Watch the above TED Talk by Sam Harris titled, “Science can answer moral questions” and consider the following:
- Summarize his thesis in 1-3 sentences
- What are the strengths of Harris’ argument?
- What are the weaknesses of Harris’ argument?
- Ok, so lets say you agree with all he has to say, where does that leave us? What are next steps?
We will be generating our debate topics collectively, and they will be updated here:
However in the mean time, the rubric that will be used to evaluate your debate can be found here: TOK debate rubric
Download the learning helper linked here to facilitate your investigation and understanding of ethical systems: Ethics Jigsaw
Utilize the PDF on Truth Theories linked below:
Truth Theories Understood
Each of you will be assigned to a “theory” either:
In your group, you need to decide if the following statement is TRUE based on your assigned theory:
“The attacks on the world trade center on 9/11 in NYC were facilitated by elements of the United States Government”
“Drake is the greatest hip hop artist currently making music”
“Harvard is in the Ivy league”
For discussion and reflection (and maybe a journal entry or two):
- Why does the ram make Grendel angry..why is he so angry period?
- Contemplate Grendel as other characters from lit. Does he remind you of anyone? For me, it’s Holden from Catcher in rye, The narrator from notes from underground; what is genesis of frustration in all these characters?
- What does Grendel think of the humans behavior as they’re observing him in the tree
- Pg. 13– “I understood that the world was nothing: a mechanical chaos of casual brute enmity in which we stupidly impose our hopes and fears” discuss
- Page 16 is crucial… “suddenly I knew I was dealing with the most dangerous creatures I had ever met— pattern makers”
- Middle of 17 also.. “all that I had come to understand— the meaningless object ness of the world, the universal brutality
- Why, at the bottom of 18, does he state aloud what perceptions he is experiencing?
- What is meant by, “ I observe myself experiencing what I observe”?
Read the short essay penned by Author Sam Harris titled, “Sleep Walking Toward Armageddon.”
When finished, reflect on the following questions:
- Harris writes, “Which will come first, flying cars and vacations to Mars, or a simple acknowledgment that beliefs guide behavior and that certain religious ideas—jihad, martyrdom, blasphemy, apostasy—reliably lead to oppression and murder?” What are your thoughts on this statement? There is no doubt beliefs guide behavior, but do the beliefs stated lead to the behavior cited?
- To what extent should beliefs that lead to bad behavior be tolerated?
- What are the individual and societal benefits of religious knowledge systems? If they were to be eliminated, what would take their place and fulfill the benefits you stated?
- Harris puts forth the thesis that acknowledging and critiquing of the “dangerous beliefs” which he states are inherent in Islam would be a start to solving the problems that he believes stem from islam. Do you agree? How would it and how wouldn’t it?
- What is the way forward? Education? Censorship?