Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Atheism, Dawkins, and Intelligent Design

The Atheist Community has launched an all out attack on Intelligent Design by equating it to “Creationism” which it is not and categorizing “Religion” as superstition, which – at least to some – it is not. It is also worth noting that when attacking religion and religious people the examples seem to always be Old Testament examples and not Jesus and the New Testament, but this is really beside the point. The point seems to be that the Atheists take the position that those who believe in God must demonstrate through the scientific method that God exists while they feel they have no responsibility to prove through that same method that He does not. However, that argument is really moot because the issue really pivots on the accuracy of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.

Any challenge to Evolution is seen as an attack on the theory per se and an effort by religious zealots to introduce religion into the study of science, but this really isn’t the case. The reality is that evolution as stated by Darwin has some issues and nagging questions, questions that science has not been able to explain. Of course the Darwinians take the position that just because science doesn’t have an answer that doesn’t mean they won’t have one in the future and therefore, Evolution is factual as stated by Darwin and no questioning of it is permitted. Those who have the temerity to challenge the Darwinians are subjected to intimidation, humiliation, and risk losing their careers. Those non-academics who question Darwin are simply dismissed as a bunch of religious zealots or ignoramuses. But it seems that the Darwinians are really not defending Evolution as much as they are denying God, these are actually atheists who see Evolution as a method to substantiate their belief so Intelligent Design must be denied at all costs, but it is the Origin of Life that is the rub.

The origin of life is a fundamental problem with the Theory of Evolution, because Darwin’s theory only addresses how life changes not how it began. Therefore the challenge for scientists is to demonstrate how life evolved from inorganic matter. This study has been named “Abiogenesis”

Experiments using inorganic components have been conducted for many years and these have been successful in creating organic molecules from inorganic materials but unfortunately these experiments have either started with components toxic to life or yielded results toxic to life. Much of the controversy rests on the primordial atmosphere of the Earth, which is unknown and must be assumed for the experiments. The mathematical probability of DNA being randomly generated is so great as to be impossible. Because of the failure for Abiogenesis to succeed in demonstrating the origin of life the Darwinists have postulated “Panspermia”, a theory which Dawkins supports or rejects as an explanation depending on his audience. Essentially Panspermia states that life originated elsewhere in the universe and landed on the Earth either via comets, meteorites, or even Aliens – Aliens whose technology is far superior to ours and so superior that they would have solved the question of life itself. Of course THAT solution would not be Intelligent Design because no advanced society could possibly arrive at such an unscientific explanation.

Bypassing the very serious question regarding the origin of life, Darwin himself stated that for his theory to be demonstrated three tests would have to be met. The first of these was that the fossil record would have to yield transitional fossils. To date the fossil record has been unyielding and while it shows various animals adapting to their environment it hasn’t shown any of these transitional forms. The second test is Natural Selection: The belief here is that nature will weed out those least able to survive in their environment and through time new species would evolve, through mutation or gradual improvements through genetic inheritance. This would be demonstrated in the fossil record. New and improved forms would exist in the newest strata with the original and more primitive forms being found in the older strata. This has not been the case and there are examples of the older forms coexisting with the newer and these all remain the same species and not new species.
The third requirement for Evolution is Random Mutation: This postulates that new species appear through a series of mutations that gradually change into new species. How this happens is never explained or demonstrated but mutations do occur but how they result is new species has not been demonstrated either in the lab or in the fossil record. To overcome this problem Stephan Gould postulated “punctuated equilibria”, as a means to explain how one species morphs into another taking place over thousands of years and not millions. This theory neatly eliminates the need for the fossil record to show any transitional fossils.

The fossil record also shows that life in the Pre-Cambrian to be very simple –akin to pond scum but with the Cambrian the oceans teem with life. These Cambrian creatures are complex organisms with eyes, mouths, and bodies –some of which are shelled. This is a fact and an inconvenient one that the theory of Evolution has not been able to explain other than to resort to punctuated equilibria, except that no new species have evolved in the recent period and if more than a few thousand years are involved then the fossil record should show the fossils, which it has not. It is important to understand that no one questions evolution in the form of adaptation, what is being question is the failure of the Darwinians to address speciation and the origin of life itself.

