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TOK Presentation

"How do we know when we can trust evidence?"
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on 30 September 2013

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Transcript of TOK Presentation

"How do we know when we can trust evidence?"
Maria Ferroni and Natalie Tan

Introduction - Real Life Statement
15 March 2006 - It has been stated that Doc Juru, the Amazonian medicine man “appears to possess the power to change the weather patterns of the planet”. After scientists have closely been observing his dances since 2004, when his tribe was first discovered, the data has shown “consistent correlation between the steps of his dances and the weather”. (As told by an interpreter).
Natural sciences is one of the areas of knowledge related to this article. Natural sciences tries to find laws which this world works on and these laws can be seen through experiments and tests. The discovery of the power of the voodoo breaks laws which natural science makes about how the natural environment cannot be affected by a dance or foot steps and spinning.
So, what allows us to see how we can trust evidence?
Developments
"How do we know when we can trust evidence?
Conclusion
"How do we know when we can trust evidence?" From the developments, we can see three main areas that could be used to identify the reliability of evidence - natural sciences, history and reason. These three units display varying points on how we can trust evidence. Natural science bases the trusting of evidence on factual and proven data, history bases it on what has already been proven and known and reason looks at it based on how an individual thinks.
Natural Sciences
One of the AOKs related to this question would be natural sciences. Natural sciences consists of statements that usually require facts or clear evidence in order for them to be proven or "accepted".

If a statement is found to be false, unsatisfactory or simply not logical, it is usually pushed aside or removed altogether.
History
However, as no further statement regarding this has been displayed, such as the statistics of the weather before Doc Juru's time, or the actual family line, it cannot be said that that piece of evidence is 100% reliable. Also, before reading this article, I personally had no prior knowledge of Doc Juru, his abilities or anything of that sort. I feel that this is something that would have been blown up in order to let the world know of this amazing phenomenon as soon as it was discovered, but the article was only written 2 years after his discovery.
Natural Sciences
Regarding this KQ, "How do we know when we can trust evidence", natural sciences play a big role in developing and displaying how evidence is trusted. For example, a scientist would not simply trust a newspaper article that only claimed to have reliable sources despite not actually stating and crediting the source itself. This relates back to the RLS as no primary source is properly credited, and the only form of "evidence" given are quotes, which is why it is seen as unreliable.
Natural Sciences
This discovery of "Doc Juru" also breaks the logic of what has been known in the world of natural science for centuries. Even the article itself, despite it's unreliability, states that "there's something here that we just don't understand with our current science". Is it really a question of understanding? If there is something not understood by science, there is usually further research carried out in order to find an acceptable explanation, which is also why this RLS can be seen as unreliable despite its "evidence".
History
Another AOK that can be associated with this RLS would be history. The article has stated that observations have shown that Doc Juru has been able to control the weather due to coming from "an ancient line of weather makers who have preserved the Jungle's climate for longer than anyone can remember". If this was truly the case, it can be seen that history does indeed prove that his ability to control the weather might be legitimate.
Reason
One WOK that can be associated with the RLS would be reason. The things we do, see and hear in every day life are often based on how reasonable they are. A logical person does not blindly follow a leader just because the leader claims to be able to do something without any supporting evidence. The article was based on a complete theoretical stance, as no in depth evidence was found. Therefore, the only other way for us to judge the article would be with reason.

Reason
While "evidence" shows that even scientists have come to the conclusion that Doc Juru's abilities are real, it still states that there was skepticism at first, and with good reason. Does the average human really perceive this article as reliable? With no clear statements to prove whether or not the main point of the article was 100% accurate, it has been left to each individuals mind to decide on what to believe.
Conclusion
After taking a look at these three AOKs and WOKs, we can see that we know evidence can be trusted when there is sufficient verification and information supporting the evidence and when it seems most likely that the evidence given is justifiable, reasonable and authentic, and not fraudulent.
Back to RLS
The article on a Voodoo dancing up a storm does not come from a reliable source and also isn’t very realistic as it does not derive from a scientific point of view and also cannot be proved. This also applies to another real life situation. A Billionaire has supposedly burst into flames in the Cote D’azur, France. How the sunbather burst into flames is inexplicable, the eye witness explains he burst into flames all of a sudden.
Back to RLS
Apart from the fact that his story seems unreasonable it also is unreliable because he is biased. The Ice cream vendor which was the eyewitness at that moment says he would not have saved the life even if he could. Like the previous article about the voodoo, this article does not prove facts with any natural science law which are usually applied in these cases. The significance of our topic is shown through our claims which relate back to WOK’s and AOK’s to discuss about how we can trust evidence.
The article seems reliable as it describes that many scientists are involved such as “Dr Wolfgang” although they were all baffled and skeptic at first to come across things that our current science cannot explain.
There isn’t much evidence which has determined that the voodoo’s steps and the weather are actually related. This Voodoo Doc has described his process of changing the weather by dancing hard which makes it rain and spinning which creates a hurricane. These steps are not very descriptive and the article does not construct further information about how the medicine man actually creates this dance or where it descends from.

History is another AOK because in the article it states he is a descendant of an ancient line of weather makers who have preserved the jungle’s climate longer than anyone can remember. This shows how the dance steps the voodoo does might not be something taken out of his fiction or imagination and might be constructed from something more although there isn’t any specified proof of that either.
One of the WOK’s this article relates to is reason. Everything we perceive and accept to believe is reasonable. Reason is also one of the ways we know how to trust evidence. In this case the article talks about something very abstract which therefore does not seem very reasonable.
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