Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year, 2012!

It's already 2012 in many parts of the globe, and soon to be 2012 in those longitudes that are still rolling towards the end of 2011.

The much-anticipated year of 2012 has gotten a lot of hype, primarily because the great cycle of the Maya "long-count" is scheduled to come to an end on December 21, 2012, and because of increasing media hype such as the sensationalistic National Geographic video shown below, entitled "2012: Countdown to Armageddon."

The Maya long-count cycle is discussed in many places on the internet, and reflects the advanced mathematical system that civilization possessed. Here is a brief description of the basics of the system from Chapter 7 of the Mathisen Corollary (pages 160-161 in the paperback version), which should help understand exactly what is supposed to come to an end on December 21 of this year:
The famous Maya long count was used for historic inscriptions and for calculating dates far into the past and the future. The system was elegant and simple, consisting of various periods of time which were indicated by their own glyphs; extremely large dates could be rendered by placing dots next to glyphs to indicate the numbers of the groupings (up to four, after which line strokes were used to indicate groups of five, with a zero symbol which could be used to indicate no units in that particular glyph-group). These groupings generally increased by factors of twenty (making the Maya long-count system a "base-twenty" system, or vigesimal system, as opposed to our "base-ten" or decimal system of numbering).

The Maya tun contained 360 days, each day known as a kin. Twenty tuns was called a katun (and totaled 7,200 days). Twenty katuns was called a baktun (which would thus have 144,000 days). The long-count cycle consisted of thirteen baktuns, an enormous length of time equal to 1,872,000 days (over 5,125 years).

As many are aware today thanks to the great interest surrounding the end of this great long-count cycle, the Maya (whose civilization is though to have started as early as 2000 BC but which reached its Classic period between AD 100 and AD 900) began their cycle with the year that we would call 3113 BC -- "believed to be the year the Maya considered as marking the creation of the present world order," according to astronomer Edwin C. Krupp (b. 1944) in his 1983 work Echoes of the Ancient Skies: the Astronomy of Lost Civilizations (185). The great cycle of thirteen baktuns that preoccupied the Maya astronomers and historians so many centuries ago will reach its conclusion near the end of our AD 2012.
It is known that the Maya believed that the world had been destroyed several times before, as the narrators and interviewees in the above National Geographic video make clear. Some sources, such as the Popol Vuh, appear to indicate that we are living in the fourth "sun" or age, while others appear to indicate that the Maya believed we are living in the fifth sun already.

There is also debate as to whether the Maya believed that the end of the current long-count cycle indicated the end of the current "sun." Assuming that they did, it is not necessarily true that this indicated that they believed there would be a literal world-ending catastrophe at the end of 2012. It is quite possible that the end of the current age refers to an a celestial event, the end of an equinoctial age due to the mechanism of precession, and that this celestial knowledge was preserved in myth using metaphorical terminology, just as we have seen with the gods of ancient Greece for example.

As an alert reader may notice, there is a prominent precessional number contained in the above calendar counting system, the number 7,200 (the number of days in a katun). The presence of precessional numbers in the long count appears to support the interpretation given above, that the end of the current "sun" is a precessional event. The number of days in the entire long-count, which is 1,872,000 days, also appears to contain some precessional aspects, in that this number is equal to the approximate length of an entire precessional cycle (26,000 years) times the fundamental precessional number 72.

For some further explanation about the celestial aspects of the "end of an age," see the explanation in some of these previous posts:
For some posts discussing the evidence of connections between the mythological imagery of the ancient Maya and that of other cultures, see these previous posts:

There is much more evidence contained in what the Maya have left us which is important for our pursuit of the answers to the mysteries of mankind's ancient past. Much of it is discussed in Graham Hancock's Fingerprints of the Gods. Much evidence is preserved in the spectacular Maya ruins, although much of it has been irrevocably altered by misguided modern "restoration" projects in recent centuries. In the notes he included in that book, Mr. Hancock points out the slight variations to the dates different scholars have determined for the end of the Maya long-count cycle (see page 517).

If the advent of the portentous year 2012 causes more people around the world to become interested in exploring the mystery of mankind's ancient past, and brings more minds with different backgrounds, life experiences and perspectives to bear on the study of these vitally important questions, then those ancient Maya inscriptions will have served a very important function indeed, in addition to all the other important information that they preserve and the other roles that they play.

I wish all of my readers everywhere a very Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011


Nothing in the world is softer or more yielding
than water.
But, for wearing down the hard and strong,
there is nothing like it.
That yielding overcomes the strong
and softness overcomes the hard
is something that is known by all,
but is practiced by few.

Tao Teh Ching, 78. Translation by Hua-Ching Ni.

How does the sea
become the queen of all rivers and streams?
By lying lower than they do!
Hence, it is the queen of all rivers and streams.

Tao Teh Ching
, 66. Translation by Hua-Ching Ni.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The important questions surrounding earth's radioactive isotopes

The hydroplate theory of Dr. Walt Brown provides a compelling and unified answer to a host of geological data from around the globe, and in fact from around the solar system.

Many of the phenomena which Dr. Brown's theory can explain remain a mystery to conventional theorists. One mystery of science, not widely appreciated as a mystery by the general public, is the origin of radioactivity. Our earth contains radioactive isotopes which lose energy through the emission of subatomic particles. However, where these radioactive materials actually came from remains a problem for conventional scientific models.

Some of the difficulties posed by the existence of radioactive material on earth were outlined in a report issued by the US National Research Council in 2000. That report listed eleven vexing problems that physicists and astronomers were so far unable to explain. As described in this article published around the same time, one of those eleven questions was number 3: "How were the heavy elements from iron to uranium made?"

The standard models propose that the Big Bang only created the lightest elements in the periodic table, and that "Heavier elements formed later inside stars, where nuclear reactions jammed protons and neutrons together to make new atomic nuclei." However, creating elements such as Uranium (which has 92 protons and up to 146 neutrons), is harder to explain. The article admits: "But when fusion creates elements that are heavier than iron, it requires an excess of neutrons. Therefore, astronomers assume that heavier atoms are minted in supernova explosions, where there is a ready supply of neutrons, although the specifics of how this happens are unknown."

Later, the final sentence of that article declares: "The most massive stars sometimes exploded in energetic supernovas that produced even heavier elements, up to and including iron. Where the heaviest elements, such as uranium and lead, came from still remains something of a mystery."

Dr. Brown points out several other glaring problems with conventional explanations for the origin of radioactive materials (including Uranium, which is one of the most important of them and a major clue to the earth's ancient past). One of the most vexing of these difficulties poses major problems for the conventional explanation of the earth's formation: "Notice, if the earth is 4.6 billion years old and 235U was produced and scattered by some supernova billions of years earlier, 235U’s half-life of 700 million years is relatively short. Why is 235U still around, how did it get here, what concentrated it, and where is all the lead that the 235U decay series should have produced?" (from note to figure 179 in the online 9th edition of Dr. Brown's book).

