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“Why Darwin Was Wrong about the Tree of Life” by Dr. Thomas WoodwardThese startling words dominated the cover of New Scientist in January, 2009, less than a month before the worldwide celebrations of the bicentennial of Charles Darwin’s birth.Contrary to appearances, the editorial staff of New Scientist was not changing its stance on the truth of evolutionary theory, but that did nothing to diminish the surprise felt by readers when evolutionary biologist Michael Rose said, “The tree of life is being politely buried – we all know that. What’s less accepted is our whole fundamental view of biology needs to change.”In the article several biologists took issue with Darwin’s famous branching pattern, arguing that the new picture of evolution was much more complex and messy—something like a web with endless collaborations and mergers.In short, all is not quiet on the Darwin front. Five years later, in late 2014, a Nature News article asked the provocative question, “Does evolutionary theory need a major rethink?” Two sides weighed in, and one group of eight scholars said, “Yes, urgently.” The other group reassured readers not to worry, asserting, “No–all is well.”Again, something called the “fact of evolution” was not questioned; both groups pledged their loyalty to the sufficiency of natural causes as explaining the rise of the living world. Yet Darwin’s unique and pivotal ideas, which had served as the core of evolutionary theory, were coming in for brutal questioning. Meanwhile, the shadow of design theory hovered in the background. The ghostly influence of intelligent design was even described as affecting scientific rhetoric: “Perhaps haunted by the spectre of intelligent design, evolutionary biologists wish to show a united front to those hostile to science.”Some secular scholars even went further, arguing that the philosophical foundation of naturalism needs to be rejected. For example, atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel in late 2012 stirred the pot with his radical Oxford Press book, Mind and Cosmos. This slender blast, with just 126 pages of text, unleashed a firestorm as it addressed the nagging mystery of the origin of life, along with rise of cognition and consciousness itself. The book’s subtitle was deliberately shocking: “Why the Neo-Darwinist Materialist Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False.”Adding insult to that injury, Nagel proposed that to explain the rise of both life and mental phenomena, we must conceptualize the universe in a new way–as having a mental dimension, which exists alongside the material aspect. In effect, he was trying to propel science into a fundamentally altered pathway of investigation. Nagel explicitly declined the “supreme designer” hypothesis, never stating his reasons for doing so.Why was Nagel, who had studied biological origins closely for decades, taking this drastic step? Clearly, this move grew out of his deep grasp of where the evidence was trending, that a paradigm shift away from neo-Darwinism was underway and nearing a critical point. In Nagel’s mind, the plausibility of traditional Darwinian theory was not just badly damaged; it had collapsed. Nagel’s concluding comments are blunt and biting:“I have argued patiently against the prevailing form of naturalism, a deductive materialism that purports to capture life and mind through its neo-Darwinian extension. … I find this view antecedently unbelievable—a heroic triumph of ideological theory over common sense. … I would be willing to bet that the present right-thinking consensus will come to seem laughable in a generation or two—though of course it may be replaced by a new consensus that is just as invalid. The human will to believe is inexhaustible.Small wonder then that Andrew Sullivan’s cover story on Nagel in The Weekly Standard pictured the philosopher as tied to a stake, encircled by figures with red-hooded robes. Flames roared around his grey suit. Similar rhetorical attacks had been unleashed against leaders of the intelligent design movement in the previous decade, but again: here we see that rage turned on a fellow atheist, who dared to say that design theorists like Michael Behe and Stephen Meyer deserve appreciation, not scorn, for pointing out unsolved mysteries.Re-released in 2016 (click for information)Thus, growing “doubts about Darwin” have continued to percolate unstopped and unstoppable since the release of my book Doubts about Darwin in 2003. Indeed, discussion and debate have swirled so intensely, it has led at times to public eruptions of ferocious and frantic opposition to the controversial new theory of intelligent design.Why such an emotional reaction to the relatively new entry of intelligent design theory (IDT)? After all, its approach to the question of origins can be described as “minimalist.” Since it investigates nature by the tools, methods and data of science and science alone, without reference to the scriptures of any world religion, one would think it should be welcomed at the table where