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Religion and science psychology 代写

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  • Self-Assessment        
         For this self-assessment, I looked at an analytical piece I wrote for psychology class last year. It was a report on Truman Capote’s book, In Cold Blood. The assignment was to read a piece of writing related to psychology and write about its importance in the field. My thesis was that the court condemned the wrong man to the death sentence by not evaluating the psychological analysis of Perry Smith (who I believe had paranoid schizophrenia, and was not in control of his own actions and should not have been prosecuted for decisions which were not his own).
         Strengths: I think my thesis was okay and I was pretty good at using my resources. I had a lot of quotes which did most of my work for me in proving my point. I had some solid arguments and some not so solid ones. I probably could have expanded the good ones and gotten rid of the not so good ones.
         Weaknesses: I definitely could have spruced up my analysis of my quotes and arguments. I tend have a hard time digging deeper into the text; I was more intent on proving the judgment of the jury through the quotes than analyzing them. I was a little rushed in the conclusion. I merely restated my thesis. I really should have gone a step further. It didn’t add to the paper.
         Through this portfolio and the WR100 class, I wish to learn how to craft better arguments (more punchy intros?), improve my analysis, and most of all, write more efficiently (time-wise and word-wise. I often find that my essays have a lot of words strung together that mean nothing at all). I also think I need to work on my conclusions. I need to work on taking my thesis one step further.
     
    Final Draft.docx
    Yang Zhang
    Prof. Madsen Hardy
    WR100 F2
    September 23, 2012
     
    Using Symbolism to Overcome the Unknown
         Metaphors are used every day to explain in known terms what is not understood. Illnesses are no exception, especially those that have eluded our knowledge of cures. In the age of scientific breakthroughs and belief that all can be cured and understood through science, cultural and symbolic healing are often discounted as fiction and subjected to criticism. Susan Sontag in her essay, “Illness as Metaphor”, expresses this perspective that healing should be exclusively physical, and that diseases should be viewed from a purely scientific standpoint. Metaphoric representations of disease form stigmas and stereotypes against the disease and its patients. She claims that these associations are deleterious to the patient because they keep the patient from understanding the true conditions of his illness. However, I believe that in the right context, metaphoric thinking may actually help the patient. Disease instills in us, a fear— a fear of losing control, a fear of mortality, a fear of the unknown—that we can overcome through symbols and metaphors. Symbols allow us to seek our own understanding of a disease, and separate from the lifeless definitions set in textbooks. They help us to connect back with our life, and regain some control from the illness threatening our vitality.
         Sontag argues that metaphors should be separated from illness, that it is only moral to do so. The negative influences of stigmas and stereotypes toward certain diseases are detrimental to the patient and may hinder his or her healing progress by giving false characteristics to both the disease and the patient. She says, “In the last two centuries, the disease most often used as metaphors for evil were syphilis, tuberculosis, and cancer—all diseases imagined to be, preeminently, diseases of individuals” (59). The characteristics of these diseases permeate from the disease onto its patients, identifying him or her as one who carries the disease and has done such evil. This accusation does hold water, in that some metaphors, when used inappropriately, can have negative connotations and effect patients negatively, but this does not encompass the whole of metaphors’ influences. Metaphors can also explain illnesses in a culturally and socially acceptable way that allows patients to be comfortable with their disease and its treatment. In fact, understanding a mysterious illness, especially one that has eluded knowledge, can only be done through symbolic thinking. John Coulehan points out that even when a disease has been demystified, the patient will still seek their own truth. The patient will not be satisfied with just a textbook definition. He needs to understand where he stands in terms of the illness and the culminating “why me”. Coulehan explains that “all realities of illness are fundamentally semantic; that is, they are constructed from, and experienced within, the sick person’s world of symbols, the network of meanings through which he or she understands ‘reality’” (112). Even if the biology of an illness is fully understood, a patient’s understanding of his or her own condition is through their own “world of symbols… network of meanings”. It is impossible to separate the two. It is, however, possible to direct their understanding towards a more positive path, one that will enable healing both mentally and physically.
