AOK 2: Natural Sciences

Project Journal

Divya Rath

Alexandre Ait-Ettajer, Katya Herbert, Valeria Espinosa

April 7, 2017 - April 17, 2017

AOK Badge: Natural Sciences

"How to Know Something Out of Nothing"

April 7, 2017: We watched a video regarding natural sciences. The presenter made a point regarding how science and philosophy are both forms of blah, and I agree with that. He also made a point about how people should not present scientific knowledge as facts simply because it was proven wrong because anyone “smarter” could come up with new numbers and new data to prove one’s hypothesis wrong; he is essentially saying that things should be kept variable. I kind of liked his viewpoint regarding the similarities of science and philosophy, and hope that with time, people are able to view how science is basically a form of reasoning and a way for forming coherent ideas of things that could possibly be truths. Science needs to be able to prove things wrong rather than prove things right is also an idea which was explored. moves forwards by making claims by proving these false; it’s a cycle that essentially furthers the knowledge of the world by proving past knowledge false and then gaining more knowledge as to why it could or could not be false.

April 10, 2017: I learned about the idea that we want to investigate regarding our topic. We’re doing natural science, so the knowledge question we decided to investigate is Is doubt the enemy of science? Based upon the elective readings “Ignorance: How it Drives Science”, and “Science is Imagination”we discussed how doubt is not necessarily an enemy. In fact, I learned how it drives science. Not knowing something allows people to learn and pursue an idea and essentially drives them to find knowledge. Although even after pursuing this one may not find a clear cut answer, the journey undertaken to discover knowledge will provide the knower some sort of knowledge about the idea they are trying to discover; it won’t be a fruitless trial of the acquisition of knowledge.

April 11, 2017: I read the elective reading “Ignorance: How it Drive Science”, and I think out of all the ones I read, this reading provided the most direct insight into the topic we are discussing. I was able to see how ignorance and doubt are essentially the same, and how they drive the overall acquisition of knowledge. Reading about how Professor Fierstein came up with the idea of teaching a class based upon ignorance was so interesting; I had never even thought of the concept. The professor builds upon the idea of knowledge being ever-changing, and how it's unlikely that we'll ever learn anything new just by sitting and reflecting on what we already know. I think based on this reading, I'd like to model my paragraph using this example, if possible. I think it'll be an interesting way to demonstrate how knowing something isn't necessarily the first option to gaining/having knowledge. For the next class, we have to create a 1st draft paragraph which we will peer edit in class. Hopefully it goes well; I'd like to see how I can better my paragraphs with further feedback.

April 12, 2017: Today, in class, we worked with our first draft paragraphs in an effort to mold them into more coherent pieces of literature. I honestly found it quite helpful; I was able to see the areas where i included unnecessary information and gained a lot of feedback as to how I could make my point come across more clearly. My topic is regarding the knowledge question “Is doubt the memory of science?” I discussed the different ideas within my paper with Mr. Morrison. I found out that my key problem was including too much external information, and that I needed to focus my ideas a bit more. With his advice, I went to shorten my paragraph and cleared up my commentary regarding knowledge, and think it will go well.

April 17, 2017: I finished my paragraph; I think it went relatively well. I felt that I made a concise but substantive commentary on the idea of doubt improving knowledge, and I integrated a real life example regarding Stuart Firestein's theory of pursuing things we don't know in order to learn more about knowledge in general. I'll wait to see how I do on this presentation, but in general I feel that I accomplished the objectives that were given to me to complete with this paragraph.

Knowledge Questions Encountered My Project

How certain is scientific knowledge?

Is previous knowledge more important than creativity in science?

Project Evidence (Documentation)

First Draft TOK Paragraph: Doubt is not the enemy of science; in fact, it acquisition of science as an area of knowledge and allows it to grow and expand. When the professor at Columbia University, Stuart Firestein, first started creating his lectures regarding neuroscience, he realized that much of his knowledge was based upon ideas that he was not 100% sure about. After some speculation, he realized that much of his doubt acted as a burning inferno and spurred on many of his investigations. He stated that perhaps, he should teach about what people don't know, what we still need to figure out in order to motivate these students to “get out there” solve the mysteries and do these undone things. With this realization, he created a class dedicated to teaching students about what professors themselves essentially had no idea about. The fallibility of science is that it is always changing and evolving as humans gain new ways to procure knowledge; it is not stagnant or limited to just one certain piece of information.

Second Draft TOK Paragraph: Doubt is not the enemy of science; in fact, it acquisition of science as an area of knowledge and allows it to grow and expand. When the professor at Columbia University, Stuart Firestein, first started creating his lectures regarding neuroscience, he realized that much of his knowledge was based upon ideas that he was not 100% sure about. After some speculation, he realized that much of his doubt acted as a burning inferno and spurred on many of his investigations. He stated that perhaps, he should teach about what people don't know, what we still need to figure out in order to motivate these students to “get out there” solve the mysteries and do these undone things. With this realization, he created a class dedicated to teaching students about what professors themselves essentially had no idea about. The fallibility of science is that it is always changing and evolving as humans gain new ways to procure knowledge; it is not stagnant or limited to just one certain piece of information.This idea is very apparent in Fierstein's actions of creating a class based on ignorance; he realized that since science is ever-changing, it would be beneficial to demonstrate “what still needs to be done” rather than to just stagnantly learn and reflect on what has already been discovered. The professor’s drive to create (and even the eventual creation of the class) proves that doubt acts as positive influence on science; it spurs on new ideas and allows for people to recognize perspectives they may not have previously considered before.

Peer Edit Comments: Stick to main point; cut the stuff about the class; Take out the prove part; Restating too many things; Use professor to back up the point that doubt is the fuel that drives science

Final Draft TOK Paragraph: Doubt is not the enemy of science; in fact, doubt aids in the acquisition of knowledge and allows science to grow and expand. When the professor at Columbia University, Stuart Firestein, first started creating his lectures regarding neuroscience, he realized that much of his knowledge was based upon ideas that he was not 100% sure about. After some speculation, he realized that much of his doubt acted as a springboard and spurred on many of his investigations. He stated that “ This is knowledgable ignorance, perceptive ignorance, insightful ignorance. It leads us to frame better questions, which is the first step in getting better answers.” A defining aspect of science is that it is always changing and evolving as humans gain new ways to procure knowledge; it is not stagnant or limited to just one certain piece of information. Doubt essentially allows science to grow by constantly providing new perspectives by which to analyze new information. This idea is very apparent in Fierstein's actions of analyzing an issue based on ignorance; he realized that since science is ever-changing, it would be beneficial to demonstrate and focus on “what still needs to be done” rather than to just stagnantly learn and reflect on what has already been discovered. The professor’s drive to conduct investigations based on questioning things that he was ignorant about reflects the notion that doubt acts as positive influence on science; the example demonstrates how doubt spurs on new ideas and allows for people to recognize perspectives they may not have previously considered before in order to formulate new concepts.

Extension Proposal

I propose adding this resource because it provides a direct primary source of the evidence I used within my own badge project. Although the speaker here has already been present within our elective readings (through the presence of his book Ignorance), I still think his views are important and relatable enough to include twice within our arsenal of resources because he propagates an essential idea of science as it is really practiced and suggests that we should value what we don't know -- or "high-quality ignorance" -- just as much as what we know. This proved to be an important resource for me as I planned my own presentation, I think it would be invaluable to others who study this area of knowing.

Credits:

Created with images by Kingsway School - "open evening (17 of 57)"

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