How do imagination and belief affect knowledge? Does imagination and belief impede or support our ability to consider new facts? In this particular Theory of Knowledge class, we broadened our discussion to general concepts of induction versus deduction: how do data and theory relate?
One particular question from Mr. Boyd sparked a debate that prompted us to leave our seats and assemble around the room according to our beliefs: Are GMO’s [genetically modified organisms] good or bad?
The majority of the class assembled in the area of “bad” while three of us hovered in the middle, and two stood on the side of “good.” Mr. Boyd encouraged us to discuss, debate and have an open mind; we might even find ourselves opting to change our stance. “How do you know? What do you have to support your belief?”
The activity went on for a while, with passionate remarks being made on all three accounts. Students offered personal experience, medical publications and even teachings from parents who are nutritionists. As the discussions went on, the three of us in the middle were soon joined by one of the two “good” supporters, and a couple students from the “bad” side. No one completely changed sides though.
Time flew. Everyone was engaged and active. Even I was so enthralled in the activity that it never occurred to me to snap a photo of the students up and moving around the room. That was all a good sign, in my opinion. When one 50-minute class can ignite passionate debate; inspire you to delve into complex notions of theory and data, authority and belief; and question your reasoning while at the same time make you forget everything but the topic at hand ... well, that’s a great class discussion. That’s Theory of Knowledge.
Stay tuned for next week’s reflection on IB Visual Art.