Friday, December 19, 2008

Merry... Holidays

As you know, we all just got off school and are into break. However even in labling this as the "holiday break" brings attention to one of the most dangerous politically correct times of year. This season has become famous for white lights, 'holiday trees,' and 'winter' themed parties. What I wanted to ask is do you think we, as a society, are taking this PC concept of the holidays too far? I understand that to represent one belief may isolate and feel as though it pushes out belief, but being in IB I think we've really tries to make it a point to incorporate different cultures and beliefs, not simply refuse to mention all beliefs all together. But obviously religion, and one group of people questioning anothers can be very, very precarious subject. Are we doing the right thing by censoring so much during this time of year? Or should re-consider what should and shouldn't be allowed?
-Flip Senn

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

IB Elitism

Okay, so there have been no student posts for almost a month now, in fact, about one day and 1.5 hours after this will be posted, it will have been for a month. Maybe we have nothing to say or wonder about, I don't know. At any rate, instead of silence, how about some odd self-analysis and judgement? I have heard from IB and Non-IB kids alike that there is a certain sense of elitism in and around our beloved program. Is there truth to this accusation? If such an attitude existed, is it justified, or if it exists has the majority of the IB community earned this sense of elitism? What does this elitism, or even this accusation (accusation is a bad word to use here because it implys wrongness which is not my intention, but I can think of no other that is more appropriate) of elitism mean about us and our accusers on an ethical or moral level? Thoughts, comments or further questions?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The IB Community Theme

Click here to see what the rest of the IB world is doing to address the issues identified in the Community Theme. Trust me, you are going to amazed by the amount of information, resources and examples of activites that have already been added. There are questions to consider, blogs to read, forums to participate in, challenges to become involved in... Take some time and browse around.

Ultimately, we would love for you to register and and start sharing your own ideas and activities. Remember, it's called "community" for a reason!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Seminar #2... The Persuaders

For those of you that watched "The Persuaders" during the last breakout session, please answer the following questions...

1. When others are trying to "persuade" you (politics, advertising, school debates, etc), which of the following WOKs have a greater impact on you, language or sense perception? Give an example (academic or personal).

2. How has your view of the worlds of advertising and politics changed after watching "The Persuaders"?

Mr. Malone

Marla and the Seniors

For those of you that took TOK last year and watched "My Kid Could Paint That" last breakout session, please answer any of the four posts below for seminar credit. This includes those posted by Oliver, Kelly R., alm, and Zoe.

To check out Marla's work... Click HERE.

And for those of you that haven't seen it yet, we'll be watching it in January.

Mr. Malone

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What is Art?

One of the biggest questions that watching "My Kid Could Paint That" left me with is: How do we judge what is termed 'art' and what isn't? For that matter, should we even be allowed to? If the old saying holds true, and beauty IS is in the eye of the beholder, then shouldn't the only standard for art be whether or not it sells? I personally have never cared who wrote a book, or who published a piece of music, or who painted an artwork. For me, when it comes to art, I use almost solely sense perception. If it sounds good or looks nice, if I enjoy it, then I consider it 'art'. That isn't to say that it isn't art if I don't enjoy it, because that isn't true either. Maybe it would be better to say that as long as someone, somewhere, feels an emotional connection to an artwork, it can be termed art.
Ultimately, I guess what I am asking is: how do you personally define art? Should there be societal standards like the ones that exist today, or is the old saying true? Is beauty in the eye of the beholder?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Art of Politics

I was flipping through a Newsweek and I found this article that is about how different political leaders were artists and this influenced their actions. I would like you to read the article and tell me what you think of it. For Anyone knowing anything about Hitler: Look at some of Hitler's pieces of work, what do you think? How do you know what you think?

