Thursday, August 28, 2008

"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.

88 comments:

Matt Beall said...

For me, a "knowledge" that I have never accepted is the 'evidence' of evolution. This has been very difficult for me because if evolution were true, than it sets a whole different light on the Bible, and the creation. I have discussed this 'evidence' with a lot of scientists, some of them athiests, some Christians, and they all have a different opinion and a different idea of what evolution is. Through the points and the "holes" in their explanations, I have come up with what I believe. There is no way that anyone could convince me that evolution is how things occured. Really, I have decided that if I am wrong, God will tell me when I get to heaven, and it really doesn't matter that much anyways in how I live my life.

You may say that I am "turning away from the light" and maybe I am, but I have another idea for you; what if humans can't see the light, maybe not until our afterlife will we be able to realize we are just watching shadows.

Noah P said...
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Noah P said...

When it comes to school, I tend to accept pretty much everything that my teachers tell me. Sometimes I have a little bit of difficulty understanding differences that exist between what I learned in elementry school and junior high compared to what I learn in high school. This is due to the fact that we dive much deeper into the topics in high school, and our teachers tend to not give us the herofied version of events, but rather an alternate perspective.

Ryan Beethe said...

I hate complex numbers. They just don't make sense to me. Sure I can manipulate them mathematically, but I have never figured out how they exist. An imaginary number? Isn't that completely backwards? All the rest of math is strictly quantitative, but i is "imaginary".

The worst part though is that I can't ever remember anything regarding complex numbers. I firmly believe this is because I've never understood them and I doubt I ever will.

annelise gilsdorf said...

Similarly to the above poster I have never been able to accept the theory of evolution that most classrooms teach as fact. I know that for me this stems largely from my faith. I am a firm believer that God created the world we live in. My faith, the authorities I subscribe to, my intuition and logic all tell me that the extraordinarily complex universe we live in could not have come about through evolution. I have researched the subject enough to firmly believe that evolution can be disproved through logic and scientifc evidence. I'm fully aware that I don't know all the details of evolution and that to consider myself fully educated I will need to learn much, much more. I want to understand where people are coming from with their belief in this theory but I know that, for me, evolution is something that I can never believe in fully. And therefore, evolution is a piece of "knowledge" that I will never know. Perhaps there are portions of the evolutionary theory that are valid and I have no objection to learning and accepting these. However,I think that evolution is a subject that many of us believe in blindly, not willing to face the evidence that may show the discrepancies of this theory.

Liz I. said...

the overall theory of knowledge, how we know what we know, and why is all very confusing to me. the fact that i thought i knew a lot, only now to find out that i don't is very humbling, confusing, and life changing...but mostly confusing. knowledge in other classes is easier to accept because, for the most part, i trust my teachers and i believe that they are telling me the truth. why would they lie? TOK is the most difficult class for me personally to accept due to some part of human nature. just like in question 2 it is human nature to want to accept what they know or have known their entire lives instead of changing their beliefs for what is reality. it is hard to walk into a class and be told in reality you know very little and given the justification for why you know very little, and what knowledge actually is. on the same note, it is harder for me to accept this class but i still trust mrs. king completely and believe that everything she is telling us is true.

Pfiester said...
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Tess Santangelo said...

it is hard for me to just believe what every teacher tells me because everybody has bias which means it might not be totaly true. ... Also the subjunctive tense in spanish because it dosent exist in englsigh:)

Amelia A. said...

I had no idea that Ted Kennedy had killed a woman until this year. He has always been a household name in my family; someone to revere and look up to. Finding out that he had been responsible for a drunk driving accident which killed his passenger completely blew my mind. And the fact that no chargers were pressed and Ted Kennedy got of scott-free was even worse. If he had at least owned up to it and done his time, forgiveness would be so much easier. However, I now have lost a lot of respect for him. I still appreciate what he did in legislature, but as with many of the Kennedys, I can't condone his personal life.

Amelia A. said...
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Dylan Sublette said...

One example of knowlege that I strugled to accept was the fact that there were numbers that had no end. Like when you do the square root 2 you get a number that continues on and on and on, with no end, that we know of. This was very hard for me to accept because I thought that every number had to have an end somewhere. For me the fact that I believe that math is a concret subject made it hard for me to accept such a fact. I had always thought that math was a subject with exactly divined answers that you could find by using equations.

LN* said...

I don't have very much trouble accepting knowledge so much as curriculum, why something is being taught to me. For example, I fail to comprehend why I am learning about marriage laws in French class...how will this help me in real life?! On a more serious note...in art I always had trouble with accepting the idea that I should explain my art. I think art should speak for itself. For me, art is an outlet not a class, it should be something personal that speaks for you, not forces you to speak.

Kathryn said...

What has been very hard for me to grasp in the past couple weeks has been the question of how do we know what we know? While it is interesting to hear the difference between knowledge and belief, it seems like it is being stretched farther than it should be. Why can't we just know what we know and believe what we believe without wondering why, or what the difference is? I don't think that we need all these different kinds of justifications to show others that we know something. However I am willing to try and grasp this subject, it is just hard for me to understand.

tpau said...
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Lauren P said...

In response to the evolution knowledges earlier, I believe it is diferent to renounce all evolution, compared to small examples of evolution. For instance, I have no problem that people do not believe in the evolution of humans from apes. But to renounce all evolution, though, does not make sense. For instance, HIV has evolved since it was discovered; with proof (evidence) behind it. There was a cure for HIV, but since then it has started effecting other people, and being transmitable again: it is obvious that it "evolved" to survive, though in a smaller way than the theory of human evolution.