Dawkins and other atheists like him would have you believe that they speak for all of the scientific community but they do not – they may speak for the atheistic community which is undoubtedly composed of some scientists but not all scientists are atheists. They cling to Darwin with the same blind faith that others cling to God. They are convinced that science will ultimately answer how life began and that answer will not be Intelligent Design, even though their fall back position is Panspermia, which either avoids the issue altogether or is an example of Intelligent Design because the aliens from space are presumably intelligent and had some objective in mind when they seeded life on Earth. In any case, the complete failure of these academics to explore Intelligent Design is an example of their religious commitment to Darwin and closed mindedness to any explanation that might have metaphysical implications.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Intelligent Design and Modern Science

Since universities were first founded in the Renaissance they were supposed to be places of dialog and controversy, but almost from the outset the university faculties were not open to challenges or input from outsiders, they were closed societies. Nevertheless, science and learning progressed even as the minds of the scientific community quietly closed. Early in the 20th Century Physics was declared finished as a field of study because Newtonian Physics was all there was – until Einstein and Relativity, but then that in turn was replaced Quantum Physics. But the scientists didn’t seem to have learned their lesson from the debacle in physics instead they have with absolute certainty declared that all psychic phenomena, astrology, ESP, Reincarnation, and Intelligent Design are simply superstition and pseudo-sciences. They have made these statements even in the face of some rather impressive supporting observations, but these are topics that are simply out of bounds as topics for a serious discussion but the resistance to these is nothing compared to the commitment the scientific community has toward Evolution and the Big Bang.

Even though the Big Bang is widely accepted by many scientists, it carries some very unfortunate implications, which makes in unacceptable to many in the academic and scientific community. The problem stems from the fact that if all of the energy in the universe was contained in some primordial pinprick or speck of something. It could not exist in space or time because the Big Bang actually created space and time. It could not have had tangible mass because there was no space for it to occupy, so this singularity really has no scientific explanation although the scientists BELIEVE that one exists. Those who BELIEVE the creation of the universe was an act of God are scorned as yahoo’s but the fact that both beliefs are FAITH based is lost on the scientists and those who scorn anything that cannot be demonstrated except when they believe at some point in the future science will find the answer. Of course these are the same people who accept Psychology, Economics, Philosophy, and even some science without demonstrable proof or repeatability so they seem to have a double standard when it comes to Intelligent Design and God. People like Richard Dawkins and other atheists challenge religion to prove there is a God without accepting that they cannot prove there isn’t. They fail to see that their position is as much a faith based belief as the belief there is a supreme being.

The other topic that academia and many scientists reject as a topic of discussion is Evolution. Evolution is not in their view a THEORY but a FACT so no challenge is allowed and no contrary opinion or questions can be raised and to do so is to be ridiculed and exiled from the intellectual community. However, there are some significant flaws in Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, not the least of which is that his seminal work “The Origin of Species” does not address the origin of species but merely reflects how existing species adapt to their changing environmental conditions. However, it seems relatively obvious that adaptation is factual and demonstrable but precisely how a new species arise remains a mystery but even that might eventually have a scientific answer. The real problem lies with the origin of life itself and this is where Intelligent Design enters the picture and where the Darwinists get the vapors. They not only get the vapors their explanations sound like they are coming from a stand-up comic.

Richard Dawkins when challenged to explain the origin of life, stumbled and mumbled and admitted that he actually doesn’t know how life began but that he is absolutely sure it began through some scientifically explicable process, a process that was random and absolutely positively did not reflect Intelligent Design. In the Darwinian World life began as a single self-replicating molecule that led to a single cell which led to pond scum and we are direct lineal descendants of pond scum. When Dawkins was confronted with the fact that science has not been able to create a self-replicating molecule so this theory of his fails the first test of the scientific method which is that the hypothesis must be demonstrable and repeatable, he simple says that we don’t know everything but THAT is how it happened. The similarity to those who believe in Intelligent Design never even enters his head.

