Tele Education

1.0 INTRODUCTION 1.1 Background of Tele-education Tele-education has a long
history beginning with systems like that for teaching children in Australian
Outback, the British Open University and other such organizations. These built
on the idea of correspondence courses where course materials are sent
periodically by post and augmented the experience with broadcasts either on
radio or on TV. The problem of student isolation was addressed partially through
techniques such as telephone access or two-way radio links with teachers. At the
end of 1980s, the vest majority of distance education throughout the worlds was
still primarily print-based. Technologies used for distance education are
evolving from primarily one-way technologies and applications such as
computer aided learning, computer based training and computer aided instruction,
to more two-way technologies and applications such as computer mediated
communications and computer conferencing systems for education. The significance
of two-way technologies is that they allow foe interaction between
participant and tutors, and perhaps even more significantly amongst participant
themselves. This development has allowed and in some senses force researches to
look more closely at the impact of educational environment, on the students
learning experience. In the future, it is expected that the
telecommunications-based technologies to become the primary means of delivery of
distance teaching. The reasons for this are as follows: ? a much wider
range of technologies are becoming more accessible to potential distance
education participants ? the costs of technological delivery are dropping
dramatically ? the technology is becoming easier to use for both tutors
and learners ? the technology is becoming more powerful pedagogically
? education centers will find it increasingly difficult to resist the
political and social pressures of the technological imperatives. 1.2 The
Emergence of Tele-education Radical changes in the computing infrastructure,
spurred by multimedia computing and communication, will do more than extend the
educational system, that is revolutionize it. Technological advances will make
classrooms mush more accessible and effective. Today, classroom education
dominates instruction from elementary school to graduate school. This method has
remained popular for a very long time and will probably persist as the most
common mode of education. However, classroom education has its problems, that is
the effectiveness decline with increase in the number of students per class.

Other pressures affect the instructors, many of whom are not experts in the
material they must teach, are not good performers in class, or simply are
not interested in teaching. The biggest limitation of the classroom instruction
is that a class meets at a particular time in a particular place. This
essentially requires all students and the instructors to collect in one spot for
their specified period. But with the emerging technology, these problems can be
overcome. 1.3 Reasons for studying Tele-education The current Tele-education
systems that have been applied in some countries are generally of multipoint
transmission technique. It is found that, this kind of transmission technique
having several problems or defects. Mostly, problems raised during the
application of the system. One of the significant problems raised is that, for
the multipoint transmission, the signals or information transmitted by the
sender do not completely received by the receiver. This problem is might be due
to error that occurs during the transmission of the signals or information.

Another problem is lag of transmission. For this case, the signals or
information transmitted do not arrive at all the receiver at the same time, for
example, the question raised by the lecturer might not received by the students
at the same time and this is not a good environment for Tele-education system.

Some receiver receives the signals earlier than the others and some later or
even not receives at all. Therefore, it is important to study the Tele-education
technology from time to time to overcome these problems so that the
Tele-education system could provide a more effective way of learning
environment. In order to have a lecture from, for example, a very famous
professor from other country would require him to come at our place. But the
amount of money spent for paying him to give lecture would be very expensive and
this also would cause troublesome for him. However, this problem can be solved
with Tele-education system in which the professor does not need to go anywhere
else to give his lecture. This would save a lot of expenses and time. Another
reason is that, in normal classes the learning process would not be very
effective if the number of students in a class is very big. This is because the
lecturer alone can not coordinate such a large class. With Tele-education
system, one lecturer could deliver his lecture to as many students as possible
effectively in a way that a large number of students from different sites having
the same lecture at once. 1.4 Purpose of Research The purpose of this research
is to study the current Tele-education system that has been applied in some
countries. This study covers the background of Tele-education; that is its
definition, the publications of Tele-education; that is any papers that discuss
about Tele-education as a whole, the performance of applied Tele-education, and
also the technology of Tele-education; that is its network architecture. But the
main purpose of this study is to understand the Tele-education system that have
been applied in another country and try to implement it in our country. 1.5
Acronyms ATM Asynchronous Transfer Mode CCITT Committee Consultatif
International Telegraphique et Telephonique CPE Customer Premises Equipment IP
Internet Protocol ISDN Integrated Services Digital Network ISO International
Standard Organization JAMES Joint ATM Experiment on European Services LAN Local
Area Network MAC Medium Access Control Mbone Multicast Backbone PC Personal
Computer POP Point-of-Presence PVC Permanent Virtual Channel QoS Quality of
Service RAT Robust Audio Tool SLIP Serial Line Internet Protocol TCP-IP
Transmission Control Protocol – Internet Protocol TES Tele-Educational Service
UI User Interface VIC Video Conferencing Tool VP Virtual Path VPN Virtual
Private Network VSD Virtual Student Desktop WAN Wide Area Network WWW World Wide
Web XC Cross Connect 2.0 METHOD OF INVESTIGATION Since Tele-education is a very
new technology that is popularly discussed today, it is quite difficult for me
to find any books that discuss about Tele-education from the library. Therefore,
the easiest and the fastest way to gather information relating this project is
via the Internet. I have surfed and found many interesting sites that discuss
about Tele-education. Besides surfing, I also have contacted several people who
are involved in this area, Tele-education, by e-mail . But unluckily, this does
not really help because most of them did not reply. Besides using the Internet,
I also get the information for this project from the IEEE Database at the
library of Universiti Telekom. 3.0 BACKGROUND STUDY 3.1 Definition of
Tele-education What is Tele-education? Before discussing about what
Tele-education means, lets look at what distance learning is. This is because
Tele-education and distance learning are very related to each other. Distance
learning is the acquisition of skills and knowledge through electronic
communications that allow student and instructor to be separate in either in
time or space. The to distance learning is asynchronous learning which can
be defined loosely as learning at different time. It is a highly flexible method
of training because the sender and receiver do not need to be synchronized in
space or time. But Tele-education is more than that of distance learning. In
Tele-education, not only asynchronous but synchronous learning is also made
possible. In other words, Tele-education is the evolution of distance learning.

As stated before, asynchronous learning environment is not real-time
environment. It is a self-study-based application and is accessed via the
Internet to a server. The requirement to the student is only an ordinary PC with
standard software and Internet access. This application is applicable for a
large amount of users who can access the course independent of each other. The
combination of the lecture-part, group-work-part, and self-study-part is another
type of Tele-education learning environment, which is synchronous learning. It
is a real-time environment. In this environment, students and lecturers can
interact with each other simultaneously. Tele-education use the technology of
video teleconferencing that allows two or more parties at different geographical
area to interact with each other or to have learning process together. But
people usually get confused whether video teleconferencing can be considered as
Tele-education as well. Tele-education is actually different with video
teleconferencing in a way that Tele-education usually involve a large number of
people as compared to video teleconferencing, that is, it is in video
teleconferencing many people use a single monitor to see other people at other
area but in Tele-education, students have their own monitor that can be used not
only to see their lecturer and colleagues but also to send and receive
educational materials. 3.2 Publications of Tele-education There are many papers
discussing about Tele-education. Most of these papers cover only the general or
overall scope of Tele-education. The area of discussion on Tele-education can be
summarized as the following: ? Tele-education service ? Content of
Tele-education ? Network architecture ? performance of
Tele-education ? operation and management of Tele-education For
Tele-education service, it describes about what multimedia tele-service and
hyper media service is, and how it can be integrated into Tele-education
service. It also describes about what Tele-education service facilitate. Content
of Tele-education describes about the style or mode of Tele-education system,
that is, what kind of education style used, and how the lecture notes or any
materials delivered to all the students. For network architecture, it describes
about the protocol used for the Tele-education system and its network
infrastructure. Performance of Tele-education covers the performance of service
of Tele-education and also the network performance. The description of these
performances is from the customer point of view. For the operation and
management of Tele-education, it describes about what should be taken into
consideration in order to provide a well managed Tele-education service. 3.3
Examples of Systems From the study of materials gathered, there are generally
three examples of Tele-education system that have been applied in the Europe and
Canada. Those examples are: ? Tele-education NB ? Delta ‘s Virtual
College ? ACTS Project AC052 (RACE Project Report) The purpose of looking
into these examples is to try to understand what kind of Tele-education system
is implemented, how Tele-education can be implemented, to know what are the
requirements to implement it, and what considerations should be taken into
consideration for implementing it. 3.3.1 Tele-education NB Tele-education NB is
implemented at the University of New Brunswick, Canada. The present physical
network consists of three independent networks that operate on telephone lines;
? Voice ? SMART 2000 computer teleconferencing ? Computer
Mediated Communications using NBNet The SMART 2000 bridge for computer software
sharing and audiographic teleconferencing is owned and operated by the
Tele-education NB. This is accessed by simple dial connections using ordinary
telephone lines. This allows for the computer monitor at each site to show
images created by users at the other sites. The software can be used like an
elaborate electronic blackboard, overhead projector, or slide projector. In
addition, it is being used for software sharing at multiple locations. Data
communications are transmitted over NBNet using a SLIP server which resides in a
user friendly simple menu front-end created by Tel-education NB to permit easy
access to NBNet and to facilities available. Students and teachers can access
NBNet for uploading and downloading assignments and other course materials. A
CD-ROM server is being set up at the central site and at the University of New
Brunswick library for permitting access to different databases. Tele-education
NB also supports an on-line learning center with a file server located at Mount
Allison University. Information of relevance distance education and the network
in particular can be accessed there. In Tele-education NB, a special listserv is
created for internal communications among different sites. As an integral part
of the province’s electronic information highway, Tele-education NB is
supporting the development of an open, distributed network, taking advantage of
media available. The most widely used delivery modes are audio teleconferencing
with SMART 2000, as well as videoconferencing. However, it is not limiting the
network to any one technology, or suite of technologies. It is actively
promoting experimentation and cooperation in the reception and delivery of
courses using other software and media. Tele-education NB placed routers in the
Community College Campus in each region, and other sites in regions that do not
have a college. Initially it operates using 56K connections and will move T1.

SMART 2000 runs not only on regular telephone lines but also on LANs and WANs
using Novell, TCP-IP and other telecommunication protocols. Tele-education NB
are now experimenting with synchronous transmissions using the TCP-IP protocol
on NBNet. The Picturetel videoconferencing units existing in province all are
CCITT compatible. Tele-education NB has provided the guidelines for selecting
appropriate technology for its network as follows: ? The network shall
experiment with different technologies and endeavor not to rely on any one
technology or any supplier. ? Existing equipment and distance education
sites in the province shall be integrated into the network wherever possible.

? The network shall establish computer teleconferencing and computer
conferencing links among the sites, including access to electronic information
highway and the Internet. ? Satellite delivery and reception capabilities
and upgrading of sites to PC-based videoconferencing will be investigated for
implementation in future. ? Other optional equipment may be placed in
sites at the request of users and institutions such as MACs and CD-ROMs.

? The network should be compatible as much as possible with other
provinces and regions. 3.3.2 DELTA’s Virtual College Delta’s Virtual College is
implemented in Denmark (Europe). It offers the opportunity for students to
participate in desktop Tele-education from their homes or offices. This concept
means that individual students participate in Tele-educational courses using a
desktop computer online connected to a course provider. The user interface is a
common Web browser, that is, Netscape Web-browser, extended with loosely
integrated audio and video tools. The educational environment applies the
metaphor of a virtual college. The idea is that students access DELTA’s virtual
college server when participating in a course. The user interface looks like the
plan of a college. From the college hallway, the student can enter different
rooms with different functions. Those rooms are: ? classrooms where
on-line lectures and presentation take place, ? group rooms where on-line
cooperative work takes place, ? studies where off-line study such as
self-study material, exercises, slides from previous lectures, supplementary
material and links to other sites on the Web take place, ? teacher
offices where it is furnished with course administration tools, ? tea
room where it is used for informal chat and social contact with fellow students
during break. The following figure, the “floor plan”, illustrates
those rooms: Figure 1 : The floor plan The goal of this virtual college is to
integrate different modes of teaching and learning. This includes synchronous
mode like on-line lectures and group exercises as well as asynchronous mode like
interactive self study, participation and threaded bill board conferences and
sharing of documents. The virtual college is run primarily in a local network
environment in order easily to monitor and control the students and technology.

Then, when there are several countries participate, each sites are connected by
the JAMES (Joint ATM Experiment on European Services) broadband network. 3.3.3
ACTS Project AC052 (RACE Project Report) This is a big project on
Tele-education. It covers the whole aspects that should be taken into
consideration for implementing Tele-education in Europe such as service aspects,
management aspects, network architecture, etc. In this project, there are
several trials have been done in order to obtain an effective Tele-education
system. The details of this will be discussed later throughout this report. 4.0
CONSIDERATIONS It is not easy to find materials or any papers reporting the
architecture of Tele-education. Most of the materials found are basically
discussing about the general idea on what Tele-education system is, for example
some papers discuss about the general system of a Tele-education service
offered, its advantages over current educational environment, etc. However, I
managed to find a very interesting material discussing about Tele-education as a
whole, that is the ACTS Project AC052 (RACE Report Project). Therefore, I choose
this report as my main reference in doing my study on Tele-education overall
system description covering the architecture. There are basically five main
topics that are going to be discussed in quite detail regarding the
Tele-education as a whole in this report. These main topics are: ?
Tele-education service ? Tele-education content ? Network
architecture of Tele-education system ? Performance of Tele-education
service ? Operation and management of Tele-education service 4.1
Tele-education Service The multimedia tele-service provides both core and
management services. The multimedia tele-services are briefly described as
Video/audio conferencing service, which based on the MBONE (Multicast Backbone)
tools VIC (video conferencing) and RAT (audio conferencing). Hypermedia service
allows access to be provided to hypermedia information stored on a WWW server.

