AN ORIGINAL PODCAST FOR TEACHERS, STUDENTS AND OTHER CURIOUS PEOPLE
Today I met with Dr. Rachel Oser, (Science Teacher) & 孫秀東 Xiudong Sun, (Chinese Literature and TOK Teacher) to talk about Exhibition Prompt 8: To what extent is certainty attainable? This was a really interesting episode for me firstly, because we begin by contrasting the idea of certainty in Religious knowledge and Science… This is something I find very delicate to explore through the lens of TOK. Secondonly, the episode was especially interesting because it was my first English & Chinese bilingual episode! I hope to do more of these in the future. I have added a translation of some of the sections where I thought clarity would help. I hope I have translated well enough to keep the integrity of Sun’s ideas, as well as to make it understandable to an English listener.
Some key quotes and ideas from this episode include:
Benjamin Franklin: “Nothing is certain but death and taxes” which Sun said was similar to “我唯一确定的事情是什么都不确定” The only thing of which I can be certain is that I’m not certain of anything.
"There are a thousand hamlets in a thousand people's eyes" in relation to Shakespeare… which brought up a discussion of Hamlet through a Taoist lens, and how this brings up the problem of lenses and certainty. We discuss certainty in the Arts in relation to good and bad interpretations.
Later we talk about issues that pertain to certainty have to do with our perspectives, replicability, tools and the limits of our human experience, raising the question Why do we need certainty? What is the role of doubt?
a few key Chinese words I learned from our conversation:
物种起源 wùzhǒng qǐyuán Darwin's Origin of Species
怀疑论者 huáiyí lùn zhě skeptic
不可知论准 bù kězhīlùn zhǔn agnostic
Once again, thank you Bernard Wun for bringing us in and out of this episode with your guitar!
To unravel this question, I met with Sarah Rodgers (DP Chemistry & MYP Science Teacher) & Alice Brookes (DP Bio & MYP Science Teacher). Together, we talk about a range of reasons we might doubt claims that are made about knowledge, and conversely what might make knowledge claims more trustworthy. We touch upon a variety of criteria, and discuss issues related to science, doubt in the time of Darwin when religion ran the world, the conflicting information about nutrition, as well as the current political climate in areas around the globe. It’s always fascinating to talk with people from different areas of the world, especially international teachers because we see things from both our own culture, our host culture, and sometimes a third global perspective as well.
Are we immune from the challenge of doubting the norm? Should we really doubt everything? Should we question everything? Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day? These are important questions to consider and I hope you take some time to think about the things you take for granted and where you’ve developed “cognitive ease” around what you believe.
Cognitive Ease a 5 min youtube video summing up Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow section on Cognitive Ease
Once again, thank you Bernard Wun for music to bring us in and out of today’s discussion.