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.
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.
Other articles tagged with “Dunning-Kruger”
“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.”
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?
“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.”
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.
Interesting article connecting the issue of language and climate change. This also gets at the fact that we don’t always communicate what we think we are and that different groups of people communicate differently. Frank Luntz, discussed below, often uses the adage: It’s not what you say, it’s what people hear.
The science community is supposed to interpret for the rest of us, but its dialect does not always pack rhetorical oomph. “I didn’t realize that pointing to a climate graph I think is the Rosetta stone — people don’t see it the way I see it,” says Brenda Ekwurzel, director of climate science for the Union of Concerned Scientists. “We as humans don’t experience an exponential curve viscerally, in our gut.”
More on Luntz
Frank Luntz is a popular American pollster but also famous for helping the Republican Party hone its messaging and use of language in the 1990s and 2000s. He authored a famous memo on messaging the “War on Terror.” One can argue with the ethics of what he did (intentionally tying 9/11 and Iraq in people’s minds without ever explicitly making the connection for example) but his work was devastatingly effective. This memo made for much better discussion teaching TOK 10 years ago but I think is very interesting to still study.
Download Luntz Memo On Terrorism
Here is Luntz being challenged about another famous memo he wrote on climate change. He has since changed his mind.
Image of Luntz now discussing messaging on discussing climate change.