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  • Tell a man there are 300 billion stars in the universe and he’ll believe you. Tell him a bench has wet paint on it and he’ll have to touch to be sure.
  • Anon
  • Our next unit will be to examine what is the role of evidence in our pursuit of certainty about our world. Do we need evidence in order for something to be true? If we do, what qualifies as "good" evidence? We will focus our discussion around the ways of knowing and the areas of knowledge of the Natural Sciences, the Human Sciences and History.

Essential Questions


1. Do sense perception, reason and emotion have the same weight in providing good evidence?

2. What is the role of evidence in the Natural Sciences, particularly the scientific method? Is there just one scientific method?

3. Does the amount of people who agree (consensus) that something is "true" qualify as evidence?

4. What constitutes good evidence in the human sciences? Can human behaviour be subject to laws in the same way as the material world?

5. What constitutes a fact? Must facts be empirically derived and are all sources of facts "created equal"? In the absence of evidence, is certainty possible? Can there be certainty about a claim that is false?

6. What is unique about the methodology of history? Is eyewitness testimony a reliable source of evidence? Is the historian a creator or the recorder of the past?

7. What constitutes good evidence within the different ways of knowing and areas of knowledge? (Comparing NS, HS, and History)

8. What is the role of evidence in changing how we understand and explain the world? (paradigm shifts)


Assessment

Your summative assessment for this unit will be a presentation. This will be our second opportunity to demonstrate our ability to verbally extract and evaluate a knowledge question. The presentation will be one a topic of your choosing that reflects the relationship between the Natural Sciences, the Human Sciences and History in regards to their use, reliance and evaluation of evidence. For more details on deadlines and requirements, see the Evidence Presentation Description

To prepare for this presentation and to organize your ideas for future assessments, please download and complete a knowledge framework for each AOK covered in this unit.


Week
Topics
Activities
1
Do sense perception, reason and emotion have the same weight in providing good evidence for claims?

Must evidence always be expressed in words?
Eye Witness Activity Starter


Empirical Evidence and its Role in the Scientific Method
Discussion on the Development of the Scientific Method (In Our Time)



Timeline of Scientific Method

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2
What is the role of evidence in the Natural Sciences, particularly the scientific method? Is there just one scientific method?
Introduction to Paradigm Shifts-Thomas Kuhn

What does it take to change to change a paradigm in the Natural Sciences? To what extent does "normal science" stifle change to our established way of explaining the world?
(Class Discussion)

Bad Science
Battling Bad Science: Ben Goldcare Ted Talk

Pseudo Science Research Activity
Complete Knowledge Framework for Natural Sciences
History of Science Museum

Timeline of Scientific Discoveries
3
Does the amount of people who agree(consensus) that something is "true" qualify as evidence?
Why Economics is hard and Physics is easy- How do you acquire evidence in the Human Sciences?:






Personality Test

How reliable is evidence in the Human Sciences?: Pepsi Challenge
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Conflicting Paradigms in the Human Science- A Help or a Hindrance

Disagreements on Conformity in Psychology

Simple Explanation of Conflicting Paradigms in Sociology


Why Economists Disagree about the Economy



To what extent do the paradigms of the Human Sciences help or hinder the Human Sciences? (Class Discussion)
4
What constitutes good evidence in the human sciences? Can human behaviour be subject to laws in the same way as the material world?
Evaluating Evidence in Human Sciences Activity





Evidence for Knowledge claims: Evidence & gender differences

Case Study in Political Science: "One Muslim is Enough"
5
In the absence of evidence, is certainty possible? Can there be certainty about a claim that is false?
HOW HISTORY DEALS WITH EVIDENCE
How do we know about the past? simple PPP & activity


What Really Happened-Iron Curtain Speech Activity



(Download and Read)
6
What is unique about the methodology of history? Is eyewitness testimony a reliable source of evidence? Is the historian a creator or the recorder of the past?
The Use of Evidence (or lack thereof) in History

What Really Happened: Evidence- the Coronation of Charlemagne
The New History Wars

Was Shakespeare Really a Woman

Do Historians discover or create History? (Class Discussion)
7
What is the relationship between paradigms and evidence? What is needed for us to abandon/change an established model for understanding the Universe?
(How do paradigms change?)
MENTAL FRAMEWORKS IN THE AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Complete Knowledge Frameworks for Natural Sciences, Human Sciences and History
Introduce Paradigm Presentation (Assignment)

Work on Presentation
8
Presentation: Planning and delivery
Scheduling for Evidence Presentation


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