         The words of a doctor are very important to his patients. Healing begins with words. It is how pain is initially conveyed from the patient to the doctor and how the doctor comes to understand and diagnose the patient. Even a simple diagnosis alone can relieve the pain of the sufferer from the terrors of the unknown and from falling to victim of their own imagination. Whereas Sontag believes that doctors must be careful in their usage of words and remain stoically scientific, without bias or stray past the domain of “empirical science”. She views the symbolization of some diseases to be harmful to the patient in the diagnostic process such as that of cancer in negating the patient’s outlook. She uses cancer patients as an example: “Cancer patients are lied to, not just because the disease is (or is thought to be) a death sentence but because it is felt to be obscene… ill-omened, abominable, repugnant to the senses” (9). Cancer becomes a shameful event that nags at the patient’s conscience. It becomes a part of the patient. Everything he or she had done up to that point is stained as a potential cause of the disease, as if the disease itself were served to punish an action or even a character flaw. All of this was brought on by a single diagnosis. Indeed some may see it that way, but the symbolism of a name, when used correctly, can also jump start the healing process. Coulehan explains through Berger and Mohr that “the illness, in other words, shares in our own uniqueness… That is why patients are an independent existence from them. They can now struggle or complain against it” (117). Instead of the disease becoming attached to the patient and giving them an identity, naming a disease allows patients to detach themselves and even “struggle or complain against it”. This is the first step to accepting the healing process.
         Indeed, placing so much emphasis on symbolism puts illness in a very psychological perspective, and Sontag argues that “psychologizing seems to provide control over the experiences and events (like grave illnesses) over which people have in fact little or no control. Psychological understanding undermines the ‘reality’ of a disease” (55). I disagree. Psychological understanding does not “undermine” the “reality” of a disease, but instead describes the reality of the patient’s situation and how the patient is going about compartmentalizing and recovering their sense of control over the loss of their former life, one that had not been obstructed by a threatening unknown. And Coulehan further argues that it is due to the loss of the symbols that had once characterize our understanding that we losing meaning in life, that “suffering arises from the threat that our lives are, in fact, meaningless, and that we are cut off from the network of symbols that once gave us coherence and sustenance” (115). Through our symbols, we can regain a little of what was lost, and invite a little respite from the suffering. In the patient’s mind their symbolic understanding is the reality and it is within the doctor’s power to influence and guide that understanding towards a positive path so that the patients can believe in their healing and not just the physical.
    We are not robotic; we cannot treat ourselves as one. Healing only to fix the dysfunction can cause more problems. Denial of the changes beyond the physical can also be unhealthy. Some physical symptoms may even be reflections of a mental illness or mental state. The ultimate fear, the final unknown, is death. It is exactly the denial of the existential and the unwillingness to surpass the tangible, physical, and material aspects of life that we cannot come to terms with death. Sontag, on the other hand, accounts our inability to come to terms with death to denial of reality due to the “lying to and by… patients” in terms of symbols and metaphors. Diseases that are synonymous to death renders death into an “offensively meaningless event” (8), but these diseases can also be a catalyst for reevaluating what is important. Coulehan implores doctors to help patients regain symbols that “gave us coherence and sustenance”. By entreating to the known—safe—symbols that we are familiar with and can understand, we see a little more meaning to life than just being a vessel for the disease. Disease throws our whole world into chaos and forces us to stop and reexamine the past with renewed understanding, thus, helping us gain perspective instead of lose focus.
         Words can be a powerful tool within the realm of medicine and healing, and when used correctly can initiate, ease and accelerate the patient’s recovery process, but a certain level of responsibility and respect should be maintained when wielding such a tool or the consequences could be as Sontag described. Symbols and metaphors can allow others to understand and empathize with the sick person’s pain. They do not leave the sick person to fend for themselves, to cure themselves, but invites the “empathetic listener” to connect and relieve some of the patient’s stress and fear, even with just a simple phrase: “Yes, I understand. You’ve come to the right place” (Coulehan 116).
     
