AOK: Natural Science Valeria Espinosa

Valeria Espinosa

Katya Herbert, Valeria Espinosa, Alexandre Ait-Ettajer

April 7, 2017-April 17, 2017

AOK Badge: Natural Science

"The Intricate Relationship Between Doubt and Science "

IS doubt the enemy of science?

planning Journal

The Cave of Forgotten Dreams

Question 5: Make a link between this film, and Plato's Allegory of the Cave. When you do so, discuss make a link to at least one area of knowledge.

In Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, there are cave dwellers that have been imprisoned and chained to the wall. Not only are they physically prisoners but, they are also prisoners in their own mind as they continuously watch shadows found on the wall in front of them; they are unable to see 'reality' as they are only presented with the shadows in which the objects cast. At one point one of the prisoners gets freed and leaves the cave to explore the outside world and what he sees truly amazes him. He sees a bright world filled with colors and as a result, he immediately runs back to the cave to describe it to his imprisoned companions. Throughout language he tries to describe the wonders that he saw, but the people facing the cave are unable to understand him. Archeologists face similar situations in present day, as they try to depict the meanings and try to understand the messages that our ancestors have tried to convey in their drawings. Although some drawings are unclear, archeologists are able to understand most meanings of these drawings and through the dark walls of the cave they are shown a simple reflection of our ancestors life. This connects to the movie "The Cave of Forgotten Dreams” as the archeologists in the movie see only the mere reflection of an ancient lifestyle. Each archeologists interpreted the drawing in their own manner, similarly to each prisoner that interpreted the shadows on the wall differently. Throughout the different interpretations of the drawings it can be connected to human science as it shows that we are not identical in our behavior or our thought process. This is shown through the drawings in the cave, due to the fact that each archeologists interpreted each drawing in unique manner.

What is the main point about your AOK that you want to make in your Badge Project ? (primary aim)

My question for this badge project is "Is faith the enemy of science?" The main point that I want to make for my AOK is that doubt does not limit science, but rather allows it to flourish in unpredictable ways. I am going to prove this point using Professor Stuart Firestein as an example. In my paragraph I will be discussing how doubt does not hinder science rather allows it to grow. I will also touch on the fact that doubt was not only the basis of the course in which Fierstein created, but was what also drove professor Fierstein to create his class in the first place. This will demonstrate that doubt is a driving force of science and does not fully hinder its full potential, but rather allows people to create and consider their own point of view regarding a certain situation or topic.

Assess your badge project (paragraph) as it stands now?

In my opinion my paragraph still needs a lot of work. My only problem is that I can't really find a way to connect my evidence to my question. The thing that is extremely weird is that I have the hardest part done which is my analysis. The thing is tI am trying to connect all of it together. I am going to try to re-read my article and find a way to connect all of it. I feel like once I how to phrase my transition sentences it will all make sense. I still feel like it needs a lot of work, but I honestly can;t wait to see the end product. I am bit frustrated at the moment, but I know that it will be almost perfect once it's done.

Reflection journaL

I think that my AOK2 project went extremely well. In my opinion, the presentations are better. I think that with the presentations we can be more creative and at the same time it's so nice that we can work we our peers. With the essay I fell extremely restricted since we had to follow a format. I think that we should have spent a bit more time talking about the format because my friends and I were extremely confused. Although I liked doing presentations more than I liked this project, I still enjoyed writing it. I found it difficult connecting the evidence form the elective reading to my main topic sentence. Once I read over the article again and write a couple of notes, it was so much easier connecting the two. Compared to my draft, my final copy is so much better. My sentences flow and they all make sense. When I was looking at the final piece I wanted to make sure that I could relate almost every sentence to my question and of course my topic sentence. Although I was frustrated at the beginning, I realized that it was not as hard as it seemed. I think that this style of writing will prepare me for the essay that we will write next year.

Thoughts on Peer-Editing

I think peer editing was extremely beneficial. It really showed me what my weaknesses were. I learned that I tend to overcomplicate things and that I should really be more concise on what I am trying to see. My classmates told me that the only thing in which I had to change was the fact that my paragraph was way too long. The only way that I could possibly shorten my paragraph was by cutting out any extra and irrelevant information. For me that was one task that was extremely difficult.

3 knowledge questions

  1. Does sense perception hinder the verification and investigation of science?
  2. Is faith the enemy of science?
  3. To what extent are faith and science irreconcilable?


