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IB TOK presentation

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Evelin Preciado

on 12 May 2015

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To what extent is relying solely on reason effective as a way of reaching "truths" in the natural sciences
TOK Presentation:
Exploitation of the Natural Resources and What Motivates People to Care About the Natural World
By:Evelin and Griselda

Knowledge Issue:
Human exploitation of natural resources
A way of distinguishing possibilities from realities
A way of helping people come to an agreement

Both of these ways utilize reason to reach a logical (fact-based) conclusion

Without science debates and arguments would be limitless
Current Western Perspective
What is being done right now?
Science is very effective in western society because a large percentage of the western population is very skeptical about any news presented unless their are facts and data to support claims made
Real Life Situation:
Although solely relying on reason can be ineffective
the same can be true about emotion
It's generally accepted that science is based on reason

What Mayan Elders are saying about 2012
“We are no longer in the World of the Fourth Sun, but we are not yet in the World of the Fifth Sun. This is the time in-between, the time of transition. As we pass through transition there is a colossal, global convergence of environmental destruction, social chaos, war, and ongoing Earth Changes.”
He continues: “Humanity will continue, but in a different way. Material structures will change. From this we will have the opportunity to be more human. We are living in the most important era of the Mayan calendars and prophecies. All the prophecies of the world, all the traditions are converging now. There is no time for games. The spiritual ideal of this era is action.”
-Carlos Barrios, Mayan elder and Ajq’ij (is a ceremonial priest and spiritual guide) of the Eagle Clan.
The Environmental Movement
sustainable management of resources
Religion can often have a bigger influence on people due to people's emotional connection to their religious beliefs thus causing more action or lack of, in response to human's exploitation of the natural world
To a great extent it can be ineffective to rely solely on only reason as a way of understanding natural sciences because without emotion it lacks progression
But with too much emotion it can lead to self interest(inconsideration of others)

When coming into terms of the exploitation of natural resources(Earth) it can be difficult to create change or make an impact if social movements like the environmental movement chose only use science as there driving force
Why humans, "don't care"
Examples of what is not being done to lessen or reverse exploitation and why:
The Utilitarian Theory
Self-interest theory
Self-interest theory
According to self-interest theory, human beings are always and everywhere selfish. Since selfish behavior is usually seen as the opposite of moral behavior, this theory suggests that, even if there are objective moral values, we are incapable of living up to them.
Utilitarian Theory
The proper course of action is the one that maximizes utility, specifically defined as maximizing happiness and reducing suffering.
Action----> Consequence
Commend and action if it produces benefits, advantages,
pleasure, good or happiness and prevents mischief, pain
or unhappiness
"When a group was asked about their commitment to the environment and whether it was their responsibility to pick up litter, 94 percent of the 500 people agreed that this did, indeed, fall on their shoulders. To test their commitment, the research team scattered litter where the group would exit to find that a mere 2 percent of the group followed through with their agreement to pick up litter, according to a study in the Journal of Social Psychology."
religion can both be beneficial as well as
destructive to the natural world
Humans that care but don't take action
An example of how religion can help influence people to value the environment and lead them to view the exploitation of the natural world negatively are the Native Americans.
Many North American tribes developed a moral and conservationist relationship with nature (N. Scott Momaday) and saw the need to use their natural resources substainbility due to there belief in the spiritual value of everything. They also view themselves as part of nature.
“I do not think the measure of a civilization
is how tall its buildings of concrete are,
But rather how well its people have learned to relate
to their environment and fellow man.”
~ Sun Bear of the Chippewa Tribe ~
Key Barriers:

Negative Emotional Feedback
Keystone XL oil pipeline between the U.S. and Canada.
Reason: for the sake of not destroying ourselves in the process of destroying the environment (prevention)
"Environmentalists need to start seeing people as the solution, not the problem."
Ex: wind/solar energy to generate electricity
Reforestation to generate more oxygen
Greenhouse gas emissions that are estimated to be about 20 percent greater than other oil sources.
But religion can also indirectly cause exploitation of natural resources. An example of this is the catholic church since it opposes the use of contraceptives which contributes to overpopulation which in turn allows for the justification of exploitation the natural world .
Definition of Science
Definition of Natural Resource:A feature or component of the natural environment that is of value in serving human needs, e.g. soil, water, wildlife, etc. Some natural resources have an economic value (e.g. timber) while others have a 'non-economic' value (e.g. scenic beauty) 1.

Definition of exploit
— vb
2.to take advantage of, esp unethically or unjustly for one's own ends
3.to make the best use of: to exploit natural resources
Exploitation of natural resources not only leads
to the depletion of the natural world and
destruction of animals habitats which contributes to the extinction of many species but it also lead to the displacement people especially that of indigenous people.
Reason Vs Emotion usingScience
In general relying on science is viewed as
reasonable since it involves extensive and constant
Science can be ineffective in sending a
message since there is also a lot of people who don't believe in science or don't understand it.
How the media influences whether "we care" or "don't care" in taking action to prevent and fix exploitation of natural resources
How do humans approach the issue of exploiting resources?
Self-interest theory
Utilitarian Theory
Self interest or utilitarian
to prevent further exploitation of resources
Self-interest- emotion more than reason
What is best for everyone
Others approach this movement specifically more for the sake of caring for the environment more than the benefits it would bring to humans(lack of emotion towards humans)
Example of an extremity:
Church of Euthanasia:
Both utilize both emotion and reason
Capable of reaching a "truth" in the sciences yet it would be deemed unethical
Reason: strive for a decrease in population
therefore fixing the overpopulation problem
Which would utilize both reason and emotion
Utilitarian- balance between reason and emotion
ex: what is best long term for the majority
ex: personal economic gain
To what extent is relying solely on reason effective as a way of reaching "truths" in the natural sciences?
The way media portrays the sciences specifically with relation to the exploitation of resources
"the UK has ratified the Kyoto Protocol, which calls for a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, whereas the USA, the world's biggest producer of carbon dioxide, has so far refused to do likewise." (self-interest)
… a lack of training among journalists, and a lack of time to investigate a story and its background can therefore act detrimentally to the translation of science into information
"…if the process of media framing […] confuses rather than clarifies scientific understanding, it creates opportunities for policy-makers to defray responsibility and delay action"
Utilizing emotion as a means to sway the public's interpretation and understanding of facts
In a speech on the US Senate floor in 2003, Republican Senator James Inhofe, former Chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, called climate change “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people”.
yet when we merely only provide statistics on
scientific data the public will stand in neutrality on
the subject.
“We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”
Social sciences impact on the natural sciences
-Aldo Leopold
It must remain as balance between reason and emotion in order to recognize a scientific truth and generate an action to fix it.
Emotion must not be of self interest but of utilitarian for an advancement of a whole towards environmental awareness and action
How does relying just on reason shape people's views on the environment?
Putting it all together
The proper course of action is the one that
maximizes utility, in maximizing happiness and reducing suffering for the
Church of Euthanasia
Native American spirituality towards nature
Catholic church stance against birth control
Data/statistics without any emotion
generates neutrality therefore slower or no
Politician's rejection of the oil pipeline
Fox news false/manipulated statistics
Point of View #1
Point of View #2
Point of View #3
How the human sciences impact perception and actions taken towards the environment
Media and Religion
Full transcript