As for my own knowledge that I have struggled accepting, I cannot wrap my head around certain arts. They say beuty is in the eyes of the beholder, but I still don't understand how a white board with red and blue splatter paint is art. Is it really a movement, a creative peice of art? In my opinion, a three year old could have done a similar "masterpeice."

Cynthia Santos said...

The one "knowledge" I've had trouble accepting is if you don't believe something then you don't know it. I mean I understand the concept but it's so hard for me to grasp it. So does not accepting something mean that I don't believe it which means that I don't know it? I mean it's so hard just to imagine that when I say, "I don't believe that" it means that I don't know it. I don't know...

Nathan Beta said...

an example of knowledge i have struggled accepting is the concept of incorrect gramar. who decided all of these rules? they are only made by consensus, and are subject to the change of time. there should be no correct sentense structure, use of punctuation, essay format, etc. it is all just a restriction of communication. and what does it really matter? i am a free spirit, and i do not like restrictions.

CJ said...

Like others on here, I have a hard time accepting evolution as fact. One bias I cannot igore is my christian faith which obviously predisposes me to skepticism of the theory as I believe the universe was created by God. But, the real reason I have a hard time accepting it is the sheer amount of chance that evolution requires to remain valid. Also, consider structures like the eye, it is SO complex that simple evolutuion could not develop such an organ. Obviously I don't know everything about evolution but I think I have enough to make an informed decision.

Ilya said...

I've never quite understood all of the analysis we do in English - the methods and results make sense, but I always wonder whether writers actually did what our analysis claims they did for a reason. Popular example: Shakespeare, thought by many to be the best playwright, more or less ever. But did he really insert all of his literary elements intentionally? Or were they just coincidences, and potentially just us over-analysing and finding things that aren't really there? If Shakespeare were to see what we were doing, what would he say? Would he approve?

Never made sense... oh, class is over - might explain better later.

Taylor Dolak said...

i pretty much accept most of what people tell me as long as it alligns with the knowledge i already have. the subjunctive in spanish is harder cuz there's nothing like it in english so i don't have a basis of knowledge for it.

Jake said...

I have none. I have taken sciences, music, math, english, history, writing, and many others, and I can say that all of the knowledge I have gained has not been hard to accept. Though I take into the matter that I haven't been able question any of my teachers until IB in 8th grade, but even then the teachers seemed to have a solid defense and explanation for their knowledge. Being an IB student I would love to prove some of my teachers wrong in their teachings, but i am yet to do so.

Jessi said...

i agree with taylor, i don't have a hard time believing things that people justify, especially things i am taught in school, and most of it makes sense, if it doesn't i ask a question and then it does. certain things i make an opinion on, for example in history, we've been talking about the election, and i have my own opinions, but i believe what people tell me if they back it up, i just tend to take it with a grain of salt.

Jessi said...

i agree with taylor, i don't have a hard time believing things that people justify, especially things i am taught in school, and most of it makes sense, if it doesn't i ask a question and then it does. certain things i make an opinion on, for example in history, we've been talking about the election, and i have my own opinions, but i believe what people tell me if they back it up, i just tend to take it with a grain of salt.

Abby said...

I find that I don't really have problems accepting the knowledge that I recieve in school. I haven't had reason to doubt the subject matter I learn such as math and science. Even though I haven't been able to see first hand that the theories and ideas in these subjects are true, I still accept it.

I. Kennedy said...

I have always had trouble accepting the "fact" that we need to analyze and write about art we produce. I don't see why you should have to document everything you try, whether you like it or not, how it relates to society, and what you had for dinner last night for an art class. I have issues with this because I believe that art is to be enjoyed aesthetically, and the message is to be carried through the artistic form, not any writing about it. Rarely do you see artists share the details of went on behind the scenes of their work. Salividor Dali did not publish an explanation of his work; nor did Picasso. I think that art is interpreted differently by everyone that sees it. I think that sharing what you meant it to be, or how it came about robs the discovery and intrigue of a piece. It's like reading the spark notes analysis of a novel instead of making your own.

Sophia said...

I've definitely struggled in accepting things in English and Science (especially bio :/) In English I don't want to accept the analyzing of all this crap because I feel like "I'm never gonna use this in the real world" but I really know that it does give me other skills that I can use for real life application. In Bio...I just have never been good at science. I used to try, but then everyone always said I was doing it wrong, so now I hate it. A person can only try so hard for so long before they finally have to just give up and leave. I'm a very stubborn person, so this has definitely influenced me in these struggles. Also what I just said about only trying so hard and then giving up...I am stubborn once I make the decision to give up.

Micha said...

There are a lot of things I do not necessarily understand, but most of the times I do not qustion them and merely try to remember everything I need to know in order to succeed at school.
One piece of information that has always confronted my other beliefs, though, is the idea that Malcolm X is a black history hero. I do not understand how a man who wrote a book with some racist comments, and crude sexual references could be such a heroic figure to the black community.
I think one of the reasons for my aversion is the fact that my interest in history has led me to study people who have changed the world without crude commentary or racist injustice. I understand that everyone has their own point of view, and that times were hard when he wrote all this, but I struggle to justify the means through which he sought change.

firefeather said...