    Works Cited:
    Coulehan, John L. "The Word Is an Instrument of Healing." Literature and Medicine 10 (1991): 111-29. Project Muse. Web. 24 Sept. 2012. <http://http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/lm/summary/v010/10.coulehan.html>.
    Sontag, Susan. "Illness as Metaphor." Illness as Metaphor; and AIDS and Its Metaphors. New York: Picador, 1990. 3-87. Print.
     
     
    Slater Paper Final.docx
    Yang Zhang
    Prof. Madsen Hardy
    WR100 F2
    10/18/2012
     
    The Fifth Step: Storytelling and Healing in Lauren Slater’s Lying
         Lauren Slater, in her memoir, Lying, uses epilepsy as a metaphor to tell the story of her spastic life. For Slater, epilepsy symbolizes loneliness, and her need to connect, at first with others, and later with herself. As an early teen, Slater uses epilepsy to gain attention, and connect with her mother. Later, however, epilepsy takes a much more personal turn as she explores spirituality and the meanings of her past in this confessional memoir. Slater leads her readers through an elaborate labyrinth of symbolism, allowing them to understand and experience her subjective reality. Some critics may see this metaphorical usage of epilepsy as deceitful, misleading and unethical. G. Thomas Couser in his article, “Disability as Metaphor: What’s Wrong with Lying,” argues that it is not her usage of metaphor and deceit that is unethical but rather in her “implicit representation of others… she commits herself to an essentializing and mystifying characterization of a still stigmatic disability” (141) that he finds very unethical. However, I believe Slater is very ethical in her depiction of epilepsy. Perhaps, her telling of epilepsy is not an exact representation of the facts, but she justifies her lies, many times over. She was, in fact, very careful and sensible in crafting her memoir to avoid associating epilepsy with any false characterizations. She explores the boundaries between facts and truth, and she discerns a difference between the two. She concerns herself more with telling the truth than telling the facts. Her lies about the facts do not indicate that her story is any less true, but just the opposite, that her lies are inextricably linked with who she is, and reinforce her story as being true to her experience. This memoir provides a stage for her confessional, where she comes clean about the truth, and through telling the truth, heals.
         Couser makes the point that Slater has the right to write her memoir however she likes, but she does not have to right to write a memoir that implicates and scandalizes a vulnerable group such as epileptics. He believes that metaphors of diseases can create stigmas and stereotypes that are unfair and harmful to patients of that disease, and it is definitely something to consider when writing and reading a memoir such as Lying. This argument does seem valid at first glance. Slater claims very early on that epileptics are “liars, exaggerators and makers of myths and high-flying stories” and she further accredits this phenomenon to a scarring in the brain that “dents and mutates reality” (6). She discredits epileptics as “makers of myths and high-flying stories” whose perception of reality is skewed by a physical defect. Her description is very unfair and leaves readers with a very negative connotation of epilepsy. It is easy to see how Couser believes that this is unethical.
         The first point of Couser’s argument is valid. Slater’s deception to readers about having epilepsy is not a major ethical offense. From the very beginning of her memoir, Slater acknowledges that she lies and exaggerates. If her title, “Lying,” is not enough to warn readers that there is deception involved, she also devotes the whole first chapter to two words: “I exaggerate” (3) and these aren’t the only times she claims to lie. She makes sure that her readers know that she bends and stretches the truth. She tells usLying is a metaphorical memoir, and by the definition of metaphorical, it should not be taken literally. Her metaphors convey her emotional baggage and show how her experiences affected her. She identifies the different approaches to understanding facts and truth, the fight between empirical and hermeneutical, a concept borrowed from John L. Coulehan’s article, “The word is an Instrument of Healing.” The empirical facts—the physical facts often told by doctors and researchers, only show what happens on the surface, but not the undercurrents of the experience, whereas hermeneutical truths—the story truths that an individual tells, show us how they perceive an event and what it means to them. Slater’s auras, for example, may be a purely physical phenomenon to doctors and psychologists, but to her they held special meaning, they signified her precious connection to her mother. Although what she says may not be what happened in reality, she may not actually have epilepsy, but she does not make any ethical errors in using metaphors to convey her true feelings.
         The problem with Couser’s argument is that he takes Slater’s descriptions of epilepsy too literally. Not only does Slater tell us that she should not be trusted, but she also shows us through her contradictions and ambiguity that even her seemingly factual statements must be questioned. In her meeting with the Brandeis psychologist, we see errors in the case study she claims to have been written by Dr. Neu, which in fact, she made up herself. We don’t know for sure if she ever got a corpus colostomy, or if Dr. Neu even exists—she has already made up a Professor Krieger, who knows what other facts or people she also made up. Couser accuses her of “committing… an essentializing and mystifying characterization of a still stigmatic disability” (141). Sure her metaphor may not be true to the disease, but there is not much in this book that we can say is irrevocably true in general. Slater conditions us to distrust everything she says, including her facts on epilepsy. How can we then judge or characterize an illness with such questionable and inconsistent sources? Had she been more outright in her statements of epilepsy, or tried to deny her lies, she would have indeed committed the dreadful crime of creating an “essentializing and mystifying characterization” of epilepsy.
         In Slater’s description of epileptics as liars and exaggerators, she initially attributes lying to a physiological source: a scarring on the brain. If this were really the case, she would make all epileptics out to be liars due to their physical defect. However, she also attributes her lying with a more personal source: her mother, and she goes into great detail about how she grew up with her mother’s lying and how lying provided a way for her to gain attention. In this way, Slater puts more emphasis on her own personal relation to lying than lying in relation of epilepsy. Her deliberate ambiguity and deception here helps her be sensitive in her representation of epilepsy. It is her personal relationship with lying that she wishes to explore in this memoir: how to truthfully tell a story of a life full of lies. Her lies make up who she is; this is her confession of those lies.
         This memoir is very much Slater’s way of “[repenting] in front of everyone” (203). After Slater’s encounter with the Brandeis doctor, she stumbled upon an Alcoholics Anonymous group. She lies about her status as an alcoholic to them, much like she lies to her readers about her status as an epileptic. Through the AA group, she discovers the fifth step and how “the story saves” (203). The fifth step is the step “where you [get] absolutely honest… came clean” (192). Slater did that in this memoir. She “came clean” and told her story in the most truthful way she could tell it, and her truth has always been a tangle of lies. She says, “I truly believe that if I came completely clean I would be telling the biggest lie of all, and at heart I am not a liar, I am passionately dedicated to the truth, which by the way is not necessarily the same thing as fact” (160). Slater’s metaphor really resonates and tells of true feelings which she may not otherwise be able get across with pure facts. She is able to look at her painful past objectively through symbolisms, but still be able to explore the underlying emotions of her past. It is through this exploration of her past that she can begin to heal from them.
         This memoir is Slater’s confessional—her fifth step—the most important step of her healing. And through her memoir, she conveys the impact of her experiences and how they have shaped her as a person. By weaving all of her experiences into a story, Slater gave a meaning to all the ambiguities. It gives her, not epilepsy, an individual identity. By objectifying her experiences in her metaphor of epilepsy, she can explore painful memories from a detached vantage point. This is not to hide from her experience, but to see the truth of the experience and look for more positive ways of telling that story without the stain of the experience to get in the way. Storytelling frees her from the suffering of hanging onto painful memories, and in this way storytelling promotes healing. But not only did her story help her heal; Slater’s story also impacts her readers. Her story resonates; her readers can identify with her feelings. In her way, Slater is teaching us how to tell a story, and how to tell a story that heals. She teaches us how to use “the act of storytelling as an act of healing” (backcover).
     
