TOK

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TOK Seminars

In 1991, Andy Fletcher was invited by the Theory of Knowledge (TOK) teacher in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program at the Ecole Internationale de Geneve (the International School of Geneva) to lead a class discussion on the classic TOK question, Is there such a thing as religious knowledge? He was subsequently invited back thrice annually for the next three years to speak on that topic and two others; the existence of God and the problems of evil and suffering.

International School of Geneva, La Chat campus (Coppet)

International School of Geneva, La Chat campus (Coppet)

Upon Fletcher's return to the US, a similar series of seminars was arranged with the TOK teacher at Palmer High School, a public school in Colorado; the seminars expanded to include topics on 20th Century science such as relativity, Big Bang, quantum mechanics, chaos, complexity, the Anthropic Principle, and (sometimes) String Theory. When Rampart High School, also a public school in the same area, opened up its IB program, the TOK teacher immediately invited Fletcher to bring the seminars into his classrooms.

Fletcher's formal work included global travel, so simultaneous to the work being done in high schools in the US, he presented the seminars in a number of schools and venues.

The nature of the science seminars is to examine the science behind the debate which quantum gravity specialist and popular science writer Dr. Paul Davies (Australian Centre for Astrobiology/ McQuarie University/Arizona State University) calls "God and the New Physics" in his seminal book by the same title. Is it a real debate or a straw horse cobbled together by creationists?

In five sessions of creative, interactive, discussion-oriented presentations, we look at the topics listed above and evaluate their impact on the deterministic, mechanistic, reductionistic, infinite universe of Isaac Newton and much of modern science. Disconcerting at times to both sides of the debate, it follows in the finest of TOK traditions and pedagogical goals by demonstrating using the finest and most predictive science ever discovered that there are limits to our intellectual abilities, boundaries on scientific inquiry, and mysteries in nature that we may never resolve.

Zurich International School

Zurich International School

Andy Fletcher graduated from the American International School of Zurich (now the ZIS) in 1971, attended universities in Texas, Japan, and California while earning an honorary diploma in Japan studies from Seinan University in Fukuoka, Japan, and a BA in History with a Maths major and minor emphases in Philosophy, English Literature, and Japanese from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He did graduate work in maths and education at Cal Poly Pomona and Cal State Fullerton (both in the LA area) before teaching maths and German in a West Hollywood high school. He taught maths and history at the AISZ in Zurich and Robert Louis Stevenson School in Pebble Beach, taught and coached at the International School of Geneva and College du Leman, and taught maths at two community colleges in the Monterey area. He's published close to 200 articles and radio commentaries along with portions of a number of books and a monthly humor column for five years, and five books of his own.

Robert Louis Stevenson School. And the neighborhood.

Robert Louis Stevenson School. And the neighborhood.