I agree first with Ilya--there is absolutely no way that all those poets and authors could have possibly stuck all those literary and sound devices in their work. Being somewhat of a poet myself, i know personally that i don't think about all that--i just put in what sounds good, and what expresses best what i want to say. Possibly these "methods" are the lit and sound devices, but either way, they aren't intentional. And on that note, would all these poets want us finding all this in their work? i certainly know that i get really embarrassed when people analyze my work and see things i didn't even know were there.

On the topic of evolution, i don't believe that we could have just evolved in this one specific way out of a million other ways to be what we are, but i also don't believe we just appeared. If there is a God, would he let us do this to ourselves? i know i wouldn't want that. Possibly, i am in the middle ground. Maybe there's some One who created the ideal situation, and then let us go our own way. I can't make peace with either the religious "creationalism" or scientific "evolutionalism", but this isn't just a blending of the two. I think its an entirely different circumsance, although unproveable.

In response to another, i can't see how you can not talk about your art. Its so much a part of you, that unless it is extremely personal, it seems like it is an easy thing for me to express to someone else.

Sorry about the length, guys.

Durrie said...

I have a really hard time accepting the "knowledge" in math- I have to work really hard, go over my answers multiple times, and study more than most people to understand a lot of theories and methods of solving complex, abstract problems. Maybe I'm too hurried and i'm not careful enough, and I make mistakes. Or maybe I just can't grasp certain concepts. Or the obvious answer, maybe i'm just a klutz. But I think it's interesting how almost everyone has something at school that's difficult for them. And it's always something different. Does knowledge depend on your personality?

orange said...

In chemistry last year I had a hard time accpeting the knowledge of the "shape" of the electron clouds and how the electrons were configured about an atom. The whole concept of atoms was hard for me to accept just because of the simple fact that something that small exists. We cant see it and the simulations are cartoons. That was hard to accept but further investigation showed that the atom really does exist even though I didnt want it too.

orange said...
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andihayes said...

I cannot think of a time when I have really struggled with accepting "knowledge," although I am almost certain that they existed. I think that is because for me, either I simply accept the concept after a little bit of struggling with it, or I simple ignore it and move on. This is because I really do not like not understanding thinks, and I do not like arguing. My dislike for not understanding things is that it makes me feel inferior when the rest of the class seems to get something and I do not. This is exaggerated in myself because as a child I struggled to learn language. I required an extra tutor of some years in my childhood. I am mildly dyslexic and it make learning to read, and especially reading outloud, a dreading task for me. I was that kid that said "is land" when trying to read island. I also do not like to argue. I get very frustrated when I do not understand something and can get very hostile towards the person trying to help me understand, which in turn frustrates them. I do not do this as badly as I used to - but I used to be a major pain to help.

Antonia said...

I cannot grasp the idea of imaginary numbers. I know what they are (by definition). I know what they do. I know what to do with them if they show up somewhere. I know how to get rid of them.

I do not understand them.

I dont know if I just can't grasp the idea of imaginary numbers. Up until high school, you were taught that numbers exist from negative infinity to infinity and numbers were always given an actual numbers. Then suddenly imaginary numbers show up which don't really fit into the guidelines I'd been taught before. Somehow, I just can't understand what they stand for.

Micha said...

I agree with Jsutina on the point that I am in between on the whole God issue. Though I do not believe in Creationism very much, and think that if there was a God then he probably set evolution into motion and left it at that, I still question whether or not there is a higher being that, as i said before, "put things into motion". the world sometimes seems to fantastic and extraordinary to simply have been created completely by chance. Everything is so complex that it seems unlikely that it all happened through a mere coincidence.

Any input on that? What does everyone else think?

Caleb said...

Okay. Malcom X. I'm not sure that anything that can excuse racial prejudice, but on the other hand if you're a minority, like Malcom X for example, you'd have been discriminated against for all your life, I think its only natural for that cause cynicism at the vey least.

Micha said...

Caleb-

As I said, i completely understand that being a racial minority that is being oppressed would lead you to have some controversial ideas on race and justice. But to express it so crudely, and without giving the oppressing race the chance to redeem themselves. Does that not seem a little unfair and out of place, to some extent?

Minny said...

I think English was the one class i kind of struggled to understand...especially the analyzation part of literature. For example, Shakespeare's Hamlet; how do we know that he wrote the play with all those motifs and nature imagery in mind? how do we know that there's a deeper meaning to the play? I think a part of this dislike came from the thought that i wasn't going to use this in the real world and that it was boring... As time passed, english class has been better though; i can see how the use of all the imagery and etc. can help one undderstand the deeper messages and meaning of the literature; i can kind of see why they may have covered up the deeper message--maybe they were writing about something that was forbidden at that time, and thus it was necessary for that author to use literary elements to convey their meanings.

Micha said...

Another concept I find hard to grasp is infinity. SOmething that never ends??? I just cant wrap my brain around that.

Mia said...

I have struggled to accept the concept that Shakespeare wrote his plays with all the metaphors and imagery. Like Ilya and Justina I just can't accept that Shakespeare had all the little nuances that we find in his plays in mind. Let's face it guys, the primary (or almost primary) reason that he wrote his plays was for MONEY.

I think this way because we have to concentrate and pick apart the plays to find these meanings. Sometimes I think that we are reading too much into things. I love English and the things we discover are really interesting, but I sometimes just feel like I'm making it up.

Caleb said...

Alrighty then. His views are uncompromising and agh the bell is ringing. will finish later

Ilya said...