Uranium-235 is an unstable, radioactive isotope of uranium, containing only 143 neutrons. It decays in a series of intermediate steps to form a stable lead isotope, Pb-207. The hydroplate theory proposes that nearly all of the radioactive isotopes found on earth today were created as a consequence of a relatively recent, catastrophic global flood. This theory explains why Uranium-235 hasn't been creating Pb-207 for billions of years. It also clears up numerous other difficulties, such as the fact that radioactivity is primarily concentrated in the earth's crust (if the earth really formed as a molten ball containing the radioactive isotopes present today, we would expect to find them scattered more uniformly throughout the thickness of the globe, but evidence so far indicates that this is not the case, as Dr. Brown's book also points out).

Dr. Brown proposes a startling mechanism for the origin of the radioactive isotopes found in the earth's crust: plasma discharge during the flood event. He explains:

Powerful electrical activity within earth’s crust produced earth’s radioactivity. As the flood began, stresses in the massive fluttering crust generated huge voltages via the piezoelectric effect. For weeks, this resulted in discharges of electrons within the crust and subterranean water, much like bolts of lightning. These electrical surges squeezed atomic nuclei together temporarily into very unstable, superheavy elements which quickly fissioned and decayed into subatomic particles and new radioisotopes. Each step in this process is demonstrable on a small scale. Calculations and other evidence show that these events happened on a global scale. (See the section of his book entitled "The Origin of Earth's Radioactivity."
The term "piezoelectric" comes from the Greek word "piezo" meaning "squeezing" -- thus, "squeezing electricity" or "compression electricity." Piezoelectric discharge is created in quartz (present in the granite plates of the earth's crust) when it undergoes compression and tensile stretching (see figure 181 in his book). Dr. Brown points to evidence that suggests that very powerful earthquakes even today release electric discharge due to piezoelectric forces -- some examples are cited in this previous post (see also the eyewitness accounts described in this 1912 book beginning on pages 46-47).

As with other aspects of Dr. Brown's theory, his examination of the geological evidence may have important applications to mysteries of mankind's ancient past as well. In this case, the evidence for powerful plasma discharges during the cataclysmic events surrounding the flood itself suggest the likelihood that powerful earthquakes in the centuries immediately following may have been accompanied by more frequent phenomena such as the glows and light flashes still reported in some very powerful earthquakes in the modern period.

If so, it could provide an explanation for the rock art discussed in David Talbott's film, Symbols of an Alien Sky, which he argues contain distinctive elements of plasma discharge formations (paralleling the work of plasma astrophysicist Dr. Anthony L. Peratt). Images and discussion of this rock art and its similarity to plasma geometry can be seen starting at about the 6:20 mark in this video by David Talbott, and further discussion can be seen in this web page and elsewhere.

The plasma connection is compelling, and an important angle for analysts to explore. It seems that the hydroplate theory may contribute to the discussion, especially since it is backed up by literally thousands of geological data points in its favor (unlike some of the more speculative theories that have been proposed to explain these plasma-shaped art forms, such as the theory of longstanding nearby planetary alignment along earth's polar axis, which so far does not appear to have the geological evidence we would expect to find if that had in fact taken place).

In this question, as in the larger question of the origin of earth's radioactivity, and the question of whether there was in fact a cataclysmic global flood as described by the hydroplate theory, it is important to examine all the evidence and to keep an open mind regarding theories that can best explain the evidence. Walt Brown has a quotation in his book which is really quite exemplary regarding the best way to approach such inquiry. In the section introducing his theory for the origin of radioactivity (in contrast to the traditional explanation involving successive generations of stars and supernovas), he says:
Both theories will stretch the reader’s imagination. Many will ask, “Could this really have happened?” Two suggestions: First, avoid the tendency to look for someone to tell you what to think. Instead, question everything yourself, starting with this book. Second, follow the evidence. Look for several “smoking guns.” I think you will find them.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Birthdate of Lam Ching-Ying

Today is the birthday of the late Lam Ching-Ying (December 27, 1952 - November 08, 1997).

A talented actor and martial artist, he was trained at Hong Kong's Spring and Autumn drama school in classical Chinese opera, and in his role as Leung Yee-Tai in Prodigal Son (an excerpt of which is shown above and the entire movie of which is available on the internet here in Chinese with subtitles) he plays an actor in a classical Cantonese "red junk" opera troupe (and a legendary master of Wing Chun kung fu, an actual historical figure who really was a member of a red junk acting troupe).

Traditional Chinese opera follows a very distinctive pattern, with set characters who fit into one of several characteristic roles and who wear elaborate costumes and makeup. This is very evident in Prodigal Son.

The events in the operas themselves often have a celestial component or origin, such as the very well-known and beloved story of the lovers Zhi Nu (or Zhinu, the celestial daughter of the Ruler of Heaven, whose name means "The weaver girl") and Niu Lang (or Niulang, a poor, hardworking and virtuous cowherd who possesses a magical talking ox -- his name means "The cowherd"). In the story, the celestial maiden marries Niu Lang and the two are very happy and have two children, but are separated by the girl's mother, who is very angry that she has married a mortal and is neglecting her heavenly weaving.

The mother takes Zhi Nu back to heaven, but Niu Lang (disconsolate at the loss of his wife) is told by his magic ox how to ascend to heaven to rejoin her. However, the Queen Mother separates the two with a celestial river: the Milky Way. You can see them in the sky on either side of the Milky Way -- Niu Lang and his two children are Altair in the head of Aquila the Eagle flanked by Tarazed and Alshain (his children), and Zhi Nu is the brilliant star Vega in the Lyre.

In Chinese legend, the lovers must sit forever on either side of the river, unable to unite. However, on one day each year, the magpies of the world take pity on them and fly up to heaven to create a Magpie Bridge, enabling Niu Lang and Zhi Nu to cross the Milky Way and hold one another once again. That day is traditionally the seventh day of the seventh lunar month, which falls in August. In The Cygnus Mystery, author Andrew Collins makes a convincing argument that this legend of a bridge made of birds is derived from the important constellation Cygnus the Swan, which you can see in the diagrams in this previous post in relation to the location of Altair and Vega. If Cygnus could somehow "fly forward" once a year, its wingtips would connect the two separated lovers.

This beautiful legend is recounted in numerous Chinese operas, and can also be seen in the recent remake of The Karate Kid (2010), starring Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith. The celestial aspects of Chinese opera are extremely interesting, especially given the continuing importance of its influence on Asian filmography to this day. It is also noteworthy that the origins of stage acting in ancient Greece also appear to have celestial connections, and that ancient Greek drama often deals with the influence of the gods, whose celestial components have been addressed here many times previously.

