Adrian’s Healthy Habits

Fitness

Take part in a physical activity 3 times a week.

Food

Include at least 2 servings of green vegetables per day into your diet.

Drink 1-2 litres of water everyday

Sleep

Read a hard copy of a book/magazine 30-60min before bed.

Welcome to your iFolio

Your iFolio is a school provided web space that you will use throughout your time at CDNIS. You will use your iFolio to define your learning goals, show your learning journey, reflect on your learning and how you have developed your Approaches to Learning skills, share your best work and celebrate your achievements.

Your iFolio, in time will provide a better picture of who you are as a learner and as an individual. You are therefore highly encouraged to personalize your iFolio. You can start off by selecting one of the 60+ themes available.

Before you start using your new iFolio, follow the steps below to change the ‘Home’ link within your navigation menu to point to your site:

1. Go to your Dashboard menu options (link will open in a new tab)

2. Expand the ‘Home’ menu item by clicking on the downward facing arrow

Home Menu

Change Home Menu Attribute

3. Append the URL to read http://sites.cdnis.edu.hk/students/your_student_number, where your student number is in the form of six digits e.g. 012345 (you can find your student number on your library card)

Home URL

Home URL Link

A final note, please bear in mind that your iFolio is a publicly accessible space, and ensure that the content you post and the language you use is appropriate.

Feel free to delete this post from your Dashboard once you have finished reading it!

Featured image used in this post by Nathan via Flickr Creative Commons

Comparing the Human Sciences with the Natural Sciences

Human Sciences are a branch of study that deals with people or their actions, including the social sciences and the humanities (Ex. economics, psychology, geography)

Natural Sciences are a branch of study that deals with the physical world (Ex. chemistry, physics, biology).

In the task that we were given in class, we were given a real life situation and were told to develop questions related to the event from both a human scientists perspective and a natural scientists perspective. Then we would brainstorm ways to answer the questions that we came up with in the previous section. In terms of the reliability/certainty of the knowledge that the experts will acquire, I believe that the knowledge of the natural scientists will be more reliable/certain; whereas the knowledge of the human scientists will be less reliable/certain. This is because natural scientists deal with controllable variables in the natural world, and their research can also be validated by other scientists via the scientific method. On the other hand, human scientists will have to deal with the ever-changing variables that humans will bring to their research, forcing these scientists to make more generalised assumptions.

In natural sciences, the repeatable methodology in the scientific method, controllable variables and the same underlying understanding of the world contribute to the reliability of the knowledge. In human sciences, the generalisations made help to create a better overall understanding of the knowledge, however the lack of a repeatable methodology and uncontrollable variables strips some of the reliability and certainty of the knowledge in human sciences. A way for human sciences to increase the reliability of their claims could be to adopt a research method similar to the natural sciences’ scientific method, in order to reduce bias and unreliability.

In general, we can say that while the human sciences do give us a better understanding of human nature, we should not overly rely on the knowledge in human sciences to inform our decisions. This is because humans are not like inanimate objects in the natural world that all follow a certain pattern, we are ever-changing. As a result, human sciences can be used to inform our decisions, but these decisions must not be based solely on the knowledge of human sciences.

Making a Human Sciences Research Question with Issues

Link to presentation, hope you enjoy!!!

Math: Discovered or Invented?

Link to the presentation that Jackie and I created, hope you enjoy!

Math Proof and Axioms

Knowledge Question: If we treat mathematics as a kind of game with it’s own set of rules. Then to what extent can the rules of mathematics be changed, but can still be treated as the same kind of “game”?

Scope/Applications:

The scope of this knowledge question (KQ) is mathematics and is the study of quantity, space, shape and change. By applying the important knowledge in mathematics regarding quantities, spaces, shapes and changes, we can learn more definite truths about the world around us. Some practical problems that maths helps to solve can be as simple as how much change you should receive after paying for something, to something as difficult as black holes. Currently some of the main questions that mathematicians are trying to find answers to are the remaining unanswered millennial prize problems.

Concepts/Language:

The foundation of mathematics, mathematical axioms are the initially concepts that mathematicians use for their mathematical proofs. However in order for mathematicians to be able to solve new and harder problems, they have been forced to bend some of the fundamental axioms in order to solve these problems. However in doing so, have mathematicians stepped into a new “game” of mathematics; or are they simply playing the same “game” with revised rules?

Methodology:

Answering this question would require one to fully understand all the different mathematical axioms there are, and then look at all the different “games” of mathematics that are a result of changing the basic Euclidian axioms. Then one should see whether the kind of mathematics done in these new “games” are fundamentally the same as regular, traditional mathematics; or are something entirely different.

Historical Development:

Axioms in Euclidian geometry can be considered to be the fundamental “rules” for the game of mathematics. Much later on in time, Hyperbolic and Elliptic geometry modified these “rules” so that they can work in other situations. One can look into these relatively newer forms of geometry and compare the mathematics done in Hyperbolic, Elliptic and Euclidian geometry to see whether they are fundamentally the same; or completely different.