The Art of Politics

Abstract Real Art

Looking at different pieces in a museum does it matter if it is an abstract piece or realistic? Which is real art, or does it matter? Please justify why you believe so: Knower's perspective. I think that individually you need to address this question before jumping to any conclusions about the movie. Either way you are biased (I know I'm not suppose to use that word but oh well). To show you what I mean I'm express mine:
Kelly Rappe: I'm an abstract artist myself so growing up seeing different artists and how they boil down their art down to the true essentials amazed me. I wanted to strive and see if I could do that. Don't get me wrong but I do enjoy realistic art, even though I'm horrible at it. I feel my emotions for all the abstract artists turned down in society make me want to stand up for all of them, even if it isn't true. I think both are real art. My sense perception also pays a role. Anyone who has been in an art class with me learns really fast that I think there art is really amazing because I think that criticizing it isn't true understanding.
-Kelly Rappe

Marla: Yay or Nay

So it seems like the main question the documentary, My Kid Could Paint That, was trying to answer at the end is: "Is Marla solely responsible for her artistic creations?" After watching the film I am still not sure how I would answer this. So what do you guys think, did she have help? Is she a child prodigy? Should it even matter? And of course, how do you justify your beliefs :)

Friday, November 14, 2008

My Kid Could Paint That - Filmmaker's role?

After watching "My Kid Could Paint That" on Friday (and after our short conversation during seminar) I was still left with lots of questions. One thing brought up both in the film and in our discussion was the role of the filmmaker in making the documentary. We talked about this before with the bridge/suicide video (should the filmmaker have intervened when filming people jumping off the bridge to save the people or should he have been completely distant - and could he have done the latter?) but do you think that his involvement of himself in the film helped the family's cause, hindered it, helped him answer his own questions etc? Basically, how do you think his intervention changed the film as well as others' perceptions of the family?
By the way...people who didn't see it today: Mr. Malone says you will be watching it in January. You can go to the website to see her paintings and some of the story though.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Concession Speech

On election night I was watching McCain's concession speech and I thought it was very well done. One thing I noticed though was the booing coming from the crowd, and I found I was proud of these people. Though I agree that at some point in the very near future they need to accept Obama as their president, I felt that it would have been pointless for all of McCain's supporters to not show their displeasure at his loss of the election. Many of them have been campaigning for him and supporting him for two years and I thought it very appropriate that they stayed with him right up to the very end. Being an Obama supporter I asked myself what I would have done had he lost, and I realized that on election night I would not have been able to change my loyalty immediately. So the question is, should this behavior be considered anti-patriotic or being a bad-sport??

Monday, October 27, 2008


Zoe, I was reading your racism post and I found it to be rather interesting, actually. I will respond to it in a bit but I began doing a little research (nothing big, just looking up some definitions) and I found this quote: "It especially annoys me when racists are accused of 'discrimination.' The ability to discriminate is a precious facility; by judging all members of one 'race' to be the same, the racist precisely shows himself incapable of discrimination." - Christopher Hitchens. I found this to be rather interesting as Mr. Hitchens is right in a sense; those who discriminate actually end up doing the complete opposite, by grouping entire races together, saying these people are all exactly the same, when personalities differ from person to person. What do you guys think? Is Mr. Hitchins correct in saying this? How do you justify your responses? What do you think about discrimination in general? Why do people discriminate?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Racism??? Part II

Sorry, the website/quote didn't get properly attached to my last post about racism. Here it is, I hope. York Voters Express Post-Election Hopes, Fears The lady I was most interested in was Moreland although the other responses are also good to look at. Also, if you can find the audio for it, it is interesting to compare how you feel reading it and her saying it (sense perception!)


I was listening to "All things considered" on NPR (10/24 - York Voters Express Post-Election Hopes, Fears: go to the npr website and find it there if my attachment doesn't work) and they were discussing how the country would be different if it was lead by a black man. One lady (Moreland) said: ""
I was shocked at what she said and how she prefaced what appeared to me to be a racist comment with "I'm not racist." It also raised the questions to me about racism and the election and how many people are voting based on race - despite years of civil rights work. What is your reaction to this woman's quote? Do you think she is racist? How do you think she justifies her ideas? 