Justina, Micha:

I agree, namely with Justina's original comment - it doesn't feel much like either commonly-accepted option.... but then what is it? Something completely unthought of, as of now? The world does feel too complex to be little more than a coincidence, but at the same time, there's some convincing evidence supporting the theory of evolution, or at least parts of it.... perhaps it's a relatively self-supported system with the occasional prod from someone/something higher? And just to add another question to the fray: regardless of the presence/lack of a higher power, how would the world have come about in the first place (or, with a higher being, where would they have come from)?

Also, Micha, in regards to the extreme complexity of the Universe: as much as it may seem that coincidences couldn't have shaped the world to that extent, in some cases it's hard to believe that a single being could have come up with everything.... and some things are just so random that they simply can't be anything but bizarre coincidences - an example I saw was a high-gain antenna NASA designed with the help of random mutation generating software:

Antenna image [JPG, 24KB]
Full NASA report

… it looks more more like a piece of art than a feasibly antenna, like a small tree made out of paperclips - now who'd guess that that's the most optimal antenna possible?

In general, I figure there's more to the world as we know it than just blind luck (though that helps too), but it's still largely up to chance. Any thoughts?

Selina Lujan said...

In school I have always had difficulties with writing. I never really understood why we had to write in a specific way, in order to effectively get our message across. Honestly I think it would make more sense if we just presented our thoughts. This way it doesn’t have to necessarily be in a specific format, and it would be less stressful. Being organized doesn’t mean you will be successful in life. I believe if a person is capable of making sense about what they are talking about; then there is no need to write an essay. I believe this because, writing is time consuming and stressful. I also have a really hard time understanding what people want out of an essay. Therefore, it makes it very difficult for me to write without experiencing writers block. Most times I am not very motivated to write essays, but if I were to give a speech about my ideas I would be a lot more motivated and enthusiastic. I believe writing should be used for personal communication and not for critiquing. Overall, academically I don’t think writing is my strong point, and it’s something that has been taught to me, but I still don’t fully get it. Especially since different teachers expect different things, I just don’t get the importance of writing and I obviously have a hard time accepting it.

Meredith Wheeler said...

Even though I really love mathematics. I have a hard time grasping concepts without real-life examples. Others have proffered the example of imaginary numbers, which I have somewhat reconciled, but a cursory "electrical engineers use this" is not sufficient for me. Why? Where? What aspect of my life has this impacted? I feel that especially when it comes to advanced concepts, there has to be a commitment to establishing a rational basis for what is being taught. Another example is truth tables. I cannot think of a more intellectually wasteful exercise, and I do not know a single lawyer who uses them in briefings, as was explained to us. Perhaps in an attempt to appeal to people whose forte may not be math, IB included this in the curriculum, but if there's one thing that TOK teaches you, it's that knowledge is far more complex that x and y. So when it comes to knowledge, I don't really have a hard time grasping the "what?", but I do struggle to answer the "why?" I think I will always search for extensions, because I am frustrated when I cannot delve into a subject in detail.

Kaelee said...

The hardest classes i have with accepting knowledge is english and history because it seems like so much of it is based on opinions and "what ifs" unlike math were everything is either right or wrong there is no maybe. For example in history we talk about why countries start wars, yes there is some proof but there is also a lot we don't know. Like the social status between the two groups and how they talked to eachother.
This could have a lot to do with what i prefer though. I am the type of person that needs a striaght up answers.You know those people who don't really like you and they tell you no in a round about sweet way. Yeah? I don't like that i would much rather just hear NO!

Erin said...

I too had difficulty accepting evolution, but not because of a conflicting faith. I was struggling with the scale. My personal knowledge encompasses all of 17 years, during which relatively little change is apparent, at least in comparison to the formation of entire species, let along living organisms beginning with prokaryotes. However, it became a far easier theory to accept once I learned to look for evidence of it on a scale that matched my personal experience.

It really clicked when we studied the plight of the peppered moths during the Industrial Revolution. I have seen a moth on a tree, and I know that the ones that match the bark in color are the most difficult to spot. It stands to reason that they would be harder for predators to kill, and therefore would be more likely to pass on their genes. Therefore I accept natural selection, the mechanism of evolution. Furthermore, our textbook verified, with statistical and photographical evidence, that during the Industrial Revolution the trees that the peppered moths lived on turned a darker color. Over time, darker moths increased in number and lighter ones decreased. I accept this correlation as evidence that the darker moths were better suited to survive the selective pressures (tree color), and therefore as evidence of evolution. On this scale I can see how evolution works and believe in it.

I am then able to apply this conclusion to the information, verified by my teacher and textbook and various articles, that the earth is billions of years old. I can now imagine how, over and incredibly long time, every existing biotic organism (and those that no longer exist) is the product of random change. The length of time is the vital piece, and, due to my limited experience with time, the hardest for be to believe. However, I can believe in it by using such small scale examples to create a context of personal knowledge that supplements the potentially less believable described knowledge.

A-Dog said...

Even though I pretty much accept everything I'm taught in school (because I know that my teachers are credible sources), I suppose I'm still not 100% convinced that global warming is one of the worst things happening to our world. I think that my belief that everything happens for a reason makes me skeptical. This could be just a phase as some scientists say, or maybe the world is meant to end fairly soon. (?)

Tae said...

Although the atomic theory does make sense on a very aberrant and arcane level, it is hard for me to sit and look at my hand and think "this is made of protons and neutrons and electrons and there is a lot of empty space in it, since the atom itself is mostly comprised of empty space." It is somewhat difficult for me to conceptualize that atoms are responsible for these thoughts...
Nonetheless, if atomic theory is false, I would be quite disappointed. I would have spent a great deal of time learning about something that is imaginary.