Links to Personal Knowledge:

As of right now, I am only versed in the axioms of Euclidian axioms (ie Things that coincide with one another equal one another) and the mathematics behind Euclidian geometry (ie the sum of the interior angles of a triangle is 180º).

Math Scope

  1. What is the difference between a conjecture and a theorem?

In terms of mathematics, conjectures are mathematical statements that are unproven, but generally believed to be true. Theorems are mathematical statements that are proved using rigorous mathematical reasoning.

  1. In THE VIDEO  Eduardo Saenz de Cabezon uses the example of people being surprised that folding a normal piece of paper 50 times, will reach a thickness as high as the sun. He challenges us to ‘do the math’ and see that he is correct. What do you think meant when he said that Maths dominates intuition and tames creativity? Do you agree with this?

He means that just the thought of the thickness of a normal piece of paper being folded 50 times, being the same height as the sun seems impossible. Your intuition tells you that it is impossible and blinds you to the possibility that the piece of paper’s thickness could be the same height as the sun. As a result mathematics ensures that our creativity does not go out of control, and giving us a set parameter for which our imagination to work within. For example, if we didn’t know that folding a normal piece of paper 50 times will reach a thickness as high as the sun, then there are many different possible alternatives that our minds can conjure up.

  1. Saenz de Cabezon claims that the truths in maths are eternal. Do you think this gives maths a privileged position in TOK?

I believe that due to the eternal truths present in mathematics, it should be given a privileged position in TOK; or at least be recognised in some way. Out of the 6 different AOKs, maths is the only one whose ‘truths’ can be considered to be eternal. In the other 5 AOKs the information and ‘truths’ are not 100% eternal, and can always be upturned if new contradicting evidence arises.

  1. List any of the knowledge questions related to maths that came out of your discussion in class.

As a result of math’s eternal truths, can math be considered the closest thing that we have to the words of ‘God’? Despite the cheesy line, I have always wondered whether this is true or not. If math is forever true, then can the conclusions that we make through math be considered to be eternally true? If so then are these eternal ‘truths’ universal laws? As a result, can maths always come up with the ultimate solution to everything; or at least provide a way to reach the ultimate solution?

The Truth in Art

Essay #1: Art vs Science

The essay mainly describes how like science, art is also able to convey information about the human experience to the audience. This is because there are simply some things that cannot be expressed in a mathematical equation or a scientific hypothesis, but are better off expressed in some kind of art form.  For example the effects that the Vietnam war had on the Vietnamese people. While a historically objective recount of the events of the Vietnam war and it’s effects could provide us with a picture of the war, an image similar to that of Nick Ut’s image of naked children running away from a napalm attack crying provides us with a much better idea of the horrors that the Vietnamese had to endure throughout the Vietnam War.

Image result for vietnam war images

Essay #2: Art and Truth

In this essay, we look at the relationship between the truth and works of art. In the most obvious case, factually true statements can give us correct information about things like historical settings. Many people think that another example of truth in art can be found in photographs, since you cannot fake anything in a raw-unedited photograph. However if a set of pictures is published showing only part of the story. For example in a violent protest, the photographer can either focus on the violent demonstrators or the harsh police. Furthermore wouldn’t the photograph’s caption also tell a story? Leading us to ask, was the story every really ‘true’ in the first place? Overall I believe the essay is trying to say that truth and knowledge do not necessarily need to be outright labelled, in order to prove that they are present in the arts.

After Reading the Related TOK Chapter

The content of the 2 essays that I read reflect the content of the TOK chapter, because both talk about how there are multiple ways of defining truth in art and how truth in art is different from truth in science. It also reflects how both essays suggest that the knowledge in art is inherently for an aesthetic, emotional, moral or other intellectual purpose. The chapter also reflects how in both essays, the knowledge gained from the arts is purely subjective. The knowledge that one person gained from one piece of art, may be different then the knowledge that another person gained from the same piece of art.

What is Art?

Claim: There is no real purpose for the arts.

After reading this link on whether knowledge can be found in works of art, I believe that art does have a purpose in our lives in more ways than one. In the article, it says that art helps to give us conceptual knowledge of our own concepts (ie personal feelings, mental states, etc.), moral knowledge and knowledge of alternate possibilities. Art can help to transfer a great deal more information than we care to give it credit for, because it also helps to deepen and enhance our aesthetic experience of the world. A debatable topic that could take up hundreds of words and is full of complex analogies, can easily be answered in a piece of visual art.

Another purpose for art is to entertain, and this purpose is especially prominent in art forms like film, tv, dance, etc. While entertaining they can also broaden our perspectives and our knowledge, exactly like how the article describes. Take the popular anime series Steins; Gate for example. It serves it’s purpose to both entertain the audience, and to open their minds to the possibility of time travel and it’s effects and/or consequences.

