Existentialist Donkey Poo
It all starts when we try to define what is knowledge, opinion and propaganda. The trouble with this is that "knowledge" has a double entendre; there is the definition of it as used in common speech and then the real definition which is what is being discussed in TOK. The real definition of knowledge is a justified true belief. This is what our group came up with: a truth, that is absolute, unadulterated, and that can be proven. That is what knowledge is. Example? The Earth is not flat but more of a sphere. This is an example of common knowledge, you can prove these things, they do not change over time and they are not exaggerated or demeaned statements with some ulterior political goal.
So the discussion veers off because people are not listening to the fact that they are using a different definition of knowledge than what the premise presupposes: that knowledge is truth. So people veer off on tangents about how people "knew" that the Earth was flat. Again, they may have thought they knew, but they were wrong. No matter how you turn it, they were wrong, thus what they had was not knowledge (or fact if you will), they had supposition and opinion. The Greeks proved the Earth was round via mathematics a loooong time ago, and also by simple observation. The middle ages were full of let's say... Retardation of the mind, and they didn't know much, they thought they knew.
To put it simply: they knew what they thought was knowledge, when the knowledge on the matter of the shape of the Earth was entirely different. Did you catch the difference? Good.
Now, we get to the juicy stuff. There's this guy in the class who believes "that there are no absolutes, and that there is no right or wrong, just what is right to the person and the culture". A girl in the class also claims "that you cannot know anything at all, any truth, because you can't prove it completely because there could be this hypothetical universe up my ass where nothing is the same and therefore the truth wouldn't be universal and therefore not truth, so you can't know anything".
So, first off: "There are no absolutes"
Well mon cher, that right there is an absolute statement. And so was that. And this. And this. And this. And this. And this. And this. To which he responds "yeah, it's a paradox". Yeah, a paradox that proves you wrong. Im sorry but if you're gonna claim there are no absolutes, you shouldn't have an absolute statement proving you wrong. Now I guess you can argue there are no absolutes beyond that one you just said, but good luck doing that, because you just let the fact that absolutes can exist slip. And last I checked, you're a moron that doesn't know everything there is to know, so you can't prove that there are no absolutes absolutely. Try getting around that absolute.
Now: "there is no right, there is no wrong, it depends on the person yadda yadda I almost threw up typing this".
Ok, so he states this. Now, let's see if this holds up. I will take all of his possessions, shoot him in the head and skull rape him with a dead baby I killed by suffocating with a cat down its throat. This is what I was taught was ok, and this is what I believe. This is my culture, and he has no room in hell to say anything to me about it, because it is right to me, there are no absolutes and there is no right or wrong. If he even so much as objects, then he has proven himself wrong. And if he contests that his way is right aswell, and mine and his are conflicting, then we have a logical problem: two opposing truths cannot be true at the same time. Oospie, logic in TOK class? Let's forget it all together then.
On to the "what if in another universe" etc bullpoop on a stick.
What if pigs flew? They don't, but what if? Maybe in some other universe they do?
Ahhh the hypothetical world. Humans are beautiful things, right? With such a vivid imagination, anything is possible.
Ah, but that's the point: the hypothetical does not trump the factual, ever. The table im typing at I know will support my weight if I lean on it to eat my taco. But wait, by this logic, I can't know that, because it isn't a truth, it isn't knowledge because it cannot be proven as absolute truth, because in a hypothetical universe filled of poo it may be different!
Ah, but I just leaned on the desk, and lo: it did exactly what I knew it would. The teacher at this point says "ah, but you only know that by experience" in a condescending tone, as if I was any less right. Oh no friggin CRAP I know this from experience. And that's the point: in this world, this is how it works. You can hypothesize all you want about what it COULD be, you are dealing with the abstract, which is not provable, ie an opinion founded on all of... Nothing. All your musing about the world leads you to think in a world where nothing and therefore everything goes.
The problem with this is that NO ONE, even if they say they think this, lives like it is true. When you step outside, you know that the earth will keep you and not crumble under your weight, and you live accordingly. You may doubt the existence of your desk, or of anything around you, but trust me, my foot halfway up your colon will seem very, very real and concrete. Why argue the hypothetical when the hypothetical is just as much in question as the hypothetical puts the claim to be! I can back my truths with logic, reason and scientific method. You CANNOT prove yourself, and I can't prove you wrong, therefore, it's a logical moot point: it doesn't matter. So stop thinking you're bad ass because you "think outside of the box". The box exists so you can live your life sanely, and I think you would find yourself a hypocrite to discover all you have is a room in the box with a window to a world of nothing and therefore everything.
"You can't know anything!"
Well, you can't know that you can't know anything then, which would be knowing that you know that you can't know anything, which would be knowing something. And once you know something, knowing is possible and lo! You now live in reality! Welcome! Where yah been?
Finally, the thing that erks me the most is that these people continue to live as if they are still right... This is the second time I have dealt with the "there are no absolutes" statement with this guy, and yet he still says it, when he's been logically disproved. I mean, if you are shown wrong, you change opinion, right, or at least concede you have more to learn!But no, here in Sweden, you are shown to be full of crap, and you keep going, thinking some consensus has been reached. Oopsie, nope, no such luck.
With that said, I will go back to not living and not existing and not enjoying my non existent ice cream that will not make me feel better about the plight of logical thinking in a secular post modern society where everything goes when really, it doesn't.