by Michael Ebifegha ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 23, 2011
Ebifegha takes the theory of evolution for a ride and finds it wanting and in need of some creative intelligence.
Ebifegha brings forth a number of arguments against Darwinism. There is the issue of macro-evolution—from bacteria to human, a transformation, as opposed to bacteria to bacteria, a micro-evolutionary modification—which requires such vast spans of time that it’s not scientifically testable, repeatable or falsifiable. The fossil record is incomplete; the lack of transitional stages is disturbing. There is the indisputably important immaterial realm—the mind in relation to the material brain, or the soul or spirit, and the relative qualities thereof between species—again which science, inextricably linked to materialism, has yet to satisfyingly address. Most damningly, evolutionary theory has not been able to nail down the mechanism of life’s origin, the moment of creation. And as creation precedes evolution, and evolution is thus subordinate, then evolutionary theory is built on a house of cards sustaining a particular, errant worldview. One needn’t be a dyed-in-the-wool Darwinist or macro-evolutionist or materialist to find problems here, and much of the rest of Ebifegha’s presentation seems sketched out at best. He speaks of disciplinary limitations—science vis-à-vis immateriality—but does it follow that science ought not investigate the material side even if the whole picture is compromised? He decries evolutionists as not working with “veridical facts”—what other kind are there?—when the realm is theory, not law, and he gives scant credence that theory provokes good experiments and unexpected insights, and that evolutionary theory has been important, say, in DNA sequencing and molecular genetics. As theories go, it has been fruitful and hardly to be abandoned because it has only theories about the creation if life. Ebifegha claims that another approach has already answered that question: intelligent design, wherein we find “the evidence of creation, including God’s written and verbal claim for having created the universe. One must accept a claim that has not been and cannot now be disputed.” As an approach to understanding immateriality, that is only one, and a rather limiting, course. Ebifegha is preaching to the converted; his creation/creationist stance leaves no room for debate.
Pub Date: March 23, 2011
Page Count: 178
Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2012
Review Program: Kirkus Indie
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A quirky wonder of a book.
A Peabody Award–winning NPR science reporter chronicles the life of a turn-of-the-century scientist and how her quest led to significant revelations about the meaning of order, chaos, and her own existence.
Miller began doing research on David Starr Jordan (1851-1931) to understand how he had managed to carry on after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake destroyed his work. A taxonomist who is credited with discovering “a full fifth of fish known to man in his day,” Jordan had amassed an unparalleled collection of ichthyological specimens. Gathering up all the fish he could save, Jordan sewed the nameplates that had been on the destroyed jars directly onto the fish. His perseverance intrigued the author, who also discusses the struggles she underwent after her affair with a woman ended a heterosexual relationship. Born into an upstate New York farm family, Jordan attended Cornell and then became an itinerant scholar and field researcher until he landed at Indiana University, where his first ichthyological collection was destroyed by lightning. In between this catastrophe and others involving family members’ deaths, he reconstructed his collection. Later, he was appointed as the founding president of Stanford, where he evolved into a Machiavellian figure who trampled on colleagues and sang the praises of eugenics. Miller concludes that Jordan displayed the characteristics of someone who relied on “positive illusions” to rebound from disaster and that his stand on eugenics came from a belief in “a divine hierarchy from bacteria to humans that point[ed]…toward better.” Considering recent research that negates biological hierarchies, the author then suggests that Jordan’s beloved taxonomic category—fish—does not exist. Part biography, part science report, and part meditation on how the chaos that caused Miller’s existential misery could also bring self-acceptance and a loving wife, this unique book is an ingenious celebration of diversity and the mysterious order that underlies all existence.A quirky wonder of a book.
Pub Date: April 14, 2020
Page Count: 224
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online: Jan. 1, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020
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by Sherill Tippins ‧ RELEASE DATE: Dec. 3, 2013
A zesty, energetic history, not only of a building, but of more than a century of American culture.
A revealing biography of the fabled Manhattan hotel, in which generations of artists and writers found a haven.
Turn-of-the century New York did not lack either hotels or apartment buildings, writes Tippins (February House: The Story of W. H. Auden, Carson McCullers, Jane and Paul Bowles, Benjamin Britten, and Gypsy Rose Lee, Under One Roof In Wartime America, 2005). But the Chelsea Hotel, from its very inception, was different. Architect Philip Hubert intended the elegantly designed Chelsea Association Building to reflect the utopian ideals of Charles Fourier, offering every amenity conducive to cooperative living: public spaces and gardens, a dining room, artists’ studios, and 80 apartments suitable for an economically diverse population of single workers, young couples, small families and wealthy residents who otherwise might choose to live in a private brownstone. Hubert especially wanted to attract creative types and made sure the building’s walls were extra thick so that each apartment was quiet enough for concentration. William Dean Howells, Edgar Lee Masters and artist John Sloan were early residents. Their friends (Mark Twain, for one) greeted one another in eight-foot-wide hallways intended for conversations. In its early years, the Chelsea quickly became legendary. By the 1930s, though, financial straits resulted in a “down-at-heel, bohemian atmosphere.” Later, with hard-drinking residents like Dylan Thomas and Brendan Behan, the ambience could be raucous. Arthur Miller scorned his free-wheeling, drug-taking, boozy neighbors, admitting, though, that the “great advantage” to living there “was that no one gave a damn what anyone else chose to do sexually.” No one passed judgment on creativity, either. But the art was not what made the Chelsea famous; its residents did. Allen Ginsberg, Bob Dylan, Andy Warhol, Janis Joplin, Leonard Cohen, Robert Mapplethorpe, Phil Ochs and Sid Vicious are only a few of the figures populating this entertaining book.A zesty, energetic history, not only of a building, but of more than a century of American culture.
Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2013
Page Count: 448
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2013
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013
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