    Works Cited:
    Coulehan, John L. "The Word Is an Instrument of Healing." Literature and Medicine 10 (1991): 111-29. Project Muse. Web. 24 Sept. 2012. <http://http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/lm/summary/v010/10.coulehan.html>.
     
    Couser, G. Thomas. “Disability as Metaphor: What’s Wrong with Lying.” Prose Studies 27: 1&2 (2005), 141-145. Print.
     
    Slater, Lauren. Lying: A Metaphorical Memoir. New York: Penguin, 2000. Print.
    Couser debate on the ethics of Lying:
         During the in-class debate on the ethicality of Slater's use of epilepsy, I learned the importance of acknowledging the other argument and then rebutting that argument.
         In my first draft, I mainly concentrated on my own arguments as to why I thought Slater's metaphor of epilepsy is ethical. I did not acknowledge Couser much besides that he and others believe Slater's usage was unethical, and that I feel otherwise. I did not touch upon how there is some validity to his argument. I wrote:
    In G.Thomas Couser’s review of Slater’s memoir, he says that Slater’s portrayal of epilepsy is unethical, that in “her implicit representation of others, namely those who do have epilepsy… she commits herself to an essentializing and mystifying characterization of a still stigmatic disability” (141). Sure Slater’s characterization is not completely factual, but Slater tells us that she lies constantly through the book...
    I ignored Couser's argument and headed straight to my own point. The lack of analysis makes my argument weak because in the end, Couser's argument still stands, and I haven't convinced readers that my viewpoint is right and his needs to be reevaluated.
         In my next draft, I included more about Cousers argument and how he brings up some good points, but still fails to see the big picture of what Slater is trying to get across to her readers. I wrote:
    Couser makes the point that Slater has the right to write her memoir however she likes, but she does not have to right to write a memoir that implicates and scandalizes a vulnerable group such as epileptics... Couser makes the point that Slater has the right to write her memoir however she likes, but she does not have to right to write a memoir that implicates and scandalizes a vulnerable group such as epileptics... The problem with Couser’s argument is that he takes Slater’s descriptions of epilepsy too literally.
          By including Couser's argument and showing an understanding, I wasn't just pushing my points onto the reader, I was also justifying them. I had a reason to write, I was arguing against someone.
     
    以上是例子
     
    Muyi Yan
    Professor Oller
    WR098
    Reading journal of “Literacy Debate: Online, R U Really Reading?” by Motoko Rich
    01/27/2013
     
    Summary of “Literacy Debate: Online, R U Really Reading?” by Motoko Rich
    Motoko Rich, the author of “Literacy Debate: Online, R U Really Reading?” discover the argument between the traditional reading and reading online. And he gives several evidences and investigates from many professionals to develop his debate.
    To begin with the article, Rich narrates from a girl named Nadia who obsesses with reading through the Internet. But her mother wants her to read books like printouts. Rich argues that in the digital age, people like to debate what it means read. Different people have different opinions about this argument. Rich says that reading in print and on the Internet are different. A professor who supports reading online gives his opinion like that he consider that internet gives the world a new line and Nadia thinks that when she reads stories online she can add her own characters and twist them as long as she wants. And also, it is not to deny that Internet allows readers to cover more contents from different point of views and to hear from bunch of people. Furthermore, Internet can gives readers what they need, nothing more or less. And the young people and the teenagers now use much more Internet than before.
    However, reading online has disadvantages inevitably. With declining scores on standardized text, many people believe that electronic reading causing more harm than benefits. For example, many researches shows that low-income earners read books less than people who have high-income in general.
    All in all, on the Internet, students develop new reading skills that are neither taught nor evaluated in school, and traditional reading is also important for student to develop their reading skills. Literacy specialists can’t decide which reading methods have more benefits because all of them are necessary though after read a novel in a book, Nadia gets engrossed in the Internet reading again.
     