Laura Jo Washle said...

Agreeing with other peoples comments, I have found it very difficult for me to accept the theory of evolution as knowledge. Coming from a Catholic elementary and jr. high school, I have always been taught that God is our creator. Similar to the "Allegory of the Cave", I was always exposed to this single belief because of the environment I grew up in and the beliefs of the people that surrounded me. Until I came to Poudre, I had never met anyone that even believed in this theory of evolution.
Although I do believe that there are things in the world that have evolved since the beginning of time, I can't accept the theory that we as humans have come form anything but a higher being. I simply have not been given enough proper justification to overrule what I have been taught to believe all my life.

Arora said...

I can't think of anything off the top of my head that I couldn't accept, but I know that there have been some. Most of the time, these feelings result from not knowing enough about it and just getting the impressive sounding summary that completely lacks logical explanations. I guess I need something to be logical for me to understand it- which is one of the reasons that I don't believe in a religion- there's just no logical explanation. I guess no explanation that seems logical to me... since I can see that other arguments seem illogical to others.

Megan said...

Chemistry has never ever made sense to me. I was constantly questioning what the teacher said because it seemed impossible that anyone could possible know that. If something is that small and all these processes happen so fast, how do we know that all of these things are happening? Its just strange to me that everything is made up of small little things all bonded together. Im perfectly happy not knowing things like that. I appreciate chemistry and the work of chemists but it is never something that is very important in my daily life.

Erin said...

I have a question. Several people have mentioned that they have difficulty accepting the theory of evolution because their religious faith teaches that god is the creator of life on earth. Is this a reference to Intelligent Design? Does this belief come solely from belief in the literal word of the Bible? Does it disregard entirely the scientific evidence that supports the theory of evolution and common descent (vestigial and homologous structures, the fossil record, observed natural selection, continental drift, etc)? Is there anyone who believes that god could be the force behind evolution, the impetus of the random change, and of time, and therefore the creator of the incredibly diverse life on earth?

Lindsey Goris said...

There's not much in school that I have ever had trouble accepting apart from the theory of evolution. It's hard for me to beleive that something as complicated as humans could ever just come about randomly through genetic mutations. (not to mention all of the other extremely complex and diverse organisms that exist and have existed) Going along with that, the other big issue I have is that it contradicts my faith. In response to what Erin said, yes the beleif for me does come from the Bible. That might not be enough to convince some people but it is enough for me, and i beleive what is said in the Bible completely. I do accpet that parts of evolution could be true on a small scale such as peppered moths and Darwin's finches, but beyond small case studies like this i can't accept that humans evolved from apes (or a common ancestor) or the theory of evolution as a whole.

Hannah said...

The biggest "knowledge" I had trouble accepting was the idea that sometimes there is no right or wrong answer. When I first came to Poudre and my teachers said that it blew my mind. I like boundaries and I liked knowing that I was either right or wrong. The idea that two people could say two completely different things and both be right made me feel out of control. Over the last few years in IB, though, I've learned to accept and appreciate that two properly justified different ideas can both be right. I have learned to appreciate that knowledge isn't just black and white.

Also, in response to other bloggers, I agree with Megan, Justina and Ilya.

And for Erin: I think that the idea that God could be the force behind evolution makes a lot of sense. I never really thought of it before, but I like it.

annelise gilsdorf said...

Erin:
To answer your question, yes, I do believe that God intentionally and thoughtfully created everything on this earth. For me this is because I take the Bible to be absolute truth. I don't believe that God is passive in that he would set evolution in motion and watch the results. To quote a passage
"For You [God] formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made."
So, yes, I do believe in the biblical account of creation (if in question as to what this actually entails Genesis 1-2 offers a description). I realize that to the human mind it may be unfathomable, honestly I don't think I comprehend it but my faith tells me it is true. And after all, doesn't the word supernatural (which God is) imply that it is "above nature" and something that we as humans don't have the capacity to grasp?
As to the scientific evidence, I really think that in terms of macroevolution the evidence is much more even for both sides than is usually projected by the scienfitic community. I.D tends to be a theory that, in my opinion, is bypassed merely because evolution is the more comfortable idea. However, if our duty is to seek after knowledge with the type of "moral self-discipline" we discussed in class then I think that both theories need to be given equal credit. Just because something is challenging to your belief doesn't mean you can ignore it.
Sorry this got so long but perhaps it will answer the question you were asking. I'd love to hear any other opinions.

Karam said...

I've noticed that most people have been discussing the theory of evolution, and I have a very similar standpoint as to the one Annelise holds. Because I follow the religion of Islam, I do invariably believe that "God intentionally and thoughtfully created everything on this earth" as quoted by Annelise. However, with the concept of evolution and creatures other than Humans, I believe that evolution is true, and so does my religion. Animals have been evolving for millions of years, there's no doubt about that, but the concept of Human evolution is something I do not believe in because I believe humans control their environments, and not the other way around. Also, because I am a Muslim, I not only believe in the Koran, but also the Bible and the Torah. So the evidence contained in these three religious texts make up the foundation of my beliefs and make it hard to believe that evolution (of Humans) truly exists.

What do you think?

Pfiester said...