Friday, October 24, 2008

Does Dark Matter matter?

Greetings to the Seminar Crowd ~

Your assignment for today's presentaion by Dr. Polhemus is to respond to the following 3 questions. Don't just state your opinion; try to justify your answers. Why do you think the way you do? Are you using logic to support your ideas? Emotion? Sense perception? Authority? Consensus? Faith? Something else?

A second part of this assignment is to respond/comment on the responses of at least two other responses.

  1. After listening to and viewing Dr. Polhemus, do you think dark matter exists? Did he convince you? Why or why not?
  2. What problems exist that may make it difficult for scientists to come to knowledge in an area like dark matter?
  3. Dr. P. gave several examples of times when astrophysicists have been wrong in the past, but because of new findings, they have shifted to a new way of thinking. (This is called a paradigm shift.) Explain a paradigm shift you have experienced. What was the original idea or theory, and what caused you to shift?

This is due by next Friday, Oct. 31.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Sometimes, it is interesting to practice using TOK justifications to advocate a belief that is nigh impossible to properly  justify, given human limitations. What about the shape of time, for example? Does it go in a straight line, or spiral, or a circle or a sphere?   Ok, I realize time is intangible, but I am limited by language, and 'shape' gets close enough. What I really want to know is how do you perceive time?Do you think it is hypothetically possible to skip backwards or forwards within it? Do the future and past exist in tandem with the present? What do you think, and more importantly, why? 

Rachel Dean

Friday, October 3, 2008

Decision 2008

Lately, as the US has been in the midst of the presidential and vice-presidential debates, I’ve been pondering why people gravitate toward one political party or the other. Why might one particular candidate appeal to certain individuals? What properly justified true beliefs do voters use to make their selection, and what knowledge issues result from this? For one who is politically neutral, how might the candidates use emotion, perception, language, reason and logic to win his or her vote? What fallacies arise?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Existence of God

I recently went to a forum on Science vs. Religion, the argument being that since DNA is a code, and all known codes have intelligent design behind it, is this proof enough that there is an intelligent design behind the creation of therefore a God? (which is a really vague question I know). I think it's interesting to ponder because evolution only explains the occurance of species, bu not really the beginning of life. At what instance did this planet go from having nothing to having something, whether it be as simple as a single celled cyanobacteria? Oh, and I'm defining a code as a something that can represent a functioning and larger meaning that is greater than the code itself. Also, a code is a constant thing that the actual code has a definite direction and meaning (ie the patterns on a persons face cannot be considered a code, because every human acts differently.)

Emilly Z.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Darwin Today

Sometimes these things just come to me, what can I say. At any rate, to what extent, if any, is our current society/world/culture still, if at all, running under the general rules of survival of the fittest? If we are, how has the definition of 'fitness' changed? Is this necesarily a good or bad thing? What do you think?

Depending on what you believe this could be a sensitive subject so please keep all comments respectful.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Of Good and Evil

A while back I was randomly thinking on the current state of our world and on the human condition, and something occured to me. In our world right now there is more good done for the sake of good than there is evil done for the sake of evil. But on the other hand there is much more migitated evil, which is evil done for some real or percieved advantage, than there is migitated good, which is good under the same context. Is this right or wrong? Thoughts?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

News and Truth

Since the seminar blog is rather... lacking to say the least in comparison to the ToK blog. I thought I'd kick it off with an interesting video I had found. (Seriously though seniors who took ToK last year should add something, cause people like me have no idea what to do.)

For this I have an interesting video which is about 10 minutes, so set aside a bit of time before you watch it.


The major question it brings up, should news organizations be held legally responsible to tell the truth? or would this impede on their rights as independent organizations?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

New TOK Blog

Welcome to the new TOK Seminar Blog...
As a member of TOK Seminar, this blog has been created to allow all of you to continue your discussions centered around the guest speakers, films and any other thoughts that come up along the way.