Quote:What think you of Wallace's paper in the Ann. M. N. H. ? Good! Upon the whole! ... Wallace has, I think, put the matter well; and according to his theory, the various domestic races of animals have been fairly developed into species. ... A trump of a fact for friend Wallace to have hit upon!"
Answer: Exegesis and eisegesis are two conflicting approaches in Bible study. Exegesis is the exposition or explanation of a text based on a careful, objective analysis. The word exegesis literally means “to lead out of.” That means that the interpreter is led to his conclusions by following the text.
The opposite approach to Scripture is eisegesis, which is the interpretation of a passage based on a subjective, non-analytical reading. The word eisegesis literally means “to lead into,” which means the interpreter injects his own ideas into the text, making it mean whatever he wants.
What Darwin Got Wrong by Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli Palmarini
(Reviewed by Mary Midgley, The Guardian, 6 February 2010)
Charles Darwin complained quite crossly in his autobiography that, despite many denials, people still kept saying he thought natural selection was the sole cause of evolutionary development. "Great is the force of misrepresentation," he grumbled. Had he known that, a century later, his alleged followers would be promoting that very doctrine as central to his teaching, and extending it into the wilder reaches of psychology and physics, he might have got even crosser. Darwin's objection was surely not just that he could see other possible causes. He saw that the doctrine itself did not make sense. No filter, however powerful, can be the only cause of what flows out of it. Questions about what comes into that filter have to be just as important. The proposed solution bears no proportion to the size of the problem.
Since his time, biologists have discovered a huge amount that is really interesting and important about internal factors in organisms that affect reproduction. This powerful little book uses that material to challenge sharply the whole neo-Darwinist orthodoxy " the assumption that, essentially, all evolution is due to mutation and selection. Its authors do not, of course, deny that this kind of classical natural selection happens. But they argue strongly that there is now no reason to privilege it over a crowd of other possible causes. Not only are most mutations known to be destructive but the material of inheritance itself has turned out to be far more complex, and to provide a much wider repertoire of untapped possibilities, than used to be thought. To an impressive extent, organisms provide the materials for changes in their own future. As the authors put it, "Before any phenotype can be, so to speak, 'offered' to selection by the environment, a host of internal constraints have to be satisfied." Epigenetic effects, resulting from different expressions of the same genes, can make a huge difference. And genes themselves are now known not to be independent, bean-like items connected to particular transmitted traits, but aspects of a most intricate process, sensitive to all sorts of internal factors, so that in many ways the same genes can result in a different creature. Recent work in "evodevo" " evolutionary developmental biology " shows how paths of development can themselves change and can change the resulting organism. And again, forces such as "molecular drive", which rearrange the genes, can also have that effect.
Besides this " perhaps even more interestingly " the laws of physics and chemistry themselves take a hand in the developmental process. Matter itself behaves in characteristic ways which are distinctly non-random. Many natural patterns, such as the arrangement of buds on a stem, accord with the series of Fibonacci numbers, and Fibonacci spirals are also observed in spiral nebulae. There are, moreover, no flying pigs, on account of the way in which bones arrange themselves. I am pleased to see that Fodor and Piattelli Palmarini introduce these facts in a chapter headed "The Return of the Laws of Form" and connect them with the names of D'Arcy Thompson, Conrad Waddington and Ilya Prigogine. Though they don't actually mention Goethe, that reference still rightly picks up an important, genuinely scientific strand of investigation which was for some time oddly eclipsed by neo-Darwinist fascination with the drama of randomness and the illusory seductions of simplicity.
This book is, of course, fighting stuff, sure to be contested by those at whom it is aimed. On the face of things, however, it strikes an outsider as an overdue and valuable onslaught on neo-Darwinist simplicities. (The one thing I would complain of is the title, which is perhaps too personal. This isn't just a point about Darwin; it's a point about the nature of life.) As the authors note, the traditional story has been defended by extending it " by widening the notion of natural selection to include some of these internal processes. But they think " surely rightly " that this device merely adds epicycles which kill the doctrine by diluting it. The long process of repeated trials and errors which has always been claimed as a central feature of natural selection cannot be incorporated in this way.