This badge project is by far one of the most difficult projects that I have done this semester. Although at times it was frustrating, I believe that it is good practice for our TOK essay in which we will write next year. I think that this essay really required a lot of critical thinking. At first, the format of the paragraph was confusing, but once we broke it done and analyzed each section of the sample essay, I was able to understand the format. Below are two documents the first document is my rough draft. Most of my peers commented that my points were precise, however the only problem was that it was extremely long. The only suggestion that they made was that I needed to shorten it. That was one task that was extremely difficult for me. However I feel like the final draft was substantially better than the rough draft. The second document is the final copy of my Area of Knowledge #2.


A dragon in my garage

Certainty and doubt: Certainty and doubt is a major aspect of "The Dragon in My Garage" text. The owner of this so called dragon is certain that it exists despite it not being visible and having heatless fire and all these other characteristics that would make others doubt the existence this dragon. It is obvious that whomever is shown this dragon will doubt its existence due to all these characteristics that make this dragon unseeable. Does this make the person who is certain the dragon exists less sane than the person that doubts the existence of the dragon, I don’t think so. Look at religion as an example, many people believe in a religion whether it is Christianity, Judaism, Islam or any other. In every religion there is a being that is invisible to the people, that cannot be felt or sensed but this doesn’t make a believer any less sane than an atheist who doubts the existence of an almighty being.

Proof and evidence: Proof and evidence is a necessity when it comes to making someone to start believing in a something. The owner of this dragon believes that it is exist but cannot bring up any evidence or proof to support his statement. In the passage every time the non believer proposes different ways to prove the dragons existence the owner counters every physical test with a plausible explanation to why it cannot be proven. “Your inability to invalidate my hypothesis is not at all the same as proving it is true” This quote explains that without proof it the hypothesis cannot reach the conclusion of being truthful regardless of the inability to invalidate it. This shows how important proof and evidence is to claiming something is true.

Correlation: There is a major correlation between “A Dragon in my Garage”and Religion. Carl Sagan explains that the only way for people to think that this dragon exist is solely based on belief. The belief that regardless of there not being any proof that this dragon is real and really is living in the garage. The same can be said about religion, many people believe God to be true without any proof or evidence to support the claim that he in fact does exists. But there are also many skeptics that believe more in the scientific method and that the world was created by the “Big Bang” there is a greater amount of proof that the world was created this way, regardless of the proof people have different opinions and beliefs that define their life in different ways. The same can be said about “A dragon in the garage."

EXPLORING Conjectures and Refutations

A conjecture is basically an imaginative hypothesis. This idea is seen in "A Dragon in my Garage." The conjecture that is created is that there is an invisible dragon living in the garage. This is a conclusion based on incomplete information since there is no evidence that this dragon exists and there cannot be any evidence discovered due to the many different "characteristics" stated by the owner of this dragon. These characteristics include being invisible and having heatless fire.It is obvious that whomever is shown this dragon will doubt its existence due to all these characteristics that make this dragon unseeable. Does this make the person who is certain the dragon exists less sane than the person that doubts the existence of the dragon, I don’t think so.

Refutation is defined as the action of proving a statement or theory to be wrong or false. In “A Dragon in my Garage” There are also signs of refutations as the non believer tries to prove that the dragon isn’t real and disband Sagan’s theory of a dragon existing. This is because all of the evidence in which is given is unseeable, however that does not mean that the owner's belief of an existing dragon is incorrect.

extension proposal


Story on Ashley King

Coyne’s describes the case of Ashley King, a girl who has a tumor on her leg. This tumor was causing “her leg to decay while her body started to shut down.” Doctors were certain that the only way the could possibly save Ashley King was by amputating her leg. In a sign of disbelief, her parents refused the doctor's orders and moved their daughter a Christian Science sanatorium. The tenets of their faith believed that there was no medical care. However, ashley's parents “arranged a collective pray-in to help her recover.” Ashley died three weeks later. This connects with the question because later on Coyne believed that if they Ashley's parents were atheist, she would have most likely survived. Ashley’s parents let faith get in the way of a scientific knowledge that was certain. They turned to faith rather than science. However that does not guarantee that faith was a lot more accurate than science; it all really depends on the knower's perspective. This should be added to the elective reading list because it discusses the relationship between religious faith and science. Although it't not fully focused on natural science, it still touches on the idea that faith could potentially hinder the power of scientific knowledge. I feel as though this should be added to the elective reading lists because it focuses on both an area of knowledge (natural science) and also a way of knowing (faith). By looking at this situation, I realized that neither one hinders the other because they are two distinct views and ideals. A knower can have a different perspective on both religious faith and science. They can agree with one more than the other. However that does not mean that one is more right than the other.



Created with images by NASA Goddard Photo and Video - "Coloring the Sea Around the Pribilof Islands"

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