newer but potentially worthy ideas are being vetted. Yet, with its focus squarely on studying the patterns in nature that are best explained as resulting from intelligent agency, not natural processes like natural selection, it has been viewed as a very dangerous idea.The hostility it has received is understandable. Design theory has challenged the hegemony of science’s ruling philosophy, naturalism—the view that all reality is material and natural, and that there is no “non-physical stuff” to consider as possibly real or worthy of investigation. It is simply “a fact” and a starting point that there are no souls, no angels, no Platonic forms or ideals, no real personal-infinite god anywhere. “To posit otherwise is to leave science!” says the naturalist referee, as he throws down his philosophical penalty flag.Design theory, while viewed by some as a dread and a grave threat, also can be seen as supremely positive development—even a liberation of science. How? It may be seen as rescuing the scientific enterprise from philosophical captivity, or restoring science to its previous glory in openly engaging metaphysics. It has opened up a new vista where science has a restored power: the ability to show how nature bears witness to a source above nature itself. In its pure essence, IDT grants to science the astonishing role of detecting, or inferring, the reality of a higher realm of Mind. Not since before the Darwinian Revolution, triggered in 1859, has science been on the edge of such a restoration of explanatory power.The New World of Darwin-Design EngagementYet, faced with this prospect, he authorities have acted in a way that is dead set against any such fundamental modification of the purview of science. After 2003, when this book was first released, rhetorical assaults on intelligent design became loud and vehement. Hardly a month passed without a fresh denunciation from some prestigious body of scientists. As the conflict grew wider and more intense, it seemed best to catalogue this second phase of IDT’s history with a separate volume. That happened in 2006 with the publication of my sequel, “Darwin Strikes Back: Defending the Science of Intelligent Design” (Baker 2006), still available in a kindle edition.Now, in 2016, it may very well be a good time for a “third volume” to cover the past decade, with the flow of both continued hostility, but also positive results from laboratory tests by the Biologic Institute, and other science centers, which robustly support the predictions of design theory. A string of stunning discoveries, including the worlds of RNA genes, epigenetics, and orphan genes, have fundamentally altered the landscape. Also, the collapse of the “junk DNA” picture of our cell has an enormous implication for the Darwin-design debate. (See below under the “Art of Being Shocked.”)But before that new volume is penned, it is a perfect time, some thirty years after IDT’s founding, to reexamine its momentous launch, emphasizing the first 18 years of development (1985 to 2003) which is the focus of this book. It is time to show how newer developments can be understood only in light of the original goals of the founders of design theory. It is especially instructive to reflect on the predictions made by design theorists when the movement was in its infancy.20161985To understand IDT today, one must relive the explosion of a unique “non-Genesis-based” book written by self-described agnostic Michael Denton, which helped to birth the new theory. That book, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, was recently released in a new, fully-revised edition. Although dozens of new arguments and lines of data have been woven into the new edition, the title only needed a slight change: “Evolution: Still a Theory in Crisis.”When Denton saw his book come to light first in England (Hutchinson, 1985) and then in America (Adler and Adler, 1986), he probably had no idea what a scientific shift he was helping to trigger. For it was his blistering critique of Darwinian macroevolution, coupled with a 1984 book on the origin of life, entitled The Mystery of Life’s Origin, by Charles Thaxton, Walter Bradley and Roger Olsen, which together fathered the movement at its inception.It is in this spirit of seeking a clear historical frame, and gaining a narrative perspective of the present conflict, that we revisit IDT’s foundations. All of the newest tremors coming from the world of the “design debate” are not oddities in a vacuum; they are an extension of a paradigm struggle of the highest order.The Art of Being “Paradigm-Shocked”In this context, let us note a clever but little-known phrase in the writings of C. S. Lewis: “The art of being shocked.” Lewis proposed this phrase as a possible title for his inaugural BBC radio broadcasts, published originally as “Broadcast Talks.” Now these ten short chapters are the opening two sections of his celebrated book “Mere Christianity.”The phrase was never used by BBC, and is rarely mentioned by biographers (it appears in the letter he wrote to BBC official James Welch in February, 