When Dawkins is then confronted with the mathematical fact that for the 250 proteins necessary to form the DNA strand for a simple cell to form randomly is 1 in a trillion trillion trillion or to anyone other than Darwinist – zero chance of happening, he resorts to the Theory of Pan Spermia. If this Theory were described by a stand-up comic he would have the audience laughing but the Darwinists and Dawkins really take this theory seriously. Pan Spermia is a theory that aliens from outer space came to the Earth and started life or alternatively some space debris crashed into the Earth and brought simple life with it. The fact that this does not explain the origin of life but merely turns it into a geographic problem is totally wasted on Darwinists who insist that this explains the origin of life on EARTH, ignoring the original question which was how did life originate.

As hysterically funny Pan Spermia is, there is even one that is crazier and that is that life originated on the surface of CRYSTALS. In this case man is descended from rocks, which I presume explains why some people are hard headed, others hard hearted, and some are just diamonds in the rough. Nevertheless, this is actually a serious theory being put forth by Darwinians in their efforts to avoid Intelligent Design. In this theory molecules on the surface of crystals began replicating themselves and evolved into bacteria and thus life began. Precisely how the molecules became self-replicating is attributed to – and I quote “some mysterious force” sort of like “May the Force be with you”. How this “mysterious force” is distinguished from God is not allowed as a topic of discussion because as any Darwinian knows – God does not exist and Intelligent Design is just a code word for Creationism.

The reality is that the more science explores life and the origin of life the more difficult it is to avoid Intelligent Design as an explanation. Quantum Physics as well as Molecular Biology are leading us ever closer to Intelligent Design as the only logical conclusion. Whatever the ultimate answer will be it is certainly clear even now that the Darwinians do not have the answer and that the Theory of Evolution does not have the answers.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Science and Astrology the Meta-Science

Science continues to scoff at Astrology as anything more than superstition while continuing to insist that what they do and speculate about is real science. Thus we are treated to dark energy which no one is really sure what it is, dark matter which must exist because our equations don’t work otherwise, a big bang which must have happened although no one knows exactly how or why, evolution without any understanding of how life began and certainly no way of duplicating it which is the “real” test of science. Instead all examples of life after death are dismissed as endorphins in a dying brain, reincarnation as wishful thinking, and astrology as nothing more than a parlor game at best. Therefore, science is really not as exact and precise as they would have you believe and much of it is really as dependent on faith as religion and other meta-physical studies. For this reason Astrology can be called a meta-science because it doesn’t meet the rigors of the scientific method but then it offers some startling examples of accuracy so how it works or even if it works remains shrouded in mystery – just like the big bang and the origin of life.

Astrology is the study of how conditions in the universe affect everything in the universe, but especially the Earth and the people and events on the Earth. This study and the Zodiac go back to the earliest recorded histories and may actually go back even further given that Atlantis pre-dates most ancient history. Astrology was dignified as a serious study for thousands of years prior to falling out of favor in modern times when “science” became the answer to all questions and the “scientific method” became the litmus test for reality. That is, if the postulation could not be repeated or demonstrated mathematically, then it didn’t exist or was in fact – false. In the parlance of modern science 2 + 2 always equals 4, but then science also says that nothing can travel faster than light, but how do they know? If something is moving faster than light how would they know? Recent studies seem to indicate that things exist beyond the speed of light – imagine that? Perhaps one of these things is ESP or even Astral Rays ???

Astrology can be thought of as a study of events in space-time that consider the Sun, the Moon, and the Planets as the astral-harmonic of a particular moment that marks that event (birth) with a pattern that persists permanently. It is this effect of the stars that is challenged by science because it cannot be demonstrated, but is that really true? A research scientist was working with oysters to see how they would adjust to a changing environment. He had these oysters flown from the Atlantic Coast to Illinois laboratory. At first the Oyster’s attempted to open and close in time with the tides on the East Coast but within two weeks they were opening and closing with high tide in Illinois had Illinois been next to the ocean. Since the Moon is the driver of the tides, the Oysters seemed to be influenced by the Moon as it passed over Illinois.