I have to agree with Ilya, Justina, Minny, and Mia. I have struggled to accept a lot of the analysis taught in English class. While I have nothing but deep respect for writers and their craft and I admire all the works we've studied in school, I choke on the idea that Annie Dillard began the third paragraph of chapter five of An American Childhood, with the word "As" because of a deep complex metaphor she was trying to express. I realize that a lot of the imagery and meanings are probably intential, but when one focuses literary analysis on each word I feel like I'm grasping at imaginary straws and making up random, unnecessary things. I find it difficult because if each and every word of every novel and play we've read was picked for an exact purpose to support a theme or sound or lit device, each text would have taken the author/poet a lifetime to create.

leahreynolds said...

I also agree with the people who can't accept analysis in literature. For the past few years in English we have had to explain small details from novel or short story that are quite possibly not what the author had intended. I can't even express how frustrating it was for me to place a literary device on a twenty page description of a blade of grass that the author might have put in just to take up a few more pages. I mean sure, some authors may intend for certain metaphors or allegories to be present but not everything has to have an underlying meaning. That blade of grass was not described in detail to show the characters indifference to society or their loneliness, but more likely was there because the author felt like writing about it. I think it really depends on the author and the situation though. Overall I still acknowledge how powerful and unique every novel is and that when it is intentional, a deeper meaning to the story is expressed.

Erin said...

I beg to differ. In terms of literary analysis, I see the author's intent as often irrelevant. Whether or not the crafted every sentence with acute attention to detail, it is undeniably there. Whether intentional or not, there are patterns, parallels, and reoccurring themes that found their way into the text and sound right exactly where they are. Our job is to determine what makes this so. Though you or I may not put such though into our own writing, the evidence is in the black and white text. Therefore I believe "in" lit. analysis.

Put another way, until several days ago I didn't know what a diphthong was. However, it was still an essential part of the phonetics of the English language, and one I used both properly and wholly unintentionally.

Nathan B. said...

Art always was a struggle to me because to me, knowledge about art is never definate, but rather unique depending on the person. Many critics believe that surrealism is for artists who can't create the image as it should be but I find surrealism to be the most fascinating art of all. Most of the time I studdied art by studdying artists, which was hard for me because I would rather be creating art then learning about it. Maybe my open view of art is different than others but I always thought that with art, one should pick up their brush and feel free to create not what others would deam art but to create what they believed was art

Vincent Levinger said...

Probably the knowledge that I have the hardest accepting is that any math past Integrated 1 is something that I will use in real life. I mean come on, when am I EVER going to use imaginary numbers?

Nick Jordan said...

I generally accept all knowledge that is given to me in school. First I respect teacher's authority, and I believe them because of that. Then I've found that I could question what they tell me, but I almost always find that they are right. That's not to say I don't think about what they say, and decide whether or not it's true, but I can't think of anything teachers have told me that I didn't accept in the end. In psychology there are three main perspectives--biological, learning, and cognitive. If you look at psychology through only one of them, then it has giant holes in the explanations, and *then* I would have trouble accepting it as knowledge.

Audrey said...

Generally, I've had a pretty easy time accepting what my teachers tell me. I'm very much used to having an authority, and since I've had, for the most part, decent teachers, I am in the habit of accepting what they tell me as truth unless I'm interested enough in it to delve deeper, and find something different. There was that time I got in a fight with my 5th-grade teacher about multiplying fractions...but he turned out to be right.

Lynda L. said...

I agree with Annelise and Karam. The theory of evolution is just that, a theory, which means that it's not entirely true or false. I believe in evolution in terms animals and plants changing/mutating over a period of time (like flies and mosquitoes). I think it's good to consider both sides and decide for yourself whether evolution really did happen or if God created the earth. I have often heard that if a person goes into nature and sees all the trees, mountains, and animals, they feel that there must be some sort of designer or creator.

Lynda L. said...

I agree with Annelise and Karam. The theory of evolution is just that, a theory, which means that it's not entirely true or false. I believe in evolution in terms animals and plants changing/mutating over a period of time (like flies and mosquitoes). I think it's good to consider both sides and decide for yourself whether evolution really did happen or if God created the earth. I have often heard that if a person goes into nature and sees all the trees, mountains, and animals, they feel that there must be some sort of designer or creator.

Lynda L. said...

I agree with Annelise and Karam. The theory of evolution is just that, a theory, which means that it's not entirely true or false. I believe in evolution in terms animals and plants changing/mutating over a period of time (like flies and mosquitoes). I think it's good to consider both sides and decide for yourself whether evolution really did happen or if God created the earth. I have often heard that if a person goes into nature and sees all the trees, mountains, and animals, they feel that there must be some sort of designer or creator.

Ben Baroch said...

I have issues accepting art. I believe that it is a waste of time to learn how to paint or draw. In elementary school, art was just a time to put a bunch of hyperactive little kids in a room with coloring utensils and pray that they don't eat the crayons. This kind of art is not even a display of culture. All it really is is showing that little kids understand the fact that people have four limbs and can draw some lines in the basic sketch of a human.
It is true that everyone must start somewhere, but making art a mandatory class for those who are not very creative (like myself) is really just a waste of time and school funding. Also, i have issues with people drawing random shapes and figures on a piece of paper, adding vibrant colors, and calling it 'modern abstract' art. That is total baloney. By that definition, a doodle by a first grader could be considered 'high art', thus lowering the cultural value of art as a whole.
So, to rap up this little rant, I believe that making art a mandatory class in elementary school is ridiculous and an insult to the world of culture.

jeff_tweedy said...

