other language or nation had ever used these words before; men had always thought of wealth as a static quantity- to be seized, begged, inherited, shared, looted or obtained as a favor. Americans were the first to understand that wealth has to be created. The words ‘to make money’ hold the essence of human morality.

Yet these were the words for which Americans were denounced by the rotted cultures of the looters’ continents. Now the looters’ credo has brought you to regard your proudest achievements as a hallmark of shame, your prosperity as guilt, your greatest men, the industrialists, as blackguards, and your magnificent factories as the product and property of muscular labor, the labor of whip-driven slaves, like the pyramids of Egypt. The rotter who simpers that he sees no difference between the power of the dollar and the power of the whip, ought to learn the difference on his own hide-as, I think, he will.

Until and unless you discover that money is the root of all good, you ask for your own destruction. When money ceases to be the tool by which men deal with one another, then men become the tools of men. Blood, whips and guns- or dollars. Take your choice- there is no other- and your time is running out.”

My question to you guys is; what do you think? Is money the root of all evil? Is it the root of all good? Or neither? And, of course, please justify.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


I just finished a new book, Empire, by Orson Scott Card. For those of you who are not familiar with him; Card is mainly science fiction author; his most famous works are the Ender's Game series. This new book is different from most of his others books as it is set in the United States in a near future (I think anytime from 2006 through 2020 would fit the setting). I won't add much more summary to this post, see or read the book if you're interested. I found the book an interesting portrayal of the results of partisanism, but this post is not about politics. What really struck me about the novel was Card's portrayal of the mass media.

In the novel the media is shown not as a reporter of the news but rather as a manipulator of the news. Characters in the novel are careful to choose their language so it will be "spun" the way they intend for the news. How does the Media manipulate what we think about world events? Does it matter to us what news outlet reports the news to you, Fox News or CNN? How can language an interviewee uses be turned to show whatever the interviewer wants, or fits with his/her ideology. Lastly, ethically/morally or on whatever scale you choose: should journalists try to avoid editorializing in their news pieces and attempt to remain objective, or should they present the events through the lens of their Ideology?

(I apologize for the long ramble but I found the book very thought provoking on this issue and others)

Thursday, January 24, 2008


So, I was trying to write my second english EA and thinking about finishing my biology lab at the same time, and I got side-tracked into thinking about how everyone's perception of the world differs. And I asked myself a question that I couldn't find an answer to, so I posted it in a note for some of my friends to answer, and Madi suggested I post it on here. Thus, the following is the question I've been pondering, and I'd like some answers to it:

If you could comprehend the world through someone else's perception (Just for a day or so), getting all of their recognized and unrecognized bias and history and everything, whose perception would you want to "see" the world through? And why?

Racism: When do we realize it?

So in IB History of the Americas class today, we watched a video that informed us about the rise and fall of "Jim Crow" laws, which are now recognized as greatly immoral and racist. In the video, there were many video clips of early 20th century movies such as The Birth of a Nation that depicted African-Americans are ignorant, stupid, and cowardly. However, those types of movies were recognized as racist and immoral in the 1960s, around the Civil Rights Movement.

So my question for you is, at what point in time, socially and politically, do we recognize racism in an aspect of our society that was once widely accepted as moral? Why did it take so long for the American public to realize that those types of movies were racist and immoral?

Pay it Forward

So, I read the book Pay it Forward and just completely lost it at the end. But then I had me thinking that, can something like his project actually work? Because it would seem like it would work for the first few couple of people, then it would just die down. Which would be a shame, because if it actually did work, then I think that the world would be a better place. So, what do you think? If someone in today's society were to start a project described in Pay it Forward

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Elections

Well now that primaries are in action a question as come up. Does the two political parties of rep. and dem. hinder the choice that the voter chooses, and if so is it an unknown bias? And what determines a voter to choose somehting that involves an issue, is it the commericals, is it the piont of view of their parents, or is it persuaded by their friends?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Suicide and the Macabre

I was listening to a song from the musical Spring Awakening, and I realized that the song precedes a suicide. I began to wonder why our society is so focused on depressing and painful issues. How does society use ideas such as suicide to justify knowledge about life, and how does being exposed to these issues change the way we perceive life and death?

