About this site

This is a site where I post articles, videos, and various resources relevant to a Theory of Knowledge teacher or student. You can find handouts, activities, and day to day plans on the resources for the TOK class page.

You can follow my day to day lessons with my Year 1s here.

There is no particular order in which the resources are posted but you can search by relevant Area of Knowledge or Way of Knowing by navigating the tabs above.

This site is currently configured for the “old” TOK course whose last assessment is 2021. Here is what I have gathered about the new course.

Please contact me by email if you have any questions.

TOKTopics[at]gmail.com

 

Language and Economic Misunderstanding

Interesting post about the nature of language and how it can misconstrue a complex reality and ultimately lead to misunderstandings and poor policy actions by governments.

Muddled thinkers confuse the world of our senses with the way in which it is depicted in language.

Yet as is true of all beneficial institutions, language is imperfect – it has, some might say, its ‘costs.’ Among the ‘costs’ of language is its tendency to cause us to suppose that the abstractions that we describe with words possess a concrete reality that these abstractions don’t possess. 🔥🔥🔥 [flames are my addition]

https://cafehayek.com/2020/05/quotation-of-the-day-3159.html

For more posts related to Economics, click here.

“Immune to Evidence”: How Dangerous Coronavirus Conspiracies Spread

Good Q and A that breaks down conspiratorial thinking. At the bottom is a link for the really well done “Conspiracy Theory Handbook.”

Conspiratorial videos and websites about COVID-19 are going viral. Here’s how one of the authors of “The Conspiracy Theory Handbook” says you can fight back. One big takeaway: Focus your efforts on people who can hear evidence and think rationally.

How do we prevent the spread of conspiracy theories?
By trying to inoculate the public against them. Telling the public ahead of time: Look, there are people who believe these conspiracy theories. They invent this stuff. When they invent it they exhibit these characteristics of misguided cognition. You can go through the traits we mention in our handbook, like incoherence, immunity to evidence, overriding suspicion and connecting random dots into a pattern. The best thing to do is tell the public how they can spot conspiracy theories and how they can protect themselves.

https://www.propublica.org/article/immune-to-evidence-how-dangerous-coronavirus-conspiracies-spread?utm_source=pardot&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=majorinvestigations&utm_content=feature

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The Conspiracy Theory Handbook

Download Conspiracy Theory Handbook

Comic: Fake News Can Be Deadly. Here’s How To Spot It

Interesting cartoon that explains the dangers of fake news and how to combat it in your own mind. Unfortunately I am skeptical about the value of laying out such processes to deal with this problem. How can you stop someone from being “fooled” into believing something that they already believe? That confirms and conforms to their deeper world views? The deeper issue is motivated reasoning rather than an ignorance of how to deal with new information. All that being said, this is a fun cartoon, there is more than just this one panel featured below, click on the image for the full cartoon.

Screen Shot 2020-04-20 at 3.06.03 PM
Click on image for link to full cartoon.

A Comic Strip Tour Of The Wild World Of Pandemic Modeling

Artist Zach Weinersmith teams up with FiveThirtyEight to break down and explain the challenges in building accurate models for the pandemic from differing assumptions, data collection, and just a general lack of information.

Interesting quote from the cartoon: “Every variable is dependent on a number of possible choices and gaps in knowledge.”

Click on the images for the full cartoon.

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/a-comic-strip-tour-of-the-wild-world-of-pandemic-modeling/

 

Reminds me of a funny tweet I saw, “Using the right denominator is 50% of data science.”

 

TOK Distance Learning

We are about to start week 3 of distance learning. I’ve worked on adapting my lessons to be completed on google classroom and submitted. Students can join the “class” on zoom to work through these as if we were doing a normal class. This provides for opportunities to discuss course content which is a central part of the course.

Here is a folder of the work I have done. Please feel free to take what works for you. You can duplicate any of the docs. Please also feel free to share other experiences you have had that work.

Covid-19, the Evil Genius, and How to Think about Societal Risks

Interesting article connecting ideas about how we assess risk, the language we use, and how we interpret data depending on how it is presented to us. This connects well to the conflict between emotion and reason in decision making but also our inability to think probabilistically.

If you ask someone if they would be willing to sacrifice 100K people to avoid this intervention, people will be inclined to say no, “I would never put a price tag on human life, much less 100K human lives.” But let’s say you ask the question differently: “Would you be willing to accept a one in three thousand chance of dying this year to avoid this public health intervention?”… Once you ask the question this way then instead of focusing on the raw number of deaths, we can focus on the tradeoffs,

https://reason.com/2020/03/26/covid-19-the-evil-genius-and-how-to-think-about-societal-risks/#comments

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Here are some additional materials related to how we think about numbers and risk, etc. from my Maths page

Here is the article that accompanies the handout above.

Some different questions that get at the same point.