Nothing really comes to mind with stuff that I've had trouble accepting - I guess I'm too quick to accept new information or something. For instance, in Chemistry, I sort of just believe most of the stuff I get told without understanding it fully, assuming that I'll understand it later. I should probably be more skeptical.

christine said...

I have a hard time accepting math proofs. For some reason, I just don't understand where all the numbers, variables, and thoughts from mathematicians come from. It's like they really just came up with random letters and numbers and decided to try something like the pythagoren theorem. That was just so crazy for me. I probably thought that about math proofs because I don't really like complicated math or math proofs. Algebra is about as high as I can go.

Michael W. said...

One "knowledge" that I have struggled to believe is the idea that there isn't always a right of wrong. In some cases, its easy to distinguish; for example do you kill a man you hate, or let him live? Easy moral choice, Life. But say the man is a sociopath that killed your whole family and countless of others. If he was given the death penalty, and you were the only one who could save him, would you? Probably not, but is that right? Who knows?
Thats a tough subject, but how about McCain and Obama? Who is the right president for America?
Or how about a tricky one...
Is this next statement true of false (right or wrong).
"This statement is false."
If it tells the truth, then it is false, but then it couldn't be true. If it is lieing then it must be true which would then make it false. So is the sentence right or wrong?
I guess what gets me about being right or wrong is that Im kinda lazy, and it would be so much easier if the world was just plain right and wrong.

Michelle Madsen said...

Something that has always been hard for me to accept like many others who have posted is the theory of evolution. I grew up believing in God and the Creation theory therefore it is really really difficult for me to reject something that I have always been taught is the truth and believe this "new" idea. I also like what CJ said there are so many complex systems to the body that evolution does not make sense, this miracle of life seems to well set up and so complex that one cell evolving over amounts of time and withstanding odds of complete failure further my belief there is a higher power that wanted us here.

Simone said...

I'm totally with orange; I do NOT understand electron clouds and how they are configured and why there's a different number in each level and all of that. And you can't see it, so why does it matter? Who cares? (sorry Mrs Suto)
Another thing I have difficulty accepting is how people can NOT accept the theory of evolution and believe in a Creator. Belief in something you cannot see, hear, touch, or taste but claims to be everywhere and everything seems like shadows on the wall to me; almost like a form of voluntary delusion. I blame the way I was brought up.

Kelsey B said...

Something that I have always had trouble grasping as far as school knowledge is concerned is the idea of genocide. I know that that probably isn't something that most people think they really understand or agree with by any means but I have always had a really hard time wraping my head around the idea that there are people who genuinely believe that certain races are inferior to others enough to want to wipe out a certain race. I guess because I have been raised in a time and a family that is really accepting of everyone and believes that everyone is equal that I can't really grasp that concept. I also think that it is had to believe because I don't want to believe that there are people out there with that sort of thinking and that sort of hate in them, its kind of a scary thought. Also I am one of those people that tries to find and see the good in everyone, so I have a hard time believing that anyone would intentionally do something like that. Another thing I have trouble believeing is the idea that what is printed in history books in not always entirely accurate. It seems like it should be, but I have learned through IB that all sources are biased and it is important to evaluate your sources to see if they are trustworthy, even though I absolutly hate evaluating sources.

Kara said...

I also do not understand why it is so hard to believe the theory of evolution. I mean, if the Bible is correct, then where do the dinosaurs com in? But just because I believe the theory of evolution doens't mean that I don't believe in God, or that He helped create the world. If there really was one point in time were there were two amino acids or wahtever (Sorry Ms. Witman) that came together and created something that started life on Earth, do you really think that it all happened by chance? I believe in the theory of evolution, but that doesn't mean I don't believe that God didn't help it along.

tucker said...

honestly, TOK has probably been the hardest class of my entire school career. it is kind of depressing because through all the reflections and what not, i've kinda realized that i don't know what in the world i believe. i've always been that kid that believes what you tell them, and doesn't think too much about it, whose always so much into my own thing that i don't think about world issues really. this class has made me really rethink/ reevualate a lot of my beliefs.

Callie said...

I agree with many of you who had a hard time accepting Chemistry. Once something I study gets bigger or smaller in scale than I can see or infer, then I have a hard time accepting it. I know that there is evidence for the structure of an atom and its bonding, but nobody has actually seen structural things like the Aufbau principle. And I know that I have studied patterns between chemicals that bond, but how do the little atoms "know" what to do? Another concept that I have struggled to accept is foreign language. Why do gato, cat and chat all mean a furry mammal that has a tail and says meow? Who came up with the verb conjugations and grammar rules to begin with? How do languages die off or evolve? I guess that language is a little too abstract for me because I tend to be more linear.

meredith said...

I’ve always struggled with the idea that there may be many answers to each question. Like in the theory of evolution, which I’ve noticed that a lot of people are struggling to accept. Well… maybe your all right?
Still, it’s hard for me to know that you can’t always prove things. I went to a private school through jr. high and we were taught to question everything around us, so I understood the idea that it is good to think critically and not just except what you are told. But what I really struggled with was the idea that each of the questions we ask leads to more questions.
I am a somewhat concrete sequential person, so not having a definite answer is sometimes frustrating, and makes me feel like I don’t have any control over what I know and how I view the world.

hockeysuto22 said...

Ugh. Well quite a number of people have already stated this, but I also have a hard time grasping the concept of evolution. The reason is that I was brought up in a christian home and I have believed God created man my entire life. I understand that if you look at bones you can see possible change, but I just see so many missing links that it is irrational to draw so many conclusions of life beginning from bones... and strictly science for that matter...