Mr. Lam Ching-Ying won a Hong Kong Film Award for his performance in Prodigal Son (1982), and was later nominated for Best Actor for his performance in Mr. Vampire (1985). He imbued his characters with quiet dignity and authority, which must have come from his own personal character. While it is sad that he left the world so young, he lives on in his many well-loved films.

Rest in peace.

Friday, December 23, 2011

How the earth-ship metaphor helps explain the sun "standing still" at the solstices

Many people are aware of the fact that the word "solstice" means "sun stand-still" or "sun stationary," but may not understand exactly why the sun seems to come to a standstill at each solstice before turning around and starting towards the opposite solstice.

The word itself is composed of two words from Latin, sol (which obviously refers to the sun and gives us the word "solar"), and sistere (the Latin verb meaning "to stand," found in words like "resist" and also in less widely-used modern words such as "interstitial," meaning "occupying a small or narrow place in between two other spaces," which is a synonym for the equally obscure but interesting word "liminal," which has to do with things occupying a boundary area between two other areas and comes from the word for "a threshold," and which can metaphorically apply to concepts that occupy a "third space" between two binaries or polar opposites).

Many discussions of the solstices mention the fact that the sun's rising point (and setting point) moves back and forth along the eastern (and western) horizon during the year, and that the solstices mark the furthest north and furthest south points along that annual path. These discussions may also mention that the sun appears to pause at each of these two "turnaround points" and rise (and set) there for a few days in a row before moving back in the other direction. Why does the sun linger at the solstices, when it does not linger at the equinoxes, for example?

To conceptualize why this important "standstill" takes place at each solstice, it is helpful to think of the earth as an old sailing ship from the classic days of sail (such as the full-scale model of the Columbia Rediviva pictured above -- the original Columbia being the first US ship to circumnavigate the globe, in 1790).

In this "earth-ship" metaphor, the bowsprit (that spar which extends forward from the vessel's prow, right above the figurehead) represents the north pole of the earth. The lantern which hangs from the ship's stern (not visible in this photograph) would represent the south pole of the earth.

Now, the interesting thing about the earth-ship is that, as it makes its annual journey around the sun, its prow stays pointing in the same direction all the time. You might expect that the ship would turn as it goes around the sun, like a racecar would when it goes around the track, but in this case of the earth-ship, the bowsprit of the north pole and the lantern of the south pole always maintain their same orientation as the ship sails around the sun (see diagram below).

The ship in the above diagram is shown without all the rigging, for simplicity, and it is angled to show the earth's obliquity to the ecliptic plane. Also, if this ship were really the earth, it would be rotating along the axis of the bowsprit once per day, which would make all the sailors on it quite uncomfortable and perhaps even a bit seasick, but for the purposes of this analogy we can imagine that the ship is not rotating like that. The important point to notice is that the bowsprit stays pointing in the same direction all the time as it goes around.

The summer solstice for the northern hemisphere is when that bowsprit is directly pointed at the sun as the ship sweeps by on its rotation. In fact, there is one moment in time at which that bowsprit will point most directly at the sun, and that moment in time will fall somewhere around the calendar date of June 21. The aft or stern of the ship will then be pointing most directly away from the sun, and thus it will be winter solstice to those in the southern hemisphere.

Likewise, there will be one moment on the other side of the orbit at which the lantern in the stern of the ship will point directly at the sun (when the bowsprit is pointing directly away). This moment in time will fall somewhere around the calendar date of December 21 -- we just passed it a couple days ago, in fact. This point will be the winter solstice for those in the northern hemisphere, and the high point of summer for those in the southern hemisphere.

Halfway between these two points, the ship will drift past the sun with the bowsprit and stern lantern aligned with the motion of the ship, and the sun will be "broadsides" to the ship. These two points (when the ship passes by the sun such that it is directly broadsides) will be the equinoxes.

Now, to understand why the sun appears to "pause" or "linger" or even "stand still" at each solstice, while it does not do so at the equinoxes, think of yourself as an observer tied to the bowsprit of the ship (or occupying the position of the figurehead, if you prefer). As the ship approaches the solstices, your view of the sun will be directly in your face as you pass by it at the solstices, and it will not appear to move very much as you stare at it while the ship moves along its orbit in a motion that is almost lateral to the sun.

However, as the ship gets past these points and starts to race down the track towards the next equinox, your view of the sun will start to change rather rapidly. As you get going, your face will be pointing, not at the sun, but towards the direction that earth is moving on its orbit. You will literally "whiz by" the sun at the equinox, and its motion will be quite rapid as you pass it by.

As you approach the next solstice, however, your perspective will again begin to change, and the speed of the sun's passing will seem to slow down again, until it becomes slowest on the days surrounding the solstice itself.

If you have a more mathematical sort of mind and prefer to examine this concept using a graph instead of a metaphor, you can think of the apparent motion of the sun throughout the year as a sinuous wave (like a sine wave) on a graph. We have seen in previous posts that the ecliptic actually traces out a sine wave as it moves up and down across the celestial equator during earth's progress around the sun (this back-and-forth motion of the ecliptic is discussed in this previous post, and a helpful animated video of the sun's noon point on the ecliptic moving up and down across the celestial equator throughout the year can be found here and discussed further here).

An excellent discussion which contains a good graph of the sun's path back and forth across the celestial equator throughout the year can be found here -- the entire page is actually discussing the concept of lunar standstill and in particular the major standstill of 2006, but the very first graph is a solar wave, and the discussion incorporates the sun's annual motion and is very well done and thorough.

Looking at the sine-wave-like graph of the sun's motion, you can also conceptualize why the sun "stands still" at solstices and not at equinoxes or other days between the solstices. The solstices are at the top and the bottom points of the wave. The vertical change on the graph slows down significantly as it approaches a top (or a bottom), and comes to almost a complete halt (nearly flat) at the actual top and bottom (the solstices and the days on either side of the solstices). However, as the wave begins to dive from the upper solstice down towards the lower one (or to climb from the lower solstice towards the upper one), the wave becomes much steeper. As it screams through the equinoxes, it is changing its vertical position quite rapidly from one day to the next.

You can verify this phenomenon for yourself by marking the sun's rising point on the horizon throughout the year. You can also use the handy calculations provided by the US Naval Observatory's outstanding website here. That calculator enables you to enter latitudes and longitudes and elevations (or cities in the US) and determine the rising times, rising azimuths, and setting times and setting azimuths, for various heavenly bodies (including the sun). The tables below show the rising azimuths for the sun from San Francisco, California during the days surrounding the fall equinox and the days surrounding the winter solstice, for the year 2011.