The WebStore service is a managed WWW based multimedia document store, which
allows users to store and retrieve arbitrary documents (text, video, audio,
etc.), using the well-known interface of the WWW. The management of the WebStore
includes subscription, accounting and access control. A mapping between the
learning forms and the multimedia teleservices has resulted in a list of four
basic paradigms: a) Self-study ? Individual work with web based course
material including exercises and discovery/reference search. ? This
paradigm is supported by the hypermedia and WebStore services. b) Lecture
? Teacher to class presentation. ? Supported by the conferencing
and hypermedia services. c) Group work ? Discussions, exercises or
project work performed by the students in groups. This paradigm can also include
shared discovery/reference search. ? It is supported by conferencing,
hypermedia, and WebStore services. d) Consultation ? Student to tutor
consultation ? Supported by video/audio conferencing and hypermedia
services. In order to support these four paradigms the multimedia services are
integrated into a Tele-educational Services (TES) which provides both the core
service and the management service functionality. The core Tele-educational
service provides two user interfaces, one for the teacher and one for the
students. In Tele-educational service, each course, presented as part of
Tele-educational service, would involve the rendering and seamless integration
of audio, text, graphics/bitmaps and appropriate video segments, to suit the
presentation of the course material. An educational service would also
facilitate the interaction of course participants with one another in class
discussions, as well as with the course tutor. In this way, a course tutor can
guide debates on issues arising from course material and allow participants to
exchange views and share experience. This interaction is very important, as
participants need to be encouraged to learn both from the tutored course as well
as from each other’s practical experience. This forum of discussion also
supports the tutor in assessing feedback from the participants concerning the
comprehension, benefit and effectiveness of a course for participants. The
educational service could also facilitate access to simulation environments and
‘live systems’, which are parts of the participant’s course material. For
example, it could provide access to specific commercial database information,
which would be part of a Database Modeling course. In this way, access may be
gained to systems and information, which would otherwise not be available on the
participant’s site. Course could be taken when the participant’s work schedules
permitted. Similarly, participant/participant interaction could be scheduled
flexibly. An educational service can be seen as incorporating several
interaction (tele-services) and course presentation mechanism, for example,
multimedia presentation tools conferencing, e-mail or notice board systems. The
following is an example of service layer used in the ACTS Project AC052: Figure
2 : Service Layer In the ACTS Project AC052, there are two Tele-educational
courses offered as a trial of the management service. These courses are “
An Introduction to ATM ” and ” An Introduction to Relational Databases
and SQL “. 4.1.1 An Introduction to ATM The course includes both
synchronous and asynchronous delivery methods. The duration of the course is
three to four days with approximately three hours of teaching and studying each
day. The course consists of five lectures, three self study modules and three
group exercises with a follow-up discussion of the results. The different
modules and modes of the course are conducted in a Tele-educational environment
which includes course outline information, a database of participants with
pictures and CVs, a WWW billboard supporting off-line discussions, access to a
WebStore and a tea-room which participants can visit for informal chats. The
lectures are performed by using video/audio conference tools. A system was used
to show slides on the participants web-browsers. The self study modules
contained web pages with information to read and small built-in exercises. The
group exercises consist of a number of questions to be answered by the group and
returned to the teacher for correction afterwards. When the teacher has
corrected the answers they are discussed in a conference with all the
participants. In the first trial a shared editor was introduced for use in group
exercises. The shared editor is a tool for synchronous collaboration on smaller
texts, and is meant to complement the chat and whiteboard tools used in earlier
trials. An illustration of the new shared editor can be found below. In the
second trial, a new floorcontrol-system for use during lectures as well as a
complete new graphical design of the virtual learning environment was tested.

The floorcontrol system was used by the teacher during lectures, to determine
which students wanted to ask a question, and to mute or unmute the microphones
and video cameras accordingly. A new graphical design of the User Interface (UI)
was introduced, in an attempt to create an even more homogenous UI. The
floorplan metaphore was kept, but new images and controls where implemented
throughout the environment. 4.1.2 An Introduction to Relational Databases and
SQL This course covered the theoretical principles of relational database
technology as well as supporting the hands-on skills of using relational
database language (SQL). Students took the course over a three day period, for
two hours each day. At the beginning of the course a one hour lecture outlined
the objectives of the course and provided an introduction to the topics. The
educational content comprised of text, graphics, and animation and was divided
into four sections, consisting of a total of twenty one modules (a module
typically being 1-5 pages). The course was made available via the Prospect
Tele-educational environment. On accessing the course, a separate courseware
browser window was opened, called the Virtual Student Desktop (VSD). All student
interactions with the courseware are facilitated via this VSD. The
Tele-educational environment is also accessible by the student for conferencing
and synchronous interaction. The VSD is rendered as a set of WWW windows,
frames, tool bar and icons. All native WWW browser buttons are suppressed
(hidden) so as not to distract the user from the main goal of education. A tool
bar specially designed for educational use is provided by the VSD at the bottom
of the screen. From this tool bar the student is able to contact tutors or
fellow students (asynchronously), access external systems, as well as navigate
and interact with the educational course material. Figure 3 illustrates a page
from a module in the course, and shows the educational toolbar at the bottom of
the screen and an index of the topics dealt with by this particular module in
the course on the left hand side of the screen. Figure 3 : page from module in
the course Overall the course comprised several different types of information:
Administrative (i.e. how to use the course etc.); A database of (self contained)
modules; Indexes or Roadmaps of specific courses through various modules;
Evaluation Forms and a Case Study. The roadmaps were important as the modules
can be combined in several ways to satisfy the different requirements for
different student objectives. Each roadmap corresponds to different learning
objectives of the RDBMS course. Thus the roadmaps provide a means of re-using
existing modules with as little redundancy as possible of educational material
and administrative overhead. A significant feature of the system was to provide
direct access to a real commercial RDBMS via the same interface as the
educational course. The relational DBMS is seamlessly integrated into the
student educational desktop. Thus the tool bar offered by the VSD contains an
icon which allows students to issue SQL queries on a live database. The idea of
this is to deliberately blur the distinction between the educational environment
and the target systems. This encourages students to try out various
parts of the course before attempting a larger project. Another feature was the
ability of the student to store references to distinct locations in the course
material (bookmarks). Traditionally these are stored locally on the students
machine. However this has disadvantages as students rarely use the same machine
all the time. The VSD allows such bookmarks to be stored within the educational
service and are thus (privately) accessible to an individual student at any
time. Also if the student has logged off the course and logs back on, the VSD
allows him/her the ability to resume at his/her most recent position or restart
at the beginning. Various forms of on-line tutorials are embedded into the
course. True or False and Multiple Choice Questions are supported,
with automatic correction and notification of marks to the student. Form based
(short unstructured text style) answers are also facilitated in some tutorials.

In these cases the student answers are automatically delivered to course tutors
for subsequent correction. Also integrated into the course are evaluation forms
which, when completed, are automatically submitted and stored for later analysis
by course tutors. The VSD provides buttons to contact other class members or to
seek tutor assistance. Again, this is offered via WWW forms and integrated
transparently with an email delivery system. 4.2 Tele-education Content There
are several modes of educational interaction, which could be supported by a
virtual theatre/study room. These would include lecture presentation, course
material presentation and browsing, self-study, group work (shared
application/work, class discussions, group presentations), consultation
(tutor/participant, participant/participant), tutorial sessions, virtual coffee
room/virtual lounge, and continuous assessment. There are also some other form
of learning that have been identified. These forms of learning are: ?
Self learning ? delivery of formatted courses material for students own
study ? Lecture presentation ? a one-to-many presentation by the
tutor of course or organizational material. ? Exercises ? the
facility to perform exercises either in groups or individually ? Project
work ? the development of sizeable projects using software outside the
teaching environment. ? Discovery/Reference research ? ability to
locate and access background or supplemental learning material ?
Seminar/Class discussion groups ? many-to-many communication between
participants. ? Consultation ? private one-to-one communication
between participants. There is some overtap between these learning forms. For
example, exercises, project work, discovery/reference search can be part of the
self-learning form, but all of learning forms are listed here for completeness.

It has been pointed out that not only should the different modes of teaching be
supported in the Tele-educational environment but also the different styles of
learning adopted by the students need to be supported. So for instance students
who like to annotate their work or their course material should be facilitated
in doing so. This is very much in the spirit of hypertext origins of the WWW.

Another point raised is that multimedia activity in the virtual classroom should
be captured and associated with relevant course material. For instance, the
teachers comments on a particular slide could be captured with the slide in
question. Also the conversation of students working on group could also be
recorded and stored with the exercise. Course material could be presented as a
hyper-document with the participant capable of navigating through the document
or choosing the prescribed ordering of the presentation. In addition, the
participant could also be given access to the more traditional learning
material, for example, notes, books, etc. Course assignments could also be
electronically submitted to promote fast feedback on performance. An important
element of assignments and project work is the need to allow participants to
co-operate in groups. 4.3 Network Architecture of Tele-education System From the
application’s point of view, network operates as IP (Internet Protocol) network
routing both multicast and unicast IP packets. Connection from network level to
the Q-adapters managing the switches communicate via ISO stack over X.25 links,
but apart from this instances all network infrastructure is in support of IP
traffic. This network structure connects seven sites. The aim of the logical
network infrastructure is to provide stable network interconnections as well as
to be managed to some extent by the network management, and to provide a
working, broadband network infrastructure while also supporting an enterprise
model suitable for multi-domain environment. For the separate customer networks,
each sites posses of LANs of Ethernet, or mixed ATM/Ethernet LAN technologies.

For maximum efficiency of scarce international, broadband resources, only one
site in each countries (that taking part in Tele-education system) are
connected. The connection, internationally connected customer sites access the
public network ATM service via an ATM cross-connect (ATM XC) providing ATM
public network provider’s Point-of-Presence (POP) in each of relevant countries.

Each customer sites posses ATM Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) which is used
to interconnect ATM public network with local routers. For the connection within
the same country, it is performed via leased lines between routers at
internationally connected customer sites and sites not connected to ATM public
network provider. The ATM CPEs at internationally connected sites and routers at
all customer sites managed by VPN (Virtual Private Network) provider. It is
performed in concert with management of ATM public service by VPN provider to
provide Intranet style connectivity between hosts on customer site LANs. This
network is quite complicated because it connects seven sites in four countries
and consisting of the following core components: ? Four ATM LANs ?
Seven Ethernet based LANs ? Four ATM Cross Connects ? Eight static
IP routes ? Seven multicast routers ? Two 2 Mbps leased lines
? Ten International ATM links (virtual path) ? One basic rate ISDN
link The following is the figure of logical network infrastructure: Figure 4 :
Logical Network Infrastructure. The ATM infrastructure that represents ATM
public network provider consists of a single ATM XC at each internationally
connected sites. These XCs are interconnected by permanent VPs (Virtual Paths).

The ATM CPE at each site based on one or more Fore System ASX-200 switches. It
is employed as logically separate ATM LANs besides as providing ATM access
between public network and routers at each site. The following is the figure of
ATM configuration. Figure 5 : ATM Configuration. The IP configuration consists
of routers at each connected sites being connected by Permanent Virtual Channel
(PVC) running over VPs. The routing function at each site performed either by
dedicated hardware router or by workstations running routing daemon software.

Routing of multicast IP packets (used for multimedia conferencing applications)
is not fully supported by most current IP routers, therefore, routing performed
by multicast routing daemon (mrouteds) running on workstations. The mrouteds are
interconnected by unicast IP tunnels, which can be used to be routed via routers
together with all other unicast traffic. The IP tunnels between mrouted at
internationally connected sites used the second sets of VPs. This supports
partition of multicast traffic from other unicast traffic and thus enables
provision of more deterministic Quality of Service (QoS) for multimedia
conferencing application. For external infrastructure, the aim is to provide
international ATM links between IP routers at the customer sites. Parallel VPs
are used between each pair of sites; one for multicast routing and another one
for unicast routing. Figure 6 : The network configuration Reflecting the
contemporary trends in multimedia and information services, all software
communication is over IP, including management system traffic. For the network
infrastructures that are conducted at a single site, the requirement its network
is fairly simple, requiring simply Ethernet connection to support IP
communication between PCs and workstations. If the system includes the
management of connections over IP switches, then the network infrastructure
would include both a representative public network ATM cross connect and
customer premises network ATM work-group switch (a FORE systems ASX200). These
are connected and configured with multiple VPs to emulate a network with a
larger number of nodes. IP routing functions in this network are provided by the
SPARC workstations with ATM interface cards performing IP forwarding. The
following is the network configuration of this kind of network: Figure 7 :
Network configuration For this network configuration, the TES Customer is able
to request the set-up of a new connection to the TES provider. The TES provider
then requested the VPN provider to do likewise. The VPN provider made a request
to the Public Network Provider and Customer Premises Network Provider to ensure
that the end-to-end IP/ATM connection was in place for the TES Customer. This is
the goal for the configuration scenario. One of the most important on an ATM
network level management system is to provide end-to-end connectivity across
constituent ATM network element, and so support the connectivity provisioning
with fault management and quality of service features. Challenged by these
requirements, a system that is able to set up ATM Virtual Paths and to correlate
faulty conditions, determining how these fault effect the connectivity for each
end user has been built. The following is the Network infrastructure of this
system: Figure 8 : Network infrastructure The figure shows that all the network
equipment is connected to one Ethernet hub, that is, the hub that acts as a
backbone for one Public Network domain and two Customer Premises Networks. In
reality, this hub could be partitioned into a number of internets that are
inter-connected by routers, also known as the Internet. For the network that is
required to operate over six sites in four different countries, would require a
much more comprehensive network infrastructure. This infrastructure consisted of
an ATM VP service, leased lines, and the internal ATM and IP network
infrastructure. The following is the example of this network infrastructure :
Figure 9 : Network infrastructure 4.4 Performance of Tele-educational Service
4.4.1 Courses There were two courses, both aimed at students with above average
prior knowledge of computing and/or computer networks. The first, an
introduction to SQL, was a self-study course, consisting mainly of modules of
written text with assessments based on these. The second course, an introduction
to ATM, was led by a tutor and involved varied methods of delivery, including
lecture/seminar, individual study and group work. Students were therefore
expected to interact both with one another and with the tutor. This course, too,
included assessment modules. Both of the courses were offered over a three-day
period and students were expected to participate for three half days. Within
this time, those taking the SQL course was able to pace their own study. On the
ATM course, the students use of the different resources was timetabled and
directed by the tutor. Time was divided between events, such as lectures, at
which all students were expected to be present, and study time, during which
they would work through a series of modules, with assessment associated with
each one. 4.4.2 Students There were 16 students on the more interactive of the
two courses, the Introduction to ATM, and a similar number on the self-paced
study course, An Introduction to SQL. All the students appeared to be
experienced computer users. This has to be accepted as necessary in a trial such
as this , which takes place in the context of a research project which uses
leading edge technology, some of it is still being tested. The prototypical
nature of parts of the system may make unusual demands on the students, such as
imposing unexpected delays. Having students who appreciate the difficulties may
well be important. Having said this, it appeared that although they were
knowledgeable about computers, these students were not experts in networked
multimedia technology, and did need some initial training in the use of the
software. This was given prior to the start of the course. The courses were
clearly directed at this target group, as their titles suggest. The students
also stated that they had a genuine wish to learn the subjects being offered and
that this was a major motivating factor. They were also paid for their
participation, which may have helped improve their persistence when there were
technical hitches. 4.4.3 System The system used for the ATM course is described
here. Those taking the SQL course used only those parts suited to self study.