Michel Gauquelin a French Scientist conducted some statistical studies of the positions of the planets at a person’s birth and their subsequent professions. He looked at the planetary positions when rising and when overhead. He found statistical correlations that people with Mars rising tended to become doctors, scientists, soldiers, or athletes rather than painters or musicians. His study was attacked because other studies did not confirm his findings but the subsequent studies looked at the general population rather than just professional athletes. The assumption was that everyone in the general population with Mars rising should have been an athlete. This represents a fundamental flaw in how science views Astrology and what makes it a Meta-Science. Astrology does not fix people into a set groove because there is no such thing as “destiny” there is only free will. Therefore, a person with Mars rising might be a doctor, soldier, or a scientist and not an athlete at all or none of these things. However, the potential for the person to succeed at any of these things is present. It is this potential that cannot be measured because individuals may choose to go in a totally different direction and decide to do things where they will have to work harder at being successful.

Ironically many of those skeptical scientists know their sun sign and check their horoscopes. Of course they explain that this is just “fun” and they don’t believe in any of it and will cite examples where their daily horoscope in the paper was wrong. This isn’t surprising because the Sun is only one of the astral sources that influence us each day and any reading that attempts to encompass everyone cannot be as accurate as one that looks at all of the planetary influences for a specific person. Even then a daily horoscope can only show the potentials for that day and these may or may not come to pass due to daily decisions and events. For this reason any meaningful study must be conducted using the natal charts because these can be analyzed over the life of the subject.

Is Astrology a science? The answer on the basis of repeatability ala the scientific method must be no, Astrology is NOT a science. But then it isn’t a pseudo-science either because it has some demonstrated predictability, so it falls into the realm of Meta-science. It is more than philosophy because it is more practical and demonstrable but it is less than Chemistry. It falls into a category similar to psychology which is more than guess work but not totally fixed either.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Christendom and Islam

Western governments simply do not understand Islam or the Muslim countries. These Islamic countries were created by the West in what they thought was the best interest of the people and certainly in the best interest of the West but these are fragile creations that have only the most tenuous hold on reality. Christendom is essentially composed of all of the Westernized and Christian nation states but there is no centralized authority or unifying force. Any unifying Christian force ceased with Martin Luther and certainly ended altogether with Henry VIII who split from the Pope altogether. While loyalties to family, church, ethnic group or other organizations exist in Christendom, these loyalties are always subservient to the nation state. This is not true in Islam. In Islam loyalties are to the family, the clan, the tribe, and Islam in that order with any loyalty to such a thing as a nation state being of secondary importance if it exists at all. In fact the internal politics of these Islamic states tends to be tribal in nature and this can be seen in the internal conflicts that plague all of the Islamic states. These Islamic states are really tribal organizations – essentially “tribes with flags” with a seventh century ethos, where blood feuds are common and personal honor paramount. But whatever they are these Islamic states are not nation states in the Western model and to continue to view their governments as having the same level of authority and respect as Western governments is a major error in judgment.

From a Western perspective these Islamic states are truly barbarous where they stone adulterers and homosexuals to death, lash miscreants for minor offenses, maim others for things such as theft, deny equal rights to women, and see it as their duty to kill all infidels. Recently there was an explosion in an Iranian Mosque and the authorities initially thought that the arms and ammunition stored in the Mosque were not handled properly and exploded. As it turned out this was not the situation but the fact that it was the initial reaction is very telling, when you consider their reaction to any damage to a Mosque by the American Military. Furthermore, Muslims consider it their duty to destroy all Christian Churches and to kill all Christians and this is currently going on in many if not most Islamic countries. For most Christians it would be unthinkable to use a church as an ammunition dump, but to Muslims it is routine practice, particularly due to the fact that the morally superior western democracies would never attack a Mosque. The whole moral structure of Islam is almost totally opposite of that in Christendom. In Saudi Arabia the mere possession of a Bible is a capital offense. All of this moral ambiguity is well known in the West but Westerners continue to see Islam as having equivalent morality and the Islamic countries as nation states with authority. In fact they have only limited authority and are heavily influenced by various religious leaders who may not even be citizens in their countries.

