Getting it wrong, getting it right, and generating knowledge questions: “The Forgotten History of Autism”.

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Rarely does a 14-minute talk hit so many ideas we explore in Theory of Knowledge or treat them so engagingly. In his 2015 TED talk “The forgotten history of autism”, Steve Silberman hands us a splendid case study of failures and successes in the pursuit of knowledge, and the features that distinguished them. He treats central concepts such as classification (of conditions, […]

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Real Scientific Literacy for TOK

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What an excellent summary of how science works! You’ll be missing out on a splendid resource if you don’t read these two articles on “Real Scientific Literacy” offered just last week (free, on his blog) by neurologist and science writer Dr. Steven Novella: Real Scientific Literacy , The Ness, Neurologicablog, January 12, 2016. Real Scientific Literacy, Part II , The Ness, Neurologicablog, January […]

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Reliability in psychological science: methodology in crisis?

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“Scientific truth is a moving target,” wrote the editors of the Public Library of Science (PLoS) a decade ago. “But is it inevitable, as John Ioannidis argues …that the majority of findings are actually false?” In the decade since the editors posed this question, the psychological sciences have been shaken by further challenges to their credibility, including some widely reported controversies. It was August of this […]

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“— Based Medicine”: alternatives to “evidence”

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(Originally posted on  Activating TOK)  Is it obvious that medical conclusions ought to be based on evidence and science? What are the alternatives? For a smile along with the serious point, I recommend this satirical list by two doctors:  “Seven alternatives to evidence based medicine” . Vehemence-based medicine? Eminence-based medicine? The list predates the recent book on celebrity-based medicine with the splendid title Is Gwyneth Paltrow […]

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“Evidence-based medicine”: a class discussion, with a caffeine lift!

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(Originally posted on  Activating TOK)  Did you know that green coffee bean extract can help you lose weight? No? Me neither! Today, I’d like to propose a class discussion on thinking critically about media knowledge claims for products that yield fabulous (literally) medical benefits. The discussion is given a caffeine lift by a bite-sized example from a year […]

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