Note that the USNO data only gives whole number azimuths, but even so the difference in the rate of change is quite apparent. Note that during the month of September, as the earth approaches the September equinox point on its orbit, the rate of change is quite dramatic. The sun's rising azimuth changes a full degree every couple of days (note that it is rising north of due east -- due east being ninety degrees and true north being zero degrees -- as it approaches equinox, and then rises at ninety degrees at equinox, and proceeds south of due east after that).

However, during the month of December (as earth approaches the December solstice), the rate of change has slowed significantly. Now, the rising azimuth of the sun for an observer in San Francisco is much further south, at 117 degrees at the beginning of December (fully 27 degrees south of due east). As the earth progresses, it creeps south still further, to 118 degrees, and then to 119 degrees (which it reached on December 09 for an observer in SF). After that, it continues to rise at 119 degrees for the remainder of the month of December! What a difference from the rapid change of azimuth taking place around the equinox point on the orbit.

This discussion should help you understand the reason why the solstices are the "stationary" places of the sun during the annual rhythm created by earth's orbit and the tilt of earth's axis.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Winter Solstice 2011

Earth is rapidly approaching the point on its orbit at which the north pole points directly away from the sun (while still at its normal angle, which is inclined from the ecliptic plane by ninety degrees less the 23° 26’ of axial tilt of the earth), known as the December solstice. For the northern hemisphere, it is winter solstice.

As this helpful article from EarthSky explains, there is one precise moment at which earth will pass through that specific point on the orbit, although it will be a different clock time in all the different parts of the globe when it happens (and the calendar date will be different depending on your location in relation to the arbitrary convention of the international date line).

Here are some diagrams which may be helpful in understanding the celestial mechanics associated with the solstices. Above, the earth is drawn at the two solstices, the December solstice on the left and the June solstice on the right.

The sun is depicted at the center, and the horizontal line represents the plane of the ecliptic. The plane of the ecliptic is the plane of earth's orbit around the sun, which (if seen from the edge-on view depicted here) would look like a horizontal line. In previous posts a horizontal piece of glass has served the same function -- if you think of the orbit of the earth as an ellipse around the sun, and turned that ellipse into an elliptical plate of glass, then that glass ellipse would be a plane, the plane of the ecliptic. Seen from the side it would just be an edge of glass.

At any point in the northern hemisphere, there is a point in the sky around which the entire sky appears to rotate. This point corresponds to the north pole on earth and is the point in the sky to which the north pole points -- the north star, Polaris, is very close to that point in the sky. Ninety degrees down from this point is the celestial equator, an imaginary line in the sky which is the projection of the earth's equator, a great circle which arcs across the sky at the same angle all year long, depending upon your latitude (you can see more diagrams and discussion of this concept in this blog post, and follow the links to the excellent website of the Polynesian Voyaging Society website, which explains it in even greater detail).

The celestial equator is marked in the above diagram by a dotted line projecting earth's equator into the sky. Again, it forms a great circle, but because that circle is seen "edge-on" in the drawing, it appears as a straight line.

Now, using this diagram, you can envision the reason that the ecliptic reaches its highest point above the celestial equator in the night sky on the winter solstice (the December solstice in the northern hemisphere) and reaches its lowest point below the celestial equator in the night sky on the summer solstice (the June solstice in the northern hemisphere). Looking at the diagram above, you must first consider the fact that observers on the earth-globes in the drawing only see the night sky when they are facing away from the sun (on the side of the globe facing leftward for the left globe at December 21, and on the side of the globe facing rightward for the right globe at June 21). When the earth's daily rotation brings them around to face the sun, it will of course be daytime and we will examine that situation momentarily.

In the night sky, the stars along the celestial equator include the three bright stars of Orion's belt, and the left wing-tip of Aquila the Eagle (Rey 113). The ecliptic passes through the zodiac constellations, and the planets (which orbit the sun along planes that are roughly aligned with earth's orbital plane to create the familiar shape of the solar system) track across the sky along the ecliptic as well.

Obviously, if the ecliptic is below the celestial equator in the summer night sky, and above the celestial equator in the winter night sky, there must be a point in time at which the ecliptic crosses the celestial equator once on the way to being above it and once more on the way to being below it, for a total of two crossings each year. Those crossings are the equinoxes. This previous post entitled "The Solar Double Spiral" discusses likely connections of this phenomenon to ancient artistic symbol, and also contains a link to an excellent video animation showing the noon point of the sun (which is on that arc of the ecliptic) crossing above and below the celestial equator as earth moves around its orbit (suggestive of a serpent -- perhaps encoded in myth as the Midgard Serpent).

On the "day side" of the equation, the ecliptic will mark the path that the sun travels as it arcs across the sky. In the illustration below, an attempt has been made to "shade in" the half of the globe that is not receiving sunlight in the two depictions of earth (the left half in the earth on the left and the right half in the earth on the right). You can see why the north pole (and all the points above the Arctic circle) stays dark all day on deepest days of winter (including of course the December solstice) and why the south pole (and all the points between the Antarctic circle and the south pole) stay light all day on the same December solstice. On the daytime side of each earth-globe in the diagram below, the ecliptic is above the celestial equator in the summer (the June solstice for the northern hemisphere) and below the celestial equator in the winter.

If you pay much attention to the arc that the sun takes through the sky on various days of the year, this will all seem pretty obvious: the sun's arc follows a much higher path through the sky in the summer than it does in the winter. The celestial equator is not marked with visible markers during the daytime the way it is by night with familiar stars such as Orion's belt, but you can always imagine where it is if you know your latitude and the location of the celestial pole and then envision the great circle that runs across the dome of the sky ninety degrees down from that point. The sun's ecliptic path will be above this line in summer (after crossing it on the spring equinox) and below it in the winter (after crossing it again on the fall equinox).

The fact that the steepness of the sun's arc is much more vertical during the summer (most vertical on the summer solstice) and much shallower during the winter (most "laid down" on the winter solstice) can be envisioned by drawing yet another line on our diagram, this time representing the horizon to an observer in the northern hemisphere (who is represented by a light blue rectangle on each earth at December solstice and June solstice).

Note that the blue rectangle is at the same latitude in both diagrams: if we imagine the earth rotating as it does each day around its axis, the blue rectangle on the left globe will swing around to being as close to the ecliptic as it is on the right globe, but it will be facing away from the sun (night) on the left globe, while it will be facing towards the sun (day) on the right globe. In the above diagram, the rectangles are both depicted as facing towards the sun (day -- in fact, noon).

In this diagram, the horizon as it appears to the observer at that point is drawn as an additional line. The dotted lines depicting the celestial equators have been removed for greater clarity. However, the line representing the plane of the ecliptic is still drawn, because it indicates the plane the sun takes through the observer's sky during the day. This diagram should make quite obvious the reason that the arc-path of the sun on winter solstice is as low in the sky as it ever gets, and as vertical as it ever gets on the day of summer solstice. The angle of the sun at noon has been indicated with an angle-arc arrow in each case, and the angle can be seen to be much greater (a much higher sun-path) on the June solstice for the northern hemisphere observer.