There are three main elements: audio, and video communications channels support
a Tele-education system built on a web-browser base, but with considerable
functionality added. The audio tool, rat, allows participants to receive and
transmit audio, to identify who is speaking, control the volume of incoming and
outgoing audio streams. Since this tool was developed as a research platform,
there are many extra features which the average end-user is not likely to use in
an application such as this one, for example, the facility to change the audio
encoding scheme. The tools basic functionality is easy to learn and use. The
video tool, vic, also offers functionality suitable for its use as a platform
for research into networked video. For the non-expert, however, the most
important features are that multiple users can send and receive video
simultaneously and that they can control some features of both display and
capture/transmission (image size and frame rate are two examples). Video images
can be displayed at various sizes from thumbnail image to CIF. Enlarging images
does, however, involve creating a new window for each one. Students access the
Tele-education system via a web browser and navigate within it using hypertext
links, buttons and active areas of images. Initial access is password protected
and the system supports the notion of groups and hence, presumably of multiple
classes and tutorial groups. The interface is based on the metaphor of an
educational institution, a building divided into rooms whose function most
students will be able to predict from their real-life experience of education:
classroom, tea room, hall, office, library and seminar room. Users are presented
with an aerial view of the layout, in which the rooms are labeled. They gain
access to a room by clicking on the appropriate part of this image. The
resulting window sometimes maintains the metaphor but is more often mainly
textual – a list of hypertext links, for example. Once “in” a room,
students have access to the resources they need for the part of the course they
are taking. As might be assumed from the description, the system is intended to
support a mixed mode of course delivery, including lectures, group discussions
and assignments, individual study, assessment with feedback. The existence of
the office implies that students can also access relevant course administrative
information. The Hall and tea rooms suggest that the intention is also to
support less formal, social interactions. 4.4.4 Positive Findings The courses
both seemed to be appropriate for the target group. Students reported that they
believed they had learned a considerable amount and felt they would retain the
important points. The pacing of the study also seemed successful. The tutor
clearly had a sense that this was a real class in a real institution and made
considerable efforts to generate a relaxed and positive atmosphere. Use of
students names, and greeting them as soon as they logged in, contributed to
this. This is no mean achievement, given the constraints. The tutor tended to
refer to the environment as if it were a real place, arranging with students,
for example, to “meet in the tea room” or telling them to “go to
the library”. Whether the students shared this perception is less clear.

This may be due to the short time available to become familiar with it. It would
be interesting to see whether the environment would become more “real”
to the students over a longer course. The room-based structure therefore seems
to have been successful. The metaphor seems to have been well chosen, since
students seemed to have appropriate expectations of each “room”. None
of them appeared to have difficulty navigating between different rooms.

Observation did show that some students had to scroll up and down repeatedly,
however, when they were working on individual study texts. This seemed
particularly to be the case where they found the material more difficult. Again,
there was no sign that they were unsure of where to go or had difficulty in
navigation. In terms of course delivery, the trial showed that students
experienced considerable variety in the ATM course (inevitably less so in the
SQL course). Not only this, but the tutor seemed able to exploit the flexibility
of the system and to direct the student to alternative areas of study from what
had been planned originally, if necessary. One of the problems with distance
education is that such flexibility can be harder to achieve than in a
face-to-face situation, so this is promising and an interesting result of having
different applications integrated in this way. It also has a pragmatic use:
given technical problems in one area, it was possible to shift students to
another activity quite easily. Interactivity, both structured and casual was
potentially considerable. The shared whiteboard used for group work was
perceived by students as a good feature. It seemed, however, that they did not
all realize at first that they could write and draw on it. Perhaps this should
be pointed out in the introductory sessions, or the whiteboard should be
accompanied by a short explanatory note. It would also be fair to say that this
was not a long enough trial to assess usability of this part of the system. In
the limited time it was also not easy for students to establish relationships.

The system and the way the tutor used it did encourage students to get to know
one another since, for example, one of the first activities for students was to
upload their CVs and pictures and to browse through those of other students. The
level of concentration appeared to be high. Naturally, as in a classroom, there
were moments when students attention moved away from the subject of study but
these were not frequent. Interestingly, they usually stayed at the workstation
but moved to another activity such as reading e-mail. The students observed
“live” appeared to maintain concentration despite considerable
background noise and other potential distractions. This is not a surprise, since
other computer-based teaching and learning trials have drawn similar conclusions
– but it is another promising feature. At best, the material with which the
students were engaged appeared well designed for delivery on a computer screen.

The information was “packaged” into manageable chunks and was visually
stimulating. Diagrams, colour and animation were used effectively, and the
layout was clear and appealing. As the next section suggests, however, not all
of the written material was so suitable for this method of presentation.

Feedback was given to students both by the tutor, during discussions (for the
ATM course), and as a result of assessments done at the end of each module.

Students appeared to take these assessments seriously and were observed to
return to the relevant part of the notes when unsure or when they had given an
incorrect answer. The scope of this evaluation did not extend to assessing the
course design or the assessment methods, but it is worth mentioning that the
regular assessment seems to have been a successful feature of the course.

Awareness of other students is something that is hard to achieve in distance
education. Interestingly, with the audio channel left open during private study
periods, it appeared that students experienced something similar to working in a
library with other students around them. They were able to hear conversations
and could have asked questions if they needed to. The potential disadvantage is
that the additional background noise might interfere with concentration. It
would probably be worth investigating whether the availability or otherwise of
the audio channel makes a difference to students. 4.5 Operation and Management
of Tele-education Service A vital element of any service is the reliability,
configurability and administration of that service. In order to ensure success
of an educational service from both the participants and tutors
perspectives, the delivered service must be well managed and monitored. It is
crucially important to realize the software and procedures necessary to manage
and deliver Tele-educational services over broadband networks. Four basic
principles for successful teaching in a virtual classroom environment have been
identified as ? media richness, ? interaction, ? timely
responsiveness and ? organization of materials. Media richness and
interaction mechanisms can be satisfied by the educational services described
earlier. The organization of course materials and the insurance of timely
response by systems, participants and tutors are goals of the management
service. During the delivery of a course, there is a significant mass of
material presented to participants as well as a high degree of interactive
responses amongst participants. Unless this mass of materials is organized and
interaction controlled, participants can become confused and disillusioned.

Proper maintenance and management of the dissemination of material must be put
in place to provide an effective learning environment. Segregation of material,
both between and within course modules should also be supported. The strategy of
participant-paced learning is important so as to ensure that the class
moves through the modules of a course together in order for the interactions to
be meaningful. Timely responsiveness has also been identified as a key
requirement for Tele-education. Thus access to course material, as well as other
participants and tutors, should be reliable and timely. To achieve successful
operation of the tele-educational service, participant (on-site) software should
be configurable for a wide range of computing environments. Also participation
of the class members should be manageable e.g. course registration, controlling
access to class discussions, automatic collection/distribution of assignments
and projects etc. The on-line management system should provide the range of
services as required by each course leader. 5.0 CONCLUSION Tele-education system
is a very new emerging technology. It has been applied in Europe and Canada, and
is still under study in order to improve it from time to time. From this
project, it is known that Tele-education is a revolution of distance learning in
which distance learning basically only provides asynchronous learning
environment. But Tele-education has improved it by providing both asynchronous
and synchronous learning environment. After studying all the materials found for
this material, it was found that Tele- education is not easy to implement. This
is because there are a lot of things need to be considered before implementing
such as what kind of network structures available, what kind of service can be
provided by network service provider, what is the most suitable network for
interconnection among the involved sites, etc. Another reason is that, after
implementing it, there need to have several trials on the service to look at its
efficiency which would take a long time. In general, it can be concluded that
Tele-education is becoming popular as the emerging of multimedia technology. Its
advantages that could overcome the problem in current learning environment also
has made it a preferable way of learning process. 6.0 REQUIRED EQUIPMENT AND
MATERIALS The following are the equipment or materials needed for the completion
of this project in third semester : a) Opnet software (Sun workstation) – used
to perform simulation b) TV Conferencing System with; i. ISDN Interface ii. H324
TV Conferencing Interface iii. Small TV camera iv. Speaker (stereo) ?
this is required for some experiment purposes on Tele-education system c)
Satellite System with; i. Antenna (2.6 m) ii. RF receiver (C-band) iii. 2 Mbps
TV conferencing Interface iv. ISDN (2B+D) Interface – Still under
study/discussion 7.0 SCHEDULE OF PLANNING (Timetable)
Bibliography
1 Krebs, A.M, “D21A – The Initial Requirement Analysis”, ACTS
Project AC052, http://www.fokus.gmd.de/research/cc/platun/coop/prospect/new/delivara.htm#D21A
2 Jain, R, ” A Revolution In Education”, IEEE, 1997, pp. 1 3
Bison, T, “Distance Learning Is an Opportunity” , Circuit and Devices,
March 1997, pp. 41. 4 GammelGaard, A, “D21B – Final Requirement
Analysis”, ACTS Project AC052, http://www.fokus.gmd.de/research/cc/platun/coop/prospect/new/delivara.htm#D21B
5 Nielsen, A.B, “D53A – Evaluation of the First Trial Phase”, ACTS
Project AC052, http://www.fokus.gmd.de/research/cc/platun/coop/prospect/new/delivara.htm#D53A
6 Krebs, A.M, ” D53B – Evaluation of The Second Trial”, ACTS Project
AC052, http://www.fokus.gmd.de/research/cc/platun/coop/prospect/new/delivara.htm#D53B
7 Nielsen, A.B, “D51A -Operational Plan for First Trial”, ACTS
Project AC052, http://www.fokus.gmd.de/research/cc/platun/coop/prospect/new/delivara.htm#D51A
8 Johansen, A, “D51B – Operational Plan for Trial 2”, ACTS Project
AC052, http://www.fokus.gmd.de/research/cc/platun/coop/prospect/new/delivara.htm#D51B
Education

The Beak Of The Finch

The Beak of the Finch
The Bogus Logic of The Beak
People who have served in the Armed Forces may be familiar with the expression, “If you can’t dazzle then with your brilliance, baffle them with your baloney.” The Beak of the Finch uses such laughable logic, it is remarkable that anyone would believe it. The book does such a terrible job of presenting a case for evolution and history, that the only logical conclusion is that the book’s true intent is to disprove it.


Jonathan Weiner, The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time. New York:
Alfred A. Knopf, 1994. ISBN 0679400036.


“It is never too late to give up our prejudices. No way of thinking or doing, however ancient, can be trusted without proof.” –Thoreau, Walden
This book claims to be about evolution, centered in the location made famous by Charles Darwin, the Galapagos Islands. I read this book on the recommendation of a good friend who knows I am interested in birds and thought I might get something out of it. Indeed, the few parts of the book actually about the Gouldian Finches of the Galapagos Islands are fascinating. The book records in detail some of the trials the Dr. Peter Grant family endured in studying these birds on a hot volcanic rock. However, the writers and editors of the book avoid simple logic and put a spin on history that is misleading. The facts and logic presented in The Beak of the Finch really make the book’s author out to be a closet creationist.
It just so happened that at the same time I read this book, I was reading The Storm Petrel and the Owl of Athena by Louis Halle. Half of The Storm Petrel is on the bird life of the Shetland Islands, another isolated natural system. Halle, though an evolutionist, devotes a whole chapter on how the Shetlands and other islands conserve species. (Halle. 1970, 155ff.) Where species have changed their habits, it is most often due to adaptation to humanity. He compares the wild starlings, house sparrows, and rock doves found on the Shetlands with the more domesticated versions of these birds found on the continents–and to some degree even in the main village of the Shetlands. The island birds are more like their original wild forebears. I mention this now because it will come back to haunt us later.
Logical Fallacies
By the first thirty or so pages I had found two logical fallacies and at least one historical inaccuracy in The Beak of the Finch. The fallacies were significant. The historical point was minor, but could be misleading. The fallacies would continue through the book.
Page 10 says “Evolutionists are watching life evolve” on different islands. Well, not on the Shetlands, if Halle’s observations are accurate. One reason given is that islands are “a closed system.” I am not sure how closed any place on earth is any more; however, the Grants (the scientist couple doing the research reported by The Beak) were certainly careful to keep their little island as closed as possible. They washed themselves carefully, watched for any alien seeds they might bring, and so on. The great irony is that after twenty five years of observing, the net result is no change: Individual variation from year to year, surely, but nothing even remotely approaching one species turning into something else.
The Problem with Using Breeders for Analogies
Page 30 describes the “law of succession” (not plant or forest succession). This is adjunct to evolution. Is it truly a law? Can it be observed? Can it be repeated experimentally? Well, he says, Darwin showed that breeders can produce varieties of breeds of dogs and pigeons. Both Darwin and Weiner spend a lot of time on pigeons.
There are several problems with this. One, breeders are outside intelligent operators. They are not natural forces. Second, and what will prove to be most significant, they still breed pigeons. The pigeons never become another species, regardless of the exotic traits they display. They are still pigeons. Even Darwin backer Sir Charles Lyell noted, “There is no good evidence of spontaneous generation, and breeders know only too well that they cannot change one species into another.” (Ruse, 1979, 81)1
Now Darwin suggested that at some point perhaps species could become something else. He was speculating. He used pigeon fanciers as an analogy for the forces of nature. Page 30 says it was an analogy. There is a problem with using analogies for science. They can be useful to explain things, but analogy is not the scientific method (inductive reasoning). Darwin would write that “old Aristotle” was his “god.” (Loomis, 1943, xxxii) While Aristotle did write about logic, he mostly used analogy when observing nature. Here is one quick example: Winds shake the air, earthquakes shake the earth, therefore earthquakes are caused by underground winds. (Meteorology, 2.8.23ff) Whenever you argue from analogy, you must be certain that the two items being compared are truly comparable and that the similarity of one feature truly means a similarity in another.
We have a right to question whether pigeon breeders, or dog breeders, bean growers, etc. are behaving in a manner that nature does. We also must ask the question whether a visible similarity (Weiner’s definition of species) means common ancestry. I tell the story of when I caddied. There was another caddie who had red hair, a round face, and freckles like me. We were about the same height and had a similar build. Once when I was caddying, my golfer said to me, “I had your brother the last time I played golf.” Well, Chris Murphy was not my brother. We were not related at all. Just because we had some physical similarities did not mean we had a common ancestor. The argument by analogy continues for some time in the book. Yet these two questions about breeders and analogies are never addressed. The author also misses the obvious point–those fancy pigeons are still pigeons. This analogy hardly appears like a “law” of science.
Differences Among Individuals Not the Same as Transitional Forms
The book notes on page 40 that Darwin himself asked, “Why are there not transitional forms?” Darwin’s answer was that they had died off. The next question that follows logically is perhaps relevant here. Why are there not more fossils of transitional forms? That unanswerable question is why Niles Eldridge, Stephen Jay Gould, and others came up with the “punctuated equilibrium” theory (a.k.a. the “hopeful monster” theory) that there were sudden massive genetic changes which produced new species. Indeed, some fossils thought to be transitional have been proven otherwise. When I was in college we were taught that man evolved from Australopithecus. Now, if the Leakeys are to be believed, we find that Australopithecus and Homo were alive at the same time. The January 1998 issue of Scientific American describes an ongoing discussion of whether or not “Neanderthal Man” is a human ancestor. (Wong, 1998) Regular bird fossils have also been found at the same level as Archaeopteryx. As we shall see, the fossil record shows extinction rather than transition. And extinction is an argument against natural selection producing new species.
Time and time again the book tells of individual variation among finches. The average person would not notice these differences. The Grants noticed. Some of the subtle differences in bill thickness could mean the difference between survival and death. The Fortis finch, the main subject of the Grants’ study, with a slightly narrower bill had an advantage in good growing years because the more general bill could eat a variety of available seeds. One with a thicker bill would do better in dry seasons when the only available seeds were those survivors with thicker hulls that the smaller bill could not crack.
We note individual differences among humans, too. But just because there are individual differences does not mean that they evolve into something else. Individuals are just different. Let’s “celebrate diversity” and acknowledge individual differences.
Darwinism as Neither Proven Nor Scientific
Page 52 has another wild statement that challenges logic. “Darwin himself never tried to produce experimental confirmation of this particular point that individual variation led to changes into new species. It is at once extremely logical and extremely hard to prove.”
Hmm! I let that statement speak for itself. The author does not demonstrate the logic of it–probably not because it is hard, but because it is impossible. Perhaps, too, I am beginning to suspect that the author is not familiar with rules of logic.
Note two things about that statement. One, no experimentation. That means no scientific method. Therefore Darwin was not in the strict sense being scientific. Two, the logic on how natural selection causes new species is very difficult. In fact, the author does not even try to show it.
If There Is No Net Change, Doesn’t That Disprove Evolution?
For a number of pages in what is really the core of the book, the author describes how the Fortis Finches of the island specialize according to subtle differences in beak size during dry years. As a result, several strains appear. However, in wet years, the strains interbreed and the net result over a period of time is no change!
This, of course, is exactly the opposite of what the theory of evolution would predict. As a result, after about page 80 or 90, the rest of the book is devoted to a literary subterfuge to try to convince the reader otherwise in spite of the evidence. The kindest thing I can say is that the author is preaching to the converted. By page 81 the author says this is “evolution in action,” yet there is nothing about new species. The Gouldian Finches are still Gouldian Finches. Indeed the alternating natural forces keep them from changing. The author admits on page 106 that “reversals of fortune” are common. What does that mean? Change goes in various directions. Survivors in a recent generation can be more like a distant generation than the parental generation. What is the net result? No change, hence no evolution!
The author tells of the stratification of guppies according to the type of stream bed they are found in. Again, somehow this is supposed to show evolution, but instead it shows stabilization. The guppies are still guppies. There are individual variations, certainly, and some individuals have a better chance to survive in certain environments, but they do not become something else.
This demonstrates the “dirty secret” of natural selection. Natural selection is generally conservative. It preserves species, it does not make new ones. This has always been the scientific criticism of Darwin since he and Wallace first published their theories. The examples that The Beak of the Finch use really show the same thing–that natural selection is conservative. It does not speak of the origin of species as much as it does the preservation of species.
Darwin’s Logic in the First Half of His Title
Darwin’s book’s full title was On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life. If we look at the first clause of the title we can see that there are really three parts to Darwin’s logic. One is that species exist. Species are Darwin’s given. Second, Darwin tries to demonstrate that species adapt over time to changes in the environment. This is what he calls “natural selection.” Third, Darwin then tries to make the connection that these natural adaptations result in the formation of new, discrete species. Or as he put it in his title, species originate by means of this natural selection. There is also the uniformitarian implication that these changes are subtle and gradual and take a long time to have a visible effect. Hence, the earth is old, and Lyell’s “anti-diluvialism” or anti-catastrophism best explains the geological record. We will look at the second clause of the title later.
The Beak of the Finch is one of a number of studies which show that subtle changes within species can occur in just a few generations when environmental circumstances change. For the sake of argument we will call this “natural selection.” The next step in Darwin’s theory seems to be the most significant–that these changes will eventually result in new species. The results recorded in The Beak of the Finch appear to be saying just the opposite of this. The net change over time is nil or insignificant. And if there are any changes, they are conservative–they preserve the present species, they do not mutate the species into something else.
A Few More Questionable Quotations
I like this line on page 131: “The opposition to Darwinism arises, as Darwin himself observed, not from what reason dictates but from the limits of what the imagination can accept.” I will let that statement speak for itself. Reason and observation do not explain evolution. We can only imagine it. Is it unreasonable and imaginary?
Page 144 also states another problem. It explains that “Darwin’s thesis predicts the general absence of competition.” Yet the observations of the Grants in particular show lots of competition for space and food in the small island territory. In addition, the author explains, because there should be no competition, evolution will usually be unobserved! If it is unobserved then how do we know it happens? Science and the scientific method require observation.
At the very least, this means that Darwinian evolution will always be a theory. Indeed, after a quarter of a century on the Galapagos, the Grants’ evidence does demonstrate that actual evolution is not observed. Here the author is explaining why Darwinism cannot be proved, how the Grants’ observations show things that Darwin said would not happen, and yet the author still sounds like an advocate of Darwin. Doesn’t that sound like blind faith?
The Irrelevant Crossbill Experiment
Page 182 contains one experiment, but it has nothing to do with evolution. Perhaps its an example of analogy gone wild. The author describes experiments done with the bird known as a crossbill. Crossbills have crossed bills which enable them to reach into pine cones and extract the seeds. Someone took a group of crossbills and clipped the crossed portion of their bills so that they could no longer open pine cones. The birds could eat other seed put out for them. The bills grew back. Then they were able to eat pine seeds again. It makes sense, but does it have anything to do with evolution?
While it does show how bill shape determines a bird’s ability to eat certain foods, I still have not figured out what that has to do with evolution. There have been many other experiments where scientists removed or altered body parts of creatures. They could not function normally in most cases until that part grew back. All it tells us is that most body parts have a function. Perhaps it does illustrate the utility of bill structure, but there is nothing to do with heredity or genes in this one. The book states that this exercise with the crossbills refutes the anti-evolutionist book Darwin on Trial, but since the experiment has nothing to do with Darwinian heredity, it is impossible to see the relevance.
Ultimately, the author is stuck and he knows it. He wants to believe in evolution, yet all the evidence he has been presenting is really showing that natural selection is conservative. What can he do? Talk of finches, guppies, and crossbills: interesting but largely irrelevant.
Self-Contradiction and Laughable Logic
The author admits he is lost on page 192. This quotation sums up the shaky ground he has found himself on. The amazing illogic of it should be obvious even to a ten year old:
“Fortis has done a lot of evolving just to stay in place!”
As Shakespeare would say:
“That is hot ice and wondrous strange snow.” (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 5.1.63)
I almost laughed out loud when I read that sentence. The finches changed so much that they didn’t change at all? Evolution is proven because it doesn’t happen?
A recent review in Scientific American complains that science in America on the decline because relativistic thinking has crept into science, that “science is a subjective human construction, like art or music.” (Morrison, 1997, 114) The article blames the influence of social science which does not take seriously “the ultimate importance of objective facts.” (Morrison, 1997, 117) Clearly, if the above passage reflects contemporary scientific thinking, then at least some of the blame is the responsibility of science itself, not just sociology.
I find it even more remarkable that a book which such nonsense as the above passage could win a nonfiction Pulitzer Prize. One of the three panelists which made the final selection is a writing teacher at a well-known technical university. Would he accept such stuff if one of his students wrote that in a paper? One of the other panelists is an editor of a well-known high-circulation magazine. Would she allow such thinking in an article that she edited? (“1995 Pulitzer Prizes,” 1997) Such a prize is usually given to the best in its field. If this is the best evolution can do, evolution is in sad shape. Even the old agnostic himself, T.H. Huxley, wrote:
“Science is simply common sense at its best; that is rigidly accurate in obervation and merciless to fllacy in logic.” (Gould, 16)
A few years ago in article in Natural History magazine, biogeographer and evolutionary apologist Jared Diamond wrote of a genetic study done of Jews. He noted that some genetic changes had taken place in the Jewish Diaspora of the last two thousand years in Europe. He also noted that some inherited traits such as fingerprints and certain blood antibodies had not changed. In many ways European Jews, in spite of their outward appearance, are genetically closer to Arabs in the Near East (where the Jews came from) than to Europeans with whom they have lived for two millennia or more. Diamond then very emphatically stated that this–along with the sainted peppered moths–proves that evolution is a fact his italics. (Diamond, 1993, 19) I am not sure how. After two thousand years and thousands of miles migrated, the genotypes of this population are still identifiable. Is it the same kind of logic–that they evolve by not changing?
I should really stop there. At first I thought the author just thought all his readers were dense. But I get the impression he really believes this stuff! One person I shared this with simply passed it off because Weiner was writing for a “popular audience.” Logic is not important for the mass of people? Is science the new priesthood which the “laity” must trust blindly? The aristocracy to which the serfs owe total allegiance?
“Natural Selection” Stabilizes, It Does Not Cause New Species
On page 227 the author even speaks of “stabilizing selection.” Ah! What is this? A scientific oxymoron? Not if you are a Darwinist. You see, that phrase illustrates precisely the main argument against Darwin from the beginning, before Huxley and Wilberforce turned the whole discussion into a sideshow. Natural selection stabilizes species, it does not change them.
The book even shares another little secret of evolution: “Evolutionists are forever dividing and subdividing into schismatic sects.” (231). This is what began to make me personally doubt evolution in college. The Anthropology, Biology, and Sociology classes all taught it, but they didn’t agree on much and even criticized the others’ interpretation of it. There was no common ground except a materialist bias. It did not strike me as very objective.
The author then describes a number of species with very short generations. Two that he focuses on are a type of fruit fly and the human intestinal bacteria. The most he can say about the fruit fly–introduced into areas where it was not native–is that it may be diverging into new species. (233) This is after he criticized the book Darwin on Trial for using the word may. (182) If it is good for the goose
Interestingly, the book documents one really long-term change among Gouldian Finches on page 240 and thereabouts. The Galapagos Islands are now densely populated in some places. Like the rock doves, house sparrows, and starlings of Eurasia and North America, they have adjusted to human habitation. They are learning to eat scraps and seeds from people. The various types of finches which before were distinguished by differences in bills are becoming “a hybrid swarm” in towns. They are changing, but this is not due to natural forces, but due to man–more like the pigeon fanciers. Even here, though, natural selection is working not to change the species, but preserve it. The various strains are coming together to survive. This is the same phenomenon Halle (1970) observed on the Shetlands as he compared the village starlings, sparrows, and rock doves with those in remote areas. This also is the same phenomenon observed among the Lake Victoria cichlids–traditionally seen as a model for evolution like the Galapagos finches. These fish display highly specialized races in this large but isolated African lake. Within ten years after the introductin of a predatory Nile perch species, we read that observers noticed “a kind of hybrid that seems to display a resistance to the perch.” (Trachtman, 119) This reviewer called this phenomenon an irony. Well, irony is wonderful in drama and literature–something unexpected happens. However, when an irony happens in a scientific model, it is time to re-examine that model.
The author refers in a few places to the peppered or speckled . I recall my high school text book used this to “prove” evolution. That text was first published in 1962 and was first American textbook at the high school level to present evolution as scientific fact. The moth was white with some dark morphs. It lived in white birches. As the industrial cities and white birches in England became more grimy, the dark morphs became predominant. That was in the 1960’s.
With anti-pollution laws, the cities today are less grimy, there is virtually no soot in the air and the birches are white again. So now, again, most of the moth morphs are white. This is clearly not evolution! They have gone back to what they were. And, indeed, they have always been speckled moths, whether white or black. (Just like people!) Again, if there is natural selection, it is conservative, preserving the species, not transforming it into something else.


New Evidence on the Peppered Moths
Since The Beak of the Finch came out, new evidence has emerged which appears to show that the Speckled Moth experiments were stacked. This is documented by M. E. N. Majerus in Melanism: Evolution in Action (Oxford, 1998). Majerus claims to believe in evolution, by the way. The moth experiments of Bernard Kettlewell in the 1950’s have not been verified by other observers. For one thing, neither morph of the moth spends any time on rocks or tree bark. Kettlewell’s associates admit that photographs were faked and moth specimens were glued onto a tree and photographed. This admission is comparable to the Piltdown Man hoax or W. E. LeGros Clark’s admission that he deiberately doctored his pictures of fossil primates to make them look like they were intermediate forms between apes and men.


Weimer can be forgiven for not knowing about the moth experiments, since this information came out after his book. However, this does not excuse his logic, even assuming the observations were valid. This moth business illlustrates not only poor logic but flawed scientific method. It appears as though the establishment will grasp at any straw uncritically when it has the appearance of supporting its world view. For reviews of this see Nature, 5 Nov. 1998, and Back to Genesis, Apr. 1999. See also Star Course, “Notes from Nature.”
The Second Part of Darwin’s Title
And, you know, that is precisely the language used by Darwin himself in the second part of the title of his Origin book: the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life. What’s that word? Preservation. Here is a curious contradiction in the very title of the evolutionists’ holy writ. As we have seen, the first clause says that species originate via natural selection. The second clause says that races are preserved by the same process. They change without changing! So if I observe a species change, that proves evolution. If I see a species persevere, that is natural selection which also proves evolution. No wonder Weiner said Darwin’s logic was complicated! It is actually bogus logic. Can a statement and its negative can both be true at the same time? Even if both are “impossible” to observe?
More Problem Quotations
By page 280 the book describes people as causing their own genetic change: “We modified the hyoid bone.” Human evolution in the first person? HmmWhen I was a teenager I sure would have liked to have modified a few thing about my bone structure. Most teenagers would. I couldn’t. Could the author?
Page 284 “Species of finches cannot diversify on Cocos Island Pacific island owned by Costa Rica because the island is too small.” And I thought islands were “laboratories of evolution.” The island in the Galapagos archipelago that the Grants worked on was even smaller. Interestingly, this year a popular book on biology came out called The Song of the Dodo. One of its premises is that islands are laboratories of extinction, not evolution. While it is written from an evolutionary perspective, it admits that on islands, “speciation could be disregarded” as a factor in wildlife populations. (Quammen, 414)
Bacteria + Moths + Birds + Guppies + Flies = Preservation of the Species
The author tells of E. coli bacteria, the common human intestinal bacteria. These bacteria, we are told, have a generation that lasts about two hours. Strains appear and adjust due to environmental f…..actors. They change when a person gets a cold, comes in close contact with another person, or eats a certain food; and some strains develop resistance to antibiotics. These things, though, do not prove evolution. They demonstrate the opposite. Bacteria resistant to antibiotics or insects resistant to pesticides do not demonstrate evolution–they demonstrate that natural selection is conservative. They preserve the species; they do not change it into something else.
Similarly, those cotton-eating Heliothis moths which the book mentions are still eating cotton. They are still the same insect. Some individuals may resist insecticides, but this trait preserves the species, it does not change the creature into something else. And yet the author mocks the Bible-belt cotton farmers who disbelieve evolution. In fact, those farmers recognize perfectly well that the same kind of moth still eats their cotton.
The example of E. coli is an especially obvious refutation to evolution. With nearly six billion human laboratories carrying this bacteria on earth and with the bacteria reproducing every two hours, we would have the equivalent of millions of years of human or mammalian evolution observable just in our lifetime. Yet, while various strains of E. coli may appear or may become predominant in a certain environment, they do not become something else. They are still E. coli. Six billion people defecating every day, you’d think we’d notice if they had become something else!
The book lists a number of examples of natural selection in species: Gouldian Finches, guppies, cotton moths, fruit flies, sandpipers, (the crossbill experiment does not count since clipping bills does not change the genetic makeup of the population), speckled moths, and the very fecund E. coli. What do we observe over generations–in the case of E. coli, twelve per day? That the species do not change! Indeed, with the speckled moths, Gouldian finches, and bacteria at least, they will clearly revert to a past type. What does this show? It shows the precise opposite of what Darwin was attempting to prove. It shows that species do not change. Any individual variations which may be “selected” by nature preserve the species. The alternative is extinction. That is precisely what the fossil record and even the current natural record shows–not species changing into something else but species not changing and disappearing. In spite of a nearly a hundred and fifty years of Darwinistic indoctrination, when we think of “survival of the fittest,” we think of extinction, of the “unfit” that don’t survive. That is real. That is a fact. Change into another life form is still speculative at best.2
The Earliest Known Critique of Darwinism
A critique of Darwin and Wallace’s earliest publications on evolution (prior to The Origin) appeared in 1860 in an article in the Journal of the Geological Society of Dublin. This article notes that “the propagation of special varieties is simply a provision to guard against the destruction of the species by any, the least, change.”3 The only problem, the article said, with Darwin’s idea that the healthiest specimens of a group survive is “want of novelty.” (Brackman, 1980, 74) “If it means what it says, it is a truism; if it means anything more, it is contrary to fact.” (Brackman, 1980, 74)
Indeed, the only reason the article says that the publications of Darwin and Wallace were considered seriously at all is because of the social status of the Darwin family and the backing of publication by Lyell and Sir Joseph Hooker. “This speculation of Messrs. Darwin and Wallace would not be worthy of notice were it not for the weight of the authority of the names under whose auspices it has been brought forward.” (Brackman, 1980, 75) Darwin was from a prominent family and his wife from an even more prominent family. He and Wallace were published at the instigation of Lyell and Hooker. Both of these men were baronets and members of the Royal Society. Lyell, of course, had Principles of Geology to his credit. Hooker was a well-traveled botanist and curator of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
Perhaps this rebuttal to the Darwin-Wallace hypothesis did not receive more attention because it came from Dublin. It did not have the aristocratic or social pedigree that Darwin and his Royal Society friends had. Of course, today it would be politically incorrect to snub someone because of his or her nationality, but it is academically acceptable to ridicule another type of person, one with a status similar to the Irish in nineteenth century England. We see The Beak of the Finch do this.
Who Are Contemporary Equivalent of the Irish in America Today?
The author, of course, wants to sell books. He wants approval from the academic establishment. Twenty years ago Harper’s ran an article on natural selection being conservative. (Bethell, 1976)4 It did not sell. The prize-winning Beak of the Finch will sell. Especially since it does include the obligatory elitist slam at “fundamentalists.” It is clear the author does not know what the word means since the one specific example he uses of a “fundamentalist” is a Jehovah’s Witness. One of the seven fundamentals of a Christian fundamentalist is that Jesus is God. While the Jehovah’s witnesses do believe in a special Creator, they deny that He is Jesus.
The author quotes Peter Grant that Creationists “have the appearance of closed minds.” Dr. Grant then admits he does not know any. He can be forgiven for that because he has spent most of the last two and a half decades on a deserted island in the Pacific Ocean. He clearly is not aware of what has happened in American courts in the last twenty years. It has been the evolutionists who have effectively silenced the discussion of any opposition– not by logic, not by evidence, but by court order! If the creationists are closed-minded, then the evolutionists are censors.
The other ironic thing about that statement is that Dr. Grant himself may be the one with the closed mind. Here is all this evidence to show that natural selection does not make new species, and he can’t see it. Or maybe he can, he just is afraid of becoming an academic pariah. So he presents evidence refuting Darwinists all the while pretending he still is one. That is why I suspect that either Dr. Grant, the researcher, or Mr. Weiner, the author, is a closet creationist.
Why Did Darwin Drop Out?
While logic is the main problem of the book, there are two historical inaccuracies worthy of note in The Beak of the Finch. The author suggests that when Darwin left England for the Beagle that he was still a seminary student, and that it was the trip on the Beagle and reading Lyell’s Principles of Geology that changed him. If Darwin’s Autobiography is to be believed, that is not exactly what happened. Darwin dropped out of seminary because he no longer believed the Bible–the three things Darwin mentions specifically are the story of Noah, the Tower of Babel, and the doctrine eternal hell for the unbeliever.
Darwin’s father did not know what to do. His father is the one who sent him to seminary in the first place because being a minister seemed like a job that Charles was suited for. When Charles dropped out, his father recognized Charles’ interest in science, so he arranged for him to take the job a ship’s surgeon on the Beagle, where he could see some of the world and learn a suitable trade. One of Lyell’s original intentions was “to sink the diluvialists,” people who believed in the Genesis Flood and that that explained most geological sediments and fossils. (Gillispie, 1960, 299) It appears that Darwin and Lyell were kindred spirits since Darwin had admitted that the Genesis Flood was one of the teachings which kept him from Christianity.
The author’s misinformation on Darwin here is relatively minor. It perhaps suggests that the author wants his reader to convert from religious belief, too, but the detail itself is not that significant. Perhaps the author knows of evidence that I am unfamiliar with, though at least one other author interprets the account the way I do. (Gillispie, 1960, 348; cf. Darwin 1958, 85ff.) It really does not change the effect of the book much at all unless he is suggesting that Darwin is deceiving us in his autobiography. Indeed, one impression from reading Darwin’s autobiography is that even though he gradually changed from Christianity to universalism to deism to atheism, he remained a man of conscience.5
How The Beak Attempts to Rewrite History
The second historical misstatement in The Beak is downright misleading. In fact, it changes the whole nature of the argument of the book. It may show what really motivates many evolutionists. On page 298 the book claims that the idea that God designed the universe “no longer seemed compelling after Galileo and Newton discovered the celestial laws of motion.”
Where did Weiner come up with that idea? He clearly knows nothing about Newton and little about history. What did Newton devote his life to after he discovered and quantified the laws of motion? Theology! Most of his writings are theological. The order and design that he discovered led him to consider the One, as he put it, “who wound the watch.” Newton would write in his Principia:
This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being…This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of His dominion he is wont to be called Lord God pantokrator, Universal Ruler.(Newton, 1687, 369, 370)6
This God no longer “seemed compelling” to Newton? Certainly we are not talking about the same Isaac Newton as is quoted here! Let’s at least be honest!
The scientific revolution which resulted in the acceptance of the scientific method went hand in hand with the Reformation. It was not that God had become irrelevant–He had become more relevant. The Reformation emphasized that the God of the Bible had created the universe. The scientific method worked because God was a God of order, not confusion. We could do inductive experiments and make observations and the results would not be random. Why? Because the universe is orderly.
One could go on and detail the history of the period of Galileo and Newton–no time in European and American history before or since has the Christian religion been such a critical issue as the period between 1520 and 1789. Most of the wars and many political movements resulted from it or in reaction to it. English-speaking North America was settled in most places for religious reasons. One of the main motivations of the American Revolutionaries was resistance to England’s attempts to make a uniform state religion of the Anglican Church in the colonies. The concept of God was hardly irrelevant during this era!7
Who Was Behind the Attack on Galileo?
OK, some say, what about Galileo? He got in trouble with the Pope. Well, the Pope was one of the reasons for the Reformation. The Roman Church in the Middle Ages had adopted Aristotle as a model for science, and even for a lot of theology. Luther in particular was very critical of this.8 The Pope’s opposition to Galileo was Aristotelian. It was Aristotle who taught differently than Galileo. (The Bible doesn’t have word about the planet Jupiter or its moons…) The Reformation succeeded in knocking Aristotle’s influence down a few notches, in the area of science as well as theology. Galileo had to take the rap for using the scientific method just as Luther had to for emphasizing the Bible. But if it had not been Galileo, it probably would have been someone else who was using the scientific method who might have gotten into trouble with authorities.
It is also important to note that Galileo actually had the support of Pope Paul V and the Jesuits, but the faculty at the Universities of Padua and Pisa hated his experiments and anti-Aristotelian views. He was sentenced by Pope Urban VIII, but the charges which brought him before the pope were filed by academics.
It appeared that the church’s major sin was capitulating to the pressure from the scientific community and Galileo’s enemies. Only as a result from much pressure from the secular establishment and Aristotelian philosophers did the church side against Galileo. (Bergman, 1995)
Even a general reference source acknowledges that:
Since the full publication of Galileo’s trial documents in the 1870’s, entire responsibility for Galileo’s condemnation has customarily been placed on the Roman catholic church. This conceals the role of the philosophy professors who first persuaded theologians to link Galileo’s science with heresy. (Drake, 1996)
It was not the church that led Galileo’s inquisition, it was academia. Today academia uses the secular courts rather than the ecclesiastical ones, but the result is the same, to try to silence the scientific opposition.
Darwin, Aristotle, and Spontaneous Generation
This leads into Darwin. As I mentioned earlier, Darwin called himself a disciple of Aristotle. I speak of Aristotelian science–the science of analogy. That is what evolution is–analogous traits in various species come from a common ancestor. Keep in mind that The Origin of Species was published in 1859. Most of Pasteur’s work was done in the 1870’s and 1880’s .People did not know of the significance of microbes. It was still common, for example, to say that malaria was caused by bad air. That is what the word malaria means. (Cf. Thoreau, 1854, 132) Though there were some experiments disproving it, it would still be possible to find intelligent men like Darwin who believed with Aristotle in spontaneous generation. For example, if you read Walden, published in 1854, it appears that Thoreau did. (Cf. Thoreau, 1854, 325ff.) The Origin of Species is an example of latent Aristotelian science. Some well-meaning scientists are still trying to spontaneously generate life out of chemicals. (If it could be done, we should be able to take a cadaver–which already has the chemicals–and bring it to life. We can’t even do that…) By the nineteenth century, Aristotelian science was pretty much a historical relic. Darwin brought it back from the dead and it is an unreasonable, self-contradictory monster.
Concluding Observations
The Beak of the Finch purports to be a book about the observation of “evolution in our time.” The actual observations recorded in the book, however, demonstrate the absence of evolution among the finches of the Galapagos Islands and other species like the peppered and cotton moths, intestinal bacteria, guppies, and fruit flies. The book uses a number of self-contradictory statements which illustrate the shaky logical foundation of Darwinian evolution. The conclusion from the evidence is that “natural selection” serves to preserve species, not alter them into something else. There are also some historical inaccuracies, including one which tells much more about the mindset of evolutionists than about history. When examined carefully, The Beak of the Finch shows how fragile and illogical the dogma of Darwinian evolution is. Since this book won a prestigious prize, it must have been considered one of the better works on the subject. If this is as good as can be done for evolution, it will not be long before evolution goes the way of Aristotle’s geocentricism. The book at its root can only be taken seriously as an anti-evolutionist tract.
Synopsis
The prize-winning book The Beak of the Finch purports to be a book about the observation of “evolution in our time.” The actual observations recorded in the book, however, demonstrate the absence of evolution among the finches of the Galapagos Islands and other species mentioned by the book such as the peppered and cotton moths, intestinal bacteria, guppies, and fruit flies. The book uses a number of self-contradictory statements which illustrate the shaky logical foundation of Darwinian evolution. The conclusion from the evidence is that “natural selection” serves to preserve species, not alter them into something else. There are also some historical inaccuracies, including one which tells much more about the mindset of evolutionists than about history. When examined carefully, The Beak of the Finch shows how fragile and illogical the dogma of Darwinian evolution is.
Notes
1 There is a potential problem of logic worth investigating in Darwins application of Lyells uniformitarianism. The “principle” of uniformitarianism is that geologically things continue in a gradual manner without any significant change. Significant changes would suggest “diluvialism” or catastrophism. To Darwin this meant simply that the earth was quite old. But Lyell believed that he was being consistent in applying uniformitarianism to the organic as well as inorganic world by saying that species do not change. Such a change would be more akin to catastrophism. See McKinney, 1972, 33 and 34.
2 This problem was recently illustrated in an article in American Scientist:
There are, arguably, arguably some two to ten million species on Earth. The fossil record shows that most species survive between three and five million years. In that case, we ought to be seeing small but significant numbers of originations and extinctions every decade.

Keith Stewart Thompson, “Natural Selection and Evolution’s Smoking Gun,” American Scientist, Nov./Dec. 1997: 516.

3 A summary of the Dublin article is found in Brackman, 1980, 74 , 75. Quotation is from page 75. Interestingly, Darwin mentions this article in his Autobiography. He does not speak of the logic of the article or that it caused him to reflect or reconsider but simply that if he were to persuade anyone, the issue was one of propagation rather than of truth or logic. “This shows,” he said of it, “how necessary it is that any new view should be explained at considerable length in order to arouse public attention.” Darwin, 1958, 122. It appears that The Beak of the Finch tried to employ the same method, that is, repeat the idea “at considerable length” so that people will begin to believe it, regardless of the logic or interpretation of the evidence.
4 In this article T. H. Morgan says, “Selection, then, has not produced anything new, but only more of certain kinds of individuals. Evolution, however, means producing new things, not more of what already exists.” (Bethell, 1976, 74) This is actually the underlying message of The Beak of the Finch, too.
5This assessment was my own from reading the autobiographies of Lyell, Darwin, and Wallace. There is no suggestion of any unscrupulous action on the part of Darwin, and he appeared to behave in a scrupulous manner, though consistent with his beliefs. (For example, he refused to allow Karl Marx dedicate Das Kapital to him. He was an opponent to slavery, and though he was no longer a Christian, he gave money to a Christian missionary group whose activities he approved of.)
Having said all that, nowadays, others are not quite so charitable in describing Darwin’s behavior towards Wallace. See, for example, Peter Quammen, The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinctions, (New York: Scribner, 1996) 111ff. He details the work of a number of researchers which suggest Darwin plagiarized Wallace. Quammen writes, “Darwin had behaved weakly and selfishly at best.” (113)
Quammen’s book is also interesting in that, while it gives lip service to evolution, it emphasizes extinction, not adaptation. The biogeographic model that this book effectively presents is one of migration of species followed by isolation–the question of evolution is irrelevant. As he puts it, “Speciation could be disregarded.” (414)
6 This passage continues in a similar vein enumerating the attributes of God:
The true God is a living, intelligent, and powerful Being; and from his other perfections, that he is supreme or most perfect. He is eternal and infinite, omnipotent and omniscient; that is, his duration reaches from eternity to eternity; his presence from infinity to infinity; he governs all things, and knows all things that are or can be done. (Newton, 1687, 370)
This God hardly sounds like an irrelevant character!
A physics professor from California State University at Long Beach testified in a court case that Newton would not be recognized as a “credible scientist” if he “persisted in maintaining a creationist position as he did in Mathematica Principia.” (Vardiman, 1997) Who is “having the appearance of a closed mind”?
7The more I think about this, the more I am baffled. Even a cursory check of a high school European or American History text shows how important religion was in those three centuries or so. Even those who were opposed to religion (e.g., Voltaire) were very conscious of it and spent a lot of time and energy refuting it–and not because of any supposed scientific evidence. That really came with Huxley. I begin to wonder that the author, the publisher, many reviewers, and the Pulitzer committee can all be so ignorant of history. Is it deliberate? Are they all stupid or careless, or are they conscious that they are misinforming us? If they are honest and intelligent, then they must be anti-evolutionists trying to show how shaky the theory’s foundation is.
8 Luther’s strong words against Aristotelianism can be found in Martin Luther, To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation, 1520, in Three Treatises, Philadelphia: Fortress, 1970, 92ff. (Proposition 25).
Note 186 on page 92 of this particular edition notes that Roger Bacon and Erasmus also criticized the emphasis on Aristotle in medieval education. Roger Bacon is usually credited with being the developer of the scientific method in the fourteenth century. A Franciscan monk, he spent between two and ten years in prison for heresy. The record is sketchy, but likely this was because of his non-Aristotelian and non-scholastic views. Though he remained a Catholic, Erasmus, a contemporary and sometime friend of Luther, called for reforms similar to Luther’s including more use of the Bible in the church.
Bibliography
Links may be subject to change, especially links to articles. Links from longer works are as close as possible to relevant material or quotations. Some on-line sources are different editions or translations from those used in this text so the wording may vary. Some on-line articles may be condensed.
Aristotle. c. 350. Meteorology. Trans. E. Webster. The Internet Classics Archive. 1997.
http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/.22.iipart8.html (29 Dec. 1997).
Bergman, Jerry. 1995. “The Galileo Affair Continues.” Contra Mundum. 1997.
http://www.wavefront.com/~contra_m/cm/features/cm15_galileo.html (28 Dec. 1997).
Bethell, Tom. 1976. “Darwins Mistake.” Harper’s, Feb. 1976: 70-75.
Brackman, Arnold C. 1980. A Delicate Arrangement: The Strange Case of
Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace. New York: Times Books.
Darwin, Charles. 1958. The Autobiography of Charles Darwin. Rpt.; New York:
W. W. Norton and Co., 1969. The date is not a mistake. Darwins heirs did not release his memoirs until 1958.
_______. 1859. The Origin of Species. 1997.
http://www.literature.org/Works/Charles-Darwin/origin/ (28 Dec. 1997).
Diamond, Jared. 1993. “Who Are the Jews?” Natural History, Nov. 1993: 12-19.
Drake, Stillman. 1996. “Galileo.” Microsoft Encarta, 1996 ed. CD-ROM.
Gillispie, Charles Coulston. 1960. The Edge of Objectivity. Princeton NJ:
Princeton Univ. Press.
Gould, Stephen Jay. 1993. “The First Unmasking of Nature.” Natural History: April 1993: 14, 16-21.
Halle, Louis J. 1970. The Storm Petrel and the Owl of Athena. Princeton NJ:
Princeton Univ. Press.
Loomis, Louis Ropes. 1943. Introduction. Aristotle. On Man in the Universe.

New York: Walter J. Black.
Luther, Martin. 1520. To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation. Trans.
Charles M. Jacobs and James Atkinson, 1966. Three Treatises. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1970.
See also http://iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/wittenberg/luther/web/nblty-07.html.
Majerus, M. E. N. 1998. Melanism: Evolution in Action. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.
McKinney, H. Lewis. 1972. Wallace and Natural Selection. New Haven CT:
Yale Univ. Press.
Morrison, Douglas R. O. 1997. “Bad Science, Bad Education.” Scientific
American, Nov. 1997: 114-118.
See also http://www.sciam.com/1197issue/1197review1.html.
Newton, Sir Isaac. 1687. Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy.

Trans. Andrew Motte and Florian Cajori, 1939. Great Books of the Western World. Ed. Robert Maynard Hutchins. Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 1952.
Quammen, Peter. The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of
Extinctions. New York: Scribner, 1996.
“The 1995 Pulitzer Prizes, General Nonfiction: Jurors.” 1997. The Pulitzer
Prizes. http://www.pulitzer.org/year/1995/general-non-fiction/jury/ (28 Dec. 1997).
Ruse, Michael. 1979. The Darwinian Revolution. Chicago: Univ. of
Chicago Press.
Shakespeare, William. c. 1598. A Midsummer Nights Dream. Ed. Barbara A.

Mowat and Paul Werstine. New York: Washington Square Press, 1993.
See also http://quarles.unbc.edu/midsummer/amnd5-1.html.
Thoreau, Henry David. 1854. Walden and Other Writings. Ed. Joseph Wood
Krutch. New York: Bantam, 1962.
See also http://dev.library.utoronto.ca/utel/nonfiction/thoreauh_wald/wald_ch1.html for malaria reference and http://dev.library.utoronto.ca/utel/nonfiction/thoreauh_wald/wald_ch17.html for chapter with references to spontaneous generation.
Trachtman, Paul. Book Reviews. Smithsonian, Aug. 1998: 118-121.

See also http://www.smithsonianmag.si.edu/smithsonian/issues98/aug98/bookreview_aug98.html#one
Vardiman, Larry. 1997. “Newtons Approach to Science.” Impact, 296: i-iv.
See also http://www.icr.org/research/lv/lv-r03.htm.
Wong, Kate. 1998. “Ancestral Quandary.” Scientific American, Jan. 1998: 30, 32.
See also http://www.sciam.com/1998/0198issue/0198scicit3.html.

Title

The daughter of an active feminist, Mary Woolstonecraft Shelley eloped with the famous poet Percy Bysshe Shelley at the age of 15, and after was continually and profoundly influenced by his words and writings. Her novel Frankenstein is named among the best written and most meaningful of the gothic works, and is one of the few still popularly read today. A precursor to the Romantic trend in art and intellect, gothic novels rejected of the precepts of order, balance, idealization, and rationality that typified Classicism in general and late 18th-century Neoclassicism in particular. The gothic tradition grew out of disillusionment with the Enlightenment and 18th-century rationalism and physical materialism. Romanticism as a whole emphasized the individual, the irrational, the imaginative, the spontaneous, the emotional, and the transcendental. Shelley herself defines “gothic” as a story “which would speak to the mysterious fears of our Nature, and would awaken thrilling horror–one to make the reader dread to look around, to curdle the blood and quicken the beatings of the heart.” By infusing moral and social concerns into the gothic style, Shelley achieves more than a simple horror story, however. The universal societal and psychoanalytical questions raised in Frankenstein secure its place in world literature and promise decades of similarly fashioned gothic writings.
As stated above, the gothic genre developed as a harsh reaction to the predominant Neoclassic ideals of the time; the emphasis shifted from the whole to the solitary, and from society to nature. The “Graveyard Poets,” one of whom is Thomas Gray, are attributed with having ushered in the new philosophy and are often termed “Pre-Romantics.” Gray’s “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” has all the elements of the gothic: graves, overtones of death, a rural setting, and a desire for return to a more simplistic, natural time. Simultaneously, Jean-Jacques Rousseau preached a similar creed which presented society as evil, and called for a “natural state of man.” Shelley was schooled in both writers, and took their words to heart. In 1776 and 1789 Revolutions swept America and France, indicating that the Neoclassic ideals were not as stable as was previously thought. News of these revolutions infected the English with fears about similar occurrences in their own country, and much of this trepidation is manifested through devices such as the senseless mob violence in Frankenstein.
Mary Shelley took fragments of histories and a legend surrounding the castle Frankenstein (which she may or may not have visited) she had heard and developed them into her novel. The castle was once inhabited by a doctor Conrad Dipple, an alchemist who claimed to have the elixir of life, and was known for graverobbing and signing his name “Frankenstiena.” She came across this information while vacationing with her husband and Lord Byron in Geneva in the summer of 1816. Mary writes in notes for an edition of her late husband’s poetry that they read that summer the New Testament, Paradise Lost, Spenser’s Faery Queene, Montaigne’s Essays, and Aeschylus’ Prometheus, among numerous others (The Complete Poems of Percy Bysshe Shelley 575). One evening the three, along with Dr. John Polidori and Mary’s stepsister, Claire Clairmont, were trapped in Byron’s castle as a storm raged outside. For a change from reading Coleridge’s vampiric poem “Christabel,” Byron suggested a ghost story competition. Out of this competition came Polidori’s “The Vampyre,” Byron’s “Manfred,” and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the idea for which came to her in a nightmare.
The setting under which the story was devised was perfect for the story itself; Frankenstein takes place in the Swiss Alps and in Ingolstadt, where Victor Frankenstein is schooled and creates his monster. The novel swims in gloom and decadent expanses of castle and lecture hall, and all the confrontation scenes between Victor and his creation take place in harsh natural settings such as the cliffs and the ice floes. This reinforces Shelley’s belief in both the destructive and beautiful properties inherent in nature, and heightens the conflict between the two characters.
The setting, in turn, helps create the mood which permeates the novel. The tone is melancholy, and has an almost destructive sense about it. Due to the instability of the entire society, and Victor in particular, the mood shifts much like the emotions of a manic-depressive would; Victor seems wholly disconsolate yet notices flashes of beauty, such as in the spring during which he recovered with Clerval’s assistance. The tone also reveals the social prejudices of the time during the scenes in which the monster is attacked though he has done nothing to provoke such action. This mob mentality is used to illustrate the dangers of a society thinking as a whole; one mistake, and all is lost. The attacks are depicted violently and seem almost mechanical as one shout of fear and misunderstanding leads to an uncontrollable mass of angry bodies without any real reason for their ire. The truly frightening aspect of the mob scenes is the fact that no one questions the purpose behind the attack, but simply follows.
The story makes use of a frame, a structure typical of the genre. The events are retold from a first-person narrative to a secondary audience who is unfamiliar with the happenings. This allows justification of expository information and also allows the audience (now the narrator) to voice thematic and moral assumptions derived from the content of the tale. Frankenstein begins as a seaman’s journal, but, upon the beginning of Victor’s experience, drops almost entirely the presence of Robert Walton (the seaman) and presents the tale through the Doctor’s eyes. Walton is necessary for practical reasons as well: since Frankenstein dies, there must be someone to relate his life, and it would be unfeasible for the story to be told through a personal journal for the simple fact that Frankenstein had more important things to do than keep a diary.
Shelley drew from two Classical sources, Ovid’s Metamorphosis and John Milton’s Paradise Lost, for the creation of Frankenstein. From Metamorphosis came the Prometheus legend, which appears in the subtitle “The Modern Prometheus.” One of the Titans in Greek mythology, Prometheus returned fire from Mount Olympus to the humans after it had been taken from them by Zeus, and so was imprisoned on a peak where an eagle each day ate his liver, which grew again each morning. The Prometheus legend applies to Frankenstein in the instance of Victor, who obtains forbidden knowledge (that which humans should not have, like the fire) and then is punished for its misuse, however unintentional.
Adam and Eve’s “Fall from Grace,” as related in Milton’s epic poem, is very similar to the Prometheus legend, but with obvious Christian overtones. Victor Frankenstein is the ignorant humans in the Garden who are overcome by the temptation of the snake’s (Satan’s) poisoned fruit of forbidden knowledge. Victor truly believes his efforts will help humanity, and “A new species would bless me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me” (Shelley 52). In the end, however, nature refuses his sway over its secrets and hands him an abomination; his failure is absolute and he suffers dearly his grand illusions. He has “fallen,” and all he holds in his heart is destroyed as a result of his seemingly benevolent search for things beyond his capacity and place.
Percy Shelley was a devout atheist (if such a thing is possible), and he doubtless challenged the validity of Mary’s proper Christian upbringing. Despite his abhorrence for organised religion, both Shelleys read Paradise Lost twice for its literature between 1816 and the publishing of Frankenstein in 1818, and the influence of Milton is obvious. On the title page Shelley quotes Milton,
Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay
To mould me Man, did I solicit thee
From darkness to promote me?
Paradise Lost, X, 743-45
In the context of her novel, the passage reads as the monster questioning Victor, to whom he gives scornful god-like attributes. Victor’s irresponsibility in creating the innocent being from severed corpses and then refusing him and leaving him to die speaks of a distant, uncaring god whose qualities mirror Satan’s more closely than Christ’s. Shelley’s novel is a clear message warning the unbridled destructive power of aggravated Nature, and the realms into which man should not meddle.
Just as Victor’s character is a composite of Adam’s, God’s, and Satan’s attributes, the monster is faced with the same confusion of identity. This quality stems from Shelley’s concern over the identity of her society as a whole, which was slowly disintegrating into smaller hostile factions. Paradise Lost is one of the works from which the monster masters language (another being Frankenstein’s journal, which fans his rage), and so he becomes learned in Christianity. The monster, being of above-average stature and strength, also displays a highly intellectual and logical power of reasoning. He extends his personal condition into the novel and declares, “Like Adam, I was apparently united by no other link to any other human beingI was wretched, helpless, and alone. Many times I considered Satan as the fitter emblem of my condition” (Shelley 135-136).
The monster, while conceived of the discarded parts of criminals, was originally quite kind and sought only companionship, one of the primary quests of man. God saw this and bestowed Eve upon Adam. His unnaturally born and unlearned character served as a foil for the misguided and overly scientific Frankenstein. However, after a string of unfounded and brutal refusals by both his maker and society, his once benevolent character turns to anger and the pursuit of revenge. The creature tells Frankenstein that, “The fallen angel becomes a malignant devil. Yet even that enemy of God and man had friends and associates in his desolation; I am alone” (Shelley 240). Since he is rejected as another “Adam,” the monster assumes the role of Satan, where at least he is able to vent and does get some attention and respect. His rationale is that, “if I cannot inspire love, I will cause fearif I have no ties and affections, hatred and vice must be my portion” (Shelley 125-126). Denied of love and companionship, the monster reasons that the only option left him is its opposite: evil and destruction.
Like Satan, the monster is effectively isolated from society due to the perception of him as hostile and evil, and this only serves to increase his hostility. Well before he had committed a single act against society, they fled from him or pursued him with weapons and cries. He saved a young girl from drowning and was shot; he helped a destitute family through a winter they would not have survived and, when he finally amasses the courage to reveal himself to them, they beat him and chase him from their land. He relates that Felix (the young man of the family) “struck me violently with a stick. I could have torn him limb from limbBut my heart sank within me as with bitter sickness, and I refrained” (Shelley 117). Even when attacked the monster is too upset by this refusal of his company to defend himself; companionship and understanding are of primary and singular importance to him. After several such disheartening failures, the creature resigns himself to a solitary life and devotes his energies towards the destruction of his absentee creator. Had he been accepted by only one individual, he might have endured the hostility of all others.
The theme of man’s fall from grace is attributed to the sin of pride and the danger of delusions of grandeur. If man would accept and remain confined to his place in the scheme of life, nature would do as should be done, and man could live in harmony. The balance between the natural world and the newly industrialised, scientific world of man is delicate and unstable. Shelley believes that scientific advances must be employed with extreme caution, and man must never forget his roots.
Another struggle between poles is the ubiquitous battle between darkness and light. Metaphorically, darkness seeps into the light of knowledge much like the ever-present gloom in the gothic atmosphere. This ignorant darkness threatens “progress” and knowledge, but is natural and permanent; never will light overcome darkness, but the opposite is plausible. Occasional flashes of light, such as Victor’s discovery of the secret of life, are quickly obscured by the unforgiving and impenetrable blackness of nature.
This impossibility of the permanence of scientific knowledge (which is the most dynamic branch of knowledge) questions the validity of a society based upon reason in a natural, malevolent world. The gothic is based upon the realisation that the former intellectual structures were collapsing, and Shelley is doubtful of the coming of a newer, better philosophy. The cycle of philosophies is again drifting towards nature as the key to harmonious and godly life, and Frankenstein illustrates the triumph of nature over science.
Frankenstein’s monster is the embodiment of science and reason twisted to reality by the whims of Nature under which he was schooled. Science unleashed and unmonitored (as all science ultimately becomes) offers far more serious consequences than nature itself could ever inflict upon man. More than a caution on the dangers of science, Frankenstein calls for a united band of tolerant and democratic individuals to comprise the new culture. Ironically, the monster embodies this ideal: “If any being felt emotions of benevolence towards me, I should return them a hundred fold; for that one creature’s sake, I would make peace with the whole kind” (Shelley 125). The monster wishes for peace and understanding while Frankenstein himself is caught in a web of reason and intellectualism; the creature is the embodiment of nature while Victor serves as an illustration of the failing Neoclassic philosophies.
The violence of this breaking social structure manifests itself with a distaste for the aristocracy (symbolically, the castles) and their comfort in their abused powers. Romanticism places importance on the individual and on democracy, denouncing hierarchical and inherited rule. The mob mentality and general loss of identity is derived directly from the disintegration of such a long-standing system; the culture is drowned in a torrent of questions and confusion. Finally, the omnipotence of nature again overrides the futile attempts of man at order and reason.
Though Frankenstein is said to have marked the end of the gothic period in 18th century literature, its model still is emulated and admired. The novel had great influence upon the middle and late Romantic works, such as Percy Bysshe Shelley’s drama Prometheus Unbound of 1819. Among the characteristic attitudes of Romanticism was a deepened appreciation of the beauties of nature, an exaltation of emotion over reason and of the senses over intellect, a focus on man’s passions and inner struggles. The movement also emphasized imagination as a gateway to transcendent experience and spiritual truth, an interest in the medieval era, and a predilection for the mysterious and the monstrous. These attributes evolved directly from the gothic genre, but became more refined and less grotesque in the process. The Victorian era saw a resurgence in the ghost story, though their style tends to be more subliminal and domesticated than the blatantly evil tone of the gothic. American Romanticism had its base in this period of English literature as well. Poe’s “Ligea” and “Fall of the House of Usher” and Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” use many gothic conventions and themes, such as the ominous tone, dream-like or surreal sequences, and warnings about interdependency and the manipulation of one’s mind.
The gothic novel revolves as part of the literary cycle, periodically returning for a brief period in the public’s eye and then again disappearing into obscure circles of its few disciples. In this scientific age, the gothic is viewed as being overly sentimental, predictable, and implausible. As the ages change, readers, like Victor, are forced to “exchange chimeras of boundless grandeur” which the gothic inspires for “realities of little worth” (Shelley 46). The gothic, the fantastic, is a necessary balance for logic and reason as much as light is to dark, and good to evil. Without one, the other is undefined and therefore has no purpose in its existence. Frankenstein will live on as a brilliant insight into both the political environment of the 18th century and the eternal condition of man as an extension of nature.
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Aircraft Simulators

A simulated flight environment for pilot training may soon
be made more realistic through the use of eye-tracking
technology developed by researchers at the University of
Toronto’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering (IMBE).


Many safety and cost benefits are obtained by training
aircraft pilots under simulated conditions, but to be effective
the simulation must be convicingly realistic. At present, th e
training facilities use large domes and gimballed projectors, or
an array of video screens, to display computer-generated images.


But these installations are very expensive and image resolution
is low. Further, it would take an enormous amount of addi to
improve image quality significantly throughout the whole viewed
scene.


However, based on the visual properties of the eye,
realism can be obtained by providing a high-resolution ‘area of
interest’ insert within a large, low-resolution field of view.


If the image-generating computer ‘knows’ where the pilot’s
fixation is, it mage there.


The technology to make this possible was developed by a
research team headed by Professor Richard Frecker and Professor
Moshe Eizenman. The work was carried out in collaboration with
CAE Electronics Ltd. of Montreal with financial support from the
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.


Their eye-tracker can record and analyze accurately up to
500 eye positions per second. The system works by means of
capturing and processing the reflections of a low-level beam o f
invisible infra-red light shone onto the eye.


Multi-element arrays capture the image of the eye and
digitize the information, which is then processed in real time
by a fast, dedicated signal processing unit. The difference in
position between the ligh tre of the pupil reveals the
instantaneous direction of gaze.


Developments by the IBME team have significantly increased
the speed of signal processing in addition to enhancing accuracy
of eye position estimates. Eizenman believes that “these
improvements make our eye-tracker very effective in monitoring
the large G-force environment where the pilot tends to make
larger eye movements because of contraints which exist on
movements of his head”.


In a new generation of aircraft simulators, under
development by CAE Electronics Ltd. of Montreal, a head tracker
which tells the direction of the pilot’s head is mounted on top
of the helmet. The eye tracker is mounted on the front of the
helmet, and is ll exactly where the pilot’s eye is fixating.


Frecker said that “successful integration of our eye
tracker into the novel helmet-mounted CAE flight simulator would
result in a new generation of simulators that would likely
replace the current large domes and cumbersome video display
units.”
Initial tests of the integrated system will be carried out
in collaboration with CAE Electronics at Williams Air Force Base
in Arizona later this year.

Elements in Road not taken

Robert Frost’s Poetic Techniques Uniquely Used in “The Road Not Taken”
Robert Frost utilizes several poetic techniques to reveal the theme in his poem, “The Road Not Taken”, which is stressing the importance the decision making of one is, regardless of whether or not it is agreement with the resolution of their peers, and how it can affect their future. The techniques exercised in this piece of work are symbolism, imagery, and tone. Symbolism is the most powerfully used technique due to the fact a good number of lines located in this poem is used to signify a certain object or idea related to our life or today’s world. Imagery is significant in drawing out the theme for the reason that it allows the reader to construct a depiction in their mind, permitting them to relate more to the poem and interpret the theme their own way. In this poem, imagery permits the reader to imagine the scene that this poem takes place in resulting in an enhanced understanding of the theme. The tone this work presents is an insecure attitude which allows the theme to be brought out due to the fact the theme relates to a dilemma in one’s life. As seen by the reader, these techniques strongly aid in the revealing of this specific theme. The first technique Frost utilizes to uncover the theme is the strongest method, symbolism.

Exploiting symbolism is used by containing objects in the poem that represent an article of something relevant in the reader’s life; therefore, assisting in the presentation of the theme. The primarily symbolized object in this poem is the fork in the road, which is the basis of the theme. “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, /And sorry I could not travel both / And be one traveler, long I stood / And looked down one as far as I could / To where it bent in the undergrowth” (Frost.1-5). Symbolically speaking, Robert Frost does a proficient job of transforming a seemingly common road to one of great importance, representing a decision that could lead one in two separate directions. The resolution the traveler comes upon may possibly affect his or her life; therefore, stressing the importance of decision making. The following symbolic element is the quality of the courses the voyager encounters. The earlier path is worn down

The Dirty South

The Dirty South
During the times of the Civil Rights Movement the black communities of Birmingham, Alabama suffered severely due to the notorious acts of racism geared towards them simply because they were black. They boldly endured beatings, lynching, bombings, and demeaning treatment from the white community and especially from the Clan. The September 15, 1963 racially motivated bombing of the Birmingham’s Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, which resulted in the deaths of four innocent black girls, was one of the darkest moments of the Civil Rights Movement and perhaps one of the darkest days in Birmingham, Alabama’s history. Betty Blackman was born and raised in Birmingham. Her life was engulfed by the racism and left her with dramatically scaring memories of Birmingham.
I grew up in the city of Birmingham, Alabama. I was born there December 11, 1947. Most of the memories I have of growing up there are the most painful memories that I have, which is strong racism and living in every day fright. I remember not being able to drink out of the cleaner water fountains around town; they were for the white people. The water fountains that were available to us were few, far between and very filthy. The black people were treated like dogs in Birmingham. I remember having to enter of the all stores and restaurants in town through the back entrances. One place I remember so vividly was a restaurant called Stadium Grill. We ordered food there every week while we were doing the wash across the street at the Laundromat. We enter in the back door into a very tiny poorly lit room. There were no tables or chairs for us to sit and eat there, it wasn’t allowed. There was only a small window to which we placed our orders and left. The front of the restaurant was large; it had tables with real cloth coverings and beautiful flowers sitting in the middle of the tables. I never once stepped foot inside the front of that restaurant. The way our communities were much different than they are now. Black people were not allowed to live among the white people. The white people lived in big lavish homes on the far east side of town and the blacks lived on the west side of town in small run down homes. There was, however, one subdivision that the wealthier black families lived. The name of it was the Goldwire Area and even now it never compares to the homes in which the poverty stricken families live now. The other less fortunate blacks lived in run down shack like homes farther west of town.

I was sixteen years old when the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church took place. I remember it so well, because it was such a traumatic time and we tend to remember traumatic times more than the less traumatic. I remember sitting in a chair in our kitchen getting my hair pressed when my family got the news. The smell of freshly pressed hair takes my mind back to those times. My parents got a phone call and I remember hearing my mother scream the most horrible scream I’d ever heard. She was weeping very hard when she told my siblings and me about it. I can still see the pain of that memory in her eyes today. A few days later, I heard some other adults around our neighborhood talking about it. They were saying this explosion wasn’t very loud but it had a tremendous impact on the church. The bombings had become a way of life for us and well as the harassment from the Clan. Someone’s house was bombed almost every week, but until this point in time no one was killed. I remember an incident when the Clan set off a small bomb in the center of the black neighborhood. The plan was to draw a crowd, set off a much larger bomb, and kill a large majority of black people. Their plans were intervened by the FBI. They found the bomb, but I don’t remember anyone being charged with anything because of it. When I found out about the girls being killed, my heart went out to them and their families. Although, I didn’t know any of the girls personally, I did know one of the girls father, Mr. Chris Mc Nair. Mr. Mc Nair was a prominent black photographer in Birmingham. He took all of the school photos, wedding portraits, and all of the family portraits in the black community. Before the explosion and the death of his daughter, Mr. Mc Nair was a cheerful, happy, calm man, but even years later he was a cold, unconcerned and just an impatient man. This was the case among most of the black people in Birmingham after the bombing. We didn’t have much, but we did take pride in family and our community.
After the bombing, the town went pretty much back to normal to a certain degree. I can say, however, that there was a stronger sense of fear in the black community and a stronger sense of resolve, because these kinds of tragedies had to be stopped. So, the bombing in a sense caused our community to pull together more and push harder to make the change. More black people than before began to participate in the Civil Rights movement. More of them showed up for the marches and more people attended the meetings. Most of all, people had more respect for the ministers that participated in the movement at Birmingham. They realized that any minister that participated life was literally in danger because they had such a big influence on the black community. Really, I think more people were also participating more because the lives that were lost were so innocent and precious, and it was in their own back yards. The children killed in that church could have been their own and because of these facts a change had to be made. I remember my mother saying that she believed that the bombing was geared at the church because Reverend Shadowsworth was a big supporter of the movement. Reverend Shadowsworth was the minister residing over the church at that time and he supported and participated in much of the movement. He and his wife had been beaten several times by the Clan and their house had been bombed more than once. I just couldn’t understand what black people had done that was so awful to be treated this way.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about the racism and all of the bombings in Birmingham. I compare the terrorism we endured then to the terrorism the United States is enduring now. Then, we were living in constant fear for our lives and the lives of our loved ones. Now, the whole country is living that way today. It’s funny how the Old South was always called the “Bible Belt,” when nothing was ran according to the teachings of the Bible. I often think of what my great aunt used to say, “The white folks threw the rock and now they are trying to hide their hands.”
I am fifty-six now and I have two children of my own. I couldn’t imagine them having to live in the conditions that we were forced to live. I am proud of the men and women that gave their sweat, blood, and lives to get us where we are today and I thank them for it everyday. I think mostly about those times around the month of February, because it is dedicated to black history and Birmingham has a lot of black history. I am a better person today than I was years ago in Birmingham. It took me a long while to get from that bitter place that I was in. I actually hated white people, because of the tragedies we witnessed and endured in Birmingham. Back then, I never could understand why Dr. King always preached for non-violence, while unnecessary violence was displayed on us on a daily basis, but now through the grace of God I understand. Nothing positive comes out of violence and because I had found the Lord, I know that vengeance is His. For these two reasons, I no longer feel hate toward any white person or my life in Birmingham. I can move along with my life and have love for all.

John steinbeck

John Steinbeck
John Steinbeck was a famous American author who wrote from the 1920 to the 1940. Steinbeck was constantly moving across the country trying to succeed as a writer. John Steinbeck lived a life of constant up and downs, successes and failures before he landed on his feet and became a famous author.
John Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California on February 27, 1902. He was the only son and the third child of John Ernst Steinbeck and Olive Hamilton. Steinbeck’s father owned comfortable Victorian house in Salinas. John’s father managed the Sperry Flour Mill. Things were pretty good for the Steinbeck, they were settled in a nice home they did not have to many financial problems, but then economic difficulties forced John’s father dismissal from the mill. Steinbeck’s father deiced to open a feed and grain store and go into business himself. The store struggled to survive and eventually failed completely. A close friend of John’s father got him a job as an account for the Spreckles Sugar Company. “Although he had a job, John’s father was extremely devastated by the lose of his business”(Stephen)
“Encouraged by his parents John began to develop a love literature”(Morrow). At his ninth birthday John received a copy of the book Morte d’Arthur. This was the first book John ever owned. He later said it was a great influence upon his life. During his years at Salinas High School, John excelled in English. At the end of his Freshman year in High School John had determined that he wanted to become a writer.

At the end of his Senior year John applied to Stanford University and was accepted as an English major. Coming of his success in high school John felt very confidante that he would succeed. To pay for his education John went to school half a year and worked the other half. John found college boring and felt that he was a “writer in training”(Ito, 14) not a college student. After six years of struggling to pass John left Stanford in 1925. “John was far from confidant about his future”(Harmon, 56) so he packed his few belongings and headed to a resort near Lake Tahoe.
One of John friends found him a job at Lake Tahoe in June of 1925. His plan was to make enough money to become a freelance writer in New York City.Low on funds John signed on as a working berth on a freighter headed to New York is November of 1925. When he arrived in New York John got a job as a newspaper cub reporter. He finally seemed to a secure job and things seemed alright. After a couple of months working as a reported John realized that he did not fit this kind of job. “Due to his lack of experience John was never given a chance to show his talent and he was given unimportant assignments with no value”(Morrow 75).Numerous times he failed to show up at work and was soon after fired.

Barely scraping by John wrote a collection of short stories. He went to two publishing companies and he was shot down by both. One explained that they would not publish an unknown writer, they other refused to publish short stories. Heart-broken and broke John got a job as a waiter on a California bound freighter and headed back to his old job at Lake Tahoe.

To just make things a little harder for John when he arrived at his old job, winter was close behind and he got snowed in for eight months. He took advantage of this time and wrote A Cup of Gold, a biography of the pirate Henry Morgan. A publishing company called McBride and Company agreed to publish A Cup of Gold and the book was on shelves in the autumn of 1929. Then in 1930 John married Carol Henning. To add on to John’s good luck streak one of his books The Pastures of Heaven was published in 1932. In 1933 To a God Unknown and two parts of The Red Pony were published. John finally seemed to be on his feet. In 1934 John won the O. Henry prize for his short story “The Murderer”, but that prize came at a price. John’s mother Olive Steinbeck died from paralysis. After grieving the lose of his mother, John had to continue on and trying and get over this one of many hurdles in his life.
Pascal Covici, who worked for McIntosh & Otis contracted John to publish Tortilla Flat threw his company. Tortilla Flat was published in 1935 and “was destined to become John’s first commercial success and literary classic”(Ito, 33). The book was an immediate success for John, but once again there was a dark side to John’s success, his father John Ernest Steinbeck died. “Steinbeck resolved that he would never abandon the pursuit of his own professional destiny as a writer”(Ito, 35).
“The success of Tortilla Flat had gained him national renown”(Pastori).
John had finally gotten the respect and recognition the he deserved. In 1937 Of Mice and Men was published and was chosen by the Book-of-the-Month club. Continuing with John’s success The Grapes of Wraith was published in 1939. This book was and still is considered to be one of the best books written. John gained extreme fame from this novel. “This novel is still effecting generations today”(Ito, 49)
John Steinbeck lived through some tough times of ups and downs. Whenever things seemed to be going right for him, everything turned around. John had to jump many hurdles to finally make his life long dream come true, become a writer. After many years of hardships John landed on his feet and made it as a famous author.

Hamlet10

When was Hamlet written and who was the ruler of England?
1600-1601 The king of England was James I, who was a great supporter of theater. In fact he patented the Chamberlains in 1603, and the company renamed itself The Kings Men.

Who was the ghost? What does it tell Hamlet and how does he respond?
The ghost was the King Hamlet, elder brother to Claudius who named himself King after King Hamlets death. The ghost told the tail of his murder. He explained to Hamlet that it was his uncle that pored poison into the king’s ear. It was also Claudius that seduced his mother Gertrude.

Why is (what makes) Hamlet a tragic figure and Hamlet a tragedy?
Traditional tragedy generally deals with extraordinary people i.e. Kings and Queens Princes and Princesses. When Hamlet wants nothing ells in life but too seek revenge for his father’s death which robbed him of his birthright. We find a Price trying to kill a King. When the hero Hamlet accomplishes his task all the royalty dies even our hero.
Discuss the characters of Hamlet, Horatio and, Laertes.

Hamlet – Manic depressive. He loathes himself and awaits his fate. He is so evil and merciless, yet so loved by the people. A truly complex character one that you could truly relate to almost as you could a close friend. When I imagine putting a person of this nature into a that position. All I can think about is all the controversy. For I am not one that seeks revenge but have had the craving to inflict my pain back on to it’s source many of times. So I do understand where he is coming from but don’t always agree with his actions. I believe that Hamlet has some of the same feelings about himself. Take his hatred for his mother because she married Claudius. Yet a part of his mission was to protect his mother.
Horatio – Is a commoner and a true friend to Hamlet, also the only person Hamlet really trusts. He isn’t a stupid man, in fact he follows Hamlet’s word play very well. He also aids and agrees with most of Hamlet’s actions. He is the only person Hamlet could trust in tell the truth about the slaying of his father and clearing his name. Because of this Hamlet would remain the people’s hero.

Laertes – He and Hamlet grew up together. Not being as well spoken as the Prince forced him to be more physical. His father was the aid to the king, his sister was the love of Hamlet. I believe that Laertes inspired to be like Hamlet but could never seem to make the grade. If I wanted to know what it was like in Hamlet’s shadow Laertes is the one I would ask.

If you were to produce or direct Hamlet, why might you, or might you not update the language to make it more “accessible” or “relevant” or “hip” ?
I if I was going to reproduce the picture I would redo the language in order to make it easier to read. I think people are turned off by Shakespeare’s works because the language is so hard to read. I know I am very interested in his works but resist because it is so hard for me to understand what is being said. I think the language also has it’s benefits as well. The old English helps set the stage giving the audience an great feel for the times.
Arthur Miller’s theory about tragedy for the common man says that… “I think the tragic feeling is evoked in us when we are in the presence of a character who is ready to lay down his life, if need be, to secure one thing – his sense of personal dignity.” I say this would describe Prince Hamlet’s feelings when he was on his quest. If a common man could feel as Hamlet did and take similar action, what would you call it but tragedy? Tradition says that tragedy deals with kings and queens but in this day and age we run short of kings and queens. Do you not think it’s tragic that in some communities in the United States if you wear the wrong color you could be shot and killed in an effort to protect the sanctuary of your killer’s turf.


Bibliography:

Braham Stoker’s Dracula Dracula Essays

Free Essay on Dracula

In the novel Dracula there are many qualities that are necessary for success. Firstly determination is a key factor to succeeding; secondly revenge is a factor in succeeding; furthermore fearlessness plays a big role when they go to kill Lucy; lastly intelligence is needed to make all the plans.

When Jonathan Harker get captured by Dracula he is afraid, but he is also determined to get free. “I can not say in this room much longer for I shall die,” he said. A small crack of light appeared through the stones. “I pushed the stone with all my might but it only move, I found a carving utensil which I used to make the hole bigger” said Jonathon. “The hole got bigger and bigger then the stone just fell out.” When Jonathan Harker and the rest of the people go to hunt Dracula they are determined to kill him because they do not want Dracula to kill anyone else. In order to kill Dracula they must plunge a stake through it’s heart, cut off it’s head, and stuff it’s mouth with garlic. They use silver knives to kill him just as the sun sets. “Get him before he flees” said Jonathan, “he must not get away.” Arthur proceeds with the stake cautiously. “I got him” yelled Arthur. Abraham shoves a clove of garlic in the Count’s mouth. “get him before he tries to get away.” Jonathan and Quincey, use silver knives to cut off his head. “We have finally done it we killed Dracula” said Quincey. Jonathon was determined to escape. Arthur, Abraham, Jonathan, and Quincey are determined to kill Dracula.

In order to get out of the Count’s castle Jonathan thinks of three things survival, escaping and kill the Count for trapping him in the castle. “I can’t die I have to get out, I have to end his rain of terror, he can`t get away with what he did to me” said Jonathan. This shows that Jonathan Harker wanted to kill Dracula through revenge, but he also killed him so Dracula would not kill anyone else.

When Van Helsing, Holmwood, Seward, and Quincey Morris go to kill Lucy they must be fearless of the un-dead. Van Helsing leads Holmwood, Seward, and Quincey Morris go on there search to kill Lucy. “We have to go kill her there is no other way” said Van Helsing Therefore they must be fearless to go and kill vampire.

Jonathan Harker was an intelligent man so was Arthur, Abraham, and Quincey. If they were not intelligent they would not have come up with plans to kill Dracula, and Jonathan would not have escaped from his castle. Therefore if these men were not smart Jonathan would not have escaped and the rest of the story would not have happened .

In conclusion there are many qualities that are necessary for success such as, determination, revenge, and intelligence if the qualities did not exist the story would not have gone anywhere.

Catcher In The Rye

The Catcher in the Rye is narrated by Holden Caulfield, a sixteen year-old boy
recuperating in a rest home from a nervous breakdown, some time in 1950. Holden
tells the story of his last day at a school called Pencey Prep, and of his
subsequent psychological meltdown in New York City. Holden has been expelled
from Pencey for academic failure, and after an unpleasant evening with his
self-satisfied roommate Stradlater and their pimply next-door neighbor Ackley,
he decides to leave Pencey for good and spend a few days alone in New York City
before returning to his parents’ Manhattan apartment. In New York, he succumbs
to increasing feelings of loneliness and desperation brought on by the hypocrisy
and ugliness of the adult world; he feels increasingly tormented by the memory
of his younger brother Allie’s death, and his life is complicated by his
burgeoning sexuality. He wants to see his sister Phoebe and his old girlfriend
Jane Gallagher, but instead he spends his time with Sally Hayes, a shallow
socialite Holden’s age, and Carl Luce, a pretentious Columbia student Holden
treats as a source of sexual knowledge Increasingly lonely, Holden finally
decides to sneak back to his parents’ apartment to talk to Phoebe. He borrows
some money from her, then goes to stay with his former English teacher, Mr.


Antolini. When he believes Mr. Antolini to be making a homosexual advance toward
him, Holden leaves his apartment, and spends the rest of the night on a bench in
Grand Central Station. The next day Holden experiences the worst phase of his
nervous breakdown. He wanders the streets, looking at children and talking to
Allie. He tries to leave New York forever and hitchhike west, but when Phoebe
insists on going with him he relents, agreeing to go back home to protect his
sister from the ugliness of the world. He takes her to the park, and watches her
ride on the merry-go-round; he suddenly feels overwhelmed by an inexplicable,
intense happiness. Holden concludes his story by refusing to talk about what
happened after that, but he fills in the most important details: he went home,
was sent to the rest home, and will attend a new school next year. He regrets
telling his story to so many people; talking about it, he says, makes him miss
everyone.