What is not recognized in the West is that since the fall of the Ottomans there has been a power struggle going on throughout the Muslim world as various groups and individuals compete to unify Islam under one central authority—the Caliphate. The Islamic concept of ummah ( cultural unification) actually presupposes the illegitimacy of the nation state but this ummah or unification can only be accomplished through the actions of a strong core state or group, which does not currently exist. However, shortly after the death of Mohammed Islam spread across all of North Africa and culminated in the first central authority in the form of the Umayyad Caliphate whose capital was Damascus (Syria did not exist). This was followed by the Abbasid Caliphate with a capital in Baghdad. This was followed by other Caliphates beginning in the tenth century, but by the thirteenth century the Ottoman Turks rose in the Middle East, conquered Constantinople and established a new Caliphate that stood until the end of WW I. With the fall of the Ottomans the Western Powers created these arbitrary states in the Western model without regard to tribe, clan, or religious grouping and since that time Islam has been without a core state and unstable as the various factions vie for supremacy while some, such as the Kurds, vie for autonomy.

This power struggle is obscured by the American presence in Iraq, but it is being played out in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Palestine, and Egypt. The Shiite’s represent only a small percentage of Muslims, but they currently dominate Iran and Iraq and are easily the most organized and heavily armed. But the Sunni majority will not tolerate Shiite control or a Shia Caliphate so it is unlikely that any religious leader in either of these Shiite dominated countries can muster enough support to unify Islam and restore the Caliphate. However, the power struggle is increasingly violent with each group blaming the US in order to disguise their violation of Islamic law in their fight for supremacy. This is apparent in the recent battles between the Iraqi government and the Iranian backed Militia’s, which are actually power struggles between two Shiite groups, with the US backing one side and the Iranians the other. Because these are both Shiite groups the Sunni majority isn’t happy with the US support of the Shiites so Iraq remains unstable. The problem actually stems from the failure of the US to recognize that a democratic government is totally alien to the Islamic World and supporting the government is actually viewed as supporting a specific Shiite group. It would have been better to have established an authoritarian government but since that didn’t happen, it might be better to allow a military dictatorship to evolve that would be pro-American. A failure to resolve this problem can only allow time for a strong Islamic leader to emerge and that could be in Turkey.

There is growing unrest in Turkey as the Western Powers continue to treat Turkey as a second class country. The Ottomans joined the Germans because they were poorly treated by the British and it seems we are making the same mistake again. If Turkey rejects the secular government established by Ataturk, then they could easily become the stable government that could form the foundation for another Islamic Empire equivalent to the Ottoman Empire, but richer, more stable, and more heavily armed. This would be a disaster for the West and would certainly pit Islam against Christendom once again.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Gay Rights

Once again the issue of Gay Rights has become a topic of conversation but not much is said about what those specific rights are. Those supporting them maintain that homosexuals should have the same rights as heterosexuals – not an unreasonable position one would think. But those opposing the position of Gay Rights feel that the hidden agenda is to force the acceptance of homosexuality as “normal”. The definition of normal is “the usual condition, level, or quantity” and the essential position of those opposing Gay Rights is that homosexuality is “abnormal” but I don’t think this position holds up under scrutiny. Then there are those who oppose homosexuality because it is expressly forbidden in both the Bible and Koran and thus not within God’s Law.

On the secular side we have the Darwinists who maintain that man is descended from a common ancestor with the ape and thus nothing more than an intelligent animal, but an animal nonetheless. An observation of the animal kingdom shows that homosexuality is present in animals. Admittedly it is not widespread but it is present and thus it can be considered normal in the sense that a certain percentage of animals are homosexual. Given that man is an animal then homosexuality is a normal condition for a certain percentage of the population but what the evolutionary purpose is remains a mystery. The argument seems to be that homosexuality cannot be normal because if it were the species would die out, but of course this hasn’t happened so there must be some other unknown purpose. However, the fact is that homosexuality is found in animals as well as in man and that it has always been thus and will probably continue to be so and therefore, this is a normal condition relative to the species.