If we now ask what will take its place, their answer is that this question does not arise. There is not " and does not have to be " any single, central mechanism of evolution. There are many such mechanisms, which all need to be investigated on their own terms. If one finds this kind of position reasonable, the interesting next question is, what has made it so hard to accept? What has kept this kind of dogmatic "Darwinism" " largely independent of its founder " afloat for so long, given that much of the material given here is by no means new?
The explanation for this might be the seductive myth that underlies it. That myth had its roots in Victorian social Darwinism but today it flows largely from two books " Jacques Monod's Chance and Necessity (1971) and Richard Dawkins's The Selfish Gene (1976). Both these books, of course, contain lots of good and necessary biological facts. But what made them bestsellers was chiefly the sensational underlying picture of human life supplied by their rhetoric and especially their metaphors. This drama showed heroic, isolated individuals contending, like space warriors, alone against an alien and meaningless cosmos. It established the books as a kind of bible of individualism, most congenial to the Reaganite and Thatcherite ethos of the 80s. Monod first showed humans in Existentialist style as aliens " "gypsies" in a foreign world " and, by expanding the role of chance in evolution, concluded that our life was essentially a "casino". Dawkins added personal drama by describing a population of genes which " quite unlike the real ones inside us " operate as totally independent agents and can do as they please. It is no great surprise that these images caught on, nor that they can now persist whether or not the doctrines linked to them turn out to be scientific.
But what made them bestsellers was chiefly the sensational underlying picture of human life supplied by their rhetoric and especially their metaphors.
"Though Darwin now proclaims the law
And spreads it far abroad, O!
The man that first the secret saw
Was honest old Monboddo.
The architect precedence takes
Of him that bears the hod, O!
So up and at them, Land of Cakes,
We'll vindicate Monboddo."
Quote:What Darwin Got Wrong by Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli Palmarini
(Reviewed by Mary Midgley, The Guardian, 6 February 2010)
Charles Darwin complained quite crossly in his autobiography that, despite many denials, people still kept saying he thought natural selection was the sole cause of evolutionary development. "Great is the force of misrepresentation," he grumbled.
And now it has become the rallying cry of ID and Creationism.
Anonymous source leads to ‘black bag’ find
(By Samantha Scoles, Mount Vernon News, February 9, 2010)
MOUNT VERNON " Suspended Mount Vernon Middle School science teacher John Freshwater continues to receive information and personal belongings from his former classroom from an anonymous source.
Freshwater addressed the latest phone call and subsequent acquisition of his old computer bag and other personal items at the Mount Vernon City School Board of Education meeting Monday night.
“Last week, another anonymous delivery was made that contained approximately 300 photographs of items that were in my room,” Freshwater said. “Additionally, the anonymous delivery sent a black bag that contained many of my personal items, including about $40. … [It] was the same bag I used in 2003 to keep all of my materials related to the curriculum proposal I had made back in 2003.”
He said the bag, and its contents, were removed from his classroom and stored in the “rat hole,” an open area by the back stairs at the middle school.
“Teachers’ testimony revealed the contents of my room stayed for some time in the ‘rat hole,’ with open access to anybody who could take things or put things into the area,” he said.
According to a report filed Thursday with the Mount Vernon Police Department, Freshwater told his pastor, Don Matolyak, he received an anonymous voice mail directing him to “more information " materials for John. They would be found in a plastic bag by a garbage can at the corner of Mount Vernon Avenue and Division Street.”
Because Freshwater was out of town, Matolyak, along with Charles Fisher, went to the parking lot on Feb. 2, and found a plastic bag sitting next to the trash can.