The Golden Rule - Realistic?

Since I was a little kid, I've had the Golden Rule shoved down my throat. Not that I have anything against it, but does it actually work? If it's supposed to apply to everyone, then shouldn't we treat others how they treat us? After all, thats how they want to be treated, right? Isn't the old edict "an eye for an eye" more appropriate?

An Ethical Situation Close to Home

Recently in my travels around Poudre High School, a problematic ethical situation presented itself to me. I was on the way up the stairs from my second period Spanish class to my forth period chemistry class and I was running a little late because by the time I reached the top of the stairs the minute bell had already rang. In front of me was the usual chaotic jumble in the four way intersection at the top of the stairs by the business department. I also really did not want to be late to chemistry because I did not have a pass and I had already been late the previous day.
I therefore had to make the choice of either pushing my way through the mess without consideration of the other people I may be affecting and getting to class on time or politely wading my way through the sea of people as I usually do and in all likelihood arriving to class late.

What should I have done and with what ethical justification/s should I have done it?
Also what parallels do you see with this situation and larger picture world situations (for example world politics or war) and do the same ethical justifications for my situation take effect for the larger one?

Films, Fame and Suicide

I recently saw the movie "Control" at the Lyric. "Control" is a biopic of Ian Curtis, who was the lead singer and lyricist of the British band Joy Division. Ian only lived for 23 years, he committed suicide on May 18th, 1980. Check Wikipedia for a more complete biography or YouTube for some original Joy Division music videos (you've all heard their song "Love Will Tear Us Apart", you just don't know it). The film was very good, it was honored recently at the Cannes Film Festival and won several major acting awards in the United Kingdom. But it brought to mind an interesting phenomenon. When a musician, or any other well-known person, commits suicide, is it irresponsible or unethical for a filmmaker to make a movie about their life? Does it send the message that suicide will get you attention? Elliott Smith, an American singer-songwriter who stabbed himself in 2003, has had two post-humongous CDs of his work released (From a Basement on a Hill and New Moon), was honored with a tribute disc(To: Elliott From: Portland) and every purchase from his website goes toward The Elliott Smith Memorial Fund which supports charitable organizations that coincide with Elliott's beliefs. Then, of course, there's Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, who has been the subject of several biographies and who was the inspiration for filmmaker Gus Van Sant's Last Days. Sometimes everyday people who commit suicide are memorialized with funds and such, but I know for a fact that Poudre High School doesn't honor students who have taken their own lives specifically because the administration feels that it would send the message that suicide=attention and that it would encourage students already contemplating suicide. So does publicity about suicide, especially in regards to famous people, who the rest of us are presumably influenced by, encourage suicidal tendencies? Or does it shed light on an obviously pressing problem and encourage discussion and awareness? Do filmmakers or others proposing to commemorate victims of suicide have ethical obligations to their viewers?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


In class, we're currently trying our best to incorporate old slangs of the 20s to the 80s into our little skits.
So I was wondering--
During our little research of slangs, I realized that we still use a lot of phrases from 20, 80 years ago. For example, the word "crush" (as in I have a crush on someone) was around ever since the 1920s. We discussed this in class a little bit, but what is it about some slangs that are still relevant today? What are some new slangs of our generation, and which of those do you think will last and still be used by the upcoming generations? Please justify your answer.

Jeewon K.

Wordwiv. What's happening to our language?

