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TOK: Biology

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by

Alex King

on 8 April 2013

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Transcript of TOK: Biology

As an Area of Knowledge The Natural Sciences:
BIOLOGY History of Biology Creationism vs. Evolution Creationism vs. Evolution A Complex Issue Evolution directly contradicts the literal interpretation of Genesis Chapter 1.
Therefore, mostly only concerned with religious fundamentalists. Main Issues There is great uncertainty withing the scientific community of the exact mechanisms behind evolution.
Used as a weapon against evolution. Not Evolution? Darwin's "Origin of Species" was made up of two sections.
Evidence for evolution as a process.
A suggestion for the mechanism behind evolution.
However, the mechanisms behind evolution
Are still poorly understood
Are being actively researched Read the small print... Within the scientific community... Evolution is treated as a fact, but...
Nothing is certain within science.
But evolution has been supported in countless experiments and investigations
It would be perverse to not give it that status. As an Area of Knowledge The Natural Sciences:
BIOLOGY Biology: Our guide to the natural world The Ancient Egyptians were the forefront of medicine, performing surgeries, bone setting and developing pharmaceuticals far beyond their time. Biology Through the Ages:
A Tale of Embalming, Gladiators and Leeches Galen's anatomy proposed that the arteries and veins circulated air throughout the body like a sort of respiratory system. In medieval Europe, leeches were used to treat just about everything from a headache to a blood infection. The development of new technologies was key to biology It enabled us to explore aspects of the world beyond what we can see. Biology and the 'Ways of Knowing' Perception All science is grounded in logic and theorising Reason Biology has it's own unique language Language Emotion is perhaps the least involved way of knowing when it comes to science Emotion is the key to Biology Almost all experiments hinge on what scientists can see Observation is a vital part of the scientific method But to what extent can we rely on what we perceive? Many argue that all scientific theories and laws
must be consistent with observational fact. There are hundreds of factors which alter, select and specify what it is that we perceive Confirmation Bias We see what we want to see We ignore outliers and anomalous data And what if what we're studying...
can't be perceived at all? Mathematics, the epitome of reason, is often used to graph and determine trends and make future predictions Inductive and Deductive Reasoning All animals in class Reptilia have scales
A snake has scales
Therefore a snake is a reptile Reason means we can apply what we know without having to test every time But how many observations must be made before we can make generalisations? Humans have the tendency to jump to conclusions We think because we know something about Earth, it will apply to all of space, time and reality - when in actual fact, what we know is minute But to lose the ability to generalise would mean sacrificing many disciplines across the natural sciences Do you know what a zwitterion is? No? How about something a little easier - pseudopodia What about something really peculiar...
Where would I find the Basal Ganglia? All of these terms mean nothing when taken out of a biological context It is actually often viewed as a barrier to scientific knowledge This is because it can lead to researcher bias and cloud logical judgement However... It is also a potent drive for the acquisition of knowledge And it was the innate human curiosity which lead to advances in biology, and caused humans to always want to know more Science: The way to true knowledge? Science is considered the dominant cognitive paradigm or model of knowledge But scientists are not always right, and just because something is 'scientific' does not make it true! Science or Pseudoscience? Phrenology The Scientific Method Observation

Hypothesis

Experimentation

Creation of a new law

Development of a theory. 'Double blind' studies help to reduce researcher bias Clinical trials have an extremely stringent testing criteria, with hundreds of regulations in place to protect the participants and the proper development of the drug Knowledge Issues in Biology Evolution and Creationism The Big Picture Evolution is a scientific explanation for the 'big questions' - why are we here? Why do we look, think and act the way we do? But for centuries, humans have turned to religion to answer these questions...
So it's no wonder that even in Darwin's time, it was met with strong resistance. Conclusion The pride and trust we feel in science and the scientific method should be tempered with critical evaluation and thinking Biology as a natural science and area of knowledge has been largely responsible for the enormous growth in human knowledge over the past century, and has helped us to better understand ourselves and the world around us. There is no empirical test to disprove the existence of god, he could just be using science and evolution as a method for creation... God or no God?
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