“Inside the plastic bag was an old black computer bag. In the bag were papers approximately 3 to 4 inches high. On top of the bag was a short letter on white copy paper addressed to John. It was obvious that the contents of the bag were papers from John’s room and also there were a large number of copies of photographs of items from John’s room,” the report stated.
Although the letter was not part of the police report, it was provided to the News through Matolyak, who made copies. The letter, addressed to Freshwater said, “Hope the other stuff helped. There are at least two of us that know about how your things were kept at the MS and Central Office. Only recently was your stuff moved. An attorney said this black bag should be returned so here it is with about 300 pictures from two boxes. A blown-whistle law would give protection but need more time. Able to help again soon and gurantee [sic] help before trial. Please understand. Keep your faith. They don’t want the truth.”
Matolyak told the News Monday night that he and Fisher picked up the bag from the location provided in the voice mail message. The two men went through the contents at the Trinity Assembly of God church, while speaking to Freshwater over the phone. After reviewing the materials, the two men placed the bag in a cardboard box, taped it up and locked it up for the night, Matolyak said.
The police report states Hamilton and Freshwater went through the bag together the next day, Wednesday, Feb. 3.
“Kelly carefully examined them and asked John if he could identify these items as being his. He could except he noted that the 300 copies of photos were new to him, but were items they showed were familiar to John. Most were photos of items he had used in teaching,” Matolyak said in his statement.
His statement explained that Hamilton and Freshwater reviewed the information for nearly one hour and 45 minutes before the trio visited the area in which the bag was located. Upon returning to the church, Fisher showed the time-stamped photos he took the night the bag was located.
“It was at this time that Kelly explained to us that we may need to make a police report. He was going to take the items back to his office to review more closely. He would then be in touch to give more instructions on what we would need to do,” Matolyak stated in his notes.
At 3:36 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 4, Matolyak filed a report with the MVPD and turned over the contents of the bag.
In his statement to the board of education, Freshwater said he and school superintendent Steve Short received information on Jan. 11 from an anonymous source; the information included five photographs.
“The pictures contained images of items that exonerate some of the charges against me,” Freshwater said.
Also in that anonymous communication were notes from April 22, 2003, provided to Freshwater by Lynda Weston regarding a curriculum committee meeting.
“There is so much more you need to know. For now keep these pictures and copies of things you might remember and this note sent to Steve Short. This is not how this situation was suppose to go and there’s alot of regret,” the initial communication with Freshwater stated.
The letter to Short, also dated Jan. 11, stated, “Understand it will be revealed what I know if you do not stop this framing of John Freshwater as a bad man. I cannot understand the lies and deceit that have been done and now is the time to stand up for what’s right. There is proof where these pictures and copies were taken. ... You cannot be trusted alone with these pictures so I am sending this letter and thes [sic] pictures to others to.”
Tuesday morning, board attorney David Millstone said he was not at Monday’s school board meeting, but he did talk about materials from Freshwater’s classroom.
Millstone contradicted Freshwater’s claim that the board and Superintendent Short have been keeping material “hidden” and inaccessible to Freshwater and his attorney. Although there is no legal requirement " with regard to termination hearings individuals may be subpoenaed to testify, but there is no “discovery” phase with regard to materials " he said that whatever materials the board and Short had from the classroom have been made available to Freshwater, and Freshwater and his attorney have gone through that material.
“When Mr. Freshwater left school,” Millstone said, “he left his classroom. He left his Bible and a lot of other things. During the summer he went back into his classroom, we know at least once. We do not know if he took anything from the room or if he did not take anything from the room. In August when the other teacher needed the classroom, the board had the material boxed up and sent to Central Office. [Personal items, such as the Bible, were returned to Freshwater.] It was first locked up in an unused office, then moved to a locked storage room. Anything else that may appear has not been in the board’s possession.”
Previously, Freshwater stated he had taken things from the classroom to Trinity Assembly to copy, then returned them to the classroom.
“Strangely, materials that are apparently missing are things he [Freshwater] took to the church,” Millstone said. “We [the school board and Millstone] have never seen them.