But then there are those who maintain that man is not descended from the apes but is a direct creation of God and the Creator has expressly forbidden any deviant sexual practices including homosexuality. Of course what is not explored in any detail among all of this rhetoric is all of those deviant practices, which include masturbation. So the argument seems to rest not on the practices forbidden by God other than homosexuality. However, if God made us all and he made us in different colors and different sexes then He also made homosexuals. If all of God’s creations are perfect – in the sense that He made them – then homosexuals are normal, are made by God, and His purpose is unknown. Perhaps God made homosexuals as a test in tolerance and forgiveness for those who are now persecuting them. Whatever, His reason, there is no doubt but that homosexuals are normal in the sense they have always been a percentage of the population both in man and in the animal world.

But the Bible (and Koran) is God’s word and they specifically forbid homosexuality. Of course neither of these holy books was written by God even though they are published as the word of God. Both books were written by men long after the events described in them and rarely – if ever – written by anyone who had a direct contact with God. Therefore, whether or not God has forbidden these sexual practices or even the dietary restrictions included in these holy books can only be described as arguable. And this brings us to the issue of Gay Rights – precisely what rights are we talking about?

When all of the sound and fury is ignored it seems that we are really only talking about two “rights” and those are the right to marry and the right to serve in the military, all other rights seem to spring from these two. The right to marry seems to be covered under the Constitutional guarantee for equal rights under the law. Now it can be argued that “marriage” is a sacred institution and thus protected under the Freedom of Religion guarantee so in effect we are only talking about semantics. It seems the state cannot deny the right to marry or to issue a marriage license due to equal protection so in effect all that needs to be done is to define a Secular Marriage – in effect a civil union and a Sacred Marriage – one conducted in a religious ceremony. This seems like a simple solution and to deny same sex unions seems to violate the Constitution.

The issue of Gays in the military is a much thornier one. The reality is that Gays are already in the military and have always been in the military. In fact the Macedonian Army under Phillip II had a “Sacred Band” of 300 soldiers composed entirely of homosexuals and this elite unit was the equivalent of Phillip’s Special Forces who were deployed in front of the Phalanx and acted as the shock troops. This is one historical example but homosexuals have been in every army since there was an army – including the American Army. If you accept the common estimate that 7% of the male population is homosexual and another 15% are bisexual then an estimate of 20% of all males have homosexual tendencies seems logical. A military division consists of between 10,000 and 15,000 men so this would indicate that at this very moment there are between 2000 and 3000 homosexuals on active duty in every Army Division. And this does not seem to be a problem with discipline or morale.

But there is an even greater issue here and that is the equal rights issue. Heterosexual soldiers are allowed into the military so to deny homosexuals into the military seems to be a clear case of discrimination based on sexual orientation. The counter argument seems to be that Gays can serve as long as they remain celibate but this restriction isn’t placed on heterosexual soldiers so this also appears to be a clear case of discrimination based on sexual orientation. Clearly the rules should apply equally and they do not, instead the homosexuals are being discriminated against solely on the basis of their sexual orientation. If they were applying for a job or membership in a club, they could not be denied and the state would support their claim of discrimination so the government’s position relative to the military is hypocritical at best and outright discrimination at its worst. The policy of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" is totally ridiculous and this restriction on homosexuals should be lifted because it is clearly unconstitutional.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Hatshepsut and Thutmosis III

History is fascinating for so many reasons, but perhaps one of the most interesting one is how the facts are interpreted. In fact, history is littered with facts but most of these are really not connected anywhere or if they are the connections are really nothing more than assumptions. It is as if history is a giant jigsaw puzzle whose pieces are mostly there but how they fit together isn’t always clear. One of these puzzles is the story of Thutmosis I, his son Thutmosis II, his daughter Hatshepsut, and his grandson Thutmosis III. As if the relationships of these were not enough there is the Grand Vizier (?) Senemut, who was certainly influential but what his actual role was remains rather vague. Various historians have interpreted the facts in various ways, but no one really knows for sure who did what to whom or why, but first the facts.

The sons of Thutmosis I all died in their youth leaving only his daughter as the true heir to the throne. He did have another son by a secondary wife. This half brother to Hatshepsut married her and they had a daughter -- Neferure. The age of Thutmosis II at his accession is not known but it is believed that he was younger than Hatshepsut. The actual duration of his reign is in debate but newer evidence suggests a 3 to 4 year reign rather than the 13 year reign previously believed. Whatever the duration of his reign was, it was uneventful and the few campaigns in Nubia were conducted by his generals and not by Thutmosis himself.

