How to Lie with Numbers

By Monday, September 12, 2016 , , , , 0

There is a common saying in English, “numbers never lie”, which presumably expresses the idea that any argument backed up by data, statistics or quantifiable information must therefore be trustworthy or inherently credible. One of the key tasks of TOK is to step back, analysize and reflect on the basis of anything presented as evidence for an argument. We live in a world where data is generated at an unquantifiable rate, we are bombarded by constant information whilst being asked ...

What’s the Story?

Human beings see the world in stories. Whatever we put our minds to is naturally furnished with a narrative which gives our thinking a context - it seems to be built into our DNA. Whilst we are all familiar with some of the ancient stories our ancestors created to make sense of their world, we sometimes forget that all of us continue to create and be shaped by stories. To understand this is the first step to grasping the significant ...

Quebec Charter of Values in TOK: perspectives, symbolism, fallacies

[youtuber youtube='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTlDcDYf-ao'] Today protesters march in the streets of Montreal, opposing the newly announced Quebec Charter of Values.  The government of the Canadian province of Quebec has declared that certain values define their society, which has often had a fractious relationship with the rest of Canada.  Among those values – valeurs québécois -- are ones that would broadly capture agreement from Canadians, such as the religious neutrality of the state.  It is the application of this principle that has provoked outrage ...

KQ: what TOK’s all about

What an enviable set of initials!  Can’t you imagine all the monograms possible in fancy fonts?  At the centre of the TOK course, those KQ stamp on it quite the designer label!  And what does the label represent?  Knowledge Questions, of course! TOK is an exploration, after all, into what knowing is all about.  We deploy the powerful interrogative form, the question, to open up possible answers everywhere within knowledge. The biggest question of all is, “How do we know?”  Stencil ...

“Context is all”

One of the dangers of immersing in TOK for long is that it can begin to affect your sense of humour.  You can find yourself laughing aloud at things that nobody around you finds funny.  Take today.  In my email inbox, from a consistently dire news feed, screams the header:  The Future You Don’t Want.  Of course, it’s likely to be the usual prognostications of woe.  But today?  Today is my birthday!  It's a marker between the past and the ...