    Analysis of “Literacy Debate: Online, R U Really Reading?” by Motoko Rich
    After reading this article by Motoko Rich, I think that with times past by requirement and development, the Internet is more and more necessary in our lives. Because it brings a lot of convenience and knowledge we need. As a skill, reading online is accepted by more people now, especially the young. On other hand, I consider that traditional reading is a kind of reading that should always been used. Because book reading may affect the brain’s hard wiring in a way that is different from reading on the Internet. The books and the Internet give people different advantages so that in my opinion, all of them are significant.
     
    Muyi Yan
    Professor Oller
    WR098
    Summary of “Devoid of Content” by Stanley Fish
    01/24/2013
     
    Summary of “Devoid of Content”
    Stanley Fish, the author of “Devoid of Content”, told us he finds a new way to teach student to write is to teach them the structure of language instead of just teach them the content.
    In the beginning, the author narrates a phenomenon that when millions of America student graduate from their schools, most of them unable to write a clear and coherent English sentence because the classes they take emphasize the content rather than form.
    After that, Fish uses his new teaching method which is using form banish content from the classroom to teach his freshman writing class. He divided the class into groups, and the students cannot use English to create its own language. In the first few weeks the students think that the author is crazy, they cannot understand what Fish thinking about. But 14 weeks later, all of the groups produce an incredible sophistication and precision language because the students come to understand a proposition that a sentence is a structure of logical relationships.
    Then, Fish uses an example about “plurals” and the language his students devise to develop his achievement of new teaching method. In order to let every student accept his process, he divides his method to lots of steps that makes students easier to understand.
    And obviously, Fish extend his teaching method successful finally. And he think that he experience pure pedagogical bliss in this process.
     
    Muyi Yan
    Professor Oller
    WR098
    Analytical Summary of “Literacy Debate: Online, R U Really Reading?” by Motoko Rich
    02/04/2013
     