These diagrams should help explain the mechanics of what is going on during the great annual cycle that gives our year its rhythm. This cycle is every bit as important to the cycles of life on earth as is the daily rythm of night and day -- and, of course, the length of each night and each day is directly impacted by this larger cycle.

We are all aware to some degree of the power of the daily cycle upon our minds and our bodies and our energy levels -- just try working a "graveyard shift" job for several weeks or months and see if you notice any effect. Certain cultures preserve the knowledge of the fact that different organs of our human bodies have different times during the day at which they are at higher and lower energy levels (traditional Chinese medicine, for example, places great importance on these cycles).

If this is true of the daily cycle of night and day, it stands to reason that it is also true for the annual cycle that is marked by the solstices and equinoxes. For this reason (as well as many others), it is very beneficial to understand and appreciate the annual rhythm of which tomorrow's solstice is such an important station. As you go through the solstice, you can imagine the moving pieces of earth, sun, ecliptic (crossing and then yawning above or below the celestial equator), light and dark.

If you did not understand all those aspects of the solstice before, I hope that this discussion has been helpful.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Possible Egyptian and Babylonian connections to the Hero Twins of the Maya Popol Vuh

It will soon be 2012, which means that interest in the ancient Maya will be increasing soon and may hit an all-time high (there's no real way to measure such interest, but if there were the device would certainly be registering greatly increased levels). One aspect of that very complex and still mysterious and poorly understood civilization of great interest to me is the degree to which their surviving texts and monuments provide evidence of cultural contact or common descent with cultures that defenders of the conventional theory refuse to admit could have had any connection to the Maya.

For example, try telling a typical university professor that you believe the ancient Maya and the ancient Egyptians and ancient Sumerians or Babylonians may have had a connection, and see what the response will be. And yet, the evidence for such a connection (either through a common anscestral civilization, through direct contact, or perhaps both) is quite stark.

Take for instance the evidence in the Popol Vuh, a Maya sacred text preserved through the efforts of a Dominican friar named Francisco Ximenez, which he preserved by hand in a manuscript he wrote in 1701. It contains a Creation account, a Flood account, and the account of two Hero Twins named Hunahpu and Xbalanque.

The fact that much of the narrative of the Popol Vuh concerns two heroic twins who descend to the underworld as part of their adventures immediately brings to mind the epic of Gilgamesh (or the Gilgamesh series), which is a Sumerian text that is among the oldest texts on earth, later found in Babylonian as well, and which features the adventures of two heroic twins, Gilgamesh and Enkidu. The fact that the Gilgamesh series also features a Flood narrative (as does the Popol Vuh) is another important similarity.

Even more significant is the fact that, in the Popol Vuh, there is a deity named "Gucumatz" (as transcribed by Francisco Ximenez when he preserved the text). While Gucumatz in the Popol Vuh is not one of the twins (he is one of the creator deities), the linguistic similarity to the name "Gilgamesh" is striking and difficult to dismiss as a simple coincidence (especially given the similarities in the content of the epics). The late Henriette Mertz calls attention to this similarity in her book The Mystic Symbol (published posthumously in 1986).

Any student of the night sky, and of the work of Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend, will be suspicious of the possibility that prominent mythological twins may have a celestial component, and it appears quite likely that the Hero Twins of the Popol Vuh represent the celestial twins of Gemini in some way.

For example, in the important stelae found at Izapa in modern-day Chiapas, Mexico, the Hero Twins are depicted in activities and orientations that strongly suggest a celestial component. In the stele shown above, Izapa Stele 25, scholars have asserted that the carvings represent the Hero Twins in the act of "shooting a perched demon bird with a blow-gun."

As readers of this blog will know, the presence of a bird on a stick next to a depiction of mythological twins is very significant: it should immediately call to mind the scene from the Panel of the Wounded Man at Lascaux (in France), which we have seen may well represent the constellation Gemini in between Taurus and Leo, where there is a prominent bird on a stick depicted nearby. As we saw in those previous discussions about Lascaux, the Twins (depicted at Lascaux as a single man leaning at the proper angle to depict Gemini and composed, like that constellation, of two parallel lines) were possibly associated with the myth of Yima (or Ymir, or Yama), who is associated with Saturn / Kronos by de Santillana and von Dechend. Here is a previous post discussing the reason that the Twins (like Saturn) are often associated in myth with a lost "Golden Age."

As we saw in that previous discussion about Lascaux as well, the cave paintings are not the only place that the constellation Gemini is associated with a bird on a pole: the round Dendera Zodiac of Egypt also features a bird on a pole next to the Twins. In that Egyptian artwork, the bird on the pole is actually a Horus falcon! All of this makes the stele above from Central America extremely interesting, and the likelihood that it actually depicts "shooting a demon bird with a blow-gun" somewhat suspect.

Lest some argue that the correlation of the Twins with the bird-on-pole imagery from the Old World in the above stele is a stretch, we can turn our attention to the stele shown below, also from Izapa and known as Stele 2.

Here, scholars have identified the Hero Twins again, this time flanking a figure which is described as a "steeply descending bird impersonator." While that may be a literal enough description of the central figure in this stele, since it does clearly have human features such as legs in addition to its bird-like wings, it may be a misnomer to call it "steeply descending." After all, it appears to be in a kneeling posture.

In fact, the kneeling posture of the bird-man figure in this stele recalls quite strongly the image of Isis kneeling with outstretched bird-wings, found throughout ancient Egypt (such as in the image in the tomb of Seti I depicted in this previous post). In that previous post, we saw that there is good reason to believe that this particular depiction of Isis represents an association with the important constellation Cygnus the Swan, in the Milky Way.

If the above figure from Stele 2, which is strongly reminiscent of the kneeling depiction of Winged Isis in ancient Egyptian art, also represents the constellation Cygnus, it could explain the reason that its head is pointing downward towards the tree (which could be a World-Tree like Yggdrasil of Norse mythology, which had an Eagle in it just like the Milky Way does). Note that the Twins are located at the far end of the Milky Way from the Eagle and the Swan, and that the Swan is flying away from the end of the Milky Way where the Twins are located.

Of course, conventional scholars will never admit the possibility of some ancient contact between all of these different cultures (or with some lost or unknown civilization that influenced all of them, even if they themselves did not have direct contact with one another). However, the evidence presented above appears to be quite convincing, and at least should argue that such a possibility does not deserve to be rejected out-of-hand.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Meditations on Akhenaten's skull

In a previous post entitled "Tutankhamun's DNA," we saw evidence that modern DNA testing undertaken just within the past few years appears to have established what scholars have previously suspected: that Tutankhamun is Akhenaten's biological son.