So on Monday the 3rd hour class talked about some common English slang terms that came to mind and about the definition of the term slang. As a class we came up with several common themes, among them being that slang terms are society’s response to objects or ideas that need to be put in terms of language, a lingual commonality used within certain communities, and that it is a product of pop culture used to show common knowledge of current events.
All of these definitions have merit, but I was curious to see what people outside of our IB community had to say on the subject. In order to find out I went to one of the places where pop culture, one of the sources that we named as an influence in the development of slang, is compiled from all over the world: What I found is that there are many socially conscious people who are eager to lend a hand to those of us who are uneducated in the language of slang, but even though I picked up some handy new phrases, some of the information in those videos was a little sketch (probably put there by a robocracy), ya know what I’m sayin’ homeslick?
After that experience I went to, which describes itself as “a slang dictionary with your definitions” to find out their definition for the word. Like the information on the website is completely supplied by regular people, but after all I was looking for other people’s definition of “slang”, so it was exactly the type of source I was looking for. Of the two most common definitions (one not having anything to do with language) I found this applicable meaning:

“slang is the continual and ever-changing use and definition of words in informal conversation, often using references as a means of comparison or showing likeness. some modern slang has endured over the decades since its inception (i.e. cool) and some will only last a few years before being rendered obsolete or outdated (i.e. bling bling). slang can be born from any number of situations or ideas, and can be blunt or riddled with metaphor, and often quite profound.

the use of slang is frequently ridiculed by culturally-ignorant people who feel it is the product of insufficient education and believe it to be counter-evolutionary; of course, they couldn't be farther from the truth. human language has been in a state of constant reinvention for centuries, and slang has been used and created by poets and writers of all sorts (William Shakespeare has been credited for the upbringing of at least a couple of words). it is the right and responsibility of the modern human to keep re-evaluating language, to give dead words innovative contemporary meanings or to simply invent new ones, in order to be more appealing and representative to the speaker/listener (which was essentially the basis behind language anyway, to understandably communicate thoughts or ideas verbally).”

So my question to all of you is do you agree with this definition that we have a responsibility to revaluate/reinvent language? What purpose does the creation of a new word serve if it will only disappear in a few years, months, weeks?

So don’t be a dandruff, and answer my post!! m’kay.


If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:

Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;

And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.

And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

—Deuteronomy 21:18-21, KJV

But as we have seen, the repressive structure of the segregated classroom [Julia’s note: age segregation, not race segregation] itself guarantees that any natural interest in learning will finally serve the essentially disciplinary interests of the school…. If they [idealistic young teachers] had forgotten what a jail school was for them, it all comes back now. And they are soon forced to see that though there are liberal jails and not-so-liberal jails, by definition they are jails….

Children, then, are not freer than adults. They are burdened by a wish fantasy in direct proportion to the restraints of their narrow lives; with an unpleasant sense of their own physical inadequacy and ridiculousness; with constant shame about their dependence, economic and otherwise (”Mother, may I?”); and humiliation concerning their natural ignorance of practical affairs. Children are repressed at every waking minute. Childhood is hell.

—Shulamith Firestone, The Dialectic of Sex

Public education, in its present form, is oppressive of children. This is to be expected; when the entire society is oppressive of children, why should the educational system be any different? Public schools are grounded in ageist assumptions about the nature of children and the proper relationship between adults and children in society. Among these assumptions:

1. Adults deserve respect by virtue of their age alone.

People deserve respect because of their knowledge and wisdom and ability. These attributes may be correlated with age, but that correlation is at least in part a result of the deliberate, institutionalized benighting of minors. Despite this oppression, there are children who manage to exceed adults in knowledge, wisdom, and ability in certain subjects; in public schools, these children must feign respect for their teachers or be considered delinquent. Teachers feel entitled to this respect and feel entitled to enforce it; hell, the whole society affirms their automatic superiority over children, so the origin of their entitlement is no mystery.

2. Children need education for X number of years (X a positive integer whose exact value varies from state to state) before they can be allowed into society.

I have never liked mandatory education laws. Who is the state to dictate how long children must remain economically dependent and helpless? Who is the state to dictate the pace of each child’s learning? Firestone argues—correctly, I think—that the “myth of childhood” oppresses children under the guise of offering protection; the economic dependence caused by mandatory education laws goes far beyond the scope of children’s biological dependence.

