Sunday, November 24, 2013

Prodigy Kid Sister

I try to make an effort to call my family at least once a week. I really ought to call more. Time and events get in the way of things, but its always nice to catch up. I called my Dad house phone to find Amy, my little sister, quickly picking up the receiver. She is 6 years old (almost 7) and in 1st grade. Immediately she bombards me with a list of things she plans we would do when I get home from New York. As she talked a mile a minute I took out a pen and paper to try to get some of the things she was telling me:

Dear Rachel, 
First we will have a meet and greet...we will have a turkey dinner and then describe what we we will do some math and I will count by two's to one hundred, cause I can do that now...and my dad told me that I can mayyyyybe stay up until 11. Have you stayed up that late before?

I see how much she loves learning in the way she talks. My dad was telling me in her free time she once wrote something resembling a mathematical proof, explaining how addition and subtraction works. My dad gave it to her teacher who then gave it to the principal. Eventually it made it to the school board. What the heck?! Who is this prodigy kid that is also my sister?? Her knowledge at her age blows me away. Being so much older than her too I take a lot of joy in seeing her grow up. I kind of wonder if it's what parenting is a certain extent. I don't plan to know what that actually feels like for a very long time, but its an inkling of perspective that I look forward to.

Last weekend we had our last dance competition at Brown University in Massachusetts. Jeremy and I moved up to silver as planned for rhythm and latin. Much to our chagrin we were eliminated pretty quickly in rhythm, our first section of the day. There was a point in standard when we were almost immediately cut again. At that point I was so discouraged I almost left the building to blow off steam. Fortunately, the announcers made a mistake in the call backs and we ended up getting 4th in foxtrot. All in all, we also received 6th in quickstep and 4th in latin rumba and cha cha. In hindsight, the entire day was a very humbling experience. We're so used to doing well
and to get knocked down a peg was good for us. We can only move forward from here.

I hear it's close to 0 degrees F back home. Definitely not missing that. But I don't really like how rainy it gets here either. I was warned that the winters are pretty wet on Lon-Giland (native pronunciation..still working on my hybrid accent). It still lingers in the 50's here though and I appreciate those days.

3 weeks til I'm home, where has the time gone!?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

God and Evolution and Stuff

This last weekend was quite eventful beginning with a five hour road trip to the University of Maryland for a two day ballroom dance competition. Jeremy and I have improved a great deal since our first competition four weeks ago. Our hard work resulted in 1st place overall in both Bronze Rhythm and Latin out of about 100 couples each. I think it's safe to say we're ready to move on to Silver level for these categories. :)

Last post I openly contemplated my role in society as both a Christian and an aspiring anthropologist (at least an anthropology minor) in regards to the cultural aspects of life. In addition to this new found knowledge, I've also learned a lot about biological anthropology through class and an independent study.

I can now confidently argue for both the creationist and evolutionist point of view. I realize that a great deal of faith is involved in knowing my God created me and I cannot deny the intense spiritual experiences I've gained through my involvement in the church. However, through scientific evidence I am now convinced that we have evolved from a common ancestor to the chimpanzee. NO, we did not evolve from chimpanzees.

I've been taught that evolution has no end goal; evolution does not preconceive, but that based on ecology and our ancestral response to those environmental changes, ta da! We are who we've become. However, this is where my views differ. I believe there was an end goal and that my God, not evolution, preconceived me. Not only was this body intricately woven into a biological and physiological functionary entity in 22 years, but my entire lineage has been tried, fine tuned, and tweaked for over 6 million years so that I could be who I am today! It's fascinating and seemingly impossible to think our ancestry could be catalyzed with an ice age or that locomotion, energetics, diet, behavior, sociality and ecology all worked together to create the Homo sapiens. To me, this is not an occurrence by chance, but divine influence. 

I still have trouble piecing together my thoughts and beliefs so that creation and evolution can coexist in my evolutionary encephalitic God given brain. Above is a mind map I made for an essay I'm working on regarding social behavior and it's influence on brain evolution. There are obviously many stipulations such as the story of Adam and Eve or the belief that we evolved from an even older common ancestor such as fish. I don't think I'm meant to know the answers to all my questions, none of us are. That is how we've become so smart! I think there is a necessary amount of validation I need for myself and my arguments, but I need not justify any view to anyone else. If you do have questions or comments, however, feel free to pick my brain ;)