As we saw in that and other posts discussing the tomb of Tutankhamun, one reason that tomb's discovery is so important is the fact that it is the only known tomb which contained the undisturbed mummy of a pharaoh. While the tomb had been apparently raided twice shortly after his burial, the robbers apparently stole some items from the antechamber and left the burial chamber undisturbed. The tomb was resealed and forgotten, with no human trespasser for over thirty-two centuries.

The mummy of Akhenaten was not so unmolested. His remains, which were found in 1907, had been moved to a small unfinished tomb in the Valley of the Kings known today as KV55 and several decades later his sarcophagus was apparently desecrated, its golden face torn off and his identifying name cartouche erased from the hieroglyhpic inscriptions (an image of the defaced coffin can be seen in the Wikipedia entry for KV55).

The discolored skeleton has, however, furnished DNA samples which apparently confirm the body as Akhenaten, the son of Amenhotep III and the father of Tutankhamun. This video shows the results of DNA testing done in early 2010.

Akhenaten's remains are the source of some controversy, because depictions of the pharaoh in art created during his lifetime show him with abnormal features, sometimes including feminine hips and breasts, leading some to speculate that he may have suffered from a variety of proposed diseases or syndromes, which also may have been present in other pharaohs of his dynasty. Articles have appeared in medical journals discussing medical possibilities based mainly upon this artwork (see for instance here and here).

However, we must be very careful about making medical diagnoses based upon Egyptian artwork, especially in light of the careful arguments advanced by R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz and John Anthony West, who demonstrate that Egyptian art was very symbolic and often used anatomical features to illustrate abstract principles (such as depicting gods or humans as having either two right hands or two left hands to illustrate the active principle or the receptive principle, as John Anthony West discusses in Serpent in the Sky, pages 98 and following).

Further, detailed forensic anthropology examinations of the skeletal remains from KV55 done by Joyce M. Filer, a curator in the department of Egyptian antiquities at the British Museum, found no obvious signs of wide hips (on the contrary, she says "The pelvic basin or girdle is small and its lack of width rules against its matching the generous dimensions exhibited in some of Akhenaten's statues"). She also finds that the bones are "not overly robust" but also "not delicate or feminine as some researchers have claimed."

Perhaps most interesting is her assertion that the skeleton appears to be youthful, of a man perhaps in his twenties and not over twenty-five. She also makes the comment that "Although the fading and obliteration of the sutures holding the bones of the skull together is an unreliable indicator of age by itself, I think it is worth noting that this skull presents no signs of this; it would be expected if the individual were significantly older."

This statement is interesting because Irwin M. Braverman MD, who has authored many of the articles which argue that Akhenaten suffered from aromatase excess syndrome and from craniosynostosis, apparently first became curious about possible disease in Akhenaten when he noticed unusual aspects of the cranial sutures in photographs of Akhenaten's skull. This Yale University web article relates that Dr. Braverman, who is a dermatologist and a Yale University professor of dermatology, was observing images of the skull and "skeletal pictures of Akhenaten's skull and he observed that a suture was open. These sutures usually close two years after birth."

If this account is accurate about the sutures in the skull of the remains that scientists believe to belong to Akhenaten (and the video series linked above also mentions that the sutures of his skull appear to have been quite loose), then it raises some interesting possibilities other than pathology.

We have previously discussed some evidence that certain aspects of ancient Egyptian belief seem to have been directly preserved in Buddhist monasticism in China and other places east of Egypt. With this in mind, it seems very significant that certain lines of Esoteric Taoism teach that the sutures of the skull are extremely important, and that cultivation of meditative practices and internal energy can actually cause them to loosen.

For example, Taoist master Mantak Chia has authored numerous books which discuss the bones of the skull and the importance of the sutures. See, for example, the illustration on page 111 of his book Taoist Astral Healing: Chi Kung Healing Practices Using Star and Planet Energies. There and in the pages preceding and following it he explains the Taoist connections between the five major bones of the upper skull (frontal, sphenoid, left and right parietal, and occipital).

In Cosmic Healing II: Taoist Cosmology and Universal Healing Connections, he says: "The whole cranial system is a big antenna and transmitter of information to all the different energy levels in the body. [. . .] The suture lines in the cranial system form zigzag pointed protrusions that have a function in receiving stellar vibrations. From these structures, subtle energy information channels spread out through the whole body" (177-178). Before dismissing such assertions as "unscientific" or "unproven," recall the previous post pointing to recent studies that appear to confirm that very experienced monks are able to turn on massive amounts of brain gamma waves which untrained brains are not able to generate.

Mr. Chia also writes elsewhere that "the sutures atop the skull of advanced adepts often loosen. [. . .] The practices advocated herein may allow one to regain part of the prodigious learning and regenerative powers of the child. The only humans with loose skull sutures are the evolved adept and the infant" (Taoist Secrets of Love, 125).

That statement about "the only humans with loose skull sutures" is striking, given what doctors who have examined Akhenaten's skull seem to report. While some seek to assign a pathological condition to Akhenaten, is it possible that he was not diseased at all but was practicing techniques which would later be preserved within the esoteric knowledge of Taoism?

The ancient Egyptians were certainly aware of the skull sutures, and in fact R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz noted the similarity in form between the ubiquitous Egyptian depictions of the scarab and the sutures of the human skull when viewed from above (see image above, as well as discussion in John Anthony West's Serpent in the Sky, page 97). In light of this connection, the Egyptians may well have had an inkling of the importance that Taoism also teaches regarding the sutures in the skull.

These connections are fascinating to consider.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The South Pole, December 14, 1911

December 14 is the anniversary of the first successful expedition to reach the South Pole, the Amundsen expedition led by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen (1872 - 1928). This year marks the 100th anniversary of that expedition, and thus December 14, 2011 is the 100th anniversary of their arrival at the pole.

Amundsen's final successful push to reach the pole departed from their base at Framheim in the Bay of Whales (on sea ice -- Amundsen recorded its latitude as 78° 38'S) on October 19, 1911. In addition to Amundsen, his group consisted of Olav Bjaaland (1873 - 1961), Helmer Hanssen (1870 - 1956), Sverre Hassel (1876 - 1928), and Oscar Wisting (1871 - 1936).

Above is one of only two photographs the expedition is known to have taken on their successful journey. They erected a tent and the flag of Norway at the pole and left a letter inside in case they did not make it back alive.

They did successfully make it back, reaching Framheim again on January 25, 1912. Their success would not become known to the world until the expedition landed in Australia in March that year. The British Antarctic Expedition, led by Royal Navy Captain Robert F. Scott, which had been racing to the pole at the same time, arrived at Amundsen's marker over a month later, in January of 1912, to bitter disappointment. Scott's entire party perished on the return journey.