Hatshepsut did marry her half brother but considered herself the actual heir to her father Thutmosis I and not his illegitimate son Thutmosis II. Thutmosis II did father a child by a lesser wife but precisely when this child was born is unclear but he did reign as Pharaoh for 54 years so clearly he was very young when his father died and he succeeded to the throne. He was 30 years old when he became sole Pharaoh and Hatshepsut reigned for 22 years so Thutmosis III was probably around 8 when he was crowned. His step-mother Hatshepsut ruled with him as co-regent for a short period and then had herself crowned Pharaoh. Sometime after his accession as sole ruler efforts were made to obliterate references to Hatshepsut. These are the basic facts but the controversy rages around how to interpret them and based on my readings of various interpretations, this is what I think actually happened.

Senemut was a commoner and very influential with Hatshepsut, but given her attitude about the royal bloodline it is very unlikely that he was a lover or anything other than a favored advisor. While Senemut was very influential he suddenly drops out of the picture and disappears, but he falls from favor after visiting Thutmosis III, so the probability is that he said something that offended Thutmosis III – perhaps advocating the overthrow of his step mother. Whatever happened between them is unknown but it was shortly after this visit to Thutmosis in Upper Egypt that he vanishes.

Then we have Thutmosis II, the husband of Hatshepsut, whose reign – long or short – was not very noteworthy. His campaigns were generally conducted by his generals and he was only present on rare occasions. From what we do know, Hatshepsut considered herself the rightful heir and her husband as little more than an annoyance, but it seems quite logical that she was the real power. Furthermore, it is known that Thutmosis II suffered from some severe skin ailment that left him badly scarred. Plus his mummy indicates that he was not in robust health so this is another reason to suspect that Thutmosis II was not very active as Pharaoh and may have been little more that a figure head.

Of course the real mystery is what was the relationship between Hatshepsut and her step son or put another way, how did a man as strong as Thutmosis III allow his step-mother to reign as Pharaoh once he reached maturity. Of course no one knows the real answer but it is known that Hatshepsut raised Thutmosis as her own son and so she undoubtedly had an emotional connection prior to the death of her husband. Given that Hatshepsut was the mother to Thutmosis III then based on what we know of people in general, the boy undoubtedly had a strong emotional tie to his mother – the Queen. If Thutmosis III was crowned at the age of nine and his mother acted as co-regent for two years, then it seems rather obvious that that was a clumsy arrangement. The logical solution was to assume total control as Pharaoh, but it should be noted that Thutmosis III was not deposed, disgraced, or exiled, he simply disappears for a time. During the reign of his mother Thutmosis was being trained as a soldier and he took part in various raids and skirmishes in Nubia. By the time he reached maturity Egypt he was a trained soldier living with his troops. His relationship with his step mother was clearly a solid one and Egypt prospered under her guidance. It seems obvious that as a crowned Pharaoh, in command of a formidable army, he could have seized power from his step mother at any time, but did not. The logical conclusion is that he was satisfied with the way things were. He liked being a soldier and he did not want to be burdened with the administration of the country.

Then the question becomes, why did he attempt to eradicate all references to his mother once he became Pharaoh? Well the fact is that not all references to Hatshepsut were erased and that his efforts to eradicate these references occurred later and was at best half hearted. The logical conclusion seems to be that these were driven by political necessity. He needed to make sure that all of the victories and positive events were attributed to him, because he did claim the 22 years of his mother’s reign as his own, so the high points of her regency would have to have been revised so history would recognize these as his.

Whatever, the real facts are, it seems clear that the relationship between Hatshepsut and Thutmosis III was a positive one that reflected their relationship as mother and son. Furthermore, he reigned for 54 years which included the 22 years he was co-ruler with his mother. Had their relationship been anything but positive one of them would have disposed of the other, instead they ruled in harmony until her death.