    Analytical Summary of “Literacy Debate: Online, R U Really Reading?” by Motoko Rich
    Motoko Rich, the author of “Literacy Debate: Online, R U Really Reading?” discovers the argument between traditional reading and reading online. And she gives a lot of evidences and investigates from many professionals to develop her debate.
    To begin with the article, Rich narrates from a girl named Nadia who obsesses with reading on the Internet. But her mother wants her to read books. Rich argues that in the digital age, people like to debate what it means reading. Different people have different opinions about this argument. Rich says that reading in print and on the Internet are different. A professor who supports reading online gives his opinion is that he considers that Internet gives the world a new line and Nadia thinks that when she reads stories online she can add her own characters and twist them only if she wants. And also, it is not to deny that Internet allows readers to cover more content from different points of views and to hear from various people. Furthermore, Internet can gives readers what they need, nothing more or less. And young people and teenagers now use more Internet than before.
    However, inevitably, reading online has disadvantages. With declining scores on standardized test, many people believe that electronic reading causes more harm than benefits. For example, in general, many researches show that low-income earners read books less than people who have high-income.
    All in all, on the Internet, students develop new reading skills that are neither taught nor evaluated in school, and traditional reading is also important for students to develop their reading skills. People cannot decide which reading methods have more benefits because all of them are necessary though after reading a novel in a book, Nadia gets engrossed in the Internet reading again.
    After reading this article, I think Rich does not give her position like that she prefer digital reading or traditional reading. Because there are still many people do not accept that reading online is a good method for students to develop their reading skills, Rich gives more evidences and experiences to show us how this new method help students and teenagers gain more knowledge. Also, she offers some convictive data which from Department of Education to support her idea. In my opinion, with times past by requirement and development, the Internet is more and more necessary in our lives, because it brings a lot of convenience and knowledge we need. As a skill, reading online is accepted by more people now, especially the young. Even so, Rich does not deny the significance of traditional reading. I consider that traditional reading is the kind of reading that should always be used. No matter how fast the world develops, traditional reading is the basis of all kinds of reading. And it may affect the brain’s hard wiring in a way that is different from reading on the Internet. This is the reason why Rich always mentions reading books in the article. Books and the Internet give people different advantages so that in my opinion, all of them are significant. Also, as an argumentative writing, Rich gives us a good example of the form. When he raises his thesis, he can always provided the strong evidences which can support him and easy to understand. So I think this is what we need to learn when we write essays.
    Muyi Yan
    Dr. Oller
    WR098
    Paper 1, Indians: Textualism, Morality, and the Problem of History by Jane Tompkins
    02/25/2013
    Is the history true or not?
    In my country, we read history books and have history classes when we are young. But at that time, nobody ponders over whether all materials in history books are correct or not. I am looking back on this, it is obviously cannot be true. Because of the unreliability, I read barely the history books before I read Jane Tompkins’ article “Indians: Textualism, Morality, and the Problem of History”. It is she who makes me believe we should learn from history, even though some of them might be wrong. Now, I consider that although history sometimes has the deviations with the real situation, it is still worth for us learning them.
    In Tompkins’ article, she described the circumstances that she was encountered in the period of her research about looking for the truth of what actually happened between Native Indians and European settlers. Through investigations into some historians’ works, she thought that some points of the historians with respect to relations between Europeans and Indians were sometimes irreconcilable. It is to say that the descriptions included biased accounts. At first, she thought that the two different cultures of Native Indians and European settlers led to the different perspective of the historians to be different from other historians. But at last Tompkins found that the results reflected the fact of what actually occurred is impossible to determine. In spite of Tompkins primarily thought that facts are not easy to find due to the clashing perspectives of historians corrupted by cultural training, Tompkins found that the history is distorted instead of perspectives.
          In the article Tompkins enacted a particular instance of the challenge post-structuralism poses to the study of history. The image of Indians in the author’s childhood had impressed her much. When Tompkins was a little kid, she had read about Indians in school. She described like this:
    “over and over the story of how Peter Minuit had bought Manhattan Island from the Indians for twenty-four dollars’ worth of glass beads”.
    From the event, the author had a rich relationship with Indians and she felt she was in common with Indians. This is the first image of Indians on Tompkins. She tried to express a standpoint that the historians could not give. So she explored the actuality by herself.
    Also, Tompkins explained that her essay did not have much to do with actual Indians; she wanted to describe the histories of relationship between European and Indians in seventeenth century in New England. By study of a large number of outcomes of historians, the author had found each historian had explained history in their own perspectives. The research of Tompkins began with Perry Miller. Perry Miller had his point that “the massive narrative of the movement of European culture into the vacant wilderness of America.” Miller’s experience in Africa made Miller thought that “colonial Africa and colonial America are—but for the history he will bring to light--- mirror images of one another.” Miller did not pay attention to the black men reflected Indians did not finally matter though present.