1941). Yet, the art of being shocked has enduring “bite”; it captures a “jarring” that can be felt when a non-theist hears for the first time a rational, compelling case for the theistic worldview. Here the words as “bite” and “jarring” are my crude attempt to recover the original sense of “shock” in the Lewis’s phrase, as he sketched for BBC his plan for a shock treatment on the secularized public of the United Kingdom.The key issue here is exploring the ultimate ground of reality, specifically: the existence of a higher Mind. Is there, or is there not, any good reason to believe that an Intelligence exists above us? Is the universe governed by a concrete, objective Being with a mind, who thus has a will, and intentions, and who can plan and then realize that plan in the universe?Lewis’s strategy was to point out what he viewed as the most powerful clue for the existence of a Mind. A window on ultimate reality is opened up to any person who thinks carefully about his daily activity of passing judgment on right and wrong behavior around him. Our ability as humans to discern the Rule of Right Behavior, says Lewis, points to a “Mind” which exists above us. Lewis added that we not only discover this Mind, but we also find out (this is part of the “shock”) that we are on the wrong side of the moral balance sheet. We have fallen short of those very standards that we found embedded in the moral fabric of the universe.Does a Mind exist above us, as the inferred cause of the natural world we see?So Lewis’s argument from morality, used frequently, including the opening chapters of Miracles, to mention one spot, is the opening barrage in a two-phase briefing in the “art of being shocked.” Those who would experience the second set of shocks should read Book Two of Mere Christianity. Now, in the context of the rhetorical war raging around the theory of intelligent design, I want to apply this phrase to the history of IDT’s ongoing struggle of persuasion. In the Great Origins Debate, parallel to Lewis’s project of persuasion, the ultimate question is: “Does a Mind exist above us, as the inferred cause of the natural world we see?”This is not trivial. There can be no greater question that is raised in the media, in the universities and schools, whether that question is answered by a scientific, philosophical, or religious approach. It clearly is at the center of all cultural and worldview concerns; it sets the agenda in all other realms of philosophy, theology, and even science.The history of intelligent design, starting with the events in this book and continuing all the way to discoveries in the science news this week, can be seen as today’s art of being shocked. Let me mention three newer paradigm shocks that connect with the pages that follow.Junk DNA…going, going, gone! The Darwinists’ much-loved “junk DNA” doctrine, which served as a rhetorical bludgeon for decades, claimed that most of our genome is the broken or non-functional leftover of a long history of aimless evolution. Now, that theory is unraveling and is in deep trouble. Many molecular biologists would go further and say that the “junk DNA” perspective has collapsed. This change happened in the wake of discoveries published by researchers working at the level of molecular biology. Several hundred scientists began exploring parts of the genome that were assumed to be superfluous, since they did not code for proteins. The astonishing result is that perhaps 80% or more of our DNA seems to play some functional role, according to published findings of the multi-national project ENCODE (Encyclopedia of DNA Elements). This flow of dozens of technical scientific papers, published in 2007 and 2012, have caused such a huge uproar, that they have set in motion a major rethinking of how widely our DNA is opened, read, and used.Consider the remarks of Francis Collins, the Evangelical Christian who was formerly the head of the Human Genome Project and now leads the prestigious National Institutes of Health. Although he previously used the “junk DNA” argument in The Language of God to support his Christian Darwinism view, he changed his mind in 2011: “It turns out that only about 1.5 percent of the human genome is involved in coding for protein. But that doesn’t mean the rest is ‘junk DNA.’ A number of exciting new discoveries about the human genome should remind us not to become complacent in our understanding of this marvelous instruction book. For instance, it has recently become clear that there is a whole family of RNA molecules that do not code for protein. These so-called non-coding RNAs are capable of carrying out a host of important functions, including modifying the efficiency by which other RNAs are translated.” (The Language of Life, 293)Darwin’s Doubt, Stephen Meyer’s 2013 New York Times bestseller, exploded onto the Darwin scene on the heels of his earlier book Signature in the Cell which was named one of the top 100 books of 2009 by Britain’s secular Times Literary Supplement.Both of these magisterial books have had massive influence in science, with Signature in the Cell