Friday, April 04, 2008

War And The Futility Of Peace Protests

Once again the voices of the morally superior are raised against the military, against war, and in favor of world peace. These well meaning souls don’t seem to have a clue about war, the meaning of war, the impact of stopping a war, the strategic impact of one-sided peace initiatives, or anything beyond their conviction that the world would be peaceful if people just stopped fighting. These are the people who think war is immoral and unnatural because inter-species fighting is immoral. Of course one only has to look at the animal kingdom to determine that inter-species killing and fighting is very prevalent. In virtually every animal species the males fight over females, territory, and resources. In some cases whole packs of animals attack and kill similar packs over territory and resources. Chimpanzees in particular organize war parties and conduct what have all of the earmarks of raids on neighboring groups where killing is the objective. The obvious conclusion is that inter-species killing is commonplace in the animal kingdom but is not viewed as being immoral but simply as the way things are.

The Darwinists believe that man is descended from a common ancestor with apes and is simply another animal. To the Darwinists man is born, reproduces, and dies just like other animals. Man has no purpose, no objective beyond reproduction, and lives a life of futility, but as usual the Darwinists want to have it both ways. On the one hand they know we are just another member of the animal kingdom but being a superior animal we have a concept of morality and of right and wrong whereas animals do not. But if we are an animal like the apes, then why are our wars considered immoral by these people? Clearly the answer must be because we have some inner voice, a consciousness that tells us what is right and wrong. This of course sounds a great deal like a soul, but I digress.

The reality is that World Peace is a dream, much like the Alchemist’s dream of changing base metal into gold. There has never been a time in human history, going back to the Neolithic when man was not engaged in some form of combat. The idea that primitive man lived a life in harmony with nature and at peace with others is simply a dream that these peace advocates have created for themselves but that is all it is – a dream. One only has to look at primitive societies today to see that they engage in warfare that frequently results in fatalities. So the idea that man is by nature peaceful is simply erroneous and those people who mount these peace rallies whose aim is world peace are really indulging in an exercise in futility.

But suppose that these people who are anti-war and anti-military were to gain enough political power that they could put their philosophy of pacifism into practice? Well the history books are filled with examples where various kings and countries have tried to buy off aggressive threats, but it never works – it only delays the inevitable and those that tried to pay tribute always come out the loser. Machiavelli points out that wars cannot be avoided – only delayed. We have examples in our own time. The League of Nations was created as a way of avoiding war, of creating a forum where issues could be talked about and resolved without violence. Well the League did not prevent Mussolini from invading Ethiopia nor did it keep Hitler from invading Austria. The “peace at any price” lobby got control of the British government led by Neville Chamberlain who was so determined to avoid war that he almost singlehandedly brought on the second World War. The United Nations was created for the express purpose of providing a forum for the resolution of conflicts without violence. It was supposed to prevent wars. It has failed and failed miserably. It has not prevented any war, stopped any war, or even come close – it has turned into an ineffectual debating society.

The fact is that war seems to be the natural state of man, but not all men and not all the time. In reality – even in ancient times – only a small portion of the population is engaged in warfare, the majority of the population is law abiding citizens going about their daily lives. Of course these are also those people who are carried off in to slavery, slaughtered by score, and find themselves exploited by the conquerors or even by their own military dictators. So it is only this small portion of the general population – the warrior class – who fight the battles that determine the fate of people, states, nations, or empires. In fact the future of these and the fate of peoples has commonly hinged on one battle, fought by a relatively small number of men, in a small area over a period of hours. These are the battles that yield not just a new order of things but may determine the future of whole civilizations.

It was the battle of Thermopylae that allowed the Athenian city states to organize and fight off the Persians. It was the battle of Waterloo that brought down Napoleon. It was the battle of Hastings that ended the reign of Harold and the Anglo-Saxons and the list goes on and on. Therefore, while the majority of the population may not want war and may not actually fight in a war, their future has always been in the hands of a few warriors. While those who seek peace and protest war may be well intentioned the fact is that war has always existed and it is the warrior who creates and maintains the peace. A nation at peace cannot remain at peace without a strong military defense and any country that disarms is ultimately doomed to destruction and enslavement.