Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice.

This is another in a long line of medical reversals (salt, fat, sugar…). These cases raise a lot of good questions about the nature of scientific knowledge and its production. It also raises good questions about how scientific process can lead to conclusions that ultimately prove to be false.

Here are a bunch of articles on related dietary topics.

The evidence is too weak to justify telling individuals to eat less beef and pork, according to new research. The findings “erode public trust,” critics said.

But on Monday, in a remarkable turnabout, an international collaboration of researchers produced a series of analyses concluding that the advice, a bedrock of almost all dietary guidelines, is not backed by good scientific evidence.

Icebergs, Climate Change and Art Lesson

What is the purpose of art? What knowledge can we acquire through art? These questions can be addressed in many ways. In light of all the attention climate science and climate change have gotten, there are many interesting questions that are raised about why scientists have not been more effective in communicating with the general public issues surrounding climate change and why skepticism and inaction are abound. There are many great TOK connections to these issue. There was an interesting work of public art a few years ago that tried to take the issue of melting glaciers and make it real by lugging giant broken off chunks of ice and bring them to the Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015. I learned of it from a recent episode of the Netflix Show Abstract. This lesson has a couple of minutes from the show along with a worksheet and article. You can download the handouts I have made here along with the episode of the show.

Download Iceberg Art Climate Change Article

Download Iceberg Art WS

Download Abstract episode (File is 2gb. Relevant section is 34:30-38:00) Alternatively you can find news clips on youtube that establish the same context.

Here is a link to more ideas and plans I’ve put together on the Arts.

Here is a link to more arts related resources I have found around the web.

WE ARE ALL CONFIDENT IDIOTS

The trouble with ignorance is that it feels so much like expertise. A leading researcher on the psychology of human wrongness sets us straight.

IN MANY CASES, INCOMPETENCE DOES NOT LEAVE PEOPLE DISORIENTED, PERPLEXED, OR CAUTIOUS. INSTEAD, THE INCOMPETENT ARE OFTEN BLESSED WITH AN INAPPROPRIATE CONFIDENCE, BUOYED BY SOMETHING THAT FEELS TO THEM LIKE KNOWLEDGE.

https://psmag.com/social-justice/confident-idiots-92793

Other articles tagged with “Dunning-Kruger”

The YouTube Revolution in Knowledge Transfer

Tacit knowledge is knowledge that can’t properly be transmitted via verbal or written instruction, like the ability to create great art or assess a startup. This tacit knowledge is a form of intellectual dark matter, pervading society in a million ways, some of them trivial, some of them vital. Examples include woodworking, metalworking, housekeeping, cooking, dancing, amateur public speaking, assembly line oversight, rapid problem-solving, and heart surgery.

Article Link

Why can’t we agree on what’s true any more?

“It’s not about foreign trolls, filter bubbles or fake news. Technology encourages us to believe we can all have first-hand access to the ‘real’ facts – and now we can’t stop fighting about it.

“Contrary to initial hype surrounding big data, the explosion of information available to us is making it harder, not easier, to achieve consensus on truth. As the quantity of information increases, the need to pick out bite-size pieces of content rises accordingly. In this radically sceptical age, questions of where to look, what to focus on and who to trust are ones that we increasingly seek to answer for ourselves, without the help of intermediaries. This is a liberation of sorts, but it is also at the heart of our deteriorating confidence in public institutions.”

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2019/sep/19/why-cant-we-agree-on-whats-true-anymore

How Lil Nas X Took ‘Old Town Road’ From TikTok Meme to No. 1 | Diary of a Song

Though I could never stand this song, I think the story of the song is a pretty fascinating one and a great topic for TOK. Elements worthy of discussion:

  • This song was essentially a collaboration between people who never met, facilitated by the internet.
  • The DJ who made the beat sampled part of it from another artist (originality)
  • The song made it onto the top of the country music charts but was then removed because it wasn’t “country” enough. (Definitions and categorization of art).
  • The artist wrote a “country” song about experiences he didn’t have and culture he wasn’t a part of. Is this an example of cultural appropriation? Does it matter whether the song is about authentic experiences?

Physics and Imagination

“I’m enough of an artist to draw freely on my imagination, which I think is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” -Albert Einstein

“It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.”

-Richard Feynman

There’s a deeper reason to valorize Einstein’s claim about imagination in physics. What I feel he is really saying is that imagination precedes knowledge, and indeed establishes the precondition for it. You might say that when the shape of imagination sufficiently fits the world, knowledge results.

The real point is that imagination in physics is what the paths to the future, to new knowledge, are built from. Actual knowledge – things we can accept as “true”, in the sense that they offer tried and tested ways of predicting how the world behaves – has been assembled into an edifice as wonderful and as robust as the Gothic cathedrals of stone, the medieval representations of the physical and spiritual universe. But at the point where knowledge runs out, only imagination can take us further. I think this is what Einstein was driving at.

https://philipball.blogspot.com/2019/09/physics-and-imagination.html