addressing the origin of life enigma, while Darwin’s Doubt confronts the Cambrian explosion—the sudden appearance of complex animal fossils at the base of the geological column, without any ancestors in view. The Cambrian mystery was named by Darwin himself as an “objection” that can be “rightly urged” against his theory. Darwin’s Doubt garnered appreciative blurbs from several evolutionary biologists, including Cambrian fossil experts. Meyer’s analysis of every new theoretical “escape route” to account for the sudden emergence of over 20 phyla fills the second half of the 480-page tome.Not only did these books mark a turning point in the design debate, but each has also generated a significant literature in response to Meyer’s arguments. Meyer’s exposé of the worsening Cambrian situation has prompted enough scholarly interaction to lead a second book, Debating Darwin’s Doubt (2015).RNA, Epigenetics and 3-D Genome Packing: Another shock has come from the explosion of “RNA genes” which was alluded to in the comment of Francis Collins above. Beginning in the late 1990s and accelerating since 2000, a myriad of functional RNA molecules were found to play previously unknown roles in the cell. Thus the origin of protein-coding genes, which neo-Darwinism is focused on, is just a subset of the much larger iceberg: the multi-layered genome. Several kinds of functional RNA molecules, which never leave the nucleus to be translated into proteins, play vital roles in cellular functions that were not glimpsed just two decades ago.Parallel to the mushrooming of RNA genes is the discovery of a world of additional layers of chemically-coded information sitting beyond the DNA double helix. (For details, see “The Mysterious Epigenome: What Lies Beyond DNA” by Dr. James Gills and myself.) Some of these code markers are tiny “methyl tags” which are directly added to some of DNA’s “C- letters” in order to switch off the gene that such a letter is part of. Other epigenetic information is found on “tails” that protrude from the DNA spooling devices called histones, and still further information is embedded in the cell’s membrane (the so-called “cortical inheritance”) and in other structures such as microtubules. It is as if we were told that our laptop had digital information embedded not only in the hard drive, but in practically every physical part of the laptop itself!Beyond RNA and epigenetics, scientists recently elucidated yet another level of information that is programmed in the cell: the 3-D arrangement of genomes, both in chromosomal architecture, and in the fitting together of chromosomes in relation to each other. Such precise “fittings” set the stage for cooperative activity and conversations between chromosomes. So the RNA and epigenetics explosions have a third partner in shocking biologists: 3-D architecture. These shocks have dramatically raised the explanatory stakes for Darwin’s blind, unguided, unintelligent process. On the other hand, such higher order control information and genome architecture is just the sort of physical reality that finds a very plausible fit with intelligent agency.This list of paradigm shocks could be supplemented with a discussion of “orphan genes” and truly could be extended to a dozen or more shocks. Yet, the point has been made clearly enough: science has been thrust into a new era that is exciting and breathtaking for design theorists, and increasingly bewildering to defenders of Darwin’s aging theory.For the background of how this new intelligent design perspective on the universe and life arose through a powerful story unfolding after 1959, and then exploding in the mid-1980s, we must enter the story itself, the evolution of “doubts about Darwin.”□ Dr. Woodward is president of the C. S. Lewis Society in Tampa, FloridaNotes Quoted from the online file as it appeared on March 3, 2016: http://www.nature.com/news/does-evolutionary-theory-need-a-rethink-1.16080 The “art of being shocked” is somewhat similar to the German philosopher Emmanuel Kant’s comment, upon reading the philosopher David Hume, that he had been “aroused from dogmatic slumber.” I trace this phrase as it appears in the early IDT literature, especially in the effect Denton had on his readers.(Visited 630 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
(Image: Getty Images) State of the Nation Address 2016: full speechState of the Nation Address by Jacob G Zuma, President of the Republic of South Africa on the occasion of the Joint Sitting of Parliament.In the State of the Nation Address, President Jacob Zuma called for the eradication of the ‘demon of racism’, he reminded South Africans that economic growth was the fastest way to reduce inequality and lift fellow South Africans out of poverty. More >Gallery: the SONA red carpetThe State of the Nation Address by President Jacob Zuma took place on 11 February 2016, an important date for the country. It was the anniversary of the release of Nelson Mandela from prison 26 years ago. We take a look at the dignitaries as they arrived at Parliament. More >South Africa prepares for 2016 SONASouth Africa’s plans for the annual State of the Nation address started last year and they are on track. In his speech, which officially opens Parliament, the President will speak to the nation on the performance of the country. It is also a chance to announce plans going forward. More >