Brittany said...

Okay, so the main thing that I have trouble accepting is astronomy. I do accept it, but it is really hard for me to get my head around just how small and insignificant we are compared to everything else that there is everywhere else. Also the theory that the universe is expanding. I have never been able to accept that one, becuase what is it expanding into? I see it as if the number infinity was getting bigger, but it can't right?
I also agree with Tess and Taylor about the subjunctive. It makes no sense to me, but that is more of an issue with comprehending as opposed to accepting for me.
Other than that, as far as school topics go that's about it. I don't question a lot of the things I am taught becuase they make sense to me, and if they make sense than I don't see why they wouldn't be right.

the bee gee said...

I had had a difficult time believing that literature could be so universally interpretable. I had always believed, up until about last year, that authors wrote for the purpose of conveying a single message or one set of related philosophies. It seemed to me that why else would they put so much effort into elaborate descriptions of setting and intricate characterization if not to portray exactly the ideas which they had in mind while writing? I denied to myself that a novel or poem could be written simply for the reader to generate his or her own understanding, thinking that that only allowed for the ability to B***S***, which the I.B. English program has become so infamous for. This left my range of interpretation quite limited. Eventually I broke this barrier, and have found that the universality in literature is part of what makes it so unique from most other Areas of Knowledge, save Art.

Nels said...

One thing I have had a hard time understanding is why the heck to we need to learn a foreign language? I mean, isn't the time better spent becoming more thouroughly versed in our other subjects? Or even taking a different subject? I know I would in the long run make more money if I was taking a biology class instead of spanish. It would also further my education, making me a more knowledgeable person. With that extra money I would be able to pay a person to translate for me. To me, a foreign language is a waste of time unless you want the awful job as a translator, or your field for some reason requires it.

I have a hard time getting my head around the idea that people do not believe evolution. I believe that there is no way that everything just plopped here they way it was a couple thousand years ago. I mean, God wouldn't have got it perfect down to the last star right off the bat and also, why he put trilobite fossils here? I mean, have you seen those things? You can't just think those things up, they have to just naturally happen. I do not disregard god, just rather that he put his finger down and created bacteria. Then he stood back to watch. The majority of my extended family will disagree with me (one section adamantly so) but that is what I believe.

Bismah A. said...

Acamdemic knowledge that I have struggled with is accepting the interpretation of literature, and that the tiniest details can somehow contribute to the overall message. I understand how to do it, and I have always done well on english essays, etc. but I have a hard time believing that Shakespeare used iambic pentameter and juxtaposition to highlight the conflict between the Capulets and Montagues.

Ali said...

The one thing i still can't seem to grasp in school is chemsitry. i understand how it works, i know why it works, and i've seen it work, so i don't know why i have trouble believing it. it's mostly the electrons nd atoms and 14 tiny things of this equalizes 15 slightly smaller things of that and it's all taking place in an infatessimle space that no one has ever seen.
i think i'm like this because i can't see it or feel it happening. informatin i get from a whiteboard, a textbook or a teacher just isn't enough to make me believe it.
wait, doesn't that mean that it's not justified for me and therefore i can't really know it?? maybe chemistry is just worthless in that sense. :)

Tess Santangelo said...

to add on again in school you have to put you full trust in you teachers because everything they are teaching could be totaly bias and incorrect. for example in history you cannot go back in time and check the facts yourself to see what is really true or in chemistry how do you know if all of these crazy things really exist? thats why i think its sometimes hard for people

Paigeypoo said...

As stated in some comments above I too have had problems in believing the knowledge of the theory of evelution. There is some evidence to support these theories but there is just so many gaps and spaces needed to be filled, and it is still not certain in the scientific world that evolution has occurred the way it has. I just don't understand how someone can grasp the concept of evolution.

tpau said...

I guess a "knowledge" that I have had trouble accepting or learning would be different aspects in chemistry. I guess some of it makes sence but when it gets down to the electron configuration and wirting configurations I struggle to understand it. I think it is hard for me because I can't picture the electrons or elements and how or why they configure. I have to accept the teachers word for it that its true so that other things will make sence later. I think I wanted more proof. I think it was hard for me personally because I like justification and not just because I said so. Even if the teacher had specific proof I would still have trouble wrapping my mind around it.

tpau said...

I guess a "knowledge" that I have had trouble accepting or learning would be different aspects in chemistry. I guess some of it makes sence but when it gets down to the electron configuration and wirting configurations I struggle to understand it. I think it is hard for me because I can't picture the electrons or elements and how or why they configure. I have to accept the teachers word for it that its true so that other things will make sence later. I think I wanted more proof. I think it was hard for me personally because I like justification and not just because I said so. Even if the teacher had specific proof I would still have trouble wrapping my mind around it.

JWolff said...

I had a hard time accepting the idea of an atom and the elememts in chemistry. I'm mostly a visual and "hands-on" learner and the notion of the whole world being made up of something that we haven't ever seen wasn't working for me. I couldn't grasp the idea that everything was made of matter that we haven't really seen. I don't think I could grasp it because I've always been such a visual learner and accepted most things that I see. After hearing so many times I guess I just accepted it cause it was the easiest way instead of fighting it. I did trust the educational system then so I just accepted the "knowledge" of atoms and elements were true.

Nathalie Uy said...


We're just trying to find some color in this black and white world.
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