    Alden Vaughan’ book provided another explanation about history. He thought that “the New England Puritans followed a remarkably humane, considerate, and just policy in their dealings with the Indians”. And Tompkins described that Vaughan’s “fair-mindedness and equanimity seem everywhere apparent”. And Vaughan concluded that “The root of the misunderstanding (about Puritans and Indians) lies in a failure to recognize the nature of the two societies that met in seventeenth century New England” and “What resulted, then, was not--- as many have held--- a clash of dissimilar ways of life, but rather the expansion of one into the areas in which the other was lacking”. Tompkins thought the point of Vaughan seemed culturally biased to an incredible degree, not to mention inaccurate.
    An investigation of Tompkins into John Higham’s article indicated Higham thought the “American mind” could be attributed to “the sociocultural upheaval of sixties created the occasion”. Race and ethnicity became the subject of a study of European-Indian relations. In Francis Jennings’ article, he did not think the Puritans were humane and considerate in their dealings with Indians. Jennings described that “the early settlers lied to the Indians, stole from them, murdered them, scalped them, captured them, tortured them, raped them, sold them into slavery, confiscated their land, destroyed their crops”. Jennings questioned the decency of the Puritan in the twentieth century. But Tompkins described in her article that the powerful argument as Jennings’ did not remain unshaken by subsequent work. Tompkins found that the events in the seventies created another transformation than the sixties. James Axtell wrote “historians began to discover the necessity of considering the American natives as real determinants of history and the utility of ethnohistory as a way of ensuring parity of focus and impartiality of judgment.” Tompkins said, in Miller, Indians had been simply beneath notice; in Vaughan, they belonged to an inferior culture; and in Jennings, they were the more or less innocent prey of power-hungry whites. And in Martin, the Indians became complicated, purposeful human beings. Indians traded with the whites and formed a new perspective on the European-Indians relations.
    Vaughan thought that the Puritans were superior to the Indians. Jennings thought the reverse. Therefore, confused by the views of the historians, the author decided to seek some primary materials. Tompkins found that the concepts of Heard and Axtell were irreconcilable, so she turned to a firsthand account to see how the Indians treated the captives. In Rawlandson’s work, Rawlandson interpreted she was captured by Indians. What excited Rawlandson was a moral issue: to smoke or not to smoke. Tompkins said that the biases of twentieth century historians like Vaughan or Axtell could not be corrected simply for consulting the primary materials due to the primary materials were implemented in accordance with the authors’ biases. Since captivity could not be an evidence for the European-Indian relations, Tompkins wished to explore the source of what the American natives were like. Tompkins thought the authors might be less biased. William Wood’s article described the Indians were affable, courteous. But Alexander gave another answer. He called the Indians naked slaves and they liked to lie, deceive and steal. At this point, Tompkins thought the firsthand materials seemed ethnocentric bias of the observers. Kupperman discussed that Englishmen looked at Indians in the way like that they looked at other Englishmen with low social class, rank and prestige. Kupperman’s work was the watershed in description about European-Indian relations. Martin analyzed Indians in ethnographic ways and tried to interpret the motives of Indians for engaging fur trade. Kupperman interpreted the Englishmen’s behavior from the ethnographic aspect. So Tompkins said, “Rather than giving an account of ‘what happened’ between Indians and Europeans, like Martin, she reconstructs the worldview that gave the experience of one group its content. With her study, scholarship on European-Indian relations comes full circle.”
    From the above investigations, Tompkins had to choose and end in relativism. She thought the judgments were based on the historian’s position with respect to the subject. The dilemma demanded a moral decisiveness which the conflicting accounts precludes. And she found that there was something wrong with the way she had followed. She thought that the moral judgment could not be made due to all descriptions were biased. Before making a moral judgment, one must know the facts. Tompkins thought the historians’ perspective could not conform with the facts so she could not judge. Tompkins thought she just had descriptions from the various perspectives. Tompkins’ post-structuralist background caused her to discover that the historians were products of different times. So the facts were theory dependent. And Tompkins found that her indecision was the result of particular beliefs she held. The perspectivism in writing history would wipe out the subject matter. She thought this did not mean that one have to accept anyone’s facts. One can think that someone’s facts to be false. But this did not mean the facts are not facts. One should be aware that all facts are motivated, and behind facts there exists people’s interpretive framework or the way beliefs are grounded. But this did not necessarily cause someone to deny the facts of a particular case.
         Through studying this article, I was able to connect many views of Tompkins with my own life. In the article Tompkins tells the story of her research about Indians. In this article, Tompkins also tells us that one person’s own experience is not only action but also one person must have the capability to act as an intellectual being that can undertake any responsibilities. One person may learn each experience whether through a book that he has read, or a story that he was told, or a person that he has met, or some concepts or thoughts that one person has studied. All of these experiences can give the person a small piece in forming how other people is going to act or say towards their thoughts in the world in which they live in.
    In my opinion, I entirely approve of the concepts behind the article written by Tompkins. I can find in my own life how my parents, the people that I have faced everyday and experiences I have encountered have shaped the person that I have grown up today. I was born in a family that was religious somewhat and my family has somewhat conservative viewpoints when it occurs about how a person should live his life. This concept was so strong that it usually was misunderstood by judgment in my thoughts. Without doubt, history isn’t always wrong, because it doesn’t equal to the science fiction or the novel. The material of history books must based on the reality no matter the people who recorded it has personal sentiments or not. So I think the most parts of history are correct, although they have the mood of the authors, history still worth to learn for us from today. I think that we can learn and find the facts from history and according to the facts to make a reasonable judgment by ourselves.
     