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Less than two months remain before this year’s edition of the North American Manure Expo (NAME), being held August 3 and 4 near London.The annual event provides an opportunity for custom manure applicators and livestock producers to advance their knowledge of manure-nutrient utilization while showcasing the latest technology in manure handling, treatment and application.“[Manure Expo] is the BEST event to learn about manure and connect with other manure enthusiasts,” said Mary Wicks, the 2016 expo co-chair and a research associate with The Ohio State University’s college of food, agricultural, and environmental sciences and college of engineering. She is also involved with Ohio Composting and Manure Management (OCAMM).“Tours and demonstrations will provide ‘hands-on’ opportunities to learn about best practices and technology,” she said. “Presenters from the livestock industry, universities, and ag organizations will share information that will improve manure handling and application practices and help everyone understand their importance for crop production and protecting the environment. The trade show is like icing on the cake, with a chance to learn about the latest products and technologies and ask a real person those burning questions.”Registration for the North American Manure Expo is free and available online at agannex.com/manure-manager/manure-expo.The 2016 event is being held at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center, home of Ohio’s Farm Science Review. Two action-packed days have been planned.On August 3, attendees can choose from one of three all-day tours — beef, dairy, or compost and nutrient management — followed by pit agitation and solid/liquid manure separation demonstrations (cost $20). The Manure Expo grounds open at 3 p.m. where attendees will be able to visit with various vendors and enjoy dinner. More than 90 manufacturers and service providers will be exhibiting their wares as part of the expo’s trade show. There will also be educational sessions involving a presentation from Livestock Water Recycling, Puck Pump School plus information on small farm manure management and cover crops. The grounds will be open until 8 p.m.On August 4, the trade show opens at 7:30 a.m. and features a full day of educational sessions. Topics include:Water quality initiatives and regulationsReducing phosphorous runoffLiquid manure handling and applicationSolid manure handling and applicationManure safety and transportAnaerobic digestionNew technologiesBiosecurity procedures“I am very excited about the educational programs we are offering,” Wicks said. “We have a great team, which has made the work fun and productive. As a result, we have a wide array of offerings in the types of programs and information offered.”Manure application demonstrations, including solid and liquid manure spreaders, compost turners, subsurface drainage plus spreader calibration, are also planned. The show will run until 6 p.m.For more information on the 2016 North American Manure Expo, including a detailed agenda of tours and educational sessions plus directions to the Molly Caren Agricultural Center, please visit agannex.com/manure-manager/manure-expo.“Manure is a valuable resource that can provide nutrients to crops and organic material to the soil,” Wicks said. “By using best management practices, livestock and crop producers and custom applicators can improve their bottom line, improve their soil quality, and reduce the risk of nutrient runoff to streams and lakes.”The 2015 expo, held in Chambersburg, Penn., was a winner of the Pennsylvania Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence. The 2016 edition of the show promises to be just as exciting and educational.The 2016 North American Manure Expo is being hosted by The Ohio State University and the Midwest Professional Nutrient Applicators Association. The event is owned by the Professional Nutrient Applicators Association of Wisconsin. Annex Business Media, publisher of Manure Manager magazine, serves as the show manager.
LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games Sidney Onwubere vs AJ Coronel. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.net(1) Sidney Onwubere – F, EAC Generals21 points, 17 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 blockLast Week: N/AWithout Hamadou Laminou to bank on, coach Ariel Sison has made it clear that EAC must double, if not triple, its effort if it wants to progress to the Final Four.And one of the measures he did was to squeeze out all the minutes Sidney Onwubere could give him.On Friday, the Fil-Nigerian forward showed that he’s more than ready to the task, leading the Generals to a gutsy 61-57 win over Perpetual to finish the first round and show why he has to be included in the discussions for the MVP plum.As daunting as the task may be, Onwubere may have to live with the reality that he’s going to need to give everything he has if EAC wants to make it to the last dance.ADVERTISEMENT PH men’s poomsae team bags back-to-back SEAG golds Torrential rains couldn’t stop the NCAA this week that even the oft-postponed triple-header finally pushed through on Friday.And after it’s said and done, we are left with only two games to wrap up the first round on Tuesday, with last year’s Final Four teams wrapping up their first round assignments.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutAs for our list, the usual suspects did come back, churning out strong performances as they seek a spot in the annual midseason festivities that is the All-Star Game.With that being said, here’s our list of the week’s best players. How rude could Tey Teodoro be?He even went to San Sebastian to remind everybody why he’s one of the deadliest snipers in the league, silencing the home crowd with his three-pointers from the parking lot to help JRU secure the 73-62 victory and extend its winning run to three straight games.But echoing coach Vergel Meneses, he needs more consistent performance from Teodoro like this one if the Heavy Bombers want to make a late run to the Final Four in the second round.Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.net(5) Lervin Flores – F, Arellano Chiefs14 points, 11 rebounds, 2 blocksLast Week: N/ASurprising as it was, Lervin Flores makes his first appearance in this list for the season thanks to his steady contributions for Arellano in its skid-busting conquest over St. Benilde.The veteran forward has finally shown what he’s capable of, commanding the Chiefs’ defense after a woeful start this season.Coach Jerry Codiñera’s offense will always revolve around Salado, but Flores’ efforts must always be there if last year’s runner-up wants to make it to the semifinals in the long run.Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.net(6) Prince Eze – C, Perpetual Altas14 points, 20 rebounds, 1 assists, 4 blocksLast Week: 3Perpetual may have went on a two-game losing slide to end the first round, but Prince Eze’s contributions shouldn’t be discarded.The Nigerian remains as a force to be reckoned with down low, keeping the Altas in the game despite losing in the end to EAC. UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. With the collegiate season in full swing, INQUIRER lists the week’s top seven performers in the ongoing NCAA Season 93 men’s basketball tournament. From their game statistics to their overall impact in the outcomes, everything is weighed to come up with the best players from the week that was.ADVERTISEMENT Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net(2) CJ Perez – F, Lyceum Pirates18 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 stealsLast Week: N/AAfter missing last week’s list, the pacesetter for the MVP plum returned with a bang.Against cellar-dweller Mapua, the Pirates followed the lead of CJ Perez, with him not only getting it done in the offense but also anchoring the team’s choking defense.His performance was so steady that even the team’s third stringers got a piece of the action en route to their dominant 97-74 blowout victory.Perez, though, acknowledges that the season is just getting started and the rest of the league will be out to deal Lyceum its first defeat come the second round.Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.net(3) Levi Dela Cruz – G, Arellano Chiefs24 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 blockLast Week: N/AWith Kent Salado taking a back seat on offense, Levi dela Cruz took the baton and ran with it as he set a career-high performance to help Arellano nab the 87-81 win over St. Benilde.The 22-year-old transferee has come out of Salado’s shadows to emerge as the key component in helping the Chiefs break out of their four-game losing slump.If dela Cruz continues this tear, we may just be seeing the start of a possible second coming of Arellano’s lethal guard combo of the past.Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.net(4) Tey Teodoro – G, JRU Heavy Bombers19 points (4/13 3PT), 3 reboundsLast Week: N/A Eze, however, could not carry the load alone as coach Jimwell Gican needs to challenge his locals, especially Gab Dagangon and GJ Ylagan, to come to Perpetual’s aid if it wants to churn out a late drive in the second round.Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net(7) Jayson David – F, San Sebastian Golden Stags18 points (5/8 3PT), 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 blockLast Week: N/ACoach Egay Macaraya’s secret weapon is a secret no more.Jayson David finally lived up to the hype of his mentor, going bonkers from beyond the arc despite San Sebastian losing to JRU.What better way for him to explode than on his home floor, where he stepped up for the undermanned Golden Stags, which sorely missed the presence of leader Michael Calisaan.David, though, has to prove that he’s not a one-game wonder as he needs to sustain this showing once San Sebastian springs back to action in the second round. 