TOK/WOK CONTEXTCan we trust our senses when it comes to assessing asports star like Armstrong?How important is emotional context?Can reason be applied to this case study?How important is language in inﬂuencing our opinion?Note: I am not trying to say either Armstrong is cleanor not. That is for YOU as the KNOWER to decide.
THE FACTS7 Times winner of the Tour de France (one of themost difﬁcult annual sporting contests in the world)having recovered from testicular cancer in 1998. Hereturned to the sport in 1999 to win the Tour for the1st time.Came 3rd this year in the 2009 Tour de France at theage of 37 having been retired for 3 years. He returnedto professional cycling to gain exposure forLivestrong, his INGO designed to raise money forcancer.
August 2012 Armstrong says he will no longer ﬁght the claims about his drug taking made by USADA.USADA planned to use 9 former teammates who were allwilling to testify against Armstrong. Subsequently, Armstrog is stripped of his 7 titles and given a lifetime ban by USADA.
ETHICS & CLAIMS/ COUNTERCLAIMSHas it been possible for Lance Armstrong to dupe thegeneral public, taking drugs to enhance hisperformance as a cyclist? Even if Armstrong is a ‘myth,’would it be better not not expose him? (Utilitarianargument)We need to assess the claims (Largely from DavidWalsh, the Times journalist and his witnesses) andcounterclaims. (Lance Armstrong and his supporters)
THE KNOWLEDGE ISSUETo what extent can natural science provide reliable,objective data? Real Life Situation: UCI’s introduction of Biological Passport... To what extent can utilitarian values lead to unethical behaviour?
THE EVIDENCE AGAINST LANCE ARMSTRONGThe Hospital Room Incident (A number of witnesses,including an x-teammate of Armstrong (FrankieAndreu) who claim Armstrong admitted to usingperformance enhancing drugs. (EPO etc)Conversation between Lance Armstrong and Greg LeMond (3 Times winner of Tour de France) & Andreuwith Jonathan Vaughters. (Another former pro rider)Example of Christophe Bassons (Cyclist who claimedyou couldn’t get into the top 10 of the TdF withouttaking drugs)
ARMSTRONG’S CONTEMPORARIESLance Armstrong competed against great riders in his many Tour de France’s. Of hisrivals, Marco Pantani, Jose Marie Jimenez, Joseba Beloki, Francesco Mancebo, IvanBasso, Bjarne Riis, Flloyd Landis, Tyler Hamilton, Roberto Heras, Iban Mayo et al wereall caught doping. Jan Ullrich’s entire Team Telecom admitted to taking EPO yet he hasrefused to admit taking this substance apparently for fear of loss of earnings.According to scientists the banned drug EPO improves the recovery of riders by30%. Using REASON, is it possible for Armstrong to beat these rivals without EPO?
THE COUNTERCLAIMS FOR ARMSTRONGHe’s never been caught doping, having been testedmany times.Is Walsh just a ‘tabloid’ journalist as Armstrongdescribes? Is Walsh just trying to make money fromArmstrong’s name?Are the former cyclists lined up by USADA beingcoerced into giving evidence against Armstrong?Was he just much better than the rest?Why would Armstrong dope having just survivedtesticular cancer?
THE SCIENCE OF LANCE...SEE DISCOVERY CHANNEL FILMFaster cadence (he spins the pedals faster) than pre-cancerMythical training rides in the French mountains inFebruary. In other words he trained harder.Much lighter than in pre-cancer era (A point Walshcounterclaims in his book)Better equipment (helmet, bike, position on the bikeetc)A better strategist and mentally tougher post-cancer
ETHICS: SO WHAT IF HE DID CHEAT?Huge damage to the cancer communityHuge damage to the already tarnished image of cycling (sponsors withdrawing fromthe sport?)If everyone was taking drugs, wasn’t Armstrong just doing what he needed tocompete? (Fallacious reasoning?)What about Bassons, Moncoutie, Mottet, McGheeetc who have repeatedly refused to accept doping throughout their career? Couldthey have been winners? How do we know even they were clean?If he did cheat and we deliberately ignore this are we implicit in the cheating process?Do we have a moral responsibility to to tell the truth? (Moral relativism...is there anysuch thing as moral absolutism?)
CONNECTIONSThe UCI is widely recognised as the most innovativeinternational sporting organisation for combatingdrug taking. Lots of cyclists may dope but they alsoget caught! Recently, a system of biological passportswas introduced, whereby cyclists are measured interms of their capabilities so as any unusually goodperformances can be checked against their biologicalpassport. The Italian cyclist Danilo Di Luca who came2nd in the Tour of Italy was caught using this method.
CONNECTIONSTo what extent is sport itself to blame and the systemby which it funds itself? Many cyclists blame thesponsors (many sponsors had systematic doping inteams e.g. The Festina Affair in 1998) and suggest thatpressure to win from sponsors overrides any ethical(AOK) imperative.Are the fans to blame? Does the emotionalconnection created by the media fuel professionalsports? Without fans there would be no sponsorshipor professionalism. Are athletes tempted by theriches offered by sport?
YOUR TASKChoose one person who is important to you in yourlife. (Can be a family member or friend)Establish claims and counterclaims about thatperson...those who would testify (in your opinion) forthem and those who would have a less positiveattitude towards them.Apply the WOK. What have you seen or heard fromthem to help justify your belief? Think aboutemotional connections, the language you use and anyuse of reasoning to help justify your belief.