Tag Archives: prediction

Stay cool. TOK teachers can handle this. 

180813 horoscope(Eileen Dombrowski from OUP blog) Are we on “the path back into darkness, tribalism, feudalism, superstition, and belief in magic”?  The apparent upsurge of belief in astrology has sent one of my favourite bloggers and podcasters, neurologist and skeptic Steven Novella, into a paroxysm of sheer frustration. How can anything so thoroughly debunked as astrology make inroads back into public belief?  But – stay cool, Steven! This is a job for Theory of Knowledge teachers!  It seems to me we’re in a perfect spot to raise questions about astrology – not with earnest annoyance but with humour and a light heart. Continue reading

Guessing, Probability and Prediction: a TOK lesson on election polls

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(guest post by TOK Course Book co-author, Mimi Bick. OUP IB blog) Do you live in a democratic country? If you do, you’ll have noticed that leading up to major elections, the media is filled with what experts think will happen when the real day arrives. Sometimes they hit the nail on the head. Sometimes they don’t. Is it reasonable for us to expect pollsters to get it right — and what does that mean? How similar and different are election polls to other areas of data gathering and analysis and their uses? These are questions you might usefully explore from different angles and perspectives in the context of TOK. Continue reading

Earthquake trial acquittal: scientific prediction and responsibility

earthquake01(by Eileen Dombrowski) “Today we have an earthquake after the earthquake,” declared a grieving relative of a victim of the 2009 earthquake in Aquila, Italy,  as charges against six earthquake scientists for failing to warn people of the quake were dismissed by an Italian appeals courts this week.  The case, distressing though it is, provides a gripping example for TOK knowledge questions that surround scientific prediction and its relative uncertainty in different sciences, and, more urgently, the relationship between expert knowledge and social responsibility.

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