This session was developed by specialist David Birch on the topic of Newspapers. You might want to run this along with the Knowledge session, using newspaper headlines as the sentences in the Knowledge session.
Break the circle on 'lying'.
(Use the powerpoint attached to take you through the session.)
On the planet Uga there are aliens with two eyes who are discriminated against as the majority of Ugas are three-eyed. Scientists on Uga have just discovered that two-eyed Ugas are, in fact, less intelligent than the more usual three-eyed Ugas.
On Uga there is only one newspaper called The Daily Truth, and it has uncovered the scientists discovery.
Task Question 1:
Should The Daily Truth report the discovery?
- What is the truth?
- Should newspapers always print the truth?
- What are newspapers for?
Then, the editors at The Daily Truth, in a fit of conscience, decide to lie about the discovery, and instead they run a headline saying the tests showed two-eyed Ugas are of equal intelligence.
Task Question 2:
Is it wrong for The Daily Truth to lie about what the scientists have discovered?
- Is The Daily Truth doing a bad thing?
Seeing the positive results of their lies, The Daily Truth, decide that whenever there's the opportunity, they'll lie about everything that they believe will be helpful.
Task Question 3:
Is it wrong for The Daily Truth to lie whenever it thinks lying will make the world better?
- Who decides what will make the world better?
- If the outcome is always good will this make a difference?
- How will you know beforehand what will make a better world?
You can leave these questions for students to discuss in their own time, or run enquiries on them at a later date.
William James (American psychologist and philosopher, 1842-1910) thought that if what you say is helpful and makes things better, then it's not really a lie. Do you agree with William James?