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On the Trot: Show-jumping is only for those with a keen sense of horsemanshipBangalore has somehow managed to be a stressed out Silicon Valley and pensioners’ paradise, pub haven and coffee-house corner – all at the same time. So it’s no surprise that the city’s latest fad manages to combine,On the Trot: Show-jumping is only for those with a keen sense of horsemanshipBangalore has somehow managed to be a stressed out Silicon Valley and pensioners’ paradise, pub haven and coffee-house corner – all at the same time. So it’s no surprise that the city’s latest fad manages to combine a lot of country with a little bit of city. Horse-riding, once a job requirement for military men and a pastime of landed gentry, is the latest hobby in Bangalore.The reason riding has not been restricted to period movies in this part of the country is that it has become both accessible and affordable. Not only are there five riding schools in the city but a growing number of personal trainers, 20 at last count, has meant that more people with a little time and money to spare can learn the completely unimportant but thoroughly exhilarating skill of riding a horse.The riding schools cover a vast segment of people and offer a range of facilities. You could enroll at a school that charges as less as Rs 75 an hour for a lesson, while a few trimmings could shoot the fees up to Rs 200 an hour. The man on the street could show up at the Bangalore Palace Grounds for a lesson and the well-heeled could opt to be trained by foreign instructors at schools like the Embassy Riding School, 30 km outside the city. Jitu Virwani, owner of the Embassy says, “Equestrian sport in India has been the monopoly of the army. We wanted to provide world-class training and reach out to everyone, children and adults.” At Embassy’s sprawling Rajanakunte campus, eight-year-old Shakina Arcis sits astride a thoroughbred, Slash.advertisement”He is very big, very black and very beautiful,” says Arcis of the animal she is trying to master with help from Judith Bidappa. A schoolteacher by profession, Bidappa volunteers to train children at the school. It gives her a chance to be in the open and a choice of 35 horses. Bidappa loves to teach children but they are not the only ones wanting to be initiated in this somewhat arcane art. Child’s Play: Bidappa initiates 8-year-old Child’s Play: Bidappa initiates eight-year-old Arcis in the art of ridingSunitha Singh, a 38-year-old housewife, always wanted to learn riding but kept putting it off because of family commitments. “I now find time to attend riding lessons once a week,” she says. It was perhaps the effect riding had on her six-year-old son Shakti that spurred her on.Shakti suffers from cerebral palsy but learnt riding as part of the special programme for disabled at the Princess Academy of Equitation (PAE) on the Bangalore Palace Grounds. Pushpa Bopaiah agrees about the curative power of horse-riding. A housewife, Bopaiah has had training in therapeutic horse-riding from the US and now gives lessons at the PAE. Each riding school has about 40 riders, which means that at this stage profits are a distant dream for most owners. It costs between Rs 30 lakh and Rs 70 lakh (depending on the facilities offered) to set up a school. Says Virwani: “Even after five years I am yet to break even, but it should be good next year. The important thing is that we are here to promote horse-riding as a hobby.”Bangalore-based American businessman Charles Kingery enrolled his children in Virwani’s school because of qualified instructors. “I find the training here very good,” he says. British national Katherine Rustomji, married to an Indian corporate executive, has also enrolled her two children in the same school. She finds the facilities-in terms of rider safety and training-on a par with those available in England. One of the trainers and founders of the Embassy is Silvia Storai, an Italian and among the few women jockeys in India.While the exclusive riding schools may be out of reach for the average Bangalorean, the PAE is a good place to witness the rising popularity of riding. Maharajakumari Meenakshi Devi, daughter of the late maharaja of Mysore, grew up riding on the sprawling acres of the Bangalore Palace Grounds which was her father’s summer place. Now, she has opened the grounds to more than just royalty. “We want to make this elegant sport available to the average Indian child,” she says. For those unable to make it during the day, the PA E offers the “ride at night” facility.The first to offer public riding lessons, however, was the Bangalore Amateur Riding Institute (BARI), run by the Bangalore Turf Club (BTC).Says Nirmal Ram-prasad of the BTC: “We are now looking for a bigger place to train youngsters. The aim is to inculcate a spirit of adventure and horsemanship.” The institute currently has 200 riders, with most Indian jockeys having trained at Bari.advertisementExperts at Work: Professional