Publish the Word
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Forces That Changed the World

A Study In Science, History and Culture

 The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it.
Psalms 68:11

   Preface

Why
have civilizations throughout history arisen only to later collapse and fall?

Egypt under the Pharaohs, the ancient empires of Babylonia or Persia under Xerxes,
then the Greeks of Alexander, the Romans of the Caesars, the Incas or Aztecs or
the imperial dynasties of China -- what forces created these powerful societies?
Have superior armies or weapons been the reason why one culture conquers another?

The Germans coined a term long before Hitler's Third Reich plunged half the world
into the most horrific war ever -- weltgeist or "world spirit," which means a global
force greater than any one ruler or government, as if the inevitable changes that shape
one society are so powerful as to affect entire continents or areas of the earth.

In his book which won the 1998 Pulitzer Prize, Guns, Germs and Steel: the Fate of
Human Societies
,
author Jared Diamond poses the question why Eurasian culture as
a whole survived and conquered others while cultural groups in Africa or South America
even today remain far behind in technological progress, political or social organization.
Diamond argues against genetic or racial differences. Nor does he believe one people
group is by nature more intelligent or resourceful than others. Geography may be a factor,
also agricultural development and immunity to germs and disease.

Any study of science, history and culture must be broad in scope, but deep in analytic
thought to uncover the real reasons why one society seems to thrive, advance and
dominate others, while another is defeated, enslaved or even exterminated. Written history
can be biased by who does the writing. Our bias is not to examine the socio-biological
reasons why Rome declined or the Mongols ruled Asia in the 12th and 13th Centuries
under Genghis and Kublai Khan.

We want to challenge readers to think more seriously about the greatest force that affects all life on earth and our human destiny -- the unseen power that moment by moment sustains the universe. The same life force that moves global weather patterns to create typhoons or tectonic plate shifts and earthquakes deep inside the earth also causes a human baby's heart the size of an apple seed to begin to beat. We know how the heart muscle rhythmically contracts to pump blood throughout the body – six quarts on a daily 12,000 mile circuit of arteries and veins. The average heart beats 72 times a minute, over 100 thousand times a day, 42 million beats per year or almost 3 billion times in a person's life. It beats involuntarily, without our willing it. What force causes the first beat?

More importantly, why? Why does our heart beat, even as we sleep? Who or what
programmed our marvelous human bodies? Who or what is the force behind all of life?

Common Sense Thinking


In March of 1776 Thomas Paine, one of America's Founding Fathers, published his
pamphlet Common Sense. He reasoned in plain language that the 13 Colonies should
 become independent of England and form a free, republican government to guarantee
 liberties for all citizens. His ideas made sense and motivated the colonists to take action.
Several months later the new country was born. We know ideas can be a force for change.
 
But how do we know what we know? And do we believe what we cannot know for certain? Do reason and logic end where belief and faith begin? Thinking people everywhere ask these questions. The ancient Greeks – especially Socrates, Plato and Aristotle – wrestled with the same questions. What can we know for sure?
 
Their principles for rational thinking, of how one idea leads to others, of how asking questions stimulates possible answers, of how we logically organize knowledge-- known as rhetoric – influenced how we formed our modern political and legal systems.
 
Consider our courts, for example: A person is charged with a crime. A trial is held. Eyewitnesses give testimony. Are they credible? Evidence is presented. Is it convincing? Experts offer their ideas. Are they trustworthy? Claims and counter-claims are given. The jury weighs all the evidence and testimony. Reasonable doubts are examined. Discussion may continue for hours or days. Finally a verdict is reached – by reason and logic.
 
We invite you to be a jury of one. Be open-minded. Consider the following ideas with common sense. Ask questions. Raise objections. You won't be the first. For thousands of years we have struggled to make sense of life, death and the greatest force -- God.

Perhaps we are hard-wired at birth to seek answers to such questions. That makes us different from the animals. Maybe we cannot know everything with 100 percent certainty, but we can – through logical thinking – arrive at our own common sense verdict. . . beyond reasonable doubts.