    Muyi Yan
    Dr. Oller
    WR098
    Paper II draft on Edward O. Wilson’s “Apocalypse Now,” and Matthew Chapman’s “God or Gorilla: A Darwin Descendant at the Dover Monkey Trial.”
    03/26/2013
    Noticeable Religion in the Scientific Era
    Religion and science are the fields in which most of people barely involved. But after reading two articles—Edward O. Wilson’s “Apocalypse Now,” and Matthew Chapman’s “God or Gorilla: A Darwin Descendant at the Dover Monkey Trial,” people may be shocked at complex relations between science and religion in the modern America. As Albert Einstein said, science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind: Although modern science is constantly challenging against the control of the religion’s power, the religion, a kind of belief or faith, can replenish shortages of the science. Concretely speaking, the science can solve some practical or secular problems, but the religion is able to resolve spiritual or moral puzzles like meaning of the life and world after death, even settling mysteries beyond the science—the causes of Big Bang. The science and the religion don’t contradict each other; the science can’t replace the religion. So through many differences between religion and science, I will state the interdependent relationship between them.
    Obviously, religion and sciences have many aspects of significant differences. First the eminent Harvard biologist Wilson’s article “Apocalypse Now” is written in a brief letter to an imagined Southern Baptist pastor. It refers to scientist’s plea for Christian environmentalism, which emphasizes the equivalent importance of science and religion from beginning to end. For example, in the beginning, Wilson says,
    “We have not met, yet I feel I know you well enough to call you a friend. First of all, we grew up in the same faith. As a boy, I, too, answered the altar call…it would be in a spirit of mutual respect and goodwill. I know we share many precepts of moral behavior. Perhaps it also matters that we are both Americans and, insofar as it might still affect civility and good manners, we are both Southerners. (NM334) ”
    And in the end,
    “You and I are both humanists in the broadest sense: Human welfare is at the center of our thought. So forget our disagreements, I say, and let us meet on common ground…We are products of a civilization that rose from both religion and the science-based Enlightenment. We would gladly serve on the same jury, fight the same wars, and sanctify human life with the same intensity (NS341).”
    Although the nuclear energy, electrommunication, genetic endowment and other high-technologies provide plenty of conveniences to us, incidental industrial pollutions, greenhouse effect and viruses plunge human beings into perpetual troubles and mental wasteland. So Wilson appeals that we should combine evangelical Christianity with scientific humanism to restore and protect our Creation-living nature. Second, Chapman’s “God or Gorilla: A Darwin Descendant at the Dover Monkey Trial,” records a real lawsuit in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District in detail: Eleven parents sued to remove intelligent design from the curriculum. This documentary report includes views of visited lawyers and witnesses, but their appearances and occupations. “Having said that, I suppose I should declare my bias at the start. My great-great-grandfather was Charles Darwin,”(NX56) it seems that Chapman will pay more attention to the so-called scientific Evolution—“a quick study of the subject showed that 99 percent of scientists believed in it.” But in fact, as Judge Jones said,
    “If you go back to the Big Bang…the atom, the neutron, the proton neutron, whatever it was that created the Big Bang—where did that stuff come from? Spontaneous generation is a dead theory—at one time they thought it was true…so you can't say spontaneous generation created it…Now if you believe in physics, you got the eleventh dimension…an infinite number of universes. So my take is that if you die on the earth, we just somehow hop over to the eleventh dimension, and hop from universe to universe to universe forever inside the eleventh dimension. So that means the Bible could be right with everlasting life after we die. But, okay, the elements that started the Big Bang…Then you've got another complication. If there was, like, one dude somewhere at the very top that created everything? Well, where did he come from? Who created him? And who created the God…It gives me goose bumps. It's a loop, like in computer programming—it’s an endless loop (NX80).”
    So at the end of article, Chapman quotes words of judge: “If you think about this too much, you can go insane,” which shows the author is not sure that science, religion, or both are important.
    Even though there are many differences between these two articles, they both draw a conclusion that science and religion can’t be separated, especially in America. For example, “An alliance between science and religion, forged in an atmosphere of mutual respect, may be the only way to protect life on earth, including, in the end, our own (NX337).” “I would catch up with him later and find, increasing my admiration, that he was raised in some charismatic division of the church where they spoke in tongues but had been washed clean by the science and born again in reason (NX65).”
    However, after read these two article, I realize the necessity of combining science with religion. People should know the Darwin’s Theory is a theory, not a fact, which needs to be tested constantly by new evidences. It’s inexcusable to teach from a book that says man descended from apes and monkeys. The separation of church and state was “mythical,” The moral condition of America is a result of taking steps away from the Bible and away from God over the past fifty to one hundred years. This country wasn’t founded on Muslim beliefs or evolution, but on Christianity. What’s more, scientists estimate that, if habitat-conversion and other destructive human activities continue at their present rates, half the species of plants and animals on earth could be either gone or at least fated for early extinction by the end of the century. The ongoing extinction rate is calculated in the most conservative estimates to be about 100 times above that prevailing before humans appeared on earth, and it is expected to rise to at least 1,000 times greater (or more) in the next few decades. If this rise continues unabated, the cost to humanity—in wealth, environmental security, and quality of life—will be catastrophic. In destroying the biosphere, people are destroying unimaginably vast sources of scientific information and biological wealth. We must be careful with the environment upon which our lives ultimately depend. Religion and science are the two most powerful forces in the world today, and especially in the United States. If they could be united on the common ground of biological conservation, the problem might soon be solved.
    Therefore, we should understand that science and religion belong to the shared group, both probing profound secrets of universe and life in respective ways. With infinite imagination, the Creationism of religion is similar to the Big Bang of science. The science guides humans in natural ways, but the religion restrains us morally. Science and religion are two different sides of one coin: we will not be mistaken for a Texan; you will not be mistaken for an ape. It is still, even more necessary for us to notice the religion in the scientific era.
     
    Works Cited
    Matthew, Chapman. “God or Gorilla: A Darwin Descendant at the Dover Monkey.” THE Norton Mix. BOSTON UNIVERSITY. 2012. 55-81. Print
    Wilson, Edward O. “Apocalypse Now.” THE Norton Mix. BOSTON UNIVERSITY. 2012. 334-341. Print.