trainers are key to the success of schools like the PAEHorse-riding is popular with different levels of riders. Alisha Jayaraj, 14, was offered a week of horse-riding as a birthday present when she turned 10. She now competes in local competitions and even won a gold medal at an inter-riding school contest held at the Embassy this year. There are others who take a shine to what is called dressage, the art of horsemanship comprising not racing or even jumping but a test of grooming and presentation of the animal and its understanding of the rider’s orders. Many ride just to keep fit.Riding, however, is not without its dangers-of temperamental horses and broken bones for riders. And given that children are involved, an instructor’s job becomes critical. So you have the likes of Colonel (retd) Ghulam Mohammed Khan – 1984 Arjuna Award winner and a member of the gold medal-winning Indian team at the 1982 Asian Games – training at the 30-acre Equestrian Centre for Excellence (ECE) on the Bangalore Palace Grounds.The ECE provides facilities for the three main competitive equestrian disciplines- dressage, show-jumping arenas and cross-country. ECE Chairman T.P. Issar, a former Karnataka chief secretary, believes the sport inculcates discipline and leadership.So parents are keen to have children take up riding. Says a telecom department official Albert Rajan whose two teenaged sons, Ravi and Kiran, are learning riding at BARI: “I wanted to dispel the myth that horse-riding is only for the well-heeled. We belong to the middle class and, after all, it is a good exercise.”Horse-riding is catching on as an activity for those who can afford leisure in Bangalore. More than other cities that have turf clubs and amateur riders’ clubs associated with them, private enterprise is the force that is driving the hobby to a wider audience here. While the coffers of private riding schools are not overflowing, popularity, the first step to profit, has not been hard to achieve.
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About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Adama Traore tells Wolves fans: I can go quickerby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveWolves winger Adama Traore insists fans are yet to see him in top gear.Adama is so fast that Olympic sprinting champion Darren Campbell – a consultant during Traore’s spell at Middlesbrough – once advised him to slow down, and who is now regularly clocked at 22mph at Wolves. “I’ve always been quick, ever since I was little,” Traore says, having just scorched the earth at Wolves’ Compton training ground. “People are thinking I am running so fast on the pitch, but I think it’s slow. I am deliberately holding back and I could be even quicker.”At Middlesbrough, Darren told me that I didn’t need to run at 100 per cent as I didn’t realise how fast I was. I can beat players at 70 per cent and this will then give me time to think about what to do next.”I want to get people on the edge of their seats, get past players, try to show my skills and pace.”
About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Arsenal boss Emery explains hooking Lacazette to booing fansby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveArsenal boss Unai Emery accepted supporters’ jeers for hooking Alexandre Lacazette during victory over Fulham.Lacazette had put Arsenal two goals in front following Granit Xhaka’s opener but was substituted for Aaron Ramsey after Aboubakar Kamara had halved the deficit.The decision was booed by a large number of fans, although Ramsey put the game beyond doubt with the third.”I understand the supporters,” he said.”Tactically we thought in that moment we needed to change for more balance. Above all we know (Jean Michael) Seri is coming on and need a player close to him, not to let him play easily with the ball.”Aaron Ramsey can do that and also help us in attack and scored. The reason is this. I need to do my work. And not maybe because every supporter can have a different opinion, tactically.”But I need to do my work, Lacazette his work and he scored also. He helped us and it was a very positive reaction.”
Tottenham boss Pochettino writes off Janssenby Paul Vegas9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveTottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has ruled out a recall for Vincent Janssen.After defeat to Manchester United, Pochettino now loses Heung-min Son to South Korea’s Asian Cup campaign.Asked if Janssen could step up, the manager was adamant: “No, he is not in my plans.”On Son, he continued: “Yeah but we cannot change that. That is the risk in any competition, you know. “In football you cannot avoid the risk.”Four and a half years we are playing every week and testing the depth of the squad, not only that period, but I never complain and I am not going complain. I think we are going to recover players from injury and I think we are going to find the way to play in the best condition and be competitive like we were competitive in the last four years and a half.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say