However one could claim that art has no real purpose if the audience cannot interpret the art piece. In everyone’s lifetime, everyone has probably seen at least one art piece that they look at and have absolutely no reaction to. Take the famous painting the Mona Lisa for example. Unless you were a professional artist/ art critic, or have extensive knowledge regarding the arts. Most people would probably just look at the painting and not feel anything except maybe disappointed and underwhelmed.

As a result, I believe that art does have a purpose in our everyday lives. However this purpose is only ever truly realised if the audience is able to understand and interpret the art piece themselves, if they can not, then the art piece loses value and simply becomes in all intents and purposes simply something that takes up space.

Competing Theories in Natural Science

In TOK we discussed the claim: “With claims in science, there is always a trade-off between accuracy and simplicity.”. Personally, I agree that the more simplistic something is in science, the less accurate it will be. For example if I simply describe my apartment to be 1135 square feet, than you do not gain any accurate image of what my apartment looks like other than it’s dimensions. However if I said that my apartment has 3 bedrooms, a bathroom between two of them, a kitchen, a living room with all sorts of furniture, then you will have a more accurate image of what my apartment looks like.

Another simple but real and applicable example is induction in science. If we test for whether metals will expand when heated, and we test, and see that Metal A, Metal B and Metal C all expand when heated. We usually then conclude that since metals A,B and C all expand when heated, that all metals will expand when heated. The only problem with this is that we do not know this to be a universal fact, because we actually have not observed that all metals will expand when heated. Therefore while our conclusion that all metals will expand when heated is simple, it is not 100% accurate since we have not tested whether all metals will expand when heated. 

This is a good example of “Occam’s Razor”, which is a problem solving principle that states when there are competing theories, the one with fewer assumptions is the best. “Occam’s Razor” also shows the preference for simplicity in the scientific method

However the trade-off between accuracy and simplicity may not always happen. For example we take Newton’s second law (F=ma), where mass and acceleration is constant. It is both simplistic to use and accurate in finding the force of something if you know it’s mass and acceleration and that these stay constant.

Facts and Theories in Natural Science

Claim: Science is objective and descriptive, while the arts are creative and interpretive.

In my personal opinion, I believe that the above claim about the arts being creative and interpretive is pretty spot-on. The entire goal of the arts is to allow individuals or groups to express their ideas creatively, even though some other people may misinterpret the artists intentions. A good example of this is the Mona Lisa, a famous piece of art created by Leonardo da Vinci where the purpose of some of the paintings aspects are a mystery and up for interpretation.

However the claim about science being objective and descriptive may not necessarily be true in all instances. In our TOK class, we participated in a activity where we were aspiring “archaeologists digging up a new fossil”. When piecing together the bones of the unknown creature, we called upon prior knowledge of animal fossils, we looked at other groups arrangements of the bones and discussed with them about possibilities regarding the creatures identity and we searched through a booklet of other animal bones in order to find similarities to help us identify the creature. However this is not objective science because throughout the process, we were hindering the production of knowledge through our own personal confirmation bias. None of us knew whether our fossil was a previously undiscovered species or not, but we did not consider it in our investigation and thus was blinded to the possibility. This may also be done with professionals in the actual field, who because of confirmation bias may arrange the bones so that they fit the description of the bones of previously discovered species instead.

In conclusion, art and science are not that different in this aspect. Both may require the artist or scientist to draw upon past experiences, past knowledge or pre-established knowledge in order to fill in the uncertainties that they face in their respective fields.

Pseudoscience

In all honesty I believe that the distinction between what is/is not art and the distinction between what is science and what is pseudoscience are two different things. This is because art as a subject is all about showing ones perspective and ideas  and is suppose to spark debate between two or more points of view. In conclusion, saying that the distinction of what is art and what is not art is not always very clear is accurate. However could the same be said about science and pseudoscience?

Pseudoscience consists of statements, beliefs or practises that are claimed to be factual or based on the scientific method, but are actually not based on any hard evidence and not constrained by appropriate scientific methods. However the distinction between pseudoscience and real science is different to find since it is littered with definitional disagreements and the categories are too broad and fuzzy to solidly determine what is pseudoscience or not. In science we have the scientific method where we observe things in the natural world and then find further evidence to support our observations, in order to eventually create a general theory or formula. A famous example of this is Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution where he observed the differences in different species of finches, then collected more evidence which eventually led to his theory. Pseudoscience is notorious for doing the opposite of the scientific theory, where it starts by having a general theory and then starts finding evidence of that, and sometimes refuting contradictory evidence. An example of this is astrology (not to be confused with astronomy), where people are designated to be of a certain zodiac and will thus display certain traits. For example a person born from April 20 – May 20 is a Taurus and will thus display the things that a Taurus likes and dislikes. However the problem with disproving that there is no grounds for making such a claim is that it is technically true in a way. You cannot prove that no Taurus does not display the traits that a Taurus is “supposed” to have, because the strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes of a Taurus or of any horoscope is simply too general to not apply to a wide range of people. As a result, people who believe in the horoscope can say that based on this method, the horoscopes are real.

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