Fifty years ago, at the fiftieth anniversary of the race to the pole, in a ceremony held at the South Pole, US Navy Rear Admiral David M. Tyree (commander of the US Naval Support Force in Antarctica from 1959 to 1962) said in his remarks that "Scott and Amundsen added to the sum of man's knowledge; more important, they added immensely to the sum of man's inspiration."

The continent of Antarctica is extraordinarily important in terms of clues that it holds regarding the ancient history of the earth and mankind's distant past. Most significantly, it contains clues which point to the fact that the earth experienced a "Big Roll" following the events of a catastrophic global flood. Some of these clues have been discussed in previous blog posts, including "Antarctica" and "Lake Vostok."

The fact that Antarctica is covered with snow and ice is also a remarkable clue which provides evidence supporting the hydroplate theory of Dr. Walt Brown. Today, Antarctica is one of the most arid places on earth, with less than six and a half inches of precipitation per year over the entire continent on average (qualifying as a desert, which are generally categorized as places receiving less than ten inches of rain a year).

Antarctica probably became glaciated during the Ice Age which would have followed the global flood, when oceans were warmer and continents were higher, creating the conditions for heavy precipitation which would have been in the form of snow and ice in many latitudes of the world, including of course the Antarctic. Evidence which suggests seafaring humans may have mapped Antarctica's coastlines before it became fully glaciated is contained in various "portolan" maps drawn in the early sixteenth century AD and almost certainly based upon much more ancient maps. This evidence is discussed in the previous post entitled "The subglacial fjords of Antarctica."

Previous posts discussing the achievement of the Amundsen expedition can be found here and here. To see a dramatization of the race to the South Pole in the 1985 television drama entitled The Last Place on Earth, see here.

Monday, December 12, 2011

More on the Kensington Runestone and recent allegations of a hidden message in the text

About a month ago, I wrote a post about the Kensington Runestone, and a recent allegation that the runic inscription found on that Minnesota stone contains a cipher which conceals a hidden message from Olof Ohman indicating that he in fact carved the stone.

The previous post discussed some apparent problems with the decipherment, which appear to call into question the assertions that this new alleged hidden message in the text proves beyond a doubt that Olof Ohman, who found the stone while clearing his farmland in Minnesota in 1898, was playing a practical joke on the world when he inscribed it with runes.

In addition to pointing out some problems with the cipher, that post also pointed to work by anthropological linguist Dr. John Bengtson, who argues that some of the alleged errors in the inscription itself, which scholars have used to allege that the text is nothing but a clumsy forgery, have over time been revealed to be similar to runic inscriptions from Europe that are believed to be authentic. He also points to other linguistic and historic reasons which support the possibility that the stone's inscription may in fact be from 14th-century Scandinavian voyagers.

Dr. Bengtson has pointed out an additional problem with the recent theory about the runestone containing a cryptogram: the supposed hidden message points to the farmer who discovered the stone as the forger. This is actually a very significant point. It has always been problematic to argue that Ohman, a working farmer who with his wife raised nine children while working the difficult soil of Minnesota in the late 1800s, had the time or inclination to forge a runic inscription in a 200-pound rock. Now the runestone's doubters are alleging that he was also able to work a hidden cryptogram into the runic text as well.

Dr. Bengtson argues that if the stone really is a forgery, it would be farfetched to believe that Ohman was the forger. Such a project would have taken a lot of free time and a lot of research and a lot of knowledge that Ohman simply did not have the background to acquire.

This biography of Olof Ohman shows some details which support Dr. Bengtson's argument: Ohman was born in Sweden in 1854 and his father worked a carpentry workshop and kept a couple of cows but did not own any land. Olof's mother died when he was 17, and many of the responsibilities of raising his younger siblings fell to him. In addition, he worked with his father in the carpentry shop and no doubt would have had responsibilities involving the cows as well. By 22 he was working as a hired hand on neighboring farms.

At the age of 24, he boarded a ship bound for America, with a dream of owning his own land. He took a train to Minnesota (where many Scandinavian immigrants gravitated) and worked as a carpenter and in a steam-powered lumber mill and a flour mill. He married a girl who was a Swedish immigrant herself and the daughter of Swedish farmers. They purchased a farm in 1890, at which time they already had two young children with seven more to follow over the years. The family lived in a dugout home on the homestead for at least one year before they could erect a more comfortable structure.

There is little to indicate spare time of the magnitude required to acquire the kind of knowledge necessary create the text of the Kensington Runestone, let alone a hidden message identifying himself as the forger of such a text. The indications from the biography are of a hard-working man who had a dream of someday owning his own farm, and put in a considerable amount of effort and took a considerable amount of risk to achieve that dream.

Some might argue that some other unknown forger created the text, and then created a cryptogram which identified Ohman as the forger, but that does not really make much sense. Further, as noted in the previous post on the subject, there appear to be some problems with the supposed hidden message in the first place (some of the alleged word counts which are supposedly derived from the numbers in the runic inscription do not actually seem to point to words which will create an intelligible message at all).

Also, Dr. Bengtson points out that Ohman found the stone tangled in the roots of a large poplar tree -- he had devised a method of felling trees on the land to clear it which involved digging around the base, cutting through the roots, and then using a winch to topple the tree, according to an article on this website describing the discovery of the stone (and which includes a sketch Ohman made of the tree and the stone's location -- to reach the page in question, follow the link and then click the word "Runestone" in the left-hand menu column). This fact indicates that the stone had been buried for at least many decades. Dr. Bengtson's essay on the subject points to a 2005 study by geologist Scott Wolter which argues that the weathering on the stone indicates that the inscription is at least 200 years old (of course, as a supporter of the authenticity of the Kensington stone, some will argue that Wolter's findings are biased).

While there may be reasons to doubt the authenticity of the Kensington Runestone, it seems that the supposed hidden message identifying it as a prank by Ohman is probably not one of them. Dr. Bengtson makes an excellent point when he says that hoax theories which allege Ohman as the forger are probably on shaky ground.

It seems fair to ask if those who oppose the authenticity of the Kensington Runestone do so because they are skeptical of any European contact with the Americas prior to Columbus. If so, they should known that the Kensington Runestone is not alone, but that there are literally thousands of other pieces of evidence which indicate deliberate and ongoing contact across the oceans long before AD 1492. A list of many others can be found here.

Thanks to Dr. John Bengtson for pointing out the biggest problem in this latest attempt to discredit one of these pieces of evidence.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

An excellent website explaining the lunar nodes (with animation)

The previous post discussing the total lunar eclipse mentioned the important concept of lunar "nodes."

It contained a link to another previous post discussing these nodes in some detail, and arguing that the nine-world cosmology found in many ancient myths comes from the fact that the ancients tracked with great care the motions of nine wandering heavenly "bodies": the sun, the moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, and the two invisible lunar nodes (which are not actually heavenly bodies but which act like one when they temporarily swallow up the sun or the moon in an eclipse).