3. Children should be segregated from people who are not their age.

Two implications are present here: first, that there is a gulf between children and adults because the natures of the two classes are so fundamentally different; second, that age indicates ability. From the first, we can explain the existence of an educational institution that isolates children from egalitarian relations with adults. From the second, we can explain why administrators are so reluctant to destroy the Herculean obstacle course that faces students who try to skip multiple grades. Implicit in the organization of public schools is an essentialism—age essentialism, we can call it—that holds children of different ages to be intrinsically different from one another and children of the same age to be uniform in their social and intellectual development. The opposition to gifted education, therefore, can be interpreted not only in terms of our society’s anti-intellectualism, which is undeniable, but also in terms of our society’s commitment to the oppression of children.

4. Children need to be disciplined when they defy authority; schools should put children in their place.

Wherever an oppressor/oppressed dynamic exists, there is the threat of rebellion. The public school system reduces this threat through a combination of indoctrination and fear. The obsession with order, control, and uniformity, so prevalent in public schools, is at odds with a worldview that treats children as human, for no human could be so restricted in eating, drinking, peeing, asking questions, talking, sitting down, standing up, or moving.

The natural solution is homeschooling, but this poses a problem for feminists. In the present patriarchy, it is reasonable to assume that the burden of homeschooling will fall on females. It is also reasonable to assume that homeschooling will reinforce the nuclear family and propagate ignorance. In these respects, it appears that insofar as widespread homeschooling would alleviate the oppression of children, it would also exacerbate patriarchal ideals about women’s domesticity. Is public schooling the least of many evils in an unenlightened society?

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Except For In This Case

Well, I'm hosting the blog this week, so here's my question for all of you.

Whenever one makes an argument, people will try to poke holes in it by asking "Well, what if happened, would you still believe that?". Many times, this leads to making exceptions to our arguments. Here's my question: Does making an exception to an argument weaken the argument? Or can it strengthen it?

Hope everyone had a restful and fun break.

Rick Andrews

Monday, January 07, 2008

Culture and Slang

During class today we had many references to slang that was from another culture.  There was talk about being included or excluded due to different slang.  Some may argue that this is not in fact slang at all.  The question that I have to pose is:

What is the difference between slang and dialect?  Where is the line drawn?  What does either of these two words mean to you personally?    

-Graham P

An Ethical Dilemma

A few weeks before break, my biology class was shown a documentary starring Francis Crick (of Watson and Crick, the duo that proposed the most plausible DNA structure so far), featuring his views on the use of genetic screening, genetic engineering, and so forth. One of Crick's responses, which sums up his stance, was "If we don't play God, who will?" Although I see some knowledge issues in this statement with regard to religion, I couldn't stop thinking about the sentiment. I myself am a subscriber to the natural selection theory, but I wonder, how much are humans a product of their environment anymore? Of course we haven't managed to escape the loop thus far, but scientific advances, specifically in genetics, has made it and issue of increasing importance. Is it ethical to intervene with the delicate design that is DNA when we have no way of knowing the long term repercussions of such actions? At the same time, are the short term benefits of genetic powerhouse crops, and even genetically strong people, more important than potential issues that may or may not occur in the future? Or are we so far into designing our environment to suit us that the time for making decisions is past? Part of what makes this debate a difficult one is the emotionally loaded language that is used to fight it, since quality of life is at stake either way. Nevertheless, I am interested in what you all think, as this is a dilemma that has stumped me for quite a while. 

"You dig it?"

How does slang hinder and help out communication? What about on an international/regional/generational level? What does slang bring to a language? Is it more of a hinderance or a help?

Sunday, January 06, 2008


I got this idea, if we only had a sign language and no other form of commmunication how would it affect how we obtain knowledge? Would it hinder the meaning behind it such as you couldn't give any verbal importance to the converstation, or how you would always have to give eye contain to the speaker to understand what they are saying. Would it also depend on what type of learner you are? Like for expample I'm a visual learner so therefore I learn not for speech. Would audio learns be affected if our society was based off of that type of language. I got my idea from The Clan of Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel.