I.W.'s blog

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The Melding of Senses

The Melding of Senses:

A Review of The Man Who Tasted Shapes

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The Advantage of Forgetting

Isabelle Winer

Contrary to the Teachings of History Teachers:

The Advantage of Forgetting

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A Garden of Dead Bodies

It all started during one of my father’s parties for the teachers at his psychiatric institute and their recently graduated students. As usual I was bored out of my mind and had fled to hide in my room listening to music in my ball gown. I had to run downstairs for a few minutes every hour or so or else my mother would realize I was gone, but before I even hit the bottom of the stairs I realized something was very very wrong. All the guests were lying on the ground of the dinning room, completely still.  My sister, Jessa, was sobbing in the corner repeating of and over again “I didn’t mean to do it”,while my mother pulled the bodies out to t

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Finding a Path in the Absence of Truth

Isabelle Winer

Evo-Lit

Paper 4

Finding a Path in the Absence of Truth

With billions of people and millions of cultures all simultaneously inhabiting the world today, a universal truth seems entirely impossible.  Every culture has had its own collective mass of experiences unique to them, which have shaped the manner in which they view and participate in our shared world.  Often times these groups even have truths which conflict with those of other groups, but as we have learned over the past semester those conflicting stories are all true to the people who believe them.  We cannot place them in a hierarchy because ultimately they are simply the functional and evolving stories that are the most practical for each group.  Yet having accepted that no story is better than another leads the global community no closer to figuring out how to handle these conflicting stories.  When peoples’ lives and well-being become threatened by these stories it becomes even more pressing to be able to find a functional and fair manner in which the world can govern itself.  In recent years the predominantly African practice of excising the clitoris has become increasingly debated in the global community.  This traditional practice has come to be called, amongst human rights activists and then later organizations such as the United Nation and the World health organization, female genital mutilation (FGM).  Outside of Africa there is a general feeling of disgust at the practice of FGM, but there has also been the opposing argument that this is simply another case of economically powerful nations imposing their own moral judgments upon a folk lifestyle.  Defenders of female genital mutilation, or female genital cutting, range from many of the African women who have undergone the operation to western academics who believe that we cannot fully understand the practice and therefore cannot judge it.  While this practice may be an integral part of a complex culture in which women are glad to undergo the pain and trauma, in its current form female genital cutting is life threatening to the women who endure it.  It has become critical to find a tiebreaker amongst all the stories.  Education and freedom of information are that tiebreaker.  The women of Africa should be allowed to decide their own future, but they should be informed enough to do so.  Currently, the overwhelming lack of accurate information is contributing to the existence of female genital cutting, and that is where the true problem lies.

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“And She Aches Just Like a Woman”

Isabelle Winer

Professor Dalke

Story of Evolution

 “And She Aches Just Like a Woman”

The fight for social change does not occur for the iconoclasts only against the established norm but also with their own desires for security.  While convincing others to the cause may seem impossible, the battle within is simply a lost cause.  From birth we are constantly being initiated into our culture as we learn the social constructs, such as gender, which will serve as internal laws for the rest of our lives.  Like the process of evolution, true social change occurs slowly and over the passage of many generations.  For example each generation of women is fighting a gradually mutating battle for equality, causing each generation to struggle with a similarly gradual and mutating self-doubt.  Howards End and On Beauty portray how this doubt can manifest in two different time periods for two well-respected, self-sufficient women.  Margaret in Howards End feels that she is unable to make the decisions of a man and wants the comfort a husband can provide, despite the fact that she is financially independent.  While the women in On Beauty have gained political equality, Kiki has come to doubt her own intellectual self-worth outside of the accomplishments of her husband.  Both of these women display how difficult it is to maintain the resolve necessary for radical change.  

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A Looking Glass for the Development of Buildings

Isabelle Winer

3-19-07

EvoLit- Dalke

 

A Looking Glass for the Development of Buildings

 

One of the most fascinating and influential aspects of the story of evolution is the manner in which it can be applied outside of the context of biological evolution.  By considering a topic in the light of the mechanisms and principles of biological evolution one is able to gain a fresh perspective on ancient ideas and structures. One example of this is the light shed by applying the story of evolution to the change in the shelter of man over time.  Overall the shelter used by human beings is influenced solely by the needs and desires of the people living in it, therefore it is ultimately the selective pressure that determines the evolution of the shelters they inhabit.  Despite not being a biological entity, the change over time in the structure of man’s shelters can be well explained by the principles established by Darwin and those who followed him in their construction of the story of evolution.  The structures best adapted to serving the needs of a group of people will be the one’s that continue to be used and thus much of their basic blueprints will be passed on to the next generation of shelters built. 

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The Perpetual Motion of Evoultion

Isabelle Winer

The Story of Evolution

Paper #1

The Perpetual Motion of Evolution

Today many of the problems people have with evolution stem from their understanding of evolution as being a completely random process.  It is human nature to desire order and direction, which explains why religion with its rules and higher being is such a more comfortable story.  On the other hand, evolution, viewed as “completely random”, portrays life as lacking purpose and direction.  Christopher Schöborn displayed this view when he said, “evolution in the neo-Darwinian sense -- an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection -- is not [true]. Any system of thought that denies or seeks to explain away the overwhelming evidence for design in biology is ideology, not science.”[1] This understanding of evolution is incorrect; evolution is instead a process directed by the ever-changing environment. The variation made possible by the random mutation of genes is simply the opening that makes evolution possible.

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