Thus, some ancient myths depict a nine-world cosmology (including the lunar nodes) and some ancient myths depict a seven-world cosmology (minus the lunar nodes). This argument was advanced by Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend in their indispensable 1969 treatise, Hamlet's Mill.

That previous post explained at length the somewhat complicated celestial mechanics whereby the moon's plane and the nodes move about 19.3o to the west each year, causing them to take 18.65 years to complete a full circle of 360o.

However, there is an excellent website which discusses these celestial mechanics with great clarity, and which illustrates the concept with absolutely outstanding graphics and animation -- perhaps the best so far for those wishing to understand the movement of the lunar nodes. To view it, visit "Eclipses and the Moon's Nodes," by Dwight Ennis, on the website of the Astrology Club of San Jose, California.

While the beautiful total lunar eclipse of 2011 has now passed, it is still worthwhile to take the time to understand the motion of the moon as it passes above and below the ecliptic in its orbit around earth. You can often determine whether the moon is above or below the ecliptic when you observe it in conjunction with one of the planets (or with a constellation on the ecliptic -- the zodiac constellations), simply by noting whether its path through the sky is above or below the path being followed by the planet or zodiac constellation.

Thanks to Dwight Ennis for sharing his superlative illustrations and animations of eclipses and the lunar nodes with the rest of the world.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Total lunar eclipse 10 December 2011

In fewer than twenty-four hours from now, the full moon will pass through earth's shadow to create a total lunar eclipse. The next one will not take place until April 2014.

This previous post on the phases of the moon explains why lunar eclipses occur at full moons and why solar eclipses occur at new moons. This post contains some other drawings which may be of additional assistance in understanding the mechanics of the moon's orbit and interaction with the earth and the sun from the perspective of viewers on earth.

This previous post explains how the fact that the orbital plane of the moon is tilted at a 5.1o angle to the plane of the ecliptic (the plane upon which earth, and the other planets to a greater or lesser degree, orbit the sun) creates the two "lunar nodes." These nodes are located where the two planes intersect, and this fact of the offset orbital planes explains why lunar and solar eclipses do not occur every month. The total lunar eclipse that is approaching will take place when the full moon passes through a lunar node, intersecting with the ecliptic plane.

The upcoming eclipse will be visible for observers in the parts of the world shown in the NASA map below.

For some excellent additional discussion and information about this exciting upcoming heavenly event, see the Urban Astronomer blog (which explains viewing details for the west coast of the United States and Canada), the NASA website, and this article from Sky & Telescope.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

What about DNA and protein?

Here's a worthwhile video called "from DNA to protein" from the 2003 PBS series entitled DNA. It depicts in amazing graphic detail a process which is taking place in your cells all over your body almost continuously: the duplication of genetic material in the DNA found in the nucleus of a cell, and the sending of that genetic code (in the form of RNA) out into the rest of the cell in order to produce specific proteins which cells use to perform the many tasks which keep us alive.

The entire process is so complex that the producers of the video found it appropriate to add a soundtrack of whirring and clicking machines, so that the background noise gives the viewer the impression that the micro-mechanisms of the cell give off sounds like the machinery in a big mid-twentieth-century factory.

As we have discussed before, the self-replicating molecules essential to all known life (namely, DNA and RNA) pose a very serious problem for advocates of the Darwinian religion. The mechanism of Darwinian evolution involves cellular mutation plus natural selection (plus incredibly long periods of time). However, without self-replicating molecules, none of it would be possible. Thus, when asked how self-replicating molecules could have arisen, Darwinists are at a loss, as arch-Darwinist Richard Dawkins articulates very clearly in the famous video interview discussed in this previous post.

Those trying to explain the arrival of a self-replicating molecule have a king-sized problem in that they cannot argue for "evolutionary" steps prior to the achievement of self-replication. Molecules which cannot replicate cannot produce a new generation of molecules which can then carry on the forward progress towards eventual self-replication. If asked "how much better will the next generation of molecules be, if the previous generation has come X degrees closer to self-replication?" the answer will be, "there won't be a 'next generation' if the previous generation still hasn't made it to self-replication." In fact, the very question contains a logical error, because the "previous generation" of molecules striving towards self-replication would not have existed either, since the "generation" before that generation would not have been able to replicate.

Thus, explanations for the origin of the first self-replicating molecule or molecules tend to invoke either the intervention of a supernatural actor, or the intervention of extraterrestrial beings (Richard Dawkins opted for the second choice). This dilemma was discussed in the previous post entitled "Supernatural or extraterrestrial?"

The video above, detailing the production of protein (proteins sometimes being labeled "the building-blocks of life" in high school science classes), brings to light another dilemma involving the origin of DNA. As Dr. Walt Brown points out in the first section of his book on the hydroplate theory, "DNA cannot function without hundreds of preexisting proteins, but proteins are produced only at the direction of DNA." This simple statement creates quite a head-scratcher for those who wish to explain the origins of DNA without any supernatural intervention.

Dr. Brown's hydroplate theory, the evidence for which is discussed in numerous previous posts in this blog, also undermines the arguments of the proponents of Darwinian evolution, in that it removes the need for hundreds of millions of years of slow processes in order to explain the geological features we see in the earth around us. Darwinian evolution is dependent upon long ages of time, and is thus built upon the foundation of the uniformitarian geological explanations put forward about a generation before the publication of the Origin of Species.

The evidence of advanced technological and scientific understanding among the mythology and archeology of the most ancient civilizations we know of (and the evidence that they might have received their knowledge from some even more ancient common ancestor-civilization) also undermines the conventional Darwinian timeline taught in schools to children from the age of 8 through college. Some of this amazing evidence -- and its connection to the geological hydroplate theory of Dr. Brown -- is discussed in the Mathisen Corollary book itself.

While the above video discusses the activity of DNA found within the nucleus of the cell, there is DNA found outside of the nucleus as well, particularly in organelles known as mitochondria, which produce a nucleotide called adenosine tri-phosphate, or ATP, which furnishes energy for the cell. This mitochondrial DNA is extremely important for tracking common parentage in humans, and becomes important in the discussion of the skull of the Ruamahanga Woman (also discussed at some length in the Mathisen Corollary book). This skull is only one piece of evidence (albeit an important one) in an enormous pile of evidence suggesting that mankind's ancient past is quite different from the simple story of linear progression from "early humans" to modern society favored by evolutionists.

The fact that the documentary above was produced by PBS (an entity which is dedicated to supporting the conventional Darwinian storyline and which can hardly be accused of endorsing "alternative" theories) makes it even more compelling. Although it is perhaps conceivable that those who watch it could continue to endorse a non-supernatural, non-extraterrestrial explanation for DNA's origins, it is difficult to imagine that those who do so can with a straight face ridicule and marginalize those who suggest other possibilities.